Team Up for School Outreach
If you have wanted to participate in ATA’s School Outreach Contest but find a classroom presentation intimidating, then working with a partner might be the answer you’re looking for. As a team, the two of you can brainstorm ways to share your careers, choose which school outreach resources to use, and script your roles in your presentation.
Whether going solo or working with a partner, there is no time to waste! Many teachers like to end the school year with guest speakers and career sessions.
Get started here!
• What is the ATA School Outreach program? Watch the video.
• Find out where to start. Read "Getting the Gig."
• Check out prepared scripts and presentations. Review resource materials.
• Follow the steps to submitting an entry. Watch the webinar.
• Learn how others have done it. Read their stories.
For even more information about the contest, sharing your career, and how to take a winning photo, listen to Episode 11 of The ATA Podcast with Birgit Vosseler-Brehmer and Matt Baird.
Slang Interpreters Decipher Texts for U.K. Court Evidence
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (03/29/19) Booth, Robert
The complexity of inner-city dialects and the growing use of texts and social media posts as admissible evidence in criminal investigations has forced police and prosecutors in the U.K. to seek linguistic help.
Tony Thorne, an academic at King's College London who has been studying youth slang since 1990, has advised police on more than a dozen cases. Thorne has compiled dictionaries of hundreds of slang words and a vocabulary of drill, a form of rap music that often deals with real-life violence. "If defense lawyers, criminal prosecutors, and the police want to dispute evidence, they need someone like me to translate," he says.
The dialect of inner-city youth has become known among academics as multi-ethnic London English (MLE), although it's spoken outside London. MLE mixes working-class English with Caribbean dialects, but it also contains some Arabic and Polish. The most obscure words tend to be about weapons and drugs. For example, "stab" can be plug, ching, bore, dip, kweng, or splash. The word for gun has even more options, including burner, wap, hand ting, iron, leng, mac, spinner, and wap. Words for knife include skeng, ox, Rambo, shank, and sword.
Courts throughout the U.K. are struggling to deal with MLE's shifting definitions. Schoolchildren are speaking the dialect, as it proliferates song lyrics and the internet. Thorne is typically handed transcripts of drill lyrics and phone messages to decipher, most recently a lyric about a knife attack found on a suspect's phone. "MLE shows that, tragically, weapons are a really important symbolic part of the speaker's identity," Thorne says. "MLE acts as a 'cryptolect,' a language meant to hide things."
"The guys dealing drugs are making sure the language is slipping and sliding all the time, so the message is obvious to the person receiving it, but not to the police," says Lawrence Henderson, an attorney. Jeannie Mackie, a defense attorney, says that police frequently testify that they understand the meaning of the words in MLE found on defendants' phones or in drill lyrics, but she says the reality is that the slang changes all the time in a "fast-moving linguistic flow." She says trying to decipher the meaning of the words without a qualified professional can have serious repercussions. "Police officers look through social media, particularly Facebook and YouTube, and find scary lyrics and attribute that to being a personal expression of a defendant and what they did."
"I'm trying to help by defending kids who are wrongly accused by their language so the police can go after the people who have committed violent crimes," Thorne says.
Royal Australian Mint Releases Coin to Celebrate International Year of Indigenous Languages
News.com.au (Australia) (04/09/19) Hall, James
The Royal Australian Mint has released a new 50-cent coin to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The coin features 14 translations for the word "money" from Australian indigenous languages.
Ross MacDiarmid, chief executive of the Royal Australian Mint, says his group worked with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) to create the coin. "We hope the coin will serve as a tangible reminder of the important efforts being undertaken to preserve, protect, and revitalize indigenous languages in Australia," MacDiarmid says.
The words used on the coin are a combination of phrases from various indigenous groups. For instance, the word "ngkweltye," from the Kaytetye language spoken in Central Australia, means "piece," as does the word "pirrki" from the language of the Kaurna people in parts of South Australia. In Gathang, spoken on New South Wales' Central Coast, the word "dhinggarr" is used, which translates to "grey" and is believed to be used as a description for the color of a coin.
"The words on the coin are relatively recent additions to indigenous languages," says Felicity Meakins, a linguist at the University of Queensland. Meakins explains that before the indigenous lands were colonized by European settlers, there was no word for "money" because items such as pearl shells, quartz, or food were used for trade. "The languages needed to be expanded to include references to money," she says.
AIATSIS conducted a survey in 2014 that found indigenous Australians viewed language as central to national identity and recognized that staying connected to language strengthens well-being and self-esteem in indigenous communities. The 2014 survey also found that only 120 Australian indigenous languages are spoken today, compared to the more than 250 languages that were known to be in use in 1788.
"Indigenous languages carry more meaning than the words themselves, and currency carries meaning beyond its monetary value," says Craig Ritchie, chief executive officer of AIATSIS. "The release of these coins is another milestone in recognizing the diverse cultures that shape our national story of over 60,000 years."
Japan Struggles with English-Language Signs Ahead of 2020 Olympics
Deutsche Welle (Germany) (04/08/19) Ryall, Julian
Less than 18 months ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, visitors are still struggling to comprehend the "Japlish" that locals say is completely understandable.
The Japan Tourism Agency announced that the results of a two-month study it conducted on the accuracy of translated signage and visitor information on various websites proved disappointing. The study included websites operated by 85 train and bus companies across the country, as well as signage in towns and cities. One transport company refers to children as "dwarfs" in its signs while another includes the instructions, "What happens to the children fare from what age?" A sign at Jimbocho subway station in central Tokyo reads, "The Toei Shinjuku and Toei Mita Lines can't take it," while a sign at the former prison in Hakone reads, "Put off your guilty shoes and come in the prison politely."
Eric Fior, who has lived in Japan for 15 years and runs a French-language school in Yokohama, was stunned when he read the French version of a brochure for a museum dedicated to telling the story of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents. "I couldn't believe what I was reading," he says. "This is a museum that tells the story of the abductions and demands that North Korea return the people it kidnapped, but the French-language version says these people must be sent back to North Korea."
Fior's confusion only deepened when he contacted the museum to point out the error and suggested an alternative phrase to communicate the message that the abductees must be allowed to return home to Japan. "I received a message in Japanese saying that the words were correct and that they would be perfectly understandable to a Japanese person," he says. "Why would a Japanese person be reading the French version of the leaflet instead of the Japanese one, and what about any native French speakers who visit the museum and read this message? It makes the museum look ridiculous."
Gregory Hadley, a professor of applied linguistics and Western cultural studies at Niigata University, says Japan has a very long history of English-language signage, even in smaller cities like Niigata, where prisoners of war were held during World War II. "This is a socio-linguistic issue," he says. "We have to understand that none of the English-language signs we see are really intended for English speakers," he explains. "These are signs that have been written by Japanese people for Japanese readers to demonstrate that they are living in a sophisticated cosmopolitan society that is connected to the rest of the world."
Hadley says the efforts of tourism authorities to get travel companies to ensure that their messages make sense to visitors are "too little, too late." He feels it's unlikely that such efforts will have much of an impact because the cost of hiring professional translators and reprinting material and replacing signs is likely to be prohibitive for many, especially smaller companies.
"The government would probably have had more success if they had started much earlier and connected the campaign to the notion of Japan being a sophisticated and advanced nation that knows languages," he says. "There isn't much time now before the games, so it's a little late to start redoing things."
Denmark's Court Interpreters Oppose 'Unfit' New Contracting System
The Local (Denmark) (04/12/19)
Several hundred interpreters in Denmark have joined a movement against a new contractual system established by the Danish National Police that took effect at the beginning of April.
Previously, police officers or courts who needed the services of an interpreter or translator would contact individual providers from an approved list. Under the new system, all requests now go to a single vendor that was awarded the contract to provide language professionals to the entire justice system. However, the company has struggled to fulfill requests because many interpreters and translators from the old approved list refuse to work under the new conditions. Interpreters and translators say they are declining assignments because the new system has put cost-cutting over quality.
"The new system, in our view, is deeply unfit in many regards, and the general working conditions have worsened," says Ala’a El-Beltagi, an Arabic interpreter. "This includes a reduction of between 15% and as much as 60% in commission fees, depending on the type of service," El-Beltagi says. "It's also problematic for us that communication must go through a single company, when we previously used our own names and built up a network," he adds.
El-Beltagi is a member of Tolkeplatformen, a Facebook group for linguists that currently has around 750 members, including translators, state-authorized interpreters, interpreters with academic backgrounds, and self-taught professionals. "The majority of people involved with the Tolkeplatformen group are language professionals who were on the old list," says El-Beltagi. Many of the group's members, including those with years of experience, have signed a petition against the new system. El-Beltagi says that members are working to establish a formal association to better serve the needs of Denmark's language professionals.
Tolkeplatformen is set to hold a founding general meeting on April 28, when a board, mission statement, and statute will be selected for a new association. "The forthcoming association will carry the baton forward and work for better conditions for the interpreting and translation professions," El-Beltagi says.
Man Booker International Shortlist Dominated by Female Translators and Authors
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (04/09/19) Cain, Sian
In an unprecedented gender split, women have dominated the 2019 Man Booker International shortlist, with five female authors and an all-female cast of translators up for the £50,000 prize.
Whittled down from 108 books in 25 languages to six books in five languages (Arabic, French, Spanish, German, and Polish), the prestigious award for fiction in translation, which is divided equally between the author and translator, has never had so many women shortlisted.
Female authors have been systematically underrepresented in translation. In 2016, a survey by the University of Rochester revealed that only 29% of all books translated into English over the previous decade were originally written by women. Bettany Hughes, who serves as chair of judges, says the dominance of women and independents on the shortlist was "neither political nor strategic," but a "happy byproduct of very ungendered discussions."
Last year's winner, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, is up for the prize again for her novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Acclaimed French author Annie Ernaux is nominated for her autobiographical narrative, The Years, translated by Alison Strayer.
The sole male author is Colombia's Juan Gabriel Vásquez, nominated for The Shape of the Ruins, translated from Spanish by Anne McLean. The judges describe the novel as a "clever, labyrinthine, and thoroughly enjoyable historical novel" exploring the nature of two real political murders in Bogotá in 1914 and 1948.
Also up for the prize is German author Marion Poschmann for her novel The Pine Islands, translated by Jen Calleja. It's a darkly comic novel about an academic who embarks on a pilgrimage to see the moon rise over the Matsushima islands in Japan.
Chilean author Alia Trabucco Zerán is nominated for her debut The Remainder, translated by Sophie Hughes, about three 20-somethings attempting to escape the political shadow of Chile's past military dictatorship. And Omani author Jokha Alharthi's book Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth, follows the modernization of Oman through the eyes of three sisters.
Hughes says the books on the shortlist are all about the "re-embracing of the power of memory and the value of interrogating the past, asking big platonic, Socratic questions about the nature of peace and happiness."
In March, book sales monitor Nielsen stated that translated fiction sales were at their highest in the U.K. since it began to track them in 2001.
What is a Certified Translation?
The next time a client is confused about the term "certified translation," send them to ATA's website for a definitive explanation from one of the industry's most recognized resources.
In addition to defining what a certified translation is—and what it is not—this web page covers who can certify a document, what information a certification statement should include, and which translations are commonly certified. Two examples of certification statements are also available to download. It's a package deal, ready for you and your clients!
ATA Webinar: Managing the Stages of Your Small Business
Presenter: Dorothee Racette
Date: May 9, 2019
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved
Plan for your future success by examining five stages that occur in the life of a small business. Presenter Dorothee Racette will show you how to use the experience and skills you’ve gained to optimize business decisions, manage client portfolios effectively, and maximize your earning potential at each stage.
Click to learn more and register!
About the Presenter
Dorothee Racette, CT is an ATA-certified translator in German>English and English>German. After holding a number of ATA leadership positions, including serving as ATA president, she completed intensive training with the International Coach Federation and began her own executive coaching business. She now divides her time between translating and coaching.
It’s Hard to Get Found If You’re Not There
More than 70% of members who list their services in the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters report getting work through their listing.
You won't be one of them if you haven't completed your Directory profile questionnaire.
Login to Members Only now and create your Directory listing. If you are already listed, make sure your listing is up to date. Add new skills, attach your résumé, change keywords—a Directory listing is not a “set-it-up-and-forget-about-it” thing.
This ATA member benefit only works when you do!
Ten tips to make the most of your ATA Directory listing
Attention Interpreters! Clients using the Directory can search for interpreters by their credentials and credentialing organizations. Learn more in Episode 10 of The ATA Podcast.
- Keep your contact information current.
- Review your listing often to add new information.
- Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Include non-English language combinations.
- Include all your areas of specialization.
- Include your Skype contact information.
- Attach your résumé to highlight skills and accomplishments.
- Keep the tool section of your profile updated.
- Experiment with different keywords in "Additional Information."
- Add a little personality and style to your profile with your photo.
Translatio Available for Download
The latest issue of Translatio, the quarterly newsletter of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), is available for download from FIT's website. In addition to covering a number of international and regional conferences held in 2018, the newsletter also announced the release of FIT’s draft strategic plan. With this issue, ATA member Ben Karl joined Translatio’s editorial staff.
In the March/April Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA at Lenguas 2019 in Mexico City
In late January of this year, just as the U.S. was being hit by extremely low temperatures, ATA Spokesperson Judy Jenner headed to sunny Mexico City to represent ATA at Lenguas 2019, organized by InterpretAmerica and Mexico’s Italia Morayta Foundation. (Judy Jenner)
Educational Interpreting 101: It’s a Lot Harder than It Looks
As school districts across the nation struggle to fulfill language access requirements and the needs of their diverse multilingual families, our profession needs to step up, make space, and provide concrete resources for educational interpreters. (Natalia Abarca, Katharine Allen)
How to Leverage Testimonials When Marketing Your Business
Providing client testimonials is an effective way to market our businesses, but you have to be smart about how you request and use testimonials so that one client’s words can influence the decision-making of another. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
The “Shall” Conundrum: When Use Becomes Abuse
As drafters and translators, how do we know when we’re abusing “shall”? There are at least three very clear and simple cases of abuse that the author sees in dual language or translated contracts almost every day. (Paula Arturo)
Passives Voices Peace: Reconsidering the Passive Voice in Your Writing
The guardians of the active voice might do well to revisit their disapproval of the passive voice as weak, evasive, or convoluted. (Romina Marazzato Sparano)
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 2019 SmithBucklin