Wrapping It Up
The ATA Podcast: Year in Review
In Episode 17, ATA President Corinne McKay looks back and takes stock of the Association's accomplishments in 2017. Corinne also takes a brief look ahead to ATA's 59th Annual Conference in the Big Easy!
And if you haven't already, be sure to listen to Episode 13 for the Halftime Report—the most downloaded episode of The ATA Podcast series to date!
ATA Newsbriefs in 2017
There's been no shortage of translation and interpreting news in 2017, and ATA Newsbriefs has reported on much of it. Keep reading now for just 10 of the dozens of articles Newsbriefs brought you this year.
End of the ATA Membership Year is December 31
Thank you for your ATA membership and support in 2017! We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2018. If you haven't renewed yet, then this is the time to click here and renew now.
Looking forward to 2018? Click here to find out what's coming up for ATA this year.
Demand for Translators and Interpreters Skyrocketing
CNBC (NJ) (07/07/17) Rogers, Kate
The American Translators Association (ATA), citing data from the Department of Labor, reports that the professional translator/interpreter population has doubled in the past seven years, while the number of companies in the industry has climbed 24% in that same period. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment for those in the industry will grow by 29% through 2024. "As the economy becomes more globalized and businesses realize the need for translation and interpreting to market their products and services, the opportunities for people with advanced language skills will continue to grow sharply," says ATA President David Rumsey. Rumsey adds that the association predicts that the largest growth is within contracted positions, giving workers and companies more flexibility. Rumsey stresses that multilingualism is only one ingredient for successful employment, explaining that translators who want to distinguish themselves professionally should keep refining their skills. "It's a lifelong practice, and it requires keeping up not only with your language skills, but also your subject matter skills so that you really understand the industries and fields in which you are working," he notes. While there was once a fear that technology would replace humans in the process as demand for services increased, the opposite has happened—it's enhanced their work. "The overall industry is growing because of the amount of content out there—it's increasing exponentially," says Jiri Stejskal, president and chief executive officer of CETRA. [Stejskal is an ATA past president.] "Technology is helping to translate more content, but you still need an actual human involved."
Translating Trump Into Foreign Languages Often Problematic
Washington Post (DC) (01/23/17) Schmidt, Samantha; Rauhala, Emily
U.S. President Donald Trump's speaking style presents several challenges for those translating and interpreting his speeches for non-English audiences. For some, Trump's simple vocabulary and grammatical structure make his speeches easy to follow. But for others, his confusing logic, tendency to jump quickly from topic to topic, and lack of attributions for facts make his remarks sound like a puzzling jumble. Bérengère Viennot, a professional French translator, says that Trump's broken syntax, often limited vocabulary, and repetition of phrases make it difficult to create texts that read coherently in French, which is a very structured and logical language. "Most of the time, when he speaks he seems not to know quite where he's going," Viennot says. A structural challenge also exists when translating Trump's words into Japanese. Agness Kaku, a professional translator in Tokyo who has worked for a number of politicians, says that English is a subject-prominent language—understanding a sentence in English involves pinning down the subject. Japanese, on the other hand, requires tracking the topic of a conversation. Kaku explains that the subject is very easy to track in Trump's speeches, but the actual topic is often difficult to grasp, thus complicating Japanese translations. "It just drifts," she says. "You end up having to guess, which isn't very good." Renato Geraldes, a professional interpreter in Brazil who has interpreted for both Barack Obama and Trump, says Obama was unparalleled in his public speaking, in large part because he had a natural ability to guide audiences through the speech. The unpredictability of Trump's speeches, however, makes it challenging to interpret off the cuff. "Obama structures his speeches so that one idea leads to another very logically—with a beginning, middle, and end," Geraldes explains. "Trump is all over the place." In the past, Kaku says, American presidents appeared wary of speech that is too colorful or provocative, with an awareness that it must be heard—and understood—by audiences around the world. However, Kaku says she's "not sure if this president will understand that."
Meet a Guy Who Makes a Living Translating Emojis
CNBC (NJ) (07/17/17) Graham, Luke
Emojis may seem simple and fun, but using them incorrectly can be a huge embarrassment to companies, potentially damaging their brands, especially when trying to connect with an international audience. That's why some companies are reaching out to specialists, like Keith Broni, to help them navigate safely through the growing emoji media minefield. Last December, London-based translation company Today Translations put out a call for an "emoji translator." The job listing made news, partly because of its novelty—it's believed to be the first role of its kind. Broni beat 500 other applicants for the job. His first translation for the company involved changing several idioms (such as "no pain, no gain" or "speak of the devil") into understandable emoji versions. Since then, Broni's clients have included public relations firms and the marketing departments of multinational companies. Broni says that companies trying to reach an international market need to be aware that certain emojis hold different meanings for different cultures. For example, the "thumbs-up" emoji is popular in the West, where Facebook users "like" posts with the thumbs-up button, but the gesture is traditionally considered offensive in the Middle East. The same goes for the "A-OK" hand gesture, which is offensive in Latin America. Even the basic happy face isn't so basic. In China, Broni says it's often used to convey that you're finished with a conversation. Broni explains that another issue with using emojis is that they can differ in appearance from platform to platform. Broni says emojis can be very helpful to businesses because they add emotional context and nonverbal communication to a piece of text. "Emojis allow us to imbue digital messages with the nonverbal cues inherent in face-to-face interaction," Broni says. "They allow us to signify the emotional context of a statement that would normally be conveyed in vocal tone, pose, or gesture, rather than just the words themselves."
New Study Calls for More Language Learning
Inside Higher Ed (DC) (02/28/17) Flaherty, Colleen
A new report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) on the future of language education in the U.S. calls for sustained funding and creative partnerships to increase teaching capacity and boost language learning. "America's Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century," which the AAAS delivered to Congress in February, was produced in response to a bipartisan request from senators and representatives in 2014 to find out what the U.S. could do to ensure excellence in language education. The report states that the U.S. must "value language education as a persistent national need" similar to education in math or English. "Our greatest challenge is one of teaching capacity," says Paul LeClerc, director of Columbia University's Global Center in Paris and chair of the AAAS Commission on Language Learning. The report recommends hiring more teachers in pre- and K-12 schools and supplementing language instruction across the education system through public and private partnerships among schools, government, philanthropies, businesses, and local community members. The report states that an expanded capacity in world languages is a "social imperative," citing the need for more qualified language experts (including interpreters and translators) who can read, write, and speak a wide range of languages to help bridge language barriers. LeClerc says having more Americans with competency in languages other than English "is essential from virtually any point of view you can think of"—from economic growth and competitiveness to national defense to increased academic achievement. "The greatest risk for failing to implement the key recommendations in this report is to further aggravate national isolationism," says Rosemary Feal, fellow AAAS commissioner and executive director of the Modern Language Association. Feal says language learning is one of the best ways to cultivate empathy, and "the earlier in children's education the process starts, the more likely they are to become well-functioning global citizens."
U.S. Investigating Interpreting Services in Massachusetts Schools
Boston Globe (MA) (02/15/17) Vaznis, James
Federal civil rights investigators are looking into allegations that the Lawrence and Braintree school systems in Massachusetts are failing to supply adequate interpreting services for non-English-speaking parents of special education students. Complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights state that the school systems are not providing interpreters in meetings with parents, or are using staffers and volunteers with insufficient language skills to explain complex special education and legal documents. The complaints also state that the school systems have failed to provide parents with translated documents, including report cards and individualized education plans designed to guarantee specific services to address students' disabilities. "It's an absolutely terrible situation," says Teresita Ramos, an attorney for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. "When there's no language access [for parents], you're taking away a huge system of support for these children because their parents don't understand what's going on with them," Ramos says. Both the Lawrence and Braintree school systems say they are revising their special education programs to ensure that all parents, regardless of their proficiency in English, can be fully engaged in their children's education. The Lawrence school system has begun contracting with an outside agency to provide translation services and is offering interpreting training to school staff. "Better, more efficient communication is an important piece" of the plan, says Christopher Markuns, a school system spokesman. The Braintree school system is cooperating with the Office for Civil Rights to ensure that families for whom English is a second language have access to school programs. Superintendent Frank Hackett says the school system is "working hard to ensure that we're providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students and families in our community."
The Challenge of Making U.S. Museums Multilingual
Hyperallergic (NY) (01/04/17) Collazo, Julie Schwietert
Overcoming the English-language bias endemic to U.S. museums is a significant challenge. Kathryn Potts, director of education at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, says making a museum multilingual involves much more than providing adequate signage. It's a resource-intensive process requiring the investment of capital, time, and, in best-case scenarios, incorporation into the museum's overall strategic, marketing, acquisitions, programming, and hiring plans. Potts cites the structural challenge of this task, which raises questions about language prioritization, whether current or prospective patrons should dictate language choices, and the degree to which languages should be included. Potts says the Whitney emphasizes staff development, hiring "educators and docents who speak the target language," and finding the "nexus of language and education" that will allow patrons to experience the museum in a meaningful way. Of course, the strategies of a single institution won't work as a one-size-fits-all plan for another, particularly as demographics vary from city to city and institutional finances, staff availability, and a host of other resources must be factored into the equation. There is also the issue of not assuming that the presence of a particular community demographic signifies that members of that community would want to engage with an institution in a language other than English. Potts says that if you're not asking the right questions of the right people, it's unlikely the answers you receive will reflect the needs and wants of your target audiences. As more museums begin grappling with the issue of multilingual services, community outreach will be a critical tool for ensuring that resources are invested in a way that will be truly useful. "For the most part, we've moved beyond the old model of exhibit planning, in which directors and curators would organize an occasional survey targeted to a particular audience, usually based upon a specific cultural or demographic identity," Potts says. "Now, museums engaged in the work of inclusion must look at culture and language across the full spectrum of acquisitions, planning, programming, and outreach."
Second Edition of Dictionary of Canadianisms Now Online
Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada) (03/10/17) Valpy, Michael
The second edition of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles will be published online to coincide with Canada's official 150th anniversary. A team of linguists and lexicographers at the University of British Columbia's Canadian English Lab worked for 10 years on the project. Its objective is "to provide a historical record of words and expressions characteristic of the various spheres of Canadian life during the almost four centuries that English has been used in Canada," says Stefan Dollinger, the dictionary's editor-in-chief. The dictionary contains cultural terms from colonial, indigenous, French, American, and other languages that have shaped Canadian English. Entries are accompanied by extensive explanations of how and when a word was first used, along with its etymology and reasons why it qualifies as a Canadianism. Many entries are illustrated by photographs, graphs, or YouTube videos. One of the most extensive entries—4,833 words—is for the Canadianism "eh." The dictionary states that "eh" has become what linguists call a stereotypic marker of identity, explaining that "immigration officials used it as an identifying clue to tell Canadians from Americans." The dictionary is funded by the Canadian Embassy, Queen's University, University of British Columbia, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
BBC to Launch 12 New Language Services through 2018
Nieman Journalism Lab (MA) (08/21/17) Wang, Shan
The BBC World Service plans to offer its news services in 12 new languages in 2018, starting with Nigerian Pidgin, a largely oral language spoken widely both in Nigeria and in countries across West and Central Africa. "Pigdin is spoken by so many people, but nobody ever thought an international broadcaster based in the U.K. would be prepared to offer news content in it," says Miriam Quansah, the digital team leader for BBC Africa. The BBC states that the expansion of its language services is part of a £289 million investment plan that will also include hiring 1,300 new staff members around the world. After the expansion, teams in Asia will make up roughly half the BBC World Service workforce. India alone is getting four new language services (Gujarati, Telugu, Marathi, and Punjabi). Its Korean language service will cater to South Korea as well as to some listeners in North Korea. In addition to Pidgin, the BBC is adding Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Igbo, and Yoruba in Africa. It will also offer Serbian later next year. The ultimate goal is to double the BBC's current worldwide reach to 500 million people by 2022. The BBC's expansion is unprecedented in scale, as well as in the resources the BBC is committing to it. The BBC is also hiring locally in places where experienced journalists are fewer and press freedom is severely limited. "There are countries where the BBC needs to be providing impartial, independent, and international information and news and analysis," says Dmitry Shiskin, the digital development editor at BBC World Service who oversees the editorial side of the digital expansion of the BBC's soon-to-be 40 language services. "We are bringing the world to a particular country where we operate, but we will also explain the events taking place in that country to the rest of the world."
Author and Translator Win Man Booker International Prize
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (06/14/17) Cain, Sian
Israeli author David Grossman and translator Jessica Cohen have won the Man Booker International prize for this year's best translated work of a fiction novel. Grossman and Cohen will share the £50,000 prize, which was awarded to Cohen's English translation of A Horse Walks into a Bar, Grossman's novel about a standup comedian's public breakdown. This is only the second year the Man Booker International prize has been awarded to a single book. The 2016 prize was awarded to South Korean novelist Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith for The Vegetarian. "We were bowled over by Grossman's willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer's craft," says Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. "Written with empathy, wisdom, and emotional intelligence, A Horse Walks into a Bar is a mesmerizing meditation on the opposite forces shaping our lives: humor and sorrow, loss and hope, cruelty and compassion, and how even in the darkest hours we find the courage to carry on," state the prize's judges. Born and based in Jerusalem, Grossman has long been recognized as one of the world's great novelists, with awards including the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Germany's Buxtehuder Bulle, Rome's Premio per la Pace e l'Azione Umanitaria, the Frankfurt Peace prize, and Israel's Emet prize. Cohen previously translated Grossman's 2008 work To the End of the Land, which U.K. critic Jacqueline Rose called "without question one of the most powerful and moving novels I have ever read." Other books shortlisted for this year's prize include French author Mathias Énard's Compass, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen's The Unseen, Israeli author Amos Oz's Judas, Danish author Dorthe Nors' Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, and Argentine author Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream.
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 attention in 2013, when his work caught the attention of the editor 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). Byrd was also 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. To reconstruct the 7,000-year-old language, he first collected Indo-European translations of the same word. "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 "Origins: The Journey of Humankind." "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. "If knowledge is power, communication is the jet fuel, the delivery system, and the gift we give each other that links the modern world."
Making plans for 2018!
ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
If you want to become an ATA-certified translator, then this is the workshop for you. Two sessions, each limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. Attend one or both! January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Click for details!
Mentoring Program Enrollment
Need to move your business forward? Have questions about technology, management, or clients? The ATA Mentoring Program may be just what you need. Limited to 30 mentees. Watch the free ATA Mentoring Program webinar to find out about the program. Applications accepted through March 3, 2018.
School Outreach Contest
Share your career with students in your local school and you might win a free registration ATA's 59th Annual Conference. Listen to Episode 11 of The ATA Podcast for details about ATA's School Outreach Program and Contest. Submissions accepted through July 18, 2018.
Call for Nominations
This year the ATA membership will be asked to submit nominations for three positions on the ATA Board of Directors. Learn more about the nominating process, then watch for the call to submit in mid-January.
Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting
The ATA Board of Directors will meet January 20-21 in Miami, Florida. Don't know much about what this means or how the board works? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a look at what happens "Inside the ATA Board Room."
Call for Proposals for ATA's 59th Annual Conference
Speaking at an ATA Annual Conference is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity: there is no better way to gain visibility and recognition as a "go to" expert in your field. Check out some of the sessions at ATA58, and be sure to watch for the first call for proposals in mid-January.
ATA 59th Annual Conference
With more than 170 education and networking sessions, no other event can provide you with this level of professional development at this price. This year it's October 24-27 in New Orleans. Registration opens late July. Check out the highlights of ATA's 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
Be sure to follow The ATA Chronicle and ATA Newsbriefs throughout 2018 for news, announcements, events … and everything else!
Coming up in the January-February issue of The ATA Chronicle
Call for Nominations: ATA Directors
Do you know someone who would make a good potential candidate for ATA’s Board of Directors? If so, ATA’s Nominating and Leadership Development Committee would like to hear from you. Any ATA member may make a nomination. Here’s your chance to help shape the future of the Association!
Stepping Out on Capitol Hill: ATA’s First Advocacy Day
ATA’s 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC was an opportunity too good to pass up! It was the right time and place for ATA’s first Translation and Interpreting Advocacy Day.
Why Can’t I Raise My Rates?
How are your services valued? What is their marginal utility? Are you offering something that has value in use, value in exchange, or perhaps both? The answers to these questions will provide a framework to help you understand the market better, where you stand in it, and what you can do to improve your current position.
Evidentiary Translation for U.S. Courts
To produce a translation that’s suitable for use as evidence, the evidentiary translator must take a specific approach that differs greatly from best translation practice in other fields. Learn the basics of this approach and how to identify cases in which it’s necessary.
Copyediting for Stand-Out Style in Any Translation
A bit of organization at the beginning of a project can save you a lot of time and energy during the review stage of your translation project, and customizing your review to each client’s preferences will certainly increase the quality of your language services.
ATA School Outreach Contest Winner Profile: Marybeth Timmermann
Marybeth had always been interested in participating in ATA’s School Outreach Program and contest. She got her chance when she spoke to students in an advanced Spanish class at the local high school, impressing her audience with her French skills and real-life translation examples.
2017 ATA Honors and Awards Recipients
ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize outstanding work done by both seasoned professionals and students of our craft. This year's recipients are...
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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