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  • 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.

  • 05/18/2024 09:55 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    The Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society welcomes content submissions for our blog and newsletters on a rolling basis (submit by October 10 to be considered for a 2024 publication)—and we want to hear from you!

    This is an excellent opportunity to put your name and your voice out there, to draw attention to your work, and to be recognized by your peers.

    The Northwest Linguist & NOTIS News Quarterly, the official printed publications of NOTIS, are designed to share organization and industry news, useful tips, fun facts, and educational pieces with our members.

    We are currently accepting submissions in the following areas:

    Articles or essays on:

    • approaches to translation
    • interpretation skills
    • translation reviews
    • T&I technology (AI, MT, etc.)
    • local language access developments
    • legislation affecting language professionals
    • your personal/professional experiences in the industry
    • and more…

    Translations of:

    • poems
    • short prose pieces or excerpts
    • recipes
    • songs
    • etcetera…

    Plus: Comics, memes, bloopers, and other bits of humor!

    Submissions should be written in English and should fall somewhere between 200 and 800 words (longer pieces will be considered for the blog or the annual newsletter; shorter pieces, for our quarterly newsletters or blog). Relevant images may also be submitted alongside or independent of the written piece.

    If submitting a translation, please send both the original version and the translation. Copyright notes and source references should be included as well, if applicable.

    Submissions will be evaluated by the NOTIS Publications Committee and edited for content, grammar, and space limitations.

    Please send your submissions and other queries to our publications editor, Brianna Salinas, at We look forward to publishing your work!

    With best wishes from:
    The NOTIS Publications Team

  • 05/12/2024 10:00 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    NOTIS recently conducted a survey to gauge member satisfaction, with the goal of using the information gathered to learn more about our members and to improve our services, programming, resources, and communication with your needs in mind.

    Below, you will find a summary of the results (with charts scattered throughout).

    We were surprised to see so much representation (7) in British Columbia! Nearly all the responses not shown here (from pages 2 and 3 of the drop-down menu) are from members in B.C. (or “BC,” or “BC, Canada,” and so forth), plus one in Minnesota and one in South Carolina.

    The survey was distributed by email to all 835 active NOTIS members, 168 of whom responded. Given that NOTIS is almost entirely volunteer-run, we were thrilled that over 77% of respondents were either satisfied or extremely satisfied.

    Survey respondents praised the “committed and engaged volunteer leadership” who exhibit a great deal of “care and support for their members,” as well as “energy, enthusiasm, and desire” to do good work for our Society and the greater T&I community.

    Chart #3 depicts an active and diverse Society: “We are NOTIS.”

    Our members expressed interest in seeing the following — or more of the following — from NOTIS

    • Local gatherings
    • Support for professional development and certification preparation
    • A greater variety of continuing education courses (in-person and on-demand), specifically on the topics of ethics, legal interpreting, and medical interpreting
    • More workshops on translation and translation technology tools

    There were many other great suggestions, too, and they have been shared with the relevant NOTIS committees for their consideration!

    Lines 1 and 6 are the same, resulting in a total of 50 votes for “local gatherings in different areas.”

    We hear you! Currently, and thanks in part to your valuable feedback, we are working on:

    Moreover, we recently inaugurated a new committee — Member Care & Development — that is already working hard to develop T&I support groups and other new member-centered activities.

    Our heartfelt thanks to all who took time from their busy schedules to share their thoughts and feelings with us. We are grateful to all of you, not only for your participation in our Society, but also for the important work you do every day to improve language access, represent our profession, and bridge barriers in the PNW and beyond. Thank you.

    If you would like to follow up on something you mentioned in the survey, share any specific requests, or offer to help in some way, please consider emailing us at social@notisnet.orgPlease also consider joining the Board of Directors, which is seeking a few energetic new members to begin in January 2025. 

  • 04/24/2024 10:47 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)


    In addition to the effects of the paradox whereby a translation is judged better the more invisible it is, scholarly translation can be lonely in part because it has no clear territory in the professional world of translation and interpretation. It is neither technical nor literary; it lands squarely in the region between art and craft.

    I can’t deny it: it feels great to be recognized and praised for my craft by my peers. After all, it’s the closest thing to an Oscar I could ever hope for in my field! And the big, fat cherry on top is how the prize committee members expressed their recognition: they called my translation “smart and clear, with extremely precise word choices and a sense of musicality that surpasses the craft of other translations.” (See the full statement here.) That’s the greatest compliment a translator could ask for.

    The truth is, receiving the Modern Language Association prize has upped my self-esteem and given me a new appreciation for my practice. Of course, happiness comes from within, and the satisfaction we get from our work should come primarily from doing it. And yet… the truth is, as a translator of the humanities — I’m talking about philosophy and literary theory, history of all sorts, anthropology, literary criticism, and so forth — I have sometimes felt left out of the spotlight that literary translators can aspire to. Translators of literature have the potential to go on book launch tours, to receive royalties, to give interviews, to appear on social media. Let’s face it: there can be a lot of buzz about literature (poetry, novels, short stories) that rarely surrounds academic work. Maybe that’s because literature is accessible to everyone: it does not put up the intellectual barriers that some academic jargon does.

    Still, in addition to the effects of the paradox whereby a translation is judged better the more invisible it is, scholarly translation can be lonely in part because it has no clear territory in the professional world of translation and interpretation. It is neither technical nor literary; it lands squarely in the region between art and craft.

    Because accuracy is paramount when it comes to communicating ideas, scholarly translators first need to do scads of research to understand their authors’ ideas. Then they need to track down source language quotations in the target language, if they exist in authorized translations, and update footnotes with new titles and page numbers in line with a newly compiled target-language bibliography. There’s also terminology to attend to, which may need to be adapted in the quotes, since it must be consistent across the entire text for the author’s ideas to make sense to the reader. Normally we think of terminology as a technical translator’s purview, but, when it comes to translating philosophy, for example, terminological consistency is just as vital. Scholarly translators need to consider the way keywords from antiquity like Form, Idea, and Nature have been passed down through centuries of translations — from Greek, to Arabic, to Latin, to English, for instance. And then there’s the modern tradition of translating Heidegger, which alone would require an essay to explain why one must never confuse Being, uppercase B, with being, lowercase b (or with ‘beying', for that matter, and that’s not a typo!).

    All this negotiation between past and present and established lexical traditions requires massive attention to detail, but the result must be expressed in a prose (or poetry, as in my prize-winning book, On Modern Poetry by Guido Mazzoni) that honors the author’s style and verbal nuance, so important for this genre.

    Scholarly translators like me walk the line, with every sentence, between communicating like a technical translator and painting with words like a literary translator. Thanks to the commitment this practice requires, every book feels like a tremendous achievement and a true collaboration with the author. It feels miraculous to me to be able to transmit ideas from one tradition of thought to another, without distorting or losing their sense.

    I can’t wait for there to be a NOTIS Division of Scholarly Translation, with conferences and journals all about my field. But, in the meantime, winning this prize has given me and my practice that extra little bit of visibility I was craving. And while it may not exactly create a buzz, it does make me glow with pride! Thank you, MLA!

    P.S. If you’re thinking of translating a scholarly work and wonder what it involves, or you just want to learn more about the practices of scholarly translation, join me for a NOTIS webinar on the topic on November 7th, 6-7 pm. Click here to register!

  • 03/17/2024 09:21 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As you may have heard, Minnesota judiciary interpreters recently went on strike for a pay increase, with the goal of restoring their 1997 purchasing power.

    After seven weeks of strike, they succeeded in getting an increase. More detailed information from Minnesota is attached to this message (scroll down).

    NOTIS wrote a letter in support of the interpreters to the Minnesota courts in January, and we congratulate our Minnesota colleagues on their victory! Many Washington judicial interpreters received calls from Minnesota courts asking them to work there while their interpreters were striking, and many of them chose not to take those jobs in solidarity with their colleagues.

    Working together we can achieve so much!

    NOTIS Advocacy Committee

    From: MN Court Interpreters
    To: MN Court Interpeters
    Subject: Back to work on February 26!

    Esteemed colleagues,

    Today is Friday, February 23, 2024. This is a landmark date for us as the seventh week of our work stoppage comes to a close; a date that in years to come will be referred to as the Before/After of the recognition of the professionalism and excellence of court interpreters in Minnesota. The sacrifices we all have made have already resulted in many wins, and more are yet to come!

    The past 7 weeks of the work stoppage have proven to be extremely effective in raising awareness of our profession and gaining incredible support.

    As we return to work in the courts this Monday, February 26, our solidarity and engagement remain imperative as we move into the next phase of our work.

    We must continue putting the pressure on the Minnesota Judicial Branch and the Judicial Council by regularly reaching out to our representatives and asking for their support.

    We have had historic success in several fronts:

    1. We are united! We sustained seven weeks of hardship to ask for what we’ve been due for the last two decades. Not in our wildest dream did we.. or the MJB or the JC… ever think we could pull this off with a united front. We proved them wrong! Be proud!
    2. We garnered the support of our colleagues nationwide, national professional associations, members of the legislature and all levels of the judicial system, the press, and the public at large.
    3. We secured a face-to-face with Judge Michelle Lawson, Vice Chair of the Minnesota Judicial Council, and Jeff Shorba, State Court Administrator. Judge Lawson and Jeff Shorba expressed openness to more meetings.
    4. We succeeded in sitting and observing at a council meeting, and drawing attention to our cause.
    5. We testified before the Judiciary and Civil Law Committee of the House of Representatives, and in no uncertain terms told them that we are just getting started. Representative Sandra Feist spoke in our support, and the MJB moved us up to second place on the priority list. Jeff Shorba presented and requested money in a non-budget year. Committee Chair Jamie Becker-Finn has also expressed her support.
    6. In an amazing turn after years of disconnect, ASL-CDI and spoken language interpreters are now a united front, and we have come to realize that there is more in common than there are differences among us.
    7. We have an invitation from Senator Ron Latz, the Chair of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, to testify before an informational session.

    Our work is not done. We all contributed in some way, but in order to reach our goals, we all need to remain actively engaged. It is our responsibility to participate to be able to enjoy our wins, and learn from our mistakes. Let us not stop here! There is a lot left to do.

    Yours truly,
    The Steering Committee


    Some of our many supporters include:

    • American Alliance of Professional Translators and Interpreters
    • American Translator’s Association
    • Assistant Public Defenders and Core Staff
    • Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Erica Davis - Private Criminal Defense Attorney
    • House Judiciary Finance Committee Chair Becker-Finn
    • House Judiciary Finance Committee Rep Feist
    • Indivisible Twin Cities advocacy organization
    • Interpreter Colleagues Nationwide
    • Katherian Roe, Federal Defender
    • Kelly Vargas - Leader of the NE Interpreter Advocacy Efforts
    • KIS Interpreting Services
    • Michael Lander, retired attorney
    • Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Minnesota Public Radio
    • National Association of Judicial Interpreters and Translators
    • Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society
    • Sandro Tomassi - court interpreter & author of legal dictionaries
    • Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance Committee Chair Ron Latz
    • Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy
    • The MN Reformer
    • The Sahan Journal
    • The Star Tribune
    • The Teamsters Local 320
    • Think Self - Advocacy Organization for the deaf, deaf/blind and hard of hearing
    • Tony Rosado - Globally recognized expert on interpretation

  • 02/02/2024 03:33 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    The 2024 Seattle/King County Clinic is coming up — and they need volunteer interpreters! The clinic will be open all day from Thursday, February 15, through Sunday, February 18, at the Seattle Center.

    There is high demand for ASL, Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese interpreters — but speakers of other languages are encouraged to volunteer as well.

    Volunteers are also needed for set-up, take-down, and post-clinic eyeglasses distribution (end of March).

    For complete details and to sign up for a shift/shifts, visit


    The SKCC is a free annual clinic providing medical, dental, and vision services to those in need. The clinic serves several thousand people annually (3,066 in 2023) without discrimination. In fact, the SKCC is designed to supersede traditional barriers to quality care. Regardless of income, English language proficiency, housing, immigration, or insurance status — anyone can come in for treatment. No ID or appointment required.


    To help your neighbors in need, and to ensure all patients receive compassionate and quality care in the language they know best.

    In the words of previous volunteers:

    “What was amazing was the coming together of a community from all walks of life. It didn’t matter what organization you were from, in that moment, that day, we were all there to serve one purpose, help those who were in need. What a singular, powerful opportunity.”
    — Anonymous Clinic Volunteer

    “My wife and I have been participating in the event since 2018, and I have lots of fond memories. It has been very rewarding for us. Plus, we run into a lot of friends that we normally don't see very often and we’ve made a lot of new friends as well. One year, I worked side by side with my baby daughter, (Stephanie is a King County Deputy Sheriff) one time at event, we dealt with domestic violence, human trafficking and mental health (suicidal behavior). There’s never a dull moment.
    Howard Chou, Clinic Volunteer and NOTIS Board Member (pictured above, far left; and to the right with his daughter)

    “I am forever changed as a result of participating in this event.”
    — Anonymous Clinic Volunteer

  • 01/20/2024 10:52 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    It is with both sorrow and gratitude that we inform you of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Jean Marcel Jules Leblon. Jean touched the lives of many during his long and storied time here, and, among his innumerable accomplishments, he played a pivotal role in the establishment of NOTIS in 1988. We thank him for his service, to NOTIS and to the broader translation and interpreting community. While we mourn his departure, we choose today to celebrate the life he lived and the lasting impact he made.

    Please find Jean's obituary below, and feel welcome to leave any comments or memories of him in the comments section below.

    Jean Marcel Jules Leblon
    June 7, 1928 - November 16, 2023

    Jean Leblon of Seattle, Washington, a French professor and translator who worked vigorously and professionally for 62 years for multiple universities and organizations, passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 16, 2023, following a brief hospitalization and stay in a loving adult family care home.

    Jean was the devoted husband to Mary, his wife of 55 years, who passed away in 2007, as well as the devoted father of two daughters, Mitzi and Simone. His storybook life began in the village of St.-Remy near the French-speaking medieval town of Chimay in southern Belgium, where he was born to Marcelle and Alfred Leblon. He came into the world 10 years after the end of the Great War and only 11 years before the start of WWII, resulting in a very grim wartime adolescence. Jean befriended young GIs serving in the fields near his home, and at 18 was invited to visit the US, where in one of the men’s hometowns of Emporia, Kansas, he was offered the opportunity to attend college at the Kansas State Teachers’ College, earning his bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish. Having met his wife Mary there, he then moved to Connecticut and earned his Ph.D. in French Philology and Literature at Yale in 1960. He then began a tireless, energetic teaching career with posts at Connecticut College, CCNY, Hollins College, and Vanderbilt University as French and Italian Department Chair, including the chairmanship of its French program in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1967 and 1968. He retired from this first career in 1987 when he and Mary moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began a second career at Microsoft as Translator, French Terminologist, Copy editor, and Localizer until his second retirement in 1995. After this date, Jean started his own translation business, working with the French Consulate General in San Francisco, teaching in the Bellevue College Translation and Interpretation Institute, and translating documents for the general public referred to him well into his 90’s.

    In addition to all these activities, Jean was involved in research and publication as well as a myriad amount of extra-curricular activities: such as 20 years as examiner at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the College Board, 10 years as trainer of African teachers in the Peace Corps, as a member of the board of the American Translation Association, co-creating in 1988 the Northwest Interpreters and Translators Society, serving as president of the Alliance Française of Seattle and board member of the American Association of Teachers of French as well as of the Seattle Nantes Sister City Association. In 2003, Jean became “Chevalier dans l’Order des Palmes Académiques”, presented by the Consul General of France at the Alliance Française of Seattle.

    And throughout it all, Jean was passionate about the many pleasures in life: travel, the joys of the table, new places and new experiences. He loved participating in community theater productions throughout his adult life. He was considered a “walking encyclopedia” by his many associates, with his extensive teaching expertise and erudition. He was a man committed to his connections with his Belgian family and to deep, lasting friendships that nourished and replenished him at every turn. His friends and colleagues most often cited his kindness, his extensive knowledge, his generosity of spirit, his vigor: as his Seattle-Nantes colleague shared, “I was always in awe of Jean’s adventurous spirit: taking driving trips all over Belgium and France at an advanced age — really being a role model for those of us in our eighties”. Another colleague from Seattle-Nantes shared, that Jean was “one of his most cherished friends, with a 35-year friendship that I would have loved to continue”. And, as his former student at Vanderbilt-in-France who became his lifelong friend, shared: “he was that splendid combination of such a good heart, an incredibly sound mind and deep soul”. His bonhomie and joie de vivre will be sorely missed by all.

    Survivors include his daughters Mitzi Leblon-Ledingham (Gordon) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Simone Leblon of Seattle, Washington; grandchildren Cameron Ledingham of Seattle and Sophie Ledingham of Portland, Oregon; brother Claude Leblon of Chimay, Belgium, and six nieces and nephews and their families.

    Jean will be laid to rest in Emporia, Kansas next to his wife Mary. Another memorial for Jean will be held in Chimay at a later date to be determined, in order for his beloved Belgian family and friends to celebrate him.

  • 01/02/2024 02:44 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As we reflect on 2023, we at NOTIS would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the pillars of our Society: our members, volunteers, employees, sponsors,  speakers, event attendees, and, in general, all of our colleagues in the varied fields of translation and interpreting. Your dedication to our community does not go unnoticed, and we thank you for the vital work you do each day.

    This past year marked a significant chapter for the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS), and we could not have done it, any of it, without you. Together, in 2023, we:

    • Celebrated 35 years  of supporting, educating, connecting, and inspiring language professionals in and around our 5-state territory (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, and Idaho)
    • Surpassed 700, then 800 — then nearly 900 — members: a testament to the growing strength of our community
    • Inaugurated an online Ethics Panel, a platform for interpreters, translators, and those working with language professionals to seek expert advice on their most pressing ethics questions
    • Developed our on-demand webshop program, ensuring easy access to valuable content and CEUs for all
    • Published high-quality content on our blog and in our quarterly newsletters, written by and for NOTIS members and the wider T&I public
    • Elevated the online presence of our literary group, the NW Literary Translators, with a dedicated webpage and a sales page on
    • Awarded 6 Membership Development Grants, affording members the opportunity to attend major national conferences and further their professional development
    • Hosted numerous in-person events, including our German Translation Slam, Summer Picnic, Holiday Party, and — the highlight of them all — our Annual ITD Conference
    • Engaged with some of the best in the literary and publishing worlds at the AWP Book Fair
    • Forged and fortified connections at ALTA46 and ATA64
    • Offered one of the most comprehensive continuing education calendars in recent years.

    Thank you for your support! We look forward to another year of collaboration, learning, advocacy, and community building.

    To a new year filled with peace, harmony, and happiness,
    The NOTIS Board of Directors & Staff

    P.S. A special shout-out — a special thank you — to the American Translators Association (ATA), of which NOTIS is a proud regional chapter. 

    P.P.S. We welcome you to read our full 2023 Annual Report here (clicking this link will prompt an automatic download). 

  • 11/26/2023 03:47 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Dear colleagues,

    The challenging question for newcomers to the language profession continues to be: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know? Answering this question takes some reflective thinking. The 5Ws method used in this series offers guidance to new T&I professionals.

    In this, the fourth installment of this series, we explore the “When?” of the 5Ws with the following questions:

    1) When is it a good time to accept a translation or interpreting job? 2) When is it productive to negotiate rates? 3) When should one engage in learning more about the profession? 4) When is a good time to seek certification in any specialty? 5) When do we know we’ve reached the point where mental overload could affect our health and performance?

    Here are some suggested answers to these questions:

    1. When accepting a translation or interpreting job, ensure you are qualified to perform well. Never say yes to a job when it is unrelated to your expertise in the field. It can backfire, and your professionalism may be called into question. You always want to be at the top of your game. I’ll offer an example: Early in my interpreting career, I accepted an offer received via email, but I quickly discovered that I needed more training to prepare to work professionally. Fortunately, during that experience, my booth partner was a seasoned and skilled interpreter. She rescued me multiple times. I felt inadequate. In the end, she encouraged me to work harder at mastering relevant glossaries before accepting the next interpreting assignment — and she was right.
    2. When negotiating rates, ask other professionals if you do not know the going rate for translation or interpreting work, mileage, or lodging expenses for overnight events. You may need to call, email, or text that person. Belonging to a local ATA chapter gives you unlimited opportunities to do this.
    3. When you know you need to improve your skills, you must act accordingly. You don’t want to be unprepared as a language professional. The field is always evolving. Staying current and actively sharpening your skills in your language pair is vital.
    4. When the opportunity arises to join a certification study group, don’t miss it. Do everything within your reach to get certified as you work towards your goal. (In the first installment of this series, you can find tips on discovering “Who” you want to become in the language profession.)
    5. When, in your heart of hearts, you find yourself headed toward a mental overload, seek help. The high calling to interpret or translate demands highly skilled professionals. But this demand for accuracy and professionalism in all areas of the language industry does not come without a cost—your physical and emotional well-being. Make it a top priority to discover how healthy habits in nutrition, exercise and other daily activities that provide balance and peace of mind can keep you on track and fuel your productivity as a new language professional.

    Combining all five steps above will help prepare you to embark, well-equipped, on the great adventure you have chosen toward a career in T&I. 

    This is the fourth installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters.

    Read the first installment, “Who?”, here,  the “What?” here, the “Where?” here, and stay tuned for the final installment: the “Why?” 

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

  • 10/25/2023 11:15 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Teodosia Rivera 

    Hello, everyone. It’s good to be back with the third segment of the five-part series for T&I newcomers. If you’re reading this blog for the first time, this series is based on my original proposed 5Ws method (who, what, where, when, and why) for emerging translators and interpreters. I want to take you back to the question that prompted this series, a question that might cause the newbie translator's heart to skip a beat: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know?

    Becoming a language professional may seem like a daunting task. And that’s because it is. However, we are not alone. As has been my experience, your colleagues are willing to mentor and guide you along the way. The 5Ws method is precisely that, from me to you: a guide to help you navigate the waters of the language industry as newbies in the field.

    The first installment discussed ‘who’ we aim to become when we enter the language arena. Ultimately, we must embody the success we want to achieve.

    In our second post, we focused on the ‘What’ of the 5Ws. There, we delved into some DOs and DON’Ts for new language professionals. For example, do keep a goal in mind, a destination you want to reach. But don’t lose sight of your goal; you’re in the driver’s seat toward your new destination.

    Today, we zero in on the ‘Where.’ So, where do language pros work? Well, the answer is everywhere! ‘How so?,’ you may ask. The answer is in the language profession: language is how we exchange information globally.

    As translators and interpreters, we are the bridges that bring people together. Wherever language communication is broken, language translators and interpreters mend, narrow, or eliminate the gap. So, welcome! Your task as a language professional is truly fundamental. And yes, we really are everywhere. The question for you is this: Where are your skills best suited to be invested? Where will your passion for the profession produce the most satisfaction and the greatest reward in the long run?

    Let’s look at some specialized areas to see where you will be most likely to succeed without regrets:

    1. Do you enjoy working in the medical field? Then, you should consider training to be certified as a medical language professional.
    2. Are you someone who enjoys legal proceedings and facilitating communication in the court setting? Then, take the necessary steps to become a certified legal translator or interpreter.
    3. Perhaps you seek variety and prefer to work in various locations, such as educational settings, social services, or community advocacy. Community interpreter, then, is your path. (Medical and legal are sometimes intertwined in this area.)
    4. A fourth option is to interpret or translate in diplomatic settings.
    5. A fifth—for insatiable readers, lovers of puzzles, and truly creative types—is literary translation. 
    6. Are you always eager to learn more and don’t want to commit to one field? You can do it all from home as a freelance technical translator. 
    7. Does your background include advanced training in biology, engineering, philosophy, linguistics (the list goes on!)? Are you an academic through and through? Then scholarly translation may be your niche.
    8. There are also location-dependent touring opportunities with foreign clients...

    Where can language professionals work? The opportunities are endless, as you can see, and so are the locations. Wherever a language gap is formed—from the local law enforcement agency to the highest court—the language professional becomes the beacon of hope for people on both sides of the bridge.

    So take heart, colleagues. I will tell you a secret: I have heard from those who have been in the industry longer than we have that we are all on a learning journey because the profession is constantly evolving. Know you are not alone. I know I am not alone. We are in this together.

    A few more words of advice:

    • Find a mentor as soon as you feel sidetracked. It will help you. It helped me during my first year in the field.
    • Be honest with yourself. Wherever you are in your professional journey, it is never too late to ask for help. Remember, wherever you find yourself—at a webinar, conference, or another social event hosted by your local ATA chapter or affiliate—we are ubiquitous.
    • Once you have made a connection, let her or him know you are looking for a mentor. My experience has been that they are more than willing to help because they have been there—where you are—themselves. You will be glad you did. They, too, are everywhere, like all of us.

    This is the third installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters. Read the first installment, “Who?”, here and the “What?” here. The final two installments will be released in the coming months. Subscribe to the
     NW Linguist Blog and to NOTIS News Quarterly, our—you guessed it—quarterly newsletter, here.

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

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