Acquisition activity heats up in Spain and elsewhere

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Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
any ideas about how this ... Oct 12, 2011

positively or negatively affects language services providers: editors, translator &/or interpreters?

That would be most interesting to find out. Otherwise, in my way of thinking, it just looks like what already happened in the US, leading to more profits for the companies involved, who in turn, got so greedy that they outsourced their work to countries like India and China where wages are much lower, etc. etc.

I fear that this is the beginning of something we don't want to applaud too blindly. More information please?


 

Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
Italian to German
+ ...
With Laurie on this Oct 12, 2011

but unfortunately no information at all, I have to admit it´s the first I even heard about this trend in the language business ....

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:46
Chinese to English
Don't read too much into it Oct 13, 2011

Three events doesn't make a trend. This kind of business reporting is little better than the horoscopes.

Note the solemn reporting of tautology as news: "companies with high rates of sustained growth tend to favor acquisitions"
Translated: "companies that buy other companies get bigger"

Business reporting - last refuge of those who couldn't hack it on the sports pages.


 

Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
Italian to German
+ ...
Thanks Oct 13, 2011

Hi Phil! Thanks - your comment made me feel less out of it ...icon_wink.gif . It´s always important to put things into the right perspective. Maybe this does have an importance for translators working only for very big outfits - mine are of the smaller variety anyway.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't see much movement Oct 13, 2011

I think the only ones who have plenty of money these days, i.e. the Chinese and Indians, are rather brick-and-mortar oriented: they want to buy things they can touch and weigh.

Translation companies in Spain don't quite fit in the picture in my opinion, since A) a translation company is only worth the customers it has and the freelancers it has secured, and both are things that can change easily if you make wrong business decisions; B) very many firms in Spain are already the subsidiaries of foreign companies, C) another big bunch (the bigger translation agencies) are owned by former translators and business people who prefer to go international than being bought, and D) profits of translation companies are not very high these days in Spain, thus making them less attractive for investors from distant countries.

I have seen quite some acquisitions happening in the North of Europe, but between European companies. Probably the ones who could be more inclined to buy Spanish translation companies at this moment are Scandinavian or German firms, with the expectation that they will be a profitable investment when Spain's economy picks up again in a couple of years. This is a completely unfounded opinion; just what I think could naturally happen.


 

Nemo Cheung  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
English to Chinese
+ ...
It's silent in China!!! Oct 13, 2011

Translation/interpretation activities are always not the major concerns of the country. It seems to be very silent in China all the time. Our translators are not just parts of the project, but I suggest, who should be involved from the very beginning of the project. In that way, an accurate translation can be assured.

 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:46
Member
French to English
+ ...
Corporate approach to translation Oct 13, 2011

This kind of press release is another reminder of what I would call the "corporate approach" to translation, which involves practices that I've read a lot about in other threads in recent months. It seems to be followed in particular by large companies with offices in several countries. Rather than getting the best person for each job or building relationships with translators they know they can rely on, they seem to focus on trumpeting about how many acquisitions they have made in the past year, how this latest acquisition is "perfectly in line with our development strategy", and how many ISO standards they meet. In cases that I've read about in previous threads, other "symptoms" of this approach have included the following:

(1) Crowdsourcing. A browbeaten PM is given a measly budget and told that a huge translation needs to be completed within such a tight deadline that whoever takes on even part of the job will have to rush like mad, making mistakes more likely. Jobs are split into multiple bits that then have to be put back together again, à la Humpty Dumpty.

(2) Instead of hand-picking translators for the job, said browbeaten PM sends out a mass email along the lines of: "We have a job of 100k words that needs to be finished by tomorrow morning. If you are available, please let me know how many words you can take on." No details of what the document is about, just give me a number!

(3) After delivery, the PM is encouraged to find 'mistakes' in translations (e.g. disputing the placing of commas), which are used to persuade the translator that the work is shoddy and only a fraction of the fee initially agreed should be paid. Translator is aggrieved but eventually decides to chalk this one up to experience and caves in so that the job isn't a dead loss.

(4) Payments tend to require numerous reminders or never arrive at all. When reminders are sent, PMs protest that they have no control over payments and then have the gall to ask if you're available for another super-urgent job.

Is it part of a growing trend? I don't know, all I can say is that I steer clear of these companies and stick to clients that offer reasonable deadlines and rates, pay on time and don't mess me around. If we all do that, the corporate approach will fail!

[Edited at 2011-10-13 11:14 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes! Oct 13, 2011

Peter Shortall wrote:
Is it part of a growing trend? I don't know, all I can say is that I steer clear of these companies and stick to clients that offer reasonable deadlines and rates, pay on time and don't mess me around. If we all do that, the corporate approach will fail!

I entirely agree and this is also my practice.


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:46
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
I already got a sneak peek at it Oct 14, 2011

And you may as well stay happily monolingual teaching English, français or español para extranjeros. In fact, teaching pays slighly more. (Referrals... moi? I think I've still got a good name to uphold).

 


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