Interview #4: Judy Jenner


Today’s guest is one of the most recognized translators around the world – Judy Jenner. Judy founded her translation business, Twin Translations, along with her twin sister, Dagmar Jenner. A legal translator and interpreter for English and Spanish, she also teaches translation at the University of California-San Diego. When she’s not working, you can find Judy blogging at the Translation Times.

You grew up in different countries so I guess this is what ignited your love for languages. What makes you so passionate about translation?
Well, I know what it’s like to move somewhere and not speak the language, so I know how limiting that can be. We moved to Mexico City when my twin and I were quite youn, and it was fascinating to see a new world open up through language. I knew at an early age that I wanted to work with language, as it really connects people, cultures, and make international relations, trade, and business possible.

How do you usually celebrate International Translation Day? Is this day special to you or is it just like every other day?
It depends. A few years ago, I was able to speak at an event in Seattle, Washington, which was fantastic. Sometimes the local Nevada association (the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association, NITA), of which I am the past president, holds a casual networking event, and sometimes I am on the road. This year, we will be in York after a workshop with the Yorkshire Translators and Interpreters Group, so I am sure we will celebrate this special day with fellow linguists. Unfortunately, we can’t be in two places at the same time, so we will miss a pretty large event organized by the Austrian association UNIVERSITAS, as we will be traveling in the evening. In short: I try to do something special every year if I can!

Which difficulties do you face as a freelance translator ? Does working on two different continents and having a co-owner by your side help?
Running a small business comes with many challenges, including unreasonable deadlines and expectations, downward pressure on prices, limited resources (mainly time), etc. However, we’ve been very lucky and it’s been pretty much smooth sailings. Working with your best friend and twin sister certainly makes things much easier, and we also take advantage of time differences to make our clients happy.

On the other hand, our profession has great aspects. What’s your favorite and why?
There are too many – I don’t even know where to start, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be the amazing friendships we have formed with translator friends around the world. We had an Argentine barbecue at Dolores Rojo Guiñazu’s house outside Buenos Aires and just spent an epic Greek vacation in Athens and Crete with our translator friends Catherine Christaki and Chris Floros, and it’s all because of this fantastic profession. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything this profession has given me.

What do you think the future holds for us translators?
I think the industry will undergo some changes in terms of technology (machine translation), but that translators, as always, will adapt, change, and persevere – just like we have done for centuries.

Thank you so much for taking the time to contribute to this project, Judy!

3 thoughts on “Interview #4: Judy Jenner

  1. Thanks for posting this, Emeline! I really like this short interview format. 🙂 Great idea!

    • Well, thank YOU, Judy! You kindly took the time to answer my questions even though you were on vacation… That’s dedication ;)!

  2. […] include: Olga Arakelyan, Megan Onions, Catherine Christaki, Tess Whitty, Nicole Y. Adams, Judy Jenner, Carolyn Yohn, Sara Colombo, and Lloyd Bingham. You can read my […]

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