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Translation Scams Reloaded

ATA Headquarters has noticed a recent spike in scam reports from members.

Technology has given scammers an unprecedented level of sophistication and access, making it easier than ever to be fooled. Names and email addresses can be harvested electronically. Individuals can be targeted by occupation. Propositions can sound interesting or at least like a good deal.

The best defense is to understand how scams work. In the July/August issue of The ATA Chronicle, Carola Berger reviews the three most common types of fraudulent schemes in the language industry, along with steps to protect against them. Read "Translation Scams Reloaded" to learn when you should hit the delete key on that email in your inbox.

One more resource!

Members on ATA's Business Practices Listserv often discuss scam attacks. If you're not on the list, this would be a good time to join.
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ATA Annual Conference Call for Proposals

Industry News

Afghan Military Interpreter Freed from Federal Detention
Associated Press (DC) (01/18/19) Barned-Smith, John

An Afghan interpreter for the U.S. military who was detained in Texas and threatened with deportation has been released after a week in custody.

Mohasif Motawakil was detained at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston after arriving with his wife and five children. Motawakil had qualified for a special visa through a program for Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who worked alongside American troops. These interpreters can qualify for visas granting them residency in the U.S. if they receive letters of support from American officials and show that their lives are in danger. The process takes years for many applicants, who undergo extensive security screenings.

The family appears to have raised suspicion in part when Motawakil handed customs officers an envelope that was supposed to be sealed containing their medical records. According to lawyers with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a legal advocacy group, a family member had mistakenly opened the envelope.

Motawakil's wife and children were allowed to leave the airport after a brief detention, but their visas were revoked, meaning they would no longer qualify for cash assistance and other benefits already allocated to them, such as helping them finding work and learning English. The family is now in San Antonio, where they are staying with another Afghan interpreter. It was not immediately clear if the family would regain its eligibility for government benefits.

"The State Department has reviewed its initial decision, and Mr. Motawakil's visa has been reinstated and he has been deemed admissible for entry into the U.S.," stated a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.

The detention of Motawakil and his family prompted a flurry of protests, and several members of Congress called for his release. "It's shocking to see the way this administration is treating those who have supported our troops," says Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES.

Thousands of Afghans and Iraqis and their families have entered the U.S. on special immigrant visas since Congress enacted The Afghan Allies Protection Act in 2009 and a similar program for Iraq in 2008. Many face danger from the Taliban and other militants after working with U.S. troops. In 2014, the International Refugee Assistance Project, a nonprofit in New York City, estimated that an Afghan interpreter was killed every 36 hours.

Under the Trump administration, the number of Iraqis and Afghans coming to the U.S. through these programs has fallen drastically. Only about four dozen Iraqis were admitted in 2018 through a program Congress created specifically for those employed with the U.S. government or American contractors. More than 3,000 came in 2017.
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First Indigenous Language Speech Interpreted in Canadian Parliament
The Hill Times (Canada) (01/28/19) Ryckewaert, Laura

In an historic first, a member of the Canadian Parliament delivered an entire speech in an indigenous language in the House of Commons with the aid of a simultaneous interpreter during the opening session.

In 2018, members of Parliament from all political parties accepted a report recommending that simultaneous interpreting services be made available upon request for any member who wishes to use one of more than 60 indigenous languages in the Commons or in a Commons Committee. Previously, Commons rules recognized only French and English as languages that were permitted simultaneous interpreting.

The report stipulates that reasonable notice must be given so that the House administration has time to secure the required interpreting service. According to Member of Parliament Robert-Falcon Ouellette, this directive is "the most significant event for languages" in Canada since 1952, when French interpreting services were introduced. (Ouellette delivered an address entirely in Cree last year.) Ouellette says that it also sends a message to indigenous people that their languages "are just as important as English and French."

Ouellette says that interpreting services for indigenous languages in Parliament should not be related to strictly indigenous issues

"Eventually we're going to have to debate the budget, we're going to have to debate gun bills, criminal justice acts, and we're going to use terms and terminology that will be what we're used to in Indigenous communities," Ouellette says.

Kevin Lewis, an assistant professor in the Indigenous Language Curriculum Studies Program at the University of Saskatchewan, says allowing for the interpreting of indigenous languages in Parliament is a gratifying move. Lewis says Canada's indigenous communities have been struggling to reverse the tide that has come to threaten a range of languages.

"This is a momentous occasion that demonstrates to indigenous Canadians that this chamber is fully representative of each and every one of us in this country, that we are not half citizens, that we are full citizens of this nation," Ouellette states. Ouellette also expresses hope that this move will help preserve the original languages of Canada. "With this, we have a fighting chance to ensure that our children will be able to speak those languages and speak those languages well and into the future."
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Google Uses Human Translators to Help Localize Apps for Developers
Neowin (MI) (01/17/19) Jawad, Usama

Google is launching a new program, Google Play App Translation Service, that connects human translators with Android app developers to help them localize apps for different countries and regions.

Depending upon the translation services requested, Google says that an app can be translated in as little as two days, but that all orders will be completed within eight. The translations will be provided by real and professional humans (no machine translation) who are recruited by Google on the basis of the quality and speediness of their services.

Google says that it has designed a simple translation request process. First, developers select the language(s) and then upload the content files they want translated. If there are other specifications, such as string length and location, these can be uploaded in a separate file as well. After this step, developers just need to choose a vendor from a list and place the order. For developers who want to expand their app's global footprint and increase installs, the Google Play Console feature is available to make translation recommendations based on a comprehensive analysis of similar apps.

"At Google, we consider translation a key component of making the world's information universally accessible and useful," the company states on its website. "This commitment extends not only to localizing our own products, but also to providing tools to help developers and translators more easily localize their apps."
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One of the Last Remaining Navajo Code Talkers Dies
CNN (NY) (01/16/19) Levenson, Eric

Alfred Newman, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers, has died at 94. Newman served during World War II with the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, including at Iwo Jima, Guam, and other Pacific campaigns.

The code talkers were a group of Navajos who used their difficult-to-learn language to form an indecipherable code that played a vital role in the Allied victory in World War II. The language that Newman and the other code talkers learned was used to send information on tactics, troop movements, and orders over the radio and phone during the war. The Japanese could not decipher the code, which was a key factor in American military victories at Iwo Jima, Saipan, and other major battles in the Pacific. As Major Howard Connor, the signal officer of the Navajos, recalled, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."

The syntax and linguistics of the Navajo language are particularly tricky for non-Navajo, and it's an exclusively oral language. Because of this, the U.S. marines recruited and trained 29 Navajos at Camp Elliott near San Diego starting in 1942. Those recruits invented and memorized more than 200 new Navajo words for military terms. In simulated battles, Navajo code proved much faster than the encrypting machines in use at the time.

In August 1942, 15 code talkers joined the marines for combat duty amid the assault on Guadalcanal. More than 350 people had learned the code by the end of the war. None of the original 29 code talkers who invented the language are still alive.

The program wasn't declassified by the military until 1968, and it would take several more decades before the story received wider recognition. In 2001, President George W. Bush presented the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers with the Congressional Gold Medal.
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Arkansas Courts Seek Marshallese Interpreters
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (AR) (01/22/19) Neal, Tracy M.

The Arkansas court system is looking for Marshallese interpreters following the resignation of the last Marshallese interpreter in the state, leaving courts reliant on out-of-state phone or video interpreters.

According to Benton County Circuit Judge Doug Schrantz, using interpreters via phone or video is good for short hearings, but interpreters must be present in the court for longer hearings and trials. "Sometimes things happen that can't be handled by telephone. People may have questions for their lawyers," says Benton County Circuit Judge Tom Smith. The University of Arkansas estimates that more than 12,000 Marshallese speakers currently reside in Northwest Arkansas.

Kevin Lammers, a deputy public defender in Benton County, says his office uses Marshallese interpreters in court and when attorneys need to talk with their clients. Lammers prefers having an interpreter physically present because it makes the process smoother.

Smith says Spanish and Marshallese are the two most common languages where interpreters are needed. While Spanish interpreters for court proceedings are abundant, Marshallese interpreters have been harder to find and certify. To help address this problem, the Arkansas Administrative Office of Court Interpreter Services recently held a court interpreter orientation.

Mara Simmons, manager of Interpreter Services for the Arkansas Judiciary and a certified Spanish interpreter, says the orientation introduces people to the role of court interpreters and how the judicial system functions in Arkansas. Simmons added that training also focuses on ethical issues. Simmons explains that the orientation also includes a language assessment test. The orientation is only the first step in becoming a court-certified interpreter. Simmons explains that the process can take up to 12 months and certification includes two assessment exams, including one in English and the other in the candidate's language. Applicants also need to pass a background check and an oral proficiency exam.
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U.S. College Official Who Told Chinese Students to Speak English Resigns
Reuters (NY) (01/27/19) Caspani, Maria

An official at the Duke University School of Medicine stepped down a day after she was denounced by students on social media for sending an email saying Chinese students should speak English on campus.

Mary Klotman, the dean of the Duke School of Medicine, stated in a letter to students that "Megan Neely left her position as director of Graduate Studies for the Biostatistics Master's Program effective immediately." Klotman went on to say that Duke's Office of Institutional Equity would conduct a thorough review of the program.

The email by Neely, who remains an assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke, stated that she was approached by two faculty members who wanted details of first-year students "they observed speaking Chinese (in their words, Very loudly)" on campus. The faculty members asked for photos of the students to be able to identify them "so they could remember them if they ever interviewed for an internship or asked to work with them for a master's project."

"I encourage you to commit to using English 100% of the time," Neely wrote to students in the master's program. Faculty members were upset, she added, because the students were "being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand."

Screenshots of her email circulated widely on social media, prompting some students to submit a petition urging the school to investigate what they called her "apparently discriminatory actions against international students."

In her letter to students following Neely's resignation, Klotman reassured students that there is "absolutely no restriction or limitation" on the language they choose to use on campus.
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American Translators Association Law Seminar

ATA News

Intermediate-to-Advanced T&I Seminar

ATA Law Seminar
February 16, 2019 | Jersey City, New Jersey | Hyatt Regency

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.

Save 25% when you register by February 6. Register now!

New! Continuing Education Credits. The following organizations have approved this seminar for CE credit.

California (pending approval)
Delaware (7 CEUs)
Massachusetts (7.5 CEUs)
Pennsylvania (7 CEUs)

Note: ATA-certified translators earn 7 CE points for attending this seminar.
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The Benefits of ATA Membership

There is an association for almost every industry and every profession. What makes ATA stand out from all the rest? Watch "The Benefits of ATA Membership" to find out.

Forgot to renew?

It's not too late! Renew now to ensure your uninterrupted access to the best marketing and networking in the language services industry.
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Episode 29 of The ATA Podcast

At ATA’s 59th Annual Conference, ATA members Ekaterina Howard and Veronika Demichelis sat down with presenters Tucker Johnson and Alaina Brantner to talk about the world of translation companies.

This is Episode 29 of The ATA Podcast. Listen now!

Tucker starts the podcast off with what it takes to move from a freelancer to an LSP owner—it's not as hard as you think and the potential rewards are high.

Alaina picks up from there with her personal view of the complexities of project management and the need for professional training programs.

Two unique perspectives in one great podcast! Listen now and be sure to leave a review in the comment section of your favorite podcast listening app. And don't forget to share a link to the podcast with a colleague or friend.
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ATA Board of Directors Meeting: February 2-3

The ATA Board of Directors will meet this weekend in Austin, Texas. All ATA members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Click to read the agenda for the February 2-3 ATA Board of Directors meeting.

The Board of Directors meets four times a year to establish policy, develop goals and objectives, and oversee ATA finances. To learn more about the Association’s governance, check out How ATA Works.
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New York University Masters in Translation

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.

ATA's success depends on the leadership of its officers and directors. That leadership begins with nominations like yours. Click here to start.
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Want to Take 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.
  • 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
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.

Register now to guarantee your seat in the workshop!
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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.

How to write a winning ATA Conference proposal

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.

Submit your ATA60 proposal now

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. Click to submit!
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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.
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News summaries © copyright 2019 SmithBucklin

January 31, 2019

In This Issue

Translation Scams Reloaded
Intermediate-Adv Seminar
ATA Benefits on YouTube
ATA Podcast Ep. 29
ATA Board Meeting
Call for Nominations
Certification Exam Workshop
ATA60 Call for Presenters
The ATA Chronicle

It's not too late to renew!

Let ATA continue to be your most important professional resource. Renew now for 2019!

ATA Member Benefit Spotlight


The ATA Chronicle is the association'sofficial bi-monthly publication. Each issue of the magazine offers resources and practical solutions to challenges facing translators and interpreters.

Calendar of Events

Board of Directors Meeting
February 2-3, 2019
Austin, TX
Meeting agenda

ATA Law Seminar
February 16, 2019
Jersey City, New Jersey
Registration open

ATA Certification Workshop

April 12, 2019
Alexandria, Virginia
Registration open

ATA 60th Annual Conference

October 23-26, 2019
Palm Springs, CA

ATA Certification Exam
Upcoming schedule

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


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Across Translator Edition v7 The ATA Chronicle January/February 2019
The ATA Chronicle January/February 2019
Language Advocacy Day 2019 ATA Webinars Live and On Demand