Taking the Show on the Road
Reaching out and building relationships with other organizations is part of ATA's mission to promote the value of translators and interpreters—and strengthen the voice of the industry. ATA's Board of Directors works throughout the year in pursuit of these goals, attending local, regional, national, and international events.
This spring, members of the Board took to the road to represent ATA at several major association conferences. Here's a look at some of the events with an ATA presence.
Association of Language Companies (ALC)
ALC Annual Conference
ATA Rep: President-Elect Ted Wozniak
The Society for Editing (ACES)
ACES 22nd Annual National Conference
ATA Rep: Director Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Portuguese Association of Translators & Interpreters (APTRAD)
2nd International Conference
ATA Rep: Director Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC)
12th Annual Membership Meeting
ATA Rep: Director Elena Langdon
International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC)
Legal Interpreting—Challenges and Solutions in the U.S. and Europe
ATA Rep: Director Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (NAJIT)
NAJIT 39th Annual Conference
ATA Reps: Directors Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner, Cristina Helmerichs
ATA Board of Directors and Officers
The elected Board of nine directors and four officers is responsible for managing the Association and guiding its development. Each director serves a three-year term; each officer a two-year term. Board members are unsalaried and receive no compensation for their services.
The ATA Board of Directors meets four times a year. The next Board meeting will be held August 4-5, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. Board meetings are open to all ATA members.
Learn more about ATA’s governance and goals. Login to the Members Only area of the ATA website to read meeting minutes, summaries, and treasurer's reports.
Family Separations Bring Call for Rare Language Interpreters
Associated Press (Phoenix) (06/27/18) Snow, Anita
As word spread that the Trump administration was separating migrant families, urgent calls went out across social media: volunteer interpreters were needed at the U.S.-Mexico border to help immigrants understand the immigration proceedings. But this call was not for Spanish speakers. These interpreters needed to speak the lesser-known indigenous languages of Guatemala and Mexico, including Mayan languages and Zapotec.
Although indigenous languages are far less common than Spanish, they are still used by hundreds of thousands of people. According to Guatemala's last official government estimate from 2002, the most widely used of Guatemala's Mayan languages, K'iche', is spoken by more 1.2 million people.
Esther Navarro-Hall [an ATA member] is one of many professionals who have stepped up to organize volunteer interpreter teams to help attorneys communicate with non-Spanish-speaking indigenous children and their detained parents to ensure that their legal and medical needs are being met. Interpreter Brigade, a group Navarro-Hall established to support the efforts of interpreters and translators assisting in humanitarian efforts, has teamed up with the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations, a group of indigenous interpreters led by Odilia Romero. "Everyone has the human right to understand any legal process against them in their own language," says Odilia, a trilingual interpreter.
Judy Jenner, a spokesperson for ATA, says it's important that interpreters be professionally trained, not just fluent speakers of K'iche' or other languages. "Just because you have two hands doesn't mean you can play the piano," she says.
Jenner and Romero both say relay interpreting—which involves using a third person to provide the Spanish-English rendering either in person or over the phone—can be useful in emergencies, but should be a last resort. "It's really like playing the telephone game. If I'm in the middle, I'm hoping that the K'iche'-Spanish interpreter is providing a good interpretation," Jenner says. "It's pretty scary."
"The detainees have culturally specific needs that are not being met, including interpreting services, legal assistance, and religious services," says Jai Singh, a field organizer for the Asian Pacific American Network. "Isolating them from these resources is both illegal and inhumane. Seeking asylum is not a crime."
The Ultimate Démarche: France Wants to Oust English from EU
Wall Street Journal (NY) (06/15/18) Pop, Valentina
With the U.K. negotiating to leave the European Union next spring, French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested making French the lingua franca of the EU instead of English.
However, replacing English will not be that easy for the soon-to-be 27-country bloc of the EU. Its 24 official languages produce 552 translating combinations—an impractically large number that demands a shortcut. According to official statistics, English is by far the leading language taught in countries belonging to the EU. Over 80% of primary school children and over 95% of secondary school students across the bloc learn English before any other language. Still, Brexit means a downgrading for English. Today it's the official language for 12.8% of the EU's 511 million people, but after Britain leaves it will be the second official language in just two countries: Ireland and Malta.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says any decision regarding the bloc's linguistic regime cannot be "divorced" from reality. "English is the most popular language of communication in the EU, and people will continue to use it, especially given that it is one of the official languages in Ireland and Malta," she says.
A more modest, but perhaps not less daunting, challenge is improving the use of English within the EU. The bloc's main translating body says 81% of EU documents are drafted in English, 5% in French, 2% in German, and the rest in the 21 other languages. Yet only 2.8% of EU staff are British. This imbalance prompted English translator Jeremy Gardner to write a handbook of words and phrases frequently misused in the EU. Gardner says that many odd phrasings are the result of half-translations from French.
One Macron ally in the battle to restore French is European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a native from neighboring Luxembourg, who frequently delivers public remarks in French and German. "Why would Shakespeare's language be superior to that of Voltaire?" he recently asked on French TV. "We are wrong to have become so Anglicized."
Chicago Area Hospitals Reach Settlement Over Lack of Sign Language Interpreters
Chicago Tribune (IL) (06/28/18) Fornek, Kimberly
As part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Adventist La Grange Memorial and Adventist Hinsdale hospitals will provide qualified sign language interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. The agreement also requires the hospitals to provide mandatory training to their employees on how to address the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing patients.
A deaf man filed a complaint with the U.S. government claiming the hospitals discriminated against him by failing to provide an American Sign Language interpreter when he requested one to communicate with the medical staff during two visits in 2015. According to the settlement agreement, the man uses American Sign Language as his primary means of communication. The man went on to state that the auxiliary aids and services that were provided did not ensure effective communication. The hospitals have denied the patient's allegations.
"Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital have always sought to communicate effectively with its deaf and hard-of-hearing population," hospital spokeswoman Julie Busch said in an email. "This is done through the use of sign language interpreters via video remote interpreting services and on-site appearances, as well as through a variety of other auxiliary aids and services," Busch stated.
The investigation conducted by the U. S. Attorney's Office determined the hospitals denied the patient the appropriate auxiliary aids and services to communicate. The hospitals will pay the man $10,000 in damages, although agreeing to the settlement is not an admission of liability.
As part of the agreement, the hospitals will now have a qualified interpreter available at the time of a patient's appointment. The hospitals will also designate at least one employee as an Americans with Disabilities Act administrator. That person will be responsible for coordinating immediate access to the proper services for patients for free.
Busch stated that the agreement, "will help our providers and staff to promptly communicate effectively with deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and their companions, which can only lead to better outcomes for our patients and better health care services all around."
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 not only 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."
Bennett acknowledged that the residential schools' policies inflicted trauma on the indigenous communities that progressed to long-persisting problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, and high rates of incarceration. "This is a linear relationship, and we have to be much better about dealing head-on with what that trauma has done and be ever watchful to make sure nothing (like it) can happen again," she said.
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.
Oxford English Dictionary Extends Hunt for Regional Words Around the World
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (06/19/18) Flood, Alison
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is asking the public to help it mine the regional differences of English around the world to expand its record of the language.
Last year, a collaboration between the OED, BBC, and the Forward Arts Foundation to find and define local English words resulted in more than 100 new regional words and phrases being added to the dictionary. Now, the OED is widening its search to English speakers around the world, with Associate Editor Eleanor Maier calling the early response "phenomenal," as editors begin to draft a range of suggestions for inclusion in the dictionary.
"The OED aims to cover all types of English, including standard English, scientific and technical vocabulary, literary words, slang, and regionalisms," Maier says. "That's why it's important to include these words to enable us present a picture of the English language in all its forms."
"The Words Where You Are" appeal is looking for more suggestions. These words will go alongside the regional words suggested by members of the U.K. public last year, when BBC Radio listeners were asked to send in their local turns of phrase, which were later included in poems by authors including Liz Berry and Hollie McNish for a National Poetry Day project.
"We were surprised and pleased by the number of regional words we were able to include as a result," Maier says. "With the public's suggestions as a starting point, we were able to unearth a rich seam of regional vocabulary."
Maier notes that it can be difficult for OED's lexicographers to identify regional words, as they are more often spoken than written down, and the editors require citable evidence to include a new definition. "In recent years, resources such as Twitter have been a great way for us to monitor the words that people are using informally in particular parts of the world," she explains. "This, combined with targeted appeals, allows a lot more of these words to be identified and researched."
"Regional words indicate that their users come from a particular place and often contribute to one's sense of identity," Maier says. "You know you are home when words can be used with the knowledge that they will be understood."
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Latest Article from ATA's PR Committee
Check out the ATA PR Committee's campaign to reach business managers responsible for contracting translation and interpreting services.
(Bilingual) Help Wanted
A personnel manager at a fast-growing start-up planned to give her company a competitive edge by recruiting bilingual employees. She was surprised to discover that many of the company's current employees were multilingual. Then she learned that language is really more than conversation. [more]
Find out what else the business community is learning about the translation and interpreting industry. Click to read the PR Committee's client education articles now.
Share these articles with potential clients. Reference them in your company's marketing materials. Link to them from your website and blog. Use them wherever and whenever you can—let ATA's PR program work for you!
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Coming Up in the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA at “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World”: A Roundtable at the United Nations
The purpose of “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World” was to address the need for greater legal and physical protection for translators and interpreters in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict peace-building. (Lucy Gunderson)
Volunteering: Making Your Investment of Time Worthwhile
Can we, as freelance professionals, really reach a balance wherein paid work, continuing education, and volunteering each play equitable roles, all while maintaining a work-life balance? (Jamie Hartz)
Translation Scams Reloaded
Scams are on the rise in online commerce. Learn about the three most common types of fraudulent schemes in the language industry, along with steps to protect against them. (Carola F. Berger)
Translation and Interpreting in Mexico: Uncharted Territory, Rich Waters
Featuring 100 pages of demographic data, earnings information, language combinations, and educational backgrounds—the 2017 Survey on Translation and Interpretation in Mexico sheds light on the fascinating depth and breadth of translation and interpreting in Mexico. (Laura Vaughn Holcomb)
Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! Is Your Translation Business Sellable?
The theoretical ability to sell one’s business is actually a reflection of its value to others. Here’s how translators can add tangible value to their services to make their business appealing to a potential buyer. (Avi Staiman)
Translating Diagnostic Imaging
Translating diagnostic imaging reports can be a challenging but rewarding aspect of medical translation for which the translator must master the technical basics of the diagnostic imaging modality, the report structure, and the specialized source and target vocabulary. (Erin Lyons, Lori Newman)
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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