About Me


I love my work.Linguistic World

I hope that shows in this blog.  I want to give fellow interpreters and translators motivation, tips and training and solutions in my posts in Methodology and Doing  Business.  These will also help agencies and contractors feel that they are contributing to the success of this profession.  I want to show attorneys, Judges and legal support staff  how we work so that they can know that we support the judicial system at the same high standards they do. I will  reveal  the way people speak, ask and answer under certain conditions in posts in Communication Toolkit.  And I want to share a little laughter with you with posts in the category  You Can’t Make This Up …

For over 35 years I have worked every angle of this business. I started as a freelancer. Then I ran my company as an agency with a couple of dozen vetted subcontract interpreters and translators. I built up a large number of clients.  As far back as  the 1980s, I published scores of articles on my profession and I edited a series of text books on interpreting for a British publishing house. Then I  became a contract worker managing interpreters for a global services company.  I was hired away  for a  9 to 5 job doing interpreting and translation work at a major international  company and then at a federal agency.

I happily left it all  to come back to freelancing.  I now interpret at depositions, mediations, attorney client meetings and all court proceedings. I translate legal documents and evidence and I transcribe and translate audio/video recordings for law enforcement,  district attorneys and federal and state agencies.  I passed the tests and earned the security  clearances  required for three federal judicial and law enforcement language services contracts.  Some clients I’ve had for decades. Others are newly formed T&I agencies run by people who weren’t even born yet when I started working.  I teach  continuing education courses required by the JBCC for aspiring and licensed court interpreters .

Over the years I have worked with judicial royalty and actual royalty. As the interpreter in depositions or investigations abroad.  I have traveled in and out of territories shuddering fresh from civil war or in the midst of drug gang warfare. You will read about some of those experiences.

I love working with legal and law enforcement professionals. I love watching how they communicate and how they do their work. I come from a long line of lawyers including two Supreme Court Justices, so I understand them at times when most people don’t.

When I started there were no computers and we copied our invoices with carbon paper and marketing was paid advertising or cold calling. But my company grew. Back then, there was next to no training. I followed the training given to court reporters and sign language interpreters. Then I traveled to ATA conferences for training and now I am an instructor.  I still take courses. I author articles on this work and how to work with us. I have edited three books on the profession of interpreting. I was elected the first administrator of the Interpreters Division of the American Translators Association and I learned about the interpreting experience around the world. I was very happy to see the Court Interpreters Law passed in Texas and around the country.

What should not matter about my professional qualifications is my nationality. I am American, in fact 13th generation American. I learned my languages living in Mexico, Central America and Brazil and raised my linguistic ability from that level through constant study. Yet, I and other American born interpreters face the disrespect of having our profession measured by our nationality or race. Interpreting and translation skill is not a birthright. Basic bilingualism is incomparable to the skills required to do this work. It feels strange having grown up with the civil rights movement and resulting social education in this country, that I have to tell people that Americans can be great judicial linguists as well as any other nationality. Yet my unique dedication to the American judiciary is deeply rooted in my heritage.

When I teach and lecture I draw on all my experiences, good and bad because we can always learn. And I can always hope I motivate you to build a better interpreting or translating experience for everyone involved, interpreters, translators and our clients.

Diane Teichman

6 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with everybody. I am a legal translator in China translating mainly English judgments into Chinese, and I hope I can keep learning from you.

    1. Welcome Elvis! I would love to hear a description of a Judgement from China. Is it a court procedure or a document? Do you have different registers like I write about in my posts on register? It would be fascinating to hear.

  2. Good afternoon Diane,

    Thank you for writing about your experiences as an interpreter. I enjoy reading the posts on this professionally-done interpreter blog. I was wondering while reading through your “About Me” section of your blog about having a 9 to 5 interpreting job at a major international company and at a federal agency. I have interpreted for a private company in Columbus, Ohio as an independent contractor between 2009 and 2012, and now I work as an employee for a private company in Cleveland, Ohio. When I was in Columbus I didn’t have stable hours nor do I have any stable hours now, actually I have less hours overall, even though the major client is the Cleveland Clinic (and CareSource, more recently).

    My background is in chemistry (B.S.) and more recently as of last year having completed successfully a Master’s in Health Physics. So, I came about into the interpreting field because of not doing so well in chemistry in the workforce, and I interpret for mainly medical and social services clients (I had one experience in legal) in Romanian (my parents’ native language) and Spanish.

    I’m trying to find a job in health physics (radiation safety), but am interpreting in the meantime, and really do enjoy it. However, it’s extremely difficult making it sustainable especially with having a family of my own now. I wonder if you have any suggestions? Thank you.

    -Christian Luca

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would suggest you specialize in both translation and interpreting in your strongest scientific field. You could interpret at conferences and patent litigation which requires a deep knowledge of the field. Translation would also be a great source of work for you for all the corporations that match your field. Join the ATA (American Translators Association) and the Science and Technology Division and get on their directory for good exposure. There are probably a lot of companies looking for someone like you! Join ProZ on Linked In and you’ll find support for your search. I hope this helps. Good luck and keep me posted.

Leave a Reply