language training

Language Training in the World of Intelligence


On August 25th, 2011, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivered a landmark speech at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC). Yet instead of extolling the military capabilities of the United States and the virtues of diplomatic action, Panetta praised an important yet unsung aspect of American power: foreign language training. As a former congressman during the Carter administration for the Presidio of Monterey, home to the DLIFLC, Panetta recognized the importance of language and global translation services to national security early on in his career as a public servant and worked hard to secure funds for the DLIFLC, a critical part of the Marine installation at Monterey. As Defense Secretary during the Obama administration, Panetta continued his work in Congress by introducing new language initiatives to increase the number of government interpreter jobs within the State Department and raising salaries for those with language skills. Clearly, the United States has made language training a major priority in recent years.

Inside The DLIFLC

The U.S government offers a variety of language training programs for members of its intelligence community. However, the program at the DLIFLC is perhaps the largest. Founded in 1963, the DLIFLC offers language training services for members of the military and intelligence communities. At the center, students are required to study over 30 hours in the classroom and at home every week in preparation for the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT). The duration of the program depends on the difficulty of the language. In order to classify languages by difficulty, the center separates languages into groups, with Group I languages being the easiest to learn and Group IV languages being the most difficult. According to the center, Group I languages like Spanish require 780 hours of instruction and practice to master while Group IV languages like Arabic require about 1,950 hours.

A Lucrative Career in Language Training

Despite the rigor of the coursework at DLIFLC, the program provides an indispensable service for the U.S. intelligence community by training language professionals to carry out U.S. foreign policy objectives. Students at the DLIFLC work in virtually every intelligence-related agency from the NSA to the CIA. Yet not all work as clandestine officers; in fact, many students end up working as open source officers who specialize in analyzing public media in foreign countries or as instructors at private language service companies. The NSA also hires many students of the center to provide government translation services, as much of its work involves combing the Internet for suspicious activity on American soil and abroad. Careers in this line of work can be very lucrative. For instance, the CIA offers a bonus of $35,000 for new hires; a figure that any professional translator would envy.

About Language Connections:

Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.

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