Translation has been necessary since ancient times when people left messages written in stone and on papyrus.
Fast forwarding to the 20th century, IBM launched their Selectric typewriter in 1961 with its erasable backspace button and translators were ecstatic! When FLS was founded in 1979, translating into Chinese or Arabic still required hand calligraphy, a method not much different from those of medieval scribes. The PC, along with the continuous evolution of sophisticated translation tools, have transformed the industry, which now utilizes cutting edge technology.
It has been 38 years and our growth continues! NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal’s Missile Command were the backdrop for starting Foreign Language Services in Huntsville, AL. In the early years, FLS’s founders, Judith Smith and Caroline Myers, believed providing a single source for professional translation services would benefit the many high tech companies moving their headquarters to Huntsville. In the early 1980s, FLS found the majority of its work in two areas:
- Developing proficiency tests for the Defense Language Institute
- Translating technical documents for the Department of Army’s Foreign Science and Technology Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Honored as Small Business of the Year in the Business Services division by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce in 1994, a finalist in the same competition in 2006, and twice featured in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Governor’s Trade Education Tour publication, The Faces of Trade, FLS has experienced steady growth over the past 38 years.
Utilizing the most advanced processes while staffing exceptional in-house practice managers, finding indefatigable translators and precise editors who never settle for an “almost accurate” translation, FLS refuses to quit until the right translation is achieved!
From 2009 to Present. In 2009, Judith Smith retired, and Caroline Myers took over as President and CEO. This same year became a turning point for FLS who had become the primary state-wide interpreting resource for the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). This service proved vital during the 2009 Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis, in the aftermath of the Alabama tornado outbreak in 2011, and is crucial to the well-being of many Alabama citizens today.
Also in 2009, FLS expanded its offerings to include state-wide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting. In 2013, FLS began providing interpreting services for outpatient clinics and their patients in the 2nd largest hospital in the state of Alabama.
Certified as a women-owned business under the auspices of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and its southern affiliate WBEC South, as well as the Small Business Administration, FLS continues to experience growth in translation and interpreting services in all sectors: locally, regionally, and nationally.
With the world growing smaller and U.S. trading partners expanding, FLS has kept pace with the growing demand for language services. Today, FLS provides translation and interpreting services for a variety of customers including:
- Federal and state government agencies
- Hospitals, health care clinics, and schools
- Large corporations nationwide
- Small businesses nationwide
- Individuals needing certified translations