Language Line

by Translation Guy on January 11, 2013

Earlier this week, California-based Language Line Services announced the purchase of long-time competitor, Pacific Interpreters. Combined annual revenue is expected to be around $300 million. Language Line dwarfs all its other competitors in the telephone interpretation space and is one of the largest players in the translation business as a whole.

Nataly Kelly, Common Sense Advisory’s chief research officer, was not surprised.

“It was only a matter of time until LLS, sitting on hefty cash reserves and looking for a way to profitably increase revenue, made just the right offer for one of the telephone interpreting companies sitting in the revenue range it considers attractive.”

The best part is that Kelly says this is going to be good for my business. “Competitors have some reasons to be glad about this news. They’ll immediately target the accounts that are less than happy about being involuntarily switched over to LLS.”

Since our role in the telephone interpreting industry has essentially evolved into a service upgrade for dissatisfied Language Line customers, we expect to benefit as well, just as we have in the past. The more customers Language Line introduces to its service, the more customers we are then able to introduce to a lower cost and more satisfying experience.

This is a claim that can also be made by many of my competitors.  Language Line was once the only game in town, so a large share of everyone else’s customers originally jumped ship from Language Line over cost and service concerns.

Kelly interviewed LLS president and CEO Scott W. Klein, who said in response, “This is not your father’s Language Line. Since I joined in June, we have had a relentless focus on clients and client satisfaction. What might have been acceptable in the past is no longer acceptable to me or to our team.” I just love that line. I think I’m going to get it framed and hang it on my website. Oh wait, I just did.

Kelly also suggests that the consolidation may give a needed boost to an industry lacking technological and service innovation. “No company in the industry has done anything that we would consider revolutionary in terms of offering innovative services or technology. We agree that investment – and innovation – are sorely lacking in this space to make things better for customers.”


  1. Mike says:

    This is really an amazingly huge annual revenue!

  2. Well, hopefully this is good news.

  3. Sky says:

    Not entirely sure how I feel about this, think this is the beginning of a slow march towards monopoly which would have a negative impact on industry innovation.

    • Ken says:


  4. Certainly hope some of their business can be poached, opportunity knocks.

  5. Pacific Interpreters always had a good rep for customer service, so maybe this rubs off on LLS.

  6. To think this company has grown this much, from it’s beginnings as a company founded by a policeman I believe, to help other local officers communicate with non-english speakers in the community.

  7. Well Mr.Klein is certainly setting the bar high with his words, we’ll see if he is still singing the same song in a years time.

  8. For such large market share, $300 million seems a low revenue figure, or am I just overestimating the market as a whole?

    • Ken says:

      The translation business is not so big

  9. Kim Sellars says:

    Good luck, hopefully this ends up sending some business your way.

    • Ken says:

      I’m circling in the sky right now…

  10. Luanne says:

    Not your father’s Language Line? The company was founded in the 80’s, it isn’t that old.

    • Ken says:

      A wonderfully poor choice of words, I thought.

  11. Carol says:

    Language Line, they provide the interpretation for 911 calls don’t they?

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