The ATA Podcast: Membership
Does ATA membership really pay for itself? Absolutely! How? Find out in Episode 9 of The ATA Podcast as host Matt Baird interviews Membership Committee Chair Tess Whitty about the value of being an ATA member.
Act now before time runs out
To keep your ATA member benefits and online directory listing, you must renew by February 28. Did you forget? Is your renewal form under a pile of paper on your desk? Stop and click here to renew now!
Visa Ban Amended to Allow Iraqi Interpreters Into U.S.
New York Times (NY) (02/02/17) Zucchino, David; Hassan, Falih
The Trump administration has amended its visa ban to allow emigration by the families of Iraqi interpreters who served the U.S. government and military forces deployed in their country. The executive order temporarily blocked all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and suspended visas for applicants from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq. It applied to holders of so-called Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) issued to interpreters who worked for the U.S. during its 2003-2011 occupation, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families. "The U.S. government has determined that it's in the national interest to allow Iraqi SIV holders to continue to travel to the U.S.," states a release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The embassy says that Iraqis who have received visas may use them and that it will "continue to process and issue SIVs to applicants who are otherwise qualified." The travel ban has disrupted the lives of many former Iraqi interpreters. Most Iraqis holding special visas have sold their homes, cars, and other possessions in anticipation of starting a new life in the U.S. Even those with valid visas were denied entry at U.S. airports, while some were forced off planes scheduled to fly to the U.S. There was also confusion because the executive order barred, at least initially, entry to Iraqis who held American green cards. Many of them, but not all, were eventually permitted to enter the U.S. The Pentagon advised the White House to make exemptions for SIV holders and others who had demonstrated their commitment to the U.S. military. The State Department has issued more than 1,700 SIVs to Iraqi interpreters and their family members since 2007. President Trump stated when he issued the executive order that it was intended to allow American officials to vet Iraqis and others more thoroughly. However, opponents say that interpreters who served the U.S. already had extensive security vetting before they were permitted to accompany American forces. Interpreters also had to spend years clearing more background security checks while applying for the special visas.
Almaty, Kazakhstan—Or should that be Almaty, Qazaqstan?
Wall Street Journal (NY) (02/10/17) Marson, James
After decades of using the Cyrillic alphabet, the former Soviet state of Kazakhstan is considering incorporating the Latin alphabet into its official language. President Nursultan Nazarbayev says switching to the Latin alphabet will help modernize the country by bringing its language into the global mainstream, but doing so is no simple matter. The alphabetical upheaval has plenty of opponents. Some say the cost of changing signs, updating documents, and retraining the workforce could reach tens of millions of dollars. Others complain that the main body of Kazakh literature, written in Cyrillic, will become indecipherable. Still, the most hotly debated topic is the spelling of the country's name. For starters, there is the nettlesome question of how to represent the two guttural "K" sounds in the country's name. "The sound is special in the Kazakh language," says Anar Fazylzhanova, deputy director of Kazakhstan's Linguistics Institute, a state body that is researching the alphabet. If the change happens, it could lead to the third English-language spelling since the nation broke away from Russia in 1991. "It doesn't look very good when a country can't decide how to spell its name," observes Rasul Jumaly, a former foreign ministry official who is now a political scientist. Fazylzhanova and her colleagues are currently studying which Latin letters to use for which sounds. There are 42 letters in the Kazakh version of the Cyrillic alphabet. Fazylzhanova says some letters are rarely used because they don't correspond to Kazakh's 26 sounds. Latin letters aren't ideal either. Fazylzhanova suggests using diacritics to modify the pronunciation of certain letters. Fazylzhanova says that of the options that have been suggested, most Kazakhs favor using the letter Q because it comes closest to replicating the sound of the guttural "K" in the country's name. A new spelling of the country's name in Kazakh doesn't necessarily mean the English version will change. But some hope to persuade foreign countries to adopt a new version. "In English, the version 'Qazaqstan' more correctly reflects the essence of our state than 'Kazakhstan,'" says Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the chairman of the country's parliament. Fazylzhanova is excited that her cause is getting official backing. For decades, Russian words were not adapted into Kazakh but incorporated unchanged, including their spelling and pronunciation, Fazylzhanova explains. "Latin script will help Kazakhs take their language back," she says. "Kazakh pronunciation will be reborn."
Florida Bill Would Let Coding Replace a Foreign Language Credit
Washington Examiner (DC) (02/06/17) Giaritelli, Anna
High school students in Florida soon may be able to earn credit toward their foreign language requirements by taking computer coding classes. Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes has introduced a bill he co-sponsored last year, which would classify the elective course as a general education credit. Currently, 27 states and the District of Columbia allow a computer class to be taken in place of a math or science requirement, but not a foreign language class. Proponents believe Brandes' bill would give students another reason to study coding and would benefit them in the long term. "Coding is a skill that employers are increasingly seeking over Latin or other foreign languages," Brandes says. "We should give employers what they want, which is a trained workforce." Opponents have criticized the legislation because of its classification of coding as a language. Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, sees the legislation as part of an "alarming trend" unfolding across the U.S. "We support computer coding 100%, but don't believe that it should be allowed to substitute for what is generally known to the public as a foreign language credit," Abbott says. "Unfortunately, computer coding doesn't equate from our perspective as learning to really communicate with another human being." Code.org, a nonprofit working to expand access to computer science studies, agrees with Abbott's organization that programming languages are not languages. Cameron Wilson, vice-president of government affairs for Code.org, describes coding as "languages expressed to a computer how to work." According to Census Bureau data from 2015, 29% of Florida residents speak a language other than English, with Spanish being the most common. That rate is significantly higher than the national average of 21%, indicating knowledge of foreign languages in Florida is even more critical than in other states. To help foreign languages maintain their place in schools, Wilson's group would prefer that computer science classes fall under math or science, while Abbott would like to see computer science given its own graduation requirements. Abbott says deemphasizing language classes in favor of programming would "not only weaken our country's ability to interconnect with the rest of the world, but also our ability domestically to communicate with our diverse population."
White House Restores Spanish-Language Twitter Account
Fox News (NY) (02/01/17)
The White House has restored its Spanish-language Twitter account and will soon have the official Spanish website back online. According to a White House administration official, the previous Spanish-language Twitter account and website were taken down shortly after President Trump's inauguration on January 20. The Twitter account, which currently has approximately 122,000 followers, was reactivated on January 31, the day Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. The Spanish-language sections of the White House web pages still have not returned. Hispanics, Spanish government officials, and even high-ranking members of the Spanish Royal Academy have criticized the website's removal. The site, created after former President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, also featured a blog dedicated to issues considered of interest to the Hispanic community. One former Obama administration official says while he understands the new White House is short on staffers, he believes it will be a lost opportunity if Trump doesn't pay more attention to Spanish-language communications. "It would be a big setback, after all the progress achieved with Obama," he says. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the website will "definitely" be restored. "We are continuing to build out the website," Spicer states. "It's just going to take a little bit more time, but we're working piece by piece to get that done."
Brexit Could Have Adverse Impact on Literary Translations
Indo-Asian News Service (India) (01/26/17)
U.K. writers warn Britain's breakaway from the European Union (EU) could have an "adverse impact" on the funding of English translations of foreign literature. However, some British authors feel Brexit will eventually become insignificant over time because literature and the arts cannot be restricted by closing borders, at least not without significant backlash. "When people find the stories they present have less reach than they once did and that their access to stories, culture, literature, and the arts is being restricted, they are instinctively going to fight back against that," predicts British author Stephen Kelman, whose first novel—Pigeon English—was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Alexandra Bachler, director of Literature Across Frontiers, a European platform for literary exchange, translation, and policy debate at Aberystwyth University in Wales, argues that Britain has been mostly inhospitable to literature coming from other countries. "The number of books of foreign literature that are translated and published is very low," she says. "To make translated books less expensive, grants or subsidies from the [U.K.] government will be important to produce translations." To encourage more translations, Bachler says the government will need to have an agreement with the EU to participate in Creative Europe, a program that funds literary translation. "I think this would not be the [British] government's priority," she notes. However, Philip Hensher, a novelist and creative writing teacher at Bath Spa University, says that while this may be true of some readers in the U.K., British writers "are absolutely fascinated" by writers from different cultures. "They go to great lengths sometimes to get translations of literature of foreign countries," he says. "Literature and the arts celebrate difference and reach beyond to every sort of fragment of humanity," he says. "I believe most people want to reach out to find connections across culture."
ATA Webinar | Translating for the Courts
Presenter: Martin Cross
Date: March 9
Time: 12 Noon U.S. Eastern Standard Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Observe like a detective, be faithful like a court interpreter, and decide like a judge. These are the three basic skills every translator needs to work in U.S. courts. Why? Join us to find out!
Register: ATA Member Non-Member
ATA Webinar | Creating and Optimizing Your Website
Presenter: Tess Whitty
Date: March 21
Time: 12 Noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
When it comes to attracting serious clients online, it's hard to beat a well-designed website with search engine optimization. In the past, this often meant paying a lot of money to a professional web designer. Not any longer!
Register: ATA Member Non-Member
The Countdown Is On!
There's no time to lose. Make a note of these dates and then get busy!
- 15 days
Time left to nominate a candidate. Help shape ATA's future by making a nomination for President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Director. Any ATA member can make a nomination. Deadline: March 1.
- 17 days
Time left to submit a presentation proposal. Presenting at the ATA Annual Conference is a challenge as well as an opportunity. There is no better way to gain recognition as a go-to expert in your field. Deadline: March 3.
- 17 days
Time left to apply to the ATA Mentoring Program. This is a chance to work on your business goals with the assistance of an experienced translator or interpreter. Deadline: March 3.
ATA's Professional Liability Insurance Broker Is Now Alliant
Late last year Alliant became the broker for ATA's member-exclusive professional liability insurance.
Why choose the ATA-sponsored professional liability insurance?
The policy is specific to the translation and interpreting professions. Not a one-size-fits-all plan, but a plan that is specific to the work you do.
What does the ATA-sponsored professional liability insurance cover?
Visit ata.alliant.com for additional information or call +1-703-547-5777.
- Broad definition of translation/interpreting services
Covers activities relevant to a translator or interpreter, including editing, publishing, and proofreading.
- Coverage for contingent bodily injury and/or property damage
Covers errors in providing translation/interpreting services that result in bodily injury and/or property damage. These types of claims are typically excluded by generic professional liability policies.
- Coverage for cyber liability, including HIPPA and HITECH breaches
Covers breaches related to the provision of professional services in violation or breach of the HIPPA and HITECH Acts.
Latest ATA Webinars Available On Demand
A Step-by-Step Guide to Making a School Outreach Presentation
Find out how you can share your career in the classroom and win a free registration to ATA's 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC (October 25-28, 2017). Free! Click to watch now!
Transitioning from Classroom to a Translation Career
Get your questions answered before leaving the classroom—from "Do I need a website?" to "Can I survive as a freelancer?" Free! Click to watch now!
Specialization: Why and How, and What’s the Big Deal?
Examine the benefits of specializing, get an inside look at a specialized translation practice, and learn how to develop your own plan for becoming an expert in your chosen field. On Demand: ATA Member Non-Member
ATA has more than 60 webinars in its on demand library. There truly is something for everyone. Take a look, bookmark the page!
Is my membership card in the mail?
No more waiting by the mailbox! Your ATA membership card is online and ready to download. Just login to the Members Only area of the ATA website and click the Membership Card tab.
The latest issue of Translatio, the International Federation of Translators' quarterly bulletin, is available for download from the organization's website. This edition covers multiple international translation and interpreting events, including the 10th International Symposium on Translation, Terminology, and Interpretation in Cuba and ATA's 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco (November 2-5, 2016).
In the January/February Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Spider Marketing: How to Get Clients to Come to You
Going out and selling yourself is definitely a good idea, but without a strategy, you might find yourself spending lots of time and energy with little to no result. (Simon Berrill)
Why Ergonomics Matters to Professional Translators
Most translators probably associate the term “ergonomics” with office chairs and keyboards. It's much more than that! (Sharon O’Brien, Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow)
Feedback: Going Beyond “That Was Great”
Providing feedback during an interpreting practice session is not just a matter of half listening and then saying, “Yeah, that was great.” (Elizabeth Essary)
ATA School Outreach Contest Winner Profile: Rika Mitrik
Knowing that she had to adapt her presentation to the short attention span of three- to five-year-olds, this year’s School Outreach winner got creative. (Molly Yurick)
Call for Nominations: ATA Officers and Directors
Here’s your chance to help shape the future of the Association! If you know someone who would make a good candidate for ATA's Board of Directors, the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee would like to hear from you
2016 ATA Honors and Awards Recipients
ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize outstanding work done by both seasoned professionals and students of our craft.
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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