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Thank you for being an ATA member in 2017!

This has been a historic year for the industry as ATA joined forces with other T&I organizations to increase the visibility and influence of translators and interpreters
  • The UN General Assembly recognized International Translation Day and acknowledged the role translators, interpreters, and terminologists play in international relations. [more]

  • CNBC Business and PBS profiled translation and interpreting careers and featured ATA members in an episode of Where the Careers Are. [more]

  • T&I Advocacy Day saw nearly 50 translators and interpreters travel to Capitol Hill to address issues and policies that impact the language services industry. [more]

  • ATA's Writers Group ended the year with client outreach articles in more than 60 business and trade publications. [more]
Through your ATA membership, you have helped strengthen the voice of translators and interpreters worldwide. Thank you for your support.

The ATA membership year ends December 31. Please take this opportunity to renew your membership and commitment to the profession.

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ATA membership pays for itself
From landing a new client through one of ATA's online Directories to learning new business management methods that save time and money, the benefits of ATA membership can more than cover the cost of annual dues.

Find out more! Listen in to Episode 9 of The ATA Podcast as host Matt Baird interviews former Membership Committee Chair Tess Whitty about the returns on your membership dues.

Remember, if you plan to include payment of your 2018 membership dues on your 2017 tax return, you must renew by December 31. Please consult your accountant for tax advice.

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Industry News


Phony Sign Language Interpreter Delivers Gibberish During News Conference
Associated Press (DC) (12/04/17)

A volunteer who claimed to be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter delivered gibberish during a news conference in Tampa, Florida, concerning the arrest of a suspected serial killer.

Derlyn Roberts appeared to be interpreting for Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan as he announced the arrest of Howell Donaldson. But to those who know sign language and depend on interpreters, Roberts' message was a jumbled, confusing mess. "She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells," says Rachell Settambrino, who is deaf and teaches ASL at the University of South Florida.

According to Settambrino, one of the messages Roberts signed was: "Fifty-one hours ago, zero 12 22 [indecipherable] murder three minutes in 14 weeks ago in old [indecipherable] murder four five 55,000 plea 10 arrest murder bush [indecipherable] three age 24." Chief Dugan was actually providing a timeline of the four shootings, describing how his agency had received approximately 5,000 tips before arresting the 24-year-old suspect.

"I was disappointed, confused, upset, and I really want to know why Tampa's chief of police, who is responsible for my safety, did not check her out," says Settambrino. According to Settambrino, Florida, unlike some states, does not require ASL interpreters to be certified through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, a national nonprofit that, according to its website, "seeks to uphold standards, ethics, and professionalism" for American Sign Language interpreters.

Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department, says he should have vetted Roberts before letting her into the news conference. Hegarty explains that Roberts showed up and told him she was there to provide interpreting at the conference, and he assumed that someone else in the department had called the service it uses for interpreters. "I allowed her to do it. I didn't ask enough questions," says Hegarty.

Although Roberts will not face charges, Hegarty would still like to know how she knew about the press conference and why she volunteered to interpret. "I don't know what motivated her, but she hasn't returned my calls," he says. "I would like to know both professionally, and also personally, how it occurred to her to come down to do that."
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Canada's House of Commons Gearing Up for Indigenous Languages in Chamber
Radio Canada International (Canada) (12/11/17) Sevunts, Levon

Canada's federal government is working to increase simultaneous interpreting services during proceedings in the House of Commons from English and French into indigenous languages and vice-versa. Currently, simultaneous interpreting is offered only in Canada's two official languages: English and French.

"We are meeting with indigenous language community stakeholders to explore opportunities, develop stronger ties, and improve our indigenous language services," says Nicolas Boucher, a spokesperson for the House of Commons. However, offering interpreting services in indigenous languages presents a huge logistical challenge.

According to the 2016 census, there are 70 Aboriginal languages in Canada divided into 12 language families. "Given that there are approximately 60 different indigenous dialects in Canada, the capacity of qualified freelance interpreters in indigenous languages is extremely limited," warns an internal memo from the Translation Bureau at Public Services and Procurement Canada. The Translation Bureau currently has a roster of about 100 freelance interpreters who speak 20 indigenous languages

Member of Parliament Robert-Falcon Ouellette supports adding interpreting services for indigenous languages. He says the Translation Bureau could start with five to 10 indigenous interpreters and launch the service with the more common languages, such as Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. But Ouellette says something needs to happen soon because indigenous languages may be headed for extinction.

"These languages are dying out," he says. "If nothing is done within the next 10 to 15 years on these indigenous languages in a significant way, they will be gone. We're actually at the cusp of the end. This is it."
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Ex-Inmates Sue County Jail for Not Accommodating Deafness
Seattle Times (WA) (12/05/17) Sword, Katy

Melody Alvarez and Kalpana Crabtree, who are both deaf, have filed a lawsuit against Clark County in Washington State for failing to properly accommodate their disability while they were inmates at the Clark County Jail. According to the lawsuit, the jail failed to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters while Alvarez and Crabtree were being booked, during the time they were in the general jail population, or while attending activities such as Narcotics Anonymous. The suit also states that the two women were not provided with an explanation of jail procedures and other announcements in a way that could be understood by deaf inmates, nor were they allowed telephone access, including use of a teletype machine (TTY).

According to Alvarez, while jailed overnight in 2016, she was denied an ASL interpreter and not allowed to use the TTY at booking. She also alleges she could not contact her 16-year-old daughter to confirm that her 11-year-old son was being cared for. Alvarez also states the jail staff never gave her a charger or replacement batteries for her cochlear implant processor. Alvarez is seeking $500,000 for emotional damages in addition to $250,000 for other damages as a result of continued deprivation of her constitutional rights by failing to accommodate her disability.

Crabtree says she also suffered a lack of accommodation for her disability. Crabtree was incarcerated for three months beginning in December 2014. When she was initially arrested, Crabtree states she was handcuffed with her hands behind her back, preventing her from communicating. She also alleges she was denied an ASL interpreter or the use of the TTY. When Crabtree was allowed to use the TTY, she says it was inoperable.

During incarceration, Crabtree also states she was not accommodated during Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, which prevented her from continuing recovery. She also notes that she could not confirm the correct medications for her diabetes because she was not provided with ASL interpreters during medical visits. Crabtree states in the suit that because she was not accommodated while in jail and could not communicate with others she was "in effect placed in a form of involuntary and unwarranted solitary confinement." She is seeking $500,000 for damages as a result of deprivation of her rights, as well as $250,000 for constitutional deprivation.
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Brains of Bilingual People Solve Math Problems Differently
NOVA Next (VA) (12/07/17) Dimacali, T.J.

Researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found that regions in the brain associated with visual processing are activated in bilingual people when solving math problems in their second language—something that's not seen in monolingual people, and which has implications for life.

"The language in which you learn math will influence your performance even into adulthood and even in well-mastered tasks like addition," says Amandine van Rinsveld, one of the lead researchers.

The team concentrated on adults who were fluent in both German and French and had been educated in these languages in primary and secondary school. Despite their proficiency in both languages, the participants answered faster and made fewer errors when tasked to solve math problems in their native language.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers observed that participants took longer to solve problems in their second language and were also using brain regions usually associated with spatial and visual thinking. "Highly proficient bilinguals rely to a greater extent on the visuo-spatial pathways when solving arithmetic problems in the language for which the verbal route might be more difficult to use," the researchers state in their paper, Mental Arithmetic in the Bilingual Brain: Language Matters, published in the July issue of the journal Neuropsychologia.

A previous study found that bilingual Chinese students also solved math problems faster when these were outlined for them in their native language, although it was thought they took longer to do the same task in their second language because they were translating the problems in their heads.

Van Rinsveld says further work is required to understand what precisely is happening. "What is certain is that it took the students more time to do the additions in French for the complex problems," she says. "They solved these problems differently, as the pattern of brain activations looks different in the functional magnetic resonance imaging than when they solved math problems in German."
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Cornell Translators Teaching Children to Read English
Cornell Chronicle (NY) (12/05/17) Kelley, Susan

Multilingual students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have created bilingual versions of a book to help 500 local children learning English as a second language to read. Students translated Suzanne Bloom's The Bus for Us into 17 languages, with translated text laminated onto each page so the children and their families can read it in both English and their native language.

The project, called One Book Welcome, is the brainchild of the Children's Reading Connection, a new national nonprofit based in Ithaca that creates a culture in which all families read to their children as part of everyday life. As part of a pilot project the Children's Reading Connection plans to launch nationwide, it gave books as gifts to students enrolled in the Ithaca City School District's prekindergarten program and in Tompkins Community Action's Head Start program.

"It's not enough that you can borrow books from the library; families need to own books," says Brigid Hubberman, chief executive officer of the Children's Reading Connection. "What's unusual about this nonprofit is we work at the community level to change culture and weave reading throughout every activity, just like you feed and clothe your children."

Hubberman says The Bus for Us is an excellent tool for children learning English as a second language because it concerns a universal experience: waiting for the bus. The translators were recruited from Cornell's International Students and Scholars Office, Cornell's Translator Interpreter Program, and a program teaching adults English as a second language at Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Hubberman says the translations were "essential" to the success of the One Book Welcome project. "Yes, we could have given the book in just English, but the translations made the book's impact that much richer and stronger and more powerful," she says. "Literacy happens in the context of families, so if we can have families know that, we really can change the world."
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The ATA Podcast

ATA News


Do Not Miss This Chance!

ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
January 20, 2018 | Boston, Massachusetts


Many candidates who fail the ATA Certification Exam are surprised and wonder how—after so many years of experience—they did not pass. With only a 20% pass rate, the exam is definitely difficult. This workshop will help you better prepare for the challenge!

Attend one or both of these sessions to boost your chances of passing the ATA Certification Exam!
  • Session I (9:00am – 12:00pm)
    Preparing for the ATA English>Spanish Certification Exam
    Instructors: Rudy Heller, CT, and Diego Mansilla, CT

    This session will cover how exams are graded and the errors frequently made by test-takers. Actual practice tests will be used to demonstrate common pitfalls, and the presenters will offer tips on how to avoid them. ATA-approved 3 CE points.

    Learn more and register!
  • Session II (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
    Preparing for an ATA Into-English Certification Exam
    Instructors: Andy Klatt, CT, and Bruce Popp, CT

    This session will cover how to prepare for the exam, including common errors made by test-takers. Translators working in any language into English should benefit from this session. ATA-approved 3 CE points.

    Learn more and register!
Limited seating
Both workshops are limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. Discounted registration rates available until January 10.

Register now to save and guarantee your seat in the workshop!

Please note: these workshops will not be recorded.
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ATA58 Conference Survey Winner

Congratulations to John Baumann, winner of a free registration to ATA's 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans! John's name was randomly selected from those attendees who completed this year's overall conference survey. Surveys received by December 1 were automatically entered into the drawing for a free registration.

John is a Thai-into-English translator who joined ATA earlier this year. ATA58 was his first ATA Annual Conference. Once again, congratulations and welcome to ATA!
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Did you receive my payment?

Want to check on a payment you made to ATA? You can do it online! Just log in to your ATA member record through Members Only and click the Invoice History link. Payments are posted 3-5 days following a transaction.
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Scammers don't take time off for the holidays

The number of ways scammers try to separate you from your money continues to grow. Make it your business to know the latest scams—and remember, no one can get your money back after the fact.
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In the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Reading Beyond the Lines: The Translator’s Quest for Extra-Textual Information
Looking for extra-textual information is an essential component of translation, albeit one often overlooked or taken for granted. (Nahla Baydoun, Ibrahima Diallo)

Scheduling Translation Projects
Translators, translation project managers, and any other project participants should be able to draw up schedules to ensure that they can complete their own tasks within the allocated time frame. (Nancy Matis)

You’re Not Fluent Yet! Speaking the Language of Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is a rapidly growing niche for translators. However, to get your foot in the door, you need to demonstrate to potential clients an understanding of the issues and terminology involved. (Natalie Pavey)

From Beginning to End: The Interpreted Medical Visit
During a recent medical interpreting assignment, I was reminded of how difficult this work really is and how flexible we have to be. (Elizabeth Essary)

“How Long Will It Take You to Type This in English?”
An award-winning literary translator takes us on a tour of how experienced translators organize to meet deadlines and seek to produce an accurate, readable version in their target languages. (Ros Schwartz)

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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December 15, 2017

In This Issue

Your Membership Matters
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Certification Exam Workshop
ATA58 Survey Winner
Did You Get My Payment?
No Holidays for Scammers
The ATA Chronicle



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