Company Offers Translation Services Over Net

BOSTON (06/22/2000) - Language Line Services announced Thursday that it is offering translation and interpretation services in more than 140 languages over the Internet. Unlike computerized language translators, which are notorious for unintelligible direct translations, the company offers live interpreters and translations for a fee through a Web site at http://www.LiveLanguageNow.com.

The company, based in Monterey, California, has dealt mainly with business-to-business (B2B) companies and now is extending its on-demand services to consumers and small business that do not have help for their language barriers, said Rob Lee, director of marketing for Language Line Services.

For the interpretation services, a user logs onto the site, fills out an order form with a phone number and waits the five minutes it takes for Language Line Services to call back with an interpreter. The flat charge, regardless of distance, is US$4.50 a minute.

Translations can be done over the site by attaching an electronic file of the text for translation to the order form or faxing a hard copy to the company.

Language Line Services will return the translation in a couple of days, charging $8.50 per 25 words, with a $35 minimum. Expedited service is available for a higher fee.

Traditionally an over-the-phone interpretation company, Language Line Services said that it will expand its services along with emerging technologies, because as e-commerce drives more non-English speakers to the Internet, there will be a high demand for language services .

"The ability to communicate with people who do not speak English over the Internet will increase in the future as e-commerce opportunities expand globally," Lee said.

The plan now is a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) endeavor, which will be rolled out as that technology improves. At the moment, that technology is not sufficient for the company's use in terms of voice clarity, Lee said.

Language Line Services, which started out as a voluntary organization to provide interpretation for the growing immigrant population in Santa Clara, California, claims that it has facilitated communication for nearly 10 million people and boasts a list of customers ranging from American Express Co. to United AirLines Inc.

Language Line Services said its new online service is available worldwide but uses English as the hub language. This means that translations and interpretation are only done between English and other languages. The company has about 2,000 linguists in North America working around the clock to provide 24-hour service.

Language Line Services, in Monterey, California, can be reached at http://www.languageline.com/.

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