LanguageLine Solutions was born 40 years ago today. It was in 1982 that two police officers conceived of a remote-interpreting service to assist Vietnamese refugees. The extent of our infrastructure back then was a three-party phone and a box full of 3x5 index cards that contained interpreter names and numbers. Both sat on a gas-powered dryer in the basement of a rental home in Monterey, Calif., with our founders feverishly pairing callers with linguists who would be their bridge to understanding and empowerment.
Today we work with nearly 17,000 professional linguists, all of whom help to save lives, ensure justice, build futures, and assure mutual understanding in excess of 60 million times a year. That’s more than one human connection every second of every day. We have grown to also handle translation and localization of the written word, as well as virtual meetings, telehealth, and the testing and training of bilingual employees.
There are lessons that only time and repetition can teach. Through the handling of more than a billion interactions, we’d like to think that LanguageLine has become a company that is not just smart, but wise.
We are also just getting started. Each of us is thrilled by the opportunity to wake up every day and work on such life-altering challenges.
We owe a debt of gratitude first and foremost to our employees, especially the linguists who are our heartbeat. We are a talent-led business. LanguageLine will always be about using technology to better enable human interaction. Our people are our lifeblood. They have allowed our company to do extraordinary work.
I would also like to thank our clients for the significant role they have played in getting us to this 40th celebration. For us to do our job effectively, we must have partners who believes that assisting every individual – regardless of language, culture, or ability – is the right thing to do. Together we have strived to create a world in which language and cultural barriers no longer exist.
Something we learned early on is that language access can be far more than transactional. It is not simply the mere exchanging of words, much as one would exchange one currency for another. When done right, language access is transformational.
Thank you for a transformative 40 years. We look forward to another 40 as a partner in language access and mutual understanding.