ATA Statement on Interpreters at the Border
On July 12, ATA issued a statement opposing the Department of Justice plan to discontinue in-person interpreting services at initial hearings for individuals facing potential deportation.
In a follow-up press release, ATA stated that without access to a qualified professional interpreter, individuals facing deportation from the U.S. will be denied the fair and equal treatment guaranteed under the law. These individuals will not understand their rights or the process that will determine their eligibility to enter the U.S.
Time and cost savings expected by discontinuing in-person interpreting services will result in additional time and cost as appeals are filed for violations of due process. Consequently, delays will likely be inevitable as new cases are added to an already overburdened U.S. immigration system. Read now.
Trump Administration Preparing to End In-Person Interpreters at Initial Deportation Hearings
San Francisco Chronicle (07/03/19) Kopan, Tal
The Trump administration is preparing to replace in-court interpreters at initial immigration court hearings with informational videos to brief asylum seekers and other immigrants facing deportation of the legal process.
Under the new plan, which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told judges could be rolled out by the end of the month, immigrants would watch a video explaining the scope of their rights and the course of the proceedings. The videos will be prerecorded in Spanish and a number of indigenous languages, as many of those coming north from Central America are not native Spanish speakers.
The Trump administration says the change is a cost-saving measure for an immigration court system bogged down under a growing backlog. But advocates for immigrants are concerned the new procedure could jeopardize immigrants' due-process rights, add confusion, and potentially make the system less efficient by causing more of them to go underground or appeal cases. Advocates say without in-person interpreters, immigrants would have no recourse if they still had questions after watching the videos. Judges would also find it more difficult to communicate with immigrants to make sure they understand their rights.
"It's a disaster in the making," one judge says. "What if you have an individual who speaks an indigenous language and has no education and is completely illiterate? You think showing them a video is going to completely inform them of their rights? How are they supposed to ask questions of the judge?"
An official with the DOJ says the plan to replace in-person interpreters is "part of an effort to be good stewards of the DOJ's limited resources." However, the National Association of Immigration Judges describes the plan as "another step the administration has taken to force judges to do more with fewer resources at the risk of fairness."
"The system is not an assembly line," says Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge and former senior legal adviser to the immigration appeals court who now volunteers for organizations that provide legal assistance to immigrants. Chase says that a lack of interpreters and interaction with a judge could foster a sense of distrust among immigrants. "You're dealing with people's lives," he says. "All kinds of crazy issues arise. Sometimes there's a health issue, and you need to be able to communicate to find this stuff out."
Chase says concerns about the cost and length of the process are legitimate, but he questions the administration's way of addressing them. "You always hear the word 'efficiency' from this administration now, and it's very infrequent that you hear 'due process' or 'justice,'" he says. "There's no longer concern about balance, and I think decisions are being made by people who haven't been in the court much and don't understand the consequences."
Swedish Opposition Leader Calls for Limited Right to Interpreters
The Local (Sweden) (07/02/19)
Sweden's Moderate Party has proposed limits on providing free interpreters to residents who are non-native Swedish speakers when dealing with health care services and government authorities.
The proposal put forward by Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, would mean that foreigners with permanent residency status in Sweden would lose their right to an interpreter, except in special circumstances such as legal trials. He argues that Swedish-language skills should be a requirement for both permanent residency and citizenship.
"You can't live in Sweden decade after decade and not learn Swedish," Kristersson says. "Today we provide an unlimited right to interpreters, which is well-intended but badly thought out."
Under current law, Swedish state authorities, health care providers, and other public entities are required to hire a qualified interpreter when needed to ensure that residents who are non-native Swedish speakers can access the services to which they are entitled. Kristersson agrees that interpreters should continue to be offered to new immigrants in Sweden and that exceptions should be made for special circumstances. However, he says the unlimited right to interpreters for non-native Swedes with permanent residency status "sends the wrong signals about the individual responsibility to learn Swedish and the value of our language."
"Unfortunately, for many years we have diminished the value of our own language," Kristersson says. "For a long time, policy has sent a signal that a person who comes to Sweden does not need to learn Swedish." Kristersson says Swedish-language skills are crucial for democratic participation, admission to the labor market, and the avoidance of parallel societies and segregation.
Interpreters currently cost Sweden about two billion kronor (around $213 million) annually, but Kristersson asserts that this amount would fall substantially by placing limits on the provision of free interpreters. Other proposed language reforms include strengthening the requirements for immigrants to learn Swedish, increasing the number of Swedish classes in schools for foreign-born children, and making Swedish-language skills mandatory for gaining permanent residence or citizenship.
Tokyo Police Struggle with Growing Demand for Language Services
Japan Times (Japan) (07/03/19)
Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is facing a surge in demand for language services amid a rising number of overseas visitors in recent years.
Most police stations in Japan are not equipped to offer language services, which is why requests for interpreters are often routed to the MPD's Interpreter Center. The Center has seen a steady increase of cases where an interpreter is needed. In 2018, there were 45,000 police cases requiring interpreters—about 60% more than 2013. About 22,000 of these cases involved phone interpreters assisting police officers.
About 60 police interpreters staff the Interpreting Center, which also outsources work to another 200 civilian interpreters. In addition to phone interpreting, interpreters at the Center also sit in on suspect interrogations and interviews with witnesses involving foreign citizens. "It's important to convey the intensity of the questioning," says Daisuke Hashimoto, an English interpreter working at the Center. "You need to pick up even the slightest slip of the tongue and translate everything accurately."
In addition to the growing number of cases requiring interpreters, the MPD is also seeing a wider variety of languages in demand. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics approach, Japan is attracting visitors from a more diverse array of countries. This means that it is becoming increasingly necessary to find interpreters for languages that have never been requested until now, such as Uzbek. In response, the MPD is planning to contract additional civilian interpreters and host language classes for officers.
The MPD also plans to launch a translation app this summer for use on smartphones carried by officers. The app will be equipped with audio translation features for English, Chinese, and six other languages, along with text translation features for some 30 languages, including Arabic. "If police officers on the ground become able to handle cases involving foreign individuals by themselves, the staff at the Interpreter Center will be able to focus on interpreting for interrogations," says Kenichiro Kinoshita, the officer in charge of interpreting management at the Center.
Minnesota Station Wants to Aid Limited-English Speakers Before and After a Crisis
Twin Cities Pioneer Press (07/07/19) Weniger, Deanna
Lillian McDonald, managing director of Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in St. Paul, Minnesota, hopes to allay the fears of limited-English speakers by creating a channel that's on 24/7 posting emergency information in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. Eventually, the channel will cover more, such as educational topics from police departments on a variety of public health and safety issues.
Last December, McDonald, through TPT, secured a $37,464 grant from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation to work specifically with the St. Paul Police Department on creating some of these emergency messages. She hopes to eventually share these public service announcements with the 30 other counties in the station's broadcasting area that reaches about one million households, many in areas where English is a second language.
Eric Waage, director of Hennepin County Emergency Management, says this kind of channel is unique and that its development is being watched closely by federal agencies that are always looking for better ways to reach these populations quickly with daily health and safety content and emergency messages.
"For most places in the U.S., if they push the proverbial big siren button, anything that's available is going to be in English, which doesn't serve your population well," Waage says. "With this channel, we have the ability to provide language services immediately so people can get the message right away."
The channel, TPT Now, is connected to constant real-time feeds from news and weather services. There's also a banner that changes randomly with public service announcements in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali. Waage says having the local team of linguists that McDonald has assembled is an indispensable tool for emergency managers. McDonald's team has participated in two drills so far to improve efficiency. One drill included three linguists on each language team, two translating and a third proofreading a message sent by the emergency management team in another room. Waage says during that exercise team members kept practicing to speed up their response time.
"We have to make sure that we all agree on the best way to deliver the message because when you translate something, there are a million different ways to say the same sentence depending on who you are and what your world view is, even though you speak the same language," says Said Farah, a Somali translator working on the team.
McDonald is currently recruiting foundations, nonprofits, and businesses to be part of a Community Resiliency Advisory Council that will help educate these communities so they bounce back faster after a tragedy. This is where the partnership with the St. Paul Police Department comes in. Through 2019, the department will be able to use TPT's resources to record videos on gun safety, community engagement, car theft, and police recruitment. TPT will broadcast these videos on its other stations and pass them on to Hmong, Somali, and Latino media partners.
To McDonald's critics who worry about losing American identity by speaking to the diverse populations in languages other than English, she says, "I know the expectation is that when people are in this country, they should just learn English, but you can't learn English on the fly in a crisis."
Will Language Learning Suffer After Brexit?
BBC (07/03/19) Branwen, Jeffreys
A new report from the British Council says Brexit is causing underprivileged children to fall further behind when it comes to learning other languages.
The report describes a shift in attitude, with some parents in disadvantaged areas telling teachers that languages will be of "little use" once the U.K. leaves the European Union.
Teresa Tinsley, a linguist who served as the lead researcher for the report, says secondary schools in poorer areas are reporting a very definite Brexit effect, which could lead to an even sharper decline in language learning. Many of these schools are reducing the number of language classes offered to students. Tinsley fears if languages become the preserve of students whose parents can afford to send them to private schools that offer more language options, then those from less privileged backgrounds will be left behind. "If they haven't got a language, that is a closing off of opportunities for work and culturally," she says.
Tinsley says many schools are also reporting a reduction in participation in foreign exchange programs, which provide students the chance to experience a different culture. The government's own guidance for schools says studying another language from primary school onward is a "liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures." But Tinsley says while some schools embrace language learning, others are struggling because of a lack of expertise or support from nearby secondary schools. "Schools that are not achieving well are focusing more on core subjects and primary SAT tests."
The report suggests students' choices for language learning may be very limited. For example, only five percent of primary schools surveyed by the British Council offered German. Peter Wittig, the German ambassador in London, says the British Council report is "alarming" and that the findings were both saddening and troubling. "Post-Brexit the U.K. will—understandably and rightly—seek a new and even greater role in our globalized world," Wittig says. "This will be facilitated if young Britons are inspired to be outward-looking and open from a very early age. If we are to value and further develop our relationship with each other, we will again have to learn, in every sense, to speak each other's language."
ATA 2019 Elections: Slate of Candidates
ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at the Association's 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California, to elect a president-elect, secretary, treasurer, and three directors. Watch the ATA website in September for candidate statements, photos, and podcast interviews.
Slate of Candidates for Election in 2019
- President-elect (two-year term)
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
- Secretary (two-year term)
- Treasurer (two-year term)
How are candidates selected for the slate?
- Director (three positions, three-year terms)
Learn who is eligible to hold ATA office, what the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee looks for in a potential candidate, how the Committee members are chosen, and more. Listen to Episode 33 of The ATA Podcast!
ATA Webinar: Self-editing Translations from English>Russian
Presenter: Elena Werner
Date: July 31
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Language: Russian, English
CE Points: 2 ATA-approved
All excellent translations have two things in common: they are equivalent to the original and they do not read like a translation. Although translations that do not quite hit the mark fail in their own way, there is a single three-step self-editing technique that will consistently help English>Russian translators achieve the goal.
In this two-hour webinar, presenter Elena Werner will guide attendees through the process, using sample text to edit misunderstandings, stylistic errors, false friends, register errors, and mistranslations. Presented in Russian and English.
Click to learn more and register!
About the Presenter
Elena Werner is an ATA-certified English>Russian translator who provides translation, proofreading, and editing services for a number of language services companies in the Pacific Northwest. She has also worked as a certified court interpreter for the states of Oregon and Washington. Elena has taught translation and interpreting for more than 30 years.
Free ATA Members-Only Webinar for July
ATA offers members one free monthly webinar. Each webinar is available on-demand for 30 days. Don't wait to watch this month's freebie!
Translating for the International Development Sector
International development translation for government agencies, development contractors, NGOs, and private foundations that work in developing countries may be the biggest specialization you've never considered pursuing!
Invest Your Marketing Budget Where It Counts
Whether you want to reach the 1,400+ conference attendees or the more than 10,000 ATA members, the ATA60 Conference can make it happen!
Conference Program advertising is a proven strategy to reach a large audience at a very affordable price. Place your ad now! Deadline August 16. Learn more.
Connect with new customers that you plan on doing business with for years to come. Plus meet face-to-face with the customers you have been doing business with for years. Learn more.
Nothing beats a conference sponsorship for high-profile, high-impact exposure. Budget-friendly options! Learn more.
Onsite Promotion Conference App
Your company will be promoted daily through the onsite conference app—every attendee has free access to the app and more than 70% say they use it several times daily. Contact ATA.
Web Banner and Buttons
The ATA website has over 3.6 million hits each year and website usage continues to grow. Run a clickable banner or button ad on the Conference website. Contact ATA.
ATA Board Meeting: August 3-4
The ATA Board of Directors will meet August 3-4 in Denver, Colorado. All ATA members are invited—and encouraged—to attend.
Don't know much about what this means or how the Board works? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a look at what happens "Inside the ATA Board Room."
Book Your Room in Palm Springs
The ATA60 Conference will take place at the Palm Springs Convention Center (October 23-26). ATA has arranged for attendee discounts at two hotels. Be sure to book your room early! It is not unusual for the room block to sell out before the end of the discounted rates. Learn more and book now.
Why stay at a conference hotel?
One of the best things about attending the conference is "being there"—running into other attendees in the elevator, meeting people in the lobby, and feeling the enthusiasm and energy long after sessions have ended for the day. There is nothing like it.
Don't forget the roommate blog
Looking for a way to stay in one of the conference hotels and save money too? Why not share the expense with a roommate. The ATA60 Conference Blog can connect you to other attendees looking for a roommate. You can also use the blog to set up a rideshare for additional savings. Give it a try!
Stay and win
Make your room reservation by October 21 for a chance to win a free night in the hotel!
Beware of room booking scams
ATA60 Conference attendees may be contacted by an individual claiming to be an official booking agency for ATA or the host hotel. The offer is a cheaper rate on a hotel room.
Everyone loves a bargain. But this is not that. It's "room poaching."
Many of those who paid money to secure a better price found that there was no room reservation when they arrived or that the room was there, but in a shabby hotel without even the most basic services.
If you are contacted, please obtain as much detail as you can (name of company, individual's name, phone number, email address, etc.) and email Adrian Aleckna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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