Two Black women stand against a white background. They are both laughing.

Because We Love Women-Run Language Service Providers So Much, Here Are 4 More

So many companies in the language industry are run by women.

In our opinion, it’s not talked about enough! 

Women-run companies contribute to economic growth, promote gender equality, and provide a perspective on leadership that emphasizes things like empathy, collaboration, and inclusivity. 

And when empathy, collaboration, and inclusivity are prioritized in the workplace, good things happen — employees are more productive, they have higher levels of job satisfaction, and they have lower levels of burnout. 

So let’s hear it for women-owned companies, especially those in the language services industry. 

You can find four that caught our eye below, but know that there are many, many more noteworthy leaders out there. 


Name Signs, What’s That About?

Leader: Lydia Callis, owner

Certifications: The City of New York Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certification; Empire State Development Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification; New Jersey State Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certification

As an RID-certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, Lydia Callis got a taste of viral fame a decade ago when they joined former New York Mayor Michael Bloomerberg as his ASL interpreter in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. 

Viral fame as an ASL interpreter and speaker is complicated. While visibility is important, seeing an ASL interpreter at an event, concert, or press conference shouldn’t be news.

“The reason I was there was to provide access to the deaf community, not to be some sort of parodied viral superstar,” Lydia Callis later said of her experience. 

They brought this ethos to their interpreting agency, SignNexus. Lydia started SignNexus, formerly LC Interpreting Services, in 2014. The agency provides “linguistic and cultural needs to those who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing” through on-site and remote sign language interpreting and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services.

Some cool facts about Lydia:

  • Although she is hearing, her mom and three of her siblings are Deaf, so ASL is Ms. Callis’s first language
  • She was the sign language interpreter for a Deaf contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped
  • Contributing author discussing Deaf rights and accessibility, Huffington Post 
  • 2012 Linguist of the Year, Inttranet 

Related: A Spotlight on Woman-Owned Language Service Providers in the U.S. Today

MasterWord Services

Language Matters: My Language is My Identity

Leader: Ludmila Golovine, president and CEO

Certifications: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification

Ludmila (“Mila”) Golovine was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. at just 19 years old. She founded MasterWord Services soon after, in 1993. Like many other entrepreneurs in the language services industry, she started as a team of one.

Her first interpreting gig was for a Russian delegation visiting her former alma mater. And while the job was unpaid, it wasn’t long before she began charging for her work. 

Now, MasterWord employs over 200 people with a revenue of $42.7 million. The Houston-based LSP does it all — telephone, video, and in-person interpreting; localization; translation; CART services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals; content services; and more.

You can’t throw a stone in this industry without hitting something Mila Golovine has been a part of: trainings, webinars, interviews, podcasts, teaching, consulting, meeting real princesses, advocacy, you name it.

Of her long, long list of accomplishments, here are some of our favorites:

  • Speaker of Russian, French, and English
  • Strategic Partnership Manager, Global Chapter, Women in Localization
  • Chair, Advisory Subcommittee for the Translation and Interpretation Program, Houston Community College
  • 2019 Women Who Mean Business, Houston Business Journal 
  • 2019 Most Admired CEO, Houston Business Journal
  • 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year, Gulf Coast Area Finalist, Ernst & Young 
  • 2017 Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women, Houston Woman Magazine 


Jeenie CEO Kirsten Baker Interview with In the Know with Moe Podcast

Leader: Kirsten Brecht Baker, CEO and co-founder

On the surface, you might wonder why Kirsten Brecht Baker would be interested in the language industry. Her background, after all, is in entrepreneurship, business development, and tech.

However, looking further into her previous companies, the language industry makes sense. Before Jeenie, Ms. Baker founded, and worked in, companies with language, multiculturalism, and globalism at their core. In addition, she mentions to Florian Faes on SlaterPod that her parents were linguists. She “grew up with the love and appreciation for language” in her DNA. 

Jeenie, an app-based on-demand audio and video interpretation platform that launched in 2018, is a natural extension. What makes Jeenie unique in the U.S. market is that it contracts with interpreters in over 150 different countries. And while they initially wanted to focus on the travel and tourism industry, Covid had them shifting to healthcare. 

It’s an exciting time for language access and tech, and we can’t wait to see where Ms. Baker leads Jeenie. 

A small inventory of her triumphs: 

  • Scored $9.3 million in Series A funding
  • 2019 WEDC ambassador
  • 2020 Jeenie SXSW Startup of the Year
  • 2021 Power Women in Tech, DCA Live
  • Member, Fast Company Impact Council
  • Alumni Board Member, Mindshare
  • Member, National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)
  • Member, Vinetta Project, Female Founders and Funders Network

Related: From Past to Present: Women Interpreters Continue to Lead the Way

INGCO International

INGCO International Celebrates 17 Years

Leader: Ingrid Christensen, president 

Certifications: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification

Ingrid Christensen landed a job at a language service provider after graduating from college. She was fluent in Spanish, so it wasn’t long before she started interpreting. 

A certificate in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Minnesota, a baby, and an MBA later, Ms. Christensen found herself with more than enough of her own interpreting work to keep her busy. So she ditched the agencies and opened her own business. 

In 2006, INGCO International was born. INGCO International has a suite of offerings, including translation, voice-overs, subtitles and captions, transcription, remote and in-person interpreting for meetings and conferences, and simultaneous interpreting.

Ingrid Christensen is all over the place, and we’re here for it. Some notables:

  • The Language of Trust: Communicate to Build Meaningful Relationships in Business and Life, forthcoming book
  • She has provided interpreting and translation services for two former presidents
  • 2022 Notable Women Entrepreneurs, Twin Cities Business
  • Association of Language Companies (ALC), Chair, 25th Annual ALC Summit in Las Vegas
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, DEI Committee, member
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, board of directors (former)
  • Health Care Policy Committee, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Chair (former)
  • National Association of District Export Councils, board of directors (former)

These women-owned language services providers demonstrate the importance of women’s leadership and entrepreneurship in the language services industry. And they have excellent services to boot!

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