Category Archives: Uncategorized

Response to USG Foreign Language Services Ordering Guide

The site is a go-to site for language access. The Federal Government has done an excellent job of providing very valuable resources here.

Some of my favorite resources are on this page:

However, when Milena Calderari-Waldron and I, Helen Eby, reviewed one of the top items on the page, the Foreign Language Services Ordering Guide, we found significant differences from established practices in our field and in published papers. Therefore, we sent a review of these differences to the drafting team on July 13, 2017.

We hope this review of the Ordering Guide is useful to the Federal Government and possibly to others.

How to start freelancing

These links are mostly from conversations in the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Happy surfing!

On the Basics: Tips for Getting Started in Editing or Freelancing

On the Basics: So You Want to be a Freelancer

On the Basics: So you Want to be an Editor (or Proofreader)

EditTools: Duplicate References – A Preview

When Is the Right Time to Launch a Freelance Tech Communications Business?

How to Start Freelancing and Find Work

What makes translations by Gaucha Translations different?

Gaucha Translations is a language services company founded and owned by me, Helen Eby. I am certified as a translator by the American Translators Association in Spanish to English, by Washington State DSHS from English to Spanish, and as an interpreter (Oregon Court and Oregon Medical). Through my company, I set up teams to work on projects such as Science News for Students and my colleagues are generally certified translators with over five years of experience.

  1. I am an advocate for professionalism and have coauthored definitions of translators.
  2. I am a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and the American Medical Writers Association,and keep up to date with copy editing best practices. I am part of a blog team focused on Spanish writing for the US (
  3. Every translation is done by a highly-qualified translator (often, certified) and reviewed by an equally qualified translator for quality improvement.
  4. The client is part of the conversation regarding style guides and some translation decisions.
  5. I work with clients regarding deadlines to ensure that they are realistic, set our team up for success and quality work, and meet the clients’ needs.
  6. I also check the website or other media where the documents are published to suggest overall improvements, so the context of the site is appropriate for the documents.
  7. I have been involved in the ASTM Translations Standard drafting committee, and my work order for translation services is inspired in the ASTM Translation Standard. This is a link to an RTF version.
  8. My rate sheet is available for review.

Why publish quality educational materials in Spanish?

  1. Spanish is the second most common language in the United States

According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), in 2013 Spanish was the predominant language spoken by both immigrant and U.S.-born Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals. 37,459,000 people speak Spanish in the United States. 16,482,000 are limited English proficient.

  1. Hispanic dropout rate: Double the white dropout rate

When I, Helen Eby, owner of Gaucha Translations, spoke with local librarians as I researched the state of Spanish literature in my local libraries, I found that parents enjoy reading Spanish versions of the English books students check out. I also researched the statistics of immigrants of Mexican origin and found that more than half of the first-generation immigrants to the US of Mexican origin in 2007 had completed at least ninth grade. As I have interacted with immigrants in a program for migrant workers, I have observed that they have generally taken advantage of all the educational opportunities that were available to them. They are resourceful life-long learners.

3. If quality materials are available in Spanish…

  • The resoures will be very valuable for states which, like Oregon, have adopted the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • More dated scientific materials in Spanish will inspirie and provide more access to Latino-Hispanic students interested in STEM fields.
  • Parents will support their students with their homework, which will lead to lower droput rates.


Who is Helen Eby, at Gaucha Translations?

I am a translator and an interpreter. I cover a lot of territory, but I have background in a lot of areas. These are my specialties.


I am a member of the Cuatro Mosqueteras , a team writing a blog on how to improve Spanish writing. I grew up in Argentina, where I became an English and Spanish teacher. I am a Spanish translator and interpreter:

Click here to learn about translation certification.

Click here to learn about interpreting certification.


Because of my experience with education at a high level in both Spanish and English, I am comfortable with the technical details of science and the humanities in both languages.

  • Medical
    • Medical student at the University of Buenos Aires, covering Anatomy, Histology, Embryology, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology
  • Business
    • Studied at the Instituto Argentino de Secretarias Ejecutivas in Buenos Aires where I learned intricacies about the business side of working in an office. We were introduced to the basics of accounting, legal issues, and other topics. In my translation work I find that I understand these concepts very well because of this training.
    • Experience as an Administrative Assistant for Cormick, a business that imported equipment for the railroad industry in Argentina, preparing bids for submission. When bids came in late in the afternoon, I always was able to meet the deadlines for submission the next morning. Meeting deadlines was very important. Now I understand why businesses have last-minute translation needs, and am very willing to help with them.
  • Nautical
    • I sailed on sailboats from the time I was eight years old. I also assisted the Purser and the Captain of the MV Logos in the preparation of documents for customs and immigration in the ports of all Spanish speaking countries of Latin America except for Honduras, Colombia, Uruguay and Mexico. This experience launched me on the road toward becoming a professional translator.
    • In Argentina, as a sailor, I earned the timonel de yate a vela certificate from the Prefectura Naval Argentina de San Isidro. In Boston, I earned the helmsman certificate from Community Boating, Inc.
  • Education specialty
    • Home-school teacher of high school college prep courses in biology, chemistry, physics, pre-calculus, history, government, and literature. I have taught individual students and group lessons. My children were National Merit Finalists and received very high scores on College Board math and science subject tests.
    • Adjunct professor of Spanish at Gordon College, Wenham, MA.
    • Graduated as a primary education teacher (grades 1-7) of English and Spanish from the Escuela Normal de Maestras en Lenguas Vivas “John F. Kennedy”, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

State of Interpreting and Translation in Oregon

On Sunday, February 19, I was able to deliver a report to Senator Wyden at his Town Hall meeting in Eugene, Oregon.

This is the one-pager I wrote about the situation in Oregon.

Oregon and National Needs in Interpreting and Translation

I also gave him the following documents to look over. I hope he reads them!

Definitions of the roles of interpreters, translators, translator-transcribers and terminologists, endorsed by nine professional associations.

Why use certified, qualified interpreters and translators?

I expect to be able to continue this conversation with him in the future. Oregon needs this conversation to move forward.

Work-life balance: What is it?

To serve you well, I have to keep all issues in context. This paper, Overwork in America, covers some important concepts. The following paragraphs explain how I intend to apply what I gleaned from this article. As a freelancer, I am responsible for determining my schedule.

  • I have to take care of my health. In my case, exercise is essential to stay healthy. It takes time.
  • I need to manage some family issues so they do not distract me when I work. As some of you may be aware, my mother-in-law has been needing more support since January of 2016.

My schedule in 2017 will be approximately as follows:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: work from 9 to 5
  • Tuesdays: Family issues
  • Fridays: Combination of family issues and work
  • Saturdays: Rarely available
  • Sundays: Not available

In 2017, my work time will be more efficient. And my play time and home time will be more focused on those issues, so I can come back to you ready to work!

Travels with Helen

Today’s post is guest written by my husband, David. He has watched me in action over the years, and this is the story of some things he has learned.

In 25 years of marriage to Helen, I’ve learned a lot about my unconscious biases. I was raised on an entirely family-run farm in Oregon. When my older brother took Spanish in high school, I remember wondering why he would do that. Spanish was the language of the uneducated. They were migrant workers and probably illiterate. I had no contact with them, but I had biases against them anyway.

When we have these biases, they are not consciously chosen. It’s just how things are. We claim to be unbiased, but only because we don’t know any better.

This year, over Memorial Day Weekend, Helen and I spent our time at the Oregon Coast. We ate at a restaurant with an obvious Mexican slant in its menu, and Helen struck up a conversation with our server. After talking in English for a while, they switched to Spanish, and the words really started to fly! I don’t speak Spanish, so I had to get a summary from Helen afterwards. The server’s story is one that I’m beginning to realize is extremely common among the Hispanics in the US.

Continue reading

Business skills interpreters need

Interpreters need business skills to manage their client base and so they can also be marketable as administrative staff in a language company. Here is a tentative list of computer-based skills interpreters should acquire:

  • How to invoice – Word has an invoicing template!
  • How to follow instructions on a company’s invoicing practices.
  • How to track invoices that were paid or not paid – Excel is a good tool for this.
  • How to follow up on late payments.
  • How to follow up on clients who have fallen off the radar – the project manager could have changed, and a quick call might be all that’s needed. Maybe you were unable to take appointments for a period of time and you forgot to tell them you are available again.
  • How to work with an Excel spreadsheet.
  • How to work with track changes in Word.
  • How to put comments in a Word document.
  • How to know when to make a change in a translated document you are reviewing.
  • How to research a term that you can’t find in a dictionary.
  • How to set Word and Excel up to work with your language (see this post)

Learning from interpreting

As interpreters, we are constantly learning. We learn from every encounter we have every day. However, it is so easy to get carried away and discuss things in a subjective way! As interpreters, we interpret messages delivered from one person to another, and the interpersonal issues sometimes…

Our ASL (American Sign Language) colleagues have developed a system called Demand-Control Schema, and they have meetings called “Supervision” to discuss cases. In these “Supervisions” they discuss encounters looking at the Demands (the challenges of the situation) and the controls (the things the interpreter could have done) in non-judgmental ways.

DCS overview Helen Eby

This presentation is a very basic outline of the DC-S approach, which helps maintain confidentiality as we share information in the interest of learning from each other.

For more information on DC-S, see the Demand Control Schema website!

Those interested in signing up for the 10-week class, receiving articles, or other information, can sign up for their mailing list at this link.