Inside the ATA Board Room
As the ATA Board of Directors meets this weekend in Alexandria, Virginia, listen in to episode 3 of The ATA Podcast to learn more about the meeting itself. Why are the meetings held quarterly? Who attends? What happens? President David Rumsey and President-Elect Corinne McKay tell all in this episode, including what they never expected about their first Board meeting.
Board meetings are open to all ATA members, but if you can't be there, be sure to look for the Board Meeting Summary announcement in ATA Newsbriefs. And don't forget, the minutes of every Board meeting are posted in the Members Only area of the ATA website.
MLB Interpreters a Boon for Spanish-Speaking Players
USA Today (DC) (04/20/16) Ortiz, Jorge L.
Latin American baseball players are enjoying the benefits of the newly instituted requirement that all Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have Spanish-language interpreters. With nearly 24% of the players on this year's Opening Day rosters and disabled lists hailing from countries where Spanish is the dominant language, the implementation of the interpreter program has drawn overwhelmingly favorable reviews--and questions of why it took so long. "What we've heard is a lot of positive feedback," says Omar Minaya, an adviser to MLB Players Association Director Tony Clark. "A lot of the veteran players have said, 'Boy, I wish I had that when I was coming up.'" The push to require MLB teams to supply Spanish interpreters was led by New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran. "A lot of times when you don't speak the language well, you do an interview after a game and you want to say so many things, but you're limited in how much you can express in English," Beltran explains. Interpreters play a much broader role than just helping players communicate with the media. They may relate instructions from the coaching or training staff, convey what is being said at a meeting, provide information about legal documents, assist with medical appointments, and function as a link with other players. "When you're on a team, you want to get to know your teammates, but that's hard to do if you don't speak the same language," says interpreter Marlon Abreu. "The game is a big part of what they do, but there are also other elements from the daily existence that help develop camaraderie and a better relationship within the team," he says. Each team has been allocated $65,000 to pay the costs of interpreters, who must accompany the club on the road and also attend other events covered by the media. The need for interpreting services varies depending on the number of Latin players and their English proficiency. Many interpreters have been added as members of the public relations staff, and they also perform tasks such as producing Spanish-language social media content and game notes. "An interpreter helps you have more confidence within the organization," says Raisel Iglesias, a player for the Cincinnati Reds.
Police Interpreter Skills Questioned in Federal Case
Bowling Green Daily News (KY) (04/13/16) Story, Justin
The attorney for a woman in Bowling Green, Kentucky, accused of filing false tax returns has filed a motion to suppress an interrogation interview conducted by a U.S. Secret Service agent. Travis Lock, the attorney for Maria Chavez Salazar, argues that the interview should not be admitted as evidence because the questions and responses were interpreted incorrectly by a third party. Salazar is charged in U.S. District Court with mail fraud and conspiring to defraud the IRS. She and two co-defendants, Fernando Diaz Herrera and Julio Ramos, are accused of using the identities of Mexican nationals living outside the U.S. to file false tax returns and claim fraudulent refunds. A Bowling Green Police Department detective interpreted the Secret Service agent's questions from English to Spanish for Salazar during the interrogation. The detective then interpreted Salazar's responses from Spanish to English for the agent. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky provided Locke with a transcript of the interview that included all English utterances and an English translation of Spanish utterances, followed by a revised transcript that included all Spanish utterances in a column next to their English translation. However, a federally certified interpreter hired by Lock concluded that the detective incorrectly interpreted the questions and responses. "Simply put, this interrogation is an utter mess," Lock states in his motion. "As a result of the incorrect interpretation of the questions, the answers are untrustworthy, unreliable, and without valid context." Lock says that while he has represented other clients who do not speak English as a first language, this is the first case in which he has questioned the interpretation of a defendant's statements to law enforcement. A response filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory argues that Lock has not given a valid basis for suppressing the entire interview and suggests that any interpreting errors do not change the fundamental nature of Salazar's statement. Gregory goes on to state that the government is willing to exclude portions of the interview that are misleading or confusing. "The questions asked in Spanish by the interpreter and the answers given in Spanish by the defendant should still be admissible, along with an accurate translation of both," Gregory wrote in her response. "So many people in our community don't speak English as their first language ... I think [this issue] is something we'll see coming up more and more," Lock says. "Maria Salazar has a right to know what's going on, and as of right now, I don't know that she does."
Justice Department Approves Free Language Assistance to Rhode Island
Providence Journal (RI) (04/12/16) Naylor, Donita
The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the Rhode Island judiciary's initiatives to ensure that people with limited English proficiency receive free language assistance. Such assistance includes translating the text of court forms and signs into the most commonly spoken foreign languages in Rhode Island, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Cambodian, and Cape Verdean. A Notice of Right to Language Assistance has also been created stipulating that the judiciary will supply a competent interpreter for any limited-English-proficient party or witness free of charge. The notice is provided to each defendant and is available in multiple languages. The notice must be included in documents served on the defendant in civil matters and as part of the initial charging documents in criminal matters. In addition, a language services complaint form is available in multiple languages on the court's website, in the court clerk's office, and at the Office of Court Interpreters. "This agreement is basically memorializing all of the efforts that the Rhode Island judiciary has been working on since 2005," court spokesperson Craig Berke says. In 2004, the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint alleging that the judiciary failed to provide interpreters and other language assistance services to people with limited English proficiency. The Justice Department initiated an investigation in 2005, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Since that time, the state's judiciary has taken steps to implement the executive order, including providing training for judges, staff, and interpreters, creating a language access complaint process and form, creating an authorized interpreter roster, and joining the Council of Language Access Coordinators. The voluntary agreement on language services provides for at least two years of monitoring and technical assistance by the Justice Department. "It's been a long road since we first filed this complaint 10 years ago, but we've seen significant progress," says Steven Brown, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island. "Now that the agreement is in place, another important thing will be to ensure that the progress continues … and that the steps actually help individuals when they get into the court system."
Battle of Bilingual Education Brewing Again in California
The Hechinger Report (NY) (04/18/16) Mongeau, Lillian
Proposition 227 has been law in California since 1998, stipulating that "all children in California public schools shall be taught English by being taught in English." As a result, most state schools have eliminated their long-term bilingual classes, even though Proposition 227 did not specifically outlaw learning in a foreign language. "It's just a terrible waste," says Patricia Gandara, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. "There are all kinds of social, cognitive, and tangible benefits that accrue to those with more than one language," she says. It would seem Gandara is not alone in her opinion. Statewide, experts say the public has begun to shift toward the idea that being multilingual could be an advantage. Although official numbers are hard to come by--California stopped tracking dual language programs in 2011--the growing popularity of dual language immersion programs indicates multilingualism is an advantage more and more parents want for their children. For example, Sherman Elementary School in San Diego offers a dual language immersion program teaching both Spanish and English. Parents were willing to sign yearly parental waivers and school leaders organized documentation showing that a dual language program would meet the "special needs" of students and submitted an application for the program to the state. Such programs will be easier to justify and develop if voters support Senate Bill 1174, known as the Multilingual Education Act, which will appear on the ballot this fall and would substantially revise Proposition 227. If the bill passes, students who are a mix of native Spanish speakers and native English speakers, with family backgrounds ranging from African American to Hispanic to Middle Eastern, could be the new faces of bilingual education in the state. Despite these promising developments, the state still faces a major obstacle when it comes to significantly increasing the number of such programs available to students: a severe lack of teachers qualified for the work. "If we're going to commit to bilingualism and biliteracy in our state, we need to invest in new teachers for those programs," says Pamela Spycher, a senior research associate at the California-based think tank WestEd. Although California has taken some steps toward creating policies that better address the needs of English language learners, Spycher says little has been done to attract young, new teachers to the field. "We're wasting a whole generation of potential there."
Tool Created to Boost Article Creation in Local Language Wikipedias
Stanford Report (CA) (04/14/16) Abate, Tom
People around the globe visit one of the roughly 300 language editions of Wikipedia every day looking for articles written in English or one of the other widely spoken languages that account for the vast majority of Wikipedia's entries. But with more than half the world's population monolingual, gaps in knowledge exist from one local language version to another. This is why computer scientists at Stanford University and the Wikimedia Foundation have developed a recommendation tool designed to help editors in different linguistic communities by identifying the most important articles that are still unavailable on Wikipedia in a given language. Multilingual editors can then use these recommendations to locate an article in a second language with which they are familiar and get additional assistance to translate the article for local Wikipedia readers. The research team began by creating lists of every article in each language and then cross-referencing these lists to determine which articles were missing in which languages. Then they estimated the importance of each missing article based on cultural and geographic relevance. "Wikipedia has huge amounts of data about articles in different languages and the relationships between them," says Robert West, a doctoral candidate in computer science who helped develop the tool. "Our goal was to use that data to design a system to encourage editors to create the most important missing articles." The research team says the system will appeal to editors by suggesting where their voluntary efforts would deliver the most value to linguistic communities. "As university researchers, we look for projects with real-world impact," says Jure Leskovec, an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford. "What could have more impact than democratizing access to knowledge?"
ATA Responds to AATII fraud
In early April, some members of ATA and other T&I associations found that their information had been involuntarily uploaded to the website for the Alliance of Applied Translators and Interpreters International based in Richmond BC with fixed ratings and prices established by the company. After a fierce response by the global T&I community, and legal action by ATA and the local authorities, the list of translators was removed and the company is now only displaying those individuals who have signed up with the company. To check if you are listed or to have your information removed visit www.aatii.com/contactus.
Clients can't find you if you're not listed!
More than 70% of members who have listed their services in the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters report getting work through their listing.
If you haven't created your listing in the Directory, what are you waiting for? Go to the ATA website and complete your profile now. Already have a Directory listing? Take time to be sure it's up to date.
Ten tips to make the most of your ATA Directory listing:
A listing in one of ATA's directories can be your most valuable member benefit. Get your services online now and let your ATA membership work for you!
- Keep your contact information updated.
- Review your listing often to add new information.
- Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Include non-English language combinations.
- Include all your areas of specialization.
- Include your Skype contact information.
- Attach your résumé to highlight skills and accomplishments.
- Be sure to keep the tool section of your profile up to date.
- Experiment with different keywords in "Additional Information."
- Add a little personality and style to your profile with a photo.
Upcoming ATA Webinars
Copyediting for Translators—Making Serious Writing Sing
Presenter: Carolyn Yohn
Date: May 18
Time: 11 a.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1
What are the key elements to keep when preserving the author's voice in a second language? Presenter Carolyn Yohn will share the basics of style and grammar that develop an author's "oomph," including practical tips for making their work sing in your translation.
Terminology Management—Why would I do that?
Presenter: Barbara Inge Karsch
Date: June 8
Time: 12 Noon U.S. Eastern Daylight
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1
If you are paid by the word and not by the hour, why would you spend time doing anything BUT translating and producing words? Let terminologist Barbara Inge Karsch show you the view beyond the daily word chase for the best translation! You might just be shortchanging your future productivity at the expense of saving time today.
Can't attend? Register for either one—or both—of these webinars and a link to the on-demand version will be sent to you following the live event.
Are you missing the conversation?
What was the hottest topic on the ataTalk forum this month? The newly-revised ATA Antitrust Policy and the accompanying commentary had everybody talking. The discussion was fast and furious … and important.
Listen in or add your 2¢. Either way, join ataTalk today! Just click here to send a request be added to the group. Be sure to include your name and the email address you have listed in your ATA profile in your request.
Coming up in the May/June issue of The ATA Chronicle
Summary of the ATA Translation and Interpreting Services Survey
The fifth edition of the ATA Translation and Interpreting Services Survey serves as a practical tool, revealing general tendencies in the translation and interpreting industry. (Shawn E. Six)
Revisiting the "Poverty Cult" 20 Years On
A fork in the road for the translation and interpreting profession in 1996 changed the dynamics in the translation world in a way that continues today. (Neil L. Inglis)
Roads Less Taken: Beyond the “UN6”
In my job, once you leave the UN6, a special set of complications comes into play. The less widely spoken the languages are, the more daunting these challenges can become. (Joseph P. Mazza)
The Mother-Tongue Principle: Hit or Myth?
It’s difficult to espouse the "mother-tongue principle" if it’s not at all clear what a "native speaker" or a “mother tongue” actually is. (Tony Parr)
Digital Study and Collaboration: Making the Most of Your Mobile Device
Whatever your goal as a professional, the mobile device in your pocket or briefcase can help you attain it. (Julie A. Sellers)
How to Spice Up Your Translation
Conveying the content of a source text is not enough, as translators we should also be writers. (Percy Balemans)
Access to The ATA Chronicle's searchable archives is available online! And don't forget to check out the latest issue of the Chronicle-Online.
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