Liz Elting founded an international translation agency in 1990 with Phil Shawe, one of her once one-night-stands. A few years later, the two cofounded TransPerfect, which today produces over $760 million annually in sales to some of the biggest names in business. In the last three years, TransPerfect has expanded to Europe and Asia. Here, they share their story, along with their new translations, with the hope of getting it right first time.

The two met in San Francisco while working for a large company called E-Book Software. Shawe was a translator, and Liz Elting was his research analyst. Both enjoyed working on the translation side of the company, but after a few months of work, Shawe noticed that she was doing it differently from him. The translator was working much harder than he was and was taking far longer than he did to complete each job. He was upset by the result and wrote to Elting asking her advice on what to do.

Elting was so impressed with Shawes' work ethic that she decided to set up a translation agency with him. She decided to call it TransPerfect, after an acronym that included the two initials of the couple's first name: Liz. Elting had always thought that her first name sounded like "transparent," and she wanted her agency to reflect the same values. So she took out a business loan from her father's account. And she hired a great translation agency to represent her in the business world and hire translators who would work for her.

Shawes had many ideas on how to improve TransPerfect, which he had seen before in other companies. One idea was to hire people to translate everything into Spanish. He also wanted a website to display TransPerfect's services. So he contacted several Spanish-speaking translation agencies, and finally decided on a firm in Madrid that specialized in corporate translations. The couple moved to Spain and hired the agency.

When Shawes went back to TransPerfect to discuss the website, however, he discovered that he couldn't get any help with the English copy. {because he was not fluent in Spanish. This was frustrating for the company but understandable. Elting was not English. and didn't have time to learn the language. In fact, the two had never really spoken to each other in English before.

After a few months, Shawes decided that English was a good second language to understand, so he wrote Elting and explained that he wasn't really fluent in Spanish, but wanted to speak with her about his concerns. She agreed. After a few weeks, Elting sent him a list of the translations she had completed for TransPerfect, which included her own translations of other Spanish books and newspapers, and a translator she had done with Shawes in the US. Shawes was surprised at how quickly Elting translated his sentences. He was particularly impressed when she translated a story about a man who'd been kidnapped in Spain, using Shawes' translation.

Elting translated Shawes' story with ease, and even included him in the process of proofreading it. She told him that he was so impressed that he wanted to bring his mother, who'd died a few years earlier, to the TransPerfect offices to see the book.

Today, both Shawes and Elting are still good friends. They talk every day about the translation business. Shawes has even written one of Elting's books - "How to Write a Book in Two Languages."

In addition to translating Shawes' stories, Elting has translated his novels, as well as other works by Shawes, including his own novel, "The Master of Babylon." Even Shawes was impressed with how Elting took care of the translations.

Because she is very busy, Elting also translated Shawes' other work into English. Elting herself was not native English, so she needed someone to do the translation - someone like Elton John, the translator Elton Hilton, or the New York-based translator Michael Parks.

Elting, who is a member of the English Council of Teachers of Foreign Language, is also involved in Spanish education through Spanish for the English Teacher's Association (SEFLA) and the Spanish Language Institute. One of her students, Michael Parks, is also a teacher of Spanish, and Elting's assistant. She has also worked as an instructor at the International Baccalaureate School in New York City.

Author's Bio: 

Content Writer, SEO, Digital Marketing