That Was 2018—Year in Review
Ring out the year with The ATA Podcast! In Episode 28, ATA President Corinne McKay joins podcast host Matt Baird to highlight this year's milestones and update listeners on the state of the Association.
Click here to find out what's coming up for ATA in 2019!
Reminder! The end of the ATA Membership year is December 31
Thank you for your membership and support in 2018! We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2019. If you haven't renewed yet, then this is the time to click here and renew now.
There's been no shortage of translation and interpreting news in 2018, and ATA Newsbriefs has reported on much of it. Here are 10 of the more than 100 articles Newsbriefs brought you this year.
Industry News—Year in Review
Should Trump's Interpreter Tell What She Heard?
USA Today (DC) (07/19/18) Collins, Michael
U.S. lawmakers eager to learn what went on during the private meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are demanding answers from the only other American in the room: Trump's interpreter. A growing number of politicians are asking for interpreter Marina Gross to appear before a congressional committee to reveal what she heard during the one-on-one meeting between the two world leaders. They also want Gross to turn over any notes she took during the two-hour meeting in Helsinki. But experts say forcing an interpreter to publicly disclose the details of a confidential conversation between world leaders would be unprecedented and perilous. "What happens in a meeting is not up to you to divulge," says Judy Jenner, a spokesperson for the American Translators Association. Judy explains that compelling an interpreter to disclose confidential information could not only be damaging, but could also jeopardize the interpreter's ability to do her job. "It may be unprecedented to subpoena an interpreter to reveal details of a private meeting between the president and another world leader, but the American public deserves to know if Trump made any concessions, revealed national security secrets, or tried to profit off the presidency," wrote Representative Bill Pascrell in a letter to top lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Much like a doctor or priest, interpreters and translators are bound by a code of ethics dictating that any privileged or confidential information entrusted to them in the course of their work must remain confidential," says Stephanie van Reigersberg, who worked as a U.S. Department of State interpreter for 32 years. "People need to be able to trust that what we hear as an interpreter is confidential," Jenner says. "Otherwise, we lose the credibility to do our job."
Lawsuit Settlement Gives Georgia Voters Greater Access to Interpreters
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) (11/29/18) Niesse, Mark
Georgia voters with limited English proficiency will be allowed to bring an interpreter of their choice to the polls thanks to a U.S. District Court settlement. Public notices will now be posted at the entrance of each polling place notifying voters that they may receive assistance from any person of their choice. State election officials agreed to lift restrictions on who can serve as interpreters for voters shortly after a lawsuit sought emergency action from the courts before the state's runoff election in early December. Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden announced that voters can now bring interpreters to help them understand their ballots in all future elections. "Ultimately, both sides were able to reach a satisfactory conclusion in this litigation, and we have taken immediate action to comply with the negotiated terms of the consent order," Crittenden stated. The settlement invalidates a Georgia law that stipulates that voters in state elections can only use close relatives, caretakers, or voters registered in the same precinct as interpreters. The law conflicts with the federal Voting Rights Act, which states that anyone can serve as an interpreter provided they are not the voter's employer or a union official. "We're pleased that common sense ruled in this case," says Stephanie Cho, executive director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, which filed the lawsuit. "It allows people to choose whoever they want when they go to vote. Now we can get the word out to the community we serve."
Lyft Helping Former Interpreters for U.S. Military
Washington Post (DC) (01/03/18) Horton, Alex
Lyft, the ride-hailing company, is providing job opportunities to former military interpreters to help them reestablish themselves after immigrating to the U.S. Lyft launched its pilot program in October in Washington, DC, as a joint effort with No One Left Behind, an advocacy group focused on getting more combat zone interpreters to the U.S. and providing guidance and financial assistance. In some cases, Lyft provides automobiles and ride credits to help interpreters get to appointments, such as consulate and medical visits. Steve Taylor, general manager of Lyft's DC office, says the nation's capital is an important proving ground for the program, as almost 10,000 special immigrant visa holders reside in the metropolitan area. According to the Department of Defense, about 69,000 Iraqis and Afghans—interpreters, contractors, and their families—have fled their native countries since 2008, when the U.S. Department of State began issuing special immigrant visas to those who worked with U.S. troops. Many of these immigrant interpreters now face dire poverty. In spite of efforts by nonprofits to locate and subsidize housing, former interpreters often lack the work history to secure even basic jobs. Former Afghan interpreter Ajmal Faqiri, one beneficiary of the Lyft program, says that if interpreters are not recognized for their service, it will be difficult to find people like him to help the U.S. military in the next war. "If other countries see that the U.S. left behind their allies, they won't help them," Faqiri says. "It's very important for the U.S. to keep its word."
Hawaii Judiciary to Allow Court Interpreters to Speak Hawaiian
Maui News (HI) (01/27/18)
The state Judiciary of Hawaii has announced that it will provide qualified Hawaiian language interpreters "to the extent reasonably possible" when parties in court proceedings choose to speak in Hawaiian. This policy was announced two days after a bench warrant was issued for Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, who had been arrested for protesting and spoke only Hawaiian during a Wailuku District Court proceeding. After Kaeo responded only in Hawaiian when asked to identify himself in court, Judge Blaine Kobayashi said he could not ascertain that the defendant in court was Kaeo and issued a $750 bench warrant for his arrest. The warrant was revoked a day later and another hearing was scheduled concerning the use of a Hawaiian language interpreter in Kaeo's case. The Judiciary issued a statement that it "will provide or permit qualified Hawaiian language interpreters when possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language." The Judiciary says it will develop deployment procedures for the policy and welcomes community feedback.
Centuries-Old Alutiiq Translation Guide Found in Alaska
Associated Press (Kodiak) (02/22/18)
Archivists at the Kodiak Baranov Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, have found a centuries-old Russian-to-Alutiiq language primer. Estimated to be from the late 18th or early 19th century, the primer turned up during a routine check of the museum's artifacts. Kodiak was first colonized by Russian settlers in 1763, and was a Russian colony for more than 100 years until the Alaska Purchase in 1867. Michael Bach, collections manager at the museum, says the primer contains unique children's prayers disseminated by Russian Orthodox missionaries. "The primer appears to be teaching kids to pray," Bach explains, adding that language instruction was used strategically by Russian settlers. The primer contains pronunciation guides that list common consonant-vowel groupings and was likely used as a reading primer. Because Alutiiq was not a written language at the time, Cyrillic characters were used with accent marks to denote sounds not heard in Russian. Cyrillic was eventually replaced by the English alphabet, which is used to write Alutiiq today. According to the Alaska Native Languages Center, there are an estimated 200 Alutiiq (or Sugpiaq) speakers in Alaska. Bach says the primer will be kept in the museum's permanent collection.
Google Working to Remove Gender Bias in Its Translations
Engadget (CA) (12/07/18) Locklear, Mallory
Google has taken a step toward reducing gender bias by providing feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website. In the past, when a word could be translated in either a masculine or feminine form, only one translation was provided. However, since Google Translate learns from existing examples of translations, there was always the risk that biases in those translations could then be inadvertently replicated in the responses provided by Google Translate. This could sometimes result in masculine translations being provided for words like "strong" or "doctor," while feminine translations would be provided for words like "beautiful" or "nurse." Now, however, for certain languages, Google Translate will offer both a masculine and a feminine translation when either might be appropriate. This feature is currently only available when translating English into French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish and when translating from Turkish into English. Last month, Google shared that it had left gender pronouns out of its Gmail Smart Compose feature to ensure there was no bias in its suggestions. Both efforts are part of a larger move on behalf of Google aimed at being more inclusive and reducing bias in machine learning. "In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete," says James Kuczmarski, a product manager at Google Translate. Kuczmarski added that while it's not part of this launch, Google is also considering non-binary gender in translations as well.
Japan Native Writer Wins U.S. National Book Award
The Japan Times (Japan) (11/16/18)
The English version of Yoko Tawada's novel Kentoshi (The Emissary), translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani, has won the U.S. National Book Award for Translated Literature. This marks the first time an award has been given in the "Translated Literature" category since 1983. "I think it's great that the translated literature category for the National Book awards has been resurrected," Tawada says. "Translation gives a book wings to fly across national borders." Tawada also praised Mitsutani's translation. Tawada, a native of Japan who writes in Japanese and German, has won numerous literary awards, including the Goethe Medal, Akutagawa Prize, and Tanizaki Prize. She uses unexpected words, alphabets, and ideograms to call attention to the need for translation in everyday life. Her writing highlights the strangeness of one language, or particular words in one language, when seen from the perspective of someone who speaks another language. She has said that language is not natural but rather "artificial and magical," and has encouraged translators of her work to replace word play in her manuscripts with new word play in their own languages. "When you learn a language—as a child, or as a foreigner—you don't just learn words, but also how to make them," Tawada says. "You learn the mechanism of the language, and you can keep making new words," she adds. "I want to thank Yoko for writing the book because translators are nothing without authors," Mitsutani says. In addition to Yoko Tawada, Mitsutani has translated the works of Kyoko Hayashi, Kenzaburo Oe, and Mitsuyo Kakuta. The National Book Awards were established in 1950 by the American Book Publishers Council, the Book Manufacturers' Institute, and the American Booksellers Association.
Former Military Recruiter Indicted in Interpreter Scheme
Associated Press (DC) (11/08/18)
A former recruiter of U.S. military interpreters has been indicted for his role in an alleged scheme to recruit unqualified interpreters for the military. A statement from the U.S. Department of Justice says that 34-year-old Abdul Aman, of Fairfax, Virginia, circumvented procedures designed to ensure that candidates for jobs for the U.S. military met minimum proficiency standards. This resulted in unqualified interpreters being hired and deployed alongside combat forces in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012. While working as a recruiter for a U.S. government contractor on a multimillion-dollar Department of Defense contract, Aman is said to have arranged for a close associate to take language tests on behalf of candidates he knew could not meet minimum language proficiency standards. Aman received financial bonuses from his employer based on the number of successful candidates he recruited. Aman was charged in Maryland on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and on one count of major fraud against the United States. The case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command.
Decade-Old Canadian Apology Translated into Indigenous Languages
CBC News (Canada) (06/11/18) Harris, Kathleen
A decade after it was delivered on the floor of the House of Commons, the Canadian government's formal apology to survivors of the country's early residential school system has been translated into seven indigenous languages. The apology, made by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 10, 2008, was meant to help atone for the damage residential schools had inflicted upon the indigenous population by forcing native children to assimilate into mainstream culture. "The government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly. We are sorry," Harper declared. More than 139 residential schools operated in Canada between the 1800s and 1996, when the last one closed. More than 150,000 Indigenous children—First Nations, Inuit, and Métis—attended these schools. Many of those students were subjected to physical and sexual abuse, as well as harsh conditions. More than 6,000 children are estimated to have died in residential schools. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett announced that educational videos about this dark chapter of Canadian history will be ready for use in schools starting in the fall, describing it as a "small step" on the path to reconciliation. "This is being done because it's important for indigenous people to hear these words in their own languages," she said. "It will also help further education on the destructive legacy of residential schools and help promote the languages that so many students and families lost as a result of these past experiences." The apology has been translated into Mohawk, Plains Cree, Western Ojibway, Mi'kmaq, Inuktitut, Dene, and Algonquin, and posted online at the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation's website.
New Zealand Parliament Stops Using Sign Language Interpreters for Question Time
New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) (10/04/18)
The New Zealand Parliament has decided to discontinue the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreters during the time set aside for questions. Officials say the number of interpreters available is already limited and that the additional parliamentary duties are taking them away from the more important services they offer. Parliament began offering NZSL interpreting for oral questions in May as an extension of an NZSL Week initiative. Interpreters were required three days a week for about an hour. NZSL is one of the country's official languages and is used by more than 20,000 people. "The pool of interpreters is very small and we've been told that having interpreters at Parliament every day that the House is in session is putting a lot of pressure on the services they offer in other areas, such as interpreting at medical visits, in schools, or in legal settings," says Clerk of the House of Representatives David Wilson. He says the decision was made jointly with Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand, the main organization for New Zealand's deaf community. Wilson says that Parliament will continue to offer NZSL interpreting for significant events, such as for oral questions during NZSL Week, the budget statement presented by the minister of finance on Budget Day, and speeches from party leaders. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will also still use an interpreter for her weekly post-cabinet press conference. "We know many members in the deaf community really liked it when Parliament offered NZSL interpreting for oral questions, but it's a careful balancing act," Wilson says.
University of Massachusetts Translation Interpreting Certificate
ATA Law Seminar
Set yourself up to succeed! Register now to attend this full day of intermediate-to-advanced workshops presented by industry experts in legal translation and interpreting. Early registration ends February 6, 2019. ATA-certified translators earn 7 CE points for attending.
February 16, 2019 | Jersey City, New Jersey | Hyatt Regency
Welcome / Keynote Address
Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Takeaways from 26 Years of Managing a State Judiciary's T&I Program
Robert Joe Lee
Performing from the Stand: Advanced Sight, Simultaneous, and Consecutive Skills
Translating Legal Documents: Expert to Expert
Anatomy of a Deposition and How to Master this Niche (Part I)
Ethics in Action: Moving Beyond Should and Shouldn't (Part II)
Translating Legal Terms Based on Functional Equivalency
ATA Announcements in 2018
ATA Newsbriefs provides members with the latest Association news and events throughout the year. Take a look at some of the major announcements in 2018.
- ATA Public Relations in 2018
After a July 2018 meeting between President Trump and President Putin, members of Congress moved to subpoena the interpreter for her notes of the meeting.
The media quickly began to question whether it would be ethical for the interpreter to reveal what had been said.
Within two hours of the story breaking into the news cycle, ATA's Spokesperson Judy Jenner was on the air with an answer. Three days later, ATA and its Code of Ethics had been cited by 15 news programs and publications, including PBS, USA Today, and CNN, as well as NBC and ABC affiliates.
By its quick response, ATA was able to build on its reputation as a respected, go-to resource for major news outlets—and more importantly, to inform the public about the work of translators and interpreters.
- Taking the Show on the Road
Reaching out and building relationships with other organizations is part of ATA's mission to strengthen the voice of the industry and promote the value of translators and interpreters. ATA's Board of Directors pursued these goals in 2018 by attending local, regional, national, and international events. Here's a lookback at some of ATA's outreach in early 2018.
- Interpreters Have a New Option for ATA Voting Member Status
A Bylaws amendment in October 2018 granted automatic voting rights to interpreters holding ATA-recognized credentials. The change opens the door for interpreters to expand their participation and leadership in the Association.
The Bylaws amendment is a follow-up to the 2016 addition of the Credentialed Interpreter (CI) designation to the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters.
Listen to Episode 10 of The ATA Podcast to learn everything you need to know about the CI designation and how to add it to your directory listing!
- ATA Joins Advocacy Coalition
In 2018, several state legislatures took steps that could affect voluntary certification programs. Like ATA's program, these are certifications that professionals can choose to pursue but are not mandatory to work in a given profession. The legislative proposals range from no longer recognizing these voluntary credentials, since they might be considered barriers to the market (e.g., Louisiana), to suggesting that the state should regulate the service, if the credential is that important (e.g., Ohio), to somewhere in between (e.g., Michigan and Missouri).
To address these concerns, ATA joined the Professional Certification Coalition in 2018. This group of over 90 associations offering certification programs aims to get in front of the issue in other states.
This current advocacy effort follows 2017's T&I Advocacy Day, when a group of 50 ATA58 conference attendees met with their elected officials in Washington, DC. Take a minute to listen to Episode 19 of The ATA Podcast to learn more about the experience of two attendees who made the trek to Capitol Hill!
- ATA Recognizes Longtime Members
The Association’s members are, and always will be, its greatest asset. For the second year in a row, the Association is recognizing those who have supported ATA and its activities through 25 years or more of continuous membership. Visit the Chronicle-Online for the complete list of the 896 individuals, companies, and institutions whose long-standing membership has been crucial to ATA’s success.
- ATA Welcomes Two New Divisions
One of ATA’s most important goals is to offer members ways to share resources and build business relationships. ATA's Divisions make this happen through blogs, e-newsletters, listserves, websites, and information archives—all focused on the language- and specialty-specific issues and topics that relate to member interests.
ATA welcomed two new Divisions in 2018: the ATA Law Division (LawD) was established in April and the ATA Audiovisual Division (AVD) was approved in August. With these additions, ATA now has 22 Divisions.
Listen to Episode 20 of The ATA Podcast to find out how ATA's enormous diversity became one of its greatest strengths. Then check out what ATA Divisions can do for you and your business!
- ATA's International Translation Day Social Media Blitz
In August, ATA called on translators and interpreters around the world to make International Translation Day 2018 a platform for raising awareness of the professions. On September 28, ATA uploaded, posted, tweeted, and pinned a set of six infographics that answer common questions about translation and interpreting. Translators and interpreters were invited to download, like, comment, retweet, follow, repin, tag, save, and share, share, share with family, friends, and clients!
Keep the T&I information campaign going! Download the infographics from the ATA website now, then post to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts.
- First ATA Position Paper
The ATA Board of Directors released the Association's first position paper in December 2018. Machine Translation: A Clear Approach to a Complex Topic defines machine translation, its evolution, the various ways it's being used, and the expectations of both consumers and translators. The paper's final point is a definitive statement on when a professional translator needs to be involved.
Watch for ATA's second position paper on video remote interpreting in 2019.
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Coming Up in the January/February Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Call for Nominations: ATA Officers and 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!
Dealing with Terminology Drift
Terminology drift is not solely a concern for scientific and technical translation. Terminology drift is relevant to any field with an established vocabulary that needs to be followed with consistency. To find and correct terminology drift, you need to be aware of the possibility that it will happen and actively look for it. (Bruce D. Popp)
Future Interpreting Professionals Conduct Action Research in Their Communities
While a desire to become a well-trained interpreting professional was a common denominator for most of the author’s interpreting students, she realized that unequal social realities for bilingual minority students presented real obstacles to academic success. As an alternative to sleepless nights, she set out to find solutions. (Michelle Pinzl)
How to Build a Translator/Interpreter Résumé That Sells
How do you know whether your résumé measures up against others who work in the same language pair(s) or specialization(s)? Here are nine tips on how to sell your services effectively through your résumé so that you can stand out to those who are on the receiving end. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Translator Exercise Routines?
We’re all different, but we all need to get this whole fitness thing done somehow. So, as busy professionals, how do we stay healthy and manage our stress? It’s all about personality and what motivates us as individuals. (Sarah Alys Lindholm)
Profile of ATA 2017–2018 School Outreach Contest Winner: Jessica Sanchez
When Jessica Sanchez was invited to speak during Career Day at Harrison Elementary School, she decided to surprise students by handing out headsets and giving them a live demonstration of what an interpreter’s work is all about! (Molly Yurick)
2018 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.
News summaries © copyright 2018 SmithBucklin