ATA 58th Annual Conference: You Belong Here!
More than 1,800 translators, interpreters, students, educators, and company owners will attend ATA’s 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The opportunity to network with this many colleagues is an invaluable investment in your business and career. Register today!
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Advanced Skills & Training Day
Register for the Advanced Skills & Training Day and learn from some of the most experienced translators and interpreters in the profession! This "conference-before-the-conference" offers 15 three-hour courses of intensive, interactive education. Limited seating to guarantee individual attention Additional registration required. Learn More
(Thursday 6:00pm – 8:00pm)
This is a two-hour event designed for you to meet with agency reps who are looking to recruit translators and interpreters. Not your usual résumé and business card exchange! Keep watching the Conference website to see which agencies will be there. Learn More
New This Year!
T&I Advocacy Day
Join ATA and the Joint National Committee for Languages in an all-day advocacy event in Washington, DC. The event will include training sessions, collaborative working groups, and meetings with Congressional offices and Executive Branch agencies. Limited to 50 registrants. Additional registration required. Learn More
Greece's Disappearing Whistled Language
BBC News (United Kingdom) (08/01/17) Stein, Eliot
The village of Antia on the Greek island of Evia is home to the last six speakers of Sfyria, one of the rarest and most endangered languages in the world. It's a unique form of long-distance communication in which entire conversations, no matter how complex, can be whistled.
For the past 2,000 years, the only people able to use Sfyria have been Antia's shepherds and farmers, who have proudly passed down the language to their children. But in the past few decades, Antia's population has dwindled from 250 to 37, and as older whistlers lose their teeth, many can no longer reproduce Sfyria's sharp notes.
No one can recall exactly how or when the villagers here began using Sfyria—which comes from the Greek word sfyrizo, meaning "whistle"—to communicate. Some residents speculate that it came from Persian soldiers who sought refuge in the mountains some 2,500 years ago. Others claim the language developed during Byzantine times as a secret way to warn against danger from rival villages and invading pirates. There's even a belief that in ancient Athens, they would post whistlers from Antia on the mountaintops as sentries so they could signal an imminent attack on the empire.
Sfyria was only discovered by the outside world in 1969, when a plane crashed in the mountains behind Antia. As the search crew went out to look for the missing pilot, they heard shepherds volleying a series of trilled scales back and forth across the canyons and were fascinated by the cryptic code.
Greek linguist Dimitra Hengen says Sfyria is basically a whistled version of spoken Greek, in which letters and syllables correspond to distinct tones and frequencies. Because whistled sound waves differ from speech, messages in Sfyria can carry about 10 times farther than shouting. The UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger says no other European language has fewer living speakers than Sfyria.
"By nature, a whistled language is already much more threatened than a spoken language because it's much harder to reproduce," Hengen says. "Unless something drastic here changes, I foresee Sfyria vanishing in the very near future, and it's a tragedy."
One of Antia's remaining Sfyria speakers, Panagiotis Tzanavaris, established the Cultural Organization of Antia in 2010 to revive the language. In 2014, he invited a team of linguists from Harvard and Yale universities to record the whistlers' notes for future generations. In 2016, Tzanavaris and fellow Sfyria-speaking villager Yiannis Apostolou were featured in a documentary that was screened at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Massachusetts Senate Approves Bilingual Education Measure
Boston Globe (MA) (07/27/17) Vaznis, James
The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would allow school systems to bring back bilingual education, potentially upending a 15 year-old voter referendum that widely banned school systems from teaching students academic courses in their native language.
Democratic Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz called the practice of delivering instruction only in English to students with language barriers "a failed experiment." The thinking behind the referendum was that students would gain English proficiency faster if they were fully immersed in the language in all their classes. Despite this, students classified as "English-language learners" collectively have among the lowest standardized test scores and graduation rates in the state.
"We are thrilled by today's unanimous Senate vote, and grateful for the strong leadership that made it possible," says Amy Grunder, director of legislative affairs for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "Today's vote sends a powerful message that Massachusetts is ready to put students' needs above politics, and gives all young people a chance to learn in the setting that works best for them," Grunder says.
But bringing back bilingual education is far from a done deal. The Senate vote followed passage of a similar bill last month by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Those two bills are now headed to a conference committee to work out differences. The major differences between the House and Senate bills center on how much flexibility school systems should have in choosing programs to teach students the English language. It also remains unclear whether Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will support any resulting compromise.
Democratic Senator Sal DiDomenico says the bill is in many ways about returning local control to the school systems by empowering them to choose the right programs for their students. "They know their students better than we do."
South Africa Could Make Signing Official Language
BBC News (United Kingdom) (07/28/17)
South Africa's Parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee has recommended amending the constitution to make sign language an official language. The country's deaf community has lobbied for sign language to be recognized as South Africa's 12th official language, saying it would help "give them a voice." The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) calls sign language communication a "fundamental human right." Sibusiso Nkosi, PanSALB's spokesman, says granting sign language official status will "ensure that this language is taught in schools and government departments." Nkosi says that education is necessary to ensure that there will be skilled professionals available to help the deaf community participate fully in their communities and have access to services.
Phephelaphi Dube, director of the Center of Constitutional Rights, says such a measure would change how state institutions currently perceive sign language. "All state institutions, schools, hospitals, and government departments would need to have personnel who know sign language and can communicate in it," Dube says. In addition, the private sector would be required to ensure that their institutional and business staff can use sign language.
The first discussions on the matter started in 2007, after a petition by associations representing the deaf community warned that millions were being excluded from accessing facilities and services because they were not able to communicate with service providers.
Chinese Museum Offering Reward to Translate Ancient Inscriptions
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) (07/23/17) Leng, Sidney
The National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan province, has issued a worldwide appeal for help to decipher thousands of esoteric characters carved into bones and shells dating back more than 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty. The museum posted a notice on its website offering a $15,000 reward for a definitive explanation of each undeciphered character. A $7,500 reward is offered to anyone who can supply a definitive explanation for a disputed character.
Oracle bones first became known to the world in 1899, when Chinese antiquarian Wang Yirong found the script engraved on "dragon's bones," an ingredient used in a type of traditional Chinese medicine. Archaeologists have unearthed about 200,000 oracle bone fragments, with about 25% of them bearing inscriptions. Despite being in pieces, favorable soil conditions preserved many of the bones and shells. The inscriptions, resembling modern Chinese writing, are the earliest written record of Chinese civilization and shed light on life and society. Researchers confirm that the artifacts date back to the Shang Dynasty, the start of China's Bronze Age.
So far, scholars have managed to translate less than half of the roughly 5,000 characters found on excavated oracle bones. Around 3,000 of them remain a mystery. The museum is hoping cash incentives and technology will help reveal the meaning behind the rest.
Liu Fenghua, an oracle bone specialist from Zhengzhou University, says most of the undeciphered characters are the names of people and places. "Since it was a long time ago and many places have changed names, it has been difficult to verify them." Zhu Yanmin, a history professor from Nankai University in Tianjin, says that making sense of an inscription could shed significant light on the past. "If we translate a noun or a verb, it can bring many scripts on oracle bones to life, and we can understand ancient history better."
Georgia Cities Dispute Language Elections Material Compliance
Gwinnett Daily Post (GA) (07/29/17) Yeomans, Curt
There is disagreement over whether cities in Gwinnett County, Georgia, are complying with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, particularly when it comes to Latino voters.
The U.S. Department of Justice informed Gwinnett County officials in December that they had to comply with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires communities that have large numbers of voters who speak the same non-English language to provide election information in that language. Ensuring that voting material is available in Spanish is of particular importance this year before city elections this fall. Although city officials say they are doing everything possible to comply with the Voting Rights Act, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and LatinoJustice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) have concerns.
Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO's executive director, singled out the cities of Auburn, Berkeley Lake, Braselton, Loganville, and Lilburn as places the organization is particulary worried about. "As recently as July 18, their websites, which contain valuable information on upcoming municipal elections this year, were in English only, and they were failing to provide the same information online in Spanish," says Gonzalez. "Some municipalities fail to even offer voter registration forms in Spanish."
GALEO and LatinoJustice PRLDEF are asking local government leaders to meet with them and other Spanish community leaders to address Spanish-language document issues. "Federal law and the federal Voting Rights Act is clear on this," says Joanna E. Cuevas Ingram, associate counsel for LatinoJustice PRLDEF. "Gwinnett County and all municipalities within the county are required to provide language assistance, election information, and materials to Spanish-speaking citizens seeking to register to vote on an equal basis with all that is provided to English-speaking voters, so that no eligible voter is disenfranchised," says Ingram.
Gonzalez also cites concerns about some cities using Google or Bing tools to create English-to-Spanish online election document translations. "Automated machine translations such as those developed by Google and Bing are not always accurate, can cause confusion, and place additional burdens on access to voting by frustrating equal access to voter information for limited-English-speaking voters," Gonzalez says.
ATA Conference Hotel 70% Booked
The Washington Hilton is holding a limited number of rooms at special ATA rates for Conference attendees. In-room complimentary wireless Internet is included.
This deal won't last long! ATA rates end on October 4 or as soon as the room block is full. Make your room reservation online today to guarantee you don't miss out!
ATA Webinar: A Closer Look at the Endocrine System
Presenter: Tracy Young
Date: September 12
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1
Register: ATA Member Non-Member
The endocrine system never gets the flashy headlines, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it!
Attend this webinar to examine the endocrine system, related hormones, diseases, and disorders as well as allopathic and alternative treatments. Presentation includes visual concepts and memory techniques to strengthen translator and interpreter skills in this complex specialty.
FIT Recognizes The ATA Chronicle as Best Periodical
The ATA Chronicle was awarded the FIT Best Periodical Prize at the recent International Federation of Translators’ XXI Congress in Brisbane, Australia. ATA President David Rumsey accepted the award.
The award recognizes the journal that best promotes the professional image of the translator, interpreter, and terminologist in terms of quality, presentation, and relevance. The competition is open to any non-academic periodical published by any FIT member. A five-person international jury selects the award winner.
The International Federation of Translators includes more than 100 professional translation and interpreting associations, representing 80,000 translators in 55 countries.
ATA Member Alan Melby Becomes FIT Vice President
Former ATA Board Director Alan Melby has been elected one of three Vice-Presidents on the International Federation of Translators (FIT) Council. He has previously served on the council as Chair of the Standards Committee.
Since joining ATA in 1979, Alan served two terms as ATA Secretary and four terms as Board Director. He is currently a member of ATA's Standards Committee and the Association's representative to FIT. He received the ATA Gode Medal in 2013.
Alan is an ATA-certified translator (English>French) and a former professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University.
August is Women in Translation Month
What began as a post on Meytal Radzinski's blog Biblibio has evolved into a global collaborative project to promote female authors who are published in English translation. Now in its fourth year, WITMonth is celebrated anywhere and everywhere: bookshops, libraries, personal blogs, Facebook, tweets, Goodreads groups, and book clubs.
The event gives readers an organized method of finding books they've never heard of while offering publishers the chance to promote their existing titles written by women in translation. Learn more in this American Literary Translators Association's interview with Meytal Radzinski.
Place an Ad, Book a Booth, Become a Sponsor
Don’t miss these exceptional opportunities to tell ATA58 Conference attendees what you and your company can do for them.
Reserve advertising space
The Final Program is the ultimate guide for every attendee! Distributed onsite to more than 1,800 participants, it serves as the primary schedule of sessions, meetings, floor plans, and receptions.
See Print Advertising for rates, specs, and details.
The deadline for reserving ad space is this Friday, August 18, 2017. You ad copy is not needed until September 1, 2017.
Final program advertising
- Book an exhibit booth
Bring up to 10 colleagues to work your booth at no additional cost! Reserve your booth now before it's too late. Only 22 left!
To learn how ATA's Annual Conference can help you achieve name-brand recognition and reach qualified buyers, contact Lauren Mendell at +1-703-683-6100, ext. 3001 or email email@example.com.
- Become a conference sponsor
Special recognition opportunities, even if your company will not be at the conference. Options to fit every budget.
ATA Board Meeting Summary: July 29-30
The ATA Board of Directors met July 29-30 in Denver, Colorado. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website.
Read the Board Meeting Summary now.
This is your opportunity to learn what the Association is doing for you! Take time to stay informed.
In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Treasurer’s Report: The First Eight Months of FY2016–17
The Association’s finances have continued the positive development of the past few years. (Ted Wozniak)
Colorado Translators Association Conference Recap
More than 80 language professionals braved a spring snowstorm to attend the Colorado Translators Association’s seventh annual conference. (Sharon Heller, Katja Yeats)
Competency-Based Education and Translator Training
How can we maximize the effectiveness of university translator training programs? Competency-based education is an innovative approach to teaching and learning that has been gaining traction in universities throughout the U.S. and beyond. (Jason Jolley)
How can project-based internships add value for an organization? Here’s one language services provider’s approach to designing a mutually beneficial project-based program that includes well-established goals, training, evaluation, and feedback. (Serena Williams)
Expanding Your Business: Genealogical Translation
Genealogy is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the U.S., but once Americans trace their ancestors back to the “old country,” they often get stuck. Even if they’re able to obtain historic documents from non-English-speaking clerks, they find that they cannot read them. This is where the skilled translator steps in. (Corey Oiesen, Bryna O’Sullivan)
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.
ATA 58th Annual Conference Sponsors
ATA wishes to recognize the following companies for their contributions to the ATA Annual Conference and their invaluable support of the translation and interpreting fields.
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