Certified Languages

CLI continues to transform the landscape of language services,enabling its customers to better participate in today’s global economy. “The companywas founded in 1996,bymy father, Bill Graeper,”says its CEO,KristinQuinlan.“Hewas a serial entrepreneur and a lot of his ventures were in theworld of telecommunications and technology.He was on a contract for a company that dispatched live interpreters to locations,and he found that therewas a potential need for interpreters to be sourced and available,anywhere,anytime,regardless of language, to service peoplewho don’t speakEnglish-most spe- cifically in themedical arena,wheremost interpreting encounters were done face to face,not all languages were available in all locations,and a lot of patients had towait a long time.He thought he couldmake a differ- ence bymaking themavailable over the phone,so he wrote some verybasic software tomake this happen. Back then,telephone technologywasn’t veryadvanced, so a call would come in and hewould have to press the receiver button to flash in a conference call with an interpreter.The first couple of years were really,really slow.But he had a vision and he never looked back.” Quinlan became caught up in that vision in 2000, when her dad asked her to help him run the transla- tion department,andwrite a couple of RFPs.“I came on part-time,while looking for a real job,after I got my youngest off to kindergarten,”she recounts.“I had been in the technologyarenawith Pioneer Electronics,and thenwithArrowElectronics,theworld’s largest distrib- utor of semiconductors.I said‘Yes,but I’ll give you six months.’And here I am.” Quinlan says that Graeper backed away fromdaily operations of the company,because,likemanyentre- preneurs,having the visionwasmuchmore interesting to him than executing it.“But it was interesting tome CERTIFIED LANGUAGES INTERNATIONAL and I thought we could do thismore efficiently; we can do this better,”she avers.“It’s completely surpassed all ideas of what he thought as far as size is concerned, but the basic concept that hewas imagining is precise- lywhat we are,today.And because of the technology andwhat we’ve done as a company,we’remuch bigger and better thanwhat he dreamed of.Although the first fewyears were fitful,we have not had a year inwhich we have gone backwards.We’ve grown between 15 and 30 percent,year over year,ever since 2006.In 2017, we did $37million in business.” Today,CLI has 145 employees and two locations –administrative offices and a call center in Portland, Oregon,and a redundant call center in Phoenix,Ari- zona.The companyhas clients in all 50 states,as well as interpreters across the countrywho service 226 different languages.Sixtypercent of its business is in the healthcare industry–hospitals andmedical clinics -largelydue to the 1990Americans withDisabilities Act,whichmandates that anyentity receiving federal funding of any sort has to supply,among other things, language services to peoplewhose primary language is other than English-which is about 20 percent of the U.S.population. “Outside of that,the verticals include the banking and financial arena,”Quinlan reports.“We do a lot of work in the insurance space; we do quite a bit of work for federal,state,and local governments; we do immi- gration,customs,and borders; we doDepartment of Homeland Security; we do airports; we do everyWal- Mart pharmacy in the nation; we do quite a bit of work in K-12 education.”