ATA's Newest Honorary Member
Dr. Jost Zetzsche, an ATA-certified English>German translator, has been named an ATA Honorary Member.
Jost is the industry’s leading translation technology consultant, and a published author on various aspects of translation. His computer guide for translators, A Translator's Tool Box for the 21st Century, is now in its 12th edition, and his technical newsletter for translators goes out to more than 10,000 translation and interpreting professionals. In 2012, Penguin published his co-authored Found in Translation, a book about translation and interpreting for the general public. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, he earned a PhD in Chinese translation history and linguistics.
Jost serves ATA as:
Throughout Jost’s service to ATA, he has been a positive, supportive voice. ATA thanks Jost for his dedication to the Association and the translation and interpreting industry.
- An ATA spokesperson;
- Chair of the ATA Translation and Interpreting Resources Committee;
- Coordinator of the “Resource Review” column in The ATA Chronicle;
- Presenter at numerous industry events, including ATA's Annual Conference.
ATA Honorary Membership is a unique category of membership recognizing individuals who have given outstanding service to the translation and interpreting professions, as well as to the Association. The total number of living Honorary Members cannot exceed 20 at any one time, and no more than two may be elected in any one year.
Here are the other Honorary Members: Celia Bohannon, Lillian Clementi, Freek Lankhof, Nicholas Hartmann, Muriel Jérôme-O'Keeffe, Peter Krawutschke, Ann Macfarlane, Rosemary Malia, Patricia Newman, Glenn Nordin, Virginia Perez-Santalla, and Jiri Stejskal.
Nevada Campaigns Bungle Spanish Posts
Associated Press (11/05/18) Cano, Regina Garcia
During the recent elections, Nevada's Spanish-speaking voters were frustrated by erroneous translations on candidates' websites, news releases, and ads. If the goal of the written material was to draw Latinos' support, many feel such errors—whether the result of human error or the use of online translation tools—could have had the opposite effect.
"It just gives Latinos yet another reason to be disengaged from political life, from some kind of political engagement, especially in a midterm year where this is such a great opportunity to not think of Latinos at the eleventh hour," says Dolores Inés Casillas, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In September, Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt's campaign office posted a news release in Spanish filled with errors on its website, including the use of the word fiesta ("party") in the context of a political party. The English version of Laxalt's campaign site suggested that Nevada residents "fully embrace" career-focused education, while the Spanish version suggested people should "hug" it. A spokesperson for Laxalt stated that the campaign office used Spanish-speaking translators for ads, its website, and other relevant content. However, the spokesperson noted that a vendor "used a translation plugin when uploading some press releases to the website, until they discovered errors. They have used a professional translator since then."
Other Republican and Democratic candidates also had Spanish versions of their campaign websites that contained errors. Republican Senator Dean Heller's site offered the option of using Google Translate to read the information in multiple languages. The problem with the optional translation was that the characterization of Heller as a "stand-up guy" was translated into "a man who is standing up."
"The substitution of a seemingly corresponding word from a dictionary can result in negative reactions from readers to the content of a news item or ad," says Kelly Washbourne, a professor of translation at Kent State University. "Materials that are translated rather than culturally adapted or 'transcreated' can even backfire, calling attention to themselves as products of Anglo culture that were not written with Latino/a audiences in mind."
Jessica Padrón, president of Latinos Unidos, a coalition of progressive activists, says Latinos tend to notice translation errors more, and take offense, when they come from Republicans who have "embraced policies attacking and targeting immigrants." Padrón stresses that "Nevada has a booming Asian-American and Pacific Islander and Latino population, so we should see an increase in outreach and diversity from senior staff."
Judy Jenner, an adjunct professor of translation and interpreting at the University of California San Diego-Extension [and a spokesperson for the American Translators Association], says hiring a translator is vital since professionals will translate meaning as well as words, and are intimately familiar with cultural contexts and subtleties. She also noted that people often mistakenly think bilinguals are qualified translators. "Think about it. I'm quite certain that a significant amount of thought and discussion went into every single word of the English-language message that candidates send out to potential voters. The same care must be taken with the Spanish-language message."
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 meet 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. Aman will be arraigned this month.
Japan Police Seek More Interpreters Due to Foreign Crimes
Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan) (11/05/18)
With investigations into crimes committed by foreigners on the rise in Japan, the Osaka Prefectural Police says there are not enough interpreters to assist officers during interviews where foreign suspects are questioned.
The number of Osaka police interpreters has declined significantly over the past five years due to aging and other factors. There have even been situations where Osaka police officers have had to ask other prefectural police stations to send interpreters to assist.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games approaching, there is concern that the number of crimes involving foreign nationals will only increase. To address this concern, Osaka police officers are calling for additional interpreters.
Officers estimate that it takes twice as long to question foreign suspects compared to Japanese suspects, and there are occasions where questioning can last an entire day. "There are cases where I'm called in at two in the morning, and every time I speak, I feel nervous about whether nuances have been correctly understood by both sides," one interpreter stated.
According to National Police Agency statistics, there were 17,006 investigated crimes by foreign nationals last year, an increase of about 10% compared to five years ago. In Osaka Prefecture, that figure rose about 20% to 863 due to an increase in the number of visitors and residents from other countries. Nationwide, the number of interpreters registered with the police increased from about 12,800 in 2013 to about 13,700 in April this year. However, officials say the number of interpreters registered with the Osaka Prefectural Police has decreased to about 1,240.
"We can't impose too heavy a burden on our interpreters because many of them are elderly," says an Osaka police official.
To secure interpreters, the Osaka Prefectural Police recruits interpreters via its website and also asks for cooperation from faculty at universities and other entities to find suitable applicants. However, the number of applicants remains low.
"It's predicted that crimes committed by foreigners will increase," says an Osaka police official. "We want to resolve the shortage of interpreters as soon as possible so that our investigations will not be seriously hindered."
Baidu Developing AI Translation in Real Time
Fortune (NY) (10/24/18) Chandler, Clay
Baidu, a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), has unveiled an AI-enabled tool it claims can translate English into Chinese and German almost instantly.
Baidu calls this tool STACL, or "Simultaneous Translation with Anticipation and Controllable Latency." Baidu believes that what distinguishes its system from existing online translation services is a combination of speed and flexibility.
While products like Google Translate allow users to say or write a sentence and receive a translation after a delay, Baidu claims its new translation tool allows for sentences to be deciphered in real time, matching the speed of human translators. Users dealing with closely-related languages, like French and Spanish, can choose to start translation after a single word, while those dealing with unrelated languages, like Chinese and English, can instruct the system to wait longer to improve accuracy.
If it works as advertised, the product will be a breakthrough for Baidu, which has invested heavily in AI. Chief Executive Officer Robin Li has staked Baidu's future on the technology with big bets on Apollo, an open-source platform for autonomous vehicles, and DuerOs, an AI-powered digital assistant. Natural language processing—the ability for machines to understand human speech—is an especially high-stakes battleground. Tech giants including Amazon, Apple, and Google see natural language and voice recognition as key technologies that can be used to integrate a wide array of different products.
For now, Baidu says the system still isn't accurate enough to replace human translators. But the company has enough confidence to use it to translate speeches at its annual Baidu World Conference in Beijing this month.
New Award Recognizes Maine Students' Bilingualism
Maine Public (ME) (10/29/18) Feinberg, Robbie
Starting next May, Maine's Department of Education will offer a Seal of Biliteracy, a new award posted on the transcripts of students who demonstrate proficiency in English and another language.
According to the department, students can demonstrate this proficiency in various ways, including attaining high scores on advanced placement exams and similar tests. State Education Commissioner Robert Hasson says he hopes the new certification will encourage students to take more world language classes and permit students from other countries to demonstrate their abilities as well. "I think it's aligned with what we want a well-rounded student to be in the 21st century," Hasson explains. His goal is for up to 10% of students to receive the seal over the next two years.
However, meeting this goal could be especially difficult for rural and other districts, where language teachers have been in short supply over the past few years. According to Hasson, the state's education department hopes to cooperate with schools to enhance world language programs and find resources from local communities.
Grace Leavitt, a Spanish teacher and the president of the Maine Education Association, wants the new initiative to encourage more schools to invest in world languages, starting as soon as kindergarten and first grade. "The argument I often get is that there's such a shortage of language teachers," Leavitt notes. "But until everyone's learning a language, we're going to continue to have that shortage of language teachers, so we have to start, and get going on it."
The Seal of Biliteracy has already been introduced in 32 states and the District of Columbia, while Portland (Maine) Public Schools added the credential in 2017.
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ATA Board Meeting Summary: October 27-28
The ATA Board of Directors met October 27-28, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of ATA's website.
Click to read the October 27-28 ATA Board Meeting Summary
The Board of Directors meets four times a year to establish policy, develop goals and objectives, and oversee ATA finances. To learn more about the Association’s governance, check out How ATA Works.
Wanted: ATA Calendar Events
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ATA Recognizes Longtime Members
Members are and always will be ATA's greatest asset.
We'd like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank those who have supported ATA and its activities through their 25 years or more of continuous membership. ATA has become what it is today because these members were there for the Association.
Visit the Chronicle-Online for a complete list of the 896 individuals, companies, and institutions who have been ATA members for 25 years or more.
ATA Credentialed Interpreters Now Voting Members
ATA's Voting members passed a Bylaws amendment to automatically grant voting rights to interpreters holding ATA-recognized credentials. Those who have already had their credentials approved by ATA will automatically see the change in their membership status. In the future, the status change will be made at the time the credentials are approved.
In the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA at the United Nations Photo Exhibit
"Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World"
This exhibition celebrated the second UN International Translation Day and recognized interpreters and translators for their contributions and vital role they play in international affairs. (Hilda Shymanik)
Translation Workflow Reference Tables: Setting Job Expectations the Easy Way
Setting expectations before starting translation-related tasks is a critical step in the project lifecycle. By clarifying work requirements in advance, linguists and other language services providers can set reasonable rates, workflows, and schedules that deliver exactly what clients need and want. (Steven Bammel)
How to Nail the “About” Page of Your Website
The “About” page of your business website is arguably the most important page to get right. Why? This section allows potential clients to get to know you and get a sense of what you’ll be like to work with. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Dealing with PDF Files During a Translation Project
Why do some customers send PDF files for translation? There’s certainly not just one answer to this question. (Nancy Matis)
Teaching Localization in the 21st Century: Six Practices That Make a Difference
As the field of localization evolves, so must the programs that prepare students for the increasing number of opportunities in this exciting field. (Uwe Muegge)
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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