Kindle Edition: Entrepreneurial Linguist

We are happy to announce that our book, The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation, has finally been released in an edition suitable for e-readers, including Amazon's Kindle. The book was initially released in the spring of 2010 (including a not very hip PDF version), and we've had many requests for an e-reader edition. Unfortunately, it took us a while to finally get it done, but we were inspired by Corinne McKay's decision to go with BookBaby (thanks, Corinne), so we followed suit. Our editor took care of the rest, and the e-reader versions are now available just in time for the holidays! Here's the Kindle edition. It's also available on iBookstore and on the Nook store. Happy reading and sorry it took so long!

Jobs: Manager of Language Services (Las Vegas)

Please see the following job posting, which was recently announced. It will be located in Las Vegas, NV. The hiring company is Language Access Network (LAN), a well-established provider of video remote interpreting services. The company is requesting that all résumés and letters of intent be e-mailed to Please contact LAN directly if you have any questions. We have no connection to LAN and are sharing this job posting as a courtesy -- perhaps one of our fantastic colleagues will get this position?

Established in 2003 as a Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) company, Language Access Network has since become the trusted leader for healthcare communications.  As hospitals and other healthcare organizations seek to mitigate growing costs, LAN acts as a true partner to these organizations, helping them realize not only cost savings, but a true Return on Investment within their language services departments.

Looking to expand your career in a team-oriented, people-focused company?  Language Access Network offers a positive work environment committed to improving the lives of patients and providers every day.  We don’t settle for the daily grind; rather, we excel at improving outcomes, fostering teamwork and joining together for the benefit of our clients.

Looking for something more in your career?  Connect to the bigger picture with Language Access Network.


Position               Manager, Language Services
Location:             Las Vegas Language Center
Classification:     Middle Management

The Manager of Language Services maintains and controls all operations within the Language Services department.  The Manager reports to the Director of the department, as well as executive staff on key tasks.  The Manager is actively involved in planning, vendor selection for the Department, establishing Language Center culture and implementing corporate vision.

  • Recruitment, training and orientation of language services staff
  • Coordinate and assign supervisors
  • Oversee all interpreters and operators, including remote staff
  • Assist in developing internal policies
  • Determine staffing needs in conjunction with Executive and Directorial staff
  • Liaise between Executive Management and staff
  • Perform preliminary testing with internal processes and software
  • QA of internal and external interpreting, mentoring and coaching of interpreters, methods and best practices
  • Serve as SME of interpreter service requirements in developing new platform
  • Work with IT to provide understanding of interpreter practices and needs in relation to technology
  • Establish a positive work environment and develop key strategies to foster a healthy corporate environment
  • Develop and implement performance measures
  • All other duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications:              
  • Ability to manage and motivate people in a positive work environment, comprehensive knowledge of Language Services including best practices, Interpreter Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.  Comprehensive knowledge of hospital language service program structure and needs, basic knowledge of HR practices and regulations, excellent problem solving skills, the ability to work both independently and collaboratively within a team, excellent communication skills both written and oral, ability to champion the needs of the department, comprehensive knowledge of computer platforms and programs used in the Language Center, attention to detail and excellent record keeping skills.

Certification from a national body regarding interpretation preferred, but not required.

Email your resume and letter of intent to

State Court Interpreting Examination: Nevada

The AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) of the Supreme Court of Nevada just announced that the first phase of the state court interpreter certification process will be held in Las Vegas and Carson City (outside of Reno) in January and February 2013. Nevada is part of the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts, which means they offer (some) certification reciprocity between member states, so applicants from other states can take the exam here (please check with the AOC of your state to be sure reciprocity exists). 

This popular two-day workshop is immediately followed by the (not too challenging) written exam, which in Nevada is English-only. It's the first step toward certification (for several languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian) in Nevada. The notorious oral exam is usually held in late summer or early fall. We blogged about that exam here.

For more information, please visit the announcement page of the AOC and please contact them directly for any procedural and administrative questions. If you have any general questions about the exam, feel free to post a comment and we might just have the answer (or point you in the right direction).


Last month, we took one of our annual twin trips and decided to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Judy had done this strenuous 8-mile hike before, while Dagy had not. The Grand Canyon is within easy driving distance of Vegas, where Judy lives and Dagy was spending a month, so this was one twin trip that was relatively easy to plan. The canyon is 277 miles long, and one of the few places where one can hike all the way to the bottom is just outside Grand Canyon National Park on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It's quite remote, and the hike starts at Hualapai Hilltop, which is some 2 hours outside Kingman, Arizona (almost no services along the way). One can rent cute mules to carry stuff to the campground, but since we were only staying two nights, we carried everything we'd need ourselves. Plus, Dagy draws the line at camping, so we stayed at the somewhat shabby, yet clean and terribly overpriced lodge ($200/night).

The hike was tough, gorgeous, breathtaking and definitely a very unique experience. The best part? Spending quality time together with no distraction other than our blisters. Judy, thanks to her spotty T-Mobile service, had no Android reception whatsoever (other hikers were using their cell phones just fine), and Dagy had her European data package turned off because of the outrageous charges. We didn't take a laptop, and the lodge did not have a TV, so for two blissful days, we were completely unaware of what was happening in the world (and yes, the presidential election). We were a bit afraid of being so disconnected, but something wonderful happened: we did not work at all! We did nothing even remotely work-related beyond talking about our business and discussing some teaching strategies for Judy's Introduction to Translation class at UC San Diego. We had been concerned that being in a black hole in terms of information would be really strange, but turns out it was not. It was wonderful. We hiked, we talked, we laughed, we swam in one of the gorgeous waterfalls, we read, told stories, and just enjoyed each other's company. No Facebook or Twitter needed.

We realized how beneficial this brief period of being fully disconnected really was. We focused on the essential: spending time together and getting a brief rest from the virtual hustle and bustle. We've been so trained and conditioned to be available and wired all the time that it's nice to know we can do just without any sort of gadgets Now, the camera is another matter: we need the camera. Enjoy the pictures.

What about you, dear colleagues? Do you ever truly disconnect? And does it stress you out or does it relax you? We would love to hear your experiences.

Royalty-Free Pictures on Pixabay

This week's technology tip comes, as always, from our very own web guru Thomas Gruber, who has a knack for finding interesting stuff that we like sharing with our colleagues. Many of you might find yourselves looking for good online pictures for use in, well, blogs, newsletters, T&I association matters and even for clients. Yes, we sometimes replace language-specific images in translations (if the client agrees and/or requests that) with more neutral or culturally adequate images. The challenge, as always, is trying to find out whether the image is royalty-free, because we certainly don't want to violate any copyright laws. There are, of course, a variety of sites that do this for you, but Pixabay might be one of our new favorites. We tested the site by doing a few searches for images we wanted (networking, marketing), and found some great ones. Since this is a free service, you will have to deal with some ads, and the search results will also return paid images from Shutterstock, but the vast majority are royalty-free.

Just because we can, we are posting this one of a puppy here. Check out Pixabay here. Many thanks to Tom Gruber for today's technology tip!

Should You Ask the Client?

Running a successful business can mean having to successfully negotiate around landmines, and oftentimes there are no right answers. Every client is different and most situations are unique. One issue we've been thinking about lately is whether or not you should ask the client about questions you have concerning the source text, formatting, the intended use of the translation, the audience who will read the text, etc. 
Again, there are no hard rules, but we try to solve this potential issue ahead of time by:

  1. Asking the client about where the translation will be used before we accept the project. We also ask about any specific requirements the client might have and then list those in our price quote, which the client will sign.
  2. Some clients will not react the way you'd think, and they will tell us to "just translate this document." We tend not to work with those clients, because clear communication and expectations are  key. We can't meet expectations if we don't know what they are. We don't want to set ourselves up to fail. Great translations are always collaborative efforts, and that includes the client. We know they are busy, but their participation might be necessary to guarantee the result that they want.
After we've started the project, we generally follow a few guidelines before we ask the client:
  1. We do some brief research into the issue using our high-level dictionaries and some basic internet research skills. It might be something obvious that we are not getting, or it might be something very tricky.
  2. We discuss it to see if one twin has the answer, which is oftentimes the case.
  3. If that doesn't solve it, we ask the client.
  4. If need be, and if the client wasn't able to fully answer the question or explain it well (or doesn't have the time to answer), we ask one of our resident subject-matter experts (legal and IT) to see if they can shed light on the issue. Many times, many of our clients work in the marketing department and didn't write the text, so occasionally it's quite a bit of work for them to track down the answer.
  5. Alternatively, we post the issue on a translator listserv. Our colleagues are truly wonderful.
We usually prefer to ask the client rather than post too many terms on translator listservs, because many times the client can solve something in 10 seconds that would waste our colleagues' time. For instance, no fellow translator in the world knows what "TCM"' stands for, but the client does: it's an internal acronym for a content management software that's named after one of the company's software developers. We did the right thing by not spending an hour researching the term, as we would not have found it anywhere.

In general, we think asking the client (legitimate) questions is a good thing, because it shows the client that you care and that you are putting some serious thought into your work. On the other hand, asking too many questions makes you look like you are not trying hard enough and don't have sufficient resources or research skills. For instance, you don't want to ask your client what FMCG is (you can find that in three seconds).  Many clients really welcome questions and go out of their way to answer them, while others might be slightly annoyed that you are "wasting" their precious time or might not answer at all. We try to make it easy on customers by collecting our questions and sending them in one easy e-mail, which clearly details and references the questions. 

What about you, dear colleagues? Do you have any rules on how you handle this tricky subject?

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.

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

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