Academic language services company, Crimson Interactive (Enago), announced the acquisition of UK-based publishing company Charlesworth Group (CWG) on November 18, 2022. Enago CEO, Sharad Mittal, told Slator the deal was “more than a year in the making” and actually closed on November 14.
New York-headquartered Enago provides authoring support and localization services to universities and academic publishers. Enago is one of four Crimson Interactive brands in the language services space, alongside Ulatus (translation), Voxtab (transcription, subtitling, and captioning), and Enago Life Sciences (medical communications).
CWG’s focus is China, where it serves the STEM academic market and offers into-English translation and publishing services. CWG also owns WeChat Gateway, a platform that facilitates author communication via WeChat, China’s largest social media platform.
Prior to the acquisition, CWG was privately owned by the Charlesworth family. CEO Mittal told Slator that CWG will continue to exist as a separate entity. “The company has a strong brand presence in the global publishing ecosystem, especially in China,” he said.
Chat in China
CWG’s presence in China was a major factor in the acquisition, according to Mittal. “China has its own unique author-publisher dynamics and CWG’s expertise in this geography made the acquisition an attractive proposition for us,” he said.
On opportunities in China, Mittal said the country is “a very significant consumer of language editing and language translation products,” adding that “China is the most prolific producer of academic research globally.”
China’s exclusion of social media platforms — such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn — also creates a unique environment. CWG’s WeChat Gateway platform was, therefore, another key factor in Enago’s acquisition rationale. “Publishers need to be able to communicate with their author and researchers through WeChat in Chinese,” Mittal pointed out.
The platform provides English-into-Chinese translation, along with various authoring features, enabling non-China-based publishers to chat and coordinate with researchers in China. WeChat Gateway’s clients include Taylor & Francis and IOP Publishing.
Early Days for Academic AI
Enago plans to integrate the WeChat Gateway with a number of its AI-based language technology tools to “facilitate a larger group of publisher clients, with access to the strengths of both the companies,” according to Mittal.
The company’s AI-enabled technology portfolio includes Trinka.AI, a writing assistant for academic texts; AuthorOne, a quality assurance tool for manuscripts; and RAxter, a “research assistant” that performs NLP tasks such as summary generation and topic tagging.
Mittal told Slator, “The use of AI-enabled products in academic publishing has a long way to go. With the advent of the open-access movement, more data will be available for everyone to analyze, thus increasing the reliance on AI-based solutions in the future.”