The 5Ws: Advice for Emerging Translators & Interpreters (Part 2)

01/01/2023 07:27 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

What is the WHAT?
by Teodosia Rivera 

Hello everyone, and welcome back! For our second installment, I would like to circle back to a question I posed last time. It’s a question that all new and emerging translators and interpreters tend to ask themselves from time to time: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know? As a guide to answering this question, I proposed the 5Ws method, that is: the who, what, where, when, and why of your decision to embark on this journey.

In part one we answered the WHO? question, and we established that you are the embodiment of the success you want to achieve. You can check out our first installment of this five-part series here on the Northwest Linguist Blog. Today, we will tackle the WHAT?

The WHAT? question here is twofold:

  1. What is your ultimate goal? and, 
  2. What do you possess that guarantees you can reach that goal? 
Your ultimate goal, for example, could be to have more than one specialization for more marketability. Another goal could be to have your own business and train other language professionals to find their niche in the industry. As for what you possess, think of it this way: if you are the embodiment of the success you want to achieve, what is it about you that makes that so? 

HINT: Jot down your answers to questions one and two above either in the “Notes” space in your phone or on post-its in your office. If you’re like me, your mind may play tricks on you when you are trying to remember what you need to remember at a given time or place; been there, done that, right? 

Here (below) are some DOs and DON’Ts I believe can guide you to answer these two questions on a more personal level:

This is the second installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters. The next three installments will be released periodically over the coming months. Subscribe to the
 NW Linguist Blog and to NOTIS News Quarterly, our—you guessed it—quarterly newsletter, here.

Have you got a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, by emailing

Teodosia Rivera has been working as a professional translator and interpreter since 2018. She is a member of ATA’s Interpreters Division, Spanish Language Division, and Translation Company Division, in addition to two ATA chapters: the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF) and the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Teodosia has established her own business since participating in professional development in the language profession. She brings with her the background of a classroom teacher after teaching for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

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