ATA Conference in Boston: Where to Find Judy

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since the two of us met up in Denver to attend the 51st Annual ATA Conference in 2010. Unfortunately, this year there won't be a twin reunion at the conference. Dagy has other commitments in Europe, and will be in the U.S. for a full month starting in early December. 

As our dear readers might know, Judy is all about meeting up with friends old and new. Here's where to find Judy at the 52nd Annual American Translators Association Conference:
1) Her association, the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association, will have a small display table with information about the association. Look for the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. Judy will be at the table quite a bit.
2) You might like to attend one of Judy's three presentations. Here they are: The Entrepreneurial Linguist: Lessons from Business School, Smart Business for Interpreters and Translators (panel) and Myths and Truth: Preparing for the State Court Interpreter Certification Exam 
3) In the early evenings, try the bar. Judy can be found hanging out with the guy in the cowboy hat, ATA board member Ted Wozniak.
4) Contact her via private message at Twitter (@language_news) or shoot her an e-mail if you'd like to meet up!
5) Judy will join fellow authors Corinne McKay and Chris Durban at a book signing on Friday, October 28, at 5 p.m. at the InTrans Book Services booth inside the exhibit hall. No need to buy a book -- you can just stop by and say hello!

See you in Boston?

Google Adwords: Another $100 Up For Grabs

We've been receiving a lot of these free Google Adwords coupons lately, and we are happy to give them away. There's no catch at all. The only thing is that whoever get it has to be a new user of Google Adwords -- which we are not.

So: we are giving away a $100 certificate for Google Adwords. As usual, you have to answer a question. This one is a bit trickier. We will give the certificate to whomever answer the question correctly (if there are several folks, we will draw names). The certificate must be used by November 30, and we will e-mail the access data to the winner.

Which language is Dagy currently studying? Hint: it's not a Romance language. Good luck!

Sounds of Nature

The "light thunderstorm" theme.
As always, our web guru is responsible for one of our newest obsessions: Ambient Mixer. It's a free website that lets you listen to some very relaxing sound recordings of things like rain, beach, etc. We are particularly fond of the scuba diving recording (even though it's a bit spooky), grassland and rain, rain, rain. There are also some oddball recordings to be found, including a few for Halloween and things like "restaurant in the evening" that can be used for videos and movies -- free thanks to the Creative Commons License.

Listening to the recordings (they are actually mixes of audio files) online is entirely free. However, there is a small fee to download the recordings. Get started here. If you don't find something you like, you can create your own with the handy mixer. Watch this video to get more details. 

Enciphering Web-Based E-Mail

This nifty tip comes from our resident web guru, who's great at finding free new tools that make our lives easier -- and safer. It's an online encryption method that works with web-based e-mail accounts (and Outlook, too). It's also an excellent tool for sending important information via Facebook. There's nothing to download and it's completely free. Here's how it works:

1) You copy and paste the text you want to encrypt on the website
2) You create an encryption password
3) You send the message, and in order to decrypt it, the recipient has to enter the same password 

We just tested it using Judy's Gmail account and it worked like a charm.  Update on Outlook (we'd previously said this program didn't work with Outlook): we've been corrected by our web guru and we feel slightly silly. Since this software is cut/paste, it also works with Outlook. Great news! 
Here is some technical information from the creators for your peace of mind:
We use Advanced Encryption Standard to protect your data. All encoding/decoding is performed locally in your browser.

Kiva Needs You: Volunteer Translators (Spanish->English)

As our readers might know, we are big fans of micro-lending site Kiva, and we've posted about their need for volunteer translators before. Kiva just recently contacted us again and asked us to help spread the word about their need for Spanish->English translators. We think doing pro bono translations is a wonderful way to give back to the community. This is also a great alternative for relatively new translators. We think it's infinitely better to do pro bono translations for a deserving non-profit than to work for really low rates. Here's the info we received from Kiva:

Kiva is recruiting Spanish translators!
Kiva borrower Marta Alicia, Guatemala
Kiva is currently in need of Spanish to English volunteer translators to support entrepreneurs all over Latin America. After English, Spanish is the second-highest volume of loans that are posted to the Kiva website, and we’re looking to expand our team of Spanish translators to help us prepare for the busy holiday season and increases in loan volume in 2012. Ideal candidates are native (or near-native) English speakers who have translation experience and are comfortable using new technology. We will be testing applicants through the end of October. Click here to read more about our program and to apply!

About the Kiva Volunteer Translation Program
One of the New York Times Magazine’s “Top Ideas of 2006,” is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to entrepreneurs all over the world. The Kiva Volunteer Translation Program offers the opportunity to use your skills to make a direct contribution, improve your language skills, network with other Kiva volunteers and build your resume. Volunteering from their own homes, Kiva volunteers translate entrepreneurs' profiles into English, which are then posted for funding at

Affordable Promotional Items

Our dear readers might know that we think it's very important to keep marketing and advertising costs low for small businesses. Many small businesses fail because they can't control their expenses, particularly on the advertising and promotions side, so we don't want any T&I businesses to fall into this trap. Luckily, most of our advertising is done on the web, which is largely free except for the cost of our time. 

However, since Judy is a master-level court-certified Spanish interpreter in the state of Nevada, she wanted a small item she could give to lawyers, social workers, clerks, etc. as an effective promotional tool. We didn't want another tchotchke that no one uses, so we went for the one thing that people are constantly looking for and are usually grateful for: a pen. We shopped around, and even though the prices were slightly higher than elsewhere, we found a charming, locally-owned store in suburban L.A., where Judy's hubby grew up. They focus on trophies for sporting events, but also make a wide range of pens. We visited them, chose a pen, and were all ready to give them the Twin Translations credit card. The problem? We never heard back from them and they never sent us the proof we requested, even after several e-mails and phone calls. We know what it's like to be a customer, so we make sure to never leave our clients hanging, but that's a topic for another blog post.

Lots of Twin Translations pens
We ended up ordering from one of our favorite stores, U.S.-based Costco, a membership-only warehouse store. While there is a big carbon footprint because the pens ship from the East Coast, the price was right: roughly $0.35/pen if you purchase 300 (which we did). For a very small fee, Costco did the lay-out for us. It was a bit painful to make all the info fit, but the Costco designers were really patient and worked with us until we were happy -- talk about great customer service! Now every time someone digs for a pen during a deposition or meeting, Judy pulls out her cloth bag full of Twin Translations pen and hands them out. People love them -- and at $150 or so, the investment was quite small. 

Dear readers: do you have a favorite promotional item for your business? We'd love to hear about it.

Upcoming Webinar: Pricing Strategies

Conference season is here and we are excited to attend workshops and events around the U.S. and Europe. However, professional development from the comfort of your own home is also fantastic, and Judy is looking forward to presenting a session on "Pricing for Translators" on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 4 p.m. British Summer Time (see the world clock to convert to your time zone). It is being  offered by eCPD Ltd, a very cool  new webinar company run by fellow translators Lucy Brooks and Sarah Dillon. To register for this event, please click here. The cost is £20.

 All you need is a high-speed internet connection and a headset to listen in. Questions from the audience will also be answered at the end of the session (time permitting).

Here is the abstract for this one-hour webinar.

Pricing: it’s a controversial and complex subject, one that’s almost become a taboo in our industry. However, it’s something that all linguists need to think about very seriously. After all, we love what we do, but we also want to make a good living at it. In order to achieve that, while not having to work around the clock, it’s essential to figure out how to price one’s services. In accordance with legal stipulations and regulations from associations around the world, the speaker will not be making specific price recommendations. However, the following will be discussed:
  • How much do you want to make?
  • Moral/ethical obligations?
  • Brief overview of supply, demand and price
  • The peanuts/monkeys phenomenon
  • Alternatives to very low prices for newcomers to the profession
  • The business case for no free translation tests
  • Surcharges (weekend, 24-hour turnaround, PDF, etc.)
  • Dealing with adversity
  • Adjustments for inflation
  • The professionalization of the industry – what does it mean for pricing?
Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

Subscribe by email:


Twitter update

Site Info

The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

Translation Times