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20 CEOs Reflect on 2022

Insight from CEOs at Leading LSPs

CEOs’ feedback on how to get back to business


This is the 5th installment of CSA Research’s CEOs insights, featuring advice and forward-looking statements from leading global executives at LSPs. We started compiling their insights at the onset of the pandemic—first on a quarterly basis and now bi-annually. 

In their own words, 20 CEOs, who are also members of CSA Research Leadership Councils, give their latest updates in, “CEOs Reflect on 2022 – The Return of Business as Usual?.

The companies represented are ranked from 2nd to 94th in CSA Research’s 18th edition of the "Top 100 Languages Service Providers: 2022". 

Five of the CEOs participating are women, 10 are from Europe, and 10 from North America.

We are grateful to them for taking the time to share their advice and experiences with the industry. 

Check our pro bono survey data in our open-access resources page


 

 

Ian El-Mokadem CEO of RWS Group 

As I sit here writing this while suffering from Covid, it’s perhaps not the best time to be reflecting on the return to ‘business as usual!’ Although the worst impacts of Covid are hopefully behind us, the changes in consumer behavior and working practices that the pandemic triggered, many of which are positive, are here to stay. 
Unfortunately, we are now operating in a world where a war in Europe means that ‘business as usual’ feels like a distant prospect. As inflation squeezes household spending, our industry will need to deliver ever more creative ways to help our clients deliver exceptional experiences for their customers in order to achieve their growth objectives. We will all need to focus on making our clients more successful by providing a unique combination of human expertise and faster adoption of innovative new technologies.
At RWS, we will rise to these new challenges by continuing to focus on our purpose of unlocking global understanding and living by our values. We also remain committed to an investment program consisting of expanding our cultural and technical expertise and developing our unique technologies, along with tools to connect our talented people and enable us to leverage our global reach and scale like never before.

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement 


 

Scott W. Klein, President and CEO of LanguageLine Solutions 

Businesses have undergone a massive adaptation over the past two years. This has been vital, but one thing we know for sure is that it will not be enough.
The LSP of the future should not look like the one that existed two years ago. We should be poised to rethink how we work and even why we exist. A reimagining of the future starts with “why.” 
Why are we here? What is our “soul” purpose? For LanguageLine Solutions, it’s to lead the way toward a world in which language and cultural barriers no longer exist.  
Numerous studies have indicated that purpose-centered companies outpace those that aren’t. Those who say they embody that purpose at work are better employees. They are more likely to extend themselves for their customers and co-workers, and they are less likely to leave for greener pastures. Purpose helps businesses bond with customers, sense new opportunities, and compete at a higher level. 
We are and will always be a talent-led business. We are constantly focusing on creating a better environment for our thousands of linguists by way of improvements to our technology and processes. Most importantly, we reinforce our “why” daily because it will be the human element that determines how quickly we arrive at our destination.

July 2022

 

Read January 2022 statement 

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

John Fennelly, CEO of Lionbridge 

Time moves on. Business as usual sounds somewhat comforting but if you’re waiting for a return to 2019 don’t hold your breath. The world has changed, and we must continue to adapt and tailor solutions and practices to where the market and customers have moved. 

If the past is a prologue, pandemics and crisis’s, usually are catalysts for profound change. If we look down the road one can imagine, and frankly, we are starting to see much innovation in services industries, from self-checkout at the super market to digitally transformed (less human interaction) user experiences. The combination of changing user expectations and challenging demographics will usher in a golden age of innovation and productivity gains.

Business customers no longer act differently than consumers – they expect great customer experiences and information when and where they want it – there is no return to days gone by. Moving on and embracing the current dynamics of the 2020’s is the new business as usual.

 

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Mark Evenepoel, President and board member of Amplexor 

Back to business as usual? Probably yes, if we consider that we stick to our master plan and adapt to the changes that occur on the way. Geopolitical and economic uncertainty combined with tangible inflation nevertheless pose challenges.
The battle for talent continues and adds pressure. We therefore continue to reinvent ourselves as an employer, adapting our corporate policies and culture. We are redefining the “workplace” and restructuring our office landscape accordingly. The workplace is more virtual than ever, while office facilities focus on learning, collaboration, and communication. In this shifting landscape, agility and trust are side by side as the most valuable assets for our organization.
Despite the current challenging economic environment, many indicators are pointing to an optimistic outlook for the localization industry. The rise in demand for our services that we saw end of last year continues with significant differences across geographies and industries. We see more and more customers that partner with us, recognizing us as a strategic enabler to their business. Technology enabled services as well as services around technology see the fastest growth. Connectivity, Machine Translation, and Content Management Systems remain the key focus topics. While we saw a slowdown in Interpreting demand during the Covid era, growth picks up strongly in Europe, North America, and Asia.
The recent acquisition of Ubiqus boosts this growth as it adds new services and capabilities.
While our sales organization is happy to be back out there, our digital marketing operations get up to speed creating impact and engagement with our markets. Our marketing team has also successfully rebranded most of our companies to Acolad, except for Ubiqus. 
Business as usual thus means continuously transforming ourselves and adapting to change while keeping an aligned team focusing on our true mission.

July 2022

Read January 2022 starement 

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement


 

Richard Glasson, CEO of Hogarth Worldwide 

I am not sure many people anticipated the economic circumstances we’d be seeing this year: and clearly the terrible events in Ukraine have reverberated around the world in so many ways. 2022 could only possibly be considered a return to business as usual if we now believe that we’ll always be operating in a highly dynamic environment and a constantly unpredictable global context.
 
And I think that is an assumption we have to make. Technology is changing at an extraordinary rate. Clients need to produce ever greater quantities of high quality content addressed and personalized to global audiences and to be able to deploy, measure and optimize that work across a multitude of channels. The relationship between brands and consumers changed dramatically with the advent of social media, and the arrival of Web 3.0 will only accelerate that.
 
Hogarth was born in 2008: the year of the financial crash. Economic upheaval acts as a catalyst for wider change. We are a company founded in a belief that there is always a better way of doing things, and a conviction that the communications industry needs to disrupt itself and evolve with a strong sense of purpose. That’s the real business as usual, and we are looking at the coming year with a strong sense of optimism, and a sense of opportunity. 

  July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

 
Smith Yewell, CEO of Welocalize 

It is still hard to guess what the new business patterns will be as Covid transitions from pandemic to endemic.  I expect face to face business will remain less than pre-covid, but the mix will vary widely by circumstance.  Practical rather than proscribed in-office policy is our approach.  Commute time and care for a loved one or children at home are the leading governing factors.  People in those situations are very happy with the new flexibility and are unlikely to ever again return to a regular in-office routine. It is similar with our clients in those circumstances.  We are meeting with clients face-to-face but what was once a quarterly routine for many has shifted to a biannual or annual routine, and I expect that shift to last.

  

July 2022

 

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 Statement

Read January 2021 Statement

Read 2020 Statement 


Lucie Séguin, CEO of Translation Bureau of Canada 

The way we work as Government of Canada public servants has undergone many changes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Although we have demonstrated that we can perform our duties without being physically together, it is important to note that in-person work provides many intangible benefits, such as developing sound and healthy relationships, strengthening team cohesion, and onboarding new employees more effectively. 
It is for this reason that the Translation Bureau of Public Services and Procurement Canada has opted for a hybrid work model that will strike the right balance between telework and relevant office presence. This balance is likely to alter over time and vary from group to group. A commitment to excellence will guide all decision making.
There will no doubt be a lot of learning by doing, and possibly even a little experimentation. I acknowledge that I do not have a clear idea of what the final result of this initiative will look like, but I look forward to what awaits us. We expect to learn through the process and build on the progress made.

 

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement


 

Joshua Gould, CEO of thebigword Group

It’s time to stop talking about COVID and start thinking about the long-term future of our industry. Most leading companies like ours have invested tens of millions of dollars in technology and the inflationary environment will really test the success of these investments. 
We expect to see increases in the unit rates for translation and interpretation as inflation will continue to pressure the supply chain and linguists need to earn a wage that justifies their skill set and level of education.
Inflation is the wake-up call the industry needed and I believe that we will emerge much stronger as an industry as a result of the trading environment we are in.  
One thing is for sure and that is there is now no such thing as business as usual!

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Nic McMahon, CEO of United Language Group 

As the expression goes “may you live in interesting times!” Business as usual has never seemed so far from “usual”.   It feels as if the industry, is at a constantly evolving point of flux during the first half of 2022.  AI and NMT are radically altering the operational paradigm.   Private equity is bringing in CEOs and investors from outside of the industry who in turn bring new ideas for products, services and value models.   And all of this change coincides with the backdrop of one of the most volatile social economic stages we have seen in modern times!   
 
However, change and challenge are always ultimately partnered with innovation.   For ULG, I have seen AI drive amazing opportunities for engagement and for building the global conversation.   I have also seen that new investors have helped our ULG team to move to a focus on outcomes, rather than the complexity and challenge of what we do, driving greater value for our customers and teams.   Finally at a socio-economic level ULG has seen a significant increase in a drive to inclusion and equality in the regulated markets that we service providing effective barriers against ignorance and intolerance. 
 
These are, for better and worst, “exciting times” as a business leader.  But as history has taught us with every test, those that are willing to embrace the changes and walk the hard path will emerge stronger and more capable and I think our industry will prove no exception to this lesson.

 

July 2022


 

Juan Julián León, CEO of Seprotec 

The return of in-person events in all sectors and the increase in international air traffic are the most reliable signs that we are in the middle of a new post-pandemic normality.  Are we back to doing business as before?  Well, largely yes, but with a few adjustments to how we go about it. 

On the operational level, there is no doubt we are continuing to work with remote scenarios with teams that are ever more international and dispersed. This enables us to attract the best talent wherever it may be.  On the other hand, although adjustments are being made to in-person and remote working days, in general all workforces are combining both ways of working and facilitating labor flexibility in the process.

In our case, during the first half of this year we were especially active, and not only in the business sense.  We have announced the 100% acquisition of tsd Technik-Sprachendienst GmbH as part of our international expansion and technological development plan and launched a new corporate identity that seeks to visually reflect the company's recent transformation and leadership and we believe will project a more modern, flexible, and technological image of SeproTec that is in line with the company’s new strategic proposal.  The new SeproTec for the new times that are coming.

July 2022

Read January 2022 statament

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Véronique Özkaya, CEO of Argos Multilingual 

It is no surprise that global instability continues to be top of mind. COVID, labor challenges, rising inflation and the war in Ukraine are all external factors we are dealing with today. This just shows us change is constant and adapting to it is the only way to go. 

Looking at internal priorities, we have focused on integration after acquiring Chillistore and Venga Global. Our approach has been to learn and listen and then figure out what best processes, tools and ideas to deploy into the whole company. Our motto of "stronger together" could not be truer. Growth from service expansion and diversification also means our HR agenda is a crucial one, with continuous focus on talent retention, recruitment, employee and leadership development .Accelerating digital transformation is our third internal priority and we are constantly re-evaluating our technology strategy to ensure we "work smarter and not harder". 

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement


 

Ludmila Golovine, President and CEO of Masterword 

There’s no going back to “business as usual,” but we’ve gained insight. Global challenges like COVID variants, inflation, and slowed economic growth have proven our industry to be, to a degree, recession-proof. Organizations continue to need language services to grow into new markets internationally and to ensure language and communication access domestically.
 
The same global challenges and the mass adoption of MT technologies have increased the need for buyers to differentiate standardized translation grades, giving them the ability to purchase translation options that are fit for purpose and suitably priced. The conversation about translation grades is likely to be one of the hottest topics of 2022, as both ASTM and ISO are currently discussing incorporating them into revised and new translation service standards. 
 
Industry innovation has exploded over the past few years, and it hasn’t slowed down. For MasterWord, our diversity has been a key driver of innovation, especially in our communication access solutions for languages of lesser diffusion, including indigenous languages with no standardized writing system.
I’m optimistic that discussion, diversity, and innovation will continue to drive growth and opportunity across our industry.

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Konstantin Ioseliani​, President and  CEO of Janus Worldwide 

“Evolution, Not Revolution”: Our Motto for the New Reality
In my opinion there is no clear forecast for a return to normalcy in business or indeed in the world as a whole. We have to accept the new normal.
Talk of an impending recession, new waves of the pandemic and other macro- and microeconomic risks can artificially restrict businesses’ freedom to plan for the future, creating a sense of instability and enforced stagnation. I have seen and experienced more than one crisis in the translation industry, and so the words of Haruki Murakami spring to mind: “One thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Every crisis is about becoming stronger and adapting to the new reality.
As we learned during and after the pandemic, we have to “run” quicker and build a degree of flexibility into our business strategies. Our teams have adapted well to working from home, so as we devise our global extension plans, we can take a broader approach to business premises, incorporating office, co-working, or remote options. As a part of our digitalization strategy, we have invested in research and development projects to support the new work environment, launched a new edition of our GTP platform with extended functionality, and boosted our ERP with an advanced option.
We fully recognize the importance of every individual in our global team and have somehow come closer together, united by a mission to strengthen our position in the global market. We have opened new branches and won new customers. To be successful in this business, you have to think global and act local!

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Micheal Kriz​, CEO and Founder of Acclaro 

It’s an exciting moment in the evolution of our industry and Acclaro. 
 
Pre-pandemic, the localization industry was better positioned than most with hybrid distributed global teams. The last couple of years completed the transformation. There is no return to business-as-usual on the horizon. Only a shift to a future version of business with each company defining what that means for them. One of the things I love about our industry is the people. The influx of talent with new ideas at this time is particularly energizing. Together we are driving the evolution of language technology and services. 
 
At Acclaro, we’ve had our strongest first-half year performance and are on track for another year of growth. Yet, we’re clear-eyed that the second half of the year is full of economic uncertainty and we’ll need to remain nimble. On a lighter note, this summer marks 20 years since I founded Acclaro. My main reflection is appreciation for the great team responsible for our success every day. Despite the continued importance of tech in our business, it’s the people that keep it interesting and enjoyable for me.

 July 2022


 

Katja Schabert​, CEO of Transline Gruppe 

After 2021, it felt as if some kind of normality was possible after all – even if it was a new normal and still far from what we had before the pandemic - 2022 proved us wrong. Currently it is very difficult to say where the journey will take us. If there is a new normal, then in my opinion it means, that nothing is normal anymore. Today “normal” means that major changes can happen any time. Companies are still adapting their corporate cultures to new hybrid and digital ways of working. At the same time, they are juggling economic and political uncertainties, but also new requirements and regulations, such as the increasing importance of IT and data security or corporate social responsibility. So, what is important for Transline today? To manage the balance between preparing a corporate structure for potential risks in a volatile economic environment and the need to also keep focus on our strengths to further pursue our goals of sustainable growth.

July 2022

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


Michel Lopez, Founder and CEO of e2f 

I was discussing the other day with the CEO of a very successful SaaS platform about our three main priorities as CEOs. His list is “Get good people, have a clear vision, and don’t run out of cash”.  

In the early years of aviation, pilots didn’t have the luxury of weather forecasts. Instead, they had to rely on great piloting skills and constant awareness of their environment.   

Is this dark cloud isolated, or does a huge storm hide behind it? They had no way to know for sure, so they attempted to fly around it, while knowing at all times where to land in an emergency, should they run out of fuel or should a storm lay behind the cloud.  

Is the current economic slowdown temporary, or the harbinger of something much worse? Depending on which economist you’re listening to, you’ll get a different answer. As CEOs, we don’t have a way to know for sure, but our job is to know, should things worsen, where to land instead of crashing the plane, I mean running out of cash! 

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Pedro L. Díez Orzas​, CEO and Founder of Linguaserve 

As has been said in the past, not everything after the pandemic would be the same as before, and some changes in the sector, caused or accelerated by the pandemic, would be here to stay. The introduction of teleworking and remote meetings, remote interpretation, the normalization of the use of machine translation and an increase in other tasks such as post-editing–but also transcreation as a counterpoint–are some examples. 
 
The sector, therefore, continues to change and to evolve, and now new factors must be considered. For example, the continuous adjustment of prices has combined with the rise of inflation, which seems to be transferred above all to costs and not so easily to prices. That means that, in some cases, it is necessary to work with even tighter margins, reducing the capacity for investment, which is so necessary for digital transformation and the implementation of certain growth or evolution plans, especially for smaller companies. 
 
Other factors, such as war and geopolitical tensions, the energy crisis and the already announced next global recession create new areas of uncertainty. So, it is still a time to make cautious decisions and take advantage of the business opportunities that will undoubtedly arise in this context.

  July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement


 

Karl EastwoodCEO of Global Lingo 

2022 has felt like business as usual. However, I would caveat that with a sense of cautious optimism that this continues into 2023. The cautiousness is fueled by many factors including high inflation, an expected recession, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the pandemic.
Despite these pressures, we are continuing to see business growth, particularly in our interpreting, localization, and live captioning solutions. This is being driven by an increase in digital content and the needs of our clients to reach a global audience. It’s not only a testament to the resilience in our industry but also the strength of the Global Lingo team.
We are supporting the growth in demand in two ways. Firstly, we are increasing our investment in technology and secondly, we are continuing to improve our employee efficiencies. Both of which lead to an enhanced client experience.
We are proud to offer a 24-hour service, 365 days a year. This around the clock availability has been extended even further by the addition of an office in Egypt. That team is available at weekends and during holidays such as Easter and Christmas. 
With the amount of growth we have seen, not only in the industry but also in our team, it’s easy to see why we feel 2022 is business as usual. It is clear that language solutions are an essential service for our clients and a key factor in communicating with their audience. I believe, albeit cautiously, that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement


 

Charles Lesperance​, President of OXO Innovation

The last few months have been challenging due to global market conditions. We have felt the effects of inflation and of the slowdown in the tech sector. As a result, it’s more important than ever that we focus on being efficient and innovative. That means streamlining our workflows, automating repetitive tasks, and making the most of machine translation and other tech where appropriate.
 
As companies across many sectors are looking to trim their budgets, it’s crucial that we communicate the value of what we do and why localization is worth the investment, so that we’re seen as a value creator rather than a cost center. 
 
That said, not all conditions are conspiring against the market. Here in Quebec and Canada, the government recently passed stricter language regulations that enforce a greater use of French in the workplace; in legal proceedings and in government communications among other requirements. We’ve already seen an uptick in demand for translation into French as a result, and we expect this trend to continue as more and more companies make an effort to comply with the language laws.

  July 2022

Read January 2022 statement


 

Anette Vandeloo, Co-Founder and COO of Powerling 

2022 is definitely a good year. We feel that customers are more and more mature toward understanding what global content is. And this has translated through our revenue: 70% is still allocated to translation business, however the remaining 30% is alternative services.
We’ve passed the threshold of being an LSP and started to become a GCSP. The outreach work to promote global content is starting to bear fruit. Now our clients know that global content is a strategic goal, and they request our help on it.
But we can’t go back to business as usual. The pandemic changes the way we interact with each other: in today’s world, we need to be attractive to appeal to new talent. It is not only a question of how much we are willing to compensate our associates, but also about who we are as a company. They are asking for more transparency from us, sharing our business objectives, and a sense of humanity and purpose throughout their work and daily life. That is why we want to build a better and stronger vision for our organization.

July 2022

Read January 2022 statement

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement