Newsbriefs: December 15, 2022

Take the 2022 ATA Membership Survey!

Share your feedback with us! Enter to win a free ATA membership for 2023!

ATA is conducting a membership survey to gather information about who our members are, what areas of ATA membership are most valuable to them, and what needs are most crucial to them as language professionals. The survey will also serve to document ATA’s diversity and inclusion as well as let us know where we don’t have representation within our membership.

Your feedback is invaluable to us and will help us better serve you as an ATA member.

All questions on the survey are optional, and your answers will be kept anonymous unless you decide to provide your name. The full survey is expected to take less than 10 minutes.

The survey will be open until December 31, 2022.

At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for a free individual ATA membership for 2023.

How to take the survey
Each ATA member was emailed a SurveyMonkey invitation with a unique link on December 5. A reminder email to those members who have not yet responded was sent on December 15.

I didn’t receive the link! What can I do?
First, check your spam or junk mail folder for an email from Didn’t find it? Certain filters and firewalls may prevent emails from reaching inboxes, so add and to your safe recipient list. We will send another reminder early next week.

Still didn’t get the survey link? Send us an email with your name, email address, and member number. We will be sure that every member who wants to take the survey gets to take the survey!

Thank you for being an ATA member!

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Industry News

U.S. Census Bureau: Nearly 68 Million People Spoke a Language Other than English at Home in 2019

U.S. Census Bureau (12/06/22) Dietrich, Sandy; Hernandez, Erik

According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the number of people in the U.S. who spoke a language other than English at home nearly tripled from 23.1 million (about 1 in 10) in 1980 to 67.8 million (almost 1 in 5) in 2019. At the same time, the number of people who spoke only English also increased, from 187.2 million in 1980 to 241 million in 2019.

The report, Language Use in the United States: 2019, used American Community Survey (ACS) data to highlight trends and characteristics of the languages spoken in the U.S. over the past four decades. The ACS is a nationally representative survey of households in the U.S. administered annually to a sample of 3.5 million households (obtaining information about every household member). In addition to language information, the ACS collects data on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

The report found that the Hispanic population is the largest minority group in the U.S. Spanish was the most common non-English language spoken in U.S. homes (62%) in 2019—12 times greater than the next four most common languages (Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Arabic).

Speakers of Spanish and Arabic had the greatest share of speakers ages 5 to 14 years (16%) and a small share of older speakers—14% of Spanish speakers and 13% of Arabic speakers were 60 and over. In contrast, only 4% of Tagalog speakers were ages 5 to 14, but a third (33%) were 60 or older.

More than half (55%) of Spanish speakers were U.S.-born, four times the share of Tagalog speakers (13%). Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Arabic speakers were more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens. Spanish speakers were less likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens (18%) than not U.S. citizens (28%).

In 2019, 51% of Tagalog and 54% of Chinese speakers had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to only 17% of Spanish speakers. About a third (33%) of Spanish speakers didn’t graduate from high school, the largest share of speakers of the five languages surveyed. Employment status of speakers ages 16 and over didn’t vary much across the five languages. Less than 4% were unemployed in 2019—not significantly different from the national average.

The federal government relies on data on language use and English proficiency to provide language services under the Voting Rights Act, as well as to allocate educational funds to state English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.


Thousands of Court Interpreters Face Hardships as French Government Delays Payment

Slator (12/06/22) Txabarriaga, Rocío

The French Ministry of Justice owes thousands in unpaid invoices to court interpreters, with some having to wait six months or longer to receive payment. According to multiple French media outlets, this is a recurrent problem. The French press has been covering the issue as far back as 2010.

A recent report by public service radio broadcaster FranceInfo revealed little has changed since they covered the matter in 2015. Prior to that year, court interpreters were not even recognized in the fiscal system as workers who could contribute to social security and pension funds. The government made a commitment to remedy the situation, and a decree, published on December 30, 2015, was supposed to do just that.

However, interpreters are not expressly classified in the revised taxation and social security system as salaried employees, but rather as self-employed workers. This means they must pay value added tax (VAT)—a fact many interpreters didn’t know. This has resulted in massive indebtedness with the government.

Lack of payment has affected about 8,000 court interpreters across France. Court interpreters’ demands for payment, better working conditions, and equitable treatment were more recently voiced during a strike in October 2022 and protests in Paris in late November 2022.

The Ministry of Justice defended the situation by saying interpreting costs have risen and that, until now, there has not been enough money to pay interpreters. Having just received EUR 33 million (USD 35 million) in additional budget allocations, the Ministry has pledged to remediate the “most extreme cases” first.

The French Translators Association (SFT), the main union representing translators and interpreters in France, expressed its support for those affected by late payments. The association issued a statement calling for “the necessary budget to be allocated to pay providers in a reasonable period of time.”


Senators Remove Visa Program for Afghan Interpreters from Spending Bill

Stars and Stripes (12/08/22) Lawrence, J.P.

The end may be coming for a program that resettles Afghan interpreters who worked with U.S. forces during the 20-year war after provisions for its extension were removed from the Senate version of the defense spending bill.

Republican lawmakers drew sharp criticism from Democrats and advocacy groups after removing language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have extended the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program past 2023. Currently, anyone who applies for a SIV by December 31, 2023 will be considered.

“It’s tremendously disappointing that Republican obstruction prevented Congress from extending authorization of the Afghan SIV program in this bill, which is fundamental to the United States upholding its promise to our Afghan allies,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Senator Charles Grassley in particular has long raised objections over what he has said were lax criteria for SIV program eligibility. Grassley sought stipulations as far back as 2018 that only Afghans classified as translators or interpreters should be allowed to apply for a special visa. Grassley helped lead efforts in the House to strike the provision from the defense bill.

The SIV program once had some bipartisan support. In May last year, three months before the U.S.-backed government in Kabul fell, a letter from 20 senators that included seven Republicans called for continued support for “the Biden administration to uphold the integrity of the program.”

The program, which began in 2009, resettles people and their family members who face risks to their lives because of their previous work with the U.S. government. The SIV program received $1 billion from the Senate in 2021 as part of an emergency spending bill.

Although Iraqis who provided the same service to U.S. troops in their country are also eligible for visas, Afghans make up the vast majority of applicants. The U.S Department of State’s National Visa Center received more than 530,000 inquiries in the five months after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021.

Advocates for veterans and Afghan interpreters objected to the Senate’s move. “It would be unconscionable for Congress to allow the Afghan SIV program to expire with tens of thousands of U.S. allies still in harm’s way,” said Adam Bates, policy counsel for the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project.

Jeff Phaneuf, advocacy chief at the Virginia-based nonprofit No One Left Behind, called it “a betrayal of our promise to those who served alongside American forces during the last 20 years of war.”

“It’s beyond me why some of my colleagues who have never even known what it’s like to put their lives in the hands of these brave allies in combat would deliberately strip reauthorization for this program,” said Senator Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran. Moulton added that he still intends to vote for the larger defense bill despite his objection to the revision.


Texas School District Denies Firing Deaf Students’ Interpreters, but Documents Show Otherwise

Killeen Daily Herald (TX) (12/04/22) Dodd, Lauren

Dozens of deaf or hard of hearing students attending the Killeen Independent School District’s (KISD) Regional Day School Program for the Deaf in Texas lost their one-on-one sign language interpreters before Thanksgiving break.

The district denied responsibility for the termination of the interpreters, but internal email communication contradicts KISD’s public statement.

Vanessa Bryant, a former sign language interpreter with KISD for more than five years, said the staff at the school where she worked, along with her assigned student, were blindsided by the news of her termination on November 18.

During her lunch hour on November 18, Bryant received communication from her contract agency, Community Rehab Associates, Inc., informing her to turn her KISD badge in at the end of the day.

“I told my student, ‘Hey, I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future, but I won’t be here Monday when you come back from Thanksgiving,” she said.

After working with this particular student for more than five years, Bryant said the student was despondent after learning the news. “Deaf students live in a silent world,” Bryant said. “Sometimes you’re the only communication they get.”

Bryant said a few coworkers reached out to her about her student. “The first text I got was, ‘Where are you? She’s upset. Is there anything I can do?'” she said. “I was like, ‘I was told I can’t come back after Thanksgiving.’ The response from them was pretty much, ‘How is this legal?'”

Bryant said she is concerned about her student’s mental health and her future educational success. “I feel like special education kids always get stuck at the bottom of the barrel,” she said. “To me, the problem is that the deaf kids are underneath the barrel. They are even more overlooked. We were their voice that made them known, heard, and now I’m at home.”

The National Association of the Deaf said it was “appalled” to learn of the situation and urged parents of students affected by the removal of sign language interpreters to contact the organization.



Middlebury Institute

ATA News

Inside Specialization: Machine Translation and Post-Editing

It’s time to talk about the future of machine translation (MT) and post-editing. No doubt we’ve come a long way since rule-based and statistical MT. Where are we now, and is there a career to be had here? Listen in as Daniel Šebesta, assistant administrator of ATA’s Language Technology Division, talks to Arle Lommel, a senior analyst at CSA Research, about the good, the bad, and the ugly in MT, post-editing, and artificial intelligence (AI). The conversation covers the concern about MT being a race to the bottom for pricing, the case to be made for MT as “eating cookies from the cookie jar,” and whether MT and AI can ever work for translators who are in it for the love of words.

Be sure to let us know what you think! Send comments, questions, or requests about this podcast to


Why ATA?

There’s an association for almost every industry and profession. What makes ATA stand out from all the rest? Is it the professional community and networking reach? Member-discounted continuing education? Member-exclusive listing in one of ATA’s online Directories? Savings on CAT and software tools? Click now to hear real members talk real benefits!

And don’t forget—ATA membership pays for itself!
“I joined ATA and set up my online profile. A couple of months later, a client in Virginia contacted me to interpret at a conference. Membership in ATA paid for itself in just one job.” ~ Maria B.

Renew Today!

Looking for your paper renewal in the mail?
ATA is “going green” and streamlining the renewal process this year, so you only need to look as far as your inbox for a link to our online renewal. Check your inbox for the December 13 message “Renew Your ATA Membership for 2023” or click here to renew now!

Prefer to mail or fax your renewal on paper?
We’ve got you covered. Click 2023 Membership Renewal Form to download and print a PDF copy of the form. Just complete and submit with your payment.

Tax deduction reminder
If you plan to include payment of your 2023 membership dues on your 2022 tax return, you must renew by December 31. Please consult your accountant for tax advice.

Did you receive my payment?
Want to check on a payment you made to ATA? You can do it online! Just log into your ATA member record through the Member Center area of the website and click the Check Your Invoice History link. Online payments are posted 3-5 days following a transaction.

Already renewed?
Now’s the time to download your membership card! Just log in to the Member Center area of the ATA website and click View/Print Your Membership Card link. And thank you for renewing!


SBA Issues Public Comment Letter regarding New Rule

On December 12, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released a public comment letter urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to reconsider its proposed rule for determining employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The agency states that the changes, “may be detrimental and disruptive to millions of small businesses that rely upon independent contractors as part of their workforce.” It also states it believes the DOL’s estimate of the economic impact that the new rule’s implementation will have on small businesses, at less than $25 per business, is significantly underestimated.

The SBA’s statement follows an open roundtable discussion held on November 9 by its Office of Advocacy. During the session, small business owners told the agency they were confused about how to classify their workers to comply with the DOL’s regulation.

In its letter, the Office of Advocacy recommended that the DOL, at the very least, clarify certain factors of the economic realities test, resolve conflicts with existing federal requirements, and reassess the compliance costs involved in the implementation of the rule. As part of this supplemental analysis, the agency asked the DOL to consider significant “alternatives that would accomplish the objectives of the statute while minimizing the economic impact to small entities …”

Additional Background
The DOL published its proposed rule with a more restrictive interpretation of the economic realities test for determining independent contractor status on October 13. Public comment on the proposed rule ended December 13. Read the Statement on Employee or Independent Contractor Classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act submitted by ATA to the DOL on November 14. You can also click here to learn more about the economic realities test and what it means to translators and interpreters.

Learn More about ATA’s Advocacy Efforts
Educating government officials and the public about the role of translators, interpreters, and language access in our society is a central part of ATA’s mission. These efforts are led in part by ATA’s Advocacy Committee, which works on behalf of ATA members—and all language professionals for that matter—to specifically tackle policy and legislative language issues.

ATA’s advocacy campaigns include reaching out to Congress to request independent contractor classification for translators and interpreters, supporting interpreters seeking fair pay in Nevada, advising the Santa Maria City Council (California) on language access, urging the Biden administration to prioritize the evacuation of Afghan interpreters and their families, as well as petitioning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for safe working conditions for in-person interpreters during the pandemic.

Check out ATA’s Advocacy and Outreach page for more on these efforts. You can also learn more about the Advocacy Committee by listening to Episode 58 of The ATA Podcast.


CCHI Survey on Language Proficiency for Interpreters

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) is looking for interpreters to complete its national Survey on Language Proficiency for Interpreters (LPI).

This is your opportunity to shape the future of LPI standards regarding:
  • certification eligibility (by CCHI),
  • employment (by managers and recruiters), and
  • enrollment (by trainers and educators of interpreting and translation programs).
This Survey Is Different
Unlike other CCHI surveys, this survey is a hybrid between a position paper and a questionnaire. CCHI took this approach because the concepts related to language proficiency in general, and LPI specifically, are nuanced and complex, so be sure to read this information carefully before answering the questions.

Link to the Survey

The survey closes December 20, 2022.

Earn CCHI Continuing Education Points for Completing the Survey!
CCHI-certified interpreters will earn 1.25 CE points for completing the survey. If you have any questions about this survey, please send an e-mail to




Congratulations to All Winners of the ATA63 Surveys

Overall Attendee Survey Winner
Congratulations to Sandy Mejia Perez, winner of a free registration to ATA’s 64th Annual Conference in Miami, Florida (October 25-28, 2023)! Sandy’s name was randomly selected from those attendees who completed this year’s Overall Attendee Survey.

Session Survey Winners
Five winners were also selected at random from ATA63 attendees who completed the Session Surveys. Each will receive a free ATA webinar of their choice. Congratulations go to: Gabriela Siebach, Manar Kodamah, Oualid Boulekbache, Paul Koehler, and Sadot Marquez.

Exhibitors Conference Survey Winner
The winner of the Exhibitors Conference Survey is the New York University School of Professional Studies. The school will receive a $200 credit towards an exhibit booth purchase for ATA64.

Sponsors Conference Survey Winner
Brand the Interpreter is the winner of the Sponsors Conference Survey. The company will receive a $200 credit towards a sponsorship purchase for ATA64.

Past Sponsors and Exhibitors Survey Winner
Sandor Papp of memoQ is the winner of the Past Sponsors and Exhibitors Survey. The company will receive a $100 credit towards an exhibit or sponsorship for ATA64.

Make Plans for Miami in 2023!
It’s not too soon to start making plans for ATA’s 64th Annual Conference next year. Mark your calendar, save the dates—October 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Miami. We’ll see you there!


Back to Business Basics: Reviewing Your Own Performance

Presenter: Dorothee Racette
Date: January 19, 2023
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner
CE Point(s): None

Want to measure your translation or interpreting business performance? Join this webinar to turn your project data into business analytics!

When you work alone, it can be hard to measure how well your business is set up to succeed. Consistent metrics give you the necessary tools to plan your goals for the new business year or to evaluate how well you did in the last year. Attend this webinar to learn how to use different metrics to assess the performance of your freelance translation or interpreting business.

You will learn how to:
  1. Pick useful metrics
  2. Set reasonable goals in line with your current business stage
  3. Incorporate long-term values into your planning
  4. Set expectations for your own learning
Register now!
Free to ATA members, but you must sign up by 10:00 a.m. ET on January 19. Click to learn more and register.


Using TransTools and TransTools+ to Improve Your Translation Process

Presenter: Stanislav Okhvat
Date: January 17, 2023
Time: 12:00 noon ET
Duration: 90 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

Learn how to use TransTools and TransTools + to overcome CAT tool limitations while working in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents.

In the age of computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, a common mistake is to rely on a CAT tool to create a perfectly translated document without doing anything to prepare the original document. There are many areas, however, where CAT tools fall short, from cleaning tags and fixing formatting issues in the source document to making sure that the final translation is well formatted and easy to read.

Attend this webinar to learn how to use TransTools and TransTools+ to work around CAT tool limitations when dealing with Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. You will learn how these programs can increase your productivity, improve your efficiency, and assist in producing a final professional translation that will gain you repeat business!

You will learn how to:
  1. Save time and avoid errors with an efficient workflow prep of source documents
  2. Translate parts of a Word document in a CAT tool, ignoring text marked as non-translatable
  3. Produce a dual language final Word document quickly
  4. Prevent common formatting issues in translated documents using checklists and tools
  5. Improve and polish the look and feel of a final document in Word using correction lists
Register now! ATA Member $70 | Non-Member $90

If you have already registered for this webinar, please check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


The ATA Mastermind Program Is Open!

Most translators and interpreters go into business understanding that finding and retaining clients will be hard work. What many fail to see, however, is the difficulty in running a business alone and not always knowing what to do next. This is where ATA’s Mastermind Program can help!

What is ATA’s Mastermind Program?
You might hear “mastermind” and automatically think of a master class where a highly experienced instructor shares their knowledge with students. This is not ATA’s Mastermind Program!

Instead, think of a small group of 6-7 colleagues—people of approximately the same level of professional experience—working together on designated business issues or learning goals. It’s a combination of brainstorm networking, accountability, and everyone’s willingness to grow and learn together.

How do the mastermind groups work?
  • Groups are organized according to shared interests. For example, there may be groups focused on marketing to direct clients, advanced use of CAT tools, and entering a new specialization. The list of discussion topics is wide open.
  • Groups meet monthly for seven months; each group, however, decides independently where and how to meet. Venues can include Zoom, Google Meet, or any similar meeting application.
  • Groups are led by a volunteer facilitator, and meetings follow a defined outline to help ensure equal speaking opportunities for all participants.
  • Members will agree on group rules, expectations, and guidelines before and during the first group meeting. This includes setting a single, definite focus for the group and clarifying the outcome everyone is looking to achieve.
  • Groups are self-guided and choose their own activities.
Participation is key
This peer-based mentoring approach depends on every member’s participation. Members challenge each other to set strong goals and, more importantly, work to accomplish them by holding each other accountable. All members are expected to come fully prepared and engage with each other in meaningful conversation.

Mastermind group work doesn’t end after a meeting. Everyone needs to make time for action, learning, and research between meetings. The group can also decide on shared activities outside of meetings, such as reading an article or chapter of a book together. The most crucial point is that activities are planned jointly and that everyone takes an active role in the conversations.

Did we mention continuing education points?
Group facilitators and participants are eligible for continuing education points (CEPs). Participants can earn one CEP per two hours of volunteering, up to a maximum of 10 CEPs.

Is ATA’s Mastermind Program for you?
This is an ATA members-only benefit. At least two years of professional translation or interpreting experience is required to participate. Participation requires taking an active role in conversations and activities. The program is a seven-month commitment.

One last note. If you’re looking for a one-to-one coaching relationship with someone who has more experience than you do, ATA’s Mentoring Program will be a better fit. Check it out!

Ready to sign up?
Click here to complete the sign-up form! The deadline to register is February 28, 2023.

Learn More!
Free ATA Webinar
Introducing ATA’s Mastermind Program

The ATA Chronicle
ATA’s New Mastermind Program for Members: What Is It and Who Can Benefit

Next Level Blog
What are ATA’s Mastermind Groups?


In the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA Strategy Committee Update
The language services market is constantly evolving, growing, and adapting to changes in technology and economic forces. ATA and its members are affected by these changes. The Board needs data and analyses to make informed decisions about the industry, the Association, and individual members’ livelihoods. Here are some of the initiatives the Strategy Committee has been working on to help the Board in their task. (John Milan)

How Case Studies Can Help You Market Your T&I Services
While testimonials are powerful, case studies allow you to tell the story of your clients’ successes as a result of working with you. When well-written, case studies can be very useful in marketing to potential clients. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

Interpreting Is a Performance Art
In addition to all the linguistic aspects, our work as interpreters involves performance. Thinking of yourself as an actor giving a stellar performance will help improve the quality of your work. (Javier Castillo)

We Need to Talk about…Money!
It can be embarrassing and feel intrusive when someone asks about your rates, particularly if you suspect that you’re not earning enough or you’re not earning what you would like. However, if we are less obscure and cryptic about our own rates, more translators in the profession might start re-evaluating what they charge. (Justine Raymond)

Protect Your Career by Protecting Your Eyes
As translators and interpreters, we need to protect our vision if we want to work productively. Given the nature of our jobs, however, and our dependence on computers for everything, avoiding screen use altogether is simply impossible. How can we strike a balance between using technology to work and avoiding health problems caused by overusing our eyes in the process? (Danielle Maxson)

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 2022 Smithbucklin

December 15, 2022

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In This Issue

ATA Membership Survey
Inside Specialization: MT
Why ATA Membership
SBA Comment Letter
CCHI Survey
ATA63 Survey Winners
B2BB: Performance
Webinar: TransTools
ATA Mastermind Program
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Accounting and Taxes for Freelance Translators and Interpreters in the U.S.
Click to watch!

Renew Your ATA Membership for 2023 Now!

Don’t lose the marketing power, continuing education, industry insight, and member discounts you get with your ATA membership. Click here and renew now!

Back to Business Basics

Reviewing Your Own Performance
Jan 19 @ 12 noon ET
Free to members!
Registration open

ATA Webinars

Using TransTools and TransTools+ to Improve Your Translation Process
Jan 17 @ 12:00 noon. ET
Registration open

Calendar of Events

Board of Directors Mtg
Feb 11, 2023

Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2023
Feb 8-10, 2023
Registration open

ATA 64th Annual Conference
Oct 25-28, 2023
Miami, Florida
Preview now!

The ATA Chronicle
The ATA Chronicle November/December 2022

ATA Webinars Live and On Demand
Continuing education anywhere, anytime!

Savvy Diversification Series – The Role of the Genealogical Translator

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