More Than Just Spanish, Finding Interpreters for Indigenous Mexican Languages

(Image from the Florentine Codex, a 2400 page document from the 16th centry that included the first romanization of the Nahuatl language, known informally as Aztec and spoken today by 1.5 million people in central Mexico.)

In Mexico there are 11 language families, 68 indigenous languages, and 364 linguistic variants. When individuals from Mexico come to the United States to find work or a better opportunity for their families they aren’t just speaking Spanish. Speakers of languages like Triqui and Mixteco often do not speak any Spanish making their time here in the U.S. challenging. In the following stories from the California Report and National Public Radio you can learn a bit more about the difficulties facing speakers of indigenous Mexican languages, their employers and hospitals where they are provided medical care without understanding what treatment they are being provided.


And here is the story, picked up nationally by NPR:


Contact Translation By Design for document translation and Indigenous Mexican Language Interpreters for the following languages:

Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Mayo, Yaqui, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol, Totonac, Purépecha, Otomi, Mazahua, Mazatec, Chinantec, Mixe, Zoque, Popoluca, Popoloca language, Me'phaa, Wixarika, Naayerite, Tepehuán, Warihio, Raramuri, Seri, Chontal Maya, Chontal, Huave, Pame, Teenek, Kickapoo, Kiliwa, Paipai, Cucapá, Amuzgo, Triqui, Lacandon Maya, Mam Maya, Jakaltek, Matlatzinca, Tepehua, Chichimeca Jonaz, Pima Bajo, Ngiwa, Ixcatec, Ayapanec, and other indigenous Mexican languages

Inter-Cultural Awareness Trainer, Peter Fordos, Delivers "China Ready" Training


Peter Fordos and Duncan Young explain to California tourism and hospitality professionals the keys to ensuring Chinese tourists feel welcome during their visits. With the numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the United States expected to quadruple by 2023, forward thinking tourism professionals seek to understand the needs and wants of Chinese visitors to help their businesses and destinations gain a competitive advantage by creating a welcoming, culturally sensitive experience. 


Key takeaways included:

Culture: Remember “Face”, “Guanxi” and hierarchy; address the oldest ­first; give and receive money, keycards, business cards, receipts with two hands; number 8 is very lucky, number 4 is very unlucky; red, orange, yellow are good, avoid black and white; most popular travel times are summer, Chinese New Year (January-February) and National Day (October 1).

Comforts: Free Wi-Fi, Chinese tea and teakettle, slippers, noodle cups, Chinese TV channels, Chinese magazines/newspapers, toothpaste/brush; prefer warm or hot water, chopsticks, Chinese hot sauce, “dim sum” or family style tapas and include pictures of the dish if possible.

Credit Card: Accept Union Pay. If you accept Discover Card you already accept UnionPay. Elevon Merchant Services is the other option for processing. Put a sticker in your window. Offering specials or gifts with purchases made with UnionPay is one of the most effective ways to target the Chinese consumer.

Communication: Translate welcome material, important policies, room-service menu, product/store information, attraction guides, at least one page on website. WeChat and Weibo are the top social media platforms and having a page there will increase your awareness. Online review sites are also a key source of information for Chinese who are planning a trip.

If your business or organization is interested in China Cultural Training or other team building and executive development trainings please contact us at 831-655-9588 or by emailing

New Global Goals, New Social Logo for Translation By Design

With the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals last Friday, September 25th, Translation By Design has redisigned our LinkedIn and Facebook logos to help raise awareness of the Global Goals.

For many months Translation By Design has been working on a Comic Translation project in coordination with Reading With Pictures, The World's Largest Lesson, and UNICEF to help bring the 17 Global Goals to millions of children around the world in 11 different languages.


China Ready Training for MCCVB Featured on KSBW News

The place where languages, cultures and commerce intersect, is where you find Translation by Design (TBD) supporting an array of businesses from global financial institutions and law firms, to international tourism destinations like Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. On July 30th, TBD conducted a cross-cultural training program in Carmel for members of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau to help them better understand the opportunity and cultural needs of Chinese tourists. Chinese tourism revenue to California is expected to quadruple by 2023. This "China Ready" training is meant to help Monterey County gain a competitive advantage over other destinations vying for Chinese tourists. Click the image above to view coverage of the MCCVB "China Ready" effort covered by KSBW.

China Ready Tourism Training for Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau


Today, 60 hoteliers, restauranteurs, retailers, and tourist attraction operators gathered in Carmel-by-the-Sea to learn:

Why China? Why Monterey? Why Now?

These business representatives are members of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the organization that hired our cross-cultural training team, to provide a "China Ready" training to attract and welcome this growing tourism market.

The stats about China that got their attention:

• Population of 1.4 billion people, is already CA’s top overseas market

• Rapidly growing middle class, disposable incomes and desire to travel

• California is their #1 destination in USA (45% market share)
• The Central Coast is the #1 region of interest to Chinese
• They are shifting away from tours to independent travel
• They spent most per traveler in California than any other nationality
By 2023 the number of tourists visiting us from China is expected to quadruple
The objective of the training is to help Monterey County Tourism and Hospitality businesses:
1. Attract Chinese tourists while they are in the process of planning a vacation to the USA (or before)
2. Welcome the Chinese tourists, once they are here, by providing culturally sensative service
3. Create moments they will treasure and share with their friends, families and followers on social media
The goal of the MCCVB is to turn Monterey into a welcoming place where Chinese tourists will want to spend more time...and money.
For MCCVB members that missed the training we will be delivering a second "China Ready" seminar in Monterey on Friday, September 18th. 

If you are unable to attend, or are a business that would like to learn more, please feel free to review the slide deck here (or by clicking the image below). If you would like to discuss how we could help your business do a better job attracting and welcoming Chinese tourists please call us or email


Translation for Legal Professionals is Serious Business

But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun as well... Translation By Design was a featured exhibitor at the recent California Aliance of Paralegals Associations Annual Conference in San Jose. Instead of giving away the typical trade show tchotchkes we opted to use international cookies as a way of introducing our translation and interpretation services to the legal professionals in attendance. (BTW: The word "tchotchke" derives from a Slavic word for 'trinket'). The colorful Macaroons, representing the French language, were the most popular cookie. The other popular item at our table was the Double Magnum of wine we had for the opportunity raffle. A big thank you to our friends at Joyce Vineyards, a boutique winery based in Carmel Valley.


80 Days to Ratification of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development

80 Days and counting to The World's Largest Lesson:
We are excited to be donating the translation and typesetting, in 10 languages, of some of the educational materials they will be distributing to children and schools around the world. The mission? To make sure every person on earth knows about the United Nations 17 Global Goals.
The goals are as follows:
GOAL 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere
GOAL 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
GOAL 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
GOAL 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
GOAL 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
GOAL 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
GOAL 7 - Ensure access to aordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
GOAL 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
GOAL 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
GOAL 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries
GOAL 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
GOAL 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
GOAL 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
GOAL 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertication, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
GOAL 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build eective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
GOAL 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Helping U.N. Reach 100 Million Kids by Translating Global Goals

In September representatives from around the world will gather at the United Nations to ratify a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); essentially a global "to-do" list: "No Hunger," "No Poverty," "Clean Drinking Water," "Gender Equality." 

“Comics are a kind of universal visual language for communicating important concepts. Translation By Design is one of our heroes. Donating their services ensures the global goals are translated into the 11 languages spoken by more than half of the world’s population.” - Josh Elder, Founder of Reading with Pictures and Comics Ambassador for the U.S. State Department

I was drawn to support this project because of its ambitious global goals and its focus on educating and empowering young people. Children need to know and believe they have the power to make a difference. These comics have the power to shape their actions today, which will impact the planet for decades.

The comics will be released as part of The World’s Largest Lesson and Project Everyone which seeks to educate every person on the planet about the SDGs when they are ratified in September. Reading With Pictures has a Kickstarter campaign, active through tomorrow, seeking to raise $60,000 to help cover the costs of the first phase of the comics’ production.

This is a mission for humanity, unified goals that resonate with everyone, everywhere.


Sandra DeLay, President and Founder

Translation By Design

Pacific Grove Language Company to Help United Nations Reach 100 Million Children with Translation of Global Goals


Pacific Grove, CA — June 1, 2015 — TranslationBy Design,a provider of language services and cross-cultural awareness training to global companies, announces a partnership with Reading With Pictures to donate translation services for a comic series destined to educate more than 100 million children, in 11 languages, about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In September representatives from around the world will gather at the United Nations to ratify the list of newly developed goals. The 17 SDG’s focus on solving the world’s biggest challenges and seek to unite humanity behind this “global to-do list” that includes eliminating hunger, no poverty, fair access to education, clean drinking water, gender equality, protecting our oceans, and others. Reading With Pictures and its partners, have organized international teams to write, illustrate and distribute a short educational comic for each of the 17 global goals. The hope is that these comics will reach 100 million young people around the world.

“If the Sustainable Development Goals are met they ensure the health, safety, and future of the planet for everyone on it,” said Sandra DeLay, president and founder of Translation By Design. “I was drawn to support this project because of its ambitious global goals and particularly because of its focus on educating and empowering young people. Children need to know and believe they have the power to make a difference. These comics have the power to shape their actions today which will impact the planet for decades.”

Translation By Design is donating the translation and typesetting of the comics into Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and French, the other official languages of the United Nations, plus Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Malay, and Portuguese. The company joins Dark Horse Comics, Andrews McMeel Universal, Peanuts Inc., and other renown comic writers, artists, and publishers that are contributing to the effort.

“Comics are a kind of universal visual language, one that’s ideal for communicating important concepts to diverse audiences,” added Josh Elder, founder of Reading with Pictures. “Concepts don’t get any more important than the Global Goals, and audiences don’t get any more diverse than the entirety of the human race. For that reason Translation By Design is one of our heroes on this project. Their translation services will ensure the comics are accessible in the languages spoken by more than half of the world’s population.”

The comics will be released as part of The World’s Largest Lesson and Project Everyone which seeks to educate every person on the planet about the SDGs when they are ratified in September. Reading With Pictures has a Kickstarter campaign, active through June 4th, seeking to raise $60,000 to help cover the costs of the first phase of the comics’ production.

“These goals are the most important long term plan we have for our planet. The success of the SDGs is our success; their failure is our failure. Failure cannot be an option. I urge everyone to support this effort either through the Reading With Pictures Kickstarter campaign or by sharing The World’s Largest Lesson website with friends and colleagues.” Ms. DeLay continued, “Monterey is the Language Capital of the World. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we couldn’t be more excited to represent our community on the global stage by contributing our expertise to a project that will improve people’s lives and the health of our planet. We will be reaching out to more organizations locally and hope others will join in spreading this important mission for humanity.”



Translation By Design is a global language services provider based in Pacific Grove, California. TBD offers comprehensive language translation services in more than 200 languages along with cultural training programs for a variety of industries. Services include: document and multimedia translation; in-person and over-the-phone interpreters for tour groups, conferences, events, legal matters, and more; conference interpreting equipment and technicians; cross-cultural training services to help global teams and business executives work more effectively across cultures. Translation By Design uniquely places purpose before profit, desiring that their work contribute to understanding, compassion, and the highest human potential. Visit



Reading With Pictures is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that promotes the use comics in education in order to improve learning outcomes for all students. They get comics into schools, and they get schools into comics. (



Carl Magnuson, Translation By Design


Phone: 831-655-9588


Todd Allen, Reading With Pictures


Phone: 773-669-8672

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

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