1 Linguist, 3 Questions with Judy Jenner

Today, I’m delighted to present Judy Jenner as my interviewee. Judy runs Twin Translations and the Translation Times blog with her twin sister Dagmar and is a great inspiration to me. I hope you find Judy’s comments as thought-provoking as I have.

  • If you could change one thing about your freelance translation career up to this point, what would it be?

I worked as in-house translation department manager for many years before joining my twin in our translation business. During my years as an in-house translator, I was a member of the ATA, but wasn’t very active. Looking back, I wish I’d gotten more involved early on. The one thing I wish we had had back in 2002 when we were thinking about starting our translation business would be a book about how to get started. They did not exist back then, so gathering information was a tremendous undertaking. Luckily for new linguists, these books do exist now, especially Corinne McKay’s “How to succeed as a freelance translator,” which I consider the bible for freelance translators.

  • What is the best piece of advice that you have been given by a fellow translator, or about business in general?

Business in general: my mentor when I was getting my MBA was the CEO of a major Las Vegas casino and he told me to “surround myself with good people.” He was referring to offline, but this can also be applied to online, and I think it’s great advice. Another great piece of advice came courtesy of my favorite professor in business school. He had a big sign on his door that read “goals without plans are just dreams.” I’ve always focused on having a plan. In terms of translation industry advice, the best advice I ever got was to become active within our professional associations. It’s been rewarding, challenging, and I’ve met a lot of great people.

  • If you weren’t working in the language services industry, what would you be doing?

I would either be a starving writer, work in e-commerce or work for a non-profit that tries to make significant changes in the world.watch full National Theatre Live: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead 2017 movie

Thanks, Judy!

Judy JennerJudy A. Jenner is a Spanish and German business and legal translator and court-certified Spanish interpreter. She holds an MBA in marketing and runs her boutique translation and interpreting business, Twin Translations, with her twin sister, Dagmar. She was born in Austria and grew up in Mexico City. A former in-house translation department manager, she is the president of the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association. She writes the award-winning translation blog, Translation Times, pens the “Entrepreneurial Linguist” column for The ATA Chronicle, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops around the world. Judy co-authored “The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation” and teaches for the online division of the University of California-San Diego’s Certificate in Spanish/English Translation Studies. She serves on the advisory board of the same program.

[Photo by Ulf Buchholz]

You can follow Judy on Twitter at @language_news

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This article was written by: Megan Onions

  1. 3 Comments

    • Judy Jenner (@language_news) says:

      Thank you so much for posting this, and for your sweet introduction, Megan. It was my pleasure to participate. I think an interview series with translators from around the world is a great idea. You might have started a trend. 🙂

      • Megan Onions says:

        Thanks for commenting, Judy (and happy birthday!).

        I can’t claim to have come up with this idea entirely by myself, as I mentioned in my introductory post. Sarah Dillon’s 5 Qs series at There’s Something About Translation was certainly an inspiration. Thanks again for your contribution!

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