Can you explain "appendectomy" in Gujarati? Translate fire safety instructions into Serbo-Croatian? Speak Amharic? Horton Interpreting Services Inc. can.
An international company needs a safety manual in 20 languages. A hospital patient speaks only Cambodian. A welfare agency wants to reach immigrants. From the third floor of a renovated Victorian house in Providence, Rhode Island, Juana Horton fields their calls, draws up contracts, recruits and trains consultant-interpreters, and schedules assignments. Her kingdom includes three offices, two computers and two omnipresent pagers, by now almost melded to her body. Last year, Horton Interpreting Services grossed more than $250,000.
Her mantra is "Why not?" Horton, 45, didn't train as an interpreter. Born in this country of Venezuelan diplomat parents, she was bilingual but spoke Spanish only at home. Nor did she study business--during two years of college, she took liberal arts courses. Yet Horton has succeeded because at critical junctures, she asked "Why not?"