How This CEO Helps People 'Speak to the World'

Jacqueline Brandwayn / Unsplash

This post is part of a series of branded posts sponsored by Verizon. The focus of the series — part of a paid partnership between Verizon and CircleAround — is on women small business owners, and how they are navigating the complexities and challenges of contemporary business, from the pandemic to the economy.

Language barriers don't have to limit the way we interact with each other, so long as we have the tools to bridge the gaps. That's where Ingrid Christensen comes in. She's the president of INGCO International, a business she built over 15 years ago. Her aim is to facilitate communication between cultures with an entrepreneurial twist, and to help others “speak to the world.” 

“We provide translation and interpreting services in 60+ language combinations across the globe,” Christensen tells CircleAround. The Girl Scout alum combined her creative, business, and language skills to establish her translation agency based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Now, the company serves brands such as Cargill, Medtronic, and 3M, as well as health-care facilities such as the Mayo Clinic, and school districts in the Minneapolis area.

From the beginning, Christensen set her mind on establishing a global company with a mission. “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done,” she says. She began freelance interpreting right after college, and had so much work that she was able to begin hiring colleagues. “I didn’t grow up thinking I’d be a business owner, but once I allowed myself to dream, I realized that I could make it a reality."

I was a single mom with a 5-month-old baby boy, homeowner, halfway through an MBA program, and I took a leap of faith.

"The most exciting moment," she added, "was February 6, 2006, the day INGCO was officially started. I was a single mom with a 5-month-old baby boy, homeowner, halfway through an MBA program, and I took a leap of faith and officially registered INGCO International. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a dream, immense passion, and was surely so sleep-deprived that somewhere deep down, I knew I couldn’t fail.”

Today, INGCO International offers a wide range of services, including legal, medical, and conference interpreting. They also offer documentation translation, transcription and subtitle creation, and global marketing strategies. Staff are contracted based on client needs and can be hired as translators, editors, proofreaders, creative experts, and project managers. 

Bridging the Language Gap

Because language interpretation is so nuanced, Christensen ensures that translators are trained to “identify connecting language meanings in the target language that directly relate to the textual meanings found in the source language.” Her team is thorough and takes into consideration word glossaries and style guidelines. 

“As the owner of the company, my primary responsibility is to lead my team to consistently learn and improve the services we offer our clients,” she tells CircleAround. She says she and her staff believe that “language is a living, breathing entity, and the fact that we are allowed to be someone’s voice is humbling, awe-inspiring, and makes me grateful to do what we do.“

Christensen takes pride in having built a company based on culture, communication, and creativity, and one that not only supports her own family but supports her employees' families, as well.

“Having built an organization that allows people to live from their work, pay their mortgages, raise families, go on vacations... It’s an absolute blessing.”

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