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Burlington Magazine

Burlington's Answer to the Language Gap

Feb 05, 2024 ● By Cathryn Hartwell
    I originally met Lucero Marti a couple of years ago through a good friend and learned that she was bilingual and had done translation and interpretation for another company. When she came to me a few months ago to say she was starting her own translation company, Words Matter, I was thrilled just knowing the impact she would make on our community. There is a huge influx of people from all over the world, into North Carolina, who can benefit from her services. Words Matter is set to make it possible for these new residents to quickly become proficient in English and be productive community members. Many have aspirations of starting a business or buying property and Lucero‚Äôs timely business will help bridge the language gap. This is a welcomed service within our community and I'm proud to feature Lucero's story in this issue of Burlington Magazine.  

MEET LUCERO MARTI
     Born in Florida, Lucero is the proud daughter of immigrants who picked strawberries to support their family.    
     "I remember picking strawberries at the age of five in the beautiful, sunny Floridian mornings," she tells me. "I helped drive a truck in the fields at such an early age so they could throw their bins in the truck bed. I specifically remember my family not being able to communicate effectively with others because of the language barrier." At the tender age of eight, Lucero's grandmother would ask her to translate documents, saying, "Words matter..." to make sure Lucero would read it correctly. According to Lucero, it is very common in the Hispanic and Latino communities for children to translate for their family members. Lucero grew up in south Texas border towns. Her major influence was her grandmother, who cared for her while her mother worked. Lucero was only eleven years old when her mother passed away, and her grandmother stepped in to raise her. Lucero's grandmother was a  strong woman and instilled values throughout Lucero's life, teaching her to be respectful and truthful and to fight for what she believed in. She credits her grandmother for the resilient woman she became. At the age of fourteen, Lucero was already helping her grandparents with their small business, where she drove an ice cream van. At first she was embarrassed, and kids even made fun of her at school, "...but I just tapped my pockets and told them that at least I had my own money!" she says with a glint in her eye. "I even bought those bullies lunch a time or two." Lucero believes in kindness.
     Today she is the mother of four boys and feels blessed and honored to be their mom. When coming from Texas to North Carolina in 2019, Lucero arrived with the mindset that there would be more opportunities to use her skills as a translator/interpreter and soon just such an opportunity presented itself within Durham Public Schools as a Family Liaison & Interventionist/Translator-Interpreter. Though she was delighted to be of service to Hispanic and Latino families and students, there were times she felt powerless to help them more. They were underrepresented and there were not enough resources available through the school system. When she was offered a full-time job as a remote interpreter, she jumped at the chance. This was a better fit for her. 
     This job involved working on the phone using a headset, and what transpired was unexpected. Lucero began to notice that she was experiencing hearing loss and it was progressive. After seeking medical attention, she went to her employer to ask for accommodations to help with this progressive disability, so she could continue to be their #1 Spanish interpreter, and was shocked and dismayed when they chose to do nothing. 
     But, as many know, when one door closes...a window often opens. After being on unpaid leave for nine months, her husband Juan encouraged her to found her own business and he remains her biggest supporter. 

     And Words Matter Language Service LLC was born.

words matter
     "My philosophy revolves around the idea that language is not merely a tool for conveying words," Lucero explains, "it is a conduit for sharing thoughts, emotions and the essence of one's cultural identity. Effective communication is the cornerstone of understanding and collaboration across diverse cultures. I view my role as a bridge-builder, aiming to foster connection and mutual comprehension." 
     Lucero is committed to ongoing professional development, regularly participating in training programs and educational initiatives to stay abreast of developments in the language service industry. She makes it a priority to deepen her understanding of diverse cultures by continuing to refine her knowledge of policies and ethics so as to provide the highest level of accuracy and excellence in communication services. 
She is currently enrolled at Durham Tech to acquire even more certifications. 
     When asked, "What advice would you give your younger self," here's what she had to say:
     "As you stand on the cusp of adulthood, embrace uncertainty and change with an open heart, for it is through challenges that you will discover your strength and resilience. Take risks and pursue your passions, even if they seem daunting at first, as they hold the key to your true fulfillment. Cultivate a balance between ambition and self-care,
understanding that success is a journey, not a destination. Cherish relationships, for they are the threads that weave the fabric of a rich and meaningful life. Lastly, never underestimate the power of continuous learning; let curiosity be your guide, and remember that growth often comes from stepping outside your comfort zone. Trust yourself, be patient with the process, and know that each step forward is a victory in itself." 

     Seems like good advice to us all!

     Words Matter Language Service LLC is your advocate for better communication. From interpreting to localization services, Words Matter can help ensure that your message is accurately conveyed. Let Words Matter help break through language barriers and connect you to your target audience. 

Learn more about Words Matter:

wordsmatterlanguageservice.com
or contact Lucero Marti directly: (336) 901-0956 

Making a difference...one word at a time.

Certified through CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters).

We'll keep you posted!

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