SDL/TRADOS Reactions Mostly Positive

Last week, I asked for reactions to the SDL/TRADOS acquisition and boy did I get an earful, most of it positive and most if it from translation agencies. Here are a few excerpts:

    • ” If SDL keeps its promise, and continues to listen to customers and produce good products, which they have promised, the result could be a combination of 2 great ways of approaching TM.”
    • ” It certainly doesn’t feel good to take your money to your competitor, but I wonder if buying from SDL can really harm us. … And what will the end result be? A withering Workbench and a blooming SDLX? A mix of both? Just SDLX? And if two distinct tools will continue to exist, it may be interesting to observe if SDL is using the same tool for their customers as they promote to others (us). I think for SDL it will be challenging to build and retain the image of a neutral business partner.”
    • “As a Trados user, I have reservations about the support and future products from the new SDL. I hope that this is a step in the right direction in creating better tools and services for our industry. I will be interested to see how limited competition will affect the pricing.”
    • ” We’ve been struggling with which company to purchase software from and now that won’t be an issue. Glad we had some patience.”

I’m still talking to buyers of translation services to get their reaction to the deal; so far the responses have ranged from neutral to positive. Most clients aren’t terribly concerned about who makes their software, just so long as standards are supported, price is held in line (or reduced), and usability continues to improve.

Finally, a number of readers said they thought the TRADOS purchase price of $60 million was too high. This price is roughly 2.5 times earnings. Compare that against a multiple of 1 that translation agencies generally command and this price may indeed seem high. But it’s also important to note that the past two years were hardly the best time to be hawking new enterprise software, which was precisely what TRADOS was trying to accomplish. This year, we’re seeing new optimism, increased spending, account consolidation, and a sense of urgency among companies seeking to expand globally; the timing may play nicely into SDL’s hands.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.