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Industry News


House Dems Take Critical Steps to Attain Trump's Interpreter's Notes
The Hill (02/16/19) Walker, Chris

Committee leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have spoken to the House General Counsel regarding legal means of obtaining notes and other documents from President Donald Trump's interpreter pertaining to private meetings Trump held with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Representative Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, have confirmed that the discussions had taken place. Such discussions in the past have generally meant that House leaders are preparing to take the next steps forward on a particular issue.

"I had a meeting with the General Counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings with Putin—whether it's by seeking the interpreter's testimony, the interpreter's notes, or other means," Schiff says.

The renewed push to obtain documents pertaining to the meetings comes after The Washington Post reignited questions about Trump's alleged ties with the Kremlin. The Post reported that Trump tried to conceal conversations he had with Putin on multiple occasions, at one point confiscating notes from his interpreter and telling her not to speak to anyone else in the White House about what was discussed. Trump has called the report "ridiculous" while White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it "outrageously inaccurate."

Legal experts have said that forcing an interpreter to publicly disclose the details of a confidential conversation between world leaders would be unprecedented. Doing so could also prove to be problematic for future administrations by making it more difficult to conduct face-to-face diplomacy. There's also a legal argument that the president's executive privilege extends to the interpreter.

Some Democrats are also hesitant to move forward on subpoenaing Trump's interpreter, noting that it could hamper future discussions with world leaders if they know interpreters' notes could be up for grabs. But they say the peculiarities of this specific discussion between Trump and Putin compel them to take such action. "I'm not saying that I'm in favor of interpreters turning over all their notes, but I do think that it shouldn't be up to the president to hide the notes," Engel says.
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Federal Interpreters Suffer 'Acoustic Shock,' Other Concussion-Like Symptoms
CBC (02/18/19)

Nearly one-quarter of the interpreters employed by Ottawa's Translation Bureau have suffered health issues directly related to their jobs, including acoustic shock caused by sudden loud sounds.

The Translation Bureau says 17 of the 72 permanent interpreters have filed a total of 28 complaints over the past three years. According to the union representing the interpreters, the complaints involve concussion-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, fainting, disorientation, and even hearing loss. In six cases, the interpreters required immediate medical attention.

"We hope that we have a solution within the next 18 to 24 months," says Stéphan Déry, chief executive officer of the Translation Bureau. "The health and safety of our interpreters is important to us and we're working with them, with the union, and with the international association." Déry says the Canadian government is asking clients to ensure that their own systems are equipped with decibel-limiting technology to help prevent acoustic shock.

Interpreters working for the Translation Bureau interpret live conferences, parliamentary committees, and debates in the House of Commons on a daily basis. Déry confirmed many of the cases reported involved acoustic shock, which can occur after exposure to a single extremely loud sound or continual exposure to a sound at a lesser intensity.

Craig Pollock, who has worked as an interpreter for 19 years in both the private and public sectors, including at the Translation Bureau, has suffered numerous acoustic shocks. "It feels as though somebody took a hammer to both your ears at the same time and hit them," he explains. "It just leaves you reeling, and feeling dizzy and nauseous." Pollock says he suffers from tinnitus in his left ear and has diminished hearing in both ears. "I won't turn up the volume now to hear when the sound level and the quality aren't good enough," he says. "I will simply say, 'I'm sorry, the interpreter can't interpret because the sound quality isn't there.'"

In response, the Canadian government has issued a request for proposals for the development of a digital interpreting platform that better controls sound and protects the hearing of interpreters working remotely. The Bureau plans to spend $450,000 over the next three years for the new system, which will include video interface and be simpler for remote clients to use.
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California Bill Would Recognize Language Diversity in Emergency Planning
Santa Barbara Independent (CA) (02/09/19) Buckley, Amelia

Recent natural disasters in Santa Barbara County, California, have prompted State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to propose a bill to make emergency planning systems more inclusive for local residents, including those who are not proficient in English.

Senate Bill 160 will broaden emergency planning and alert systems to communicate with all residents in the event of an emergency. The legislation emphasizes differences in language among residents, focusing on improved translation and interpreting services within the emergency alert network and evacuation procedures. The bill also states the need for diverse cultural groups to be represented during the emergency planning process.

The bill comes in response to a panel discussion Jackson held with the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management in November. Panelists urged the committee to consider improving translation and interpreting systems in emergency alert programs. The bill has won support from the Women's Foundation of California and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy. Both organizations have pushed for the reform of emergency planning to accommodate California's most overlooked communities.

"With more than 220 languages spoken in California," Jackson commented, "and 44% of our residents speaking a language other than English at home, we must do everything we can to ensure our emergency plans incorporate the diverse needs of all residents."
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Morocco Looks to French as the Language of Economic Success
Reuters (02/18/19) Eljechtimi, Ahmed

The Moroccan government has proposed reintroducing French as the language for teaching science, math, and technical subjects in high schools. The government also wants children to start learning French when they start school.

The proposal is a solution to curb the dramatic rise in the number of students who are dropping out of higher education studies. It's estimated that two out of three students fail to complete their studies at public universities in Morocco, mainly because they don't speak French.

Morocco's official languages are Arabic and Amazigh, or Berber. Most people speak Moroccan Arabic, a mixture of Arabic and Amazigh infused with French and Spanish influences. In school, children are taught Arabic, although they don't use it outside the classroom. When students reach the university level, however, lessons are taught in French, the language of the urban elite and the country's former colonial masters.

According to the International Monetary Fund, this linguistic shortfall has slowed economic growth and exacerbated inequalities in the North African country, where one in four young people are unemployed and the average annual income is around $3,440 per person.

Proponents of the government's plans to broaden the teaching of French say the changes reflect the reality that French reigns supreme in business, government, and higher education. France is the biggest foreign direct investor in Morocco, and large companies such as carmakers Renault and Peugeot employ tens of thousands of people. Advocates say students from affluent families who can afford to have their children learn French in private schools have a huge advantage over the majority of Morocco's students. "In the Moroccan job market, mastery of French is indispensable. Those who do not have command of French are considered illiterate," says Hamid El Otmani, director of the Confederation of Moroccan Employers.

Said Amzazi, Morocco's Minister of Education, has agreed to increase French courses in some schools, declaring its use in teaching scientific subjects as an "irreversible choice." Amzazi says that the current situation "does not help students understand and participate, nor does it allow the professor to give his lessons in appropriate and effective conditions."
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Bodleian Libraries Exhibit Explores Power of Translation
University of Oxford (United Kingdom) (02/14/19)

Babel: Adventures in Translation, a new exhibit sponsored by the U.K.'s Bodleian Libraries system, explores the power of translation, from the ancient myth of the Tower of Babel to the challenges of modern-day multicultural Britain.

Featuring a range of objects from the libraries' collections, the exhibit shows how ideas and stories have traveled across time and territory, language and medium. The exhibit explores the idea that translation is not merely about word-for-word rendering into another language, or that it is obsolete in the era of global English and Google Translate. It shows how translation is an act of creation and interpretation, and has been part of our daily lives since time began.

"The exhibit explores the tension between the age-old quest for a universal language, like Latin, Esperanto, or global English today, and the fact that communities continue to nurture and retain their own languages and dialects as part of their cultural identity," says Katrin Kohl, professor of German literature at the University of Oxford and co-curator of the exhibit. "It illuminates how translation builds bridges between languages and how the borderlands between languages can be fertile ground for resistance, comedy, and creativity."

Ancient treasures—such as a second-century papyrus roll of Homer's Iliad, a mathematical text from ninth-century Byzantium, and a beautiful illuminated manuscript of Aesop's Fables—are shown alongside contemporary objects such as signage, branding, and leaflets that draw on multiple languages to speak to a global audience. Exploring fantasy and fairy tales, the translation of divine texts and the endeavor to create a universal scientific language, the exhibit is designed to appeal to adults and young people alike, and anyone interested in language, science, religion, and the power of stories.

"Babel is a fascinating exhibit that shows us how translation has shaped our modern lives—in religion and science, politics and literature, and food and health," says Richard Ovenden, the head librarian for the Bodleian Libraries system. "The Bodleian Libraries is an incredible treasure-house of great works that have grown out of the transfer processes between languages, and the exhibit showcases some of these extraordinary items with great effect, changing the way we think about translation today," he adds.

The exhibit team is collaborating with Creative Multilingualism, a four-year research program led by Kohl, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Open World Research Initiative. The project is investigating the interconnection between linguistic diversity and creativity.
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National Security Agency Foreign Language Careers

ATA News


Important Deadlines, Final Call

  • ATA Membership for 2019
    The ATA membership renewal period ends February 28. Forgot to renew? Don’t lose access to the best marketing and networking in the language services industry. Click to renew now.
     
  • ATA60 Call for Proposals 
    Proposals to present at ATA’s 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs will be accepted through March 1. Make this the year you get out of the audience and up on the stage! Click to submit.
     
  • ATA Mentoring Program
    Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 4. Watch the on-demand ATA Mentoring Program webinar to learn how the program works. Click to apply.
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The ATA Podcast: Episode 30

During ATA’s 59th Annual Conference last October, guest hosts and ATA members Ekaterina Howard and Veronika Demichelis sat down with a number of conference presenters to discuss their experiences in the translation and interpreting industry.

In this third and final podcast interview, the focus is all on machine translation. Interviewees Jay Marciano and Sarah Bawa Mason bring very different viewpoints to the subject. Can they both be right?

This is Episode 30 of The ATA Podcast. Listen now!

Did you miss Ekaterina and Veronika's earlier ATA59 podcast interviews? Then you'll want to catch up! Check out ATA59 Interviews: Jeannette Stewart and Winnie Heh and ATA59 Interviews: Tucker Johnson and Alaina Brantner.
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Will AI Kill the Language Industry?

Moments of Change, Opportunities for Growth is now available on demand. In this must-see webinar, presenter Renato Beninatto challenges translators and interpreters to tackle the future head-on and find new opportunities in the profession they love. Always provocative and engaging, Renato will have you thinking outside the box by the end of the webinar.
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Are You Ready for the ATA Certification Exam?

ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
April 12, 2019 | Alexandria, Virginia


The ATA Certification Exam is challenging, even for those with experience. Don't miss this opportunity to prepare. Attend one or both of these workshops to increase your chances of passing the exam.
  • 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
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.

Limited seating!
Both workshops are limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. These workshops will not be recorded.
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WiseTech

Southeast Asian Language Division Proposed

Southeast Asia is one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the world. There are over 1,000 languages in daily use in the 11 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. With centuries of trade and common experience, there are also strong cultural similarities that transcend language.

While there is a strong commercial and government demand for translators and interpreters working in Southeast Asian languages, the number of ATA members with these language skills is surprisingly small.

The goal of the proposed Southeast Asian Language Division is to build and grow a community of members working in these languages for the purposes of sharing information and learning opportunities.

Click to learn more about the objectives of the proposed ATA Southeast Asian Language Division or to add your petition in favor of establishing the division.
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Coming Up 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 the author sees in dual language or translated contracts almost every day. (Paula Arturo)

Passive Voice 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.
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News summaries © copyright 2019 SmithBucklin

February 28, 2019

In This Issue

Introducing SDL Discounts
Deadlines, Final Call
ATA Podcast: Episode 30
Change & Opportunities
Certification Exam Workshop
Southeast Asian Lang Div
The ATA Chronicle



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Calendar of Events

Board of Directors Meeting
April 13-14, 2019
Alexandria, Virginia

ATA Certification Workshop
April 12, 2019
Alexandria, Virginia
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ATA Certification Exam
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