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Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Delay on Decoupling


After receiving feedback from members who felt that they were not sufficiently informed about the rationale for and implementation of opening the ATA certification exams to nonmembers (planned for January 1, 2020), the ATA Board voted to postpone this change until January 1, 2021.

To learn more about the reasons behind the decision to open the exam to nonmembers, as well as details about the implementation of this change, click to read Frequently Asked Questions about Opening the Certification Exam to Nonmembers.
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Industry News


California Legislature Passes AB5, Which Could Turn Contractors into Employees
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) (09/11/19) Said, Carolyn; Gardiner, Dustin

On September 10, the California State Senate passed gig-work legislation that could transform the state's employment landscape by turning many independent contractors, including translators and interpreters, into employees.

The bill now heads to the California State Assembly, where lawmakers must agree to amendments. If it passes a final vote there, AB5 goes to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom, who has said he would sign the bill, which would go into effect as soon as January 2020.

AB5 seeks to codify and clarify the California Supreme Court's Dynamex decision on the classification of contractors and employees in California. The Dynamex decision was a significant departure from the generally accepted definition of contractors and employees. It created a standard whereby workers are presumed to be employees until proven otherwise, and specified that contractors must "perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business."

State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, who co-authored the bill, has criticized tech companies and some traditional employers, saying they have, for decades, exploited workers with false contractor labels. "Let's be clear, there's nothing innovative about underpaying someone for their labor and basing an entire business model on misclassifying workers," Durazo says.

Hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, including translators and interpreters, could become employees after the law takes effect. California unions, which pushed for passage of AB5, hope to organize newly-minted employees, especially those at gig companies. Such a bill being enacted into California law is, understandably, of great concern to translators and interpreters, who are not exempt.

The law's impact could be even more far-reaching. Amid concerns over income inequality, the issue of employment status has become part of the national conversation—and California often sets the pace for the rest of the United States. Opponents, who include both companies and workers, say they value the flexibility of independent contractors. Businesses in several industries, including ride-hailing, gig deliveries, hospitals, newspapers, and truck owner-operators, warn that adding the costs of employment could be devastating and result in higher charges to consumers and curtailed service.
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Confusion, Delays as Videos Replace Interpreters at Immigrants' Hearings
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) (09/05/19) Kopan, Tal

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been slow to implement its new policy to replace in-person interpreters with informational videos at immigrants' initial hearings, but the switch is causing delays and confusion where it has been introduced.

The DOJ informed immigration judges in late June that it would replace in-person interpreters at the first court appearance for asylum seekers and other immigrants facing deportation with videos advising them of their rights. The switchover began in July. So far, the policy has been rolled out to courts in just four cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. It's not clear when the policy will expand.

Judges and attorneys observing the courts say the change has mostly served to delay proceedings by adding lengthy steps and information that is unnecessary for all immigrants to hear. Judges in courts who have made the change are required to play either a Spanish-dubbed or English-language video for immigrants who do not have attorneys representing them. The 20-minute video runs through a lengthy list of technical legal advisories. Videos in other languages are not yet available, but the DOJ has plans to introduce them.

Roughly a fifth of the videos are devoted to a discussion of "voluntary departure," under which immigrants can go back to their home country without being penalized if they try to come back later. The videos also warn immigrants of the criminal consequences of trying to re-enter the country illegally after being deported. Legal experts and veteran immigration judges say neither topic was commonly brought up in initial hearings before the videos were introduced. This is because these topics are most relevant at the end of cases, if immigrants do not prevail in their bid to remain in the U.S. Judges say they fear that the emphasis on voluntary departures and criminal penalties could prompt immigrants with valid claims to stay in the U.S. to waive their rights without fully understanding what they're doing.

The DOJ did not consult with the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), which represents immigration judges, before making the change, and has proceeded despite ongoing bargaining with the group. The result is "lots of confusion, constantly changing parameters of the program by the DOJ, and frustration among many judges," says NAIJ President Ashley Tabaddor, who is also an immigration judge in Los Angeles.

"There was no problem that needed to be solved by the introduction of videos," says NAIJ Vice President Amiena Khan, a judge in New York. "What really bothers me is that the videos are mandatory," she says. "I think if it was discretionary as a tool for the judge to use, it could be helpful, but it takes away our judicial independence as to what method to employ to best get through the day's docket."

Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, says the videos use "scare tactics" instead of informing immigrants of their rights. She says the videos warn immigrants against filing frivolous asylum claims, but do not explain what asylum is. "The videos provide an overwhelming amount of information that no one can easily digest in one sitting," Lynch says. "What's more disturbing is that the content itself only tells one side of the story."
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How Do Latino Voters Feel When U.S. Presidential Candidates Speak Spanish?
Los Angeles Times (CA) (09/08/19) Gomez, Melissa

Several 2020 U.S. presidential candidates have spoken at least some Spanish on the campaign trail, but does a candidate speaking Spanish make a difference to voters who know the language? The answer can be as nuanced as the Latino electorate, which is often mischaracterized as a monolithic voting bloc.

"There's nothing more powerful than somebody saying, 'I'm fighting for you,' without the use of an interpreter," says Edgar Flores, a state assemblyman whose east Las Vegas district is nearly 70% Latino. Flores, who is bilingual, hosts events for constituents in Spanish and English, and believes using the second-most spoken language in the U.S. is extremely effective in reaching voters, especially in Nevada, one of the country's most diverse states. But Speaking Spanish is not the sole means to winning the Latino vote, he and others caution. "When you come to the community, just saying 'hola' isn't enough," Flores says. "They need to know what issues you stand for."

Latino voters could be a major force in 2020, when they are expected to surpass African Americans to become the largest minority voting bloc, according to the Pew Research Center. An estimated 32 million Hispanic voters, a Pew category that includes Latinos and some non-Latinos, will account for more than 13% of all Americans eligible to cast a ballot.

Maria Luisa Escobar, a housekeeper at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, says she respects politicians who speak her first language. "I like that they are open to other cultures," Escobar says. She says many Spanish-speaking citizens are hesitant to participate in English-dominant settings. "When it comes time to vote, there are times when they feel like they can't, because they don't understand," Escobar says, "So it's important that the information is in Spanish."

However, polls have shown that a candidate's language ability is not as important to Latino voters as their positions on issues. A Univision poll conducted after the June debate found that 53% of respondents said a candidate speaking Spanish was a motivation for them to vote; 35% said it didn't matter.

Leo Murrieta, director of Make the Road Nevada, an immigrant advocacy group, appreciates candidates who learn Spanish, but says, "If you can't tell me in Spanish what you're going to do to lower drug prices for my parents, let's just stick to English and let the interpreters do what they do."

"If you're speaking my language and you're expressing to me in my language what your plans are for the issues I care about, I'll understand you better," Escobar says. "But if you are utilizing my language to sweeten the pill, no. I'll go with English."
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European Commission Launches 2019 Translation Contest for Schools
European Commission (Belgium) (08/20/19)

The European Commission announced the 13th edition of its annual Juvenes Translatores competition for 17-year-old secondary-school students throughout Europe.

Starting in September, schools from all European Union (EU) member states can register online so students can compete with peers from across Europe. This year's contest tasks participants with translating a text on the topic of what young people can do to help shape Europe's future. "In Europe, we are happy to speak and understand each other in different languages," states European Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger. "It is great to see that young people appreciate the benefits of mastering foreign languages and are hungry to learn more. I encourage them to take part in this year's Juvenes Translatores competition and showcase their impressive language skills."

Participants will be permitted to translate between any two of the EU's 24 official languages. Following registration, the Commission will invite 751 schools to participate, with the number of schools from each country being equal to the number of seats the country has in the European Parliament. A computer will choose the schools at random. Selected schools must then nominate two to five students to take part in the contest.

This year's contest is scheduled for November 21, to be held simultaneously in all participating schools. Starting this year, the contest will be run online. Three winners from each country will be announced by early February 2020, and will be awarded prizes at a special ceremony in Brussels in the spring.

While in Brussels, students will be able to meet the professional translators from the Commission's Translation Department who evaluated their translations and discuss working with languages.
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Translator Edith Grossman To Be Honored by Words Without Borders
Publishing Perspectives (NY) (09/05/19) Anderson, Porter

Edith Grossman, a renowned literary translator [and a longtime ATA member], will receive the 2019 Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature from translation advocacy organization Words Without Borders.

Grossman is the translator-of-record for many of the most important Spanish-language authors, including Miguel de Cervantes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

"In a career that spans over half a century—translating, teaching the art of translation, and advocating for the value of translators—Edith has truly shown us all why translation matters," says Samantha Schnee, founding editor of Words Without Borders.

The Ottaway Award is just the latest in a string of prizes Grossman has been awarded, including the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and the Officer's Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, awarded by the King of Spain Felipe VI.
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ATA News


California Passes AB5

 Both houses of the California State Legislature have now passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). The landmark legislation that seeks to redefine independent contractor status only needs Governor Gavin Newsom's signature to become law on January 1, 2020.

Recognizing the potential negative impact AB5 would have for the many members who choose to provide freelance services, ATA joined a number of other associations requesting an exemption for translators and interpreters in August. (See "ATA Position on California Assembly Bill 5" in the August 15 issue of ATA Newsbriefs.)

While exemptions were given to dozens of occupations in the final bill, including doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants, private investigators, and insurance agents in the final bill, no exemption was made for translators and interpreters.

According to CNBC news, bills proposing similar employee classification rules are pending in Washington State and Oregon.

The Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), an advocacy organization in Washington, DC, is monitoring opposition to AB5 as well as supporting other U.S. advocacy efforts on behalf of the language professions. Look for updates on the JNCL website. And be sure to check out ATA’s advocacy efforts earlier this year.
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ATA60 Bits and Pieces

You Belong at ATA60!
There is no better opportunity for translators, interpreters, and company owners to learn, share ideas, and build invaluable personal and professional relationships. Register today!

Advanced Skills & Training Day
Supercharge your conference experience, expand your conference education! Learn from some of the most experienced translators and interpreters in the profession! Already registered for the conference? It's not too late to add an AST session. Learn more!

Job Fair
The ATA60 Job Fair includes two evenings to connect with company reps who are recruiting professionals like you. Don't wait to have your website and résumé found online. Go to where the jobs are—and take your business cards with you. Learn more!

Sign Up to be a Buddy
Get ready to help an overwhelmed first-time attendee navigate the conference.  Sign up or show up! ATA-certified translators will earn 2 CEPs for their participation as a Buddy. Learn more!

Listen In, Learn More
Conference Organizer Ted Wozniak shares all the reasons why ATA60 will be super in Episode 35 of The ATA Podcast. Listen now!
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ATA Elections 2019: Meet the Candidates

Statements from this year's candidates are now available online. Take time to learn more about the individuals on the slate—from background to experience to what they hope to accomplish as a member of the ATA Board. And don’t forget to vote!

Slate of Candidates for Election in 2019

How are candidates selected for the slate?
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.

Are you eligible for ATA Voting Membership?
Associate members who can demonstrate that they are professionally engaged in translation, interpreting, or closely related fields may be eligible for ATA Voting membership. The qualification process, called Active Membership Review, is free and online.

Do it now! To vote in ATA's 2019 Elections, you must be approved for Voting membership status by September 23, 2019.
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Proposed Amendments on Ballot

In addition to electing Board officers and directors, voting members will also vote on proposed amendments to ATA's Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. ATA’s Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the voting members.

Read the proposed amendment to the Bylaws
Read the proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation

Be an informed voter. Each proposal is accompanied by commentary to explain the rationale for the amendment. Take time to learn what these changes will mean to the operation and governance of the association.
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ATA60 Conference Hotel Update

New! The Courtyard Palm Springs is now offering ATA60-discounted room rates!

Limited Availability
ATA60 room blocks at both the Hilton Palm Springs Hotel and the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel are close to selling out.

All three hotels offer guests complimentary shuttle service from Palm Springs International Airport!

Why book your room now?
It's not unusual for conference room blocks to sell out before the end of the discounted rates. ATA rates end September 30, 2019 or when the room block is full. Make your room reservation online today to guarantee you don't miss out!

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.

Why not save money 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 ride share for additional savings. Give it a try!
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ATA60 Exhibit Hall Near Sell Out

Only ten booths left! Don’t miss this opportunity to grow your business.

Quality Networking
One complimentary conference registration--your ticket to networking at all conference events. Includes three days of educational sessions. A $540 value!

Brand Recognition
High-impact advertising to more than 10,000 industry professionals--before, during, and after the conference. Invaluable brand recognition!

Exclusive Promotion
Company name, website, and profile promoted on the ATA conference website. Not available any other time of the year!

Direct Marketing
Conference App with real-time connections to 1,400 attendees. Unparalleled access to your target market!

Putting your company in the right place at the right time couldn't be easier. Act now to reserve your booth!
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Get Ready to Celebrate in a Big Way!

ATA is set to make International Translation Day 2019 all about showing the world what a typical day in the life of a translator or interpreter looks like. You can help! Just share ATA's ITD video with your family, friends, and clients on September 30. Look for the video link on all ATA social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Make your voice heard—share, follow, and promote #InternationalTranslationDay and #ataitd2019 on September 30!
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In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA 2019 Elections: Candidate Statements
Calling all Voting members! Participating in ATA’s annual elections is your opportunity to help shape the future of the Association. Learn what this year’s candidates for ATA’s Board of Directors have to say, and remember to vote!

Are You Getting the Most from Your ATA Directory Profile?
To enable potential clients to make the most effective use of the Directory of Translators and Interpreters, ATA members should strive to keep their profiles up to date. Members should also take advantage of all of the Directory options that allow an individual to highlight their services. (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux and Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests
If approached with the right mindset, translation tests can be a professionally enriching experience for translators. Remember, there’s a lot more being judged than your translation ability. (Marina Ilari)

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Future-Proofed Translator: What I Learned from TAUS
As language specialists, we tend to think of machine translation and artificial intelligence as the monsters under the bed. But if we’re willing to embrace these monsters, we can use them to our advantage. (Tess Whitty)

ATA at the New York Rights Fair and Book Expo
ATA’s presence at the New York Rights Fair and Book Expo was a resounding success. Enthusiastic responses received from potential clients reveal a wealth of opportunities for our members in the publishing industries, both in the U.S. and abroad. (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux)

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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ATA60 Annual Conference Sponsors


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News summaries © copyright 2019 SmithBucklin

September 17, 2019

In This Issue

Delay on Decoupling
California Passes AB5
ATA60 Bits and Pieces
ATA Elections: Candidates
Proposed Amendments
ATA60 Hotel Update
ATA60 Exhibit Hall
Int'l Translation Day
The ATA Chronicle
ATA60 Sponsors



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