Earlier this week, California-based Language Line Services announced the purchase of long-time competitor, Pacific Interpreters. Combined annual revenue is expected to be around $300 million. Language Line dwarfs all its other competitors in the telephone interpretation space and is one of the largest players in the translation business as a whole.
Nataly Kelly, Common Sense Advisory’s chief research officer, was not surprised.
“It was only a matter of time until LLS, sitting on hefty cash reserves and looking for a way to profitably increase revenue, made just the right offer for one of the telephone interpreting companies sitting in the revenue range it considers attractive.”
The best part is that Kelly says this is going to be good for my business. “Competitors have some reasons to be glad about this news. They’ll immediately target the accounts that are less than happy about being involuntarily switched over to LLS.”
Since our role in the telephone interpreting industry has essentially evolved into a service upgrade for dissatisfied Language Line customers, we expect to benefit as well, just as we have in the past. The more customers Language Line introduces to its service, the more customers we are then able to introduce to a lower cost and more satisfying experience.
This is a claim that can also be made by many of my competitors. Language Line was once the only game in town, so a large share of everyone else’s customers originally jumped ship from Language Line over cost and service concerns.
Kelly interviewed LLS president and CEO Scott W. Klein, who said in response, “This is not your father’s Language Line. Since I joined in June, we have had a relentless focus on clients and client satisfaction. What might have been acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable to me or to our team.” I just love that line. I think I’m going to get it framed and hang it on my website. Oh wait, I just did.
Kelly also suggests that the consolidation may give a needed boost to an industry lacking technological and service innovation. “No company in the industry has done anything that we would consider revolutionary in terms of offering innovative services or technology. We agree that investment – and innovation – are sorely lacking in this space to make things better for customers.”