The 5Ws for Emerging Translators & Intepreters: Part 5 (final)

05/29/2024 02:21 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

by Teodosia Rivera

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve come to the last segment of the 5Ws series, the “Why.” It all began with my proposed 5Ws method (who, what, where, when, and why) for emerging translators and interpreters.

As we go back and reread each of the previous four segments, a guiding question remains: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know? I believe by now that the reasons each of us has joined and remained in the language profession can be found intertwined in how we’ve answered the first 4Ws in this series. Here is how:

  1. When you are clear about WHO you are (or visualize yourself to be) as a translator or interpreter, that idea can help you define why you’ve chosen to pursue a path in the language profession.
  2. When WHAT to do or what to avoid as an emerging T&I professional becomes second nature to you, the why becomes more evident.
  3. WHERE your language skills and financial stability reach new heights, and you have discovered a niche for your professional work, your success justifies being a professional translator or interpreter. 
  4. Then comes the WHEN. As you launch your new career in the language profession, knowing the right time to revitalize your language skills, network with other professionals in the industry, and keep yourself healthy all around are more than enough reasons to cultivate your commitment to the linguist in you.
  5. The answer to WHY is obvious: Why not?!

We all may have different reasons for being the linguists we are today. But whatever specialty we find ourselves in today, we share a common thread: We love working with languages and using them to create connections, and we are ready and willing to support our peers—especially the emerging T&I professionals that surround us.

I hope the 5Ws series has helped you discover new ways to look at the profession we all love. Please share your reflections in the comment section below!

Have a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment below or, if you prefer a less public sphere, 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, having taught for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

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