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.

Happy New Year & 新年快乐 (Xin Nian Kuai Le)


The team here at Translation By Design hopes your 2015 is off to a great start. And to our Chinese clients, language industry colleagues and friends we’d like to wish an early, 新年快乐 or "Xin Nian Kuai Le."

The Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is celebrated this year on February 19th.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with large Chinese populations, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Chinatowns around the world. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for families to thoroughly clean their homes, in order to sweep away ill-fortune and make way for good luck. Windows and doors will be hung with red paper decorations with themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

This coming year is also the year of the Goat. Goats are thought to love peace and to be kind and popular. Chinese Zodiac signs are also paired with one of the 5 elements; water, fire, earth, wood and metal. This years element is wood. This symbolizes, for those born under this year’s sign of the Goat, a nature that is loving, peaceful, helpful, and trusting, but also clinging and resistant to change.

We're passionate about understanding other cultures. This hardly does the history and meaning of the holiday any justice. For a better understanding of the culture you should spend some time in the country, take a language class for Mandarin or Cantonese or make friends with someone who is from China. If you'd like a better understanding for your business we can help you with cross cultural training for understanding how to do business in China.

Through Giving, We Receive

Wishing you a joyous holiday season surrounded by your loving family and dearest friends, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year from your team at Translation By Design. Here’s our president Sandra DeLay with Bixby and Quigley, the company's twin 西施犬 (shih tzus). They insisted…really!


Through giving, we receive.

Question: What do translators and interpreters have in common with year-end holiday celebrations?

Ugly sweaters?

No. The answer is, they bring people together…only they do it every single day of the year.

Bringing people together, facilitating communication and commerce, and building better understanding between cultures globally is the mission of the linguists that give their expertise to the translation industry.

What a gift it is to give!

Yet similarly to the invisible intersection where different cultures and languages meet, the work these talented individuals do is frequently unnoticed and often unglamorous. Even though the work is vitally important to an interconnected global economy.

What kind of work is it?

It's a Portuguese translation of a Material Safety Data Sheet that is going to keep employees safe at work so the job site runs smoothly and those employees can go home to their children.

It's an interpretation assignment for a deposition of a foreign executive accused of “borrowing” some intellectual property from a competitor. If the case is successful it means the originator of the idea will maintain market share and jobs for their employees.

It's a multi-lingual implementation of a financial institution's website so customers around the world have easier ways to access and move (spend) their money.

And sometimes it's a translation for Translators Without Borders where, within minutes of completion, the work is being relayed across the world to a crisis zone where an NGO is waiting to save lives with critical health information.

It's not always glamorous...but it is a gift.

We give our talents to improve understanding and communication between cultures. We receive joy knowing that our efforts are contributing to your success.

And the gift of working with you is the gift we’re happiest receiving.

Thank you for sharing 2014 with us.

See you in the New Year!

The Team @ TBD

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