Newsbriefs: August 16, 2021

ATA62 Annual Conference

3 Ways ATA62 Can Increase Your Business!

Professional Contacts
“The ATA Conference Job Fair has become an indispensable recruitment tool. The translators we meet there are inevitably more serious, more experienced, and more reliable than the standard pool of translators sending us CVs online. They have been ‘pre-filtered,’ if you will, by the effort and expense of attending a well-recognized conference.” Sara H.

Critical Information
“Many of my major clients had indicated that I would be a less desirable contractor if I could not work with more up-to-date CAT tools. I visited the Trados booth in the Exhibit Hall at ATA58 and had a personal walk-through of Trados, plus time to play around with the system. I would not have been confident enough to make a purchase decision without that hands-on demo. After installing the new software, a client, who was ready to find another vendor, once again became a steady source of work. The system easily paid for itself within two weeks’ time.” Matthew S.

Direct Clients
“At ATA48 in San Francisco, I met an owner of a boutique agency based in Frankfurt who was looking for financial translators. We had lunch, discussed terms. I have since earned more than $150,000 from this client. I spent $2,500 to attend the conference. That’s a return on my investment of more than 5,900%, or 50.6% per year.” Ted W.

Attend In Person or Virtually
Whether you attend in person or virtually, the ATA62 conference will offer you the best education and networking for the price. Check out the Conference and Advanced Skills and Training Day schedules!

Earn Continuing Education Credit
ATA62 provides continuing education credit for both ATA-Certified Translators and Credentialed Interpreters. Click for details!

Early registration discounts end October 1
Register now to guarantee you get the lowest registration rate. Can’t attend in person? Then be sure to check out the option to attend virtually—it’s a great deal!

Book Your Hotel
Discounted reservation rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, ATA62’s Conference Hotel, are available until October 1 or as space allows. Book your room now!



Industry News

Los Angeles County Superior Court to Staff: Get Vaccinated or Get Fired

Los Angeles Times (CA) (08/05/21) Hamilton, Matt

Los Angeles County Superior Court, the nation’s largest trial court system, told employees, including interpreters, that they must show proof of being fully vaccinated or face termination.

Sherri Carter, executive officer and clerk of the court for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, stated in a letter sent to court employees that they will be required to provide proof of vaccination no more than 45 days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives its final approval to one of the vaccines available in the U.S. Those with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prohibit vaccination will be eligible for exclusion from the mandate, but otherwise inoculation will be considered “a condition of employment,” she said.

The move by Los Angeles County Superior Court comes as California grapples with another surge in coronavirus cases, driven in part by the Delta variant. The courts have struggled to prevent coronavirus cases among the ranks of employees, attorneys and their clients, police, and others who pass through its more than three dozen courthouses. At least four people, including interpreters, who worked in Los Angeles County courthouses have died after being hospitalized with COVID-19, and the court system has recently reported positive cases among its staff and judges.

“Ultimately, unvaccinated employees without an approved exclusion will be subject to termination,” Carter said. “Given the surge in cases fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant—and recognizing that unvaccinated employees are at greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 within the workplace, including to the public that depends on court services—the court must take every measure available to protect against the virus.”

Michael Ferreira, president of the California Federation of Interpreters, the union representing court interpreters in California, said he had significant concerns about the hard line announced by Carter.

“Our aim is, no one is going to get fired over this,” Ferreira said. “I don’t think if you are unvaccinated, you should be fired. No other government agency is doing this.”

Presiding Judge Eric Taylor said the move reflected the court’s desire to protect the public and professionals working in the legal system.

“Vaccination is the chief tool we have as a society to keep everyone safe and end this pandemic,” Taylor said.



U.S. Evacuation of Afghans Likely to Drag on after American Troops Leave

NBC News (NY) (08/07/21) De Luce, Dan; Williams, Abigail

The U.S. has evacuated less than 1% of the 80,000 Afghans who have sought U.S. visas under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program designed to help former interpreters who worked with U.S. troops and who now face the threat of retribution from the Taliban.

So far, the Biden administration has overseen three flights of Afghan evacuees and their families to the U.S., for a total of about 700 people. According to numbers provided by the Biden administration, the planned U.S. evacuation of a small group of Afghan interpreters will likely drag on even after the last American troops withdraw from the country by the end of August—and some may have to wait more than two years to get out.

“Each day longer we have to wait, we are more at risk of being attacked and killed,” an Afghan who worked with the U.S. government wrote on the website Just Security. “The administration must act immediately to prevent the murder of the thousands of people like me who face death because of our aid to U.S. forces.”

Tracey Jacobson, an American diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kosovo, who is overseeing the U.S. evacuation effort, said her team will continue to work to resettle Afghans even after the departure of American troops.

“We will continue to relocate eligible SIV applicants and their families, who have our gratitude for their service,” Jacobson said. “We absolutely intend to continue this program after the pullout of troops.”

Two officials from the U.S. Department of State said that a push from the Department of Homeland Security to have Afghan evacuees undergo additional medical screening before they board evacuation flights has slowed the process.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said applicants coming to the U.S. are required by law and regulations “to complete an intensive, multi-agency security screening process and undergo additional medical screening before receiving their special immigrant visa and resettling in the United States.” The spokesperson added that the task force overseeing the evacuations is working “to improve, strengthen, and streamline the process.”



Advocacy Groups Press the District of Columbia to Make Rent Relief Program Easier for Non-English Speakers to Access

The Washington Post (DC) (07/29/21) Asbury, Nicole

Ahead of a looming September 30 deadline for Washington, DC to use or lose its federally allocated rent relief funds, local advocacy groups are pushing the city to make the application process easier to navigate for people who speak little or no English.

The Council for Court Excellence (CCE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization, sent a letter to the DC Department of Human Services with a list of recommendations to improve Stronger Together by Assisting You (STAY) DC, the program the city set up to distribute federal rent relief funds.

Under STAY DC, people can apply for money to pay off outstanding rent and utility bills dating back to April 1, 2020, and three months of future rent. The program is meant to help eligible tenants resolve debt that may have accrued due to the pandemic.

Since DC launched the program in April, tenant advocates say the application process has been marred by onerous paperwork requirements, translation problems, and technical glitches. The CCE letter focused on language barrier issues and outlined three specific recommendations: change where the translation button is located on the website, do not list translated languages only in English, and use a different translation program. Nearly 20 DC advocacy organizations endorsed the recommendations.

“I think there is a valuable argument to make that the website is not meeting the requirements of the Language Access Act,” said Sosseh Prom, policy counsel for the DC Council for Court Excellence, referencing a DC law designed to ensure non-English speakers have the same access to government resources as English speakers. “It’s incredibly difficult for someone who does not speak English to navigate it and access these resources.”

While the program’s website provides translations in Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, and Vietnamese through Google Translate, the translations aren’t always accurate, Prom said. Volunteers from the DC Language Access Coalition—who endorse the recommendations in the letter—found that some of the translations on the STAY DC website did not match the intended meaning.

Ana Plaza, the social services director for Ayuda, an advocacy organization that provides legal, social, and language services to low-income immigrants, said many clients need someone to fill out the application for them because of a language barrier.

“It is an emergency, because our clients have the support from the organization, but there are many other individuals that do not have the support from agencies that provide these services,” Plaza said. “They do not have other options.”

Given the upcoming deadline, Prom said the need to make the changes the CCE recommended in its letter is urgent.

“There’s a limited time for how long we can have the federal funds for these resources,” Prom said. “I think right now DC needs to reconcile that with their efforts.”


Interpreting Joy and Heartbreak at the Tokyo Olympics

Associated Press (DC) (07/31/21) Wade, Stephen

As chief interpreter for the Tokyo Olympics, Alexandre Ponomarev coordinated nearly 100 staff interpreters who communicated the drama of the games in 11 languages, including Japanese, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese.

Ponomarev first interpreted at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and became chief interpreter for the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016. He speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English, German, Spanish, French, and Danish.

Unlike previous Olympics, Ponomarev said all interpreting for the Tokyo games was provided remotely, with press conferences from far-flung venues being directed into the main press center, which was equipped with 20 interpreting booths. About two dozen interpreters were not even in Japan but logged in from their home countries to cover late-night events. Their simultaneous interpreting was made accessible at all Olympic venues via an app.

“When somebody walks into a room full of interpreters, and it’s somebody who doesn’t speak the languages, it does feel like the Tower of Babel,” Ponomarev said. “You can see people speaking at the same time in all these dialects and languages and using strange words. It may seem crazy, but we’re actually not.”

Ponomarev said that even though many interpreters have worked at major political events like the G20 Summit or the World Economic Forum, which are generally more challenging than the Olympics, he acknowledges that there are times when interpreting at the games can become incredibly delicate.

Hofmann Miller, a German interpreter on Ponomarev’s team, remembered when she interpreted at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a training run before the opening ceremony.

“I was chosen to do the press interview for that, and it was a very, very sad event and I will never forget that,” she said. “It was very moving, and it was really tough for all of us sitting on stage taking the questions from the press and to keep our emotions back.”

Ponomarev explained that in the end, interpreting is more art than science—a discipline that requires skill but also a strong dose of humanity. Both Ponomarev and Miller acknowledge cheering for the athletes or sympathizing with them in defeat.

“We all get absolutely excited for these athletes,” Ponomarev said. “Because when you interpret, you’re in someone else’s head. You don’t interpret words, you interpret meaning. And when you’re in somebody’s head, you start sympathizing.”



Minneapolis Public Schools Are Launching Somali Heritage Language Program

Sahan Journal (MN) (08/03/21) Ikramuddin, Hana

The Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) system has launched a Somali heritage language program in select schools to help students in the system who self-identify as Somali.

The course will be taught multiple times per week and cover greetings and conversational phrases that students can use daily. The program is designed to run parallel to material students are learning in English. Bilingual sessions will also be held once a month where faculty will read stories in Somali to all pupils.

Ayumi Stockman, a world languages education specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education, helped draft the program’s curriculum and train the teachers.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for them [students] to learn their heritage language as part of a course,” said Deqa Muhidin, program facilitator for the MPS Multilingual Department. “Parents have been asking for a program that basically allows for them to learn their heritage language.”

Farhiya Del, who assisted Stockman in writing the curriculum and lesson plans for the project, will be one of the teachers. Del, who emigrated to the U.S. from Somali almost 30 years ago, said the course will encourage students to use their native languages at schools, which is usually frowned upon when teachers don’t understand what they’re saying.

“A lot of times kids will feel uncomfortable bringing their culture with them, because in schools you only speak English,” she said.

Del said both Somali and non-Somali parents are excited about the program.

“I didn’t fit in when I came to this country, and I think a lot of kids [feel that way] when they come to school,” Del said. “They run away from Somali or speaking their home language because they want to catch up with English. They don’t know how important and rich their culture and language is.”



Hunter Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting

ATA News

Corporate Member Employees Get ATA62 Member Rates

Do you work for an ATA Corporate member? Then take advantage of the member savings on your ATA62 conference registration.

Register today! Rates increase October 1.

You only need to log in with the Corporate member’s ID and password. From there, complete the registration form with your personal contact information and payment. There’s no limit to the number of employees who can register under their employer’s ATA membership.


Transcreation in Video Game Localization

Presenters: Lucio Alcaide, Marina Ilari
Date: August 25, 2021
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. EDT
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
CE Points: 1 ATA-approved

Localizing video games sounds like fun, and it is. But as any game localization expert will tell you, it’s also one of the most challenging jobs in the industry. Luckily there is a way to make the process a bit easier!

Join this webinar to learn how transcreation can be used to create an immersive experience for players—from story to characters to culture. Real examples, tips, and tricks included! A fascinating specialty for anyone looking to expand their translation business!

What will you learn?
  1. The difference between translation, localization, and transcreation
  2. The evolution of video game localization
  3. Where transcreation might be needed in video games
  4. Examples of transcreation in a variety of video game content
  5. Strategies to use when working on projects that require transcreation
Register Now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60


Inside Specialization: Conference Interpreting

From the outside looking in, a career as a conference interpreter can often seem glamorous. Perhaps it’s the travel and nights in hotels around the world. Or maybe it’s the sense of being part of an exclusive community of interpreters working at high-stakes meetings. It might also be the fact that conference interpreters tend to be paid more. Episode 63 of The ATA Podcast is your chance to find out what it’s really all about. You’ll learn everything from the necessary skills and training to the ins and outs of a typical day to the types of clients you’ll encounter as Host Veronika Demichelis interviews conference interpreter Andrew Gillies for this installment of Inside Specialization.

And Don’t Forget to Check Out Andrew Gillies’ Upcoming Workshop
If you’re an advanced-level interpreter looking to enhance your skills, check out ATA’s upcoming 4-hour workshop on Consecutive Note-Taking with Andrew Gillies! See the full announcement below.


ATA Workshop: Consecutive Note-Taking

Presenter: Andrew Gillies
Date: September 2, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. U.S. EDT
Duration: 4 hours
Language: English
Level: Advanced Only
CE Points: ATA-approved 4 CEPs, CCHI 4 hours, IMIA/NBCMI 0.4 CEUs

This interactive workshop will include a presentation of the main elements of a note-taking system for long consecutive interpreting followed by one-on-one practice. There will be two 2-hour sessions with a 1-hour break in between.

What will you learn?
  1. Review and practice of a complete note-taking system
  2. How structure in notes can be used to present meaning
  3. How to use notes to improve delivery
  4. How to use symbols in notes effectively
  5. How to note less and remember more
Register now! ATA Member $180 | Non-Member $240

Come prepared to participate!
Attendees will be expected to actively participate in practice sessions encompassing the techniques introduced during the workshop.

Special Notes
  • This workshop is limited to 14 advanced-level interpreters.
  • Credentialed interpreters receive priority. Confirmation of payment does not guarantee you a seat as we will vet all attendees for credentials and/or experience before finalizing registration. We will maintain a waitlist once we reach 14 attendees.
This workshop was organized with the assistance of ATA’s Interpreters Division.


Middlebury Institute of International Studies

ATA Compensation Survey Deadline Extended

The ATA Compensation Survey deadline for submitting data has been extended until October 1.

Thanks to everyone who has completed the survey! We have collected a good set of data, but more responses would help ensure we have a definitive financial picture of the translation and interpreting market. If you have not submitted your compensation information, please do!

How to take the survey
Go to to register and set up a login and password with Dynamic Benchmarking, the survey vendor. After completing the registration and accepting the terms of use, you will be taken to the survey. If you have any questions, contact us at

Who can take the survey?
Translators, interpreters, and company owners working in the U.S. You do not need to be an ATA member to take the survey.

Spread the Word
Please let your colleagues know about the survey. The more information we collect, the better for you in planning your business practices.

Participate to Receive the Report
All participants will get access to the full report as well as interactivity to filter and search the data for individual needs and interests.


ATA Board Meeting Summary: August 7-8, 2021

The ATA Board of Directors met August 7-8 in Nashville, Tennessee. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website. Board Meeting Summaries are a great way to keep up with ATA news and activities—from the latest financial reports to plans for the Annual Conference to committee projects and activities.

Read the latest ATA Board Meeting Summary now!

The next ATA Board of Directors meeting will be held October 30-31 in conjunction with the ATA62 Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All ATA members are invited to attend.


Back to Business Basics: Free Webinar

Identifying Your Target Audience: Why Niche Markets Can Boost Your Interpreting Business

Presenter: Mireya Pérez
Date: September 9, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. EDT
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner
CE Points: None

Can scaling down and focusing on your ideal client grow your business? It’s true. Becoming more intentional about your business opens up new opportunities you might have missed because you were busy doing business with anyone and everyone.

Attend this webinar to learn how to identify your niche market—your first step towards becoming more visible in a crowded market!

What will you learn?
  1. The meaning of a niche market
  2. The power of niche markets for your interpreting business
  3. What communication strategies you can use to connect with your audience
  4. Why you should focus on quality vs. quantity
  5. Understanding your differentiating factor
Click to learn more and register for this ATA Back to Business Basics webinar. Free, but space is limited.


Become an ATA62 Exhibitor

ATA’s Annual Conference is a once-a-year opportunity to get your company’s name and services in front of translators, interpreters, and language company owners from around the world. There is no better way to reach your target audience and increase your brand visibility.

Virtual Booth or In-Person/Virtual Booth—You Choose!
Two great options to connect with both ATA62 attendees and ATA members—before, during, and after the conference. Check out the deals! And be sure to reserve by August 31 for the best rates.


In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA’s Public Relations Committee: Bringing Positive Attention to T&I Professionals
ATA’s Public Relations Committee focuses on informing and educating the media and public about the roles that translators and interpreters play in society and what it means to be a translator or interpreter. Find out how the committee’s dedicated team of volunteers is working to increase awareness one publication at a time! (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux)

What the Business Practices Education Committee Is Doing for ATA Members
ATA’s Business Practices Education Committee offers many opportunities for members to get involved, give back to the Association, work with fellow members, and broaden their professional network. (Michael Engley)

Language Access in the Courts: How Technology Saved the Day During a Pandemic
On March 17, 2020, the Santa Barbara Superior Court received approval for an emergency order to suspend all non-emergency services—all criminal, civil, family, traffic, small claims, and probate proceedings—until April 3. Little did we know the courthouse would remain closed physically, but operational nonetheless, for more than a year. (Lorena Pike)

Diversify Successfully with Online Language Teaching/Cultural Experience Hosting
Linguistic and cultural skills such as those cultivated by most translators are in high demand in education and are difficult to duplicate. This industry is likely to remain active even after the pandemic, so it’s a stable option for translators/interpreters looking to diversify. (Carlie Sitzman)

Almond, Eyeless – Can Poetry Be Translated? An Interview with Author Karen Meadows
Poetry, with all its nuance, rhythm, sound, and multiple levels of meaning, is certainly the most difficult language to translate. Is it possible to translate poetry from one language into another without losing meaning? Karen Meadows, author of Almond, Eyeless, attempts to answer the question. (Petra Caroline Rieker)

What’s Cooking: An Introduction to Culinary Translation
Here’s an introduction to culinary translation as a specialization, including some of the main challenges encountered and tips on how to develop your skills! (Olivia Singier Texier)

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.


News summaries © copyright 2021 SmithBucklin

August 16, 2021

Do you take work with you on vacation?

See the Results!

Previous Poll Results

Do you set written goals for your business?

29% = Yes
71% = No

In This Issue

Grow & Learn with ATA62
ATA62 Employee Discount
Video Game Localization
Conference Interpreting
Consecutive Note-Taking
Survey Deadline Extended
Board Mtg Summary
B2BB: Niche Markets
Exhibit at ATA62
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Subtitling: How a Text Translator Can Become a Subtitler
Click to watch!

Back to Business Basics

How Niche Markets Can Boost Your Interpreting Business
September 9, 2021
12 noon EDT
Free! Register now!

ATA Webinars

Transcreation in Video Game Localization
August 25 @ 12:00 noon EDT
Registration open

The Magic of Automation: AutoHotkey for Non-Programmers
September 8 @ 12 noon EDT (Part 1)
September 15 @ 12 noon EDT (Part 2)
Registration open

ATA Workshop

Consecutive Note-Taking
September 2 @ 9:00 a.m. EDT
Registration open

Calendar of Events

International Translation Day
September 30, 2021

ATA62 Annual Conference
Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 27-30, 2021
Registration open!

Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting
October 30-31, 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The ATA Chronicle
The ATA Chronicle July/August 2021

Alliant Professional Liability Insurance
ACTFL Lead with Languages Initiative

Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century