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American Translators Association (ATA) Translator Tales

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American Translators Association (ATA) Translator Tales

What was your most interesting job? How did you begin? What do you like best about your work? Translator Tales is the end result of a project to record individual translators and interpreters answering these questions and telling their personal stories in their own words. The result is a unique audio library of "tales" archived and available online.

This oral history project was conducted during ATA's 49th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, where conference attendees were recorded in the Exhibition Hall. The sessions were unrehearsed and, as it happens, the interviewees are all great storytellers.

The project's goal of bringing translation and interpreting careers to life through personal stories was—and still is— important to the profession. ATA is pleased to have this historical archive that draws such a clear picture of the rich and varied lives translators and interpreters lead.

  • Alan Tolerton
    "It's what I always ever wanted to do, but I didn't really realize it ..."   Listen

  • Donna Sandin
    "... because in Brazil at the time translators were thought to be sort of, well, typing in another language."   Listen

  • Gabriela Rangel
    "I like the booth. I like the adrenaline and not being in a position to take a deep breath and wonder about anything. I just have to make it happen."   Listen

  • Jessalyn Pinneo
    "I expected to be bored in the class. I wasn't expecting to be interested. I would just get through it–and I ended up loving it."   Listen

  • Lawrence Garfield
    "I wanted to use it as a secret language because nobody knew Japanese in my town."   Listen

  • Mary Swanson
    "It was like this major 'Oh.' I can do that, and I can do that from wherever I end up. I can carry it with me and that's a big plus."   Listen

  • Rutie Eckdish
    "I have been a translator, actually, since I was fourteen years old, but I didn't know it."    Listen

  • Ted Wozniak
    "The one thing I love about my job is being a perpetual learner. I'm always learning something. I always have to research. So every day I learn something new."   Listen

  • Vanessa Bittner
    "I like the diversity of starting one project, doing it, doing a good job, having a rest, doing something a little bit different, but still being able to build on those projects and do similar things."   Listen