Abstracts and Biographies

The Translation Company Unveiled
Leah Ruggiero

Working with a translation agency, bureau, or company can be a steady, lucrative source of business for a freelance translator. How does one start and maintain a successful relationship with a translation company? This presentation will help demystify the process, starting with the résumé, the initial registration paperwork (questionnaires, tax forms, confidentiality and work agreements), and billing procedures. We will then move on to the esoteric realm of "relationships" with project managers. What do they expect and require from you as a language professional? And in return, what can (and should) you expect from a project manager and translation company? 

Leah Ruggiero is senior project manager at Eriksen Translations Inc., in Brooklyn, NY. She has been working in the field of project management for over 4 years. She received her undergraduate degree in French from the University of Minnesota, and has completed coursework in the Master’s program in French Studies at New York University. She obtained her Certificate in French to English Translation, and will be teaching a debut course on Project Management in the NYU Translation Certificate Program in fall 2002. She has been a guest speaker at Kent State University.  At Eriksen, she enjoys working with translators on a wide range of projects. These include areas such as the arts, government, and law. Energized by the diverse populations of NYC, she is particularly intrigued by the creation of hybrid languages such as "Spanglish" that develop and evolve when English is the language of the social environment but not the home.  She also translates fiction in her free time and is currently working on a book of short stories by Tahar Ben Jelloun.

Contracts and the Freelance Translator and Interpreter
Courtney Searls-Ridge


This workshop addresses the practical aspects of negotiating contracts and agreements with translation agencies/bureaus/companies, other independent contractors, book publishers, and other end-clients. Topics include: independent contractor issues, terms of payment, liability, copyright, confidentiality, credits, royalties, and disputes. If time allows the speaker will conduct small group exercises in which participants analyze sample contracts and role-play negotiations with clients. Contracts used in discussions will include the good, the bad, and the ridiculous, all of which are actual contracts currently used by agencies, bureaus, book publishers, and other end-clients.

Courtney Searls-Ridge is a bureau owner and project manager (German Language Services, Seattle), freelance translator, and translation instructor. She has translated and edited numerous trade books from German into English, several in collaboration with other freelance translators. She teaches Ethics and Business Practices of T&I at the Translation and Interpretation Institute in Seattle where she is also Academic Director of Translation. She is serving her second term as Secretary of the ATA and her third term on the ATA Board of Directors. She is also Head of the ATA Mentoring Task Force.

She has presented similar contract workshops in Austin, Chicago, Nashville, and Seattle. This presentation is being completely updated to reflect the most recent changes in the business climate and industry.

Market Segments and How to Pursue Them
Beatriz Bonnet

Ms. Bonnet will analyze the different market segments and work opportunities for translators and interpreters. Below is a list of the topics that will be covered:

Translator/interpreter traits and skills
§   Basic personality traits of translators and interpreters
§   Skills needed to perform the different kinds of work well
§   How to develop those skills (coursework, printed, and other resources, other more informal means)

Market and industry segments
§   Direct clients vs. translation companies
§   Type of project/work defines venue
§   Changes in the language services industry
§   Vertical segments (e.g. financial, automotive, software, healthcare)

Marketing and market research
§   Researching the markets you are interested in
§   Targeting your market and differentiation
§   What’s in it for them

Customer satisfaction/retention
§   When you actually get a job
§   Interaction with clients before, during, and after a job
§   Ethics, business relationships, due diligence
§   Why should they use you again

This presentation will be fairly interactive and will include a Q&A session.

Beatriz Bonnet, a native of Uruguay, has been active in the translation and interpreting fields since 1987. She is an ATA-accredited translator (English<>Spanish) and a Certified Federal Court Interpreter. She is also approved for conference level interpreting by the U.S. State Department. She received Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. In addition to her translation and interpreting work, she is President and CEO of Syntes Language Group, Inc., an established language services company in the Denver Metro area. She sits on the ATA Board of Directors, is the official ATA representative to the ASTM Committee on translation quality standards and is also a mentor in the ATA Mentoring Program. She has been a speaker at many translation and interpreting industry conferences and events as well as for design, business, and other organizations. She has covered topics from translation and interpreting to marketing, branding and management.

Do's and Don'ts of Finding and Keeping Your Customers as a Freelance Interpreter
Todd Burrell

This session will offer suggestions, gathered from the experiences of successful freelance interpreters, for a variety of networking and marketing techniques to bring in and retain new customers for your interpreting services.  Topics will include: the importance of proper credentials, making contacts with the right people, preparing your marketing tools, working with agencies, doing the job right, ethical and professional issues, what customers want, getting return business, billing methods, and where the work is. These ideas will be presented through a lively dialogue with the audience, audio-visual aids, and a number of handouts.

Todd Burrell is the staff Spanish interpreter in the Westchester County and Supreme Courts in White Plains, New York.  He holds certifications from the New York and New Jersey state courts, U.S. Federal courts, and the ATA Spanish>English accreditation.  Previously he worked as an interpreter in the Supreme Court of Bronx County and as Translation Workshop Instructor in the Translation Research and Instruction Program at Binghamton University, SUNY, in upstate New York.  He currently teaches in the Court Interpreter Certificate Program at New York University in Manhattan. Todd has filled numerous freelance assignments as an interpreter in various fields, including technical settings, conferences in the United Nations, client-attorney interviews in county jails, and depositions for criminal and civil matters.  He has several publications credits to his name.

Running Your T/I Business Out of Your Home
M. Eta Trabling

The following topics will be covered:  Definition of one’s personal objectives; the T/I business; marketing yourself; how to set up the home office; how to provide estimates for both translating and interpreting jobs; how to manage quality of same; the T/I – client relationship; basic bookkeeping; a quick overview of filing systems; managing your time and the people that invade it!

Eta Trabing is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She holds a degree from Cambridge University, England; she majored in languages and fine arts. Since 1956, she has been involved in translation services of legal and commercial documents for large industries, court proceedings, and federal and state agencies of all kinds. After moving to the U.S. in 1963, she also became a conference interpreter, then a federally and state certified court interpreter.  At this state, she prefers being a technical translator and has given up traveling all over the Americas at conferences large and small. She has published The Manual for Judiciary Interpreters, The Pan American Livestock Dictionary, The Dictionary of Foods and Cookery, and The Glossary on Waste Management and Ecology. She is president of Berkana, Inc., Center for Translation and Interpretation Studies, a private school established in North Carolina in 1996. She has been teaching translation and interpretation off and on since the late 70s. She just moved from North Carolina to the Florida Panhandle in July 2002.