ATA60 Call for Presenters
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for the ATA 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California (October 23-26).
Proposals must be received by March 1, 2019
Submissions are invited from all areas of translation and interpreting, including finance, law, medicine, literature, media, science and technology, terminology, independent contracting, business management, and training/pedagogy.
The Conference Organizer is looking for timely, innovative content that will engage the audience, encourage discussion, and provide information relevant to the translation and interpreting professions.
How to write a winning ATA Conference proposal
ATA's webinar How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal will take you through the proposal process step-by-step. Common pitfalls? Convincing proposal style? Presentation tips? This free webinar has all the answers!
Submit your ATA60 proposal now
Why should you present at ATA60? The Conference will attract more than 1,500 attendees, bringing together translators, interpreters, educators, company owners, and project managers. Making a presentation to such a diverse audience is an excellent strategy to gain recognition as a leader and expert in your field.
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Considers Renewing Demand for Interpreter's Notes from Trump-Putin Meeting
The Hill (01/13/19) Birnbaum, Emily
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he is considering the possibility of renewing his demand to subpoena the U.S. interpreter who was present during a July 2018 meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Last year, we sought to obtain the interpreter's notes or testimony from the private meeting between Trump and Putin," Schiff says. "The Republicans on our committee voted us down. Will they join us now?"
Schiff's call comes as a new article from The Washington Post reignites questions about Trump's alleged ties with the Kremlin. The Post reports that Trump has tried to conceal conversations he had with Putin on multiple occasions, at one point confiscating notes from his interpreter. Trump has called the report "ridiculous" while White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it "outrageously inaccurate."
A senior Democratic aide on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says the article "has changed the calculus, and raises a new host of questions." The aide noted that lawyers for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees are "looking into the legal implications of that and are sitting down with intel committee lawyers to hash it out." The aide cautioned that the lawyers are not drafting subpoenas, but instead reviewing the best way forward and which committee would submit the request, should they decide to make it. A committee vote is still weeks away.
In the days following the Helsinki summit in July, when Trump sat down with Putin and only their interpreters, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee filed a motion to subpoena the U.S. interpreter, Marina Gross, but it was quickly rejected by Republicans. 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.
Subpoenaing an interpreter would also be a sharp turn away from typical diplomatic conduct. For example, the code of ethics published by the American Translators Association says interpreters must "hold in confidence" any privileged information entrusted to them in the course of their work.
Child's Death Highlights Communications Barrier on U.S.-Mexico Border
Associated Press (DC) (12/16/18)
The death of a Guatemalan girl while in U.S. custody highlights the communication challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border as agents come in contact with an increasing number of immigrants who do not speak English or Spanish.
Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal, were part of a group of 163 immigrants arrested December 6 near a border crossing in New Mexico. Hours later, they were placed on a bus to the nearest border patrol station, but Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing. She later died at a Texas hospital.
Shortly before his daughter's death, Caal signed a form stating that his daughter was in good health. It's unclear how much Caal understood on the form, which was written in English and read to him in Spanish by border patrol agents. The agents say they did everything possible to save the girl and noted that she had not had food or water for days. They say an initial screening showed no evidence of health problems, and that the girl's father spoke to them in Spanish and signed a form indicating she was in good health.
The father's native language is Q’eqchi’, a Mayan language, and his second language is Spanish. However, it's unclear whether something was lost during the interpretation or whether it would have made a difference in saving Jakelin. But the case raises questions about the border patrol's use of English-only forms.
All agents are required to speak Spanish, and they receive formal Spanish training. Reading forms in Spanish is often enough to pose basic questions. But some other Spanish-speaking immigrants reported signing paperwork that they later said they did not understand. In addition, scores of immigrant parents who were separated from their children after crossing the border in the spring have said they signed forms agreeing to be deported with the understanding that their children would be returning with them, only to find themselves deported without them. Many had to wait months before being reunited with their children.
Attorneys in Texas representing Caal criticized U.S. officials for asking him to sign Form I-779, which asks a series of questions with "yes" or "no" check boxes. In the additional comments section on the form was written "claims good health." "It's unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand," the attorneys said in a statement.
Jakelin's family has also disputed the accounts offered by U.S. officials that the girl walked for days in the desert without food or water before crossing. Caal's attorneys say Caal took care of his daughter, giving her sufficient water and food, and she appeared to be in good health. The family is asking for an "objective and thorough" investigation to determine whether officials met standards for taking children into custody.
Language Access Bill Poised to Help DC Schoolchildren and Families
The DC Line (DC) (12/13/18) Burke, Lilah
The District of Columbia's DC Council has passed a bill to improve language access services, making life easier for schoolchildren and parents with limited English fluency.
The Language Access for Education Amendment Act, introduced in January 2017, updates the city's original language-access legislation from 2004, which required government agencies and programs to provide services in other languages. The 2004 law also set out additional responsibilities that apply to about three dozen agencies "with major public contact." The updated legislation requires the creation of a new training video for DC agencies, a central repository for translated documents, and heightened regulations for public and charter schools.
DC Council Member David Grosso stated before the vote, "Schools have a fundamental mandate to teach and serve every child no matter the cost. This means ensuring that students and their families who do not speak English have access to essential information in as timely a manner as others."
Critics have said enforcement has been spotty on the original 2004 legislation, which directed relevant agencies to offer interpreting services, identify a language access coordinator, and implement a language access plan. It also required offering written translation of important documents when it's determined that the agency serves a sufficient number of non-proficient English speakers.
The new legislation focuses primarily on public and charter schools, adding new layers to existing local and federal protections for English learners. It amends the 2004 law to specify charter schools as covered entities subject to extra requirements, a classification that already applied to the DC public school system. Under the bill, schools will have to provide translations of any essential information to children, parents, and guardians, though the Public Charter School Board says its schools already do so. Each school will also have to choose a language-access liaison or, in schools with a large population of non-English speakers, hire at least one specific coordinator.
Advocates for the law have emphasized the need for these services given the diverse population in DC, which is currently home to 95,000 foreign-born residents. Some also fear that the current White House could roll back existing federal regulations.
"We need local protection for local immigrant communities because we can't totally rely on some of the federal guidance and federal laws and protections that are typically there," says Sapna Pandya, director of Many Languages One Voice, a local immigrant justice organization.
"Not providing language services is tantamount to discriminating against an entire community of individuals."
Long-Term and Dementia Care Needed for Canada's Multilingual Patients
The Globe and Mail (Canada) (12/16/18) Leung, Wency
As the population of older adults increases in Ontario, Canada, policy experts and advocates are pointing to an urgent and growing need to bolster long-term care and dementia care for francophone patients in their native language. At a time when the Ontario government is promising to add 15,000 long-term care beds within five years, they want to ensure that francophone patients and patients of other linguistic and cultural minorities are not left out.
"Getting old isn't pretty, and as a result, people aren't dealing with the reality that it's approaching," says Sylvie Lavoie, founder and chief executive officer of the Hélène Tremblay Lavoie Foundation, which was created to address this gap in care. Lavoie says that while there is currently one long-term bed for every 170 Ontarians among the general population, there is only one long-term bed for every 3,400 francophones in the Greater Toronto Area.
As a first step to address the issue, David Jensen, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, says the ministry is adding 6,000 new beds, which have been allocated to projects across Ontario. Jensen says project applications for new beds that are dedicated to specific cultural or linguistic needs "will be taken under consideration and verified by the ministry."
Lavoie says that providing services in a common language is far from a luxury. She explains that such services are critical for patients' health, safety, and quality of life, especially since many with dementia revert to their first language when their mental abilities decline.
Currently, the waiting times for a spot in a long-term care facility that provides services in French can be up to five years, says Lisa Levin, chief executive officer of AdvantAge Ontario, an association representing not-for-profit long-term care, housing, and services for seniors. "Access to French-language long-term care services is not equitable across the province," Levin says, noting there are only a few care facilities in Ontario that have bilingual staff.
Sarah Bowen, an authority on the impact of language barriers on health and health care, warns that when care providers and patients can't speak the same language, it poses risks not only to the patient, but to the entire system. Bowen says that language barriers can limit patients' access to health promotion and prevention efforts, which can cause them to postpone care until their conditions are more serious. They also can seriously hinder the management of chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes, which depends on good communication between patients and their health team. Moreover, language barriers can affect those with mental health issues, especially given that the process of making diagnoses can yield very different results, depending on whether patients are tested in their first or second language.
According to Bowen, a lack of common language usually prompts providers to be more cautious, which could lead to more tests and longer hospitalization. Patients who don't get accurate diagnoses due to communication problems tend to have repeat visits for the same issue, with a greater likelihood of complications. Patients who don't give informed consent because they don't fully comprehend what they're signing may also place organizations at greater risk of legal problems. "If we cannot provide those services even for official-language minorities, everybody should be concerned," Bowen says.
'Endangered Alphabets': Tim Brookes Finds Art in Disappearing Languages
Rutland Herald (VT) (12/29/18) Gow, Mary
Tim Brookes, a writer and artist in Burlington, Vermont, has unveiled an exhibit of hand-carved wood panels dubbed "Endangered Alphabets." The exhibit includes about a dozen of Brookes' panels featuring scripts from endangered languages, most carved on Vermont curly maple. Brookes says the exhibit is designed to offer people a way to reflect on language, script, and culture.
Brookes' exhibit seems particularly well-timed. Recognizing the decline of indigenous languages and its cultural cost, the United Nations has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Of roughly 6,700 languages worldwide, nearly 40% are considered in danger of disappearing.
Brookes' nonprofit Endangered Alphabets Project began nearly a decade ago when, as a travel writer, he first carved panels for family members with their names in different languages. Intrigued by the unfamiliar symbols and letters, he saw them as art. Brookes says that when he learned of the large number of languages and scripts nearing extinction, he decided to use his art to create awareness by showcasing the beauty of these vanishing languages.
Brookes began carving translations of Article One of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights in these threatened scripts: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
"The sad irony," Brookes says, "is that these extraordinary writing systems, and the cultures that developed them, are endangered precisely because people have not acted toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
The exhibit also brings attention to the extensive decline of indigenous North American languages. Not only are these languages endangered as fewer people grow up speaking them, the risk of losing them is compounded because most are oral. Some have been written by using Latin letters to express their phonetics, but few have their own distinct historic script. "There's a real problem writing a minority language in the language of the dominant culture." Brookes says.
In an effort to help preserve these languages, Brookes and members of the Abenaki Native American tribes began discussing the creation of an Abenaki script. Melody Brook, of the Elnu tribe of Abenaki and former chairwoman of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, was among the group that explored the development of a script. A team from the Missisquoi, Nulhegan, and Elnu tribes came together to assist with the project.
The group turned to artwork as well as history and the use of the Latin alphabet. A collaborative process between the tribal council members, chiefs, other representatives, Brookes, and designer Alec Julien led to a script that incorporates motifs from traditional artwork and beading. "There is a message here that there is change over time," Brook says. "We're a living breathing modern culture, and there's a message here that we have been able to translate that oral tradition to a script." A number of panels featuring the Abenaki script appear in the current exhibit.
Brook says that Brookes' exhibit is "bringing visibility to one of the most endangered languages in the country. Your culture is in your language—when you lose your language you lose much more than words."
ATA Law Seminar
One of the biggest challenges you face as a translator or interpreter is finding the intermediate-to-advanced continuing education you need to move ahead in your career. The ATA Law Seminar is just the kind of high-level, hands-on training you've been looking for.
February 16, 2019 | Jersey City, New Jersey | Hyatt Regency
Click here to check out the schedule and speakers. ATA-certified translators earn 7 CE points for attending this seminar.
Early registration rates end February 6. Save 25% when you register now!
ATA 2019 Elections: Call for Nominations
The 2019 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is now accepting nominations to fill the positions of president-elect, secretary, and treasurer (each a two-year term) in addition to three directors' positions (each a three-year term).
The deadline for submitting a nomination is March 1, 2019.
Under ATA's Bylaws, all Active members are eligible to run for elected office. Active members are those who have passed an ATA certification exam or who have established professional status through either Active Membership or Credentialed Interpreter Review.
Any ATA member may make a nomination by completing and submitting the online nomination form. Self-nominations are welcome.
Help shape the future of the Association!
ATA's success depends on the leadership of its officers and directors. That leadership begins with nominations like yours. Click here to start.
Questions? Need more info?
Questions and requests for additional information should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being an ATA Member
There is an association for almost every industry and every profession. What makes ATA stand out from all the rest? Watch Being an ATA Member to find out!
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ATA Board of Directors Meeting: February 2-3
The ATA Board of Directors will meet February 2-3 in Austin, Texas. All ATA members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Take time now to get to know the Directors, then review the October 27-28, 2018 meeting summary to learn about the work being done by the Board.
Want to know more? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a behind-the-scenes look at an ATA Board meeting.
Is the ATA Mentoring Program for You?
Need to move your business forward? Have questions about technology, management, or clients. The ATA Mentoring Program may be just what you need.
Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 4, 2019. Only 30 mentees will be selected.
Want to know more about how the program works? Watch this ATA Mentoring Program webinar—it's free!
Where's my ATA membership card?
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!
That was 2018—Year in Review
Did you miss Episode 28 of The ATA Podcast? In this episode, ATA President Corinne McKay joins podcast host Matt Baird to look back and take stock of ATA’s accomplishments in 2018. This is the big picture you need to understand the value of your association. Listen now!
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