Friday, December 4, 2009

Audi's Multilingual Windshield

Since I blogged on Audi's "White Power" car (a translation error, folks; it wasn't really a white power car), I thought readers might be interested in knowing about Audi's new multilingual windshield.  That's right, people, a multilingual windshield.

You can read what Common Sense Advisory has to say about it here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WordFast Group Buy

Well, I told y'all back in August we were working on it and the WordFast group buy is finally here!

Through December 31st, In Every Language translators and interpreters can save 50 euro on WordFast.  It's also important to know that WordFast will be going up 50 euro in January, so this is a 100 euro discount over what the software would be were you to buy it on your own next year.

Of course, you don't have to have WordFast to work with us, but so many of you have mentioned that you'd like to have translation memory software, we thought this might be a way for us to help our contractors out.  We do not receive a kick-back or a commission on the sales; we just want to offer this in order to say thank you for working with In Every Language.

To participate, simply email Brandi Miller ( and, if you are one of our contractors, she'll send you the link.  If you're not currently contracting with us, email Brandi to apply, attaching your resume and letting her know you'd also like in on the WordFast group buy.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Want a T-Shirt?

Translation-themed t-shirts are few and far between.

We had these printed up for our staff (see the lovely Stacey as she models) and had a few left over, so we're selling them pretty much at cost to translators, interpreters, clients, etc who might want them.

Cost is 10 USD, plus shipping if you're unable to come by our office to pick it up. As shown left, the t-shirts are white with short sleeves and have our logo on the front in 4-color.

Want a shirt? Contact Julia at or (502) 213-0317.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Video Bio #7: Providencia!

Meet Providencia, one of our contract interpreters for Spanish. Extra bit of trivia here, too, blog readers: Providencia is also an opera singer!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Video Bio #6: Meet Misha

Learn more about Misha, a Russian interpreter contracting with In Every Language.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Video Bio #5: Adelina

Adelina, an independent Spanish interpreter contracting with our company, shares why she interprets:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Your Bio Here?

So, what do you think our own new video bio series? Be honest.

Well, good or bad, here's your chance to help shape it. In Every Language currently has an open call for video bios from our clients, contractors, and employees. Let's all get to know each other better!

Bios should be between 30 and 45 seconds and follow these guidelines:

- Include your name
- If you're a translator or interpreter, include the languages you work in
- Mention that you contract with In Every Language (if you do)

Optional topics include
- Why you work with In Every Language
- Why you translate/interpret (if applicable)
- Yourself & your interests
- Action shots (video of you interpreting, etc)

Please email questions & bios to Julia Kimbro at Accepted bios will be placed on this blog, the company Facebook page, and possibly other sites.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Click for a Cause

For every new Facebook fan that In Every Language gets during the month of September, we will make a donation to the Center for Women and Families, a Louisville, Ky based shelter for the abused and battered.

Link to In Every Language's Facebook page here.
Click for more information about the Center here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tippecanoe and Jorge, Too

Please find below a blurb from "Court Translation Services Spotty, But Less So Locally," an article written by Sophia Voravong that ran in the August 13th issue of Lafayette Journal & Courier:

Courts in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, offer translation and interpreting services for people who find it difficult to understand or speak English. However, a recent study found that some state-level courts do not provide such services. The study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law examined 35 states that have higher proportions of people with limited English language skills. The study found that many state-level courts breach federal civil rights laws by failing to provide interpreters for people who require one. The study also looked at state mandates and competency requirements for individual interpreters. Indiana has a statewide registry of certified interpreters, even though certified interpreters are not mandatory. Certification is only required for the county's head interpreter as part of a $16,500 foreign language interpreter grant received annually from the Indiana Supreme Court, says Tippecanoe Superior Court 6 Judge Michael Morrissey. The grant also requires the county to track and report how interpreters have been used. For instance, interpreters helped in 1,493 cases from May 31, 2008, to June 30, 2009.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ATA, TCD, & Conferences in General

Today my translation project manager and I spent a lot of time pouring over the schedule of seminars for the upcoming American Translators Association (ATA) conference in New York City. After attending the conference last year, I wasn't really overwhelmed with a great need to go again this year, but after attending the Translation Company Division (TCD) conference in Quebec this summer, I'm reconsidering. One of the reasons I had elected not to go to this year's ATA was that the sessions just aren't built for language service provider (LSP) owners. And that's okay. The ATA's purpose isn't really to help us, no matter how hard the TCD may try. The ATA is for the freelancer. I agree with Ted Wozniack, German translator and active ATA member, when he says that the ATA should drop corporate memberships all together--that the Association of Language Companies (ALC) should represent LSPs while the ATA represents freelancers, and that the ALC and the ATA should represent the profession as a whole. But I meander.

Simply put, while the ATA conference might be fun, it's not at all educational for LSP execs. This year's schedule, for example, is packed full of such money-making thrillers as "U.S. and European Union Translation Quality International Standards" and "The Translation Service Market in China as Seen from Local Language Services Providers." Utterly enthralling and very applicable to running a more profitable business, I know. (Please note the sarcasm in my tone.)

So then why am I even thinking about going? Because I've finally learned what a conference is all about. Call me a silly girl, but when I went to my first translating & interpreting conference in 2006, I went to learn. Did I learn there, and have I learned at others since? Yes. Lesson one? You don't go to conferences to learn. You go to network.

Networking is a historically ugly word, conjuring up images of chiropractors and realtors huddling around the cheese table at your local chamber of commerce event, pushing off glossy business cards with their photos printed on them, pronouncing your name wrong as they say, "Call me," and shove the rectangular piece of paper stock in your hand. But networking at a conference--when done right--is entirely different than at chamber mixers, 100% of which I now make a forcible effort to avoid. At a conference, you can spend one-on-one time with people who actually do what you do (rare in our profession) and openly discuss ideas to help you both grow and learn. If you do it right, as I finally learned how to do at this year's TCD, then a freeflow of ideas is created, leading to the innovation that will see translating & interpreting through the crowdsourcing panic and beyond the fear and doubt caused by the continuing improvement of machine translation. These conferences then become the place where you can individually assure yourself and collectively improve. If there are truly any new thought leaders being born in our profession, then conferences are the places where they are grown.

So, all that said, will I be at ATA? I think we both know, if I am, it sure won't be for the sessions.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Preview Our New Site

In Every Language is launching a new website Monday morning, but to thank our Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and blog readers, we're letting y'all preview it early, starting tonight at 7 pm EST. Please drop by and let us know what you think!

Our web address is

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DV Certification Process Gets National Attention

August 4th, I posted a copy of a press release on this blog about our recent efforts toward developing the nation's first-ever interpreter certification for domestic violence situations. Today, I found out on Twitter--of all places--that Ode Magazine has featured the story on their website. While their coverage doesn't include any information not already available on this blog, we think being on their home page is a pretty cool deal and would just like to thank them publically.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wordfast Group Buy

Greetings, translators. In Every Language is in the process of negotiating a group buy with Wordfast, the translation memory tool that we use here in-house. If you currently contract with us, or are in our database as an approved linguist, then you should receive an email from Project Manager Brandi Miller giving you the link and the password to get in on it if you want.

Good news, though, for those of you who don't contract with us currently. There is a way for your to participate. Apply! If we do decide to add you to our system, you'll receive an email letting you know how to participate in the group buy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Linking In and Face(book)ing Off

When it comes to social networking, where's the line between personal and professional? My answer, in form of the article "Linking In and Face(book)ing Off," recently ran in Multilingual . Feel free to read it below:

From LinkedIn to Facebook, we as individuals are much more visible on-line than we used to be. The opportunities to see and be seen grow every day as sites like XING, Ryze and Spoke enter the scene alongside more personal social networking websites like MySpace and What this means for a translator is that instead of your cleverly crafted page or the well-written biographical paragraph on your company website, prospective clients could very well stumble upon pictures of you at your cousin’s bachelorette party instead. And even if you keep your social networking page risqué-photo free, that’s not to say your cousin might not put those pictures online herself, which means that snapshot of you drinking beer in nothing but a cowboy hat would be just as findable in for clients. Before, the running joke was you only had to watch out for things like that if you ran for office. But now, thanks to the internet, all those youthful party nights could be posted and searchable, whether you inhaled or not.

The fact of the matter is, whereas prospective clients used to learn more about you from you or other human references, such as mutual acquaintances, they now tend to Google search you as an individual. Yes, if you work for a language service provider, they’ll most likely Google the LSP, too, but first they’re going to Google you. Combine that with the fact that most people don’t fully understand their Facebook or MySpace privacy settings, and those pictures you only meant for your friends to see might come up in a prospective client’s search long before any well-prepared, professional information you may have posted. And with a search spider that changes its algorithms with the will of the gods, the way Google determines what web surfers see and the order in which they see it is unpredictable at best, meaning you don’t know which hits the searcher will get to first.
Of course, if you followed my mother’s advice, you would act with decorum at all times, meaning there wouldn’t be anything that a prospective client could find that you wouldn’t want him to see. Drunk college photos wouldn’t exist and there’d be nothing embarrassing for you or your cousin to post to begin with. But, no matter who you are, dear reader, I’m willing to guess that at some point in your life, you’ve done at least one thing you wouldn’t want your mother to know about. Rule number one: If you wouldn’t want your mother to know about it, don’t put it on Facebook (or any other similar site). Period.

Rule number two: If you wouldn’t put it on your Facebook page, don’t let your friends put it on their pages either. How do you find out if this has been done? Facebook should tell you you’ve been tagged (Facebook lingo for “labeled” or “named”) in a photograph. It’s a default setting that can’t be changed. If this happens, simply click on the link telling you this has happened. It should bring you to the picture, where you can click “untag.” Once you’ve untagged yourself, no one can tag you back. It won’t remove the picture, but it will remove your name from it, which is the important part. Names are what’s searchable.

But for those of you who like to do embarrassing things on a regular basis and who want to put pictures up for the internet world to see--hey, those folks are out there--there are ways to get around this. They all boil down to rule number three: keep your private and your professional lives separate. On or off-line, this is simply a good guideline to follow. The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care recommends a similar division as part of its code of ethics for interpreters; the French live it out as a national way of life. Just as no prospective client wants to see you at your cousin’s bachelorette, no friend wants to hear you go on about work all the time. It’s simply a good rule. But when we switch on that computer, some of us forget. And like the eye of Sauron in Lord of the Rings, the lidless eye of Google sees all.

This brings me to rule number three: use an alias for personal networking and your real name for professional networking. In the least, it’s a chance to get creative. You can make up a regular-sounding pen name (ex, Suzanne Smith) or take your initials and turn them into a name—for example, my initials “TB,” could be “Tee Bee” online. Or, you could pay tribute to a historical or literary figure you like (ex, Annie Oakley or Frodo Baggins). Again, names are what are searchable here. Using a pseudonym will allow you to maintain a personal profile without inadvertently mixing in your professional life and without having unwelcome hits from prospective clients on your personal page. It’s also much safer should you ever be stalked.

Rule number four: Know which networking sites are personal and which are professional. LinkedIn, XING, Ryze and Spoke are all professional. Facebook, MySpace and Friendster are personal. Keep them that way. Currently, I have 97 Facebook “friends.” Only three of them were originally work contacts and I thought long and hard before adding each one. Simply put, as the CEO of an LSP, it does nothing for my or my company’s image for prospective clients or contractors to see pictures of me dancing the Electric Slide at my cousin’s wedding--note I did NOT say bachelorette party. The three work contacts I have on Facebook are individuals who I would consider friends in real life, contractors--note I did not say clients--who I’ve come to know and who I would be proud to Electric Slide with in real life any day.

Rule number five: When it comes to your career, Link(ed)In and Face(book) off. The LSP owner or freelance linguist who does not make good use of online social marketing is missing out on a globally-sized chance to get her name out there. Clients Google your name because they want to know more about you. Meet their need and give them the information they desire. Just control what information is out there.

Having a strong LinkedIn profile allows you the opportunity to get more information in front of your target market. LinkedIn will allow you to post your educational background, client recommendations and any type of awards or honors you might have received. A LinkedIn page presents more information than a paragraph-long biography from your company site and it is less industry-specific than a profile, which uses abbreviations and terminology, such as ”WWA” or “Kudoz,” which can occasionally be confusing to clients from outside the language services industry.

The biggest benefit to LinkedIn is that it’s primarily a computerized version of the Good Ole Boy Network. A Southern US term for an international phenomenon, the Good Ole Boy Network is social networking at its best and most efficient—the simple rule of doing business with those you know before you do business with a stranger. People were loyal to their friends and family first long before Al Gore did or didn’t invent the internet. Before the web, however, you had to keep in your head who knew whom that did what. Now, thanks to LinkedIn, it’s all on a computer. Need a lawyer in the Greater Atlanta area? Well, you know Amy who knows Jason who’s Georgia Bar certified. The flip side of this is that Jason may need legal translation, so with the click of a button, LinkedIn will tell him that he knows Amy who knows you and that you’re a legal translator. The more contacts you have on your account, the better, as the more individuals the site is able to link you to. But beware adding too many connections, or you’ll break rule number six.

Rule number six: Only link to people you actually know. There are scammers on LinkedIn who only want access to your information so they can junk email you. Because here’s the thing, see: when you add someone as a contact on LinkedIn, he gets access to your email address, which is generally not viewable to someone unless he’s a contact. Also, email address privacy protection aside, when you add someone as a contact you are publically saying, “Yes, I know this person.” To share some more of my mother’s advice, birds of a feather flock together. You are who you run with. You’re known by the company you keep. Feel free to insert your own appropriate adage here. Do you want to run the risk that you take when you link yourself online to a complete and utter stranger?

That being said, there are different groups on LinkedIn, such as “TopLinked (Open Networkers),” and “MyLink500 (Open Networkers),” which promise that all members will accept any invitation to link profiles from anyone, no questions asked. Obviously, the thousands of members of these groups would disagree with me. But another piece of advice my momma gave me was that quality beats quantity any day of the week. It’s better to have a solidified network of those you know than a weaker network of those you don’t.

Rule number seven would then be obvious, I would think: Don’t click to add me on Facebook or LinkedIn just because you read this article.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who Do Amateurs Practice On?

No long post today, just a couple of ideas for thought:

We've all seen bilinguals looking to get their "start" as interpreters. But my question is, who are they starting on? And what are they starting with?

All these thoughts tonight got started when I found where I'd written down a Cynthia Roat quote after hearing her speak at a medical interpreters' conference in Lexington, Ky. I put it here below, then leave you with that:

"The emergency room, the courtroom, these are not the places to be practicing!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Courier-Journal Profiles Company

The Courier-Journal, Kentucky's statewide newspaper published in Louisville, profiled In Every Language above the fold in today's paper. While we encourage you to click through the the article on the Courier's website here, I'm also blogging the text from the article, written by Paula Burba, below:

"Snapshots of people at work: re: Terena Bell, translating interpreting"
August 10, 2009

Four years ago this month, Terena Bell started In Every Language Translating & Interpreting Services — (502) 213-0317, — in her home. Business boomed and she recently relocated to new offices at 812 E. Market St. in the NuLu District downtown.

Ditching dictionaries: “I called Kentucky Refugee Ministries offering to volunteer six years ago and showed up out there with a dictionary. The first mark of an amateur is bringing a dictionary with you.”

From the French: “I had been a French freelance interpreter, so I built it off of that. Starting out in her guest bedroom, "It got very, very hectic,” as it moved into the dining room and soon took over the living room. “When we moved into the kitchen, I said, ‘That's it.'”

Translate vs. interpret: "Language service provider — that's what you call what we do. We offer services on site and over the telephone, all over the southeastern U.S. … Translation is written; interpreting is oral.”

Territories: “Anywhere from here to Cincinnati to Atlanta to Raleigh (N.C.) — if it's in the South, we can help you.” On-site interpreters don't go too far north of Cincinnati or Indianapolis.

Certifiable: The company belongs to the American Translators Association, Association of Language Companies and the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, which “has a very clear code of ethics and standards of practice.”

Navigating health care: “Within healthcare, we do a lot of individual patient appointments. … A lot of surgeries, where the patient needs to know exactly what is going on.”

Not all legality: “We're very much more about the difference (we can make in the world) than about the dollar. … If we didn't do as much community service, I'd be a much richer woman, but I wouldn't sleep well at night.”

--Paula Burba

Terena's Note: I thought it was a nice little piece. Thanks, Courier!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why Translators Aren't Respected

Google “respect” and the first five hits you’ll find are for Aretha Franklin. I must admit, each time I sat down to write this article, I heard that alto voice rolling “Re, re, re, respect” over and over again in my mind. When it comes to respect, I think we all have to admit Aretha’s got the market cornered. As a matter of fact, when it comes to talking about respect in a positive light, you just don’t get any better.

But when you move from Motown to Downtown, respect starts to change. The song goes away and conversations about the subject start to shift toward the negative. The beat is gone and no matter how loudly you wail, you still might not get what you ask for.

From one convention to the next, if you have a group of freelance translators gathering, odds are, somewhere, someone is talking about respect: Companies don’t respect freelancers. Clients don’t respect any of us. Unilingual people think our job is easy. In the translation world, respect is spoken of more often than theory and this year, it seems to be making its way out of everyday conversation and into the news. In March, it all started with an article from Gianni Davico (“Respect versus money in the translation business”) published in Multilingual. Respect here is part of the old freelancer versus LSP debate. To Davico, the debate breaks down to what he thinks contractors and companies crave most: respect versus money respectively.

Lately, though, both contractor and company have found themselves on the same side of our industry’s battleground for respect, with Twitter users from either camp Tweeting furiously against summer crowdsourcing efforts by LinkedIn. While most of these Tweets seem to come from freelancers, many LSP owners and employees have also written Tweets speaking out against or raising awareness of LinkedIn’s request for users to translate its site for free. And it’s not just my company and similarly-sized businesses either. Big names like Lionbridge are joining in the Twitter storm. The uniting point behind this sudden burst of micro-blogging? Money and respect.

In this case, it’s working, or at least it seems to be. June 29th, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Translators Wanted at LinkedIn. The Pay? $0 an Hour” by Andrew Adam Newman. Business Week wasn’t far behind with its July 1st article, “Mozilla's Crowdsourcing Mystique” by Douglas MacMillan, which again mentions what is now called “LinkedInFail.” This comes after the June 30th press release that the ATA itself issued.

For those of you unfamiliar with the controversy, to quote the ATA release, LinkedInFail is a “controversy [that] came to light after a ‘survey’ was circulated by LinkedIn to its members who identified themselves as translators. The survey turned out to be an attempt to find the lure that would identify translators willing to translate LinkedIn materials for free.”

Neither of the articles nor the release itself addressed respect. But I guarantee that somewhere in this world, where two or more translators were gathered, respect was the topic and they weren’t singing along to Aretha.

In fact, you can say that companies want more money and that contractors want more respect, but the truth is, the two are intricately linked. LinkedInFail has proven that, if nothing else.

If you listen to industry guru Renato Beninatto, crowdsourcing, the official term for the group translation technique LinkedIn wanted to employ, is the wave of the future. I, for one, agree with him. But crowdsourcing is not the issue. Respect is. Listing reasons why LinkedInFail generated such an uproar, Common Sense Advisory researcher Nataly Kelly pegs it in the blog Global Watchtower when she writes, “Most people don’t value what translators do.”

Kelly continues to write, “Freelancers are guarded, and understandably so. As individuals who are in business for themselves, freelancers have to watch out for their best interests, as they can be a particularly vulnerable group. Stories of freelancers who were not paid for their work – either by end clients or language service providers are common in the industry. So, any organization that approaches these once-bitten-twice-shy professionals is likely to raise suspicion if there is any implication that work will be carried out without pay.”

To sum, as an industry, we feel underappreciated, misunderstood, and used. Three different feelings with one central issue, the pain is like a prism: one polygon twisted to show different lights from different angles. The problem itself is every human’s need for respect and the angles are created when an impertinent world illuminates the core issues of money, fear, and self-worth.

My solution to this problem may not go over well. My opinion will most likely not be popular. I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard it spoken at a conference or circulated on Twitter. The lack of respect shown to our industry by those outside of our industry is our own fault. No one can fix it but us.

As a child, I was taught that everyone warranted respect. But like Aretha’s, this song was sung before the shift to post-modernism was complete, before Presidents slept with interns--or at least before they got caught. A jaded adult would say I was a gullible child, to think that certain people or certain positions were above error, but as a child, I simply believed what I was taught. In fact, we can learn a lot from what a culture teaches its children.

In Search of Character, published by Live Wire Media, does exactly that: teaches middle-schoolers about respect. A lesson plan series, it covers ten virtues designed to mold children into better adults. The respect lesson provides the self-evaluation quiz below which encourages young people to act respectfully as individuals:

True False
? ? I treat other people the way I want to be treated.
? ? I am considerate of other people.
? ? I treat people with civility, courtesy, and dignity.
? ? I never intentionally ridicule, embarrass, or hurt other people.

If our industry were to take this test, how well do you think it would fair? Poorly, at times, I fear. In case you can’t tell, this is where we get to the unpopular opinion in my article. Remember when I said that the lack of respect shown to our industry by those on the outside is our own fault? Well, I meant it. In order to be treated with respect, translators must first act respectfully.

While there are exceptions, Kelly had the US, freelance pool pegged when she wrote that many translators were “once-bitten-twice-shy.” Having been paid less than we’re worth (and sometimes nothing at all) has understandably made freelance translators weary. The pain of being disrespected is not nearly as deep as the pain of having been wronged. Perhaps this pain has hardened our industry’s heart. Perhaps we strike out not at those who actually have wounded us, but at those who are simply unfortunate enough to be next in line. Instead of allowing our cumulative hearts to heal, we have created that prism of pain.
Do we as a profession treat others the way we want to be treated? When we joke about clients being cheap or stupid, is that acting in a respectful manner? Would we want them to say the same of us? When we make fun of or speak poorly of clients who know less about our industry than we do, aren’t we “intentionally [ridiculing, embarrassing], or [hurting] other people?”

A well-meaning PM I know once posted an open call for translators on ProZ, asking particular language pairs to submit resumes with rates. As a result, one translator sent her hate e-mail full of words we teach our children not to use. He accused her of being disrespectful by asking for rates sight unseen. When she asked my advice, I asked her who had sent the email. Turns out it was anonymous. A man who had just accused her of being disrespectful wasn’t even respectful enough to give his name. Clearly, he is not the cream of the translation crop. But had she been a client trying to find a translator for the first time, how much respect would she then have had for our industry? True or false statement number two from our quiz is “I am considerate of other people.” Number three: “I treat people with civility, courtesy, and dignity.”

The line between true translators and bilingual hacks is unfortunately not as clear to those outside our profession, and that’s part of the problem. But, remember, I said the real problem was us. We do not agree amongst ourselves and when we try to make a difference, egos and division get in the way more often than they should. In order for LinkedIn to think it could get its site translated for free, there had to be registered professionals who LinkedIn thought would do it. LinkedInFail would have never happened if the division between those who said yes and those who said no didn’t exist.

We need greater standards, including a wider-spread national certification program. The ATA has gone to outstanding lengths toward this. But the fact that certification is still not out there for certain languages or for interpreting allows unprofessionals to pose as professionals, making it harder for us to project a positive image of our industry to the world. In fact, where interpreting is concerned, two organizations have recently created further division by breaking off into a separate camp, right when interpreting certification was so close we could taste it. We will not gain respect from outsiders by having different standards for different languages or by dividing amongst ourselves for what looks like personal profit.

We must unite. We must work to rid our industry of unprofessional behavior, to present a uniform front of what is right and what is wrong. We must help the ATA in its efforts at certification for more languages, and we must reprimand those who threaten these efforts.

Most importantly, we must let go of our grudges. We must realize that former errors might not be repeated by the next client in line. We must in fact hope that they won’t be. We must look at the respect we’ve already gained and when we gather, we must discuss it positively.

The time has come for the prism to stop shining on its pain and to let the more beautiful colors through. The time is here and the time is now, be you in Motown or Downtown, to stand for change, no longer injured by what we don’t have, but proudly singing instead about what we do, just as assertively as Aretha always has.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In Every Language and Ky Domestic Violence Association Work Toward Certification

Check out the following press release we issued this morning:

In Every Language, a Louisville-based interpreting and translating provider, has joined the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association’s council for the development of domestic violence interpreting certification. As there is currently no domestic violence interpreting certification available in the United States, the certification will be the first of its kind. Lead by Isela Arras with the KDVA, the Interpreter Certification Project hopes that its certification model, once complete, can be used to qualify or certify domestic violence interpreters in other states. This project therefore only not impacts victims of domestic violence in Kentucky, but has the capability to help people throughout the nation.

A separate certification for interpreting in domestic violence situations is needed due to domestic violence interpreting’s highly-specialized nature. The field is quite different from interpreting for other situations due to the job knowledge, personal sensitivity, and bilingual vocabulary it requires. While resembling medical interpreting in its confidential nature, domestic violence interpreting also requires legal and community interpreting expertise, as well as skill-sets not involved in other interpreting specializations. The council is also writing a training manual and continuing education modules that will serve as aids in certification preparation and maintenance. Once completed, a database of those interpreters in Kentucky both trained and certified for domestic violence situations will be available to KDVA’s shelter programs in the Commonwealth.

The Interpreter Certification Project has grown out of KDVA’s existing Immigrant and Refugee Women Project, a statewide task force working to ensure immigrants and refugees receive equal access to domestic and sexual violence services in Kentucky. In Every Language was selected for the council because of the company’s commitment to community outreach and service.

In Every Language is located in Louisville, Ky, where it works to provide quality translating and interpreting services for social-service and social-entrepreneurial situations throughout the Southeastern United States. The company’s website is

Based in Frankfort, Ky, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association works to ensure that the right to live free of any form of domestic abuse is valued, protected, and defended in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The KDVA can be found online at

Thursday, June 25, 2009

100 Best Language Blogs

In the interest of shameless self-promotion, I'd like to let our readers know about the 100 Best Language Blogs competition that's ongoing right now. Not telling you who to vote for, mind you, just letting you know it's there...

At Our Core, We Help People

We've recently retooled ourselves here at In Every Language. Marketers and government agencies kept asking us for this thing called a mission statement. While we all know exactly who we are--what In Every Language stands for--putting that in words was tougher than you'd think for a business that works with language every day.

At our core, we help people. That's what kept coming up over and over again: we help people. We help people. Yes, we make money--somedays more than others--but the reason that I and my employees come here to work as opposed to McDonald's is because we believe in our mission.

So this is what we came up with. It's still not that beautifully concise mission statement some folks want to hear, but it is a summation of who we are. Let me know what you think:

When you place your trust with In Every Language, you and your company aren’t the only people who benefit. Your community does as well. Our focus isn’t on what makes us different from our competitors, it’s on the difference we can make.

From our school outreach project to our free translation program for refugees, we make helping others our priority. We’re not driven by money, we’re driven by change, and the work we do in our community has made such a difference, that it’s been officially recognized by two Kentucky governors.

We know that putting our commitment to community first might not be the quickest way to get you to do business with us. But before we get down to business, it’s only fair to let you know who you’re doing business with. We’re not driven by the dollar, we’re driven by the difference. This is who we are and what we set out to do when we go into work every day. And we would love to call you our partner in improving not just the way you and your company communicate, but in improving our world.

So that's it, kiddos. In case you ever wondered who those crazy chicks over at In Every Language really are, that's it right there.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speak English Well, or You'll Get a Ticket - Racism in Alabama?

Speak English Well, or You'll Get a Ticket. That's the title of a Jay Reeves article appearing in Saturday's issue of the Atlanta Constitutional Journal. Sad part is, this title isn't trying to be sensationalist, it's being honest.

Trucker Manuel Castillo, a native Spanish speaker, was driving his rig through Alabama when he was pulled over by Alabama State Police for a routine check. Castillo, who speaks English on a third-grade level (like many other Alabamians, I fear), had a routine conversation with the officer about his license and registration, the truck inspection, and so on. According to the article, he didn't forsee any problems (he's been a trucker for 20 years and wasn't speeding), until the officer gave him a $500 ticket for--you guessed it--speaking English poorly.

I encourage you all to read the article on the ACJ's website. There will certainly be more details and information available there. This blog entry is basically my personal outlet for sharing the sheer absurdity of it all.

A $500 ticket for speaking English poorly? In Alabama? Come on, people.

This is sheer racism and discrimination. Even if the Alabama State Police are able to hide behind the federal law which requires anyone with a commercial driver's license to speak English well enough to talk with police, they hopefully won't be able to hide for long. I can understand the necessity of being able to deal with law enforcement. What I can't understand is sheer hatred. Were those native to Alabama able to pass this requirement as well, we'd have no issue. But, according to the ACJ article, Mr Castillo was cited because he had an accent. An accent. In Alabama.

Now, I'm a Southerner. I love the South. My own brother lives in Huntsville. But, come on! The Alabama Department of Education admits to a 16.7% high school drop-out rate. According to the Department's Alabama Reading Initiative presentation, available online, 15% of the State's third-graders (the level at which Mr Castillo speaks English) tested below proficiency on state and national reading exams. When it comes to speaking English well enough to drive a semi, maybe Alabama State Police are pulling over the wrong people. If this is not a hate law, as it seems so much to me to be, could someone tell me how many native Alabamans who speak poor English have also received a $500 fine?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tips for Working with Legal Interpreters

A few tips I came up with to help our legal clients better work with interpreters. If you have any to add, please feel free.

1) Work with professional interpreters, as opposed to bilingual grocers/wait staff/etc. You are a professional and your client expects professional service from you and everyone you contract on his/her behalf.

2) Ask for the right type of interpreter. For legal proceedings, a legal interpreter is the easy default; however, if you're deposing an doctor about a malpractice suit, then you might need an interpreter who's worked in medical situations as well. Make sure your interpreter specializes in the case's subject matter.

3) Request the right language. Many languages have multiple dialects. Spanish, for example, has 19 major dialectal forms.

4) For appointments slated to last longer than three hours, schedule two interpreters who will work in half-hour blocks. When working with only one interpreter, schedule regular breaks.

5) Allow for extra time. Everything everyone says will have to be said twice and, in addition, some languages simply take more words to say something than others. Spanish, for example, uses 33% more words to say something than English.

6) Prepare the interpreter. Provide him/her any police report, transcripts from preliminary hearings, and other materials. In cases where multiple translations are available, knowing the context will help your interpreter choose the correct one.

7) Practice working with the interpreter when you prepare your client for questioning. You'll get the kinks worked out ahead of time, everyone will look more polished, and your client will be more at ease.

8) Keep it in the first and second persons. Instead of telling the interpreter "Ask him where he was on the night of the 15th," say "Where were you on the night of the 15th?"

9) Be as precise as you can with your questions. Anything in your syntax that is unclear (i.e., dangling modifiers, unidentified pronouns like "it," double negatives), may be interpreted incorrectly.

10) Be aware that EVERYTHING you say will be interpreted, even if it's just to ask the secretary for more coffee.

11) Don't be surprised if your interpreter has questions about seemingly simple vocabulary words. What's only one word in our language could be one of many words in the other language, depending on the context. In French, for example, the English word meeting could be a "tête-à-tête," a "rendez-vous," a "conference," or even a "meeting."

(Blogger's note: Only after Tweeting this post did I realize I put this same article on the blog Tuesday, June 17, 2008. Must be something about June that makes me think legal! My apologies to those of you who are long-time readers.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Grant Awarded for Medical Interpreting

The following article written from staff reports is being reprinted from the June 15, 2009 issue of the Citizen-Times, a newspaper in Ashville, Nc:

"Buncombe medical society receives grant to expand interpreter network"

Buncombe County Medical Society Foundation has received a $7,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County to expand the WNC Interpreter Network into Henderson County.

WIN provides qualified and trained interpretation and translation services to medical practices and other agencies. WIN has provided interpretation services for 1,300 patients at 4,000 appointments in Buncombe County since its inception in 2005.

WIN will partner with the Blue Ridge Community Health Services to expand the availability of interpreters to physician practices at low cost.

“The expansion of WIN services into Henderson County will have a significant impact on our limited English proficient community,” said Jennifer Henderson, CEO of BRCHS. “We are excited to partner with BCMS and its innovative WIN program. Qualified interpreters through WIN will allow BRCHS to direct its own resources back to the community health center to address the significant health disparities of our patients and the community.”

(Blogger's note: Althea Gonzalez with the Buncombe County Medical Society will be speaking at the Second Annual Southeast Regional Medical Interpreter Conference this week at the University of Kentucky. More information available at

Monday, May 25, 2009

Training Students So They Can Leave?

This month's issue of The Lane Report is dedicated to "Kentucky's workforce getting smarter." The feature article discusses how recession is (or isn't) driving students into school and how Kentucky is one of only five states in the nation to have a drop in college enrollment.

What I found more interesting, however, is a table in the back of the issue supplied by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. It lists the number of bachelor's degrees awarded by public colleges in Kentucky by subject. I was very surprised to see that foreign language BA's were up. With an average that had been 95.2 foreign language graduates per year for 1999-2007, the Commonwealth's public colleges awarded 195 foreign language BA's in 2008.

While on the surface, this seems like a good thing, my question is, are we preparing them for nothing? Yes, there is a great deal you can do in Kentucky with a degree in foreign language. In addition to translating and interpreting, you can work in government, social service, tourism, journalism, and the list goes on. The jolly old fall-back I always heard was “You can teach.” And of course, the more successful graduates are always welcome to come apply to work for me. The jobs are there. And while the Kentuckians stepping out this spring to apply for them are, as The Lane Report puts it, getting smarter, is Kentucky?

Today, I lost my interpreting coordinator to Ohio. A talented employee with a true passion for learning, she and her fiance wanted to pursue PhD's and couldn’t get them in Kentucky. I know, I know, you CAN get a PhD in Kentucky. But can you get one in Spanish? Nope. Sorry, Charlie. No PhD’s in Spanish or French or German or in any other language for that matter. Simply put, if you want to learn a language at that level, Kentucky’s universities can't help you. In an economy striving to educate its workforce for survival, one of my best employees is having to leave the state in order to further her education. And now I'm trying to fill a position that wouldn't have even been open if Kentucky had offered my employee the opportunity to learn.

I understand the Commonwealth is doing all it can. I understand you can't be the best at everything. But I also understand that if these 195 students, plus their equivalents from private schools like Centre and Asbury, can't keep learning what they love best, they will learn it elsewhere. This is what smart people do: they go where they can grow.

So, what next Lane Report? Now that Kentucky’s workforce has gotten smarter, what will Kentucky do to keep them?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bob Dylan Thinks We're Cool?

Messing around on Sony's website today, I came up with this little Dylan video. You'll have to let me know what you think:

(I feel it important to add that Mr Dylan has NOT actually endorsed In Every Language in real life. In fact, he probably doesn't even know who we are.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Take My Word for It

See the importance of localization as shared by Dave Vance, the former president of Caterpillar University, which is part of the larger company Caterpillar, the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment:

12th Grader Shapes Translation History?

I don't know if anyone in the Millburn School District (New Jersey) had heard of machine translation before they met Hayden Metsky, but I'm sure they all have now.

According to yesterday's issue of the Independent Press, the local paper there in Millburn, New Jersey--wherever that is, the 12th grade Metsky and his teacher, Paul Gilmore, won an all-expense paid trip to Reno Nevada for the International Science and Engineering Fair. "As a finalist in the North Jersey Regional Science Fair, the preliminary competition for the ISEF, Mr. Metsky and three other students won trips for themselves and a teacher to the finals...He was also a finalist in the 2009 Intel Science Talent Search and in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology."

Young Metsky's project? "Improving Statistical Machine Translation Through Template-based Phrase-table Extensions," a title even I don't understand. And, from what I gathered from the Independent Press report, neither did the journalist who wrote the article. Only stating that the project "involves a method of improving translation between world languages [and that Metsky] created software aimed at increasing the accuracy of automated computer translation, called machine translation," the article doesn't discuss Metsky's project itself, only what machine translation is, something most people who care about the topic already know.

I personally would like to learn more about the student's project. Any effort to improve machine translation can only be a good thing, if not for the industry, then at least for the world. And the advancements have got to come from somewhere. To quote Common Sense Advisory guru, Renato Beninatto, a bit out of context, "Nothing will change until we keep trying to out-Trados Trados. Innovation requires paradigm shift to collaboration & real open source." Maybe Mr Metsky, then, is exactly what this industry needs. We grown-ups tend to have our politics, if not our corporate maneuverings, and I think it's really cool, for lack of a better word, that the latest advancement I've heard of has come from some kid in New Jersey.

Not to mention the fact that one of the top prizes in a recent science and engineering competition had to do with translation.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Centre College Thinks We're Cool

Okay. Revealing my "goober" side here, I have to share how happy I am to learn that "Translating & Interpreting" has been selected by Centre College as an alumni blog to feature. (The complete list can be viewed here.)

I graduated from Centre in 1999 and there are few things more I seek from this life than to make that College proud.

So, thanks, Centre, for picking me. I think you're pretty cool, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Civil Rights in Schools: Whose Issue Is It?

Much to my chagrin, I've only recently learned of Horne v Flores, a case that began in Arizona that has now reached the Supreme Court, having been heard on April 20th. In the legal works, so to speak, for 17 years, the case began with an English language learner (ELL) named Miriam Flores who was enrolled in public school in Nogales, Arizona.

According to the SCOTUS website, a group of parents and students filed suit on behalf of Miss Flores and other students learning English, claiming the district had "fail[ed] to take 'appropriate action' to overcome learning barriers for ELL students." In other words, they felt like these children weren't being given a fair shot because they were not native speakers of English.

Whether they were or they weren't treated fairly is now for the Supreme Court to decide, but where my question lies concerning this case is in the legislation that classifies the discrimination.

Citing "specific ELL requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001" and the Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974 (EEOA), the group's attorneys made a strong enough of a case to win in district court. But what I'm wondering in all of this is where's Title VI come into play?

I've spent a good part of my evening tonight looking over the SCOTUS site and reading different reports on the Horne v Flores hearing. To me, if the discrimination happened the way the plantiffs say it did, then we have a clear violation of Title VI, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be
denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." So, if these students were discriminated against because of their language (which is certainly linked to national origin) and since public schools do receive federal funding, how does Title VI not apply?

I realize this is a translating and interpreting blog, but when rights are chiseled away in one place, they tend to quickly be chiseled away in another. And Title VI certainly affects translators and interpreters to a profound and notable degree, if for no other reason than it guarantees we'll be required. So, I thought you, my dear readers, might find this interesting all the same.

Tell me what you think. Whose issue is it? Simply that of education legislators or that of the nation's civil rights laws as a whole?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Healthcare Providers Struggle with Language Support

While reading the ATA Newsbrief of the week, I came across this excerpt from Eliza Barclay's article "Speaking the Same Language" which ran in the Washington (DC) Post on April 21:

The growth of immigrant communities throughout the United States has been challenging for hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers that must negotiate lingual and cultural pitfalls. In the Washington, DC-area, there is a notable lack of language and cultural services in both large physician practices and small primary care clinics. Isabel van Isschot at La Clinica del Pueblo calls the failure to provide an interpreter "a form of discrimination." Immigrants with enough knowledge of English to get by at work may have a tougher time understanding doctors because of medical terminology. The cost of language services is a major issue for doctors and hospitals, who say the government should pay for the services. However, hospitals and physicians who accept federal funds are required to offer language services under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Some federal funding for interpreting services is accessible via Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, but only the state of California has made private insurers responsible for providing interpreting services to patients. Proponents say the issue is not a political priority. In Montgomery County, Maryland, Sonia Mora, Manager of the Latino Health Initiative in the Department of Health and Human Services, says language services have significantly improved during the past five years. Montgomery County provides professional medical interpreters to county clinics for free. "Now we're starting to see that it's going to save us money, because people are going to be healthier," Mora says.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Translation error makes Audi look racist

What difference do two words make? A lot, especially if you work in the PR department at Audi. Thanks to a recent translation error, the automobile maker advertised its Audi RS6 V10 biturbo as a bit more racist than racy. Having translated the original German model name as "White Power," the manufacturer quickly apologized, blaming a non-native English speaking PR department for the error.

"Due to a mistranslation of our latest project car - the Audi RS6 V10 biturbo - there were lots of radical right-wing rumors on all different blogs and pages that received our first press report. We distance ourselves from the project title - it was done by our press agency which obviously mistranslated our German project name into English. Furthermore we distance ourselves from anything that has to do with that group synonym and we would also like to say sorry if anyone got personally touched."

Now I'll be honest here and say that I own a translation company, but I don't think you have to have a vested interest to see the clear logic behind hiring professional translators to perform your translations. Translators translate and press agencies handle press, which I'm sure Audi has received a lot of since their error.

And that's my two cents on Audi's two words.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Death Threats, Interfering Daughters, & Other Worst Case Scenarios

I found out today that my presentation proposal to the Southeast Regional Medical Interpreter Conference was accepted. Entitled "Death Threats, Interfering Daughters, & Other Worst Case Scenarios," the presentation goes over some of the absolute worst things that can happen to you while interpreting, then highlights the portions of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care Code of Ethics designed to help interpreters deal with these and other situations.

Of course, to do this, I'm going to need loads of worst case scenarios. And while I've heard some doozies already, I'm willing to bet some of you reading this have had some really interesting things happen to you. So, feel free to email your worst-case scenarios to me (terenabell [at] ineverylanguage [dot] com) or post them here as comments and I'll do my best to include them. I'll leave whether you want credit on those up to you!

The Conference itself will be in Lexington at the University of Kentucky June 18-19. It's co-sponsored by the South Eastern Medical Interpreter's Association (SEMIA), the Medical Interpreter Network of Georgia (MING), the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT), and the Tennessee Association of Medical Interpreters (TAMIT). If you'd like to attend, registration information is available by clicking here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Multilingual Article Out

It's been a good month here at In Every Language, with the ATA Chronicle having recently published my and Madalena's article (please see post below) and with Multilingual running an article of mine this month. The virtual edition hit the e-stands today and the print issue should be in the mail for any of you who subscribe.

Called "LinkingIn and Face[book]ing Off," the article discusses the (non-)professional nature of social media, sharing the do's and don't's of using LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media tools for business purposes. After the print issue has had a little room to breathe, I'll run the quick pointers here on the blog.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ATA Chronicle Publication

Taking a bit of time to brag here, I and Madalena Sanchez, In Every Language's interpreting coordinator, recently teamed up to write an article on how freelance translators and interpreters can grow their client base, increase their rates, and make language service providers love them. This article was called, cleverly enough, "Grow Your Client Base, Increase Your Rates, and Make LSPs Love You: A How-to."

The article recently ran in the ATA Chronicle, which is the trade magazine for the American Translators Association. You can read it in its entirety here.

While this might not necessarily be as a good of a read for our clients, I hope our translators and interpreters will benefit a great deal from it, as well as anyone new to the profession who's stumbled across this blog. It discusses some simple business practices in our profession that might help those individuals to get more work.

Feel free to let me (terenabell at ineverylanguage dot com) and Madalena (madalena at ineverylanguage dot com) know what you think.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Obama Administration Cracks Down on Language Assistance Availability

It's been a while since I've updated the blog--too long of a while, in fact--and the news below was important enough to get me back into the swing of it. Abstracted from an article written by Nataly Kelly for Common Sense Advisory, please find information below on how the Obama administration and the US Department of Labor are cracking down on Title VI violations (full story here):

In January, the Common Sense Advisory predicted that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) would begin taking a stronger stance on language issues under the Obama administration ("Title VI Enforcement to Grow under Obama," Jan09). Two months later, this assertion is already proving to be true. As federal agencies prepare to hand out funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the DOJ issued an important reminder about the role of language.

The Department of Justice highlighted the fact that all recipients of federal dollars - and that includes private companies - must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which expressly prohibits national origin discrimination, "including language access for limited English proficient persons." In other words, before beneficiaries dole out AIG-sized bonuses, they would be wise to make sure that their budgets account for translation needs.

Like father, like son. State and local government agencies often take their cues from the federal government - and, because they too are often the recipients of federal dollars, Title VI is applicable to these folks too. In fact, the federal attention to language issues coincides with other state and industry-specific language access issues that have taken place since the new president entered the White House.

Even with cutbacks in many commercial accounts, beneficiaries of recovery monies - both public and private - will not be able to slash language services from their budgets without costly consequences. In fact, the DOJ is making the most of the opportunity to ensure that the funds are spent in compliance with federal law.