SDL acquires Language Weaver
On July 15th, it was announced that SDL acquired Language Weaver, the leader in statistical machine translation for US$42.5 million. It’s interesting to see that the turnover was US$12.2 million in 2009 ($1 million loss). This is good news for the machine translation industry.
With respect to Systran, ProMT, Linguatec and others, Language Weaver was one of the pioneers in applying statistical machine translation to the real world, long time before Google or Asia Online entered the market. However, their turnover is not really impressive, which shows that machine translation still has to expand the market and reach the tornado. This is also positive for the players already involved in enabling communication among people and companies.
In my opinion, the quality of any machine translation system cannot be obtained without the help and deployment in Language Service Providers (LSP), that is the reason why Ta with you is positioned as a technology provider for LSPs. At this point, machine translation is a serious tool to boost productivity and turnover of translation agencies, as well as a help to companies who need a fast and pretty accurate translation of certain types of documents. From the current market size of around $200 million, the machine translation industry has still a long way to go.
SDL might think that with this acquisition and their Trados monopoly, they will retain a vast majority of the market. Instead, from their history one tends to imagine that it is a really the opportunity for competitors, since it is not a good strategic decision to rely on a single provider for most of the tasks in your workflow. Besides, their systems cannot be perfectly customized, which is one of the clear advantages of machine translation solutions, and confidentiality might not always be guaranteed.
Some of the most important reactions in the industry below.
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