Translating Success

An Interview with Allison McDougall of Lionbridge

We sat down with Allison to talk about her business, the way she approaches the growing industry of translation, to what she attributes her success, and her experience renting an office space with Office Evolution.

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About Lionbridge

Hi, I’m Allison McDougall. I’m the Vice President of Emerging Business for North America and Asia with Lionbridge. Some of you may be familiar with Lionbridge in that we are the world’s largest provider of translation or localization services. We’ve been around for about 23 years. Our global headquarters is in Boston, Massachusetts, and we trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol: LIOX. We’re just under $1 billion dollars and have our sights set on reaching $1 billion within the next 3 years. You’ve heard of every single one of our clients, in that we work with the top global brands. Think about clients like Google, or Facebook, or Intel, or any day-to-day best known global brands. Chances are Lionbridge is working with them on their translation and global communications needs 

Lionbridge Differentiators

There are many, many translation companies around the world. In fact, I’ve heard a recent statistic that in Brussels, Belgium alone, there are more than 750 translation companies. In terms of what sets Lionbridge apart, I would say that it is complexity. If you think about some of the world’s largest companies and their need to operate on a global stage, it’s not a simple process to create and to distribute global content and global products. So most of our most complex engagements include a combination of the traditional human linguist that most people are familiar with, to very sophisticated, near artificial intelligence types of solutions. 

Changes in the Industry

I think the key, and the biggest change that we have seen in our industry really comes down to automation. If you think about the explosion of content worldwide, it’s not just content that marketers are creating, and that marketers are pushing, but there has also been a huge explosion of what we call: user-generated content. This is content such as product reviews, or travel reviews, or certainly a lot of product community forums. Quite simply, and very practically, there are not enough human linguists on the planet to translate all of the content that is currently in demand. So companies have to be very, very clever about automation technologies and real-time translation technologies to help address that need.

What are Your Best Business Tips?

Business Tip #1- Think Globally 

Marketing is very digital in nature these days. Not only is it digital, it is global. So in order to survive-maybe not in year one-but certainly in years 2, 3, 4 and beyond, companies will never be less global than they are today, so think big. Global should never be an afterthought, it should always be core to your strategy, even on day one.  

Business Tip #2 – Take Calculated Risks 

I also think calculated growth has been a large part of our success. Lionbridge, we’ve been blessed to enjoy double-digit growth for the several previous years in our history. So thinking about growth, taking calculated risk to achieve that growth, and always keeping people at the core. 

Business Tips #3 – Give Back and Mentor

And I think for me, the biggest Ah-Ha I have had in the past 2 years of my career is that element of giving back. Both giving back to the community, giving back to students who are in these academic fields supporting global marketing and global product organizations, as well as bringing up and mentoring the next generation. 

What has been your experience with Office Evolution?

I think our partnership with Office Evolution is very, very key, and that it allows Lionbridge to have a presence in some of the other cities around the world where it might not make sense, in terms of our fixed cost strategy, to have a full-blown, large real-estate presence. So our office here in Boulder, Colorado, for instance, where I am housed when I’m not travelling-you know the 20% of the time that I do not travel-it also acts a very convenient and temporary office for all of our office staff here in Boulder, Colorado. As well as it allows us to host client meetings, which we often do times here in Boulder. 

For more information about Allison McDougall and Lionbridge, visit their website at

To rent an office space in Boulder, CO, visit our website at or call 303-578-1387.