Another Quake Rocks Nepal. Again, Language Matters.

Another quake rocks Nepal. 

Again, language matters.


Translation By Design is a broze level supporter of Translators Without Borders. We are reposting this message from them today detailing some of the organization's work to support the eartquake releif efforts in Nepal. Any support you can give them will improve the lives of people in Nepal and other at risk communities around the world. 


A second significant earthquake yesterday reminded us that Nepal needs our ongoing support.  Please donate now to help Translators without Borders (TWB) provide continued translation and information services.

Following the earthquake in Nepal in late April, TWB once again highlighted that language matters and that communication is aid.

News of the earthquake reached TWB almost as soon as it happened on 25 April. We immediately issued a request for translation volunteers and activated a Rapid Response Team.

That team, comprised of more than 25 professional translators and bilinguals, has been working to ensure that locals affected by the disaster have access to timely, accurate and understandable information.

“Translation really matters," said Andrew Bredenkamp, Chairman of the Board, Translators without Borders. “Aid organizations need to communicate with local people in their native language. In the foothills of Kathmandu and in the surrounding villages, there are many people who do not speak English and it is these people that have been badly affected by the earthquake. The TWB translation team is delivering aid by enabling the flow of critical communications in the native languages of Nepali and Newari.” 

What we've done

In the relatively short time since the earthquake struck, TWB has:

·         translated over 500 terms into Nepali, Newari and Hindi for search and rescue workers and for people monitoring messages coming from the affected populations

·         translated approved and sanctioned Twitter messages which contain crucial information about first aid and protection during and after an earthquake

  • contributed significantly to search and rescue by translating and categorizing local language messages from the affecte population
  • ​translated and distributed a comprehensive First Aid document from English to Nepal

·         translated and distributed ‘after earthquake’ messaging and public service announcements from the Centers for Disease Control

·         monitored local language media, including print, radio and video, and provided transcription of videos to help aid organizations improve response

·         provided translation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for their #familylinks program to help find missing persons

·         created a text-to-speech tool for Nepali, specifically designed for first responders

What you can do

There are several ways you can help:

Can you make a donation?

Major crises like the Nepali earthquake strain our already limited budget. In its update on 4 May, the UN Nepal Information Platform noted that risk communication messaging is urgently needed to prevent disease outbreaks.
Please consider donating even a small amount. You can donate here.

Will you sign up for our Biannual Newsletter and Monthly Updates?

We'll keep you up to date all on the crisis, health and education work that TWB does around the globe. Sign up for our newsletter here.

If you are a trained translator, will you join our Workspace?

In the Workspace, we do ongoing translation work for our non-profit partners. We need more Nepali and Newari translators for that work. To sign up, please complete the volunteer form.
Will you promote our work on Twitter?

@TranslatorsWB #TranslationMatters

Cross Cultural Training Supports Life Saving Work in Africa

Peter Fordos, Director of Cross Cultural Training
If you live in Africa and you have to choose between eating food that might be poisoned or your family starves  what choice do you really have?
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of a mold that grows on staple food crops in Africa. It claims more than 26,000 lives each year, causes liver cancer, stunts the growth of tens of thousands of children, poisons livestock and results in African farmers losing more than a half billion dollars of income annually because affected crops cannot be sold.
Eliminating aflatoxin from the food chain is the challenge the team at the Meridian Institute has been tasked to solve in their leadership role at the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA).
Meridian enlisted Translation By Design to develop and deliver a cross-cultural training program to prepare their team members to work more effectively with African farmers, government agencies, food storage and distribution companies, and consumers who unknowingly buy contaminated food products.

Training topics included:

- Differences in verbal and non-verbal communication styles 

- How to bring about change in a group/tribe oriented society

- How African cultures view time and how to meet deadlines

- Strategies for cooperation, conflict avoidance and resolution

- And more…

The result was a better-educated team, an efficient ramp-up of in-country operations, and a successful launch of a program that will have a dramatic impact for families in Africa, and humanity. 

We customize every cross-cultural training program to address the unique challenges and goals of our clients. Whether improving the efficiency of a management team in Brazil, or preparing executives for contract negotiations in China. Whether training units of Navy Seals before deployment overseas, or helping an NGO work with native language interpreters in Africa — TBD is driven by a desire to enhance communication and understanding between our clients and the wider world.

Sometimes our work impacts our corporate client’s next quarterly profits, sometimes our work helps a non-profit impact the world for the next quarter century. Improving communication and understanding between cultures is our business, so your business can do more business, globally.



Cross Cultural Training

We love what we do. What can we do for you?


Cross "Canine" Cultural Training - Dogs Understand Human Emotions

Translation By Design mascot Bixby (twin brother Quigley not shown) dons a new scarf from his favorite store,  Bananna Republic. 


Translation By Design helps businesses and organizations do a better job understanding and communicating with people from other cultures. Communication is two way and is verbal and non-verbal. We help facilitate verbal communication via writen translation and in-person or over-the-phone interpreting. We help facilitate non-verbal communnication via our customized cross cultural training programs that help you understand the behaviorial and cultural nuances of individuals that have different cultural backgrounds than you do. 

Gestures, posture, eye contact, speaking proximity, facial expressions can all have different meanings in different parts of the world. These are some of the things we teach in our Cross Cultural Training programs.

So when we read this article from the Smithsonian Magazine about dogs understanding the meaning of facial expressions we had to share it! 

We wonder if there might be interest out there for Cross "Canine" Cultural Training... The nearby town of Carmel By The Sea would be a perfect test market, LOL!



TBD's New Video Promoting Cross-Cultural Training

When working in an ever globalizing society cross-cultural differences can create barriers both internally, between members of your teams from different countries, and externally, between your company and customers from different cultures. Translation By Design offers customized Cross-Cultural Training programs to help businesses and organizations work better internationally. Cross-Cultural Training saves you time and money by helping to minimize breakdowns in communication, avoid business blunders, and costly cultural misunderstandings. 

Visit, call 831-655-9588, or email to discuss your particular intercultural challenges.


Language, Understanding, Respect and Tears

A hearing impaired individual encounters many of the same communication frustrations that a hearing person encounters in an area of the world where people speak a different language. In this touching video, created by Samsung Turkey, you'll see what happens when an entire neighborhood learns how to communicate in another language, sign language.

The respect people feel when they are spoken to in their language is beautifully,and tearfully, evident in this video as a hearing impared man goes about his morning routine with his sister (who is in on the surprise). 

When you speak to a person in their language it fosters a sense understanding, mutual respect, trust, and friendship. If you are in the business of communicating, motivating, educating, or selling to people that speak a different language than you, how much better might your business be if you had a more complete understanding of them and they had a more complete understanding of you?

We can help your business or organization build better customer relationships with language translation and cross-cultural training.

New TBD Ad for Legal Secretary Magazine


Soon to be seen in The Legal Secretary magazine...this full-page ad promoting Translation By Design as the language services partner of choice for legal professionals.

The Legal Secretary magazine is the trade publication for more than 40 local chapters of Legal Secretaries Inc. LSI is the parent organization, founded in 1940, for the 40+ legal professional association chapters around California. 

This ad will appear in the next quarterly issue to be released in May.

Translation By Design at San Francisco Legal Professionals Association Elections Night

Translation By Design provided a complimentary wine tasting at the San Francisco Legal Professionals Association meeting held at Holland & Knight on Thursday, March 12th. The organization was gathered to elect their officers for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Congratulations are in order to everyone who was elected including Larry McGrew of First Legal Network for his election as the group's new president. 

For more than a decade TBD has been a go-to resource for law firms, lawyers and legal professionals when they require court certified interpreters for depositions and legal document translation. We are pleased to support groups like SFLPA as they serve the continuing education, networking and sense of community for legal professionals.

We selected wine made by our friend and local boutique producer Joyce Vineyards. We poured pinot noir, syrah, chardonay, and rosé. 

Language Helps a Community in Crisis

Seaside Police Chief Vicki Myers address a community meeting with the help of a Spanish Interpreter from Translation By Design

Photo Credit - Monterey County Herald, Seaside Police Chief Vicki Myers addresses a community meeting with the help of a Spanish Interpreter from Translation By Design

In the first 11 days of 2015 the city of Seaside, CA was the scene of 5 shootings. This followed two homicides from shootings in November and December.

The normally peaceful city of 33,000 residents, just a few miles from our office and the idyllic communities of Carmel and Pebble Beach, was left reeling. Community members clamored for answers from the city and law enforcement.

“What is happening to our town?”

“What are you going to do to stop this violence?”

“What can we do as a community to help?"

The Chief of Police and the Mayor scheduled a town hall meeting immediately to address the spate of recent violence. They offered suggestions to help reverse the influx of drug and gang related activity that had descended upon their town.

The only barrier left was language.  

A third of the residents speak Spanish at home. If there was hope for a community-based solution the city officials would need to communicate with those families.

They would need to speak to the hearts of the entire community.

TBD was called to provide a Simultaneous Spanish interpreter for the presentation and audience Q&A session that followed. The 300+ English and Spanish speakers that crowded into the community center left with a greater sense of connection and a shared mission to tackle this problem together.

That would not have been possible without our Spanish interpreter, proving again the truth in what Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart.” Then change is possible!

This is why we’re passionate about what we do. No matter if we are interpreting at a community meeting in Seaside or at a high-stakes deposition in New York, whether our team in Taiwan is translating a financial report or we are consulting with a Silicon Valley start-up to take their app to Europe, every assignment is equally important.

We get to help your message reach the hearts of important communities, customers and colleagues!

Thank you for the opportunity to do that work.


- The TBD Team

Translator vs. Interpreter - Understanding the DIfference



We get calls often where the client will ask for a Translator. Common requests are for conferences, legal depositions, business meetings and familiarization tours or tour escorts. Invariably the caller really means they are searching for an interpreter. 

The rule is:

Spoken = Interpreter 

Written = Translator

This TEDx Talk will teach you the difference and entertain you as well! 

Each spring the Middlebury Institute for International Studies hosts the TEDx Monterey conference. One of the sessions last year focused on the important role interpreters play in enabling effective communication between people who speak different languages.

This video explains the difference between translation and interpretation, along with the differences between simultaneous interpretation and consecutive interpretation.

Yes, there are two types. If you are now asking yourself, "What kind of interpreter do I need?" You can watch this video can call us. We'll be very happy to help. 


The Three Friends of Winter

"For his residence, earth was piled to form a hill and a hundred plum trees, which along with lofty pines and tall bamboo comprise the friends of winter, were planted.”

That is a translation taken from the earliest known writing mentioning the Three Friends of Winter from the Song Dynasty writer Lin Jingxi (1242-1310 AD). They are referred to as the three friends because they do not wither in the cold days of winter as most other plants do. In China (and other Eastern Cultures) the three represent symbols of thriving under adverse conditions.

The pine represents longevity and endurance. The bamboo represents vitality, durability, and flexibility as it will bend in a storm but does not break. The Plum, which offers the first flower of the New Year, represents renewal, perseverance, and purity. The plum blossom also has 5 petals. The number 5 is an auspicious number in Chinese culture as it is associated with the five elements of water, fire, wood, metal and earth which are essential for a good life. The plum blossom is also a symbol associated with the Chinese New Year also known as the Spring Festival.

This is a particularly poetic example of how the Eastern Cultures approach thought and symbolism. It’s beautiful in art and poetry but it can be frustrating and costly if your business doesn’t take it seriously. Check out information about our cross cultural training services that will train your teams and company executives on the cultural nuances you’ll want to understand before doing business within new countries and cultures.

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