Moments of Change, Opportunities for Growth
ATA's next webinar is right around the corner on February 26, and the presenter is none other than the popular Renato Beninatto. This is one you don't want to miss!
"While some people sit down and whine about how awful the market is and how artificial intelligence is going to kill the language industry, smart people look at what happened in the past and see how these patterns can apply to the future. Are you ready? Are you an energy creator or an energy consumer? Learn how to become a future-proof professional!"
Click here to learn more and register now! And remember, ATA members save 25% on their webinar registration.
Teachers, Business Owners Visit Capitol Hill to Advocate Multilingualism
Joint National Committee for Languages (DC) (02/14/19) Calvin, Trey
Over 160 world language advocates gathered in Washington, DC, on February 14 to meet with members of Congress for Language Advocacy Day, an annual summit of administrators, educators, and language industry leaders organized by the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS).
World language educators PreK-20, researchers, analysts, translators, interpreters, business owners, and representatives of leading language associations from 42 states attended to advocate Congress and the Executive Branch for increased support for language programs and activities across all areas of the federal government.
In the morning, participants learned about the dozens of federal programs that affect the language enterprise, the role advocacy can play in advancing collective policy priorities, and, most importantly, how to be a successful advocate for world languages on Capitol Hill.
"Language Advocacy Day is a moment during which the entire language enterprise comes together for a common goal," says Bill Rivers, executive director of JNCL-NCLIS. "This is our message for the over 200 meetings [between attendees and their congressional representatives] we have scheduled today: languages are vital to national security, economic growth, and advancing our well-being in a globally interconnected world. The future is multilingual."
On February 15, JNCL-NCLIS held a language policy summit with speakers representing all sectors of the industry. Discussion topics centered on "The Future of America's Languages," based on the top five recommendations from America's Languages: Investing in Languages for the 21st Century, the report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on Language Learning.
JNCL-NCLIS is a nonprofit education policy association that engages in public advocacy on behalf of languages and international education.
As U.S. Mulls Afghanistan Withdrawal, No Funding for Interpreter Visas
Voice of America (NY) (02/01/19) Taylor, Ramon
For the past decade, Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) have been granted to Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and professionals working for the U.S. government who face credible threats because of their employment. But the backlog of cases in U.S. immigration courts that resulted from the recent government shutdown has left many applicants in limbo.
In December, President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of 7,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, cutting the remaining presence in half—a fraction of the 100,000 troops that were there in 2010. The withdrawal has created a large demand for SIVs by interpreters and others who work with the U.S. military and face great danger when the troops leave. "If the U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, I'm 100% sure there won't be any peace in Afghanistan, and the first target will be all those interpreters," says Janis Shinwari, an Afghan SIV recipient and co-founder of No One Left Behind, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting Iraqi and Afghan nationals who served the U.S. government during wartime.
Complicating matters is the fact that no SIVs have been funded for 2019. The Trump administration requested that an additional 4,000 Afghan SIVs be included in fiscal year 2019's National Defense Authorization Act, but that provision was ultimately omitted. A few senators tried to attach funding for SIVs to the U.S. Department of State budget, but the recent government shutdown stalled that effort.
According to a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, there are currently 19,000 Afghans in some stage of applying for SIVs. Shinwari says the danger these individuals face increases every day they remain behind. "There are a lot of people that lost their families in the U.S. airstrikes, and they can't come to the U.S. to kill an American in retaliation," he says. "The easiest way they will kill somebody who supports the U.S. troops in Afghanistan is by killing interpreters and translators."
Shinwari says that those from remote villages are more susceptible to threats from the Taliban and go into hiding to protect themselves and their families. "They don't have jobs, they don't have money. Most of them are doing labor jobs in Kabul City, and most of them turn to drugs because of the tension," he says.
Other families, once approved and issued SIVs, have faced difficulties traveling to the U.S. since the government increased its scrutiny of visa holders. "We're supposedly reinforcing for refugees that they are welcome here and have a lot of support," says Erin Sullivan, a community-based resettlement coordinator at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees. "But hearing news reports that there are people who are not allowed to travel and are still overseas definitely creates some confusion and worry." Shinwari says he will continue to advocate on behalf of those who are desperately in need of a safe haven in the U.S. "We will fight until we get everybody here, because they did their part."
Colleges Close a "Stunning" 651 Language Programs in Three Years
The Chronicle of Higher Education (DC) (01/22/19) Johnson, Steven
According to a forthcoming report by the Modern Language Association (MLA), colleges closed 651 language programs between 2013 and 2016.
"The net loss is a 'stunning statistic' that may illustrate how extensively colleges designated language programs for cuts," says MLA Director of Programs Dennis Looney. "I don't want to call it a trend yet, but everything has really accelerated," says Looney, who also directs MLA's Association of Departments of Foreign Languages. "I'm really concerned that in 2020, when MLA plans to conduct its next survey, that the number is going to be higher," he adds.
Spanish, which still accounts for about half of enrollments in languages other than English, had a net loss of 118 programs. French lost 129, German 86, and Italian 56. Looney says that among the 15 most commonly taught languages, only American Sign Language, biblical Hebrew, and Korean saw a net increase in programs.
The decline in programs coincides with a decline in the number of students signing up for language courses. The 9.2% drop in enrollments from 2013 to 2016 was the second largest on record, according to MLA's "short report" of its findings, released last year. Measured since 2009, the decline is 15.3%. That suggests a "trend rather than a blip," the report states. Overall, indicators provide little reason for optimism.
The causes of the decline in enrollments and programs, beyond the current economic crunch, remain subject to debate. Some academics point to colleges' prioritization of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, or to the long-term effects of colleges dropping language requirements. "Colleges began dropping language requirements in the 1970s," Looney says. "MLA is starting to gather data on those requirements as it continues to track institutions' language enrollments."
"A decline in enrollments may itself trigger cuts in programs," says Paul Sandrock, director of education at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. "If enrollments dip below a certain number, perhaps because of changing student preferences and goals, colleges look at return on investment."
Maryland Teacher Reaches Students with Ethiopian Songs
Washington Post (DC) (02/03/19) Truong, Debbie
A music teacher at a Maryland elementary school has designed lessons in which students learn about Ethiopia and its culture by singing songs in Amharic and other languages spoken in the country.
Anna Harris, a music teacher at Oakland Terrace Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, won a $4,000 grant from the Give A Note Foundation to expand her Ethiopian curriculum. The foundation strives to expand music opportunities for students.
Harris wanted her students at Oakland Terrace—which became a Spanish-English immersion school this school year and educates students from across the globe, including Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia—to recognize that "everyone's culture and everyone's identity is important and worth celebrating." She wanted the music she taught to reflect the countries and cultures with which her students identify.
"It's so important for students to see themselves in their everyday life, and so much of their everyday life, at this age, centers around what's happening in school," Harris says. "But a lot of what we do in school is very whitewashed. There isn't any sort of a focus on the identities of the students themselves."
Harris, who views music as a unifier and tool to strengthen communities, began the project two years ago when she taught at another elementary school in Takoma Park. She discovered music from places such as Guatemala and Puerto Rico but "hit a wall" as she searched for pieces from Ethiopia. So, she built her own curriculum, a compilation of music that includes a lullaby and an ode to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. Each song is assigned a level of difficulty and includes an English translation. Harris plans to hire a professional translator who will help convert songs in Oromo and Tigrinya, two other languages spoken in Ethiopia, into a phonetic pronunciation and an accompanying English translation.
Montgomery County officials estimate that about 13,370 Ethiopian immigrants live in the Maryland suburb, about 4% of its immigrant population. According to a 2014 report from the Migration Policy Institute, the Washington, DC region has the largest concentration of Ethiopia-born people in the U.S.
European Commission Announces Winners of Its Annual Translation Contest
European Commission (Belgium) (02/14/19)
The European Commission announced 28 winners in the 12th edition of its Juvenes Translatores translation contest for secondary schools. Translators who work at the European Commission selected the winners from among 3,252 participants from 751 schools across Europe.
The goal of the competition is to promote language learning in schools and give students a feel for what it's like to be a translator. The winners will travel to Brussels to collect their awards and meet with the European Commission's professional translators.
This year, students were invited to try their hand at translating texts that deal with the topic of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, choosing to translate between any two of the EU's 24 official languages. Submissions covered 154 of the 552 possible language combinations, including translations from Portuguese into Dutch and Hungarian into Finnish.
"I'm impressed by the language skills of these talented young people," says Günther H. Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources. "Learning languages is key in today's society and opens the door to more job opportunities and helps people understand each other's cultures and viewpoints better."
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Translation has been organizing the Juvenes Translatores contest annually since 2007.
Only 10 Days Left
The ATA Annual Conference brings together translators, interpreters, educators, project managers, localization experts, company owners, and other linguists from around the world. The program offers 170 sessions in all areas of translation and interpreting, including, but not limited to, finance, law, medicine, literature, technology, terminology, and business management.
Make this the year you get out of the audience and up on the stage. Submit a proposal to present!
How do you put a proposal together? We've got you covered on this, and it's not as hard as you think. Watch ATA's free webinar How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal for a step-by-step walk-through from beginning to end.
Proposals must be received by March 1, 2019.
Why present? For one, it's an opportunity to gain recognition from your peers as an expert in your field—a strategy that can benefit your business through referrals from colleagues. Also, presenting at the conference gets your name in front of more 11,000 translators, interpreters, and company owners who receive the Conference Preliminary Program.
You got this! Click here to start now.
ATA Mentoring—It’s Not Just for Newcomers
You might assume that mentoring is for newcomers. You’d be wrong, especially when it comes to the ATA Mentoring Program.
Here are some of the reasons why a translator or interpreter who’s been in the business for a while might want to work with a mentor.
• Transitioning from a full-time employee to an independent contractor
• Looking for ways to get a foot in the door with direct clients
• Considering a new specialization or expanding services
• Interested in learning how to make better use of a CAT tool
• Thinking about moving from a consecutive to simultaneous interpreting career
• Looking for advice about marketing techniques and social media
• Needing guidance on how to deal with project managers and agencies
The ATA Mentoring Program is an opportunity for members to get the help they need. Advice, encouragement, lessons learned, career guidance—the benefits of being a mentee can be crucial to a career or business. And the level of experience and professionalism of this ATA network of support is unparalleled in the industry. This is your ATA membership at work.
Applications from interested mentees will be accepted through March 4, 2019.
Want to know more about the experience of being an ATA mentee?
Read “Tapping into the Expertise I Needed: My Experience as an ATA Mentee” in The Savvy Newcomer blog. Mentee Jessica Hartstein’s post not only takes stock of “goals achieved” but also offers very specific suggestions for how to make the mentoring partnership work. This is a must-read for anyone considering the ATA Mentoring Program.
About ATA Elections—Why, When, and How
One key to ATA's effectiveness in governance is using a staggered election cycle. Directors are elected every three years, but only three directors stand for election at any one time. There is no wave of newcomers who have to learn everything from the ground up on day one
This explains the election cycle. The president, president-elect, secretary, and treasurer are elected every two years, while three directors are elected every year.
Elections take place annually during ATA’s Annual Conference. Voting members do not need to be present to vote.
Now, here’s where you come in. Look around at the ATA members you’ve met. Is there someone who has ideas and goals that line up with yours? Then encourage them to run for the Board. Any ATA member can make a nomination. Why not you?
The deadline for submitting a nomination is March 1, 2019.
To learn more about ATA's governance and structure, see How ATA Works. Questions and requests for additional information should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATA Board Meeting Summary: February 2-3
The ATA Board of Directors met February 2-3 in Austin, Texas. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website.
Read the February 2019 Board Meeting Summary now.
Want to know more about ATA Board meetings? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a behind-the-scenes look at how the Board works.
Standing from left: Directors Tony Guerra, Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Cristina Helmerichs, Meghan Konkol, Evelyn Yang Garland, Eve Lindemuth Bodeux, Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner, Elena Langdon, and Geoff Koby.
Seated from left: Treasurer John Milan, President-Elect Ted Wozniak, President Corinne McKay, and Secretary Karen Tkaczyk.
Get Ready for the ATA Certification Exam
ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
April 12, 2019 | Alexandria, Virginia
Many candidates who fail the ATA Certification Exam are surprised and wonder how—after so many years of experience—they did not pass. With only a 20% pass rate, the exam is definitely difficult. These workshops will help you prepare for the challenge!
Attend one or both of these sessions to boost your chances of passing the ATA Certification Exam!
Each session will use actual practice tests to demonstrate the most common—and not so common—errors in that language combination and how to avoid them. Earn 3 ATA CEPs for each session attended.
Discounted registration rates available until March 29.
- Session I (9:00am – 12:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA English>Spanish Certification Exam
Instructors: Mercedes De la Rosa-Sherman, CT and Izaskun Orkwis, CT
- Session II (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA Spanish>English Certification Exam
Instructors: Jane Maier, CT and Holly Mikkelson, CT
Both workshops are limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. These workshops will not be recorded.
Register now to guarantee your seat in the workshop!
There's still time to renew your ATA membership
Thank you for your ATA membership and support in 2018! If you haven't renewed yet, then this is the time to stop and do it before you lose access to the best marketing and networking in the language services industry. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2019.
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It's online! Download yours now. Simply login to the Members Only area of the ATA website and click the Membership Card link in the top menu bar. Thank you for your membership and support of ATA!
In the January/February Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Call for Nominations: ATA Officers and Directors
Do you know someone who would make a good potential candidate for ATA’s Board of Directors? If so, ATA’s Nominating and Leadership Development Committee would like to hear from you. Any ATA member may make a nomination. Here’s your chance to help shape the future of the Association!
Dealing with Terminology Drift
Terminology drift is not solely a concern for scientific and technical translation. Terminology drift is relevant to any field with an established vocabulary that needs to be followed with consistency. To find and correct terminology drift, you need to be aware of the possibility that it will happen and actively look for it. (Bruce D. Popp)
Future Interpreting Professionals Conduct Action Research in Their Communities
While a desire to become a well-trained interpreting professional was a common denominator for most of the author’s interpreting students, she realized that unequal social realities for bilingual minority students presented real obstacles to academic success. As an alternative to sleepless nights, she set out to find solutions. (Michelle Pinzl)
How to Build a Translator/Interpreter Résumé That Sells
How do you know whether your résumé measures up against others who work in the same language pair(s) or specialization(s)? Here are nine tips on how to sell your services effectively through your résumé so that you can stand out to those who are on the receiving end. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Translator Exercise Routines?
We’re all different, but we all need to get this whole fitness thing done somehow. So, as busy professionals, how do we stay healthy and manage our stress? It’s all about personality and what motivates us as individuals. (Sarah Alys Lindholm)
Profile of ATA 2017–2018 School Outreach Contest Winner: Jessica Sanchez
When Jessica Sanchez was invited to speak during Career Day at Harrison Elementary School, she decided to surprise students by handing out headsets and giving them a live demonstration of what an interpreter’s work is all about! (Molly Yurick)
2018 ATA Honors and Awards Recipients
ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize outstanding work done by both seasoned professionals and students of our craft. This year’s recipients are...
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