For several decades, leaders in Monterey, Calif., have fostered the development of a cluster of language-related institutions, including schools and private sector organizations devoted to language training and translation.
The effort is aimed at supporting the missions of the Defense Language Institute (DLI) and the Naval Postgraduate School, but it also has generated a significant amount of economic growth in central California. Last month local officials learned that a company founded 34 years ago in Monterey to provide interpretation services for Vietnamese refugees is being acquired by a French company with global call center operations in a $1.52 billion deal.
The move is expected to help LanguageLine Solutions grow its Monterey headquarters and expand its business globally, further bolstering the area’s language resources that its branding as the “Language Capital of the World” rests on.
Paris-based Teleperformance employs 190,000 and has one of the largest call center operations in the world.
“We are pleased to hear that Teleperformance has indicated that this merger will leave the headquarters in Monterey. With the new parent company and its larger global outreach, we can envision further growth of the area’s linguist workforce,” City Manager Michael McCarthy said in a written statement.
Monterey’s reliance on its human capital to support DLI is a natural outgrowth of its cluster of language-related institutions, which developed alongside its defense facilities.
LanguageLine, for example, started in 1982 as collaboration between a San Jose police officer and a Marine Corps interpreter from DLI, which is located at the Presidio of Monterey. Since then, it has become a leader in telephone interpreting, video remote and on-site interpreting, translation and localization services, and language proficiency testing and training, reported the Monterey Herald. The company’s 8,000 linguists allow it offer access to trained staff in 240 languages 24 hours a day.
Similarly, civilian DLI instructors founded what was originally called the Monterey Institute of International Studies; its instructors now train DLI faculty. And earlier this year, Moravia — a global provider of translation, localization and testing services — opened a West Coast hub in Monterey to reach customers near Silicon Valley and along the West Coast.
California is one the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, with languages representing the majority of regions where military personnel serve. The state’s language and cultural diversity, along with its concentration of linguists, has helped it remain DOD’s center of foreign language training.