New! ATA Conference Newcomer Blog
It's the best advice you can get from veteran conference attendees. And not just for newcomers—everyone can benefit from someone else's experience.
Check out these posts!
• Ordering Business Cards
• Budgeting for the Conference
• Anatomy of an ATA Conference
• Networking: No Reason to Fear
• Local Favorites and Things to See in D.C.
• 9 Things You Can Do Today to Get the Most out of ATA58
Have some advice you'd like to share? Leave a comment with additional tips, recommendations, and suggestions … or let others know how the information matches up with your own experience. Help make this an essential resource for all conference-goers!
Senator Says Maryland Failing to Translate State Websites
Washington Post (DC) (10/04/17) Wiggins, Ovetta
Maryland State Senator Cheryl Kagan says her state has failed to comply with a 2016 law requiring state websites to offer translations in Spanish and Chinese. Kagan, who sponsored the bill, says less than 40% of the state's websites are in full compliance more than a year after the law was signed by Governor Larry Hogan.
"It's appalling," Kagan says. "It's hard to determine whether this is a philosophical reluctance or ideological statement of some sort, or whether it's disorganization."
Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Governor Hogan, says the administration has met the requirements under the law. She explains that the statute applies only to a list of state agencies included in an earlier version of the legislation, which did not deal specifically with translation issues. Chasse says that the agencies that are overseen by Hogan's administration are in full compliance. Kagan countered that language inserted into the 2016 version of the bill makes it clear that the translation requirement applies to all state agencies, not just the two dozen Hogan oversees. Hogan's lawyers, however, say otherwise.
"If Senator Kagan's intent was not communicated accurately in the legislation she sponsored, our administration would be happy to work with her to clear up any confusion," Chasse says, adding that Kagan has not shared her concerns with the governor's office. "Our administration shares the senator's commitment to providing transparent and accessible websites so that all Marylanders can more easily interact with state government."
The legislation requires agencies to offer a translation option on their web pages into any language spoken by at least 0.5% of the state's population. Currently, Spanish and Chinese speakers meet that threshold.
An exception is granted if an agency finds that an inaccurate translation could lead to a denial of benefits or services, or if certain files on a website are forbidden from translation. An August review of 112 state agency sites by Kagan and her team determined that only 12% of the web pages offered both Spanish and Chinese translations, and 29% offered Spanish translation.
Although the percentages have since increased, an October survey calculated that less than 40% of sites offered Chinese and Spanish translations, about 10% only provided Spanish, and about 50% offered no translation. "There is still a problem," Kagan says.
"I'm pleased that they have been trying to hustle, but it's not being done fully."
Alberta Court Interpreter Program Faces Uncertain Future
CBC News (Canada) (09/29/17)
A volunteer-run court interpreter system in Alberta, Canada, has reached a "crisis point," according to Shannon Prithipaul, an Edmonton attorney. Prithipaul, who is president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, helped create the Alberta Court Interpreters Course to ensure that interpreters are familiar with court procedures and have sufficient skills.
"I don't know if the public is really aware of the situation, but for quite a long time we have not had a standardized set of criteria for who can work as an interpreter," Prithipaul explains. "We don't have a system in place to ensure interpreters who are doing interpreting before the courts are actually capable of doing that."
For the past six years the course has been an essential tool for preparing court interpreters, but Prithipaul says the program does not have enough volunteer staff and is at the point of folding. Previously, approximately 25 to 30 interpreters graduated from the program every year.
"We have dedicated people who we should be investing in," she says. "If we just say, 'They're not doing a job,' but you never did anything to explain to them what that vocabulary means in the first place, how can we expect them to succeed? We're not giving them the tools to do it."
Prithipaul notes the course has never received any funding from the government. She is not looking for money to keep the program going, but rather for another organization to do so.
Prithipaul says the court system isn't the only place that requires interpreting services. Hospitals, schools, and police are also in great need of people to translate and interpret languages other than English.
The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers estimates that about 25% of Edmonton's population was born outside the country. Some of the most common languages, other than English, spoken in the Edmonton courthouse are Spanish, French, Arabic, and Tagalog.
To help meet the needs of interpreters, Prithipaul suggests that various organizations could benefit from a centralized "interpreter bank." Alberta Justice states that it's aware of Prithipaul's concerns and is looking into the matter.
Scientists Building Translation System for Obscure Languages
JHU Hub (MD) (10/09/17) Hirsch, Arthur
The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has awarded a $10.7 million grant to a team of computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to create an information retrieval and translation system for languages that are not widely used around the world.
Philipp Koehn, a computer science professor in JHU's Whiting School of Engineering, is leading the 20 members of the research team to develop a system that can respond to inquiries typed in English based on documents written in so-called "low resource" languages, which means there is relatively little written material in these languages.
"The biggest challenge we're going to have with this setup is that there's not much data," Koehn says. He expects the DNI will soon send his team information on a target language for testing the system.
Koehn says he expects that in a few weeks the DNI will send his group information on a specific language they can use to test the technology they've built for the task. He says that ultimately the intelligence agency is likely to choose languages for the project that may be spoken by millions of people but are not prevalent in written material, such as Kurdish, Serbo-Croatian, Khmer, Hmong, and Somali.
The DNI is launching the effort to explore how such a system might work, as intelligence gathering and analysis has come to encompass ever more languages. The DNI's site states that for most languages, "there are very few or no automated tools available for information retrieval or machine translation."
The goal of the project is to sharply cut the time and the amount of information needed to put a translation system into use for intelligence agents.
Canadian Grocery Chain Providing Indigenous Translations
CBC News (Canada) (10/04/17) Dacey, Elisha
Indigenous customers will soon see their native languages on the store shelves of Canada's largest northern grocery store chain. The North West Company announced that they are rolling out an initiative to translate common grocery items and category labels into local indigenous language at each community store.
"We operate in over 120 communities across northern Canada," says Derek Reimer, director of business development for the North West Company. "So when we undertook the initiative, one of the first things we had to do was identify the number of indigenous languages spoken in each community." Reimer says there are approximately 30 different dialects spoken in the communities the company serves."
Indigenous labeling will be set up in nearly every store location where there is a local indigenous language. For example, stores in the Northwest Territories will see seven different languages and three additional dialects in their stores. "We've got Gwich'in, North Slavey, South Slavey, Dene, Cree, and Inuvialuktun, so there's quite a broad list of languages," Reimer says. He notes that North West collaborated with a team of translators, elders, and community members throughout Canada to ensure accurate translations.
In addition to the labels under items, Reimer says that quick response codes will also be displayed under the items, so customers unfamiliar with the local language can learn. "When you scan the [code] with your phone, you'll actually hear an audio translation of the word that you see on your shelf label," he notes.
"From a standpoint of language revitalization it's really important," says Brent Kaulback with the South Slavey Divisional Education Council. "People need to see the language in the community and be motivated to use that language while they're in the stores, or in the community hall, or any public facility."
Ancient Viking Language Revived in Minecraft
The Local (Sweden) (10/11/17) Rehnstrom, Bjorn; Edwards, Catherine
A group of international language enthusiasts has come up with a way to save one of Sweden's most ancient and endangered languages—by recreating a virtual version of the village where it's spoken. The team of Swedes and Americans are building the village of Älvdalen and its surroundings in Minecraft, the Swedish-designed computer game, and all text and speech in the game will be in Elfdalian.
Elfdalian is an ancient language with its roots in the forests of Älvdalen in Dalarna. Until a few years ago, it was on the brink of dying out. The rare Viking language is currently experiencing a revival, which has helped it gain international speakers.
"We want to help save the language," says Christoffer Pennington, an American who recently moved to Åland with his Swedish wife Emilia Stjernfeldt. The couple first discovered the forest language when Pennington was living in Tennessee and Stjernfeldt with her parents in Stockholm. Since they often played Minecraft together, they came up with the idea of building a Minecraft world for Älvdalen to help Elfdalian survive.
Last summer, the couple visited Älvdalen and participated in a course in Elfdalian, which taught them much more about the area and its language. Now Pennington and Stjernfeldt are working full-time on the project, with help from three Americans and another person in Västerbotten in northern Sweden who share their passion for both Elfdalian and Minecraft.
"We want to make it interesting and fun for children to learn Elfdalian grammar and the history and culture of the area," Stjernfeldt explains. "Millions of children across the world play Minecraft, so they are already familiar with the medium."
The final product will be a file that anyone can download and then upload to a single-player game.
"The game will be based on questions and answers," Pennington says. "The idea is that it can be used with a teacher or parent, but it can also be played alone."
Pennington says that children who actually live in Älvdalen will be able to learn Elfdalian grammar, words, and pronunciation, but the game will also teach players about culture and history. "Minecraft allows you to create these types of games, provided you're not making money from it," Pennington explains. "So the game will be free to use."
The game is set to be launched in the second half of 2018, and the goal is to later include surrounding villages as well.
"It's so important to protect the language, " Pennington says. "Through language, you build stronger links with family, groups, and cultures."
"This is simply revolutionary," says Funk Emil Eriksson, a spokesperson for Ulum Dalska, an organization established to preserve Elfdalian. "The project is unbelievably great, and it will also be incredible good publicity for Älvdalen."
Peter Egardt, Älvdalen's municipal commissioner, is also enthusiastic about the first computer game in Elfdalian. "To save the language, we need lots of people to help, and we need to attract young people and make sure they know that it's cool to speak Elfdalian," Egardt says. "This project will help achieve this, which makes it extremely important."
Show us what you're doing to get ready for ATA58
Packing your suitcase? Polishing up your résumé? Getting new business cards? The ATA58 Conference Photo Challenge begins now! Take a selfie while getting ready for the Conference and post to your favorite form of social media. Just tag it #ata58!
ATA Webinar: Game Localization
Translating video games sounds like fun, and it is! But any game localization expert will also tell you it's one of the most challenging jobs in the industry.
Ins and Outs of Game Localization
Presenter: Paula Ianelli
Date: November 15, 2017
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1
Attend this webinar for an overview of the game localization process—from audiovisual restrictions and marketing requirements to idioms, catchphrases, puns, and cultural references in a variety of contexts and styles. Get to know what is expected of translators working in game localization and what skills translators need to develop to break into this field.
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!
What to know about ATA's 58th Annual Conference
It's not too late to register
There is no better opportunity for translators, interpreters, and company owners to learn, share ideas, and build invaluable personal and professional relationships. This is where you belong! Register today!
Kick off the Conference with the Welcome Celebration
This is the event that starts it all. Everyone you hope to see and meet will be there: make new friends, connect with old ones, and get to know speakers, sponsors, and ATA Board members. (Wednesday 5:30pm - 7:00pm) Special events!
Learn how to use the Conference app
Don't wait until you get there! Create your profile, upload your résumé, review sessions, create your schedule, and more. All about the ATA58 App!
Get to know the exhibitors
Look over the Exhibit Hall before you get to Washington, then use the ATA58 app to map out plans to see the latest technology that can save you time and money. Visit the Exhibit Hall!
Review the Conference Program
What's the number one tip experienced conference-goers offer newcomers? Review the Conference program now and decide on your "must attend" sessions before you leave home. Create your schedule with the ATA58 Conference app!
Sign up to be a buddy
Get ready to help an overwhelmed first-time attendee navigate the conference. Even if you've only attended one ATA Annual Conference, you've got what it takes. Sign up or show up! ATA-certified translators will earn 2 CEPs for their participation as a Buddy. Buddies Welcome Newbies!
Plan to attend the Job Fair
Not your usual résumé and business card exchange! More than 30 agencies will be onsite for this meet, interview, and hire event. (Thursday 6:00pm – 8:00pm) Agencies at the Conference Job Fair!
And much more!
Check out the ATA58 website for more ways to make this the best Conference ever!
ATA 2017 Elections
ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at the Annual Meeting of Voting Members on Thursday, October 26, 2017, in Washington, DC. President-elect, secretary, and treasurer (each a two-year term) and three directors (each a three-year term) will be elected.
Get to know the candidates
Take time to learn more about the individuals on the slate—from background to experience to what they hope to accomplish as a member of the ATA Board. Click for candidate statements and interviews.
Learn more about proposed Bylaws revisions
In addition to electing Board officers and directors, Voting Members will also decide on proposed Bylaws revisions that will expand voting rights. Click to read the proposed bylaws changes.
Check out the resolution supporting diversity
In this election, Voting Members will also be asked to approve a resolution in support of diversity. Click to read the resolution.
Find out how ATA Board of Directors meetings work
See the Board in action on Saturday afternoon (1:00pm – 4:15pm) and Sunday morning (8:00am – 10:25am). Listen to a behind the scenes podcast of a Board meeting and click to read the agenda for the October 28-29 Board of Directors meeting.
Directory of Translation/Interpreting Studies
The future of our profession lies in the education we provide today.
ATA has partnered with The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) to develop an online international database of education and training programs. The Directory will be an invaluable resource to students searching for programs in translation, CAT tools, interpreting, localization, project management, computational linguistics, and more.
Take a first look at the new T&I Education and Training Directory
List your program! Education and training institutions are invited to submit a free profile for the Directory. You do not need to be a GALA or ATA member.
Create your program's Education and Training Directory profile now
Your listing in the Directory has the potential to reach thousands of prospective students. Plus the Directory will also be useful to institutions and industry players who want to network or partner on specialized programs. Don't wait! List your program now!
Assistance Still Needed
Disaster relief organizations for Puerto Rico, Houston, Florida, and Mexico City are in need of your support.
• United for Puerto Rico (official Puerto Rican government fund)
• UNICEF USA
• Hispanic Federation (Unidos Fund)
• American Red Cross
• Puerto Rico Recovery Fund
• Ricky Martin Foundation
• Topos México
• Project Paz
• UNICEF in Mexico
• Go Fund Me
• Rebuild Texas Fund
• Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief
• UNICEF in Texas
• Feeding Florida
• UNICEF in Florida
All Disaster Relief
• Save the children
• Habitat for Humanity
• Direct Relief
• Global Giving
• One America Appeal
Whenever you give, wherever you give, please check with Charity Navigator to be sure your money is going to a reputable organization.
Going, going … almost gone
Only two days left to get a booth in the Exhibit Hall! A few sponsorships and Exhibit Hall booths are still available. Email Lauren Mendell, ATA Membership and Marketing Manager, or call (703) 683-6100 ext. 3001, for details.
In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA 2017 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 October!
Translation: An Intellectual Pursuit
True translation is an art that involves the translator understanding and appreciating the culture behind and reflected in the language. It’s the art of exercising an intellect. (Jesse Tomlinson)
Who Is Really Visiting Your Website? (It’s Not Who You Think!)
Unfiltered Google Analytics reports have been contaminated by automated computer programs known as bots, spiders, or crawlers. These contaminated reports can lead to potentially bad marketing decisions. Learn how to recognize the sources of this contamination along with two solutions that freelance translators and smaller translation companies can implement. (Richard Paegelow, Thea Dery)
Emotional Self-Discipline: A Key Ingredient for Success as a Freelance Translator
Emotional self-discipline is a key ingredient for success as a freelancer—and one that people are much less aware. (Karen Rückert)
Legal Aspects of Marketing Content: Things to Consider when Translating
While the translation of marketing copy does require some creativity, just as writing the original copy did, it may also require some knowledge of law. (Denise Josey)
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.
Alliant Insurance Services, Inc
National Language Service Corps
SpeakEasy Services, Corp.
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