ATA Client Education Through Public Relations
"Arriving at the Right Type of Language Professional" is the most recent client education article released by the ATA PR Committee.
The blockbuster movie Arrival with linguist Dr. Louise Banks made a great lead-in to the PR story. What did the movie get right? What did it get wrong? This was our chance to set the record straight for the business community.
The film also demonstrated the problems that happen when you do business in a language that's not your own. Take a minute to see how PR Committee member Anne Connor pulled it all together. Click here to read now.
Find out what else the business community is learning about the translation and interpreting professions. Click to read the first six ATA PR articles.
Texas Considers Changing Voting Law for Interpreters
Texas Tribune (TX) (04/10/17) Ura, Alexa
Texas lawmakers are considering removing an obscure provision of the state's election code regarding interpreters for voters who lack proficiency in English. Members of the Senate State Affairs Committee took up Senate Bill 148, by Democratic State Senator Sylvia Garcia of Houston, which would repeal a section of the state's election code that requires interpreters to be registered voters in the same county in which they are providing assistance. "The measure will ensure that voters are able to meaningfully and effectively exercise their vote," Garcia told the committee. "This ensures that voters will have the capacity to navigate polling stations, communicate with election officers, and understand how to fill out required forms and answer questions directed at them by any election officer," she says. Garcia's proposal comes amid an ongoing legal battle over the state's interpreter provision in a lawsuit brought by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Greater Houston chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans. Enforcement of the interpreter provision has been on hold since before the November election, when a federal district judge ruled that Texas could not enforce the provision because it violates the federal Voting Rights Act. That law requires that any voter who requires assistance because of visual impairments, disabilities, or literacy skills be allowed to obtain help in casting a ballot by the person of their choice, as long as it's not their employer or a union leader. Pointing to that ruling, Garcia told the committee that by repealing the entire section related to interpreters, the state election code would "conform to federal law." While the state has argued in court filings that it should not be part of the lawsuit because it involves a "local dispute," attorneys with the Texas Attorney General's Office have defended the interpreter provision as a lawful measure that offers "additional assistance to voters beyond the minimum requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act."
California Slowly Launching Effort to Study Medical Interpreting
KPBS.org (CA) (04/04/17) Mento, Tarryn
More than six months after it was approved, a California assembly bill funding a study on language interpreting services available to Medi-Cal patients is slowly moving toward implementation. "We're working with our stakeholders as we lay the groundwork for this effort," says Tony Cava, spokesperson for the California Department of Health Care Services. "Some of the steps include hiring internal support staff, creating budgets and work plans, and beginning to work to hire an external vendor," he says. The bill authorizes $3 million for state health officials to study California's current procedures and launch a pilot program in as many as four locations. Some San Diego health care employees are interested in hosting one of the pilot programs authorized by the bill. Census estimates show that more than one-third of the region's population over the age of five speaks a language other than English at home. According to 2011-2015 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates, nearly half of that total—or about 466,000 people—speak English less than "very well." Cynthia Roat, a Washington-based consultant on language access in health care, says research indicates improving medical interpreting procedures could be a beneficial move to patients and taxpayers. She explains that facilities that receive federal money must provide language services to clients with limited English proficiency. "It shortens length of stay in hospitals, it lowers the number of errors that are made, and improves patient-provider relationships," she says. "What might be of interest to the legislature is that it actually brings down the cost of care, even if you count in the cost of paying for an interpreter," says Roat. As an example, Roat points to a 2002 study that compared the medical outcomes of patients with limited English proficiency who received an interpreter, patients with limited English proficiency who didn't receive an interpreter (non-interpreted patients), and English-speaking patients who didn't require an interpreter. According to the study, in post-discharge follow-up, interpreted patients received significantly more primary care and specialty clinic referrals than did either non-interpreted patients or English-speaking patients; were more likely to schedule follow-up visits than non-interpreted patients; were less likely than non-interpreted patients to return to the emergency department; and had the lowest charges from both clinic visits and emergency department returns of all three groups. Additionally, Roat says that it's important to train professionals specifically as medical interpreters instead of just legal interpreters. "The latter is an adversarial situation, while the former is a collaborative situation, meaning interpreters can work with the patient to help them better understand what a health care provider is saying."
Linguist Creates Languages for New National Geographic Series
University of Kentucky (KY) (04/07/17)
Andrew Byrd, an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Kentucky, has just completed a project of a lifetime, creating ancient languages for National Geographic Channel's new series "Origins: The Journey of Humankind." The series offers a twist on conventional historical documentaries as it explores the big question of how humans "got from there to here," in the evolution from apes to astronauts. Throughout Byrd's successful career in academia, his goal has always been to understand how languages spoken thousands of years ago actually sounded. Byrd gained global notoriety in 2013, when his work caught the attention of the Archaeological Institute of America's Archaeology magazine. The magazine published an online piece that included recordings of Byrd reading two fables he had constructed in the prehistoric language known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE). It wasn't long before he was featured in several major news outlets, including the BBC, The Huffington Post, USA Today, and Smithsonian magazine. Byrd has always been enthralled by PIE, the prehistoric ancestor of hundreds of languages spoken today, including English, Spanish, Greek, Farsi, and Armenian. Linguists were familiar with PIE, but Byrd was one of the few determined to figure out how it might have sounded to the human ear. To reconstruct the 7,000-year-old language, he first collected Indo-European translations of the same word. For example, he gathered the word "king" from those Indo-European languages and then looked for the common threads. "Through examining trends in each language, you can tell which parts of the word have changed over time, and working backward from that you can peer into the past and get an idea of what PIE might have sounded like," he says. Byrd was more than happy to take his academic obsession to the next level when producers at National Geographic Channel asked him to help create verbal languages for their new series. "First, the producers said they were fans of my work, then they asked me if I could create languages in different time frames, even different parts of the world." Byrd's work can be found in virtually every episode of the new series. "If knowledge is power, communication is the jet fuel, the delivery system, and the gift we give each other that links the modern world."
Plan for Better Interpreting in Pennsylvania Courts Meets with Praise, Skepticism
Fox 43 (PA) (03/28/17) Benshoff, Laura
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted a comprehensive plan to improve access to justice for those with limited English proficiency and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The newly released "Language Access Plan for the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania" provides a blueprint to bring the state's 60 judicial districts toward compliance with state and federal laws mandating language access. The Language Access Plan is designed to guide the judiciary in meeting language challenges brought by the growing diversity of Pennsylvania's population. Pennsylvania is the 10th most linguistically diverse state in the country. According to the Census Bureau, approximately 10% of the Commonwealth's residents speak another language at home. (Spanish is the language for which interpreters are most frequently requested in the state's courts, with American Sign Language at number two, followed by Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, and Arabic.) The plan will "buttress our efforts and make language services more uniform across the state, while providing some additional resources," says Mary Vilter, coordinator for court access with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). These efforts include providing signage in the most commonly spoken languages other than English for display in state courts, as well as monitoring and evaluating how local policies compare with the state plan. The Language Access Plan marks the latest effort by Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System to create solutions to language barriers in the state court system. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) developed a language access plan template for judicial districts in 2014 to identify existing and develop future language-related services and resources at the local level for judges, court staff, attorneys, and the general public. The plans were implemented in March 2015, and each judicial district designated a language access coordinator to oversee the availability of services in its courts. In addition, the AOPC's Interpreter Certification Program has steadily increased the number of certified and qualified interpreters statewide since its inception in 2008. Currently, more than 200 certified and qualified interpreters are on the program's roster, representing more than 30 languages. More than 1,400 candidates are currently attempting to become certified. Legal advocates praised the current plan, but also questioned its ability to bring hundreds of Pennsylvania courts in line with state and federal laws. "The latest plan is certainly a welcome development. It's more aspirational, though, than descriptive of what's going on," says Vic Walczak, the legal director of the ACLU-PA. "I think implementation is a big question mark, and I think monitoring is a big question mark," says Jennifer Lee, a professor at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Winners of First Global Humanities Translation Prize Announced
Publishing Perspectives (NY) (04/06/17) Abrams, Dennis
The winners of the inaugural Global Humanities Translation Prize have been announced by the Global Humanities Initiative (GHI) in conjunction with Northwestern University Press. The goal of the prize is to promote translations that make the greatest contribution to literature and the humanities—recognizing underrepresented works in the process—and to draw attention to the importance of translating non-Western language texts. The two winners of this year's $5,000 GHI prize are the translation of Manzoor Ahtesham's The Tale of the Missing Man, from modern Hindi by Jason Grunebaum and Ulrike Stark (both from the University of Chicago), and the translation of the Arabic poems of Persian mystic Mansur al-Hallaj by Carl Ernst of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Northwestern University Press will publish both titles in trade editions in the spring of 2018. "This prize means that Manzoor Ahtesham's singular voice will be heard and studied in the U.S. and beyond," say Grunebaum and Stark. "The prize also brings renewed attention to the literature of Hindi—the second most-spoken language in the world—and to the rich modern literatures of South Asia." Northwestern University Press notes that al-Hallaj is "a pivotal figure in the literary and mystical cultures of the Islamic world, and yet this will be the first comprehensive English edition of the poems attributed to al-Hallaj." Cofounded in 2015 by Laura Brueck, associate professor of Asian languages and cultures, and Rajeef Kinra, associate professor of history at Northwestern, the Global Humanities Initiative is supported jointly by the Buffett Institute and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.
ATA Webinar | Transcreation: Translation with a Twist
Advertising campaigns gone wrong? Slogans laughable?
It all comes down to a failure to adapt intent, style, tone, and context to the target audience—otherwise known as transcreation. Attend ATA's next webinar to let an expert in the field tell you how it works. Register: ATA Member $45 Non-Member $60
Unable to attend? You can register now and a link to the recorded webinar will be sent to you after the event!
ATA Board of Directors Meeting: April 22-23
The ATA Board of Directors will meet this weekend in Alexandria, Virginia. Check out the agenda, get to know the Directors, and review the Board Meeting Summary from the January 21-22 meeting.
Want to know more? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast to hear ATA President David Rumsey and President-Elect Corinne McKay talk about what happens in the board room.
Don't forget—all members are welcome to attend ATA Board meetings.
Win a free registration to the ATA Conference!
How? Share your career in a classroom—elementary school, middle school, college, or university—take a photo with students, and submit to enter the School Outreach Contest.
Think you couldn't possibly do this? Think again. We've got everything you need including PowerPoint presentations, prepared scripts, and ideas to make it fun. The only thing you need is a school—and we've got tips for that, too.
Follow this How to Step-by-Step Guide from Molly Yurick, the 2015 contest winner, and then watch the School Outreach video to get inspired!
National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week is April 23-29. This is our opportunity to thank the many volunteers that make the association what it is. From the Board Directors and Officers, to Division and Chapter leadership, from committees to conference and webinar presenters, from mentors to book reviewers for the Galantiere and Ungar awards—the list of volunteers is long. So, please take time next week to thank an ATA volunteer for all they do.
Get the ATA Annual Conference Button for Your Website
Share this year's ATA Annual Conference with visitors to your website. It's easy to do. Just copy the HTML code from ATA's website and paste it into your own site's source code. Now save and upload. The clickable conference button will appear on your site. Give it a try!
It all begins now!
Don't wait for registration to open in July! Check out the conference website. Make your hotel reservation. Find out what the ATA Conference can do for you. And be sure to follow #ata58 for the latest news.
Stay and Win at the Washington Hilton
Five lucky winners will receive one free night's stay at the Washington Hilton, the host hotel for ATA’s 58th Annual Conference (October 25-28, 2017). Room reservations made before October 23 will automatically be entered to win.
And be sure to book your room early! It's not unusual for ATA's room block to be sold out before the Conference.
Looking for a way to stay in the Conference hotel and save money, too? Why not share the expense with a roommate. The ATA Roommate Forum can help you connect to other conference attendees. Give it a try!
In the March/April Issue of The ATA Chronicle
How to Deal with Questions During a Translation Project
What can translators do to ensure a project goes smoothly from start to finish? Well, one of the best and most straightforward things you can do is to ask the client some questions. (Nancy Matis)
Crafting the Perfect Pitch: A Comprehensive Guide
Of all the ways to market your skills, getting an article in a publication or posted to a blog your clients will read is my all-time favorite method. (Jonathan Downie)
The Embassy Translator Revisited
What do embassy translators do and how do they contribute toward carrying out the mission of a foreign embassy in the United States? (Cheryl A. Fain)
Transitioning from Student to Translator
There are a number of ways you can show potential clients that you’re a professional even before you’ve landed your first paid job. (Meghan McCallum and Sarah Puchner)
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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