ATA School Outreach Profiles

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ATA School Outreach Profiles

The prospect of going "back to school" to speak on careers in translation and interpreting can be intimidating, even overwhelming. In fact, almost everyone who's done it is amazed at how much fun they had and how much enthusiasm they gained from giving students a peek inside the profession.

Reaching out to kids in your local school is easy and energizing. Students are typically inquisitive, enthusiastic, and attentive regardless of grade level. Plus ATA's School Outreach Resource Materials give you everything you need to make a presentation.

Still skeptical? Take a look at the outreach profiles below and start to brainstorm how you could have your own school outreach story.

And don't forget to take a camera. The winner of our School Outreach Contest wins a free registration to ATA's Annual Conference!

Behind the Scenes: School Outreach Profiles

Alina Mugford – Bradenton, Florida

ATA member Alina Mugford of Bradenton, Florida, took the prize in the Association's Third School Outreach Contest. Working through a press release service offered by her local chamber of commerce, she used her award to promote the profession and her own business, drawing attention from Florida Governor Charlie Crist and local media.

Alina began her presentation by welcoming Spanish IV students at Bradenton's Manatee High School with a puzzling, "Between, between and drink a chair." After some blank faces and giggling, a student translated her greeting as "Entre, entre y tome una silla" ... or "Come in and take a seat." This proved to be a successful ice-breaker and at the same time quickly made the point that translation is much more than word substitution.

Using Internet resources she found through the ATA School Outreach Presentation Resource Materials web page, Alina went on to highlight the roles of translator, interpreter, editor, and proofreader in various work settings.

"Translators and interpreters have the world in front of them to pursue their careers and serve their communities. The human side of the profession is extremely important to me."

She then introduced the students to ATA's website and explained the Association's mission, concluding with an online visit to the Directory of Translation and Interpreting Programs offered by ATA institutional members.

Although Alina is a relative newcomer to the translation profession, she has many years of experience with translation and interpreting in the business world.


For several years Alina also taught advertising management, public relations management, and public speaking as an assistant professor at the Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela. As soon as she heard that she had won the School Outreach Contest, Alina was quick to put her advertising and public relations expertise to work. She and a friend drafted a press release and uploaded it to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce's media service. She scored four mentions in three different publications during September 2007, including the online and print editions of the Bradenton Herald.

In late October, Florida Governor Charlie Crist wrote to congratulate Alina on winning the contest. "It is important that Florida schools accommodate foreign language programs to meet the needs of our diverse culture," he wrote. "Your steadfast commitment to advancing foreign language in schools has helped to shape the future of education. Congratulations and best wishes on all your future endeavors!"

Rosario Welle – Mesquite, Texas

ATA member Rosario Welle won ATA's Second Annual School Outreach Contest with an engaging photograph of her school outreach presentation to first-graders at Florence Black Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas. To demonstrate the life-saving power of language skills, Rosario and three students dramatized a 911 call, with the children playing the roles of an injured person, an interpreter, and the dispatcher. The winning photograph shows Rosario and the children actively involved in the 911 exercise, with a fire truck and a local firefighter in the background.

  "The experience was memorable. I realized that the children were unaware of the world of possibilities that a career in languages can offer. I believe that the time I spent with them had an impact on their lives."

In preparing for her presentation, Rosario also relied on the School Outreach Presentation Resource Materials found on the ATA website, using an elementary-level script to introduce the children to translation and interpreting. She concluded with the 911 interpreting exercise, also available on the website, which she conducted outdoors against the backdrop of the fire truck. Although Rosario's creative use of resources resulted in an appealing photograph, it was equally valuable in making a successful presentation. "As the picture shows, the kids were wonderful in portraying their characters," she said, "and the visual experience helped the rest of the class become engaged with the subject. They were very excited and motivated."

Rosario plans to continue her involvement in ATA's School Outreach movement. "There is an enormous need to educate future generations," she said.

"Many schools fail to realize that the ability to interpret or translate represents more than saying 'I am bilingual.' School outreach is a great way for me to do my part to change ignorance into knowledge and raise the standards and profile of our profession."

Ji Eun Lee – Mount Holly, New Jersey

Korean interpreter Ji Eun Lee was named as the winner of ATA's 2005 School Outreach Contest at the Association's Annual Conference in Seattle. During the Annual Meeting, School Outreach organizer Amanda Ennis presented Ji with a $295 voucher, covering 100% of her conference registration fee, along with an ATA Certificate of Recognition.


Although Ji was a relative newcomer to school outreach at the elementary school level, she found the experience very rewarding.

"The children were very attentive and enthusiastic about the topic. I'm really
glad I went."

In the colorful winning photograph Ji hands a marker to a first-grade student at the Friend's Academy of Westampton in Westampton, New Jersey.

A Korean translator and interpreter who works in the areas of law, business, medicine, and technology, Ji is the owner of Korean Language Services, LLC, of Mount Holly, New Jersey. She is also a driving force in ATA's Korean Special Interest Group (now the ATA Korean Language Division).

Anne Connor— West Deptford, New Jersey

A freelance translator who works from Spanish and Italian into English, Anne Connor specializes in the business, legal, and medical fields and has a total of 25 years' combined experience as a translator and interpreter. Since 1994, she has served on the board of the Delaware Valley Translators Association and currently serves as DVTA's liaison to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

"I've never seen so many children interested in translation as I did last May. Many of them had just seen the movie The Interpreter, and they were fascinated by the field."

Although Anne has been speaking at her children's school for five or six years now, last May was the first time she had ever used the ATA School Outreach Presentation Resource Materials. "The PowerPoint presentation for middle school students was very helpful. In the past, I only had audio, and the visual material in the presentation really livened things up. It's a wonderful idea to get this information out to students."

Anne's energy and enthusiasm paid off: in a warm thank-you note, the school complimented her professionalism and thanked her for an inspiring presentation.

Learn More

Email School Outreach Program Coordinator Lillian Clementi or ATA's Member Relations and Office Manager Lauren Mendell.