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Arno sees firms going Dutch over Brexit concerns

Christian Arno

Christian Arno: ‘feeling the energy of Amsterdam’

Christian Arno, head of translation services company Lingo24, says Brexit is encouraging many companies to choose Amsterdam over the UK to expand their global ambitions.

Mr Arno, whose Edinburgh-based firm has become the UK’s third largest private translation company, said its new outlet in the Netherlands is showing early promise.

“I’m spending a lot more time in the Netherlands this year and you can feel the energy about the place,” he said.

“Many international companies are locating their European ecommerce operations in Amsterdam, and I believe the uncertainty around Brexit has made some companies choose to undertake more projects there when the UK could have been an option.

“We’re excited to be hosting our first Journey to Global event in Amsterdam in April – a peer-to-peer learning event where our customers and prospects can learn from one another about how to overcome the myriad challenges involved in becoming ever more global.”

Amsterdam adds to other offices in Edinburgh, London, Timisoara (Romania), Panama City (Panama) and Cebu City (the Philippines).

Lingo24 reported a 29% sales increase last year in its key ecommerce business and growth of 16% in larger accounts. This was driven by £1.3 million of new business.

Overall sales were up by 8% to £9.5m. It is forecasting a return to significant profitability in 2018 after more than three years of heavy investment in its technology, senior management and sales teams.

Unlike other mid-sized translation companies, Lingo24 combines strategic consultancy, proprietary technology and translation services.

About 70% of its revenue now comes from the company’s top 30 accounts (up from 53% in 2015), who are the primary users of this broader offering.

Average annual spend among the top 30 accounts has increased by over 60% between 2015 and 2017. BrewDog, Hunter Boots and Adidas are among the brands in its client base.

Mr Arno, who set up the company in Aberdeen in 2001, said: “These results reflect a huge amount of effort to transform our business into a serious partner to our clients.

“And to many of our customers, for whom Amazon is both an opportunity and a threat, there’s an increased sense of urgency to translating better.

“We’re now able to advise on best practice in technology selection and implementation in areas adjacent to translation, and support our customers as they build global teams to accelerate growth through global content.”

Lingo24’s software is now being licensed or external use. Its Machine Translation team is implementing new developments.

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