Newsbriefs: April 25, 2023


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New Jersey Bill Would Provide Translation and Interpreting Services for Non-English Speakers (NJ) (04/10/23) Kaulessar, Ricardo

A bill pending in the New Jersey General Assembly would help residents who speak another language by providing necessary translation and interpreting services. The bill passed on March 20 in the New Jersey Senate by a 23-13 vote.

The bill, S2459, would provide translated documents and interpreting services in the “15 most common non-English languages spoken by individuals with limited English proficiency in the state.” Those 15 languages are Spanish, Chinese (combined Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Portuguese, Gujarati, Arabic, Polish, Haitian, Russian, Hindi, Tagalog, Italian, Vietnamese, Urdu, and French.

Specifically, a state department or agency would be required to translate forms, privacy protections, and notices of rights. The department or agency would also be required to produce and display an informational poster describing the available interpreting and translation services in multiple languages. A language access coordinator would also be designated for each agency.

“This legislation takes a slow and deliberate approach to improving the state’s language access by gradually requiring state agencies to begin offering translations/interpreting services in five additional languages each year over the span of the three-year rollout,” said Senator Teresa Ruiz, one of the primary sponsors of the bill. “When people are in need, and especially in crisis, they should be able to connect to the resources available to them.”

Advocates for the bill welcomed its passage in the Senate and are looking forward to its passage in the General Assembly before it is signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.

Amy Torres, executive director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the state’s largest immigration coalition, said the bill is a “huge win” for immigrants in the state. Torres pointed to it as a positive as she heard from immigrants who had experienced challenges due to limited translation and interpreting services at state offices. “New Jersey is more diverse than it’s ever been. One in three New Jersey households speak a language other than English. And language diversity makes up such a big part of our state.”

Alejandra Sorto, campaign strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said the bill’s passage is long overdue. “This is critical legislation to ensure that all communities in New Jersey have access to resources and can interact and build trust with the government and the entities that serve communities.”


How the Brockton Public Schools Multilingual Parent Communication Center Builds Connections with Parents in Massachusetts

WBUR (MA) (04/20/23) Jung, Carrie

Providing language services for non-English-speaking parents has been a high priority at Brockton Public Schools in Massachusetts for decades. Since the mid-1980s, the district’s full-time staff of interpreters and translators has grown from just a handful of people to more than a dozen. In recent years, these employees were constantly on the move, hosting office hours in different schools each day to tend to language needs. This year, however, the district is trying something new: bringing most of its interpreters and translators together in one building as a central one-stop shop for parents.

The recently opened Multilingual Parent Communication Center is a place where educators are using language services to forge deeper connections with parents. The interpreters and translators on staff, most of whom are known as bilingual community relations facilitators, are employees of Brockton Public Schools. They fill a major need as the population of the city—and school system—changes rapidly.

Nearly half of all students in Brockton schools speak a language other than English with their parents and family at home. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the percentage of students across Massachusetts who speak a language other than English at home has grown from 14% to 25% since 2020.

Connie Jonet-Branco, a longtime facilitator, said the central new office has made her day more efficient and helps her better manage her demanding schedule serving eight schools. “Every school uses me, from the nurse to teachers during parent conferences, to make sure our bilingual parents are included,” she said.

The staff at the center speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Thai, Hmong, Mandarin, and Laotian. To ensure accuracy, they’re all certified in school interpreting and translation, as required by the district. While the staff’s main job is to help parents comprehend the school system and understand school communications, they often assist families with qualifying for housing assistance or locating food banks.

Brockton’s model stands apart from what’s being done in many Massachusetts districts in that it has a dedicated support staff to assist parents with translation and interpreting, said Diana Santiago, a senior attorney with Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Santiago explained that in a lot of other school systems educators who happen to speak another language are often pulled from their classroom duties to help facilitate parent communication. Not only is this disruptive to school staff, but it wades into tricky terrain. “They are very frequently not trained in even the basic ideas that are encapsulated in the interpreter code of ethics, such as confidentiality or the specific terminology involved in special education team meetings or meetings related to student discipline,” Santiago said.

Brockton school administrators said they’re committed to investing in staff translators and interpreters to help build bridges with various communities in the city, which leads to more positive outcomes for students. “The better we can help support parents and the better they are doing, the more equipped they are to help their child,” said Brockton Superintendent Michael Thomas, noting the support helps kids get better grades, enroll in higher level classes, and pursue college or a career.

How Recognizing American Sign Language Will Serve Hawaii’s Local Deaf Community

Hawaii Public Radio (HI) (04/04/23) Bodon, Sabrina

The Hawaii State Legislature recently advanced House Bill 834, which would recognize American Sign Language (ASL) in the state as a fully developed, autonomous, and natural language with its own grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and cultural heritage. The Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee also recommended passing a resolution to create an ASL interpreter workforce focus group, whose goal would be to increase the number of interpreters in the state.

“A lot of people assume that ASL is a mere translation of English, but in reality, it’s not. It has its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary,” said Senator Joy San Buenaventura, co-convenor of the Deaf and Blind Task Force, which proposes bills and resolutions to increase accessibility for the deaf in Hawaii. While the Americans with Disabilities Act provides some means for accessibility, Buenaventura said there are still gaps in health care, education, and government.

Jackie Emmart, an interpreter, said integration is key to understanding the deaf community and providing full accessibility. “I am still meeting more and more deaf members of the community to learn how to truly represent what it means to be a deaf individual here. I can’t do that with integrity without knowing the people first,” she said.

Linda Lambrecht, a retired ASL teacher, said the bill would be a major win for the deaf community. During her career, Lambrecht advocated for the establishment and proper documentation of Hawaiian Sign Language. This advocacy eventually led to open captions in theaters and ASL being recognized as a language in school for credit. “We are showing our representatives and our senators that we, in fact, are here. We are a larger part of the population than I think people realize.”


Netflix and UNESCO to Present Anthology of African Folk Tales, Reimagined in Various Languages

Language Magazine (CA) (04/11/23)

A new anthology of six reimagined African folk tales will soon launch on Netflix. The anthology was produced in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to support an emerging generation of storytellers.

From an open call for submissions in 2021 that generated over 2,000 entries, six filmmakers were selected from Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania—working in languages such as Hausa, KiSwahili, Runyankole, Cigogo, Hassaniya Arabic, isiXhosa, French, and English.

From Afrofuturistic science fiction to Western-inspired tales of revenge, the six shorts in the anthology all present contrasting approaches to narrative and craft but are united through a desire to provide insight into Africa’s varying linguistic diversity, cultures, traditions, and beliefs.

“We’re excited to finally bring this anthology of short films created by the next generation of African storytellers to Netflix members around the world,” said Tendeka Matatu, Netflix director of local language films for Africa. “This initiative is a testament to our ongoing efforts to strengthen the pipeline of African storytelling and to include voices from underrepresented communities.”

“UNESCO is proud to present the tales of Africa, reimagined by its emerging, homegrown talent. At the crossroads of tradition, innovation, heritage, and creativity, African expressions in the twenty-first century are as diverse and dynamic as its people,” said UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone. “The UNESCO-Netflix partnership represents our shared commitment to the audiovisual industries of Africa. African creativity is a force for sustainable development, and we cannot wait for audiences around the world to feel its unstoppable energy.”

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ATA News

ATA Member Benefits Meet-up: TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 26th

Come get a refresh about all the benefits of your ATA membership!

During this FREE, fun, and informative session, learn how to access your ATA member benefits and services or just catch up on what’s new and get live answers to your questions from ATA’s Membership Committee.

ATA Member Benefits Meet-Up
April 26, 2023 | 6:00 – 7:00 pm EDT
Register by clicking HERE.

Update from ATA Headquarters: Board of Directors Meeting May 6-7, 2023

The ATA Board of Directors meets four times a year to establish policy, develop goals and objectives, and oversee ATA’s finances. Get to know ATA’s Board of Directors.

This Board of Directors Meeting will be held in Alexandria, Virginia. The agenda will be posted on when available.

Want to attend?
All ATA members are invited to attend. Email your name and membership number to with the subject line Request to Attend the ATA Board Meeting.

Learn how a Board meeting works
Listen to The ATA Podcast: Inside the ATA Board Room for a look at what happens.

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Join the ATA Virtual Conference Town Hall – Translators and Interpreters Speak: Where We Are and Where We’re Going

MT and AI are fast becoming part of everyday work and life. Join the Town Hall at this year’s Virtual Conference: Interpreting and Translating the Future, May 20th 11:00am – 5:30pm EDT through zoom.

Hear fellow translators and interpreters discuss how they are using MT and AI technologies and adapting to the changes that are occurring.

Moderated by: Jost Zetzsche

The Speakers/Panelists will include: Matthew Schlecht, Carola Berger, Daniel Sebesta, and Johanna Klemm

Questions and comments from attendees will be welcome!

You don’t want to miss this enlightening session that will surely enhance your career and business knowledge. Register for Translating and Interpreting the Future today! Early-bird registration ends May 1.

TekTalks Coming This Week!

Is memoQ the Right Tool for You?
Find out on this week’s TekTalks, April 27th from 12:00 – 12:45 pm EDT.

memoQ is a popular tool that offers flexible translation and localization management tailored to enterprises, language services providers, and translators.

This week’s session will include an interview with the co-chief executive officer of memoQ, Peter Reynolds. This introduction to the tool will offer freelance translators, in-house linguists, company owners, and students an overview of how it can increase translation productivity and bring in new business.

It’s not too late to register – Click Here.

May 3rd ATA Webinar – Terminology is NOT what it used to be…

We are on the verge of a new month full of learning opportunities from our great group of webinar speakers. The first session on May 3 will focus on machine translation and terminology.

Terminology is no longer what it used to be!
Text mining and computational grammar have completely changed the way we approach terminology, making traditional dictionaries obsolete. We’ll introduce you to the concepts of granularity, ontology, and folksonomy that are critical to understanding how machine translation engines work.

This knowledge will enable you to use this tool to its full potential, whether as a supplement to your translations or for post-editing tasks. This investment of your time and money will not only be a step forward in your career, but will also ensure that you stay at the forefront of the latest developments in terminology technology.

Get more information and register for the May 3 Terminology webinar by clicking HERE.

Stay tuned to your inbox for May’s Webinar Roundup. Other informative sessions are coming soon. Be sure to visit the Webinar page to review and register.

We will see you on zoom soon!

Passive Income Streams to Attract Clients for Translators – In the Latest Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Looking for additional income streams? Be sure to check out the full article about passive income opportunities in the latest issue of The ATA Chronicle. Access the March/April issue today!

Passive Income Streams to Attract Clients for Translators
Establishing a stable business with a steady client base can be achieved using one powerful approach: the strategic use of digital products to create passive income streams and attract potential clients even when you aren’t working.

Check out the latest issue of the Chronicle Online today!

News summaries © copyright 2023 Smithbucklin

April 25, 2023

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Calendar of Events

Board of Directors Meeting
May 6-7
Alexandria, VA
Click here for more information!

An ATA Virtual Conference
Translating and Interpreting the Future
May 20 @ 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EDT
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ATA64 Annual Conference
Oct 25-28, 2023
Miami, Florida
Get Ready for ATA64!

The Chronicle: March-April Issue

Take a look at the latest issue of The Chronicle!