Do We Need a 12-Step Program?

We recently came across an extremely well-written, hilarious and very insightful article written by fellow translator Wendell Rickets of ProvenWrite (excellent business name). Wendell's article is spot-on and full of inspirational points for linguists. The short version is: stand up for yourself, demand to get paid what you are worth, and act like the professional linguist that you are. Wendell's article really hit home with a lot of translators, as evidenced by the more than 60 comments that have been left thus far. Translators unite! Thanks for a great article, Wendell. If you visit Wendell's site, be sure to check out his will-make-you-cringe "Hall of Shame" that features translations gone very, very wrong.

Two Entrepreneurial Lawyers/Linguists

A few days ago, we received an e-mail that two of the best legal translators (French<->English) had decided to go into business together. TransConnect Translations focuses, not surprisingly, on legal translations. We think their tag line is great: Translation for Lawyers by Lawyers. Congratulations, Marianne Reiner and Cindy Hazelton! We think theirs is an excellent, highly entrpreneurial idea: they have a native speaker in each language, can edit each other's work, and are both lawyers in addition to being linguists. We wish them much success in their partnership. We really like their very clean and easy-to-navigate website. Sounds like they really don't need to read our book, as they have plenty of entrepreneurial ideas themselves, but we'd like to thank them very much for buying it.

It's Official: Entrepreneurial Linguist Book Now Available

One year, hundreds of drafts, two hundred pages, two writers, eleven chapters, several dozen revisions, lots of sleepless nights, lots of second-guessing everything, dozens of logo and cover designs, three editors, one cartoonist, and one lay-out guru later: we have a book! We are delighted to announce that our book, "The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation" is now available for sale. We decided to self-publish through, and while our book will be available through other online retail channels, we kindly ask those interested in buying the book to support Lulu and the authors by buying the book on Lulu!

We have given up on trying to create the perfect book (because there is no such thing), but are quite happy with the results. We hope you enjoy the book, which is a true labor of love. We appreciate the many pre-orders and all the interest in our book. Note: Lulu is still working out a few display issues on the page, which we are aware of. To read more about the book and to order it, please visit our Entrepreneurial Linguist website.

ATA Mid-Year Finance Seminar: Register Now

May 1 -2 is an important holiday weekend in many European and Latin American countries, but in the U.S., it is just another late-spring weekend. For those of you looking for continuing education points to keep your ATA certification current, those who did not have a chance to go to the ATA annual conference in New York, and those of you who specialize in financial translation: the ATA/DVTA finance seminar might be for you. The seminar, which will be held in Philadelphia, is conveniently located for all those East Coast linguists who might not be able to attend the annual conference, which is in Denver this year.

The ATA is holding this seminar in conjunction with the Delaware Valley Translators Association (DVTA), which was kind enough to invite Judy as the speaker for Sunday morning. She has a tough act to follow -- former ATA president Marian Greenfield and Stephanie Tramdack Cash, a well-known financial translator and former securities analyst. Judy hopes to see/meet many of her colleagues in Philadelphia. To register for the conference, please visit the ATA's website.

Google Docs Gets Even Better

As many of our readers might know, we are big Google fans and love Google Docs, which lets you collaborate on documents with colleagues from around the world. It's a very powerful, user-friendly tool. As with all things Google, the interface is simple and clean, and yes, it is free. We thought Google Docs was quite impressive before, but the company just released a new version with many upgrades. Our favorite is the sidebar chat, which lets you chat with collaborators in real time as you are working on a document. In addition, Google Docs now shows you character-by-character changes as they are being made without the need to refresh the page. The folks at Google have put together a short video explaining all the powerful updates. Get started with Google docs here.

How Many Linguists Does It Take..... organize an entire one-day conference? Apparently, if you are highly organized and ambitious, it only takes a grand total of two. Those of you who, just like us, serve on boards of directors of your local, state, or national associations are probably cringing at the thought of organizing an entire conference with just two people,. There is more: two Dutch linguists organized an entire conference without the help of an association, as their national assiociation is not very active. Impressive, right?

Judy met Annie Tadema and Astrid van der Weert at the 50th Annual American Translators Association conference in New York City, where they presented her with a very clever gift that we blogged about here. Right from the start, Judy knew that Astrid and Annie, who run their translation business out of Utrecht, were quite creative and driven. Now they have organized a conference for June 4 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Judy is absolutely delighted to have been invited as the keynote speaker. The event will take place at the gorgeous Central Museum in Utrecht (see pictures), and the program, which includes well-known Dutch linguist Cora Bastiaansen, looks fantastic. Unfortunately, we don't speak any Dutch, but could get the gist of the conference announcement through our German. And we hate to say it: Google Translate does come in handy for these things. You can view the conference announcement here. We are both going to the event, and are very much looking forward to it.

Billing: What We Learned

Without a doubt, payment and billing issues are not on the top of our list of favorite things. However, the reality of running a small business includes occassional complications and snafus with billing. We recently learned a simple, but important lesson and wanted to share it with our readers.

Last month, Judy did an interpretation assignment for a major insurance company. Everything went really well, and as is customary for us, Judy issued the invoice the very same day the services were rendered. Our maximum allowable payment time came and went (30 days), and then Judy followed up with the client, who is a very busy claims management professional. He was eager to help, but inquired whether we had the claim number (we did not, we never had it) or the claimants' names (Judy wrote them down during the assignment, but had recycled her interpreting notes). Hence, we had none of the information the client would need to expedite this process. It is not the first time we have done business with this client, and this info was never needed before. However, lesson learned: as soon as we accept a project from them, we will ask for the claim number and the claimants' names and put all that information both on the project quote and invoice. This will make the payment process easier on the client's accounting department and hopefully help expedite the process. Payment is still outstanding, but we hope for a quick resolution.
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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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