Olá, Microsoft

AdaQuest No. 486

Bellevue, Washington '†’ Rio de Janeiro 6,884 miles

AdaQuest, which helps software companies translate applications into more than 60 languages, maintains a satellite office in Rio de Janeiro, where co-founder Hiram Machado grew up. Having staff there also helps the West Coast business serve its East Coast clients.

Always Underfoot

Portland, Ore. '†’ Curitiba, Brazil 6,707 miles

This floorboard importer sources more than 40 species of South American wood, including Bolivian canary wood and Brazilian ipe, from mills in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. To manage the shipment of a thousand truckloads a year, the company has logistics centers in Belém and Curitiba in Brazil.

On Call, to the Extreme

Seattle '†’ Vinson Massif, Antarctica 8,600 miles

This company offers medical support to people in far-off locations and dangerous situations. Last year, an RMI employee led a team of climbers scaling Antarctica's tallest peak to field-test some equipment.

Baby on Board

Provo, Utah '†’ Tokyo, Japan 5,509 miles

This logistics company handles more than 200,000 shipments a month. A major source of business in recent years has been sending consumer goods from the U.S. to Japan. Large shipments of Maclaren baby strollers are a staple of the company's business.

Are You There?

RigNet No. 452

Houston '†’ Off the Nigerian Coast 6,513 miles

RigNet outfits offshore oil rigs with telecommunications systems. A recent project involved linking a rig off the coast of Nigeria to a hub onshore, which then routed calls through Bedford, England.

Beneath the Surface

Austin '†’ the North Sea 4,834 miles

Oil companies use Zebra's holographic technology in the North Sea to map the area below the sea floor. Engineers can use the topographical renderings to determine a suitable spot for drilling.

Power Brokers

Wuhan, China '†’ Mona, Utah 6,750 miles

This Chicago-based company coordinates freight delivery around the world. One recent job involved getting a generator the size of a locomotive from the inland port of Wuhan, China, to a power plantin Mona, Utah.

Negotiating With Pirates

Columbus, Ohio '†’ the Horn of Africa 7,453 miles

This company's linguists were hired by the Defense Department to negotiate the release of the captain of the Maersk Alabama, the container ship seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia in April. The ship and the captain were ultimately rescued by the U.S. Navy.

A Satellite Link in a Bag

Huntsville, Alabama '†’ Maseru, Lesotho 8,619 miles

This company's portable satellite-communication system weighs 70 pounds and can be checked on a commercial flight. Customers have used the device in Iraq, Afghanistan, and far-flung Lesotho. For more on this product, see "The Hottest Small-Business Products of 2009."

New Life for Old Metal

Fairfax, Virginia '†’ Ningbo, China 7,531 miles

Milestone Metals buys scrap metal such as steel and brass, and sells it to foundries and smelters in China. A recent batch of copper was turned into an underwater communications cable.

Cleaner Water Down Under

New Kensington, Pennsylvania '†’ Brisbane, Australia 9,325 miles

Geo-Solutions, which prevents groundwater contamination, earns a fifth of its revenue abroad. This year, a major project took the company to Brisbane, Australia's fastest-growing container port, where workers installed a containment barrier around a large dredge.