Top Language Industry Quotes of 2020

The top quotes for the translation and localization industry in 2020

As the year draws to a close, Slator has assembled a list of some the most notable quotes of 2020, a year of major challenges and upheavals as Covid-19 blanketed the world.

The list covers a variety of topics; from emerging markets, M&A, and technology to investment, industry growth, and the impact of the pandemic.

We the quote selection was made based on articles from Slator.com as well as appearances at SlatorCon Remote and on SlatorPod.

Covid-19

March 12, 2020: The State of the Language Industry as Coronavirus Goes Global

“The worse the global situation gets (and country governments react accordingly), the more clients rely on the force majeure argument to try to avoid any cancellation fees, which only worsens the economic impact” — Alexander Gansmeier, Co-host, Troublesome Terps Podcast

April 15, 2020: SDL Beats 2019 Forecast, Moves to Cushion Against Pandemic

“If you haven’t prepared for this, if you haven’t built platforms, if you haven’t built processes, if you haven’t built KPIs, if you haven’t built the culture, you can’t do it” — Adolfo Hernandez, (former) CEO, SDL

April 27, 2020: Survey Reveals Impact of Covid-19 on Europe’s Language Industry

“Small companies appear to be taking the hardest hit. The small companies are often also the most vulnerable from a financial point of view. However, only 12% of companies intend to lay off staff, indicating that the vast majority will hang on in there as long as possible to keep teams intact” — Heike Leinhäuser, President, EUATC; Owner and Managing Director, Leinhäuser Language Services

April 29, 2020: New Bill Aims to Lessen Fallout From AB5-Coronavirus One-Two Punch

“Covid-19 and AB5 have been a lethal combination for our profession. We are holding our collective breaths to see if we can resume our professional lives after this devastating one-two punch to our profession” — Esther Hermida, Founder, GeoLingua

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June 8, 2020: Language Industry Assesses Damage as Lockdowns Ease

“The pandemic has had a significant financial effect on many of the UK’s SME language service companies, 59% of whom have seen a decrease in turnover of 50–70% according to our survey. However, what we are also seeing is a growing discrepancy between the companies who have experienced the sharp end of the pandemic and the companies whose business model or client verticals seem to be much more resilient” — Raisa McNab, CEO, ATC

July 27, 2020: It’s Business as Usual for ZOO Digital’s Cloud Dubbing, Despite Covid-19

“Cloud dubbing delivers robust business continuity during these very challenging times, and a greater level of security, capacity in the industry, and efficiency in the end-to-end workflow for dubbing” — Stuart Green, CEO, ZOO Digital

ZOO Digital CEO Stuart Green at SlatorCon London 2018
Stuart Green, ZOO Digital

July 30, 2020: 10 Reasons Why the Translation Industry Attracts Private Equity Investors

“In general, language services are a must-have despite economic conditions, whether the economy is growing or stagnant. This is important for us because it provides a safety net when investing” — Piotr Misztal, Partner, Value4Capital (V4C)

August 19, 2020: Media Localization Disrupted: SDI CEO on Hollywood’s Cautious Restart

“Unfortunately the mixed messages from our national leaders, the desire to reopen small businesses and the lack of social distancing compliance led to a resurgence of Covid in June and July. […] The entertainment industry will disproportionately pay the price of the US Covid surge” — Mark Howorth, CEO, SDI Media

September 9, 2020: Localization Key to Babylon Healthcare’s Accessible Health Service

“The pandemic marked a key point in how people perceive healthcare. Suddenly, there was a need to access medical support in a safe, remote way” — Michela Simonelli, Localization Lead, Babylon Health

Competitive Landscape

April 29, 2020: New Bill Aims to Lessen Fallout From AB5-Coronavirus One-Two Punch

“AB5 is shackling our professional response and collaboration at a time when interpreters and translators are in high demand to help communicate vital information” — David Higbee, State Certified Court Interpreter, Utah State Courts and California Superior Courts

May 6, 2020: Germany Rejects ISO Standard for Legal Translation

“If the road of creating separate stand-alone standards for the different specialist fields is followed further, this might well lead to excessive certification demands” — Wolfram Baur, Freelance Technical Translator; Member, BDÜ Federal Executive Board

June 19, 2020: Contract Interpreters Rally Over Lack of Support From EU

“The potential brain drain may eventually threaten multilingualism since not enough interpreters will still be around when activities pick up” — Tom Van den Kerkhof, ACI, Commission, Parliament and Court of Justice

June 29, 2020: Canadian LSP Scriptis Buys Boutique US Rival MTM

“Amidst the many technological advances impacting the language industry, language professionals with deep expertise remain the most important asset for a specialized translation service provider” — Fabien Côté, President, Scriptis

September 23, 2020: Why Latin America and the Caribbean Got Their First Association for LSPs

“Unfortunately, government initiatives have amounted to zero in LAC [Latin America and the Caribbean]. The government is not a driver of demand for translation and interpreting in the region, as compared to Europe or North America. In fact, most LSP owners are of the view that government is a hindrance to progress and growth in LAC” — Charles Campbell, President, Translation Back Office

October 5, 2020: The Translation and Localization Industry in India: Survey Results Released

“The Indian market is not as evolved and mature compared to Asia, Europe, and the Americas. […] currently, customers give more importance to language skills compared to industry specialization and all LSP’s work across multiple sectors” — Sheetal Ramkumar, Founder, White Globe

October 6, 2020: Language Industry Hires at KUDO, Intento, and Summa Linguae

“I know too many localization professionals that cannot see beyond the framework built on TMSs and CAT tools in this industry. Innovation only happens when people loosen the shackles of the old ways of thinking and look at problems from a different point of view” — Yuka Nakasone, Globalization and Localization Director, Intento

November 13, 2020: #47 Lionbridge Mega Deal, Altagram CEO Marie Amigues talks Game Localization

“My idea was to expand into different countries, so then I have satellite companies, it’s much more manageable, it’s going to be international, it’s better for the company business-wise, and we are closer to the production and the clients” — Marie Amigues, CEO, Altagram

December 9, 2020: Post-event Report: What Happened at SlatorCon Remote December 2020

“Regulation is part of the daily business. It drives how we work” — Aurélie Baechelen, Localization Manager, Varian Medical Systems

December 14, 2020: Smartling, memoQ, XTM Trade Differing Views at SlatorCon Remote

“The real winners in this space are going to have to figure out how to combine both [technology and services] in a solution that meets the customer’s real need” — Jack Welde, CEO, Smartling

Jack Welde of Smartling SlatorCon San Francisco 2019
Jack Welde, Smartling
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Machine Translation

January 27, 2020: Language Industry Hires at Lingotek, Take 1, Protranslating, Language Connections, and Travod

“While there are still settings where MT is not useful — transcreation, for example — gone are the days that it can be ignored” — Mary Shillue-Goldberg, Director of Business Development, Language Connections

May 13, 2020: Lilt Raised USD 25m Just Before Pandemic Hit

“MT models that are adapted to the particular way in which a translator or organization uses language continue to improve dramatically. Now, by changing only a small fraction of the model’s parameters, we can be very effective in personalizing a very large and high-performance, general neural machine translation model” — Spence Green, CEO, Lilt

Spence Green (Lilt) at SlatorCon London 2017
Spence Green, Lilt

June 25, 2020: SOSi Buys Minority Stake in Language Tech Firm AppTek

“Humans are currently able to process language nuances better than machines, which is why they have to be part of the feedback loop. But technology is improving exponentially every year” — Julian Setian, President and CEO, SOSi

July 8, 2020: Intento Raises USD 3m Seed Round as MT Curation Industry Accelerates

“The emerging MT curation industry will overtake the language industry at some point” — Konstantin Savenkov, CEO, Intento

July 14, 2020: Memsource Sells to Carlyle: The Inside Story

“If you focus on human translation, you’ll hit a limit at some point as there are a finite number of translators in the world and so this approach doesn’t scale” — David Canek, Founder and CEO, Memsource

July 17, 2020: Game Localization: Why Nuance Is Key in Discussing Automation

“The biggest challenge was not even finding the right provider and finding good translation quality, but educating to change the skepticism toward MT. The skepticism is understandable, because gaming text is very creative” — Cristina Anselmi, Machine Translation Lead, Electronic Arts

August 5, 2020: Language Industry Hires at CWT, Smartcat, Summa Linguae, and Qualtransloc

“For more Pharmaceutical-specific and technical content, translation still requires the human touch. But, undoubtedly, MT is gaining ground in all fields” — Luana Lowndes, Head of Sales and Marketing — Brazil, CWT

October 5, 2020: The Translation and Localization Industry in India: Survey Results Released

“Investing in MT is costly and especially in INR (Indian rupee) because generic engines won’t work. You would need language pair- and domain-specific ones so that would be a lot of money if an LSP offers even a few language pairs” — Sandeep Nulkar, President, CITLoB; Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director, BITS

October 13, 2020: Translation Startup TAIA Raises EUR 1.2m

“MT will inevitably eat into the traditional market share and change the ways LSP’s and other providers operate. The wave of change will, unfortunately, leave a lot of businesses bankrupt and many translators, unwilling to change, jobless. However, we believe that the process will at the same time enable those who are open to accepting new technologies to ride the wave and see automation and MT as a partner, not a threat” —  Marko Hozjan, CEO, TAIA

November 13, 2020: #47 Lionbridge Mega Deal, Altagram CEO Marie Amigues talks Game Localization

“With MT, you can’t use it for everything but already we are able to use it for 60, 70% of our content, it’s already saving so much time as well. Not really saving so much money, but at least saving time” — Marie Amigues, CEO, Altagram

November 27, 2020: #49 Ex Netflix Exec Chris Fetner on EGA Launch, LSP Dying Zone, First SPAC

“It’s really hard to predict these things, but I will say that my general thought is entertainment machine translation will arrive roughly at the same pace as when you would read a best-selling book that was completely generated by a Google engine” — Chris Fetner, Managing Director, EGA

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Language Technology & Platforms

January 29, 2020: How ASICS Runs Localization: Insights on Vendors, Processes, Technologies

“Using one LSP’s tool ties an organization to the provider — regardless of the provider’s promise of supporting vendor neutrality” — Alessandra Binazzi, Director of Localization, ASICS Digital

May 26, 2020: Véronique Özkaya​ Joins Argos Multilingual as CEO

“Without tech, you’re dead! You can call the time-cost-quality triangle ‘digital transformation’ or whatever other phrase, [but] it is all about better, faster, cheaper, and also easier” — Véronique Özkaya, CEO, Argos Multilingual

June 19, 2020: IYUNO Acquires German Dubbing Studio Scalamedia

“I think you’ll see a more ‘hybrid approach,’ with things like remote dubbing working hand in hand with ‘bricks and mortar’” — Shaun Gregory, CEO, IYUNO

July 16, 2020: As Interest in India Grows, New Language Industry Group Elects First President

“Language technology is the buzzword in India today and AI, NLP and machine learning are at the heart of every language and language technology start up” — Sandeep Nulkar, President, CITLoB; Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director, BITS

July 17, 2020: Game Localization: Why Nuance Is Key in Discussing Automation

“Text-to-speech will never be able to replace the high-quality performance of voice talents, which we have gotten used to when delivering in-game dialogue” — Tamara Tirják, Senior Localization Manager, Frontier Developments

July 27, 2020: Remote Simultaneous Interpreting Platform Kudo Raises USD 6m

“Multilingual online meetings are not a theoretical abstraction. They are a viable option for event planners, corporations, organizations, and providers to ensure business continuity. Clients no longer need to be convinced, and multilingual online meetings are here to stay” — Fardad Zabetian, Founder and CEO, Kudo

August 10, 2020: How Infobip Built Continuous Localization Into CPaaS

“Continuous localization really challenges you to rethink the localization flow and how to fit it into Agile product development. There are no large yearly releases that localization can be organized around. The flow must be truly continuous and synced with releases that happen on a weekly basis” — Semir Mehadzic, Infobip, Product Manager

August 21, 2020: Language Industry Hires at Crystal Hues, lengoo, AMPLEXOR, and memoQ

“Software is easy to predict, because it’s fairly easy to manage. But people aren’t, and human beings will not be taken out of the deal in most applications” — Maciej Raczka, Solution Engineer, memoQ

November 6, 2020: #46 Smartcat Funding, 2M CEO Tea Dietterich, Loc Jobs Climb, Earnings Wrap

“Technology is the most single important economic driver of the future and it is really language technology combined with that precious human linguistic mind. If language technology has exposed one thing, it is that the linguistics are more important than ever, but you’ve got to be super switched on” — Tea Dietterich, CEO, 2M

December 7, 2020: Creator of Writing Productivity Tool Wordtune Raises USD 25m Series A

“The way we write hasn’t drastically changed since Microsoft Word in 1980; and the way we read hasn’t really changed since the printing press in 1440. We believe both can be made AI-first experiences, with the machine becoming a true writing and reading partner” — Ori Goshen, Co-CEO and Co-founder, AI21

December 14, 2020: Smartling, memoQ, XTM Trade Differing Views at SlatorCon Remote

“The thesis remains unchanged. Any platform has to be striving for ubiquity. You have to be able to connect to everything” — Jack Welde, CEO, Smartling

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Demand Drivers

January 22, 2020: TransPerfect Revenue Climbs to Record USD 764m in 2019 but Growth Slows

“Given the proliferation of OTT content providers, and the move toward video content on the web in general, we believe the market for media localization is strong” — Phil Shawe, CEO, TransPerfect

TransPerfect CEO Phil Shawe at SlatorCon San Francisco 2019
Phil Shawe, TransPerfect

February 5, 2020: AMN Healthcare CEO Explains Why They Bought Stratus Video for USD 475 Million

“There’s actually a greater need [for video interpreting] due to growing demographics of patients coming in, but it’s very difficult for clients to be compliant with serving those patients. So there could be even greater growth over time as they are more attentive to both compliance and [the] benefits [of providing interpreting]” — Susan Salka, CEO, AMN

February 5, 2020: AMN Healthcare CEO Explains Why They Bought Stratus Video for USD 475 Million

“[Video interpreting] is growing at a 20% clip. You can charge a slight premium, which has a double benefit: the most attractive part of the market, growing more rapidly, and [the] marketing profile” — Brian Scott, CFO, AMN

April 3, 2020: Interpreting Providers React to US Medicare Telehealth Expansion

“There is no good reason anymore, as far as I’m concerned, not to be able to access a professional medical interpreter whenever you need one. And let’s face it, clear communication in dire healthcare situations is a lifesaver” — Dieter Runge, Co-founder and VP of Marketing & Global Business Development, Boostlingo

June 25, 2020: SOSi Buys Minority Stake in Language Tech Firm AppTek

“No government agency has the financial or human capital it needs to meet its foreign language needs with humans alone” — Julian Setian, President and CEO, SOSi

July 6, 2020: Interpreting Provider TVcN Rebrands to Global Talk after Sweden Acquisition

“The current Covid-19 measures have sped up adoption of VRI immensely, and we expect to see a lasting demand for this service even when social distancing measures are eventually relaxed” — Astrid Van Rossum, CEO, Global Talk

August 21, 2020: Language Industry Hires at Crystal Hues, lengoo, AMPLEXOR, and memoQ

“With India’s diverse culture and 20+ languages, the translation and localization business in India has been and will be one of the fastest-growing sectors”  — Radhakrishnan Mani, Chief Operating Officer, Crystal Hues

September 8, 2020: Localization SaaS Startup Lokalise Raises USD 6m in Series A

“Covid required us to focus our activities on geo and industries that suffered less. At the same time, many companies started to localize their products and services more intensively, since localization can open new markets while existing markets can stagnate” — Petr Antropov, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Lokalise 

September 17, 2020: After Disruptions in H1 2020, Game Localization Bounces Back at Keywords

“Demand for video games has accelerated during the pandemic, which is likely to result in an enlarged market for video games content going forward” — Andrew Day, CEO, Keywords

November 12, 2020: TELUS Execs Reveal Why They Bought Lionbridge AI

“The growth profile for this industry globally is double digits, starting with a two. Although the hyperscalers represent the lion’s share of the community that are leveraging this capability today, we see a near- and longer-term opportunity as AI proliferates across really every facet of industry and commerce” — Jeff Puritt, President and CEO, TELUS International

November 27, 2020: #49 Ex Netflix Exec Chris Fetner on EGA Launch, LSP Dying Zone, First SPAC

“Media localization is not going to go away, it’s a growing industry. If we can get the standards established early days, then the work, time-consuming as it may be, will pay long-term dividends” — Chris Fetner, Managing Director, EGA

Sales & Marketing

January 27, 2020: Language Industry Hires at Lingotek, Take 1, Protranslating, Language Connections, and Travod

“I know from personal experience how painful interpreting can be to sell and manage in a company whose core business is localization or translation. However, by not offering it, you are leaving the door open to competitors” — Mary Shillue-Goldberg, Director of Business Development, Language Connections  

March 2, 2020: Language Industry Hires at Lionbridge, One Hour Translation, Argos Multilingual, Wordcraft, and Global Lingo

“Honesty works way better than those confusing sales tactics à la ‘We sell emotions’ and so on” — Elisabeth Simonson, Head of Sales, Wordcraft 

August 12, 2020: SDL Shares Soar on Resilient Earnings in First Half of 2020

“If you have a relationship in place, it’s easier to maintain the relationship online. If all you do is cold calling and hunting, it’s a little bit harder online so maybe that’s why our teams have adapted easier” — Adolfo Hernandez, CEO, SDL

October 5, 2020: The Translation and Localization Industry in India: Survey Results Released

“Leave selling to the experts. If you happen to be one and also run an LSP, fine. If not, accept it and hire the best you can within your budget. India has a huge workforce and a lot of hungry sales people. You will find the right person if you are hungry enough” — Sandeep Nulkar, President, CITLoB; Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director, BITS

November 6, 2020: #46 Smartcat Funding, 2M CEO Tea Dietterich, Loc Jobs Climb, Earnings Wrap

“I understood really soon that people don’t really care about having anything translated, what they care about is the impact. They want to enter a market” — Tea Dietterich, CEO, 2M

November 13, 2020: #47 Lionbridge Mega Deal, Altagram CEO Marie Amigues Talks Game Localization

“I never wanted to work with a salesperson because I hate the people who are pitching and just selling dreams. This business, really, you can’t sell dreams. There’s really issues that we need to corner. We need to discuss them before saying, everything is possible because it’s not” — Marie Amigues, CEO, Altagram

December 9, 2020: Post-event Report: What Happened at SlatorCon Remote December 2020

“Many organizations found they were really doing a sort of Kabuki theater version of these things. They were trying to be agile, but hadn’t really rethought the process top-to-bottom, trying to be digital first” — Jaime Punishill, CMO, Lionbridge

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M&A and Funding

July 14, 2020: Memsource Sells to Carlyle: The Inside Story

“We’ve taken the view that it’s a very interesting space and that technology is going to keep on disrupting; we believe that there is a role for an independent provider of technology” — Fernando Chueca, Managing Director, Carlyle Europe Technology Partners

September 27, 2020: Apostroph Group Buys Swiss Rival GLOBAL TRANSLATIONS

“Digitization has been around for a long time but, with Covid, it has gained incredible momentum. We believe that less digitally-oriented companies will encounter more and more difficulties to keep their revenue or growth. As a result, more and more M&A opportunities will present themselves” — Philipp Meier, CEO and Managing Partner, Apostroph Group

October 5, 2020: The Translation and Localization Industry in India: Survey Results Released

“Direct projects with clients in the US are bound to increase with all the mergers and acquisitions between Indian and international LSPs” — Madhu Sundaramurthy, Managing Director, APAC for Summa Linguae Technologies

November 12, 2020: TELUS Execs Reveal Why They Bought Lionbridge AI

“Throughout 2020, Lionbridge AI has been resilient in the face of Covid-19. And, on a year-to-date basis, has generated revenue of approximately CAD 230m, up from approximately CAD 190m in the same period a year ago” — Jeff Puritt, President and CEO, TELUS International

November 13, 2020: #47 Lionbridge Mega Deal, Altagram CEO Marie Amigues Talks Game Localization

“Keywords has the right approach with the way they’re merging. With the exception of VMC, when they buy the company, they are mainly keeping the team and keeping the structure, so they’re just actually doing a merge. I realized, in general, they’re keeping the same team and that’s of course, keeping the same clients” — Marie Amigues, CEO, Altagram

November 20, 2020: #48 GPT-3 for Translators, SLT CEO Kris Zdanowski, Translation Tests, Media Loc Unites

“Consolidation will just continue, so you’ll see us buying companies, you’ll see others, you’ll see Acolad buying companies and everyone else buying companies. And smaller LSPs will see the threat and will want to exit and valuations will keep dropping” — Kris Zdanowski, CEO, SLT

November 20, 2020: #48 GPT-3 for Translators, SLT CEO Kris Zdanowski, Translation Tests, Media Loc Unites 

“M&A will continue. I think we have clearly, the very large players, the super agencies, and they’ll need to change hands, like Semantix is private equity-owned, they’ll need to be sold. H.I.G will probably think about selling Lionbridge at some point, whatever is left of Lionbridge, the LSP side. We localizers will also need to be sold at some point. They’lI buy everything’ Acolad will keep buying everything” — Kris Zdanowski, CEO, SLT

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November 20, 2020: #48 GPT-3 for Translators, SLT CEO Kris Zdanowski, Translation Tests, Media Loc Unites

“What the clear case for a private equity investment is actually the M&A. Unless you’re a tech business, unless you’re a memsource or a CAT tool or a XTM, or one of these, you’re a product company. If you’re a services company, it’s not really that interesting of an industry for private equities, in my opinion. I think it’s interesting because you can execute M&A, so the growth is backed by M&A” — Kris Zdanowski, CEO, SLT

November 27, 2020: #49 Ex Netflix Exec Chris Fetner on EGA Launch, LSP Dying Zone, First SPAC

“I think it’s just a very simple understanding that the [media and entertainment] industry is essential to help support the aspirational goals of these other bigger media companies and so it’s a good place to make an investment” — Chris Fetner, Managing Director, EGA