Nominating and Leadership Development Committee
The slate of candidates for ATA's 2019 Election has been announced. How did we get here?
In this episode of The ATA Podcast, Matt Baird talks with Nominating and Leadership Development Committee Chair David Rumsey about the nomination process. Listen in to learn who is eligible to hold ATA office, what the Committee looks for in a potential candidate, how the Committee members are chosen, and more.
This is Episode 33 of The ATA Podcast.
Listener comments and suggestions are important to us. Did you like the episode? What would make it better? Do you have an idea for an interview? Let us know. Email ATA Podcast Host Matt Baird with your feedback.
Latinos Face Health Setbacks if Trump Administration Loosens Language Rules
NBC News (06/19/19) Rodriguez, Carmen
A federal regulation requires certain health care organizations to provide patients who have limited English skills with a written notice of free translation and interpreting services. But the Trump administration wants to ease those regulations and also no longer require that directions be given to patients on how they can report discrimination.
According to the administration, the changes could save $3.16 billion over five years for the health care industry. The proposal would not change the government's requirement that insurers and medical facilities provide translators and interpreters for non-English speakers. The government acknowledged in the proposal that the changes would lead to fewer people with limited English skills accessing health care and fewer reports of discrimination. But it also questioned the need for these notices, pointing out that in some areas health organizations spend money to accommodate a small contingent of language speakers. For example, notices in Wyoming must account for the 40 Gujarati speakers—a language of India—in the state. In all, the government said the impact of doing away with these requirements would be "negligible," but others disagree.
"I haven't seen any reason to believe that this will only have a negligible impact," says Mara Youdelman, managing attorney for the National Health Law Program, a civil rights advocacy group. She says it "will likely result in people not knowing their rights, and not accessing care to which they're eligible."
Regulations under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require insurers, hospitals, and others to include a "tagline" of free translation/interpreting services for the 15 languages that are most prevalent in a state. Additionally, it requires a nondiscrimination clause and directions on how to file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This information must be posted on websites, in physical spaces, and in "significant communications" to the patient. But the ambiguity of that phrase prompted health care organizations to post the required information on numerous pieces of material—such as a separate page about language options sent with each Explanation of Benefits statement from an insurer.
"No one realized exactly how much would be wrapped up in that definition of 'significant communication,'" says Katie Keith, a Georgetown University professor who specializes in the ACA.
The Census Bureau reported that an estimated 25.9 million people in the U.S. in 2017 had limited English proficiency. Patients facing language barriers have a higher risk of health care complications, such as surgical infections and falls, because they may misunderstand a doctor's orders, make mistakes preparing for procedures, or improperly use medications.
Health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers' reactions to the proposed changes have been tepid. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association—the trade organization for pharmacy benefits managers—said in an email that it "believes all consumers should be informed regarding translation services." America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade association for health insurers, said that insurers would make sure consumers get the support they need to understand information, "including providing phone interpreters and written translations for customers who need them."
Keith says that if the proposal were finalized, more patients would not understand information involving their health. She says that some of these details on insurance and billing documents are already difficult for native English speakers to decipher and could be a challenge for less fluent people. "Anytime you're not notifying people of their rights," Youdelman says, "you disempower them."
Google Under Fire for Mistranslating Chinese Amid Hong Kong Protests
The Hill (06/18/19) Klar, Rebecca
Google is facing pushback after a recent translation error switched a phrase to one more in line with the message of the People's Republic of China amid pro-democracy protests.
Google Translate reportedly mistranslated the phrase "I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China" to "I am happy to see Hong Kong become part of China." The error, which was corrected the same day, occurred as hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in the streets.
Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Google claiming the website may have been "negligent" regarding the translation error that he said advanced the "authoritarian government narrative." A Google spokesperson stated that "these automatic systems can sometimes make unintentional mistakes like translating a negative to a positive." The spokesperson added that "Google Translate is an automatic translator, using patterns from millions of existing translations to help decide on the best translation for you."
"Given Google's close relationship with Beijing and financial incentive to remain close to that authoritarian government, the company could have averted this mistranslation at a juncture where precision of message is so critical," Hawley stated in his letter. "Google must place principle over profit and protect its products against such interference."
Major League Baseball Finally Offering Spanish-Language Programs
Washington Post (DC) (06/04/19) Dougherty, Jesse
The U.S. national pastime has been a truly international game in recent years, with a wave of Latin Americans coming to the U.S. to play baseball—many scrambling to pick up English along the way. Now their American-born teammates and coaches are returning the favor by learning Spanish.
"At least half of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 30 clubs now offer some level of Spanish lessons for English speakers," says Paul Mifsud, vice president and deputy general counsel of labor relations and player programs for the MLB.
"I've been surprised that not a ton of guys have really learned Spanish outside of baseball talk and basic conversation," says Brian Dozier, second baseman for the Washington Nationals, who is nearly fluent in Spanish after taking classes for several years. "For so long it's just been understood that Latin players would learn English, so why not also flip that expectation?"
According to the MLB, Spanish-speaking players accounted for more than 25% of Opening Day rosters this season, including 102 from the Dominican Republic, 68 from Venezuela, and 19 from Cuba. The MLB doesn't oversee how teams assimilate their international players, but franchises are responding to the increasing diversity. Many have ramped up English education programs, spread resources to their academies and affiliates abroad, and hired full-time instructors to teach language classes and aid in the overall transition. Yet, reversing that process—to have native English speakers learn Spanish and overcome the language barrier from both sides—has only just begun. Consensus around the game is that steps in that direction are long overdue.
"When an American speaks to a Latin player in Spanish, it almost acts like a hypothetical olive branch," says Gene Mato, an agent who represents a handful of Latin American players. "I have seen firsthand the advantages of speaking and understanding a teammate's first language. It automatically brings down walls that can hinder camaraderie between players in the clubhouse."
According to Deanna MacNaughton, who teaches English to Latin American minor leaguers, American players don't realize that language is "this invisible extra hurdle" that Hispanic players have to overcome. "Hispanic players are expected to just walk into a country they don't know, speak a language with which they are unfamiliar, and then perform at 100%," MacNaughton says. "I don't think American players realize the amount of effort it takes for their teammates to learn English in addition to what they are already doing."
MacNaughton says mandatory, well-resourced English-language programs are one of baseball's industry standards. But she says many teams are only just starting to readjust their expectations to more readily emphasize Spanish. For example, the Red Sox require Spanish classes for American players during the fall instructional league. So do the Cleveland Indians at their spring training complex in Arizona. The Texas Rangers have a new Spanish curriculum for first-year minor leaguers.
"A very old modality that a lot of people have is that if you're in the U.S., speak English," MacNaughton explains. "But that's not what the U.S. looks like anymore, and that's not what baseball looks like anymore. We have to acknowledge that within the sport."
Vatican Launches Radio News Bulletin in Latin
The Telegraph (United Kingdom) (06/07/19) Squires, Nick
Vatican Radio has launched its first radio news bulletin in Latin. The five-minute broadcast will become a weekly event.
The program is called Hebdomada Papae, notitiae vaticanae latine redditae (The Pope's Week—Vatican News in Latin). Vatican translators have been tasked with coming up with creative ways of communicating contemporary concepts into Latin for the program. For example, a suicide bomber is translated as voluntarius suis interromptor while xenophobia is exterarum gentium odium.
Much of the Latin used today has been created by contemporary scholars and would not have been known to the Romans. "With this weekly bulletin, we want to breathe new life into the official language of the Catholic Church," says Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican's director of communications. "We don't see it as a nostalgic nod to the past, but as a challenge that looks to the future."
The job of writing the script for the broadcast is the responsibility of the Office of Latin Letters, a department within the Vatican that translates documents into Latin. "We welcome the project because we've noticed a growing interest in the use of Latin today, both in how it is written and how it is spoken," says Monsignor Waldermar Turek, the head of the department.
"There may not be many people in the world who still speak Latin, but we're very happy that this bulletin will be broadcast each week, and that it will communicate news about the Holy Father and the Vatican."
Indiana University Grad Launches Language Toy
Inside Indiana Business (06/07/19) McLaughlin, Merritt
A graduate of Indiana University has developed an egg-shaped toy, known as The Chatter Egg, designed to expose children to languages when they are learning to talk.
The Chatter Egg speaks a phrase in English and repeats it in Spanish or Mandarin. Mikaela Gilbert, who developed the toy, says she originally came up with the concept for The Chatter Egg in high school and has been pursuing the idea ever since. She says that it's one of the few toys on the market that teaches kids other languages without requiring them to look at a screen. "The specific innovation for the product is that it's speaking both languages simultaneously," Gilbert explains.
The Chatter Egg is scheduled to launch online and in stores within the next few months. Gilbert says the next steps for the The Chatter Egg include a crowdfunding campaign and securing investment funding.
Become an ATA Voting Member
It's easier than you think! ATA Associate Members who can demonstrate that they are professionally engaged in translation, interpreting, or closely related fields may apply for Voting Membership. How? Just complete and submit the ATA Active Membership Review application. No additional paperwork required. It's fast, free, and online!
Proposed Changes to Language Access in the Health Care System
On May 24, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulation changes in the non-discrimination protections guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. These changes will have an impact on providing language access to non-English-speaking patients—and consequently on translators and interpreters.
The advocacy group Joint National Committee for Languages cites the analysis done by Certified Languages International as a useful resource in understanding the changes. According to that report, revisions to the current regulation include:
- Notice Requirements
Currently, non-discrimination policies and taglines must be posted in the top 15 languages served by a health care facility. This requirement will be eliminated with the exception of "significant" publications and communications.
- Qualified Interpreters
In 2016, the word "qualified" replaced "competent" in the skill level required by interpreters and translators. A new definition further detailing the requirements was added. The definition will remain, but the descriptor "qualified" will be removed.
- Language Access Plans
While having a formal language access plan is not specifically required, it’s one of the things the federal government considers when evaluating a covered entity for civil rights compliance. Mention of the plan will be removed and will no longer be considered in the evaluation.
- Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Under the current regulation, VRI must meet high-quality, high-speed video and audio standards. The proposed revision will eliminate the visual standards but keep the audio standards.
The Office for Civil Rights has provided a fact sheet of the proposed changes, and the full proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services is online. An editorial and summary of the proposed regulation changes is available on the National Health Law Program's website.
The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules. All comments must be considered in the final decision on the proposed changes. Submit comments to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HHS-OCR-2019-0007-0001.
ATA Public Relations Writers Group
ATA's Public Relations Writers Group plays an important role in reaching the business community and those individuals who are responsible for contracting translation and interpreting services. The group's articles have been published in more than 125 trade and professional publications. Here are the latest!
2019 ATA Honors and Awards
ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI) present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize the outstanding work being done by both seasoned professionals and students.
Applications and nominations are currently being accepted for the following awards.
- The Student Translation Award is presented to a student for a literary or sci-tech translation or translation-related project. Open to any graduate or undergraduate student, or group of students, attending an accredited college or university in the U.S.
Award: $500, a certificate of recognition, and up to $500 in expenses for attending ATA's 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California. Submissions must be received by September 6, 2019.
Recipients and honorees will be announced at ATA’s 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California (October 23-26, 2019).
- The Alicia Gordon Award for Word Artistry in Translation is given for a translation (from French or Spanish into English, or from English into French or Spanish, in any subject) that demonstrates the highest level of creativity in solving a particularly knotty translation problem. Open to ATA members in good standing.
Award: $250 and a certificate of recognition. Applications must be received by September 6, 2019.
- The S. Edmund Berger Prize is offered to recognize excellence in scientific and technical translation. Open to ATA members in good standing.
Award: $1,000. Nominations must be received by September 21, 2019.
Last Chance to Enter ATA’s School Outreach Contest
Just 17 days left to enter ATA's School Outreach Contest. If you've been planning to send in your photo and story, this is your friendly reminder to do it now. Remember, the contest winner receives a free registration to ATA's 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs (October 23-26, 2019).
Submission deadline for the 2018-2019 School Outreach Contest is July 18.
Not ready to enter this year? Start planning now for the 2019-2020 contest and a chance to win a free registration to ATA's 61st Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts!
Coming Up In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Representing ATA at the ACES: Society for Editing Annual Conference
It’s always great fun to meet fellow “word people” and discuss language. The author had the pleasure of doing just that when she represented ATA at the Society for Editing's annual conference. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Communicating the Value of Our Services
Why is it so hard to communicate the value of our services, and is it really all our fault? Learn how psychological biases and a lack of understanding affect the perception of the value of translation and interpreting, and what translators, translation agencies, and professional associations can do about it. (Ekaterina Howard)
Designing a Competency-Based Translator Training Program
A well-designed competency-based translator training program could be an effective and affordable means of meeting the growing need for qualified translators. (Jason Jolley)
Translate Differently and Don’t Fear
A university professor was singing the praises of DeepL, the machine translation service, on Facebook. He claimed translators’ days were numbered. That made the author think of something else to say in reply. (Valerij Tomarenko)
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