October 21, 2020
I came across a fascinating story from Planet Money (read the transcript here) on the current state of customer service. It’s something that we often think of as outsourced, but it seems that it’s undergoing a bit of a shift in recent years, to mimic the so-called business models of Uber and Lyft (neither of which, despite an abundance of venture capital and then capital from public offerings, are profitable).
The idea goes something like this: instead of hiring workers to provide this service as employees in the country of nexus, and instead of hiring a company in another country to have their employees handle provide this service, companies hire a company who has “independent contractors” to provide this service. These jobs and are billed as “opportunities to be your own boss” and require the workers themselves to pay for the training, pay for any hardware (computer, headset, phone system), and pay for networking (internet, phone line). Essentially, in order to cut the costs of training for employees, companies don’t consider them employees and require said employees to shoulder all the costs.
October 18, 2020
One of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, dove deep this month on a trend I’m all too aware of: misdials of phone numbers. VRS interpreters may recognize the audio from the robocalls, and the story behind the ones Emmanuel Dzotsi reports on in this episode, America’s Hottest Talk Line, is fascinating.
For other interesting robocalls and common scams, see Alex Goldman’s reporting on Long Distance Part I and Part II, and it’s subsequent follow-up from this summer.
October 7, 2020
On Interests and Progress
I have varied interests that extend beyond my two respective vocations, and while at times I’ve worried about that distracting me, I’ve come to embrace it. There are certainly times where I have to be diligent about what I need to focus on, but I’ve come to understand that this as a matter of acknowledging those interests and recognizing when I need to focus on other priorities.
It’s always a work in progress: prior to the pandemic this year, I was so busy with everything that by the time I had a moment to think about anything else, I was too exhausted to do so. On the flip side, sometimes I swing to the other extreme and spend too much time researching, reading, or otherwise not addressing what I need to be.
September 30, 2020
I operate my interpreting practice as a single person. This is common for freelance ASL/English interpreters, to establish oneself as a business entity and then establish freelance contracts with agencies in your area. It means that managing finances is different than a W-2 position, but allows me to provide my services with different clients and agencies while operating in the same area.
I know a number of colleagues who have formalized their business structure and branched out to become their own small agencies. There’s no right answer, here, everyone can do what works best for their goals and how they hope to serve the community.
September 26, 2020
Hello, and welcome to Language On Hand, the blog. Here, I will write occasional notes about what’s happening in my neck of the woods, things I’m thinking about, and things I’m learning. I also may write and share resources I encounter along the way, whether that’s from books or other places. I have varied interests more within the field of interpreting and beyond, and figure if something is useful or interesting to me, it may be useful or interesting to others.
To start, I can introduce myself by pointing you to various places around my site to learn a little more about me, the work I do, or how to get in touch with me.