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- ATA Webinar: A Guide to ATA Certification
Join exam graders Michele Hansen and Holly Mikkelson for this down and dirty look at the ATA Certification Exam. It's everything from how passages are selected to what the graders are looking for to why exams are graded the way they are. Includes tips and common errors. If you’ve ever had questions about the ATA Certification Exam, then this is the webinar for you! Learn More
- ATA Webinar: Killer Networking Skills for Language Professionals
Most translators and interpreters cite referrals from colleagues as an important piece—if not the most important piece—of getting new business. That makes networking a skill you can't afford to ignore. Veteran networker Eve Bodeux is ready to show you how to prepare for a networking event, how to approach someone new, and how to follow up. Learn More
- ATA 57th Annual Conference
What more can you say about the industry’s most comprehensive professional development event? Over 170 sessions, experienced presenters from around the world, Job Fair, Exhibit Hall, tech tool support, brainstorm networking, business practices happy hour, certification exam sittings, and more than 1,800 people who understand the difference between a translator and interpreter! Learn More
Interpreters Urging Canada to Scrap Automated Hiring System
CBC News (Canada) (09/09/16) Pfeffer, Amanda
Professional interpreters are urging Canada's federal government to scrap an automated system for hiring freelancers. Currently, the Translation Bureau, one of Canada's largest employers of language professionals, vets contracts to ensure that the most qualified individuals are hired for specific assignments. Under the new automated system, jobs would simply be assigned to the cheapest available freelancer. Interpreters argue that the system would further undermine the Translation Bureau's ability to fulfill the requirements of the Official Languages Act. (The Languages Act requires French and English interpreting for various government activities, including sessions of Parliament, Supreme Court hearings, and government conferences.) Public Services and Procurement Canada, the department responsible for the government's internal servicing and administration, has been preparing to launch the new procurement system. However, the project is already a year overdue and has been beset by technical problems. Interpreters attending training sessions on the automated hiring system this summer described them as "a disaster" and said the trainer conceded that the system was not ready. Nicole Gagnon, spokesperson for the Canadian chapter of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC Canada), says having an automated system could turn the complex process of hiring the right interpreter for the right job into a bidding war. "This system will do more harm than good when it comes to providing Canadians access to the proceedings of the federal government in the language of their choice." AIIC Canada is asking that the project be delayed while the government considers recommendations from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, which has called for an overhaul of the Translation Bureau. "Let's wait until the government issues its response to the committee's recommendations before moving along with those technological changes," says Emmanuelle Tremblay, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, the union representing translators, interpreters, and terminologists working for the government. Canada's federal government is expected to respond to the committee's recommendations in late September.
New Jersey Residents Want Korean Interpreters at Town Meetings
South Jersey Courier-Post (NJ) (08/22/16) Alvarado, Monsy
A group of residents in Palisades Park, New Jersey, want Korean-language interpreters present at town meetings so they can fully understand and participate at those sessions. "I strongly believe that Palisades Park has a duty and responsibility to provide translators so I can participate fully," says Julian Han, a Korean-speaking resident. "I feel my right is limited and I feel marginalized." According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 10,000 residents of Korean heritage live in Palisades Park, representing more than half of the town's population. Mayor James Rotundo has pledged to have the town supply an interpreter if Korean-speaking residents continue to attend meetings in large numbers. "We have put out requests to see if there is a company or business that will provide interpreting, not just for Korean-American, but for any nationality that may need interpreting services," Rotundo says. As New Jersey becomes more diverse, the need for interpreting and translation services has grown. Many school districts in New Jersey already distribute fliers to parents in English, Spanish, and other languages, while Spanish-language ballots and election materials have been available in other counties for years. Asisa Rahim, special counsel for Legal Services of New Jersey, says there is no law requiring municipalities to have interpreters available at public meetings. "In New Jersey, there is specific legislation regarding the right to interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, but not for limited-English-proficient individuals." Resident Sophia Jang says that even when someone brings an interpreter or when employees who are of Korean heritage try to interpret what residents are saying at meetings, the audience doesn't get a complete interpretation. "Sometimes we feel that the communication is not flowing like it should," Jang says. "We feel sometimes it's one way." Esther Navarro-Hall, chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, says the need for interpreters at municipal meetings has grown. "If you don't provide the language services, it ends up costing you more," Navarro-Hall explains. "If you have an emergency situation where people should have been informed and they are not, that creates a bigger problem or a tragedy." Resident Julian Han feels that more members of the Korean community would attend council meetings if they knew that an interpreter would be available. "All residents of Palisades Park or any town have the right to know about the municipal administration," Han says. "And if there is a barrier, the municipal administration should address that barrier."
Ancient Egyptian Works to be Published Together in English for the First Time
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (08/23/16) Alberge, Dalya
A collection of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writings are being brought together for the general reader for the first time by Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at Cambridge University who translated many of the texts into modern English for his new book, "Writings from Ancient Egypt." While ancient Greek and Roman texts are widely accessible in modern editions, those from ancient Egypt have been largely overlooked. Wilkinson says he decided to begin work on the anthology because there was a missing dimension in how ancient Egypt was viewed. Wilkinson explains that writing in the form of hieroglyphics can be found on almost every tomb and temple wall, yet museum visitors rarely get to read the stories they tell. His book offers a taste of the vast body of ancient Egyptian literature. In addition to glamorous accounts of war and royalty, the book is packed with extraordinarily personal tales of life and the social anxieties of the time. "What will surprise people are the insights behind the well-known facade of ancient Egypt, behind the image that everyone has of the pharaohs, Tutankhamun's mask, and the pyramids," Wilkinson says. He explains that even though hieroglyphs are pictures, they convey concepts in as sophisticated a manner as Greek or Latin script. Filled with metaphor and symbolism, they reveal life through the eyes of the ancient Egyptians. Penguin Classics, which released "Writings from Ancient Egypt" in August, describes it as a "groundbreaking publication" because "these writings have never before been published together in an accessible collection." Wilkinson says that he hopes the book will convey the wit, wisdom, humanity, and sophistication of the ancient Egyptians, as reflected in their writings. "Too many of the old translations treat the texts as examples of dead scholarship, rather than as texts penned by living, breathing, laughing, and crying men and women."
Linguistics Study Reveals More than 6,000 Languages Use Similar Sounds for Common Words
ABC News (NY) (09/13/16)
The results of a new linguistics study from Cornell University indicate that more than two-thirds of the world's languages use the same sounds for the same words. The study, published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," analyzed between 40 and 100 basic vocabulary words from 62% of the world's more than 6,000 current languages and 85% of their linguistic lineages. Researchers say the study disproves one of the most fundamental concepts in linguistics--the idea that the relationship between the sound of a word and its meaning is unrelated. Instead it proves that humans tend to use the same sounds for common objects and ideas, no matter what language they are speaking. The study focused on basic words in each language that describe the most common concepts people everywhere address on a daily basis. The words included pronouns, body parts, properties like "small" and "full," verbs describing motion, and nouns describing natural phenomena like "star" and "fish." Researchers found a considerable portion of the 100 basic vocabulary words have a strong association with specific kinds of human speech sounds. Researchers also found that certain words are likely to avoid certain sounds, especially pronouns. For example, words for "I" are unlikely to include sounds involving u, p, b, t, s, r, and i. "You" is unlikely to include sounds involving u, o, p, t, d, q, s, r, and i. So, while languages can sound totally unfamiliar, there are more similarities among them when it comes to these common words. "These sound symbolic patterns show up again and again across the world, independent of the geographical dispersal of humans and independent of language lineage," says Morten Christiansen, psychology professor and director of Cornell's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, who headed the research. Christiansen says his team of researchers does not know why humans tend to use the same sounds across languages to describe basic objects and ideas. "It is likely that it has something to do with the human mind or brain, our ways of interacting, or signals we use when we learn or process language," he says. "That's a key question for future research."
The Number of Dual-Language Programs in American High Schools Is On the Rise
The Atlantic (DC) (08/04/16) Gross, Natalie
Dual-language programs, in which students learn core subject matter in two languages, are growing in popularity across the United States. In 2000, then-Secretary of Education Richard Riley called for the number of dual-language programs in the U.S. to increase from an estimated 260 to 1,000 by 2005. The U.S. Department of Education was unable to provide an exact number of such programs operating in schools today, but according to a 2011 article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, it's estimated that the number has reached 2,000. A joint U.S. Department of Education-American Institutes for Research report shows that 39 states offered dual-language education during the 2012-13 school year, with Spanish and Chinese programs cited as the most common. Last year, the New York City Department of Education added 40 new dual-language programs in schools across the city. District of Columbia Public Schools are poised to open three more dual-language programs this fall at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Widely cited research by Emeriti Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas, professors at George Mason University, has shown that children who are bilingual perform better academically than their peers who speak only one language. A study of 85,662 students in North Carolina Public Schools during the 2009-10 school year found that, overall, English-language learners in two-way dual-language programs had higher reading and math scores. At the middle school level, most students in these programs were scoring higher than monolingual students in the grade above them. Despite these findings, bilingual education has met with its share of opposition. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, California, Arizona, and Massachusetts banned bilingual education in schools and mandated that students who were English-language learners be placed in English-only immersion programs. Still, schools found loopholes and began to adopt dual-language models. "Now dual-language education is most often framed as something that's good for all children--something that can help people get jobs as part of the global economy," says Nelson Flores, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education who works with dual-language programs in Philadelphia. Bilingual education is up for debate again in California and Massachusetts, where legislators have proposed overturning their respective bans. "Thankfully, public policy leaders are returning to the research about what works, and therefore bilingual programs are back in favor," says Rachel Hazlehurst, a literacy and language specialist at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles. "The research shows they work."
ATA Elections 2016
ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at the upcoming 2016 ATA Annual Conference (November 2-5) in San Francisco. Three directors will be elected. There will also be a special election for secretary for a one-year term to complete Rudy Heller’s term.
Become an informed voter before this year’s elections! Read the candidate statements to find out more about the individuals on the slate and what they hope to accomplish. Learn about the job these candidates will face if elected. And finally check out the Board meeting minutes to see the accomplishments of so many previous Officers and Directors.
ATA Computerized Exam Internet Resource List
The ATA Certification Committee has compiled a list of online resources that can be used by candidates taking the computerized certification exam. The committee has also put together a list of explicitly prohibited resources. Both lists can be found on the ATA website.
How does the computerized certification exam work?
Using their own laptops, candidates complete the passage translations with WordPad or TextEdit. They save the files on an ATA-supplied USB drive.
How is the computerized exam different from the handwritten exam?
The test passages for both exams are the same. In addition to print resources, the computerized option allows access to some Internet resources and the use of common reference programs already on the candidate’s laptop.
Insider Tips for ATA Conference Attendees
From how to get around San Francisco to restaurants only the locals know, the Northern California Translators Association has you covered. Check out the chapter’s website for tips and suggestions about where to go, what to do, and most importantly how to ride a cable car. And don’t miss the “25 things to do in San Francisco for $10 or less”!
In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA 2016 Elections: Candidate Statements
Calling all Voting members! Participating in ATA’s annual elections is your opportunity to help shape the future of the Association. Learn what this year’s candidates for ATA’s Board of Directors have to say, and remember to vote in November!
A Tale of Two Collaborative Classrooms: Early Success and Follow-on Failure
How did two translation classes using basically the same teaching method result in drastically different outcomes? Find out what the instructor learned during the process. (Steven Gendell)
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care
The National CLAS Standards provide the framework for all health care organizations to best serve the nation’s increasingly diverse communities. (José T. Carneiro)
The Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE): Keeping a Project Manager Sane
The Results-Only Work Environment concept is a fantastic opportunity for high performers to create an individualized work/life balance. (Heidi Lind)
Translation in Transition
An exploration of change in the translation industry presented from three different angles: the technological side of change, the human side of change, and the business side of change. (Christelle Maignan)
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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