‘In The News’ Category

Grosse Pointe Times – October 16, 2008

Love of languages leads to business success for local woman

K. MICHELLE MORAN C & G Staff Writer

DETROIT – “I have a gift for languages, and it keeps me in business,” admitted Randi Lou Franklin of Grosse Pointe Woods with a chuckle.

Franklin – who’ll be participating in the Hispanic Business Expo Oct. 22-23 at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center – is the owner of the Grosse Pointe Farms-based Inter-Lingua, a language and cultural services business that turns 20 this month.

Clients hire the firm for translation and interpretation, voiceovers, language instruction, cultural services and other needs. Inter-Lingua can provide translators in more than 125 different languages and dialects, from Albanian to Wolof.

Franklin has succeeded by understanding culture and context, and contracting with language professionals around the world who bring a similar depth to the work. Her company has been hired for everything from conference calls to the G7 Conference and World Cup. Closer to home, she’s recently been retained by the Michigan Department of Transportation to provide all of the interpreting for the Ambassador Bridge project, which will impact residents in southwest Detroit, many of whom primarily speak Spanish.

Franklin’s grandparents came to America from Russia and Mexico, but that’s not how she became multilingual. From an early age, the former University Liggett student remembers taking various language courses, including French and Latin. Today, the doctorate and law degree holder speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, among others.

“One (language) grew off of the next,” Franklin said. “I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to make a career out of my first love, which I never thought I could do back when I was studying and collecting degrees.”

Since she launched Inter-Lingua, Franklin said she’s seen changes in the business. There’s less demand now for French and Italian translators, for example, but the need for translators in Asian languages, Arabic and Spanish has increased.

“A few years back, I never needed a Bengali interpreter,” Franklin said. “Now I use a couple.”

She started her business before the explosion of the Internet and managed just fine without it, but Franklin admits the technology has helped her to grow Inter-Lingua.

“All the Internet did was open up more doors for more of us and help small companies like mine,” she said.

Her openness to various avenues led her to the Hispanic Business Expo, which is put on by the Hispanic Business Alliance.

Franklin has been involved with the expo since it started in 2002, and she said it’s been a great educational and networking opportunity.

“If you reach out, all you’re doing is helping your business. In this global community, you can’t close a door, because (if you do), you might as well close up shop,” Franklin said.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial for businesses to take the needs and concerns of the Hispanic community into account.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country, accounting for 15.1 percent of the total population, or 45.5 million as of July 1, 2007. They also constitute the fastest-growing minority group in the United States. The Hispanic population is expected to reach 132.8 million by July 1, 2050.

Statistics like these demonstrate the need for events such as the HBA Expo and Economic Summit. The event unites HBA members with business leaders for networking and discussion.

“The presenting sponsors are taking the lead in connecting their companies with Hispanic entrepreneurs through this expo and will benefit from their involvement with the largest Hispanic business event in the Midwest,” said HBA President Frederick Feliciano in a prepared statement.

The expo drew more than 3,500 people last year, according to a spokesperson.

For more information about the expo or to purchase tickets, visit www.hbaexpo.org or call (313) 962-6422. For more about Inter-Lingua, visit www.inter-lingua-online.com.

You can reach Staff Writer K.

Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1047.


Detroit Free Press – June 27, 1994

Success in so many words


Detroit Free Press – September 30, 2007

Grosse Pointe Company Offers Interpreters of 125 Languages