Breaking News, Top Stories
- ATA Podcast: Halftime Show Ready to Download
What's up with the big push in ATA advocacy this year? Didn't I hear something about free webinars for ATA members? Is there a future for intermediate-to-advanced ATA seminars? Why Palm Springs? President Corinne McKay and President-Elect Ted Wozniak have all the answers and more in Episode 34 of The ATA Podcast. If you've always been too busy to listen to an ATA podcast, you'll want to make time for this one. Click to listen!
- ATA Annual Conference Registration Open
Discover strategies to stay competitive, make the connections that make a difference, and meet the people who are looking to hire. ATA60 has what you need. Click to register!
- New YouTube Video! Introduction to ATA Certification
YouTube has become the go-to place for answers. From how to assemble a piece of furniture from Ikea to why is my car making that funny noise, everything is there. And now so are the answers to questions about ATA certification and the certification exam. Click to watch!
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Condemns Justice Department's New Immigration Hearing Policy
U.S. News & World Report (DC) (07/19/19) Hansen, Claire
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has denounced a recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) policy to discontinue in-person interpreting at initial immigration court hearings for asylum seekers and other immigrants facing deportation.
"The elimination of interpreters is a significant impediment to the fair administration of justice, and is a blatant violation of the due process and civil rights of immigrants with limited English proficiency (LEP), who are entitled to understand what is happening at their hearings," the Commission said in a statement.
Under the new policy, in-person interpreters will be replaced by an informational video at "master calendar" hearings, where immigration judges schedule future hearings and inform immigrants of their rights. For now, the initial video is available in Spanish, but will expand to other languages.
Certain courts in New York and Miami have already begun showing the video. Advocates who watched the video—which was recorded in English but dubbed in Spanish with Spanish subtitles—say it was difficult to understand and filled with legalese. Advocates fear the new system will not give immigrants a fair shot in cases that decide whether they will be deported.
Under the policy, immigrants who wish to ask the judge a question but do not speak English would only be able to do so if they have a bilingual attorney. Immigrants are not afforded a lawyer by the government and often have difficulty procuring and paying for legal representation.
The DOJ says the policy is a result of budget constraints for an immigration court system bogged down under a growing backlog. However, advocates, lawyers, and immigration judges have raised concerns about the new policy. Internal email shows instances in which judges are pushing back against the move, saying it will not save time and is problematic because some immigrants do not read or speak Spanish well. "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?"
The Commission on Civil Rights said in its statement that fiscal pressures "do not exempt agencies from their responsibility to ensure due process and civil rights requirements are met, especially when the serious consequences of being deported are involved."
World Language Advancement and Readiness Act Included in U.S. House Defense Reauthorization Bill
Joint National Committee for Languages (MD) (07/18/19) Calvin, Trey
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted unanimously to include the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act (WLARA) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2020. WLARA seeks to expand language learning at the elementary and secondary levels.
"The U. S. is lagging behind other nations in language proficiency, which threatens our ability to succeed in global military and diplomatic missions," says Representative David Price, who introduced the amendment. "This bipartisan amendment will prepare elementary and secondary school students for future service by focusing a majority of the grant funding on languages considered critical by the U.S. Department of Defense."
Representative Don Young was also an early supporter and original sponsor of WLARA in the House. "We should be doing all we can to ensure that America's students are equipped to become leaders in business and civic life," Young says. "The World Language Advancement and Readiness Act helps America keep pace with other developed nations by providing the language education our students need to secure good jobs, achieve success in global marketplaces, and successfully navigate multilingual business environments." Young adds that the legislation also helps "build a pipeline for growing experts in languages that are critical to our national defense."
The world languages amendment would create a grant program to establish, improve, or expand world language programs in U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity schools and in local education agencies that host a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program to bolster national and economic security.
"None of this would have been possible without the connections our advocates have made over the past three to four years with members of Congress and staffers," says Bill Rivers, executive director of the Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies. "I hope our advocates understand that this is the direct result of their impact. They deserve this victory."
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the multi-billion dollar defense authorization bill earlier this month. The U.S. Senate passed its own version of the NDAA in late June without the world languages amendment included. The next step is for select members of the two chambers to meet in a conference committee to iron out differences between the two versions of the bill.
California Governor Signs Bill Establishing Statewide Translation Standards for Ballots
Los Angeles Japanese Daily (CA) (07/22/19)
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that will change how a candidate's name is translated and listed on local ballots.
Until now, California law required the translation of ballots and ballot materials into languages other than English, but there have been no statewide translation standards for candidates born with a character-based given birth name.
"Thank you, Governor Gavin Newsom for signing Assembly Bill 57, authored by California State Assemblyman Evan Low," says California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. "It was frustrating that when I ran for state treasurer I was not able to use my given birth name, a name that appears on our extensive Ma multi-generational family tree, as well as the name that appeared 14 times on local ballots since my tenure in public service began almost 20 years ago."
Under Assembly Bill 57, if a jurisdiction provides a translation of the candidates' alphabet-based names into a character-based language, such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, then it will be required to provide phonetic transliterations of the alphabet-based names of candidates. By establishing standards for names translated into character-based languages, Assembly Bill 57 will ensure that the ballot reflects the true identity of candidates.
The bill also states that if a candidate's name is to appear on the ballot in more than one jurisdiction in an election, then all of those jurisdictions are required to use the same phonetic transliteration or character-based translation of the name.
"In California, we are proud to celebrate our diversity. In doing so, it is important to decrease barriers to the ballot for minority communities," says Low. "This legislation will lift up our Asian and Pacific Islander community and increase access to the most fundamental piece of our democracy."
Lack of Interpreters at Queens Housing Court Denies Equal Justice
QNS.com (NY) (07/05/19) Parrott, Max
New York City's Queens Housing Court has a serious shortage of qualified interpreters, which is especially troubling since equal access to tenant protection law hinges on interpreting services.
Queens has the highest number of non-English speakers in the five boroughs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 26% of its residents are classified as limited-English proficient. While interpreting services play a key role in the justice system in Queens, these services often leave non-English speakers confused about how to navigate the courts, confronted with unsolicited legal advice from their interpreters, or reliant on independently contracted interpreters who do not have a thorough understanding of the legal system.
"Interpreting is subpar and some interpreters are telling people in the hallway, 'Just move out. You have no case, no defense.' And we're like, 'You're not a lawyer. Don't tell people that,'" says Sateesh Nori, the attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society's Queens Neighborhood Office. "But there's no one else in the building who can understand the language, and so these interpreters have this weird power and a lack of training."
According to a spokesperson for the Queens Housing Court, interpreters are made aware of their ethical and professional responsibilities when they attend seminars on ethics. They are also provided with a court interpreter manual containing this information. However, these measures often fall short, especially when many qualified interpreters do not apply due to the low pay offered. "In the state court, interpreters are paid way less than the federal interpreters, so there's a different caliber of person that takes on this work," Nori says.
"Because the city lowered the quality that they require, pretty much anyone who is a native speaker can do it," says Florie Ho, who worked on a per diem basis as a Chinese interpreter in the housing court. She says it's frustrating to hear about interpreters getting hired that are ill-prepared for the job. "I think the courts need to know whether or not they actually care about people understanding the judges and the lawyers and what's going on."
Harrisonburg, Virginia, Begins Providing Interpreters
Daily News Record (VA) (07/18/19) Griffin, Laine
Interpreters will now be available at city council and planning commission meetings in the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The pilot program will provide Spanish interpreting services to those in need if requested four days in advance. It will allow for both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting.
The pilot program was initiated by Councilman Sal Romero, but will be led by Assistant to the City Manager Amy Snider. Romero brought the idea to the city council's attention in January, emphasizing the importance of bridging the communications gap between city officials and the community. The idea partially stemmed from his working for the Harrisonburg City Public Schools as the coordinator for family and community engagement. Over 60 languages are spoken in the city schools, including Spanish, Kurdish, and Arabic.
"The city believes providing interpreters when needed will enable our residents with limited-English proficiency to further engage with our city and to more easily share their perspectives with city leadership," Snider says. "Focusing on innovation and providing trusted services are key values for the city, and we believe this new program will go a long way toward furthering those goals."
Harrisonburg Director of Communications Michael Parks says city staff will evaluate the program at the end of the yearlong program. The city will utilize the interpreting equipment owned by the Harrisonburg City Public Schools on an as-needed basis. The city is also working on providing interpreters for additional languages such as Arabic and Kurdish.
Record Number of Australian Students Flock to Aboriginal Languages
The Age (Australia) (07/21/19) Cook, Henrietta
A record number of students in Victoria, Australia, are studying Aboriginal languages, with enrollments expected to increase as a new generation of children revive Indigenous cultures in kindergarten.
According to the Victorian Department of Education and Training, 1,867 state school students were enrolled in Aboriginal languages last year, up from just 23 students in 2011.
Lionel Bamblett, general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, says the "phenomenal growth" in enrollments had been spurred by a growing interest in Aboriginal Australia. "If we are going to move forward, we have to have a clear understanding of each other."
Bamblett says that learning an Aboriginal language helps students develop a strong cultural identity and gives them an understanding of Australian history. "It goes a long way toward breaking down stereotypes and making sure there is good interaction between our children and non-Indigenous children," he says. There are also the benefits associated with learning all second languages: improved memory, concentration, and enhanced literacy skills.
Boronia West Primary School is among 14 Victorian state schools that teach an Aboriginal language. Last year, it introduced its students to Woiwurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri people. The school previously offered Japanese, but Principal Jennie Brown says that the community did not relate to the language. Initially, Woiwurrung was delivered within the school's visual arts program, but it has since been incorporated into all classes. "The response has been really positive," says Claire Axton, a teacher at the school.
Hannah O’Brien, a sixth-grade student who recently discovered she was Aboriginal, says she has enjoyed learning the language and more about her heritage. "I've found it easier to pick up than Japanese," she says. "It's fun, and we have learnt lots of interesting stuff. I think it's important."
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino says learning Aboriginal languages is a great way to celebrate Victoria's rich Indigenous history and culture. "It's great to see this increase in the number of students learning Aboriginal languages in our schools, which reflects the hard work that's been done to build the teaching and knowledge of Aboriginal languages in recent years."
This work includes the introduction of two new courses for Aboriginal-language instructors and a $17.9 million initiative that will fund weekly language classes in kindergartens. The funding will also provide 160 kindergartens with extra staff to teach languages, with Aboriginal-language classes being the second most popular choice after Chinese.
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Last Call: Self-editing Translations from English>Russian Webinar
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: 1) they are equivalent to the original and 2) 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.
Join presenter Elena Werner for this two-hour webinar to learn how self-editing can improve the quality of your Russian translations. Presented in Russian and English.
Free ATA Members-Only Webinar for August
ATA offers members one free monthly webinar. Each webinar is available on-demand for 30 days. Here's the next free webinar for the month of August.
More Tools, Toys, and Tips for 'Terps
There's an app for everything, right? In this webinar, veteran interpreter Cris Silva reviews a number of apps that can help interpreters prepare for assignments, boost public speaking abilities, and strengthen performance skills.
Deadline for Exhibit Space Discounts Is July 31!
ATA’s 60th Annual Conference is the ultimate opportunity to connect to thousands of translators, interpreters, and language services company owners and employees, as well as students who will be entering the T&I professions soon. This is the targeted audience your company needs to succeed.
What do you get as an exhibitor?
Find out now! Visit the ATA60 website for details on how ATA will promote your company before, during, and after the conference.
Reserve your booth by July 31 for the best discounts!
Questions? Need more information? Call us at (703) 683-6100, extension 3001, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest Issue of Translatio Available
The latest issue of Translatio, the quarterly newsletter of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), is available for download. In addition to covering ATA’s 60th Annual Conference this October, the newsletter announced next year’s FIT XXII World Congress in Varadero, Cuba. The issue also reported on the landmark ruling on asylum for Afghan interpreters employed by the French army.
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