Industry Insights

SDL Integrates Xillio Into Its Translation Technology Product

Xillio, a Netherlands-based specialist in the area of content migration and integration, has made an OEM agreement with SDL, content management and language translation software and services provider. As part of this agreement, SDL is integrating Xillio software into its translation technology product line, starting with SDL Managed Translation. Following the announcement, to go in-depth on what this integration will offer, our media reporter Laura Myers reached out to Thomas Labarthe, the EVP of Business and Corporate Development at SDL as well as Rikkert Engels, CEO and founder of Xillio. In this article, you will find Laura's captivating video interviews as well as my commentary on the executives’ talking points.

“We are quite excited about this partnership as SDL and Xillio are quite aligned strategically in terms of collaboration and connection,” said Labarthe. He also concisely explained why they have chosen to work with Xillio, saying that they wanted to create a really rich set of connectors into the main content repositories available in the market and into their translation management software called SDL Managed Translation. Additionally, he added: “SDL Managed Translation platform basically allows enterprises to submit, approve, and review their localization projects in a very user-friendly way. With the addition of Xillio, we can add all the shelved connectors straight to the platform which makes the process seamless.”

When it comes to the key benefits of this connector to the SDL community, besides streamlining the process, Labarthe told us that the connector makes all the steps included in the localization projects extremely easy. He said: “As typically this process when it is done manually, takes easily 35 steps, however, with this new connector and SDL’s platform, now it is all automated. That way, the vendor expects to provide its customers with not only an efficiency gain but also error reduction."

With the addition of Xillio, another benefit the vendor offers to enterprises is an ability to manage translation in a more distributed fashion. To elaborate on that, Labarthe put us in a time machine: “In the old days, you had a sort of localization team that was quite centralized, and that setup was working out back then. However, today, the amount and frequency of product launches and marketing campaigns are increasing so thanks to SDL Managed Translation and its connection into the content repositories, all the localized marketing projects can be handled locally.”

He believes that enterprises increasingly understand that talking to their audiences in their local language and being aware of all the nuances of each country culture is essential going to ultimately drive sales and conversions as well as cultivate loyalty. Being bilingual and a non-native English speaker, I definitely agree that interacting with your customers in their native language has a huge impact on decision-making and, more importantly, brand loyalty. This is not only my opinion but also the reality of today’s consumers as they expect brands to communicate with them in their native language. In fact, a recent study from Common Sense Advisory showed that 84 percent of consumers are more inclined to purchase products online when related information was presented in their own language. In addition, Gartner estimates that $77 billion of revenue will be created by more than 268 billion global downloads by the end of this year. Yet more than half of the countries on the top 10 list of application downloads and revenue are those in non-English-speaking nations in Europe and East Asia. Unfortunately, executing localization projects and wrapping them around the marketing and production processes is easier said than done. To cultivate brand loyalty, first, you have to think about your global strategy. That has to be thought about holistically and in advance. You can’t think about globalization after your execution.

With all these in mind, Labarthe said: “The newly integrated platform provides enterprises with economics and also allows them to embed the localization process in the product management and marketing lifecycle.” As a result, it all boils down to the idea of enabling agility via software, according to Labarthe.

He also brought this emerging shift to our attention by saying that the concept of localization is not just important for the companies from the West as many organizations, say, from China are making an entrance into the US and the West European markets so they also need to make their localization operations and marketing smooth. Along with other points he made, I definitely agree with Labarthe on the shift happening in the Chinese market as there is, for example, a booming demand for small-scale imports of authenticated goods in the world’s largest online shopping arena. This may be a great opportunity for not only enterprises but also for many American and Chinese small and midsize organizations to expand their businesses overseas, especially when they have advanced technologies at their disposal.  

"SDL and Xillio Have an Exceptional Natural Fit"

Let’s turn our cameras to the other side of the agreement. Below, you can view Laura’s thought-provoking interview with Rikkert Engels, CEO and founder of Xillio as he talks about the reasoning behind choosing SDL to make this collaboration happen.

During the interview, Engels pointed out two main issues organizations are facing as far as enterprise content management goes. The first one is content duplication. Engels put it: “You do not really know where the original, authentic document is, meaning you don’t know where the truth is. Content can be duplicated in the system, and it is hard to know whether it is a duplicated version of an original document or completely a new version.” The second issue mentioned is content accessibility. “As a content creator, you don’t know what is actually available within your organization which may lead you to recreate content while it is already there,” said Engels.

These two issues led Engels to talk about the end of the single repository world. “In the last 13 years, organizations have been trying to have one-single repository all the documents are in so they could have one single source of truth.” With the explosion of content and channels, Engels thinks that it is just no longer doable to have all these siloes or to migrate everything into one repository. He explained why by giving a widely used platform, SharePoint, as an example: “I have seen SharePoint used as an achieving system, a record management system, a workflow management system, a collaboration system, and mostly, as a file-share system. That being said, organizations now are trying to combine all these functionalities into one SharePoint environment to create one source of the truth. However, it is extremely complicated to connect one system with all those different functionalities. When you think of collaboration functionality, for instance, it is completely different than achieving functionality.” Then, he explained how Xillio helps with this type of scenario: “We allow our customers access to a legacy archive like Documentum, and leave the functionality with Documentum while exposing documents with SharePoint. So as an employee, for instance, you can find the information in one place while technically, it is completely separated and you still can repurpose the content. This ability results in a massive reduction in the complexity of SharePoint implementation because you don’t have to rebuild the approvals and all the workflows as a part of the achieving system.”

When it comes to the strategy behind SDL and Xillio coming together, Engels pointed out SDL’s deep understanding of the multi-repository approach and its strong commitment to that environment as a primary driving factor. He also touched upon the infamous statement by Michael Woodbridge, Research Director at Gartner, claiming: “ECM is now dead (kaput, finito, an ex-market name), at least in how Gartner defines the market. It’s been replaced by the term Content Services.” Engels agrees on the shift happening in the ECM space but he believes that there are not many vendors that truly have embraced this new multi-repository thinking and SDL is one of the few that truly understands this concept.


Regarding Labarthe’s talking points; more than 6,500 languages are spoken around the world. According to the studies, globalization and an increase in immigration are considered the key drivers for the growth in the language services industry but if you ask me, the main factor is the demand for humanized digital experiences and what wires humans, and digital experiences is still content.

Regarding Engels’ talking points; the premise of Content Services aims to bring together architecture supportive of on-premises and hybrid cloud services, a multi-repository approach to managing content regardless of its source repository, and intelligent functions like enterprise search to create agile cost-effective solutions. The reason why this term can replace with ECM is that Content Services provide a more practical and multi-repository solution whereas ECM has been hidden in a single repository world. With all these in mind, from the buyers’ perspective, the vendors are expected to have the content management capabilities to enable third-party and custom-made applications to interact with and consume content in the content repository. Therefore, today’s leading vendors must offer integrations with other business applications and content repositories.

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

Laura Myers

Laura Myers

A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.

Featured Case Studies