What are you waiting for?
The 2017 ATA membership renewal form is online!
Whether you are an independent contractor, an in-house linguist, or a language services company owner, ATA is your opportunity to stay connected to colleagues and jobs.
Renew your ATA membership now!
While you're renewing, don't forget to add or update your listing in one of ATA's online Directories. Just one job from the Directory can more than cover the cost of your ATA membership.
Your membership is tremendously important to us!
If you have questions about ATA benefits and services, call +1-703-683-6100, extension 3001, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linguists Play a Key Role in New Sci-fi Thriller 'Arrival'
Washington Post (DC) (11/11/16) O'Sullivan, Michael
The new sci-fi thriller Arrival offers a contemplative look at the power and limitations of language and brings attention to the work of linguists. The film's hero, Dr. Louise Banks, is an academic field researcher and translator who is recruited by U.S. military intelligence to help communicate with a race of seven-legged extraterrestrials that have descended on Earth with unclear intentions. "A lot of people don't know what linguists do, or even that we exist, apart from some idea that we just translate lots of languages," says Jessica Coon, an associate professor of linguistics at McGill University who was a consultant for the film. In the film, Banks is brought in due to her reputation as a competent translator for the military, but is initially unable to establish communication with the aliens, as their spoken language, referred to as Heptapod A, is irreproducible by human vocal cords. Instead, Banks relies on the aliens' written language, Heptapod B, to communicate. The written script for Heptapod B is arranged in a circular pattern, the prototype for which is based on an altered version of J.R.R. Tolkien's Elvish language. The fact that Heptapod B text is nonlinear—with no beginning, middle, or end—figures prominently in the plot, as well as in the movie's key twist. So does something called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, a linguistic theory positing that the language we use influences the way we see the world. In the end, Arrival is not just a brainy meditation on how communication affects cognition, but also a deeply poignant rumination on memory, connection, and love. Coon jokes that anything that raises the profile of her field, while making linguists not just more down to earth but also heroes, is "a very, very good thing."
In Biggest Boost Since 1940s, BBC World Service Adds 11 Languages
Reuters (UK) (11/16/16) Faulconbridge, Guy; Shirbon, Estelle
The BBC World Service will begin broadcasting in 11 additional languages in an effort to extend its audience in more countries. The BBC World Service, which started in 1932 as a radio channel for English speakers, has evolved into a highly respected provider of news to global audiences. It already broadcasts in 29 languages, reaching an estimated 246 million people around the world every week. The news will now be offered in Afaan Oromo and Amharic (spoken in Ethiopia and other African countries), Tigrinya (the main language of Eritrea), and the Nigerian languages Igbo, Yoruba, and Nigerian Pidgin, also spoken in other West African countries. The World Service will also add the Indian languages Gujarati, Marathi, and Telugu, as well as Punjabi and Korean (spoken in both North and South Korea). The expansion will mean more journalists on the ground in locations around the world. The BBC will also extend its news bulletins in Russian, with regionalized versions for surrounding countries, and add regional programming in Arabic and short-wave and medium-wave radio programs aimed at audiences in the Korean peninsula. The expansion is a result of a funding injection by the British government of 289 million pounds ($360 million) until 2020. Fran Unsworth, director of the World Service, says the government funding will have no impact on the service's independence. "Where the money comes from is irrelevant," she explains. "The World Service is going to do what it's always done—go over the heads of government to provide a service directly to citizens of the world." "This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s," says BBC Director General Tony Hall. "The BBC World Service is a jewel in the crown—for the BBC and for Britain."
California National Guard Interpreters Denied Enlistment Bonuses
Los Angeles Times (CA) (11/12/16) Cloud, David S.
Former soldiers who served as interpreters in war zones say the California National Guard never paid the large enlistment bonuses they were promised. When the California National Guard desperately needed interpreters to accompany troops headed to Iraq and Afghanistan, it promised enlistment bonuses of up to $20,000 each to dozens of Arabic, Dari, and Pashto speakers. The Pentagon's need for critical language skills on the battlefield was so great that some interpreters were put in uniform even though they were too old or had health issues that might have disqualified them from military service. Many of the interpreters who went to war were only partially paid their bonuses because the California Guard later decided they were unfit for the military service that they had already given. Other interpreters were told they had violated the bonus terms of their contracts by requesting to be placed in the Inactive National Guard to work as private contractors. The California Guard has identified 44 interpreters who were affected by the shifts in recruitment standards or other problems. "The complexity arose in cases where neither the soldier nor the Guard could locate a copy of any agreement, although work was done by the soldier that likely would have given rise to a bonus payment," says spokesman Col. Peter Cross. Some of these interpreters say they are now unemployed and suffering from post-traumatic stress and combat injuries. Many feel the California Guard broke its commitments. One of those who enlisted as an Arabic interpreter, now a 47-year-old resident of Brentwood, near San Francisco, says the California Guard informed him in 2011 that he would not get his $10,000 bonus because he had failed an aptitude test required of all Army recruits. Yet his low score had not stopped the Army from accepting him in 2008 and sending him to Iraq. During his time in Iraq from 2009 to 2011, he was put in close proximity to bomb blasts and other combat while accompanying U.S. troops on missions. After he returned home, a Veterans Affairs doctor diagnosed him with mild traumatic brain injuries. He also needed shoulder surgery for non-combat injuries sustained in Iraq. When he left the Army in 2014, he gave up trying to get the bonus money. He is now in college using the GI Bill benefits to which he is entitled as a former soldier. "I'm proud to have been in the service, but I don't understand why they would say you get this amount, then all of a sudden say you don't get it," he says. "I'm disappointed."
Italian Island Tries to Keep Catalan Language Alive
New York Times (NY) (11/22/16) Minder, Raphael
Local officials are trying to preserve Catalan in the Sardinian city of Alghero, the last stronghold of Catalan in Italy. First introduced to Alghero in the 14th century by Catalan colonists, the language virtually disappeared from the island once Sardinia was taken over by the Turin-based House of Savoy in 1720, eventually becoming part of modern-day Italy. Now, Catalan is not only overshadowed by Italian, but it must also compete for recognition with a handful of other languages and dialects, including the dominant indigenous language, Sardinian. While the city's relative isolation has helped preserve Catalan, the language is still struggling to survive. According to local officials, only one-quarter of the 43,000 inhabitants of Alghero currently speak Catalan, and it is rarely spoken among younger people. Catalan is rarely heard on the streets in Alghero, though many signs are written in the language. "You can organize conferences, publish books, and do many other things, but speaking is the only thing that really keeps a language alive," says Sara Alivesi, a journalist who writes for the newspaper group behind Alghero's only online publication in Catalan. The language's decline on the island stands in contrast to its status in the Iberian Peninsula, where it has seen a revival since the late 1970s, when Spain's return to democracy ended a ban on Catalan imposed during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. In 1999, Italy passed a law to defend 12 historic minority languages, including Catalan, but local officials say little has been done to actively promote the language within schools. "The Italian education system has long spread the idea that it's not useful and perhaps confusing to teach such a language alongside Italian," says Joan-Elies Adell, who leads the office of the Catalan regional government in Alghero, which has the task of promoting Catalan culture. As part of a trial state project, some schools in Alghero now offer lessons in Catalan. Three associations give weekly Catalan classes to about 150 adults, but they are run by volunteers and operate only half the year. Despite these efforts, Adell acknowledges that in order for Catalan to be safeguarded, "people have to start understanding that they risk losing a unique cultural treasure."
Trial Exposes Japan's Lack of Skilled Interpreters
Nikkei Asian Review (Japan) (11/15/16)
A recent court hearing in which an interpreter was found to have made over 100 errors while interpreting for three witnesses provides one more example highlighting the lack of skilled interpreters in the Japanese legal system. With people of increasingly diverse nationalities deciding to live in Japan, the country's courts are handling more cases requiring the use of lesser-known languages. As a result, finding skilled court interpreters has become a huge challenge. According to a Japanese Supreme Court spokesperson, 2,694 defendants from 73 countries required interpreters for their trials in 2015, mainly at district courts. The figure is just one-quarter of the peak figure in 2003, but the number of languages used has increased from 36 to 39 over the same period. The Supreme Court states that Southeast Asian languages like Vietnamese, Pilipino, and Thai are especially in demand. Courts appoint interpreters for each trial from a prepared list of candidates. As of this past April, these lists included 3,840 individuals interpreting 61 languages. Interpreters are mainly college professors and people who have experience with overseas assignments. Although there is no formal qualification, training programs on court procedures and legal terms are available. The Japan Law Interpreter Association (JLIA) has long requested that the judicial system introduce a licensing system to screen for high-quality interpreters. JLIA Chairman Roman Amami says many countries have a license system for court interpreters. "Japan should also introduce a license system to ensure the quality of the interpreters," she says. Makiko Mizuno Kinjo, a professor at Gakuin University and a specialist on court interpreting, says measures need to be taken to raise standards. "Even when they seem small, errors in court interpretation could affect the assessment of the case because they could give a significantly different impression," she says. "You need to introduce measures to raise quality and ways to motivate interpreters in their duties by, for example, offering higher remuneration to reward individuals with high skills vouched for by a formal license."
Researchers Complete Decades-Long Translation Project
Daily Californian (CA) (11/20/16) Lee, Hyunkyu Michael
Robert Goldman, a professor of Sanskrit at the University of California, Berkeley, and his team are celebrating the upcoming publication of the final book of a multi-decade research project—the translation of the 50,000-line Sanskrit epic poem Valmiki Ramayana into English. According to Goldman, the Valmiki Ramayana originated around 3,000 years ago and may possibly be the most influential literary story in South and Southeast Asia due to its continued cultural relevance to those regions. "It's almost impossible to overstate how popular and influential it is," Goldman says. While other translations exist, Goldman and his team are the first to translate a critical edition. Goldman says that as the poem was passed down orally before being written down, many variations became prevalent. The critical text discusses these variations through extensive annotations. According to Sally Sutherland Goldman, a co-translator of the last three books and the associate editor of the project, the critical text is most likely the best approximation of the earliest version of the poem. Sutherland Goldman says she feels the new edition will help introduce an incredibly significant work of a different culture with which many Americans may be unfamiliar. "Given the current political climate, the more we can emphasize the understanding and appreciation of other countries, the better."
New ATA Professional Liability Insurance Broker
Alliant is the new broker for ATA-sponsored professional liability insurance. The underwriter is still Lloyds of London. All policies remain in effect and unchanged.
Why choose the ATA-sponsored professional liability insurance?
The policy is specific to the translation and interpreting professions. Not a one-size-fits-all plan, but a plan that is specific to the work you do.
What does the ATA-sponsored professional liability insurance cover?
Visit ata.alliant.com for additional information.
- Broad definition of translation/interpreting services
Covers activities relevant to a translator or interpreter, including editing, publishing, and proofreading.
- Coverage for contingent bodily injury and/or property damage
Covers errors in providing translation/interpreting services that result in bodily injury and/or property damage. These types of claims are typically excluded by generic professional liability policies.
- Coverage for cyber liability, including HIPPA and HITECH breaches
Covers breaches related to the provision of professional services in violation or breach of the HIPPA and HITECH Acts.
Questions? Contact Alliant toll free at +1-703-547-5777 or email email@example.com.
ATA Adds Interpreter Credentials to Its Online Directory
ATA members now have the opportunity to list interpreting credentials in the online Directory. The advanced search feature will allow users to find an interpreter in the Directory by type of credential and credentialing organization, and Directory search results will display listings tagged with an individual's credentials.
What credentials are accepted?
How it works
View the interpreter credential request form.
- Complete the online request to have an ATA-approved credential added to the Directory listing.
- Attach PDF documentation to the request confirming the credential.
- Complete a statement verifying that the information provided is accurate.
- Enter credit card information to pay a non-refundable $35 administrative fee.
What happens next?
What else do you need to know?
- Each request will be reviewed and documentation validated.
- Additional documentation may be requested in order to confirm the individual's credential.
- The interpreter will be notified when the request is approved.
- The listing in the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters will be automatically updated.
- You may list more than one credential.
- Each credential requires a separate request.
- The administrative fee covers all requests for one year.
- It may take up to 45 days to verify a credential.
Final Reminder: Did you attend the Conference in San Francisco?
Then be sure to give us your feedback by completing the Overall Survey! And if you submit your survey by December 1, you'll automatically be entered to win a free registration for next year's conference in Washington, DC.
There are two ways to access and complete the Overall Survey.
Using your Laptop/Desktop Computer
- Click http://www.tripbuildermedia.com/apps/ata2016
- Login with username and password you received by email on November 22
- Click the "Overall Survey" icon
Using your Mobile Device
- Open the ATA57 App
- Login with username and password you received by email on November 22
- Tap the "Overall Survey" icon
Remember, the deadline to submit for a chance to win a free registration to next year's conference is December 1.
QUESTIONS? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES? Email email@example.com
Thank you for attending this year's Annual Conference. We look forward to seeing you next year in Washington, DC (October 25-28, 2017)!
Wanted: ATA Calendar Events
Is your group's conference, symposium, workshop, or training session on ATA's 2017 Calendar? To be included, email your event's name, sponsoring group, website link, and point of contact. Available to non-profit organizations only.
And don't forget to follow the ATA Calendar for translation and interpreting events worldwide!
In the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle
The New England Translators Association’s 20th Annual Conference: Successful Collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Boston
Whatever the specific theme of a conference or event, all participants stand to benefit from a collaborative approach. (Diego Mansilla)
The Connected Interpreter: Integrating Interpreting and Translation into Medical Missions
Despite all the money being spent to design and implement sophisticated relief programs, usually little thought is given to addressing the inevitable challenges to be faced when trying to communicate important information to non-English-speaking individuals. (Katharine Allen, Julie Burns)
Breaking Silence: What Interpreters Need to Know About Victim Services Interpreting
A new training program for victim services interpreting provides valuable lessons about the specific challenges facing interpreters for crime and trauma survivors. (Marjory Bancroft)
Some Fundamentals of Project Management
The consultative approach to project management has long-term benefits, not only for specific clients, but for the profession as a whole. (Alaina Brantner)
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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