On April 11, 2023, Super Agency Lionbridge announced that it had signed a multiyear contract to integrate tech company Phrase’s computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool functionality into Lionbridge’s workflow.
Phrase emerged as one of the language industry’s leading technology providers in the middle of 2022. Memsource, which acquired Phrase in early 2021, chose to combine its offering under the Phrase brand name and launched a new Localization Suit in September 2022.
What makes the partnership remarkable is that large Leader or Super Agency LSPs tend to want to own core translation management system (TMS) components. One noticeable exception is Welocalize, which chose a best-of-breed approach, and, now, Lionbridge.
For a sense of scale, as Slator’s 2023 Language Service Provider Index (LSPI) reported, Lionbridge has a headcount of 6,000 and closed out the 2022 fiscal year with revenues of USD 575m.
CTO Marcus Casal told Slator, “Lionbridge conducted a thorough review of the market and evaluated proposals from several CAT tool providers before selecting Phrase as our partner.”
According to Casal, some of the features that made Phrase stand out were the translation memory’s “sophisticated” functionality, as well as filtering, parsing, and analytics “that can be directly integrated into Lionbridge’s existing tech stack.”
Lionbridge CEO John Fennelly may have alluded to the strategy behind this type of partnership well before the Phrase contract.
In a December 2021 SlatorPod episode, Fennelly noted that up to that point, Lionbridge had not licensed a third-party TMS, though Lionbridge had “looked at partnering with a lot of smaller technology companies.”
“We think our technology is what is needed to get us to the next level,” Fennelly said, adding, “As of now, we will continue to develop and where we think it makes sense strategically, either acquire or license pieces for us.”