Happy Update: Helping a Colleague Recover

(Update: We have removed the donate button because this campaign has concluded. We are beyond grateful to all our friends and colleagues who have contributed. We are happy to report that Álvaro  now has a full-time court interpreting position in California and is doing much better! We raised more than $10,000 for Álvaro and his wife. Hard to believe, but true! See  here for the final update).

This last post of the year is, without a doubt, our most personal and most important entry. It's a follow-up to our post about the donation efforts for Álvaro   Degives-Más. The last 48 hours, since we posted a blog entry about our dear colleague's medical and financial troubles, has generated so much interest that we've barely been able to catch up on e-mails! We have cried a lot -- but it's happy tears. Every time a donation hits our inbox, our family (we are on vacation in Los Angeles) cheers loudly -- even while driving (OK, we will stop that). The outpour of generosity has been so tremendous that we now have renewed faith in the goodness of humanity. We are absolutely floored by our friends' and colleagues' response. Álvaro Degives-Más and his wife Trish want each and every single donor to know that their gratitude can simply not be expressed in words. Here is a short overview of what's happened:
  • We posted the blog post at 11 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday, December 28. By the end of December 29, we had raised $400. By December 30, we were up to $960. As of 8 a.m. Pacific today, the last day of the year, we are up to an astonishing $3,000. It's hard to believe, but it's true.
  • Yesterday, we spoke to Trish,  Álvaro's wife, who was moved to tears when we gave her the good news. She really did need some good news!  Álvaro was sleeping, trying to recover from his heart attack. We transferred $1,800 of the funds raised yesterday (we kept some in the fund because we received some e-checks that had not cleared). Since then, we've raised an additional $1,200.
  • We've sent a thank-you note to every donor. The donations are coming in faster than we can send out notes -- wow!
  • We have received donations in a wide variety of amounts, from $2 to $475 (really).
  • The donations have come in from more than 20 countries: Israel, Peru, Argentina, Denmark, UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, US, etc.
  • How did we do it? We blogged, twittered, e-mailed hundreds of friends and family, and asked permission to post this information on listservs of several professional organizations, including the American Translators Association. We are still completely floored by the response. 
  • Even though PayPal charges some fees, we've been happy with their service. Our IT guru did some research and found that it was indeed the best way to get donations from around the world.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. We've included the donate button once more in case you are interested in supporting this cause. Have a happy and health 2012!

The True Spirit of Christmas: Helping a Colleague Recover

(Update: We have removed the donate button because this campaign has concluded. We are beyond grateful to all our friends and colleagues who have contributed. We are happy to report that Álvaro  now has a full-time court interpreting position in California and is doing much better! We raised more than $10,000 for Álvaro and his wife. Hard to believe, but true! See here for the update and here, too).
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday season, dear readers and colleagues. Unfortunately, one of our wonderful colleagues and friends,  Álvaro Degives-Más of Reno, Nevada, did not: he suffered a heart attack on December 23. After a few days in intensive care in St. Mary's Hospital, he was discharged, but his medical bills have proven to be an almost insurmountable challenge. The same week, his wife underwent a painful ophtalmologic surgery without anaesthesia (!) to save funds and the procedure was not successful. They lack the funds for another procedure, and she has lost vision in one eye. They have no insurance. To make things even worse, they also lost their car last week. 
Judy and Álvaro in Vegas this year.

Álvaro Degives-Más is a court-certified Spanish interpreter and Spanish, Dutch and English translator. He's also the co-founder of the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association and a relentless advocate for our profession. He's donated hundreds of hours to NITA and other organizations, and he's NITA's wonderful webmaster.

This is obviously a very difficult time for him, and we've obtained his permission to post his story here. Would you be willing to join is in a donation for Álvaro? Every little bit helps. Can you imagine how much of a difference we could make if every person who reads this just donates $5? We are getting incredibly excited just thinking about this -- and we know our colleagues are a generous and wonderful group. We've created a PayPal donation account. Thank you so much for reading and for spreading the word. Clicking on the "donate" button will make you feel good, we promise!

Making a donation via PayPal is easy: just choose your amount -- you don't even need a PayPal account. We have chosen this method, in spite of the small fees associated with it, because we wanted to make it easy for colleagues from around the world to donate if they are so inclined. Unfortunately, we don't have time to set up a non-profit, so the donation will not be tax-deductible. 

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for Translators and Interpreters

If you've had a crazy month and forgot to get presents for your favorite colleagues, then you might be panicking at this point. After all, it's December 22, so there isn't much time left. However, there's no need to give up on gifts even if it's a bit late. The following are the only items we could come up with that are directly related to our profession and require no shipping and no wrapping. Happy holidays!

  1. The Translator's Toolbox: A Computer Primer for Translators  is the perfect guide for anything you need to know about technology (PDf files, operating systems, translation environment tools, terminology tools, online security, and much much more) by ATA technology guru, working translator, prolific writer and all-around great guy Jost Zetzsche. This 400-page, password protected PDF can be purchased via PayPal and is $50 ($30 for ATA members). In addition, there's the premium edition of Jost's incredibly popular newsletter (The Tool Kit), which you can send to your favorite translator (or interpreter) for $15. 
  2. How to succeed as a freelance translator by Corinne McKay. This is the second edition of what we've called "the bible for freelance translators." Without a doubt, this is the best how-to-get-started guide that's available. We love her printed book, but since you are pressed for time, you can order the e-book for immediate download here. It's $15. 
  3. Give the gift of good research by purchasing an annual subscription to the invaluable Payment Practices database. Expertly run by our wonderful colleague Ted Wozniak, there's no better tool than to research an LSP before you take a job than Payment Practices (PP). This might be the best $19.99 gift you could give a translator. 
  4. Chris Durban's The Prosperous Translator. We really enjoyed this very witty, well-written book (have a look at our review here), and it's available for immediate download for $16 here

Make It Meaningful

This is the season to be grateful, and indeed we are. We are also liking the many holiday cards we are receiving from family, friends, colleagues, clients and vendors from around the world. We don't want to sound ungrateful, but we wanted to bring up an important point that can turn a simple card into something meaningful as opposed to something that has no value. Let us elaborate.

A few days ago, we received two cards from two people (actually, one person and one corporation) we had never heard of. Both had just signed their names inside a pre-printed card. There was no personal note nor a hint as to our relationship to the sender. We both had no idea who the folks were, and as much as we appreciate a card, they have turned out to be meaningless. However, they could have become meaningful with a simple note along the lines of "nice meeting you at XYZ..." or "thanks for purchasing our database management software" or "nice working with you on XYZ project." We really do think it's important to take a few minutes to write a personal note on each and every holiday card. If you don't do that, it's just another piece of mail that's not meaningful. We think it's fantastic to go to the trouble of writing cards in this digital area, but let's take them to the next level and show the recipient that we have something nice to say about them. It's also an opportunity to show off your writing skills -- after all, we are linguists. With that, we are off to finish our last cards.

Happy holidays!

Sounds Fishy: Chinese Textile Company

Our friend Jennifer Horne recently sent us this information about a fishy-sounding translation project. We are happy to post it here to share it with colleagues who might have been contacted by this particular person as well.  Of course, one usually doesn't know for sure if the project is a scam until one has actually  been scammed. However, this project surely is full of red flags. 

Does this one sound familiar? If yes, does anyone know how the scam works? Is it one of those where the "client" sends you a fraudulent check? Here is the e-mail we received from Jen.

I know how you are about keeping track on scams and I wanted to share this with you in case you want to share it on your blog.

This job was for a Chinese textile company. The emails with them were very fishy. They were extremely agreeable (possibly a little too agreeable) to all of my rates, and even my travel day fee! I felt as though they were being quite pushy to get me to book the days (they said they would need me for 5 days). 

They were not cooperating with me so I can find out some basic information. I kept asking them to call me so I can ask them some questions before I send my official quote just so I know more about what I'd be getting myself into (type of event, who the other interpreter is, who THEY even are in regards to the Chinese company who is the client...) and they never called. I had no way of calling them of course.

One day I get an email from "Robin" and the next day it's from "Robert". Their email address is from a yahoo address... 

Then after typing the company name+scam I found tons of pages. Here is one.

The Wait Is Over: Mox Illustrated Guide to Translation

As of today, fans of Mox's hilarious translation and interpreting cartoons are in for a treat. Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, Mox's talented creator, released the long-awaited book of cartoons. We'd been keeping our fingers crossed that he would release it before the holidays, and here it is! We can't wait to receive our copies, and this is definitely the gift we've been looking forward to giving to friends and colleagues in the industry. Congratulations to Alejandro for finishing the book! You can easily order the book, which we bet will be a bestseller, via the website and pay by PayPal. The book features 200 cartoons, half of which have never been published before. In addition, you will find articles by well-known translation bloggers.  
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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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