Livewords Acquires Rival Dutch Language Service Provider Metamorfose

Livewords, the Netherlands’ biggest language service provider (LSP), has acquired Utrecht-based Metamorfose Vertalingen. The acquisition marks the company’s continuing strategy of buying smaller local companies, after Livewords acquired Balance Translation earlier in 2018. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With EUR 29.1m (USD 35m) in 2017 revenue, Livewords is the largest Dutch LSP and has a strong foothold across the Benelux region. The company formerly known as Concorde group, acquired cloud translation platform Livewords back in 2016, and was itself then acquired by private equity firm Bencis Capital Partners. The company went on to buy translation platform FindCircles in the same year and financial translation specialist BB&TW in 2017 before rebranding to Livewords.

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Metamorfose’s core customer base is made up of European Institutions (such as the European Commission) and Dutch higher education institutions. Livewords, including Concorde Group before it, has been a longstanding major supplier of translation services to the public sector including interpreting services. The company also operates cross-vertical including for legal, financial, technical, e-commerce and retail customers and Livewords says that the portfolios of the two companies are “mostly complementary.”

Fully Integrated

Livewords told Slator in an email interview that, following the pattern of their previous acquisitions, “Metamorfose will be fully integrated into Livewords. The office in Utrecht will be maintained, increasing our regional presence. In addition, all staff will be retained.” This includes Metamorfose’s previous owners, who Livewords confirmed were “still on board.”

“Metamorfose will be fully integrated into Livewords. The office in Utrecht will be maintained, increasing our regional presence. In addition, all staff will be retained.”

Metamorfose, founded in 2004, was privately owned prior to the sale with 24 employees (FTEs). With the Metamorfose workforce, Livewords now has a total combined headcount of 125 FTEs. The company expects the integration, including streamlining of CAT tools and TMS technology, to be completed before the end of 2018.

Livewords gave Slator an overview on the company’s stance on the interaction between human and machines in the translation process and highlighted a three-tiered approach depending on customer requirements: “Human, computer-assisted translation, is used for translations where high quality is required, e.g. in view of brand image or legal implications. For e-commerce and high-volume environments, we often apply a combination of MT with human post-editing. For real-time environments such as chat, blogs and messaging, the use of NMT is a suitable solution.

With this latest acquisition, which was completed in June 2018, Livewords will expand its institutional, governmental, and higher education client base, and will be aiming to return to top line growth in 2018…Livewords’ revenues were down 2.2% in 2017 vs EUR 29.8m the previous year.

“For e-commerce and high-volume environments, we often apply a combination of MT with human post-editing. For real-time environments such as chat, blogs and messaging, the use of NMT is a suitable solution.

And Livewords’ interest in acquisition targets may soon see the company expand beyond Dutch borders. Livewords told Slator that “we are currently talking to other potential candidates in the Benelux and other western European countries.”

Esther Bond

Research Analyst at Slator. Localization enthusiast, linguist and inquisitor. London native.