TransPerfect Advocates for Changes to California’s AB5

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SACRAMENTO, CA, March 10, 2020 – TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business, today announced a new advocacy campaign on behalf of the countless professional translators and interpreters in California who wish to continue to work as independent contractors. TransPerfect has hired Strategies 360, a Sacramento-based marketing team, to lead the advocacy effort for protection for the many members of the translation and language services industry who are currently suffering from the unintended consequences of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5).

The legislation, implemented earlier in 2020, was passed with the goal of protecting workers who have traditionally been classified as independent contractors by requiring employers to recognize them as employees and provide certain rights and benefits. However, the bill failed to account for the nuances of the translation services industry. The aftermath of AB5’s passing is that countless professionals who prefer to operate as independent contractors for dozens of different companies are far worse off. Employer expenses and operating costs have been increased while these individuals also have to endure reduced freedom and diminished ability to accept work from multiple companies. 

One specific and major issue is AB5’s elimination of tax deductibility for bona fide business expenses for independent contractors, which has left many translators on the hook for legitimate costs that would have previously qualified for a tax benefit. The legislation insufficiently or completely failed to consider the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which prohibits employees from deducting unreimbursed business expenses on federal income tax returns. The combination of the two laws amounts to potentially devastating financial harm for workers across many industries, especially those who work as freelance translators and interpreters.

TransPerfect President and CEO Phil Shawe commented, “In the two months since AB5 took effect, I have already seen the negative impact that this hastily written law has had on thousands of independent contractor translators and interpreters in California. Working just five hours per year translating into German or Xhosa for dozens of different translation agencies shouldn’t bind someone to be force-designated as an employee of each of these businesses.”

Kristyna Marrero, Vice President of Production for TransPerfect, added, “Our linguist friends and colleagues in California are hurting, and we have a responsibility to stand up to do what’s right for our industry. With Strategies 360 spearheading this campaign, we hope our efforts will fix this legislation for all language professionals while also maintaining our strong support for the noble aims of worker reclassification laws.”

About TransPerfect

TransPerfect is the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business. From offices in over 100 cities on six continents, TransPerfect offers a full range of services in 170+ languages to clients worldwide. More than 5,000 global organizations employ TransPerfect’s GlobalLink® Product Suite to simplify management of multilingual content. With an unparalleled commitment to quality and client service, TransPerfect is fully ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certified. TransPerfect has global headquarters in New York, with regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit our website at