Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Casualties

The Boston Business Journal announced that Lionbridge Technologies Inc., a provider of technology translation and testing services for companies expanding internationally, will lay off roughly 325 employees as a part of a restructuring plan to reduce overhead costs.

Lionbridge swung to a $114.2 million net loss in 2008 compared with a $9 million net profit in 2007 on a $120.5 million writedown on its goodwill value. Revenue for 2008 rose about 2.1 percent year over year to $461.4 million.

“This plan allows up to adapt our company to the current demand levels and preserves our ability to invest in strategic initiatives such as our cloud-based language platform and global sourcing and search capabilities. We are moving forward as a leaner company while maintaining our focus on innovation and customer quality,” said Lionbridge CEO Rory Cowan in a statement.

So basically Daniel Gouadec's prediction of consolidations and the return of the inhouse translator might not withstand the realities of recession. A survey of members of the Spanish translation company association, ACT has shown that the economic crisis is hitting the translation sector hard. Fifty percent of ACT’s current membership took part in a telephone survey. Nearly 50 percent revealed that their sales were down in the second quarter compared to the first. While 29 percent said that trading had not changed, just 24 percent said that they had experienced an increase in sales during the period. Analysis of the results suggests that this is likely to be as a result of niche or particular sector marketing, which has helped some translation companies expand its order book.
“Despite the world economic gloom most Spanish translation companies that responded to the survey said, although invoicing was down, they felt that their companies are standing up well to the crisis.
“More than 80 percent said that they were still honouring their commitments to suppliers at the normal payment terms. Twelve percent said that their current trading allowed them to honour their commitments to suppliers better than usual. Only six percent said that they were finding the going tougher.

How many of them lied?

"Members of the Dutch Association of Translation Agencies are bracing themselves for the full impact of the financial crisis. Soundings taken at the November 2008 general meeting showed that members had yet to be affected, but there was an expectation that some may not survive."

That was 5 months ago. I wonder what has changed by now.

And while everyone else is going down the gurgle, the US Army still spends money chasing the wild dream of MT - it just gave BBN Technologies $2.7 million in additional funding to continue refining a translation system for military personnel to use in tactical situations. The program’s purpose is to field two-way translation systems that allow speakers of different languages to communicate with one another. What the heck for? Killing does not necessitate two-way communication. Just shoot.

No comments: