Alfonso's Language & Safety Blog

Our Thoughts on Language and Industry

¿Qué recursos tienen los obreros latinos bajo la ley?
Por Jeff Alfonso Se publica este artículo con el consentimiento del periódico LATINO NEWSPAPER, donde se publicó originalmente el 21
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What Resources do Hispanic Workers have Under the Law?
By Jeff Alfonso This article is posted with permission from LATINO NEWSPAPER. It was originally published on July 21, 2017
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September Eleventh, Chronic Illness and Change!
If you would have asked me in the year 2000 what I would be doing in the year 2017, I
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When Good People Are Unethical: PROFESSIONALISM Part 3
Imagine this.  Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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Interpreting for Company Meetings
Do you have a substantial number of Spanish-speaking workers? Is your workforce composed of a variety of languages and cultures?
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¿Qué derechos otorga la ley a los obreros latinos?
Por Jeff Alfonso Se publica este artículo con el consentimiento del periódico LATINO NEWSPAPER, donde se publicó originalmente el 13
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What rights do Hispanic workers have under the law?
By Jeff Alfonso This article is posted with permission from LATINO NEWSPAPER. It was originally published on July 13, 2017
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When Good People Are Unethical: PROFESSIONALISM Part 2
Imagine this.  Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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When Good People Are Unethical: PROFESSIONALISM Part 1
Imagine this. Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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Mayor Riesgo de Lesiones y Muerte de Obreros Latinos
Por Jeff Alfonso Se publica este artículo con el consentimiento del periódico LATINO NEWSPAPER, donde se publicó originalmente el 23
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Higher Risk of Injury and Death for Latino Workers
By Jeff Alfonso This article is posted with permission from LATINO NEWSPAPER. It was originally published on June 23, 2017
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Alfonso Interpreting Partners with Peak Safety Performance
Peak Safety Performance is a leading full-service safety consulting company in South Carolina. Its mission is to build a high-performance
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Conference Interpreting Teamwork
Most people have very little idea what is involved in conference interpreting. They hire, sign the contract, and move on
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Cost of Workplace Injuries: Direct Cost vs. Indirect Cost
Direct costs: Tony Rosario worked in construction. He was on a roof wearing his fall protection. As the morning began
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When Good People Are Unethical: Role Boundaries
Imagine this.  Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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Three Ways to Sabotage a Multilingual Event
All professions evolve as new applications, technologies, and procedures take shape. A primary reason why conferences are held is to
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9 Methods I Use To Avoid Death By PowerPoint! – Safety Training
The next ten-hour OSHA class is about to begin.  Employees enter and take their seats. For most of them, it
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Sworn Translations vs. Certified Translations
For those in the international banking and legal sectors, there can be many intricacies involving document translation. Time is usually
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Company Conference Whiteboard Video
I hope you like our new 1 minute video!
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When Good People Are Unethical: Respect
Imagine this.  Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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Human Resource Interpreting
Many companies have a culturally and linguistically diversified workforce creating challenges for their HR department. They are faced with the
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How I address safety concerns raised by Hispanic employees
In the previous safety article, I described the very common scenario that I often experience. While providing safety training, I
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When Good People Are Unethical – Impartiality
Imagine this, instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar and cognizant of the code of ethics, an untrained
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Why Location is Important When Hiring Conference Interpreters
You are hosting a multilingual event that requires multilingual conference interpreters. Professional conference interpreters are not cheap. A person might
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Safety Programs – Cultural and Linguistic Backgrounds
As a bilingual safety trainer, I have the honor to collaborate with some great safety professionals. I have provided training
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When Good People are Unethical – Confidentiality
Imagine this. Instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar with and cognizant of the code of ethics, an
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Conference Interpreting Tool Box Talks
Tool Box talks have proven to be an extraordinarily successful part of many safety programs that construction companies use. What
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8 Keys for Creating a Safety Culture
Values are the foundation of any great safety culture which will become obvious by safe actions of the employees.  Every
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When Good People are Unethical – Accuracy
Imagine this, instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar and cognizant of the code of ethics, an untrained
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Conference or Liaison Interpreter: What’s the difference?
Finding an Interpreter is similar to finding a doctor or lawyer. Imagine walking up to someone and telling them, “I
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When Good People Are Unethical- Transparency (Interpreting)
Imagine this, instead of hiring a professional interpreter who is familiar and cognizant of the code of ethics, an untrained
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Emergency action plans can save lives
Several years back, I described the experience of my friend Willie who was tasked with clearing his floor in a
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How Conference Interpreting Can Improve Diversity and Inclusion
Have you ever found yourself listening to a group of people speaking another language that you don’t understand? At first,
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Alfonso Interpreting now offers CPR and First Aid Training in Spanish and English!
Why are we offering CPR and First Aid Training in Spanish and English?   For the last ten years, Alfonso
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When Workers’ Compensation and Hospital Interpreters Collide (personal experience #3)
I arrived at the hospital, ready to interpret for a very nervous patient. For almost an entire year, I had
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Five Key Items to Identify when Hiring Conference Interpreters
Before planning your next multilingual event consider these five key items when hiring conference interpreters.    1 Ethics Professional, skilled
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Hospital and Workers Comp Interpreters – Why have 2?
It is common for workers’ compensation (WC) interpreters to be assigned to accompany a patient to all his medical visits.
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Dumpster Safety
Safety Chat Dumpsters are a safety concern because they carry risks that aren’t always obvious to many people. Much of
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Three Traits Conference Interpreters Must Have
Conference interpreters must possess many traits, not the least of which is language knowledge.  Here are my top 3: Confidentiality
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Seguridad contra Relámpago
Recientemente en las noticias, se llevaron a cuatro obreros de una hacienda de melocotones al hospital después de ser golpeados
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Lightning Safety
Recently in the news, four people working at a peach farm were sent to the hospital after being struck by
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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Retaining Conference Interpreting Solutions
Suppose for a moment that a two-day English-language medical conference on advancements in knee surgery will be held in Columbia,
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Wild West for Workers’ Compensation Interpreters
Workers’ compensation interpreters hired by insurance companies are typically subcontracted through a language agency. Language agencies then subcontract out to
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Eleven Skills Conference Interpreters Must Possess
Try this exercise for just a few minutes. Listen to a TED talk and try repeating everything the speaker says.
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Journey to Safety Excellence
The National Safety Council is a great resource for any company interested in protecting its most important asset:  employees.  They
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When Worlds Collide: Workers’ Compensation and Hospital Interpreters (a personal experience)
I was at the hospital ready to interpret for a very nervous patient. For almost an entire year, I provided
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Grow Your Profits with Conference Interpreting
Have you hosted an event that required conference interpreting?  Have you yourself attended a conference where you benefitted from conference
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The Cost of Injuries in the Workforce among Limited English Proficient Employees
There are an estimated 53,000 workplace fatalities each year and 427,000 non-fatal workplace illnesses.  My purpose for this post is
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Hospital vs. Workers’ Compensation Interpreter?
Most people reading this title would probably be somewhat perplexed. Aren’t hospital and workers’ compensation interpreters both healthcare interpreters under
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5 Frustrating Issues Workers’ Comp. Adjusters have with Interpreters
As a business owner responsible to grow my business and gain new clients, I spend a lot of time discovering
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Conflicting Loyalties Follow Up
A few weeks ago, I posted an emotional response to media reports about TransPerfect, a very large company damaging the
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Ten More Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for Language Freelancers
http:// This is Part II of my list of Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for our profession. In the fictional universe
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Does ATA have Conflicting Loyalties?
I have heard the following statement many times: “ATA has conflicting loyalties! It is a conflict of interest to have
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What Is So Bad about Discussing Fees?
I have observed this scene countless times on social media and association conferences. A newbie colleague poses the question, “I
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Serving on the Board of Directors of The American Translators Association? 
This November, the ATA will celebrate its 56th annual conference in Miami, Florida. At that time, three new directors will
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Finding Balance on Social Media
I realize the title is somewhat deceptive. This blog isn’t about time management. It is about balancing our message on
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Why Is It So Rare To Read Blogs About Great Clients?
Most of my clients are fantastic! We enjoy great communication and they pay on time. They are the kind of
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How do you Envision Public Relations for ATA?
For several years, I have been following a very vibrant discussion about ATA’s need for Public Relations. In fact, during
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Fact Checking our Perception of Truth
I have been telling a story for more than 20 years! It was my experience, so I was convinced I
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Seven Time Management Lessons From a Really Crazy Week!
I recently found myself trying to survive one of the worse crisis weeks in many years. It all started near
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A special request to my ATA interpreter colleagues
Dear Colleagues: The American Translators Association has the tagline, “The Voice of Interpreters and Translators.” Close to half the membership
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16 Videos Interpreters and Translators Might Like
Below is a list of YouTube videos that I have shared over several years. They range from very serious public
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10 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for Language Freelancers
In the fictional universe of Star Trek, there exists a race of entrepreneurs known for earning great profit! They are
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Transparency at American Translators Association
You spend the entire weekend cleaning your home from top to bottom. The place looks great. All that’s left is
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Living Out Of My Comfort Zone
My existence is a miserable one, and I have brought it all upon myself. This is because I keep choosing
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A Crazy Interpreter’s Method for keeping the rest of his Sanity
Everyone who knows me including my wife and children think I am a little touched in the head, Cuckoo, a
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Clashing Sentiments Regarding ATA Issues
Not long ago, I wrote a blog about current issues in the ATA. The dual purpose was to encourage members
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Build your Tribe, Grow Your Business – Sales
In an earlier blog, I discussed marketing.  This one considers sales.  Not everyone agrees, but these methods have worked for
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Build your Tribe, Grow your Business engaging.
Let’s face it; the likelihood of obtaining clients by just attending a networking event is not very good. You have
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My Questions for the ATA Board
This question was recently asked in preparation of the ATA board meeting on February 5-8, “Do you have feedback for
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Build your Tribe Grow your Business: Social Media
 Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Scoop it, and Pinterest The above-mentioned sites are all different social media tribes. Just like
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A Path to Wealth: Synergistic Tribes
The previous blog discussed marketing through tribe building. That articled discussed the collaborative tribe. However, the key to growing requires
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A Social Review of the American Translators Association Conference in Chicago
Once again this year, the American Translators Association hosted its successful 55th annual conference (ATA55) in Chicago with an audience
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Gauging the Performance of Board Members
During the past week, I observed negative speech against the ATA board. I wrote a blog and then welcomed open
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Issues Pertinent to Electing New ATA Board Members
I would like to recognize the hard-working board members of the American Translators Association (“ATA”). Theirs is a thankless job.
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“You will come running back to us, you’ll see!”
Those were the words uttered to me by a representative of one of the largest national interpretation agencies about five
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Remembering 9/11: Rebuilding
For a long time I didn’t want to talk about my experience on September 11, 2001. A few years ago,
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Seeking Answers to my Workers’ Comp Insurance Company Frustrations
In the workers’ compensation industry, large insurance companies tend to have a policy to hire only national interpreting agencies. These
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Your Role in Keeping Your Colleagues Professional
Learning from experience is the key to avoid repeat errors. Although I’ve had a couple of negative experiences with colleagues
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How Case Managers Can Work with Interpreters – Part III
This entry will conclude my three-part series on effective relations between the case manager and the interpreter. Role Boundaries:  “The
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How Case Managers Can Work with Interpreters – Part II
In Part II of case managers and interpreters working together, I highlight a few misunderstood points. Accuracy: The principle is
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How Case Managers Can Work with Interpreters, Part I
Over the years, I have worked with many insurance company and independent case managers. Case managers coordinate medical care for
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Four Suggestions to Make Business Travel Light
Sometimes technology can be your frenemy (friend + enemy).  Upon returning home from ATA54, my iPad decided that it cannot
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Agency Needs an Interpreter in 5 Minutes Across Town
An unfortunate reality is the last-minute rush job. It’s a fact of life, at times, unavoidable. It makes sense to
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Agency work (The nerve of those guys!)
Not long ago, one of our favorite case managers called me in desperation looking for a French-speaking interpreter. She had
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54th Annual American Translators Association Conference
This year’s ATA conference took place in San Antonio, Texas, a unique and beautiful location! Just a few short blocks
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When an Interpreter´s Ethics are Tested – Part II
My previous blog described a claimant desperately beseeching assistance. I remained strong and reminded myself of the code of ethics
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Who’s Your Potato?
A while back, I attended a seminar and walked by one of the many booths promoting their services. Setting up
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When an Interpreter’s Ethics are Tested
Lately I have had a couple of difficult cases that tested my ethical professionalism. Case number one. Mr. Gabriel Dominguez
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Liar, Liar. What’s an interpreter to do?
Every once in a while, I find myself interpreting for someone I’m quite sure is packing a pretty good lie.
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Remembering 9-11 What happened afterward”
A few days after that September 11th, all I wanted to do was forget. I needed to clear my mind.
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Two Compelling Reasons to join a Board
We love our language associations.  They provide valuable resources for both newcomer and old-timer alike.  Conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars, mentor
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Social Media Communication and the Smiley Face
     🙂     🙂  I have this special admiration for translators. They have an amazing ability to analyze minute details in
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An argument for professional interpreters – False Cognates
It is very common for me to be told “I don’t think that this claimant needs an interpreter. I believe
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Three Business Points Learned by Hosting a Baby Shower
Recently, I had the honor of hosting a baby shower.  It was hard work but very fulfilling.  By examining the
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Seven Stress-Relieving Benefits Of Journaling
Entrepreneurs like myself tend to be very stressed. There are several reasons why I went into business for myself. First,
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When Your Certified Colleague is Unprofessional
Everyone hates this scenario.  Its presence pervades all lines of work. You are with a colleague, and you observe this
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Five steps to planning a great sales/marketing strategy for 2013 (first three)
Although it might seem time consuming, planning ahead for the year will turn out to be an efficient use of
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ATA Conference – The Human Aspect
Those annoying pink ribbons…they have their purpose, but I despise them.  I feel like I’m advertising my newbie status for
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How do empathetic beings stay unbiased?
I’ll never forget the day I was sitting down with my fiancée and her bridesmaids watching a tragic movie. At
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Adventures in interpreting II
Here we go again. It was 9:00 p.m., almost bedtime.  I was winding down talking with my daughter about her
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First time experience at the ATA 53rd annual conference part 2
There was so much going on at the conference that I don’t want to bore you with every detail. I
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Movin’ on Up (New location)
One of my favorite television shows as a young child was The Jeffersons.  To me, it had a lovely introductory
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Wanting a Quote Before Seeing the Documents
My partner Emily seemed to be very annoyed with a potential translation client.  For the life of me, I don’t
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Remembering 9/11 My friend Willie
A few days after that terrible tragedy, I was going stir crazy, so I took a walk in the neighborhood. 
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Interpreting at Aquatic Therapy
A number of years ago, I was assigned for the first time to interpret for a patient receiving aquatic therapy.
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Reasons why you should not hire a qualified professional interpreter.
My contemporaries shamelessly self-promote and provide their own delusional reasons as to why only qualified professional interpreters (themselves) should be
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“I love Papaya”
The other day a friend joyfully called me on the phone. Apparently, I did not respond fast enough on Twitter.
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Social media versus real life
Ask any old-timer averse to social media and technology how they develop new clients.  They will all tell you the
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Social media and antisocial behavior
No doubt you are familiar with this scenario. You walk into a room and say hello to everyone.  No one
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Bad News! The Adjuster
Imagine having the great responsibility for providing care to an injured worker. He isn’t just an injured worker, though. He
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Staying ahead of the curve.
Freelancers and business owners have one thing in common. In order to stay in business, they must stay ahead of
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What I learned from chronic illness
Shortly after September 11, 2001 I found myself with a very bad cold. I was coughing and short of breath.
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Kids Chance BBQ 2012
Kids’ chance is an organization that provides scholarships to children under the difficult circumstance of having a parent injured or
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Being watched! When there is more than one interpreter assigned to the same job.
From time to time, I find myself interpreting at an assignment and another interpreter observes. It is not the most
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Resisting the Urge to Help
When you think of an interpreter, most people think of someone that facilitates communication.  Although that is true, it is
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When the interpreter has to deal with someone flirting
Sometimes the interpreter finds himself in very unusual circumstances.  I have talked about the uncomfortable feeling of interpreting vulgar language.
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Bad News! The nurse case manager.
Just like doctors, nurses have a code of ethics. They are advocates for the patient. Their goal is to help
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Bad News from doctors
As mentioned in a previous post, lately I have had to interpret bad news to patients. It is one of
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Bad News
I was recently interpreting for a patient at a doctor’s appointment. The doctor entered the room and in a very
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Alfonso Interpreting Featured on BBC News
Watch the BBC News article here. The economic downturn in the United States hit Hispanics more than any other demographic,
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How much should you charge for your services?
Recently someone knocked at my door. He wanted to ask me questions about my business. What is the demand like?
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Business of the year!
What an event!  On Saturday, November 12, 2011, the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce  (SCHCC) held its Third Annual
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What can interpreters learn from hair stylists?
Have you ever noticed how upscale hair salons are typically structured?  A stylist begins as an apprentice, earning a small
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I am tickled pink to be interpreting!
When interpreting, accuracy is absolutely necessary. There is no room for mistakes. In a medical setting for example, the patient
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Ring Ring
One of the more difficult challenges for entrepreneurial interpreters is the telephone.  We depend on that very important piece of
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Growing pains
When I started my business, I knew that I wanted to set an example in ethical conduct. I would not
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Let’s Talk
As some of you might be aware of by now, I often write about the common problems seen regularly in
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Bad Advice
Often a patient receiving interpreting services will recognize my knowledge and experience. It is not uncommon for the patient to
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Playing Games
I cannot tell you how many times the following has come up. The other day a physical therapist turned to
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Remembering 9/11
Warning:  this blog is long, originally not meant to be shared.. I can’t believe ten years have gone by since
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SWAG
My competition loves to distribute the plastic pens with the logo, the magnets, note pads, water bottles, and even little
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“Only I know the pain I feel”
A basic ethical principle is that interpreters must convey meaning between people and cultures faithfully, accurately, and impartially. This means
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The power of thank you
I know a man that entered a doctor’s office. After a few minutes he looked around and noticed many annoyed
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“@#$%^&*)!”
The doctor enters to examine his knee surgery patient. Quickly, without any warning, the doctor lifts patient’s leg and bends
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The Appointment is at WHAT TIME???
Life is interesting when you own your own business.  The challenges test your resourcefulness, resilience, and ability to delegate.  However,
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Alfonso Interpreting is now a certified minority business
Over the last four years as an interpreter specializing in workers’ compensation, I have seen my share of unnecessary, heart-wrenching
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“I’m sorry, the appointment was canceled.”
A couple of years ago, I received a call from an agency regarding an interpreting assignment in Greenville.  When I
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“That’s how I lost my last interpreter!”
One day, after introducing myself to a new patient, he began to rattle off a list of issues he wanted
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A thumb is not a toe! II
The telephonic interpretation described in the previous blog was a big mess! Some very basic Spanish was interpreted incorrectly. A
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A thumb is not a toe!
Recently I was assigned to interpret for a patient at a hospital for pre-surgery.  When the patient entered the room,
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Counting Words! Why interpreters should not add to what is said.
Interpreters must be diligent in following ethical guidelines. A while back, I was assigned to interpret at a doctor’s office. 
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Why are workers’ comp interpreters hated? Part III
As previously mentioned, there are serious problems in the industry. The larger the agency, the more difficult it is to
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Why are problems with workers’ comp interpreters so prevalent?
Why are Workers’ Comp Interpreters Hated? Part II Why are problems with workers’ comp interpreters so prevalent? As already mentioned,
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Why are workers’ comp interpreters hated?
I realize that hate is a strong word. Most people, in fact, appreciate the badly-needed interpreting services they provide. There
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Greenville Business Magazine
Jeff Alfonso quoted in Greenville Business Magazine article
Have you received your October 2010 issue of Greenville Business Magazine? Check out Jeff Alfonso in the article “Breaking the
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