The Ribosome Binding Site (RBS) Calculator is a design method for predicting and controlling translation initiation and protein expression in bacteria. The method can predict the rate of translation initiation for every start codon in an mRNA transcript. The method may also optimize a synthetic RBS sequence to achieve a targeted translation initiation rate. Using the RBS Calculator, a protein coding sequence's translation rate may be rationally controlled across a 100,000+ fold range. We begin by providing an overview of the potential biotechnology applications of the RBS Calculator, including the optimization of synthetic metabolic pathways and genetic circuits. We then detail the definitions, methodologies, and algorithms behind the RBS Calculator's thermodynamic model and optimization method. Finally, we outline a protocol for precisely measuring steady-state fluorescent protein expression levels. These methods and protocols provide a clear explanation of the RBS Calculator and its uses.