Ubiqus Buys Textualis to Grow Private Sector Business in Canada

Ubiqus is expanding in the Canadian market. Slator has learned that the France-headquartered language service provider acquired Montreal-based Traductions Textualis Inc., which employs 30 full-time staff. Ubiqus President, Vincent Nguyen, told Slator that the transaction closed over the summer and was financed through debt. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Prior to this acquisition, Ubiqus already had a sizable footprint in Canada with approx. 45 staff based in Montreal and Ottawa after a 2011 acquisition. Societe Gamma, the company Ubiqus acquired at the time, was one of the main language services providers for Canada’s giant Translation Bureau. Indeed, Nguyen said that the main motivator behind acquiring Textualis was to expand in the private sector. Nguyen stressed that there was no overlap in the respective client portfolios as Textualis’ major accounts are in automotive, retail, and various other industries.

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Nguyen said that Textualis will continue to operate under its own brand for some time but will eventually be integrated under the Ubiqus name – as is now the case with Celer Soluciones and Traducciones Poliglota, which Ubiqus acquired in 2017 and are now being rebranded. The companies have already begun to leverage synergies, with Ubiqus Montreal moving into the local Textualis office.

According to Nguyen, Textualis’ current Managing Director, Heloise Ouimet, will remain in her position and “share responsibilities” with Xavier Pointe, Ubiqus Canada’s president and CTO. In terms of translation productivity and management technology, Ubiqus and Textualis will run on SDL Studio and MemoQ. Furthermore, Nguyen highlighted Ubiqus’ commitment to neural MT as one of the most active contributors to the open source OpenNMT project led by Harvard University and Systran.

“I very much doubt the accessibility of [Google AutoML, Amazon Translate] to a larger audience” — Vincent Nguyen, President, Ubiqus

Asked about his take on the launches of Google’s customizable neural MT engine, AutoML, and Amazon Translate, Nguyen is highly skeptical: “I very much doubt the accessibility of these tools to a larger audience. You really need to understand what’s behind the black box to make it work. For instance, DeepL is a fantastic tool for generic translation, but when it comes to our clients and verticals, we are much better. The learning curve for Google AutoML and such (e.g. try the Google Speech API…) will discourage most users.”

Ngyuen projects pro-forma consolidated revenues for 2018 to reach USD 90m. However, the Ubiqus president hinted at more acquisitions to come, possibly still in 2018. More broadly, Ngyuen sees no slowdown in language industry M&A, as small to medium sized players struggle to finance the R&D he thinks is necessary to compete.