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20 Business Excellence Awards 2021

Turning content into value across languages: the Acolad story


In the highly connected and globalized world we live in, the importance of content in our daily lives has more layers than we realize. Operating in one language only or with poor quality content can significantly hinder the growth of a business. It is vital for any company to understand to what extent their profitability is linked to content and localization. It is an undeniable fact that English is the most spoken language worldwide, but only 6% of the world population speaks English as a first language. When it comes to the old continent, 42% of Europeans say that they never purchase products and services in other languages, and 9 out of 10 internet users will always choose content in their native language when available. These findings illustrate the importance of content when it comes to customers’ behavior, and why companies should strive for higher quality. While many people understand English, reaching your audience in their native language ensures an optimal experience.

Globally, there are various companies delivering excellent translation and content-related services, but Acolad stands out from the rest, thanks to a unique approach that combines exceptional language services and innovative content and translation management technologies. Acolad began as a family business, and they have stayed true to these roots even as they have continued to grow. At Acolad, they appreciate the subtleties of language, and they know that choosing the right words can make all the difference when you’re communicating with a new market. This is why the company relies on a network of multidisciplinary content experts and linguists to craft high-quality content, scale up global content strategies and tailor systems for content creation, collaboration and publishing across regions. Acolad’s translators have gone through a rigorous selection process and translate exclusively into their native languages, ensuring that you can convey your message exactly the way it was intended.

In conversation with Olivier Marcheteau, CEO of Acolad group

Q. Tell us about your services in brief.

Acolad is the uncontested European leader in the global content space and one of the top five global players worldwide. We believe that no matter which sector you’re in, the ability to manage content on a global scale and turn it into value will determine the winners and losers. This is why we’re passionate about all things content, providing globalization expertise as a mission where, when and how our clients need it. Some of the top industry leaders in the fields of Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Finance, Legal, Technology and Ecommerce already trust Acolad to guide their globalization journeys. As a seamless extension of our clients, our teams work daily to help public and private organizations engage with their international audiences, increase revenue, and drive process efficiencies. Our dynamism is not only mirrored in our full suite of content and language solutions, services and technology, and in our industry expertise, but also in our consistent, year-on-year growth (reaching a global revenue above 250M€ in 2020).

Q. What are the factors that contribute to your success?

I believe there are three factors that contribute to Acolad’s success: people, technology and customer delight. We are fully committed to perfectly serving and anticipating our clients’ needs, regardless of company size, industry or the complexity of their challenges. This is key to making sure that each one of our customers not only trusts Acolad, but also sees us as a natural extension of their own organization and becomes part of our community. We are also tremendously proud of the many talents within the group. As I mentioned previously, we aim to have the best experts in their fields, and we know that without their expertise and their everyday dedication to each project, Acolad would not have become the global leader we are today. Finally, Acolad is a group that is resolutely turned towards the future. The industry of Content and Language Services is evolving fast thanks to collaborative efforts, digitalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Translation. We currently have more than 200 talents involved in R&D topics every day.

Q. Turnaround time is generally longer for translation services. How do you prevent this?

A successful globalization strategy needs to balance three key pillars: quality, efficiency and cost. You want to ensure high quality content and fast turnaround times, all at a reasonable cost. Urgent translations requests are also quite frequent, especially in today’s fast-paced markets. Consequently, our utmost priority is to make sure that we can meet our clients’ needs. Acolad has 50 offices spread across 25 countries around the world. Thanks to this multi-local presence, we have organized our teams to make sure that we are able to provide around-the-clock service to our customers. Our network of 20,000 professional linguists is also a valuable asset to ensure we have the right resources for each project. Finally, technology: incorporating technology into language projects is probably the biggest factor in speeding up turnaround times. And we’re not only talking about AI and Machine Learning technology, but also connectors and automation tools that accelerate translation processes while also ensuring the highest quality.

Q. How do you prevent mis-hires and maintain the efficiency of your services?

I am convinced that the success of Acolad comes from the diversity of our talents. We have 2,000 employees today and each of them is key for us to succeed. The talents who join Acolad are not only curious and passionate about their work, they also share our common goal: contributing to our clients’ success on the global stage. As a global company, we’re also very much aware that success does not come from one individual; it is a collective achievement. Our dynamic, collaborative work environment is key to maintaining efficiency, as well as for building on the talents and creativity of our cross-functional teams. We must also take into consideration the importance of promoting team spirit, especially when remote teams are working together on international projects.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

At Acolad one of our ambitions is to provide our customers with a constant flow of innovation. In the coming months we will roll out new versions of our customer portal (which enables flawless management of translation projects for our customers), AI-enabled machine translation engines, and our real time interpretation platform. We are also investing significantly in our Digital Content Services team to help our customers implement and optimize their Global Marketing initiatives with a dedicated effort towards SEO optimization.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

Acolad’s M&A journey is a major driver of the group’s exponential growth in recent years. Over the past six years, the group has proven its ability to successfully acquire and integrate companies while preserving its entrepreneurial and agile model. Further exciting opportunities to consolidate the market could still come up. So, we are keeping an eye out for new opportunities, but with an even more selective approach in the short term.

From local player to world leader

Acolad began 25 years ago under the name Technicis. Initially a family business, its development accelerated significantly over the last 10 years. In 2020, Olivier Marcheteau joined the Acolad group as CEO - with the mission of integrating all the group’s aquisitions and organizing its global operations in the most efficient way. Olivier Marcheteau’s objective is to lead Acolad’s next phase of growth by facilitating the integration of past and future acquisitions, accelerating technological innovation and structuring Acolad’s service offering and customer portfolio.

“Our goal is to help businesses accelerate their international development and erase borders and limitations through outstanding content.”