The ATA 57th Annual Conference
The ATA 57th Annual Conference is now online. Learn more about the new Advanced Skills and Training Day. Take a look at all the networking sessions. Get a run-down on what to expect, from session topics to speakers to the always popular Résumé Exchange.
Then, book your room at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco for a chance to win a free night's stay at the Conference hotel. A limited number of rooms are reserved at a special discount for ATA Conference attendees, so make your reservation now before it's too late!
Need a roommate? Head over to the ATA Roommate blog to post your request.
And don't forget to look for the Conference Program and registration details with the July issue of The ATA Chronicle!
Part-Time Court Interpreters in Boston Sue for More Benefits
Boston Herald (MA) (03/26/16) McGovern, Bob
A group of part-time interpreters in Massachusetts have filed a class action lawsuit against Lewis Spence, court administrator of the Massachusetts Trial Court, and other top court officials. The interpreters argue that they are not being paid the same as full-time staff interpreters employed by the Office of Court Interpreter Services or getting the benefits they deserve. "They are taking apart what we have taken so long to create," says Michael O'Laughlin, a Spanish interpreter who runs the interpreter program at Boston University. "A great deal is at stake. They are doing everything they can do to get rid of us. It's terrible," he adds. The suit alleges that per diem interpreters are being paid hourly instead of for the required half-day and full-day rates. They are also not being paid in situations where they arrive for court and the party who needs an interpreter doesn't show up. The interpreters argue that instead of independent contractors, they're actually full-time employees who are being treated markedly different from those on staff. "When they go to court, they have to operate under the same rules and procedures as the so-called staff interpreters," says Alan Jay Rom, the attorney representing the interpreters. "Some of them are working the same hours as those on staff, but they aren't paid a salary. They don't get any benefits. They are employees under another name, and we think that's illegal," Rom adds. According to the Office of Court Interpreter Services, there are around 175 interpreters in Massachusetts--and only about 24 of them are full-time staffers. Rom filed the initial suit in October, but the Supreme Judicial Court found that the case belonged in Superior Court. An amended suit was filed on March 23, and includes allegations that the state retaliated against the interpreters by refusing to renew identification badges needed to get through court security. "The hardest thing for me is the uncertainty about our future," says Luis Perez, a per diem interpreter who says he was notified that his ID wouldn't be renewed. "It seems like there have been reductions in payment. I just don't know if there is a future in this profession."
Lawmakers Push to Offer Ballots in Hawaiian and English
Washington Times (DC) (03/23/16) Riker, Marina
State officials in Hawaii are pushing to have voter ballots offered in both English and Hawaiian, the state's official languages. Currently, English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Ilocano must be offered on ballots in some counties. "I thought it was a little silly that we don't already have the Hawaiian language on the ballot--it's an official language," says Kaniela Ing, the member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives who introduced the bill. Ing says he wants to promote the everyday use of the Hawaiian language. He says people often only see the added academic or cultural value to learn Hawaiian. Instead, he wants to make it a "functional" language and promote Hawaiian culture. "We're moving toward making it something that's closer to English and not just a foreign language," Ing explains. Hawaiian became an official state language in 1978, and supporters say the proposed bill will help recognize its importance. The language almost became extinct after the U.S. banned it from being taught in schools prior to annexation in 1898. In its original form, the Hawaii bill would have required all information on the ballot to be written in English and Hawaiian. However, lawmakers changed the bill to require an alternate ballot written in Hawaiian be offered only if requested by a voter. Ekekela Aiona, executive director of Aha Punana Leo, an organization dedicated to teaching and perpetuating the Hawaiian language, says she opposes the change. She argues that in the bill's most current form, it does not promote Hawaiian as an official state language, since ballots are only offered by request. Kaanoi Walk, senior policy analyst for Kamehameha Schools, says the number of people who speak Hawaiian is growing, but the language is still endangered. Census data shows that a little over 6% of the state's population speaks Hawaiian at home.
New Mexico Governor Vetoes Court Interpreter Improvements
KRWG.org (NM) (03/11/16)
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a measure designed to improve court interpreter services throughout the state. Senate Bill 210 ("Create Court Language Access Fund") would have established a new fund administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for paying court interpreters and related expenses without fiscal impact. It would have removed court interpreters from being paid through the Jury and Witness Fee Fund. Martinez vetoed the bill, even though it passed without opposition in both the Senate and House. In her veto message, Martinez states that it is unnecessary to create a new fund to be managed by the AOC. Supporters argue that signing the bill would have led to better transparency for interpreter and jury expenditure. "Respect for all languages has been a part of New Mexico's culture since its inception, and the New Mexico Constitution gave Spanish speakers unique protections when it was adopted," says Senator Mimi Stewart, who sponsored the bill. "Therefore, it is vital that everyone, regardless of the language spoken, has equal access to the courts." This is not the first time Martinez has been opposed to measures to improve language services in the court. In 2000, Martinez, who was district attorney at the time, took legal action to disqualify people who did not speak English from serving as jurors, bringing her case all the way to the New Mexico Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court rejected Martinez's push, citing that the state's constitution protects people who speak and read either English or Spanish.
Gaeilge to Become a Full Working Language of the European Union
Irish Examiner (Blackpool) (03/09/16) Cahill, Ann
More than 700 people will work to translate official documents of the European Union into Gaeilge over the next five years as the language becomes a full working language. The move, that will see thousands of pages translated every year, will create around 180 full-time jobs. The goal is to have all EU documents available in Gaeilge by 2022. The government turned down an offer to have Gaeilge as a full working language when Ireland joined the EU in 1973, but in 2004, it asked for and was granted a change in the policy the following year. However, because there were very few trained Gaeilge-language translators available, translation was limited to official legislation jointly agreed upon by the ministers of the member states and the European Parliament. (Interpreting services have been available, but only upon request with advance notice.) Liadh Ní Riada, a member of the European Parliament and representative of the Irish republican political party Sinn Féin, says the move to translate all documents into Gaeilge is a welcome development. Riada has been campaigning for the use of Gaeilge in Parliament (both spoken and written) for several years. "This has been a key campaign of mine, and I will continue this until the Irish language and its speakers in the European Parliament receive the recognition and support it deserves."
Metro Transit Police Use Somali Language Lessons to Break Down Barriers
Minnesota Public Radio (MN) (03/16/16) Feshir, Riham
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Transit Police Department is offering a Somali language class to officers to improve communication with the expanding Somali community in the Twin Cities who ride buses and light rail. Twenty police officers and two community service officers are taking the seven-week class taught by Ali Warsame, a native of Somalia who is an instructor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Fluency is not the goal. The idea behind the course is to make Metro Transit officers more understandable to metro patrons who speak Somali. During the class, officers slowly try to pronounce every word Warsame says, from simple greetings like "hello" to more tricky phrases like "Show me your ticket" or "Put your hands where I can see them." "There are words that my brain translates into an 'ee' when it's supposed to be an 'ah,' but Ali is very patient with us," says Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington, who visited Somalia in July 2015. Metro Transit Police now has five Somali officers who speak the language out of a total of 208 full- and part-time police officers in the department. The department also uses the services of Somali language interpreters. "When you have a Somali victim, you can't wait for an interpreter or the language line to come online in order to get the description," Harrington says. "You need to be able to get that information right away, otherwise the bad guy will get away." Metro Transit Police is one of several organizations offering training to their staff, including Minneapolis Public Schools, St. Paul's Math and Science Academy, and Fairview Health Services.
ATA Webinar: The Price is Right
The Price is Right—Pricing Strategies for Your Translation Services
Presenter: Tess Whitty
Date: April 28
Time: 12 Noon U.S. Eastern Daylight
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1
Learn the most effective strategies for calculating your target rate, setting minimum fees, and establishing compensation for additional services. Plus examine ways to negotiate, raise, and adjust rates—and get presenter Tess Whitty's take on what to do about those pesky "free test translations."
U.N. Examination for Spanish Translators
The United Nations Department for General Assembly and Conference Management has announced June 28, 2016 as the date for its next Spanish Language Competitive Examination. The deadline to submit applications is April 14, 2016.
Interested? Start by learning more about language careers at the U.N. and then review the specific applicant requirements for Spanish translator positions.
Volunteers Make Things Happen
ATA is very much a volunteer-driven association. From the speakers at the Annual Conference to the contributors to The ATA Chronicle to the graders in ATA's Certification Program to the leaders of the Board, committees, divisions, and local groups—outstanding volunteers have made the Association what it is today.
April 10-16, 2016 is National Volunteer Week and the perfect opportunity to say thank you once again to all of ATA’s hundreds of volunteers!
ATA Logo for Life Members
Did you know that ATA members—individual, corporate, and institutional—can use the ATA logo for business cards, websites, and brochures? There are also unique logos for ATA Chapters and Divisions.
New! ATA now has a logo available exclusively for Life Members!
Why use the ATA logo? It instantly highlights your professional affiliation. It increases your visibility with clients. It signals a commitment to your career. And best of all, it looks really great!
Take time to take advantage of the ATA logo membership benefit. Read the ATA Logo Usage Guidelines and then click firstname.lastname@example.org to request the logo files. Be sure to include your ATA membership number in your email.
In the March/April issue of The ATA Chronicle
The Art of Speaking Boldly
Learning to be a bold speaker can help you develop your business, whether you’re talking to a fellow volunteer at a local event, presenting to your local chamber of commerce, or meeting with a potential client. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Adventures in Remote Interpreting at a Rural Hospital
This is the story of how a hospital in South Lake Tahoe, California, is trying to improve the range of its services by implementing an innovative remote interpreting system. (Tracy Young, Judy Jenner)
How to Find and Approach Your Ideal Clients through LinkedIn
Wondering why you’re not getting the results you expected from LinkedIn? Maybe you should take a closer look at your profile. (Catherine Christaki)
The International Human Rights Arena: Opportunity for Language Professionals
The international human rights arena is desperate for qualified specialist translators and interpreters. Find out if you’ve got what it takes. (Paula Arturo)
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