Holiday Gift Ideas

Ah, it's that time of the year, isn't it? We've already made several Santa-style delivery trips with gifts to friends, colleagues and clients, and we are just getting started. While we personally have everything we need and prefer to support worthy non-profits, here's a line-up of fantastic gift ideas for the friends, clients and colleagues on your list.

In recent months, after reading a very enlightening article in Mother Jones about the work conditions in warehouses that fulfill orders for online retailers, we've shifted our purchasing to smaller vendors and to physical stores (support your community!) as much as possible, but we realize that some purchase will just have to be made through big online retailers.

  • Books and dictionaries. This is, without a doubt, our favorite category. We bet you know many translators who really, really want a specific dictionary, and we recommend you purchase them on InTrans Books to help support the only independent bookseller in our industry. We have a serious book-buying habit, and InTrans is our favorite resource. Here are a few of our favorites: Found in Translation (we've been ordering this one by the dozen) and Mox Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation. We recently fell in love with the Five-Minute Linguist and also really loved Trip of the Tongue, which we got as a gift. For how-to books, there's no better book than How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay. We also love The Prosperous Translator.
  • Desk stuff. This washable keyboard from Logitech might be perfect for the messy translator in your life. This nifty clean desk set might also come in handy, and keeping all your cords and cables organized is something we should probably do. 
  • Smartphone accessories. During the last year or so, we have struggled with consistently dirty smartphone screens, and had yet to find a good solution. We spent a lot of time cleaning the screens with our little cleaning cloths, but that didn't seem to help. Now, at the ATA conference in San Diego, our friend Tom Ellett had a nifty case that was lined with microfiber cloth -- instant cleaning when you pull the device in/out of its case. We loved it and had to order one. Tom's wife, the talented Alison Ellett, sells these on Etsy, a site we really enjoy supporting. 
  • No wrapping necessary. One of the best gifts Judy has received in the recent past is a one-year subscription to Jost Zetzsche's (AKA tech guru) online newsletter, the Toolkit. Her friend Karen Tkaczyk gave her the subscription a few years ago -- great idea! For a mere $20, you can give your favorite colleague piece of mind and access to Payment Practices, a database of translation/interpreting agencies' payment habits. It's an invaluable resource for those who work primarily with LSPs. 
  • Software. Do you have a fantastic colleague  who could really benefit from a software package? Perhaps he or she has not been able to buy it this year, so this would make a fine gift. Try the invaluable TranslationOffice 3000 (you get a discount if you mention this blog) and Wordfast, our new favorite translation memory software. You can save 15% if you purchase the license before January 1, 2013. 
  • Membership. How about giving a colleague a membership in his/her local T&I association? Many local associations charge less than $50, so this would make for a fine and affordable gift. 
Getting up close with a fluffy llama in Chile.
  • Donations. While it is certainly not a reliable source for translations, we all use Wikipedia on a daily basis. In fact, most humans on the planet use it every day, but it's a non-profit, so may we suggest a modest donation to the world's fifth-largest website? We've actually already been on Wikipedia five times today, and it's not even noon. It truly is amazing that all this content is available for free, but they do need donations to keep the site going. We are also big fans of giving the gift of livestock and other animals through organizations such as Heifer International. For $120, you can give a family an adorable goat, and you can even buy a share of a goat for as little as $10. A share of a llama, our new favorite animal (we fell in love in Chile last year) will set you back $20, and you will give a family the opportunity to make a living with the help of this hard-working and very fluffy animal. Now, that's some Christmas spirit right there, isn't it? And how about buying a gift certificate that can be used for carbon offsets? This could be perfect for your client who travels too much and feels guilty about it or for one of your globe-trotting colleagues. 
  • What we want. Well, nothing really. We just want happy and healthy colleagues and friends throughout the world! Actually, there is one thing, and it doesn't cost anything: we'd love to have more reviews of our Entrepreneurial Linguist book on Amazon if you are so inclined. 
Happy giving and happy holidays!


Karen Tkaczyk on December 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM said...

Glad you liked the "Tool Kit" subscription, Judy. For what it's worth for your readers, in previous years when I bought ten or more subscriptions I got a discount. Don't know if that's still the case.
You got your wish. I reviewed the book on and

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM said...

@Karen: That was such a great gift, girl! Thank you so much for the awesome reviews; you are the best. :) Turns out we get a lot of fan mail about our book, but we just realized relatively recently that we do not have a lot of reviews (yet). Happy holidays!

Jost on December 4, 2012 at 10:35 AM said...

Thanks, Karen and Judy - You convinced me to do another offer this year for gift subscriptions for the newsletter. More later this week.
And thank you so much, Judy and Dagmar, for this post.

Tom Ellett on December 4, 2012 at 12:41 PM said...

Thanks for recommending Alison's smartphone cases, Judy! Yours is on its way to you, and your post has already led to another order from the Etsy shop.

Fran said...

There's a new language magazine on the market, Babel. You can read the first issue for free – I think the subscription would make a suitable gift for fellow translators and other linguists.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 5, 2012 at 8:56 AM said...

@Jost: Our pleasure! Your newsletter is so awesome, and we think everyone should pay a tiny bit for it. :) It's invaluable information.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 5, 2012 at 8:56 AM said...

@Tom: You are very welcome, Tom! It's important to support artists and designers and to buy their unique, handmade work. We are all about that. Plus, Alison's work is simply gorgeous.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM said...

@Fran: Thanks for the recommendation. We'd heard of it and just ordered a free trial copy. Sounds like a fantastic magazine.

Katie on December 20, 2012 at 3:38 PM said...

Those are surely fantastic gift ideas. I love the washable keyboard and the smartphone accessories. Sounds great for my colleagues. Thanks for sharing.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 21, 2012 at 8:11 AM said...

@Katie: Our pleasure. Hope you were able to get some of the gifts you wanted for friends and colleagues. There is still some time to shop, but not much!

Unknown on May 7, 2013 at 9:21 AM said...

Nice gift ideas! How about creating some list of good mothers day gift ideas as for the special day is just around the corner? Thanks!

Happy Mother's Day!

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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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