Laura Valdes on Sharing the Power of Interpretation through Valdes Language Services, LLC

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Hi Laura! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:

Laura Valdes is the founder and lead linguist of Valdes Language Services, LLC. We are a woman-owned local small business offering high-quality interpretation and translation services with the goal of bridging the language gap. With over a decade of experience and hundreds of happy clients, you can feel at ease knowing that your language needs will be met. National and international interpretation services are available. Interpretation equipment rental is available.

So Laura, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?

What excites me about being an Entreprenista League member is being able to connect with other amazing entrepreneurial women who are making a difference in the world. I love learning from experienced business owners on how to grow our businesses and provide meaningful impact in the virtual events.

How did you know it was time to take the leap to start your own business?

With over a decade of experience as a linguist, I came to a realization – my skillset held immense value in a world where interpretation and translation services are increasingly vital. It was four years ago when I took the leap and founded Valdes Language Services, with the mission to bridge the language gap in the United States by providing high-quality language services. This is our first year as an LLC.

What was your background prior to becoming a linguist? How did this inspire your business?

As a child, I discovered the power of interpretation after learning English. With Colombian grandparents who didn’t speak English and a Pakistani stepfather who didn’t know Spanish, I became their bridge of communication. I not only interpreted for them but also fine-tuned my skills by proofreading and editing my mother’s emails in English. Little did I know that these early experiences would pave the way for a lifelong passion. Informally, I’ve been immersed in the art of interpretation and translation for over two decades. However, it was in 2011 that I took a significant leap towards professional interpreting and translating. Motivated by a desire to make a difference, I completed an Interpreting for Social Justice training program. This transformative experience deepened my understanding of the crucial role language plays in breaking down barriers and promoting equality. Building on this foundation, I pursued further education in Interpreting and Translation studies at the City University of New York Hunter College. From then on, I began my professional journey, providing language services to organizations and businesses both nationally and internationally. Over the past decade, I have proudly served as a linguistic bridge, facilitating communication and enabling connections between diverse communities. My commitment to precision, cultural sensitivity, and confidentiality has earned me a reputation as a trusted language professional.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I didn’t always know that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The path of entrepreneurship was not always clear to me. It was only five years ago that I had an epiphany – if I truly desired to thrive and build a sustainable future for my family and myself, becoming an entrepreneur was the key.

When first launching a business, an initial marketing campaign is so important! How did you first spread the word?

When I first launched my business, I created a Facebook business page. Additionally, I utilized LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to expand my online presence and reach a wider audience. To establish a robust network of meaningful connections, I actively participated in numerous networking events. These opportunities allowed me to engage with like-minded professionals and cultivate relationships that would be instrumental in my business’s growth.I eagerly shared my business with friends and colleagues who, in turn, sent valuable referrals my way. My marketing strategy did go as planned and I will say that my dedication, effort and patience were big factors.

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?

On my entrepreneurial journey, I have encountered several challenges. The biggest challenge that I have encountered along the way is generating enough revenue for the business and getting organized with my finances. Recognizing the significance of this obstacle, I worked with an experienced CFO who played a pivotal role in helping me to overcome this challenge. We worked together to create financial projections for the next three years. This was something that I had been procrastinating, and we created a profit and loss sheet, an expenses tracker, and she helped me to create a financial plan that would help me to make informed decisions for my business. I learned that getting “my house in order” is key for the long-term success of my business.

Laura, what is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am grateful to provide language services to organizations that are serving humanity. Since becoming an LLC in March 2023, Valdes Language Services has provided translation, translation review and interpretation services in five different languages. Our unwavering commitment to linguistic excellence is matched by our dedication to providing competitive rates for our highly experienced linguists.

What are your thoughts on work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I absolutely believe in work/life balance. Some tips that I can offer to achieve this include grounding yourself in nature at least once a week by going on a hike or placing your feet on the earth. I’ve also learned that a powerful tool that we have always have at our disposition is our breath. Being intentional with our breathing several times a day helps us deal with life’s unexpected moments. I also recommend doing a monthly journal reflection and finding something that you are grateful for every single day of that month. This has been super powerful for me. Journaling will also help you see where you spent most of your time and energy that month and help you pivot if there is something that you’d like to change for the following month. It’s also crucial to ensure you’re staying hydrated every day.

Learning from tenured Enretreprenistas when starting a biz of your own can be so helpful! What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?

When I first started my Entreprenista journey, I wish I would’ve known about the importance of being gentler and more patient with myself as I did things that were new for me. It’s important to have self compassion and patience as you continuously put yourself in situations that are outside of your comfort zone but that will ultimately help you to grow. I also learned that trying to do everything by myself is not the best use of my energy and that seeking mentorship when I feel stuck is critical to personal and business growth.

Laura, you have lots to celebrate! What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?

Since becoming an LLC in March 2023, Valdes Language Services, LLC has become a trusted provider of comprehensive language services, currently offering interpretation, translation, and translation reviews in more than five languages. We also offer interpretation equipment, specifically designed to facilitate seamless and immersive in-person simultaneous interpretation experiences at conferences, meetings, seminars, and summits. This creates an inclusive environment where people can communicate and understand in the language that they feel most comfortable.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We continue to work with organizations and companies that share our passion in ensuring Limited English Proficiency speakers have access to services and resources available to native English speakers. These include regional agencies and organizations, non-profit and community-based organizations, food justice, healthcare, mental health, wellness, business, personal and professional development, education, gender equality, immigration justice, language justice, and climate justice.

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