General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, went into effect on May 25. The regulation aims to give consumers control over how their personal data is used. And who can argue with that? But control means accountability and accountability comes with a lot of paperwork.
If you're still unclear about GDPR and its required documentation, then check out A Brief Guide to the GDPR. The publication, prepared for translators and interpreters by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), is short, practical, and easy to understand. Although the guide is specific to the U.K., the concepts and principles are the same for translators and interpreters working in other countries.
Tibetan Businessman Sentenced After Campaigning to Preserve Native Language
The New York Times (Beijing) (05/22/18) Buckley, Chris
A court in the Qinghai Province of northwest China has sentenced a Tibetan businessman to five years in prison for "inciting separatism" after he campaigned to preserve his native language from what he called the encroaching dominance of Chinese.
Tashi Wangchuk was arrested in 2016, two months after he was featured in video and print interviews for The New York Times about Tibetan language education. In the interviews, Tashi warned that the Tibetan language was being threatened in many historically Tibetan areas in China due to official government policies to make Mandarin Chinese the language of schooling and government.
Human rights organizations and advocates of Tibetan denounced the verdict as a sign of the Chinese government's growing intolerance of critics of its ethnic policies. "Tashi has been criminalized for shedding light on China's failure to protect the basic human right to education and for taking entirely lawful steps to press for Tibetan language education," says Tenzin Jigdal of the International Tibet Network, a coalition of more than 180 Tibetan organizations campaigning to end human rights violations in Tibet and restore rights to the Tibetan people. "We are deeply disappointed that the Chinese government convicted Tashi Wangchuk," says Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department.
At his trial, Tashi rejected the idea that his effort to rejuvenate the Tibetan language was a crime. He stated that he does not advocate independence for Tibet, but wants the rights for ethnic minorities that are promised by Chinese law, including the right to use their own language.
While most Tibetan residents still converse with one another in a Tibetan dialect, Tashi worries that the growing prevalence of Chinese will leave future generations strangers to their native language. "This directly harms the culture of Tibetans," Tashi told The New York Times in 2015. "Our people's culture is fading."
A 2015 video documentary, also produced by The New York Times, featured Tashi traveling to Beijing in a failed attempt to bring a lawsuit forcing officials to improve Tibetan language instruction. "In politics, it's said that if one nation wants to eliminate another nation, first they need to eliminate their spoken and written language," Tashi said in the video. "In effect, there is a systematic slaughter of our culture." Liang Xiaojun, Tashi's defense lawyer, says those words were among the comments cited by prosecutors to argue that Tashi was inciting separatism.
In the interview, Tashi said that he didn't support Tibetan independence and just wanted the Tibetan language to be taught in schools and for Tibetan to be used in government offices. Tashi had insisted on doing on-the-record interviews, saying that only those would give force to his words. "No one would want to live in an environment that's full of pressure and fear," he said during the interview. "But I have no choice because the whole Tibetan nation and culture is facing a situation and is at risk of disappearing."
Most Japanese Hospitals Don't Charge Foreigners for Interpreting
Asahi News Service (Japan) (05/11/18) Himeno, Naoyuki
According to a new research study by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, over 80% of medical institutions in Japan do not charge non-Japanese patients for interpreting services and other related costs incurred during medical treatments.
With the recent surge in the number of visitors to Japan, such services are urgently needed but come with a high price tag. The Ministry's preliminary calculations suggest that it costs a midsize hospital between 18 to 26 million yen annually to deal with non-Japanese patients—including expenditures for coordinators, medical interpreters, and nurses who speak a second language. This works out to about 30,000 to 50,000 yen per patient. The estimated costs do not include labor for doctors and nurses who work longer due to communication through interpreting services.
A Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) project team will be drafting a proposal for the government so that medical institutions can bill non-Japanese patients for language services. Current rules permit hospitals to determine consultation fees for these patients on their own. The Ministry recently disclosed the results of a 2016 survey to the LDP project team. The survey found that 83% of the 1,456 responding medical institutions only charged for the medical treatments they provided, but did not charge for additional services such as interpreting.
Massachusetts School Teaches Wampanoag to Young Learners
Boston Herald (05/27/18) Rowlings, Angela Sunday
For Isidro Thomas Jr., a member of the Assonet Wampanoag tribe, sending his five-year-old son to Mukayuhsak Weekuw: The Children's House, a full day language immersion preschool, is a way to reconnect his entire family to a language that has fallen out of use.
"The benefits are enormous," says Thomas, who works for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in the same building as the school. "They're learning at such an early age that it's almost second nature for them," he says. "That's something that my generation, and many generations before us, didn't have, so it's a chance to really rebuild and reconnect to our roots, to our land, and to our culture."
Twenty preschool and kindergarten students are enrolled in the Montessori-based Wampanoag language immersion classes in Mashpee, Massachusetts. Mukayuhsak Weekuw is one of about 50 tribal language schools in the country. A Wampanoag class is also offered as a pilot program at Mashpee High School.
Jennifer Weston, project director of Mukayuhsak Weekuw, part of the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project founded by Mashpee Wampanoag linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird, says the Montessori teaching method overlaps with Wampanoag cultural values. "It's really an empowering experience for young people," Weston says. "Most of our communities have high dropout rates and low college matriculation rates, and that's not the case in tribal communities where children are able to attend an immersion school."
Nitana Hicks Greendeer, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, says "until college, for me school and Wampanoag culture just didn't overlap, or if they did it was because of some special occasion like a multicultural fair." Greendeer's five-year-old son and four-year-old daughter attend the school, where she is the education director. She says it's important for her children to have a foundation in Wampanoag culture even though they are exposed to a variety of languages at home. Greendeer uses some Wampanoag words with them daily, her mother speaks French, her husband shares Ho-Chunk Nation words, and her son also picks up some Spanish from watching Dora the Explorer. "I think it's really interesting to him to know that there are different ways to say the same thing," she says.
Thomas says his son's learning experience makes a difference throughout the family. "They're not just teaching their friends or their peers, or their siblings, they're teaching their parents, they're teaching their aunts, their cousins, their uncles, and their grandparents. They are our language keepers."
Mobile Interpreter Helps Communications at Helsinki Airport
Finavia (Finland) (05/21/18)
Finland's Helsinki Airport now offers Túlka, a mobile video interpreting service app to assist communication between passengers and customer service staff. The app connects staff members to professional interpreters in over 10 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. Currently, the service is available at several of the airport's shops and at customer service points.
Túlka was developed by Finavia, a government organization responsible for managing Finland's airports and air traffic control services. What makes Túlka unique is that it offers visual contact between the customer and an actual interpreter. Finavia states that Túlka's high-quality video connection "creates an experience that's close to normal, face-to-face communication." The service can be used via an ordinary smartphone. A user just has to open the app and choose the language that needs to be interpreted.
Although customer service staff at Helsinki Airport speak several languages, they note that there are situations where they cannot find a common language to communicate with customers. "There were times when we had to use a lot of body language and gesturing to try and communicate when there was no common language," says Satenik Gevorkyan, a customer service staffer at the airport. "Now, we can reach an interpreter in about 30 seconds, which is a short enough wait so that customers will usually stick around."
"Túlka helps us communicate with passengers," says Tuija Klubb, a service advisor at Finavia. "We use it either when there is no common language, or if we feel that the customer doesn't fully understand our advice," she says. "Customers feel appreciated when they receive service in their own language."
Linguist Races to Document Cambodia's Dying S'aoch Language
Nikkei Asian Review (Cambodia) (05/24/18) Gray, Denis
Jean-Michel Filippi, a French linguistic expert, is racing against the clock. Only 10 speakers remain of the ancient S'aoch language he is documenting before it dies, taking with it much of the culture of its people.
Less than 100 survivors of the S'aoch ethnic minority now lead a marginal existence in the village of Veal Renh in southwestern Cambodia. "Young people only know a few everyday words. At school they learn Khmer (the language of Cambodia's dominant ethnic group) and English," says Knoi Sreitouch, a village elder who still speaks S'aoch. "They're not interested in our language any more." Noi Sreitouch, Knoi's granddaughter, admits that she only knows a few words, including pic (sleep), hop chalaeng (eat), and neng (wash). "There are less and less of us," she says.
Filippi says he realized when he came into contact with the S'aoch in 1997 that their language could not be saved. So, he began compiling a dictionary of more than 6,000 S'aoch words, and has written a history of the people going back about 5,000 years that will soon be published. Filippi, who is conversant in more than 20 languages, including Macedonian and Vietnamese, is also compiling a S'aoch grammar. But he says his efforts "will never reveal the reality of the language as it's used. Once a language is dead, it's dead."
There is no evident effort among the S'aoch to revive the language, and while the Cambodian government has launched programs to safeguard some of the country's 19 endangered ethnic groups, there are no programs for S'aoch or the other Pearic languages. Only Filippi studies them.
"You can only revitalize a language if people want it to be revitalized, and none of the S'aoch want it to be revitalized," Filippi says. "You can't save a language if its speakers see it as a symbol of their own inferiority." He adds that communities will not invest time and energy in retaining native languages if they are worried about where their next meals will come from.
Filippi says he intends to intensify his work, using every opportunity to speak to the S'aoch and document their language as much as possible, which he described as sophisticated and complex. Most of his best informants have already died, he explains, noting that eliciting the meaning of each word and transcribing it into the International Phonetic Alphabet (a system of phonetic notation based largely on the Latin alphabet) is a long and painstaking task.
"I feel very depressed every time I come to this village," he says. "A language is a unique vision of the world. If a language disappears, a whole vision of the world disappears as well."
Did You Miss This Webinar?
ATA on-demand webinars make it easy to fit continuing education into your summer schedule. Choose one or two from the list of recent ATA webinars below or pick from more than 70 ATA webinars available for streaming. There is absolutely something for everyone!
ATA Webinars Spring 2018
Agencies vs. Freelancers? A Market Analysis
The last three decades have seen significant changes in how translators, interpreters, and agencies work. Have these developments in our industry created an "us vs. them" mentality? Let's take a look at what's happening now in order to prepare your business for the future. Click for details.
Setting Up a Termbase: What Does It Take?
Setting up a termbase is a big investment in time, but the result is a huge payoff down the road. Before taking the project on, you'll want to know everything you can about terminology management systems. This webinar is the place to begin. Click for details.
Free! Volunteering: Making Your Investment of Time Worthwhile
It's a "What's in it for me" world, so why do people volunteer? And more importantly, where do they find the time? Check out this free webinar to learn how to select and manage volunteer activities. You'll also find out how choosing the right volunteer opportunity can be a good thing for your career. Click for details.
Mac for Translators—What Are My Chances
Given that the vast majority of CAT tools are aimed at Windows users, many Mac users—or people who want to use Macs—feel left behind without resources. But there are workarounds and, indeed, CAT tools for Macs. Presenter Ana Iaria can tell you all about it. Click for details.
German Orthography for Language Pros
Even seasoned translators and interpreters occasionally struggle with the finer points of German orthography reforms. Take this time to brush up on those tricky areas and learn strategies for avoiding common mistakes. Plus a high energy speaker to make a dry subject anything but boring! Presented in German. Click for details.
Divide and Conquer: Contract Clauses Assorted, Explained, and Simplified
"Fidelity to source" and "transparency" are key in translating contracts. The question is how to have both without an awkward-sounding, literal word-for-word translation. Lawyer-linguist Paula Arturo has the answer! Click for details.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The ATA YouTube Channel
If you haven't checked out ATA's YouTube channel recently—or if you've never checked it out —then this is a good time to find out what you're missing.
ATA Annual Conference Presentations
Test drive the ATA Annual Conference! Eight sessions are available on ATA's YouTube channel, including How to Price Your Work and Stay on Top of Your Business and Cultural Competence—When Your Language Skills Are Not Enough. The latest upload? Becoming a Super-Fast Freelance Translator and Coping with Technology in a Constantly Evolving World.
The ATA Podcast
Twelve of ATA's 20 podcasts are right here. What is The ATA Podcast program? It's an on-the-go way to learn more about ATA—the people, events, and programs. Easy to listen to, these podcasts offer you a behind-the-scenes view of how ATA works
You'll find 10 free ATA webinars on ATA's YouTube channel. From Ethical Dilemmas for Interpreters in Health Care to Preparing to Take the ATA Certification Exam, the information here is useful and practical.
ATA Annual Conferences
Last but not least are the fun videos of past ATA Annual Conferences. You'll learn a lot about the conference spirit from attendee interviews and events. You'll also laugh and smile along the way. Don't miss these!
Wrap everything up in playlists! The site organizes all the video clips and presentations into series, allowing you to listen and watch in auto-pilot mode. Just select a playlist and let the videos roll on one after the other.
The opportunity to highlight channels of ATA Divisions and T&I organizations is the latest update to ATA's YouTube Channel. Look for "Featured Channels" and check out groups you've heard about or didn't even know existed. Watch this spot for the addition of other T&I channels!
With so much going on here, you'll want to return often to ATA's YouTube channel, or make it easy to keep up by clicking the big red subscribe button in the upper right corner of the page!
In the May/June Issue of The ATA Chronicle
A Conversation with Man Booker International Prize Winner Jessica Cohen
Jessica Cohen, winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, shares her thoughts on literary translation, including what it’s like to collaborate with one of Israel’s finest writers. (Lois Feuerle)
Is There a Future in Freelance Translation? Let’s Talk About It!
Why are many professional freelance translators having difficulty finding work that compensates translation for what it is—a time-intensive, complex process that requires advanced, unique, and hard-acquired skills? (Christelle Maginot)
Remote Simultaneous Interpreting: The Upside and Downside
Many experienced interpreters consider remote simultaneous interpreting as a threat to their working conditions, but is it? (Silvana G. Chaves)
Recap of ATA’s Certification Exam Preparation Workshop
ATA’s Certification Exam Preparation Workshop presented opportunities for participants to learn how the Certification Program works, including the general characteristics of exam passages and how exams are evaluated and graded. (Rudy Heller and Diego Mansilla)
Miami Spring into Action 2018
An outstanding program, fabulous speakers, and camaraderie in a beautiful location set the tone for the “Spring into Action 2018” conference in Miami. (Anne Connor)
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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