Translating & Interpreting
for the
Government Seminar
Hamilton Crowne Plaza
Washington, DC
April 3-4, 2004

Sponsored by ATA and NCATA

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Abstracts and Bios

Working with the U.S. Government: Information Resources

This presentation will reveal the means of improving communication between industry and the U.S. government. Such means of communication include websites and contacts for Federal Business opportunities, the Government Services Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Foreign Language Resource Center. The speaker will discuss resources and contacts for other areas as well, such as the National Virtual Translation Center and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. In addition, the speaker will provide references to government grant and award programs.

Jennifer DeCamp, PhD, is a principal engineer at MITRE Corporation, a Federally-funded research and development center. She provides software testing and advice on foreign language technology and has worked with localization issues since the 1970s. She is also the MITRE project manager for the U.S. government-sponsored Foreign Language Resource Center. She is an official voting member of the U.S. delegation to ISO Technical Committee 37, working on developing a better system of language codes and of transferring XML data between terminological and lexical systems. She has been working with the National Foreign Language Center, the National Museum of Language Young Linguists' Program, the American Translators Association, and the Localisation Industry Standards Association Education Intitiative Taskforce to identify better ways to introduce foreign language technology issues into broader curriculum and/or to better attract students into language technology fields.


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Translating and Interpreting for the FBI

Abstract coming...

Olga Navarrete, bio coming...


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Translating and Interpreting for the State Department

Have you ever wondered how to break into the federal market in interpreting and translating? Would you like to know what types of jobs are available for linguists in the government? Do you know the difference between seminar interpreting and conference interpreting or between the review and proof-reading of translations? Attend this presention to learn the answers. Presenters from the U.S. Department of State Office of Language Services will outline the steps newcomers can take to obtain contract work in interpreting and translating, as well as the types of jobs that are available through the Office of Language Services. The presenters will also reveal how the State Department interpreting and translating test process works and how linguists can improve their skills and practice to take the test. Presenters from both the Interpreting Division and the Translation Division of the Office of Language Services will discuss its 223-year history and its niche within the federal bureaucracy. The presenters will also talk about the demand for linguistic experts against the backdrop of the current geo-political global scenario. Come with your questions to this enlightening session.

Marc Fallow has worked as an interpreter of Spanish since 1973, when he began accompanying visitors to the U.S. under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Program. He acquired his language and interpreting skills by participating in a junior year abroad program in Valencia, Spain in 1969, and by enrolling in the Interpretation and Translation Certificate Program at the Georgetown University School of Languages and Linguistics. In 1982, he became qualified as a simultaneous interpreter and, during his work as an interpreter, he has made stops in all 50 states and has met with programmers and volunteers at 85 local Councils for International Visitors. In 1983, he obtained a position at Meridian International Center, where he worked as a program officer for 14 years and, in 1997, he joined the Institute of International Education as a senior program officer. In August of 2000, he become chief of the Interpreter Assigning Unit of the U.S. Department of State Office of Language Services. In this capacity, he oversees the assigning of interpreters in 50 languages to a variety of U.S. government-sponsored programs.

Joseph Paul Mazza is a 1984 graduate of The George Washington University (BA, International Politics) who joined the U.S. Department of State Office of Language Services in 1989 as a translator of Spanish, Portuguese, and French into English. He was promoted to reviewer/translator of all three languages in 1993, and eventually added Italian to his roster. In 2003, he was appointed chief of the Romance Language Translations Branch. He has served as a translator of Russian and Romance languages with the Department of the Navy, where he co-edited a digest of Warsaw Pact naval news, and he has taught English as a Second Language to immigrants at a community school in Washington, DC from 1992 to 2002. During his 14 years at the Department of State, he has worked to build up the electronic and library resources available to staff translators and interpreters. He has also helped to revise the LS Handbook, the Office’s guide to written English style and usage, and to overhaul LS translation testing procedures.

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The Government Spectrum:
How Different Levels of Government Require Different Types of T&I Services

This session will be presented by a panel of representatives who secure translation and interpreting services for the DC Court System, the Department of Justice (Immigration and Naturalization Service), and the City of Alexandria, Virginia. The panelists represent a diverse spectrum of how translation and interpreting services are used within the various levels of government.

James W. Plunkett has been the foreign language court interpreter coordinator of the District of Columbia Superior Court since 2001. He is responsible for prospecting, testing, qualifying, and contracting freelance interpreters and translators for proceedings in the DC Superior Court. He also assists in the training of new judges on how to work with court interpreters. He is certified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts as a Spanish and English court interpreter and has been an exam rater for the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification since 1998. Since 2003, he has been an oral exam rater for the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination. He worked as a court interpreter for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa, Florida for seven years and became a senior interpreter in 1998. He holds a BA in General Social Studies from Providence College and he was raised in Lima, Peru.

Martin A. Roldan is chief of the Language Services Unit, within the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, and has oversight of the Immigration Court's Language Services Program, including 107 staff interpreters, and has technical and administrative responsibility over two national language services contracts that provide interpreters in approximately 263 languages. He has been with the Immigration Court since April 1985 and was named the language services administrator in March, 1995. The Immigration Court is an Executive Branch administrative tribunal located within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice. Previously, he served the Immigration Court as a court administrator, an interpreter, and a clerk. He received a BA in 1988, and a MA in Public Administration in 1991 from the University of Texas at El Paso, and is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.

JoAnn Roosa, bio coming...


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The Embassy Translator: A Connecting Link Between Cultures and Countries

This presentation will demonstrate how an embassy translator makes a valuable contribution toward carrying out the mission of a foreign embassy to the U.S. The speaker will relate the experience of helping embassy colleagues to communicate effectively and accomplish their goals in the U.S. Through the use of examples, this presentation will reveal successful strategies for translating and editing Swiss government documents with a U.S. reader in mind.

Cheryl A. Fain has been the in-house German and French translator and English editor of the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, DC since 1994. Her translations have been published in The Washington Post, The Kennedy Center Stagebill, The Swiss American Review, Vision: Science and Innovation Made in Switzerland, International Journal of the Georg Fischer Corporation, and in the proceedings of the 1998 Bavois Latsis Forum. In recognition of her work at the Embassy of Switzerland, she received a performance award from Ambassador Christian Blickenstorfer in 2003 and from Ambassador Alfred Defago in 1999. From 1984 to 1994, she was an in-house German and French medical translator at the Social Security Administration in Baltimore. She is ATA-certified from German and French into English and holds an MA in German-English translation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. As an undergraduate, she spent a year studying at the University of Salzburg in Austria.


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Translating Extradition Procedures: A Personal Experience

Based on personal experience translating for the Embassies of Spain and Mexico, the speaker will discuss extradition procedures with those countries. Background information will be provided on the new Euro warrant system used in Spain and the procedures followed in Mexico. Concrete examples will be given, but knowledge of Spanish is not necessary.

John Vázquez studied translation and interpreting at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and ran a language school in Spain for many years. He has freelanced as a translator, interpreter, and voiceover talent and has seven years of experience working as a staff translator at the Embassy of Mexico before becoming an in-house translator at the Embassy of Spain. He is also president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Translators Association.


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Precision, Ambiguity, and Diplomacy in Translation

Accuracy and precision are always important in high-quality translations and simultaneous interpreting. But in the world of diplomacy, sometimes ambiguity, nuance, and the lack of specificity are even more crucial. How should language professionals manage the delicate balance between being precise and "playing it safe." How do we recognize and manage situations in which clarity and precision can sometimes create more problems than they resolve? The speaker will discuss these and other aspects of the art and science of translating in diplomatic settings.

Bob Feron grew up in England, Israel, Poland, and Switzerland. He studied political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the U.S. Foreign Service as a political officer in early 1983, serving at the U.S. Embassies in Ottawa and Brasília. He spent four years at the State Department in Washington, DC, working with Brazil and other South American countries, but left in 1992 to become program director of the Institute of Brazilian Business and Public Management Issues at the George Washington University School of Management. Since 1994, he has been head of language services at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC where he has translated many speeches and published articles for three Brazilian presidents. He has also translated a wide variety of Brazilian policy documents, including laws, treaties, diplomatic notes, trade policy texts, macroeconomic analyses, presidential letters, Brazil’s International Monetary Fund agreement, human rights investigations, art exhibit catalogues, and books. He serves as a simultaneous interpreter during official visits from senior Brazilian government officials and as a conference interpreter on a freelance basis. He also runs the embassy’s translation apprenticeship program.


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Translating for International Organizations

Washington, DC is home to a number of international organizations. This presentation will explore the main ones, with emphasis on the Bretton Woods institutions and the Inter-American system, along with a brief review of the United Nations family of organizations. The speaker will discuss the translation needs of these organizations, the general requirements for freelance and in-house translators, and the resources available to translators, especially online resources.

Alexandra Russell-Bitting lived in several French-speaking countries as a child and earned an MA in translation from the University of Paris. In Paris, she freelanced for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization before relocating to Washington, DC where she freelanced for other international organizations, such as the Pan American Health Organization, Organization of American States, and the U.S. Department of State. In 1988, she became a staff translator-reviser at a Washington-based international organization, working from Spanish, French, and Portuguese into English. She has taught translation at Georgetown University and the University of Paris. She is vice president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Translators Association, is a member of American Translators Association's Public Relations Committee, and is a regular contributor to The ATA Chronicle.


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