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Kip


Dec 17, 2005, 8:49 AM

Post #1 of 25 (1804 views)

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A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluent in Spani

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A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluent in Spanish, her husband is Mexican and has lots of relatives in Mexico. She'd have a toll free number to call if you need an interpreter NOW. She would also provide info on places to see and go along your route, talk to the mechanic, policia, etc for you.

Do you think this idea is doable?
kip



Georgia


Dec 17, 2005, 9:22 AM

Post #2 of 25 (1798 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluen

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It depends. What country is she in? There is a society in the US that will certify interpreters which adds to their professional status and is often required by users. In Mexico I think there also is a certification process, but I don't know much about it.


Papirex


Dec 17, 2005, 10:07 AM

Post #3 of 25 (1783 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluen

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I can’t speak to the viability of a business like this, but there is a Mexican government certification required for any document translations required by any Mexican government agency.

We knew a lady here in Cuernavaca that made her living as an interpreter. She was born in a Caribbean country to American parents, raised in England, and lived most of her adult life in Latin American countries, although she had many qualifications; she lacked the Mexican government certification and that limited her client base. She moved back to Guatemala a couple of years ago; she said she would make a better living there.

Many things may need to be translated for the government here, and you never can guess what may require translation. The last time I renewed my FM 3, I had to have my bank statements translated by a certified translater. I couldn’t resist asking if Migracion really could not understand Arabic numbers printed in English?

I realize there is a difference between translation, and interpreting something, but the client base will be limited to interpreting for non-government purposes.

I wish your friend luck and success if she does try this business.

Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Kip


Dec 17, 2005, 10:29 AM

Post #4 of 25 (1773 views)

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Re: [RexC] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's flue

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I guess I didn't make myself very clear. This wouldn't be for anything legal. This would be for those "get you out of a jam..I don't know what he's asking me... will you please tell them I'm trying to get to the closest bathroom..it's the middle of the night where's the closest motel..kinda thing". You're favorite Tia who you can call at any time of the day or night to calm your fears and point you in the right direction.

I know that if I would have had her number a few years ago it would have helped us tremendously. We had an expensive translating gadget that I couldn't even use to read the road signs!

Kip
kip


Bubba

Dec 17, 2005, 12:04 PM

Post #5 of 25 (1750 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's flue

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In my humble opinion that would be a hairy undertaking and also put your friend in a ruthless 24/7 obligation that would probably drive him/her insane in short order In the first place, the telephone makes this more complicated. In the second place, anybody you might ask for the nearest bathroom or motel in the middle of the night probably is saying, in Spanish, "Your money or your life." or is a member of the local constabulary who is seeking mordida.

This notion brings up endless cross-cultural comical situations as we see our foreign travelers frantically calling an 800 number while the military checkpoint personnel are simply asking them to open their trunk in the middle of nowhere so they can search it. There is a good chance that the telephone conversation would create more problems than it solved and the person who gets shot is not the participant in Cincinnati on the other end of the line..


Cynthia7

Dec 17, 2005, 12:34 PM

Post #6 of 25 (1741 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's flue

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If she is near where you live she can work at any hospital.. I have friends here in Arkansas and they are if great demand as translators..for churches, hospitals,etc.


Marlene


Dec 17, 2005, 12:41 PM

Post #7 of 25 (1740 views)

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Re: [Cynthia7] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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And the local police stations up north. They call in translators all the time because immediately upon arrest, many people no longer speak English.


Kip


Dec 17, 2005, 1:31 PM

Post #8 of 25 (1729 views)

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Re: [Cynthia7] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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This would be strictly email and telephone assistance directly to the person needing it. My friend has health problems so doing everything from her home works for her...being someone who can go right back to sleep after being awakened in the middle of the night is a plus too! Wish I could manage that one!
kip


sfmacaws


Dec 17, 2005, 2:01 PM

Post #9 of 25 (1718 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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There is a large demand for business translation in both directions spanish/english. This is something that can be done from home but requires a good grammatical knowledge of both languages as the impression of the reader is obviously key to the business wanting the translation. Translation is a lot harder than just speaking both languages. It is more of an art than a science, you can see this by using any of the computer translation services.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Kip


Dec 17, 2005, 2:40 PM

Post #10 of 25 (1700 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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I guess I'm still not making myself very clear. This is strictly a traveler's helper type of thing.
kip


jerezano

Dec 17, 2005, 2:56 PM

Post #11 of 25 (1696 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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Hello,

One of the problems is the telephone service, obviously.

Not realized by many is that toll-free 800 and 887 numbers in the USA are not toll free from Mexico. From Mexico they are all long distance calls at a high per minute cost by normal TELMEX lines.

So, if your friend is in the USA, she will need both an 800 number for people in the USA calling her, and another 800 number in Mexico for people in Mexico calling her. I would suppose it works similarly in the other latin-american countries.

And those toll free numbers cost the provider money.

Too, everybody I know is a, (and I am one of the foremost) hater of 800 numbers. We expect 24hour7day service and instant response but who gets that instant response? I can't see how one person, could possibly handle two or more instantaneous calls. And any person with the emergency questions that your friend is proposing answering is not going to wait. The emergency is not going to wait either.

Then, how is your friend going to make any money from this?
How will she collect for her services? If it is an emergency, nobody is going to hang on to provide credit card numbers or billing information. True there ARE ways to get the money but so far as I can see they are all expensive.

And who is going to pay money to find out where the nearest rest room is? Not here in Mexico. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Your friend obviously has not seen a guy in a bus station who finds out he needs two or three peso coins to enter a rest room, does not have the coins, and goes outside and uses a dark corner. Oftentimes he doesn't even look for a dark corner but uses the tire of a parked car. I often wonder what the suffering woman does?

And while I am fluent in Spanish, I have friends who are not. Still, in times of need they have always been able to find somebody nearby who speaks sufficient English to help them out. And let me say it again, ALWAYS. Maybe in other countries no, but here in Mexico, sí.

In other words, I don't think it is do-able. But then I'm often a skeptic.

Adios. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Dec 17, 2005, 3:02 PM)


gpk

Dec 18, 2005, 2:29 PM

Post #12 of 25 (1622 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluen

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I think all the comments below make it clear that this is not a particularly viable idea. By the way, how would your friend expect to be paid? "I promise I'll send a check tomorrow"?


song_of_joy

Dec 18, 2005, 10:47 PM

Post #13 of 25 (1568 views)

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Re: [gpk] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluen

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Oh dear. I promised myself I'd stay off the forums... oh well. Here goes.

1. Much like an insurance underwriter, she sells a pre-paid service that specifies exactly the hours she is available and the services she offers. She specifies x answers within a time frame of x per day for a period of x (say, 6 months). She specifies the times/dates she is not available.

2. She collects in advance through Paypal.

3. She advertises on Mexconnect as well as in English-language newspapers in ex-pat Mex towns and certain other target markets.

4. Should she need to work with translators approved by Gobernacion, she works out a plan to send one or two such certified translators work for an appropriate finder's fee.

5. If she fails, she can be crucified here on the forums and in the media in which she advertises (in Number 4).

6. If all goes well, she purchases an 800 toll free number that can be accessed from Mexico (yes, they exist). And she expands a very novel business venture.


Kip


Dec 19, 2005, 4:32 AM

Post #14 of 25 (1562 views)

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Re: [song_of_joy] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She

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Very well thought out. Thank you!

Kip
kip


song_of_joy

Dec 19, 2005, 9:37 AM

Post #15 of 25 (1521 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She

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Thanks, Kip.

When I first signed up to MXC, there was a US physician retiring to Mexico who wanted to volunteer his time where needed. Forum posters had a kazillion reasons why he couldn't practice here and even suggested he'd have to do an internship again. I sent him a PM suggesting he work through the Red Cross or a University medical school who would take legal responsibility for him with Salubridad. Voila!

Another young man inquired about teaching English before moving down. He received the same litany of reasons why that was unbelievably difficult, if not impossible. But he's now directing a language school and last week they signed a corporate contract with a huge client. He is so happy.

And me? Well, I feel like the Phoenix who rises from his own ashes. I'm running a satisfying and $ucce$$ful business from a home office where my kids come and go and the cats snooze on the laser printer. All within the bounds of Mexican immigration and tax laws.

I think your friend's idea is unusual, creative and viable. If all goes well, she might end up employing others who want to work remotely. And a home office offers a wonderful opportunity to pay less in taxes.

Mucha suerte!

c.


Bubba

Dec 19, 2005, 10:11 AM

Post #16 of 25 (1507 views)

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Re: [song_of_joy] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She

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I, too, worked out of a home office for a few years writing loan proposals for commercial banks and there is something to be said for sitting in the midst of a mountaiin forest far away from office politics and city traffic and gazing at koi ponds between assignments. It's not for everyone though.

One thing, however, even though I was very good at convincing directors' loan commiittees to make some pretty hairy loan decisions with a computer and a little financial data, I would have to pass on this 800 number translation business. Your friend had better be capable of self-funding.

If she is then good luck to her.


talosian


Dec 19, 2005, 10:02 PM

Post #17 of 25 (1439 views)

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Re: [Kip] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's fluen

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According to my experiences, anything needing to be translated for "official" use must be done by someone certified by the Mexican/State Government. Cost here is about US$20 per page depending on who you go to.
"When all logical explanations have failed, we must look to the illogical for the answer.


Esteban

Dec 20, 2005, 5:03 AM

Post #18 of 25 (1424 views)

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Re: [talosian] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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I think what she is referring to is a business that would do the following for example: I have to go to the bathroom and I don't know what to ask. I then dial the phone, get the translation and am inside the door in minutes. Or, I want to order an exotic drink, I know the ingredients but not the name of the drink. I call the translator, relay the message to the bartender and voila, I get exactly what I wanted.


Kip


Dec 20, 2005, 6:47 AM

Post #19 of 25 (1405 views)

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Re: [Esteban] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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By George I think he's got it! Over simplified perhaps..I think they'd probably wait until they're frustrated and frightened or lost and confused..but yup, that's the gist of it.
kip


gpk

Dec 20, 2005, 7:11 AM

Post #20 of 25 (1396 views)

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Re: [Esteban] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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This service may have had a chance 10 years ago. Now, no matter where I find myself in Mexico, someone speaks better English than I do Spanish. Not just professionals speak English--I get lots of cab drivers, waiters, street musicians, etc. who practice their English on me--and they often speak very well.


Esteban

Dec 20, 2005, 12:33 PM

Post #21 of 25 (1369 views)

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Re: [gpk] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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I know more Spanish than I understand which gets me in trouble sometimes. However, I experience, time after time, instances that send me back to kinder. The vocabulary is constantly growing. It all depends where you are. I find in many instances, I wish there was a bilingual person standing next to me to translate. Let's face it, we all work around the misunderstandings but to have Jeeves there to answer your question would be cool. Do I think the business would flourish? Not a chance in hell.


gpk

Dec 20, 2005, 2:25 PM

Post #22 of 25 (1349 views)

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Re: [Esteban] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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This isn't meant to be a criticism, but Spanish is a very inexact language, which is why it is so suitable to poetry and song. My best Mexican friend is constantly getting misinformation from other Mexicans due to the "flexibility" of their native tongue--just part of the magic here.


sfmacaws


Dec 20, 2005, 4:06 PM

Post #23 of 25 (1329 views)

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Re: [gpk] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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I agree that there is someone who speaks some english almost everywhere in Mexico. RV friends who speak no spanish broke down in a small mountain town in Oaxaca, someone there made the sign to wait and lo and behold about an hour later a guy appeared from another pueblo who had worked in the US and spoke english. They had sent for him. That's an extreme case but I doubt there is anywhere in Mexico that there isn't someone with a bit of english within an hours distance.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




mkirkpatrick

Dec 21, 2005, 5:21 AM

Post #24 of 25 (1288 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. She's

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Maybe I'm sliding a bit off topic,and I am sure there are places where the English language is not available. However,I am constantly surprised when it pops up unexpectedly.

Last week,I was in a small beachside seafood restaurant in a tiny fishing community,near San Carlos,Sonora,and had just ordered from the handwritten menu,in Spanish,when the waiter said in flawless,unaccented English "I think you'll like the chicharonnes!"

When I said "How come I'm ordering in bad Spanish,and your are speaking to me in excellent English? He replied..."Well,you need the practice!"

Made my day!


Bubba

Dec 21, 2005, 3:23 PM

Post #25 of 25 (1229 views)

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Re: [mkirkpatrick] A friend of mine is considering starting a long distance interpreter business. Sh

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I like that mkirkpatrick:

Your story reminded me of the time my wife and I were out in the boonies in Michoacan seeking a remote indigenous village where they engage in certain crafts that appeal to us. We were missing the unsigned turnoff to this village in another hick town and finally, in frustration, we stopped at this really run down taller in the middle of nowhere and asked the way to Ocumicho of the mechanic out front. Suddenly we heard this booming voice from in the shop shouting, "Hold on, I'm in charge here, I'll handle this." Well, out comes the proprietor of this incredibly humble looking business and he proceeds to tell us how to get to the village in perfect English along with a tale of his past life in Southern California as an illegal immigrant.

This has happened to us countless times in Mexico - not so much now as one of us has learned to speak Spanish without fear. So, folks, just relax and don't worry about that 800 uumber.
 
 
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