Act now before time runs out
Time left to renew your ATA membership. If this is still on your to-do list, take a minute and get it done today. Don't risk losing your access to the best marketing, news, and networking in the language services industry. Renew now. Deadline: February 29.
Time left to nominate a candidate for election to the ATA Board of Directors. Do you know someone who would bring valuable experience, perspective, and leadership to the Board? Let the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee know or make the nomination yourself. Additional information below. Deadline: March 1.
Time left to submit a presentation proposal for ATA's 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco, California (November 2-5, 2016). The prestige of being accepted—as well as a discount on conference registration fees—is an unbeatable benefit of presenting. Additional information below. Deadline: March 4.
Time left to submit an application to the ATA Mentoring Program. Take advantage of this member benefit to work on business goals with the assistance of an experienced partner. These one-year mentorships have proven to be invaluable for both mentors and mentees. Additional information below. Deadline: March 5.
Fast-Talking Members of European Parliament Urged to Slow Down for Interpreters
BBC News (United Kingdom) (02/05/16)
In an effort to help interpreters do their jobs more efficiently, the European Parliament's chief of staff has urged members of parliament to speak more slowly and to stick to their native languages. "It's extremely important that people do not speak too fast," says Secretary General Klaus Welle, adding that he was responding to requests from staff interpreters. Thousands of interpreters and translators work in EU institutions to cope with 24 official languages. The parliament has about 330 staff interpreters and 1,800 freelancers. In addition, it employs about 700 translators who translate more than 100,000 pages each month. The most recent languages to be made official were Croatian (in 2013), Irish, Bulgarian, and Romanian (all in 2007). Welle recognizes that the scope of an interpreter's work in the EU is unique. "It's extremely important for the interpreters that people speak their own languages," he told the parliament's budgetary control committee. "If members of parliament speak a foreign language the quality of the interpretation goes down, and you hear interpreters making requests to you: 'Please speak more slowly, speak your own language.'" The parliament's budget for interpreters is €45 million, with another €9 million allocated for translations done externally. The European Commission, where EU laws are drafted, has 600 staff interpreters and 3,000 freelance interpreters. The Commission's total staff is about 33,000.
Online Translator Erodes Bilingualism in Canada
CBC News (Canada) (02/04/16) Pfeffer, Amanda
Federal translators working for the Parliament of Canada's Translation Bureau say a plan to introduce an online French-English translator tool for federal workers erodes official bilingualism. The online translator has been used in a pilot program in six ministries and is being promoted as a helpful tool to facilitate communication among staff. The tool will be launched for all 350,000 workers across the country on April 1, and will be operated through the Translation Bureau. However, translators at the Bureau are concerned that the software will chip away at official bilingualism, one bad translation at a time. "It can be a very clumsy tool," says one worker who did not want to be identified due to fears he could lose his job. "We're all dreading that eventually civil servants will be tempted to use it on a regular basis to get their texts done quickly," he adds. Another translator who did not want to be identified says morale at the Bureau is "awful." He worries more jobs will be lost at the Bureau, where the workforce has shrunk by a third in five years, from close to 2,000 workers to a little more than 1,300. Donna Achimov, chief executive officer for the Translation Bureau, says the tool is not intended to replace human translators. She says the pilot program revealed the tool was being used by employees primarily to comprehend technical documents, or for small texts, e-mail, and out-of-office messages that were never sent to the Bureau for translation. Canadian Member of Parliament Greg Fergus says he found the online translator to be of very poor quality. "The tool will only lead to greater confusion, not greater clarity," he cautions. Emmanuelle Tremblay, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, says the tool may be less effective than Google Translate, since it does not have millions of people constantly improving the translations. "It may risk endangering the reputation of the Bureau, making it less likely that public servants will actually then turn to the Translation Bureau for the work of human translators, who are professionals and dedicated to the quality of the French and English," she warns. Fergus says there's no shortcut to quality translation and interpreting. "The best thing we can do is to make sure people get the right training so they can speak both languages effectively and communicate effectively."
High School Approves Portuguese Interpreter Certification Course
Martha's Vineyard Times (MA) (02/03/16) McCann, Cathryn
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School will soon offer a pilot program to provide training for graduating high school seniors and interested community members who are bilingual to become certified Portuguese interpreters. The Regional District High School Committee voted to appropriate $10,000 to the English Language Learner (ELL) program for island schools to support the certificate course. In the lead-up to the vote, Leah Palmer, ELL program director, told the committee that the school system and community as a whole suffer from a lack of interpreters. "We have a huge need for interpreters within the community, and we need to mirror this need within our school," she says. Palmer states that the number of students requiring English-language assistance has increased dramatically since she became director in 2012. According to the most recent count, there are 222 students in island schools for whom English is not their first language. The vast majority of them--a total of 210--are Portuguese speakers. "We need to be able to communicate effectively to our families, our Brazilian community," Palmer says. The certification program aims to help on two fronts: 1) adding to the pool of interpreters on the island, and 2) creating a career path for some bilingual students. The 60-hour course, "Art of Medical Interpretation," has already been used in a number of Massachusetts schools. The course will be offered to students for free and to community members for $500. Participants must either be a current senior at the high school or an adult community member. They must also be fluent in both English and Portuguese and pass a language screening prior to beginning the course. Participants must take an exam to receive their certificate of accomplishment. "This is a very intensive course, so participants go through many different aspects of interpreting," Palmer explains. "It's not just hearing someone say something and saying that same thing, since there's so many different components to it, including cultural and linguistic."
EU Project to Boost Minority Language Use in the Digital World
Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Germany) (02/04/16)
The Digital Language Diversity Project, a research consortium of five institutions funded by the European Union, is being developed to facilitate future access to the digital world for users of European regional and minority languages. Regional and minority languages are severely under-represented in the digital world. Social media, booking websites, and Wikipedia entries are usually available in just a few languages, which is a big disadvantage for speakers of small languages such as Breton or Sardinian. The International Telecommunications Union estimates that only about 6% of the world's languages have a digital presence. The goal of the Digital Language Diversity Project is to help eliminate this gap. The project is being coordinated by the Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Italy. Other partners include the Northern European and Baltic Languages and Cultures research and teaching unit (SNEB) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, the European Language Equality Network in France, Karjalan Kielen Seura in Finland, and the Basque organization Elhuyar Fundazioa in Spain. These cover the regional and minority languages that will be employed by the project to develop new methods for sustainably reinforcing the digital use of Breton in France, Karelian in Finland, Basque in Spain, and Sardinian in Italy. The ultimate aim is to make the tools and solutions to be developed in the project available in as many dialects and minority languages as possible. For example, the SNEB will be involved in developing a cross-language training program to make teaching materials available and to help speakers of regional and minority languages produce cogent digital content in their own languages. Project participants say linguistic diversity is one of the hallmarks of Europe and a valuable cultural inheritance that needs to be preserved. "However, we need efficient methods of analysis, not only to protect these languages but to ensure that we can actually foster them," says Anneli Sarhimaa, a professor at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The project will continue for three years.
Spanish Language Gaining Ground in China
China Daily Europe (China) (02/05/16) Prichard, Matt
With business and diplomatic interests expanding in Europe and the Americas, the Spanish language is gaining popularity in China. Hispanic culture is perceived by many in China as exotic and sexy, poetic and intellectual, and friendly and welcoming. For example, a Meetup group in Beijing called Chipanish caters to those with an interest in the Spanish language as well as Spanish and Latin American culture. The group is led by Alejandro Bauza, a 54-year-old marketing and events manager from Havana, Cuba. "We always attract more people every time we have an activity, and we hope the group gets to know the Spanish and Latin community, participates in events, visits art exhibitions, and attends concerts," Bauza says. "Latin culture is opening an important space in China, and it's noticeable how many Chinese students there are in classes of salsa, flamenco, and tango," Bauza notes. According to Lu Jingsheng, China's national coordinator for Spanish, the demand for Spanish-language teaching in China has "increased 30-fold" in the past 15 years. "Spanish is strengthening in China, and opportunities to teach the language are increasing due to economic and cultural exchanges that grows every year," Bauza says. "Spanish is the official language of 21 countries, and more Chinese parents want their children not only to speak English but also to study Spanish."
"An Unpaid Debt to Afghan Interpreters"
On February 4, the New York Times published an opinion piece asking Secretary of State John Kerry to address a new regulation that will require additional documentation in the visa applications of Afghan interpreters. American veterans are outraged by one more roadblock in the chronically delayed visa process.
In a letter to the editor published by the Times on February 16, ATA added its support to the demand for action. Calling the bureaucratic hurdles facing the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters embarrassing, ATA President David Rumsey stated, “These brave people deserve our respect, not our disregard."
The ATA 57th Annual Conference: Be a Part of It!
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for ATA's 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco, California (November 2-5, 2016).
Proposals must be received by March 4, 2016.
ATA's 57th Annual Conference will draw over 1,800 attendees, bringing together translators, interpreters, educators, language services companies, and project managers. Making a presentation to such a diverse audience is an excellent strategy to gain recognition as a leader and expert in your field.
Speaking at an ATA Annual Conference is a challenging and rewarding opportunity. Proposals are selected through a competitive peer-review process and less than half of the submitted proposals will be accepted. The prestige of being accepted—as well as a discount on conference registration fees—is an unbeatable benefit of presenting.
How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal
We are looking for proposals that provide up-to-date and innovative content, promise to stimulate audience engagement and discussion, and will have a lasting impact on attendees. Proposals are invited from all areas of translation and interpreting, including finance, law, medicine, literature, science and technology, education and training, terminology, independent contracting, and business management. Sessions may be language specific or general.
How to Submit a Presentation Proposal for 2016
You do not need to be an ATA member to submit a proposal. If you know someone who would make a great presentation, please encourage them to submit today!
The ATA Mentoring Program
Need to move your business forward? Have questions about technology, management, or clients? The ATA Mentoring Program may be just what you need.
Watch this free 60-minute webinar to learn how the program works. Be sure to read the webinar's question-and-answer handout, too.
Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 5. This is your only opportunity to enroll in the 2016 program.
Don't wait! Only 30 mentees will be accepted. Click here for additional details and the application form.
U.S. Department of Justice Responds to ATA
On November 20, 2015 ATA and eight other associations advised the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that a new contract to provide interpreting services in immigration proceedings would potentially result in the use of unqualified interpreters. Read the coalition's letter to the DOJ.
In a letter dated January 5, the DOJ's Executive Office of Immigration Review responded, acknowledging the critical need for skilled interpreters in the immigration courts. The Office reported that it had contacted the new contractor to emphasize the company's responsibility to provide qualified interpreters in immigrations proceedings. Read the Executive Office of Immigration Review's response to ATA.
ATA 2016 Elections: Call for Nominations
The 2016 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is pleased to announce the call for nominations from ATA’s membership to fill three directors’ positions (each a three-year term).
The deadline for submitting nominations is March 1, 2016.
Elections will be held at the Annual Meeting of Voting Members on Thursday, November 3, 2016, in San Francisco, California. Any ATA member may make a nomination by completing and submitting the form online or by mail.
Welcome to the ATA Dutch Language Division
The Board of Directors approved the establishment of an ATA Dutch Language Division at its January 2016 meeting. The DLD is the Association's 20th Division.
ATA members working in Dutch and related languages petitioned for the Division, citing the benefits of networking, terminology research, technology, and professional development opportunities a Division would provide.
What is an ATA Division?
An ATA Division is a professional community that connects members with the same business interests and challenges within the Association. The result is the best in practical networking and shared information.
Eight Smart Reasons to Join an ATA Division
ATA dues include Division memberships. So why not take a minute to increase the value of your membership—join an ATA Division and get connected!
Have you heard about ataTalk?
More than 100 ATA members have joined ataTalk since its launch in December. This new listserve gives members a place to discuss Association policy, activities, and governance. If you haven't joined the conversation—whether listening in or making a point—then please take this opportunity to sign up!
Just click here to send a request be added to the group. Be sure to include your name and the email address you have listed in your ATA profile.
Board Meeting Summary: January 30-31
A summary of the January 30-31 ATA Board of Directors meeting is online and available in the Members Only area of the website. This is your opportunity to learn about current Board actions and activities. Take time to stay informed!
In the January/February issue of The ATA Chronicle
Business and Marketing Tips for Translators: Direct Client Contact Ideas
We know clients are out there and that they need us, but exactly how to reach them is the issue. (Jesse Tomlinson)
Client Satisfaction Surveys for Freelance Translators
Satisfied clients typically become loyal clients. Finding out what it is that satisfies them can help your business succeed. (Michael Farrell)
Do You Have an Emergency Business Plan?
The first step in developing a plan is admitting that there’s eventually going to be a problem. (Sarah Lindholm)
Bilingualism in the Classroom: ATA’s School Outreach in Action
This year’s ATA School Outreach Contest winner helped promote the value of our profession to a classroom of eager students in Spain. (Birgit Vosseler-Brehmer)
2015 ATA Honors and Awards Recipients
And the winners are...
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