thebigword sets out plans to join global elite

A YORKSHIRE-based language services business plans to join the global elite in its sector.

Larry Gould Picture: James Hardisty

Thebigword is exploring fundraising options, and considering acquisitions, to help it become one of the biggest firms of its kind in the world.

Larry Gould, the chief executive of thebigword, which is based in Leeds, told The Yorkshire Post that the company’s turnover had risen by 40 per cent, from £42m to £60m, this year.

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The company has 600 employees, a network of 14,000 linguists, and a £120m contract to deliver interpreting services to UK courts. It also has a host of major US technology clients.

At a conference presentation, Mr Gould unveiled a three-pronged strategy for growth, which includes setting a goal of achieving £120m turnover in three years.

Thebigword has invested £7m on technology over the last three years, to help it achieve its long term objectives.

In January, the company plans to launch a new app, which has been developed in-house, to ensure that interpreting and translation services that were previously only affordable for large companies will become available to SMEs (small-and-medium-sized enterprises).

As a result, thebigword’s services will become accessible to a £40bn global market for SMEs, Mr Gould said.

Thebigword also aims to become one of the top five translation companies in the world, which would mean its turnover would have to approach 500m US dollars.

Mr Gould said: “We have grown organically, but the other big part of the plan is to acquire businesses. We’re going out to the market to talk to investors about the future.”

He confirmed the firm is exploring fundraising opportunities to help thebigword achieve its ambitions.

Mr Gould added: “We’re confident of expanding and buying companies.”

He said the potential acquisitions include US and European translation firms.

Mr Gould added: “We’re prepared to look at larger acquisitions, sometimes the smaller ones are more complicated.”

Thebigword has a team of 45 people, who work around the clock, testing and training potential recruits to its growing network of 14,000 expert linguists.

Last week, Mr Gould celebrated his 50th year in business. His career started as a 15 year old retail apprentice at Debenhams in Briggate, Leeds.

Mr Gould founded thebigword as a start-up in 1981, providing translation services to businesses mainly based in Yorkshire. Since then, thebigword has expanded to become one of the largest companies of its kind in the UK with a fast-growing international presence.

The company’s services are used by around 80 per cent of the world’s top 100 global brands and organisations.

Last month, thebigword revealed that it was providing a fast moving interpreting service for global law enforcers.

Thebigword, which is already the UK’s largest government supplier of interpreting services, said it was deploying a new weapon for police in the fight against crime and terrorism.

Law enforcement agencies will have instant access to thebigword group’s video remote interpreting service when questioning detained suspects who speak limited English.

Mr Gould said that the service had the potential to dramatically speed up criminal investigations and also reduce public spending on travel costs.

The service has been made possible by new guidelines issued by the Home Office, which allow for secure and accurate communication between a suspect and an interpreter who is not physically present.