Free Webinars for ATA Members
ATA is now offering members one free monthly webinar on demand. Check out May's freebie below. It will be available until June 2. Don't wait to watch it!
The Price is Right!
How do you set and get a fair price for your translation services? Watch this webinar to find out! You'll learn the most effective strategies for calculating your target rate, setting minimum fees, and establishing compensation for additional services.
Free Webinar for June
Next month's free webinar will be Specialization: why and how, and what's the big deal? Look for it on June 3!
FBI Translator Accused of Lying about Hearing His Own Voice on a Wiretap
Washington Post (DC) (05/06/19) Weiner, Rachel
A Virginia man who previously served as a linguist for the FBI was arrested on charges of obstructing a federal investigation and making multiple false statements to FBI officials.
According to prosecutors in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, aka Haji Raghe, was a federal contractor for the FBI working as a linguist translating communications captured by court-authorized surveillance of a suspect in a terrorism investigation. Wehelie allegedly intentionally misidentified his own voice that was captured when the suspect left a voicemail message on Wehelie's cell phone in December 2012. When questioned by FBI investigators about the incident, Wehelie made several misleading and/or false statements.
Wehelie was indicted in late 2017, when he was still living in Virginia, but was only arrested earlier this month when he returned to the U.S. after teaching at a university in Somalia for nine months. Wehelie appeared in court before being released on bond.
Wehelie is the third person in his immediate family to be publicly ensnared in a terrorism investigation. His son, Yusuf Wehelie, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being caught in a sting operation moving guns for cash. Yusuf and his older brother, Yahya Wehelie, were held and interrogated in Egypt in 2010 on a trip back from Yemen. But defense attorney Nina Ginsberg says the current case has no connection to Wehelie's sons and that her client is not accused of any involvement in terrorist activity. "There is no allegation that an investigation has been impeded in any way, or that there were any national security consequences to his conduct," Ginsberg states.
According to the unsealed indictment, Wehelie did not tell his superiors that he heard his own voicemail message on the wiretap. Instead, he labeled himself in his FBI log as an "unidentified male." He also changed his voicemail message so that he no longer identified himself by name.
In 2016 interviews with the FBI, Wehelie said he never had a conversation with the caller and received only one voicemail from him. He also claimed--falsely, according to prosecutors--that he had reported his relationship with the suspect to supervisors.
Eventually, Wehelie admitted that he spoke to the suspect in 2013 and 2014. According to the indictment, they talked about 10 times between November 2013 and April 2017. The indictment also states that Wehelie spent time at the man's store and cafe.
If convicted, Wehelie faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
South Carolina Expanding Interpreters on Wheels Program
The Union Times (SC) (05/01/19) Maultsby, Baker
A $12,500 grant from the Spartanburg Regional Foundation is allowing one of South Carolina's largest health care systems to expand its access to interpreters to better serve a widely diverse population.
The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System's Interpreters on Wheels program uses software to provide access to 5,000 interpreters in more than 200 languages through an app. The app, which can be used on tablets, is accessible at any time from anywhere with an internet connection. Hospitals around the state take advantage of the program when they do not have an interpreter on staff who speaks the language needed.
The need is great. Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System employs 21 interpreters--six full-time, one part-time, and 14 on an as-needed basis--who support patients who speak Spanish, Russian, and American Sign Language. But the interpreters are not available for every situation or language.
"We have a high population of Spanish-speaking residents, and the number of those who speak Russian and Ukranian is growing, but we're also seeing other languages become more common, such as Swahili," says Marchele Garrett, director of Spartanburg Regional's Diversity and Language Services office. Garrett adds that the Spartanburg Region is home to a significant population of immigrants from Southeast Asia who speak Khmer, Laotian, and Vietnamese. "That's why Interpreters on Wheels is essential," Garrett says.
"Imagine not knowing what anyone is talking about and not being able to fully communicate what's going on," Garrett says. "For the caregiver, if you don't have the means to understand your patient, it's more difficult to provide treatment."
Garrett's office provides iPads, mounted onto rolling carts, for high-traffic areas in the health system and for specific situations that require the support of the Interpreters on Wheels program. She says the grant from the Spartanburg Regional Foundation has allowed her office to add 10 more iPads and carts. "This grant has helped us to expand the program in a significant way, and we're able to reach more people in need." For Garrett, whether it's an in-person interpreter or one working remotely, "it's a feeling of satisfaction when you can help take care of a patient properly."
National Endowment for the Humanities Awards Grants to Native Language Immersion Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities (DC) (05/06/19)
Thirteen native language immersion programs will receive funding to expand and support language and culture education programs within tribal communities through an ongoing partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and First Nations Development Institute.
First Nations, a native-led nonprofit that invests in institutions and models that support economic development and sustain cultural knowledge and practices within Native American communities, announced that the grants will be awarded to American Indian and Alaska Native language programs. Each program will receive up to $90,000 for curriculum development, technology access, and the recruitment and training of language teachers.
This is the second round of grants awarded through the Native Language Immersion Initiative, a three-year language revitalization project supported by $2.1 million in NEH funding, matched by First Nations. Additional funding for the initiative was provided by the Kalliopeia Foundation, Lannan Foundation, and NoVo Foundation.
"Every language that is lost represents the loss of history, knowledge, and identity," says NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. "Through this initiative, NEH is committed to helping Native American organizations and communities protect and revitalize the languages that are an essential part of their cultural heritage."
The United Nations recently declared 2019 The International Year of Indigenous Languages to increase awareness and appreciation of indigenous languages and their contributions to the world's rich cultural diversity. There are currently 150 native languages spoken in the U.S., many of them spoken only by a small number of elders. Without intervention, many of these languages are expected to disappear within the next 50 to 100 years, a significant loss of cultural heritage. Through this initiative, NEH and First Nations seek to stem the loss of indigenous languages and cultures by training new generations of Native American language speakers, and by establishing infrastructure and models for immersive native language programs that may be replicated in other communities.
Massachusetts Teacher Creates Gen Z Dictionary to Better Understand Students
Boston25 (MA) (05/04/19) Pappas, Litsa
Kids these days seem to be speaking another language, which is why a high school teacher in Lowell, Massachusetts, has created an urban dictionary of common terms used by his Generation Z students.
James Callahan, a sociology teacher at Lowell High School, decided to create an urban dictionary to define the terms he heard his students use. He explains that what may seem like normal words can take on a whole new meaning for teens. "Teenagers sort of have their own language, and I want to be able to understand that and try to reach them at their level," Callahan says.
Callahan's dictionary went viral when one of his students shared it on Twitter. The post was liked and shared more than 500,000 times. "It's been an interesting week, and I'm trying to embrace it," Callahan says.
His dictionary explains that "being dead" actually means that you're amused. In another example, Callahan explains that "snack" is a word used to describe an attractive person. What about the phrase "take an L"? It's actually short for "take a loss."
"This type of dictionary could help a lot of adults better understand and communicate with their children," Callahan says. "It's always kind of fun if I can use their words in my lectures, and the kids also get a kick out of it, so I feel like it makes me a more effective and better teacher," Callahan explains.
Callahan says now that he's received so much attention from across the country, he's hoping people will not only use his dictionary but also donate to some educational funds like the Donors Choose website to help Lowell schools.
ATA Webinar: Linguistic Challenges in Palliative Care
Presenter: Jessica Goldhirsch
Date: May 21, 2019
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point: 1 ATA-approved
Palliative care is often mistaken for hospice care. Add cultural and linguistic differences to that misunderstanding, and you have a very challenging situation for healthcare translators and interpreters.
In this webinar, Clinical Social Worker Jessica Goldhirsch will introduce attendees to palliative care within the context of a serious medical illness. Her presentation will cover the cultural, linguistic, and ethical challenges from the perspective of Western medicine.
During her presentation, Jessica will also share stories from her experiences working with palliative care patients in a hospital setting.
What will you learn?
Register Now! ATA Member Non-Member
- Differences between palliative and hospice care
- Common misconceptions
- Value as a field within the healthcare system
- Some common cultural barriers in palliative and end-of-life care
- Clarification of specialized terms used in this specialty
AFTI Announces ATA Annual Conference Scholarships
The American Foundation for Translation and Interpreting (AFTI), ATA's non-profit foundation, is pleased to announce five $500.00 scholarships to partially defray the cost of attending the 2019 ATA Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California, October 23-26, 2019.
The application deadline is June 30, 2019.
We welcome applications from students or recent graduates of translation or interpreting studies programs. Students may be part-time or full-time. The program must be offered by a college or university and may be a degree or certificate.
Scholarship winners will be announced by August 15, 2019.
New ATA Mission Statement
The simplest reason for a mission statement is to answer the question “What do we do?” It should succinctly state the fundamental purpose of an organization. ATA's Board of Directors recently approved the following mission statement.
ATA’s mission is to promote the recognition of professional translators and interpreters, to facilitate communication among its members, to establish standards of competence and ethics, to provide its members with professional development opportunities, and to advocate on behalf of the profession
The statement, which draws from Article II of ATA’s Bylaws, offers members and the public a quick snapshot of both the vision and the function of the Association.
ATA 2019 Elections: Announcement of Candidates
ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at ATA's 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California, to elect a president-elect, secretary, treasurer, and three directors.
The candidates proposed by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee are:
- President-elect (two-year term)
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
- Secretary (two-year term)
- Treasurer (two-year term)
- Director (three positions, three-year terms)
Additional nominations, supported by a written petition signed by no fewer than 60 voting members and the nominee's written acceptance statement, must be received by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee by May 30.
Get Certified! Take the Exam!!
ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
June 8, 2019 | Houston, Texas
Don't miss this chance to prepare for the ATA Certification Exam!
What do the workshop sessions cover?
Actual exam practice tests will be used to demonstrate how exams are graded, mistakes frequently made by test-takers, and ways to avoid common pitfalls. This opportunity to ask graders questions about the exam is invaluable.
Register now to save! Discounted registration rates available until May 24.
- Session I (9:00am – 12:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA English>Spanish Certification Exam
Instructors: Sarita Gómez-Mola, CT and Diego Mansilla, CT
Learn more and register now!
- Session II (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA Spanish>English Certification Exam
Instructors: Andy Klatt, CT and Holly Mikkelson, CT
Learn more and register now!
Both workshops are limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. These workshops will not be recorded.
Coming Up in the May/June Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA Adds Its Voice to Language Advocates in the Nation’s Capital
Over 160 world language advocates gathered in the Nation’s Capital in February to meet with members of Congress for Language Advocacy Day. (Caitilin Walsh)
Responding to Disaster: The 2017 North Bay Fires
The disastrous 2017 North Bay fires in California presented enormous challenges for disseminating timely and accurate information to the large, predominantly Hispanic, non-English-speaking population of Sonoma and Napa Counties. My experiences made it clear how a lack of preparation, at both the personal and community level, can exacerbate the challenges of a natural disaster. (Julie Burns)
International Literature: A Data-Driven Approach to Prioritizing Diversity
Why do books from some languages find their way into English while other cultures remain underrepresented? AmazonCrossing’s editorial director discusses what it takes for a book, author, and translator to reach readers in a new language. (Gabriella Page-Fort)
10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Website’s SEO
How many freelance translators and interpreters really take the time to adjust a few things behind the scenes to boost their website’s search engine ranking? (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
ATA Law Seminar: Four Perspectives
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. ATA’s Law Seminar provided just the kind of high-level, hands-on training attendees were looking for. (Bridget Hylak, Evelyn Yang Garland, Paul Merriam, and Chris Verduin)
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