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Telelanguage Celebrates 30 Years Providing Language Services

Photo from Telelanguage

Originally Posted On: Telelanguage Celebrates 30 Years Providing Language Services


On July 29th, 1991, Telelanguage became incorporated in the State of Oregon. In the last 30 years, Telelanguage has witnessed – and been an integral part of – the many changes that have taken place in the language interpretation industry. Telelanguage started by supporting small, local clients in the Portland Metro area, and has since expanded to supporting over 8,000 accounts across the world. Telelanguage has grown to provide the highest levels of interpretation through a network of over 6,000 interpreters who speak over 350 languages. Telelanguage is open 24x7x365, and supports clients from all industries – from 911/PSAP to healthcare to education, utilities, tourism, finance, government and more. Many Telelanguage clients have been with us for decades.

30th anniversaryPhoto from Getty Images

Meet the Telelanguage Co-Presidents

Andre Mon Belle, our Co-President and founder, began his career in language services as a medical interpreter. With over 29 years in the foreign language services industry, he has firsthand experience interpreting for patients, doctors, teachers, police officers, lawyers, nurses in numerous situations. Andre oversees all aspects of Telelanguage’s interpretation business. He is affiliated with the American Translators Association, as well as the Northwest Association of Community Interpreters. His professional experience includes being an Interpreter and Translator, Business – and Account – Management, Human Resources, Marketing, and Continuing Education for Interpreters & Translators.

Leslie Storey, our Co-President and CFO, has been at the head of our financial management and operations since Telelanguage’s inception in July 1991. Leslie understands the importance of a transparent, precise and firm approach when it comes to financial responsibilities. She counts with a team of 40 years combined experienced that includes corporate accounting and management that provides you our customer with the best financial, invoicing and billing practices available. She has a BA in Business Administration, and a JD from the Willamette College of Law. She is affiliated with the American Translators Association, as well as the Northwest Association of Community Interpreters. Her professional experience includes Business – and Account – Management Human Resources, Finance, and Continuing Education for Interpreters & Translators.

The Telelanguage Company Timeline

Telelanguage is incorporated in the State of OregoPhoto from Getty Images

1991 – Telelanguage is incorporated in the State of Oregon.

1993 – Having started as a healthcare-focused service provider, Telelanguage expands its customer base to include government, social services and education.

1995 – Telelanguage develops extensive interpreter training modules that will soon become a standard in the industry.

1998 – Telelanguage becomes first provider of web-based interpreter scheduling software.

2000 – By 2000, Telelanguage is grossing over one million dollars per year.

2002 – Telelanguage surpasses over 1,000 clients by 2002.

2005 – Telelanguage works with members of the NCIHC to develop revolutionary healthcare interpreter training.

2007 – Telelanguage grows its Interpreter Management department to include a new Recruitment team. The Recruitment team is solely responsible for monitoring trends in refugee placement and immigration, to anticipate language needs to better serve our clients.

2010 – By 2010, Telelanguage has doubled in size and outgrown its office space. The company moves into a larger space in downtown Portland, Oregon. It also begins offering subsidized incentives for those electing to use public transportation in their commute.

2014 – By 2014, Telelanguage has developed its own Video Remote Interpretation platform. This technology brings face-to-face interpreting to people around the country – especially in remote areas – 24×7, on-demand.

2016 – Two examples of our surge volume capacity involve Hurricane Matthew and the Level 3 internet outage. During these two events, we had competitors whose systems failed. We were able to reroute their calls through our servers and data center, seamlessly, to avoid disruptions in service.

2017 – By 2017, Telelanguage is a leader in the Telehealth and Telemedicine fields. By combining proprietary technology with nearly three decades of healthcare experience, Telelanguage is able to provide ever-evolving, innovative language solutions.

2018 – By August of 2018, Telelanguage expands its services to 307 languages, averaging five new languages per month.

2020 – In 2020, Telelanguage rolled out 27 new video remote interpretation pilot programs for businesses and hospitals that did not have any prior experience with video or virtual interpretation services. From day one, we have utilized a decentralized, remote-based interpreter platform, as opposed to relying on centralized call centers. This has allowed us to remain operational during regional internet outages and natural disasters – and the global pandemic. With the current COVID-19 climate, we saw little impact to our business model or service delivery. We were even able to share best practices with other language service providers and partners to assist in the remote transition.

2021 – Telelanguage surpasses 350 languages supported.

A Communications Leader in Technology

Over the years, technology has evolved at an ever-increasing rate, and the language service industry has experienced these changes just as every other industry has.

Starting in 1998, Telelanguage began developing its own technology – starting with its interpreter scheduling software. Since 1998, this software has evolved into a full, customer-facing online portal with transparent access to reports, invoicing, interpreter information and more. In addition, Telelanguage has developed its own telephonic and video remote interpretation platforms. By developing these platforms in-house, Telelanguage offers unparalleled flexibility and customization options to its clients.

Another benefit – aside from the complete customization – offered by developing its own technology, Telelanguage is also able to maintain the highest uptime in the industry. We are the backbone for a number of other language service providers due to our ability to route around outages, and our rare language offerings. We’re frequently used in the background without their clients realizing the transition. Other language service providers use us due to our rare language coverage, and 99.9999% uptime. We work with multiple data and telephony providers and can route our traffic around outages with no interruption in service.

Helping Grow the Language Industry

Helping Grow the Language IndustryPhoto from Getty Images

Starting in 1995, Telelanguage began developing its own training and certification program. Today, interpreters from any vendor are able to become certified through our proprietary program and recognized through the State of Oregon – regardless if the interpreter intends to work with Telelanguage or not.

In addition, we saw that many interpreters were finding it difficult to obtain higher levels of certification due to logistics and cost restraints. In 2018, we began a scholarship program open to two interpreters per year, which covers the cost of obtaining advanced – or specialized – certifications, to help advance their careers.

As stated in our timeline, 2020 and the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges. As our platform was already set up to be decentralized, we weren’t reliant on call centers and our ability to transition to remote support was seamless. Based on lessons learned during this time, we were able to help other partners, clients and language service providers make their remote transitions. We saw a migration away from on-site interpretation to virtual/remote interpretation

solutions such as over-the-phone and video remote interpretation. We were happy to share best practices to aid in this technological transition.

Looking Forward: What’s Ahead for Telelanguage

We find ourselves extremely grateful to have made it to 30 years and have our clients to thank for this success. As we look ahead to the future, we anticipate more technological evolution, emerging industries and language trends, and hope to grow our client and interpreter base while maintaining the same one-on-one customer care we pride ourselves on.

We have assisted our customers through natural disasters, internet and electrical outages, global pandemics, and a number of other unforeseen emergencies. We pride ourselves in continuing to serve our longstanding clients and look forward to building new partnerships in the coming years. As we have for the past 30 years, Telelanguage is honored to continue to serve non- and limited-English speakers, as well as the deaf and hard of hearing, throughout our communities for years to come.

Continuing to Support Community Through Language Support

Continuing to Support Community Through Language SupportPhoto from Getty Images

Telelanguage has been a leading provider of interpretation and translation services language services since 1991. As a trusted name language services, we believe that all organizations and communities should have affordable access to the best-qualified language support.

Are you looking for a more reliable language service provider to help you meet patient, client or employee needs? We would love to help. Contact us today to ask us about our Free Service Trial Programs or request a Free Consultation.

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