Home Activities Membership Center Conference Contact Us Banner

ATA 59th Annual Conference

Join Today's ITD Social Media Blitz!

ATA invites translators and interpreters around the world to celebrate International Translation Day on September 28 with a special social media blitz. Throughout the day, we have been uploading, posting, tweeting, and pinning a set of six infographics that answer common questions about translation and interpreting. Perfect for family, friends, clients, and all those people who keep asking, "Can you really make a living doing that?"

Look for them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and the ATA website. Then like, comment, retweet, follow, repin, tag, save, and share, share, share!

Check out #InternationalTranslationDay Infographic #5

Why an ITD Social Media Blitz?

Although International Translation Day (ITD) has been around since 1953, it's always been a quiet time when translators and interpreters reflect on their careers and congratulate each other on a job well done. In August, ATA called on members to shake it up and make ITD 2018 a platform for raising awareness of the translation and interpreting professions.

Listen in to Episode 25 of the ATA Podcast as volunteers Jamie Hartz and Molly Yurick tell Host Matt Baird how the plans all came together as a full-on social media blitz.

Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ›››

The ATA Podcast

Industry News

Human Translators Are Still on Top—for Now
MIT Technology Review (MA) (09/05/18)

Machine translation systems are getting better, but they're still not perfect, particularly when tasked with translating entire documents as opposed to isolated bits of text.

Earlier this year, Microsoft claimed that it had achieved "human parity" in the quality of its translations. A set of Chinese news articles were translated into English using machine translation and a team of independent experts found that they were on a par with translations provided by two professional translators. The key to this breakthrough was the use of deep neural networks, Microsoft said, as well as statistical machine translation. Simply put, the neural network "refines" the first rough translation by analyzing the results multiple times in each direction—comparing, contrasting, and learning each time—in a way similar to a human translator.

Reaching human parity sounds like a pretty impressive achievement, but Samuel Laubli, a researcher at the University of Zurich, says Microsoft should not celebrate its claim of "human parity" just yet. While Laubli doesn't dispute his colleagues' results, he says the way machine translation is evaluated fails to account for the way humans read entire documents. When this is assessed, machines lag significantly behind humans, he says. Machine translation works well for sentences, but tends to falter at the document level.

At issue is how machine translation should be evaluated. This is currently done by measuring adequacy and fluency. The adequacy of a translation is determined by professional human translators who read both the original text and the translation to see how well it expresses the meaning of the source. Fluency is judged by monolingual readers who see only the translation and determine how well it's expressed in English.

Computational linguists agree that this system gives useful ratings. But according to Laubli, the current protocol only compares translations at the sentence level, whereas humans also evaluate text at the document level. When it comes to evaluating the entire document, human translations are rated as more adequate and more fluent than machine translations. "Human raters assessing adequacy and fluency show a stronger preference for human over machine translation when evaluating translations of entire documents as compared to translations of isolated sentences," Laubli says. "Document-level evaluation unveils errors such as mistranslations of an ambiguous word, or errors related to textual cohesion and coherence, which remain hard or impossible to spot in a sentence-level evaluation."

Laubli says that as machine translation quality improves, "translations will become harder to discriminate in terms of quality," but achieving this is still a ways off.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top

Mayan Languages Thriving in Oakland, California
The Mercury News (CA) (09/17/18) Sanchez, Tatiana

Much like the Chinese in San Francisco, Afghans in Fremont, and Vietnamese refugees in San Jose, Mam speakers are one of the newest ethnic communities to thrive in the melting pot of the Bay Area, particularly in Oakland.

Mam, a Mayan language native to Guatemala, is a growing presence in markets, churches, offices, schools, and most recently, in courthouses, where many go to resolve immigration issues.

According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, Mam is now one of the top 10 languages spoken in immigration court nationwide. Just five years ago, it didn't even make the list of the top 25 languages. In recent years, local agencies have tried to bridge the language gap by providing Spanish interpreters to Mam speakers, a well-intended effort with little benefit because the two languages are so different.

"Spanish bears no relationship to Mayan languages or any of the indigenous languages in the Americas," says Nora England, a professor of linguistics with a specialty in Mayan languages at the University of Texas at Austin. "Many indigenous people in Latin America have some Spanish, but it's a completely rural kind of Spanish, which sometimes bears no resemblance to the language that interpreters speak."

Alameda County court interpreter Naomi Adelson remembers having to haggle with county staff over assigning Mam interpreters—not Spanish interpreters—to Mam cases just three or four years ago. That doesn't happen anymore now that there are more Mam interpreters, an improvement she describes as "incredible."

Oswaldo Martin first began interpreting in Alameda County courts to help pay for his college education. But soon it became a way to help fellow Mam people find their voice in a new land. As an Alameda County court interpreter, Martin interprets—often in traditional Mam garb—as an independent contractor hired by law firms. He also leads weekly Mam workshops at the Cesar Chavez library to train a small group of interpreters. For Martin, who immigrated from Guatemala with his mother, interpreting has provided a window into the struggles of his own people, including discrimination, domestic violence, poverty, and immigration.

"It's a way of being a cultural ambassador," Martin says of interpreting. "You're able to explain people's stories. You're able to give them visibility."
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top

Rhode Island Senators Say Dual-Language Immersion Program Critical
New Haven Register (CT) (09/21/18)

Several members of the Rhode Island Senate say they are committed to creating dual-language immersion programs throughout the state. The senators expressed frustration that the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not committed enough employees and financial resources to teach world languages.

"We're not asking too much when we ask the Department of Education to make this a priority," says Senator Frank Ciccone III. "They oversee a large budget and should be able to find the modest funding needed to get this program off the ground."

Ciccone submitted legislation last year to create a world language and dual-language immersion program. The bill passed the state Senate, but did not emerge from the House amid funding concerns.

The legislation initially sought an additional $200,000 for the world language effort. However, the bill moved to the House Finance Committee after legislators had already approved the state budget without appropriating the funding. Ciccone says support for the initiative waned at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and state education leaders stated they could not fund such an initiative within their existing budget. Ciccone questioned their rationale.

"The department recently awarded close to $7 million in grants to support adult education programs," he noted. "Adult education is extremely important, and I support that funding, but I find it difficult to believe that this same department couldn't find $200,000 for language programs that would better prepare children for future economic success."

"Now is the time for the schools to recognize the value of language education," says Senator Ana Quezada. "Although my children are grown, I vividly remember a time in school when teachers told parents not to confuse the children by speaking a non-English language at home." Cano says she saw firsthand what a competitive global advantage bilingual and multilingual students have when she visited China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan last year on a trip organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston. "Our students across Rhode Island deserve excellent educational opportunities, including pathways to multilingualism that allow students to be more competitive."

The senators say they plan to re-introduce their dual-language immersion legislation again next year. "We're urging the Department of Education to support it," Ciccone says. "Teaching more Rhode Island students to speak multiple languages is important for the economy of our state."
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top

France's Plan to Improve Students' Language Skills Encourages Watching Cartoons in English
The Telegraph (United Kingdom) (09/11/18) Samuel, Henry

As part of a plan by the French government to improve students' ability to speak other languages, primary school children in France will be encouraged to watch cartoons in English. The measure appeared in a larger report on language education commissioned by the government.

A recent Europe-wide survey ranked France 15th out of 16 in terms of how well the country taught a main foreign language, and only slightly higher for a second foreign language. "We know perfectly well that if our Scandinavian neighbors are good at English, it's because they watch films in their original language," says Jean-Michel Blanquer, France's minister of education. Blanquer added that state TV would be encouraged to follow suit for children's programs.

Other recommendations made in the report include teaching a range of subjects, including science, history, and mathematics in English and other languages. "We must be able to use new technology and be capable of giving lessons in other subjects in other languages and extend this learning beyond school," Blanquer says.

Children are introduced to the basics of English from the age of six in France, but their teachers lack language training and are often far from fluent. Part of the problem is the country's historically insular approach to language education, says Christian Puren, a language professor at the University of Saint Etienne. "Our country inherited a dominant language at one point and thought at the time that it was up to others to speak French," Puren explains. "In the name of the French exception, we had to resist the English invasion, so languages are little present in our environment."

The report also suggests increasing bilingual classes and "European" sections in schools, as well as introducing pre-university international language certification. Improving education, including language skills, was one of French President Emmanuel Macron's key campaign promises. During a speech at the Sorbonne last year, President Macron, a fluent English-speaker, said his goal was for all French students to spend six months abroad.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top

Castles Light Up in Celebration of Gaelic and Scots
The Scotsman (United Kingdom) (09/19/18) Campsie, Alison

To celebrate the Celtic languages, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) recently commissioned a poem to be written in Gaelic and Scots and arranged to have the words projected on eight historic properties across Scotland. HES is the country's main historic preservation organization, established to investigate, care for, and promote Scotland's historic landmarks.

HES also commissioned the poem to promote its Gaelic Language Plan. The plan encourages staff members at HES sites to learn the language as a way to enrich the experience of visitors and highlight Gaelic's influence on the history of the sites and artifacts under the organization's care.

"I was asked to write Òran nan Clachan (Song of the Stones) in Gaelic and Scots to explore how language has defined Scottish history and culture through time," says poet Daibhidh Eyre.

For inspiration, Eyre visited Dunstaffnage Castle, near Oban, the 13th-century fortress where Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald was held. Other sites that proved inspirational included Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire, Ruthven Barracks in Badenoch, and Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness.

"I'm really pleased to have been part of this project for Historic Environment Scotland," says Eyre.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top

Translation Graduate Degree UNC Charlotte

ATA News

There's Still Time to Register for ATA59

No matter what your language or specialty, whether you are a veteran or first-timer, you'll walk away from ATA's 59th Annual Conference with practical and realistic ways to build, manage, and grow your business. Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to get better at what you do.

Register now before rates increase on October 6!

What's in it for me?
  • Get the skills and knowledge you need to move forward
    The way to be successful in this industry is to know more tomorrow than you know today. With over 170 workshops and sessions, ATA59 offers you the education you need to succeed—and maximize your potential. [more]
  • Make the connections that make a difference
    Nothing beats face-to-face networking. The personal and professional relationships you make at ATA59 will last long after the conference ends. There is no better way to expand your referral network—and your opportunities for new clients. [more]
  • Meet the people who are looking to hire
    The ATA59 Job Fair includes two evenings to connect with company reps who are recruiting professionals like you. Don't wait to have your website and résumé found online. Go to where the jobs are—and take your business cards with you. [more]
  • Discover the strategies to stay competitive
    Keeping up to date with technology, best practices, and key resources strengthens your value in the global economy. ATA59 provides you with the tools and information you need to get ahead—and stay ahead. [more]
Register now before rates increase on October 6!

Listen in, Learn More about the ATA59 Conference!
What should every first-timer do? How does the Job Fair work? When is the best time to go to the Exhibit Hall? Does the conference really pay for itself? President-Elect and Conference Organizer Ted Wozniak and Podcast Host Matt Baird cover the ATA Annual Conference from beginning to end in Episode 24 of The ATA Podcast.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top
Proposed Changes to the Bylaws

In addition to electing four directors, voting members will also vote on proposed bylaws amendments. The Board approved putting forward two proposed bylaws amendments for approval by the membership.

Click to read the proposed bylaws ammendments. 

Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top
ATA Webinar: Find and Keep Your Best Clients Using the 80/20 Rule

Presenter: Tess Whitty
Date: October 2
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-Approved

Don't miss this webinar with one of the most popular translation marketing gurus online and off!

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, is a widely used tool in business management. Marketing guru Tess Whitty is ready to show freelancers and company owners how to take their business to the next level with six strategies based on the 80/20 rule.

Register Now!

What Will You Learn?
  1. How to identify your best customers
  2. How to find the right customers for your business
  3. How to identify customers in niche markets
  4. How to deal with difficult customers and keep your best customers happy
  5. How to manage your costs and focus on what works
  6. How to improve your online and offline marketing
About Tess
Tess's background in marketing came in handy when she became an English>Swedish freelance translator in 2003. After getting established as an independent contractor, she turned her attention to showing other translators and interpreters how to market, find clients, and develop management strategies to make the most of their time.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top
ATA Webinar: Building Entrepreneurial Skills

Presenter: Rosanna Balistreri
Date: October 10
Time: 12 Noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-Approved

Register Now!

Beginning a freelance business comes with a unique set of challenges. In this webinar, presenter Rosanna Balistreri will address three of the most important of these challenges: how to market yourself competitively; how to manage working relationships with clients; and how to grow revenue.

This presentation is intended for individuals just starting out as freelancers or in the early years of establishing their practice..
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top
Payment Practices

In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA 2018 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!

Top Economics, Finance, and Translation Experts Convene in Brussels for UETF 2018
Highly specialized translation conferences may be few and far between, but they’re worth their weight in gold. (Amanda Williams)

The Benefits of a Translator Collective: Staying Sane as a Freelance Translator
Freelancing can be isolating. Forming a working group with trusted colleagues can provide tangible and intangible benefits, including built-in support to avoid burnout. (Mary McKee)

Tips for Networking When You Work from Home
Let’s be honest. The traditional methods of networking are not effective for everyone all the time. If I’ve learned anything over the years about networking effectively, it’s that you don’t have to know how to work a room to be good (or great!) at networking. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

Recovering from Setbacks: It’s the Narrative That Counts
Recovering from setbacks involves self-discovery: getting curious and noticing things about yourself to build self-awareness. Engaging thoughts, emotions, and your narrative—and rewriting it for better results—builds a strong foundation for action and lasting changes. (Alison Carroll)

Modality Matters: Including Remote Interpreting in Interpreter Training Programs
As the demand and opportunity for remote interpreting grows, interpreters need to develop their ability to perform effectively in this area. Let’s examine a framework to categorize key areas of professional development for remote interpreters and discuss perceptions and trends and how they impact training. {Suzanne Couture}

Advanced Tips and Tricks in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word contains more handy features than most people realize. Here are some tips and tricks to improve productivity and format documents with ease. (Andie Ho)

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.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | More ››› | Return to top
Abstract news © copyright 2018 Information, Inc.

Powered by Information, Inc.

September 28, 2018

In This Issue

ITD Social Media Blitz
Not Too Late for ATA59
Bylaws Amendments
Find Best Clients
Build Business Skills
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Webinars

Find and Keep Your Best Clients Using the 80/20 Principle
October 2
Registration open

Building Entrepreneurial Skills
October 10
Registration open

Calendar of Events

Translation Day

September 30, 2018
Celebrate with ATA!

ATA 59th Annual Conference
October 24-27, 2018
New Orleans, LA
Register today!

Next Board Meeting
October 27-28, 2018
New Orleans, LA

ATA Certification Exam
Upcoming schedule

See ATA's Online Calendar for translation and interpreting events around the world.

Get noticed by more than 10,000 ATA members!

How? Become an ATA Annual Conference sponsor! Contact Adrian Aleckna for details.

The ATA Chronicle
The ATA Chronicle September/October 2018
Advertise with ATA! American Translators Association Webinars
Continuing education anywhere, anytime! More than 70 ATA on-demand webinars to choose from!