By Simon Hodgson SDL International Ltd, a UK firm which offers translation services, is releasing packaged translation software which will enable companies to standardize their websites across different languages. Privately-owned SDL is currently in the process of filing for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange and hopes to raise $16m to market […]
By Simon Hodgson
SDL International Ltd, a UK firm which offers translation services, is releasing packaged translation software which will enable companies to standardize their websites across different languages. Privately-owned SDL is currently in the process of filing for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange and hopes to raise $16m to market its software.
Its product, SDLWebFlow, written in C++ and VisualBasic, works by monitoring file changes. The client software sends a TCP/IP message to the server, which has a mirrored version of all the client’s documents. Once the server registers which files have been changed, it works out exactly what’s new and puts it into a report which it sends to a designated project manager, who decides whether to veto or approve the changes.
SDLWebFlow uses memory technology technology from the Maidenhead company’s SDLX software, which updates files on the basis on changes made, instead of replicating the whole file, thus reducing network traffic and increasing processing speed. This is critical for publishers, for example, who release new editions of documents and only have to update parts of the file, book or document, instead of starting again and having to translate the whole.
SDL was founded seven years ago by CEO Mark Lancaster, who worked at Lotus until getting frustrated at the software’s lack of functionality. The company has revenue of around $20m and has four offices in the US, as well as sales teams in Beijing, Yokohama, Munich, Paris and Florence. The IPO will be crucial for visibility in the market and, said Lancaster, should help jump-start the company’s revenue stream through the new software.
There are some big fish in the market already, however, among them voice-recognition technology provider Lernout & Hauspie. The difference, says SDL’s CEO, is that neither L&H nor other competitors have the memory technology which speeds the process. The company’s business model involves forming partnerships for distribution. It has started talking to web content providers and will eventually go to the Big Six consulting firms, Lancaster says, after its software packages are completely under control.
Before the IPO, the company plans a small acquisition. It plans to buy a Swedish company in a similar line to SDL, which will give it a local presence for the Scandinavian market. After the flotation, there is a Spanish firm in SDL’s cross-hairs, a multilingual service agency valued in the $3m to $5m range which will give SDL critical mass in southern Europe.