Reflecting on 25 Years of business: Our Company’s Milestone Anniversary

As we raise our glasses and commemorate a quarter-century of hard work, dedication, and innovation, it’s with immense pride and gratitude that The Language Group celebrates our company’s 25th anniversary this month. This significant milestone not only marks the passage of time but also serves as a testament to the resilience, vision, and unwavering commitment of everyone who has contributed to our journey.

“I hope to make The Language Group of Companies a place where people not only enjoy working, but hopefully, they will want to retire from here.”

-Giovanni Donatelli

“The idea that our company will be celebrating its 25th year in business is a thought that both felt obvious to me from the very beginning but also surprises me every day.” states Giovanni Donatelli, Founder and CEO of The Language Group.

Donatelli remembers its inception. “I started the company with no prospects or clients.  I signed a 4-year lease agreement for a small office space in an industrial part of town.  This was my way of committing myself to a 4-year promise to this new enterprise.  For me, closing the business was not something I even considered.  Sure, I had to work a second job for the first 8 years of the company’s existence just to make the company a self-sustaining enterprise.  But the thought of closing its doors was not something I even entertained.  It just felt right to me. And it still feels right to me today.”

Within the first couple of years of operation, TLG became a supplier of interpreting services to the state courts in the region.  TLG used this experience to expand services to city government offices in the 7-city region of Hampton Roads. During the first 4-5 years, TLG also started a translation service line for local employers that required their internal documents to be translated into other languages.  Documents such as employee handbooks, benefit guides, memos, and more.

All these projects were modest in size, but demonstrated to Donatelli that there was indeed a market for language services in the area. The buyers of this service simply were not aware that a local vendor existed.

Donatelli eventually went back to school during this time and accomplished one of his personal goals of achieving a master’s degree. “Once I achieved my MBA in 2015, I began to identify opportunities more clearly.  And in 2017, I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for the Hampton Roads market.  18 years after opening my doors, I was receiving recognition for my work.  This began a series of awards and recognition that would continue for the next 7 years.  While I take credit for the first award I received, the subsequent awards were a direct result of my amazing coworkers. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to explain my feelings toward my coworkers.”

Perhaps most importantly, TLG’s journey over the past 25 years has been defined by the people who have been a part of it. From the dedicated employees to the loyal customers and partners, it’s the relationships built along the way that have been the cornerstone of the company’s success.

As Donatelli looks to the future, he focuses more so on strategy. “In 2022 TLG acquired a translation and training company in Hamburg, Germany. One of my goals is to grow our localization and translation portfolio. Expansion into the European market should help us achieve this goal.”

“In the U.S. we are focusing on developing new technologies that would fill service gaps that still exist in the industry. It is indeed an exciting time for the language services industry, and for The Language Group.”

While the past 25 years have been filled with accomplishments, The Language Group knows that the greatest achievements are yet to come. “I continue to aim to be a good steward of this company.” says Donatelli. “I hope to make The Language Group of Companies a place where people not only enjoy working, but hopefully, they will want to retire from here.”

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