ATA Petitions CDC to Include InterpretersFollowing the release of the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program recommendations, ATA petitioned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explicitly include on-site medical interpreters among the listed examples of health care personnel eligible for Phase 1 vaccinations. Twenty other organizations co-signed the ATA letter. Click to read the complete letter.
December 17, 2020
Robert R. Redfield, M.D.
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
Dear Dr. Redfield,
The undersigned organizations, representing spoken and signed language interpreters, language service companies, and language access advocates, write to urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to explicitly include on-site medical interpreters among the listed examples of health care personnel eligible for Phase 1 vaccinations, and to include on-site interpreters in other settings (community interpreting, educational interpreting, state and local government offices, court and interpreters in legal or administrative law settings) among “other essential workers” per the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). We note that these front-line personnel are not included in either the CDC guidance.
Lawsuit Claims Tyson Foods Managers Lied to Interpreters/Employees about COVID-19 Risks at Iowa Pork PlantCBS News (NY) (12/03/20) Gibson, Kate
According to a federal lawsuit, supervisors at Tyson Foods allegedly lied to interpreters and employees about the risks of the coronavirus virus at its pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa, where a deadly outbreak infected more than 1,000 workers.
The lawsuit claims that managers at Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the U.S., discouraged interpreters from discussing COVID-19 with employees, other than to falsely state that the virus was not affecting the facility. According to an amended lawsuit filed in November in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa Eastern Division, the plant has 2,800 employees, including many “refugees or immigrants who speak and comprehend little or no English.”
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the families of three Tyson Foods employees who died of COVID-19, stated that a plant manager and a human resources director told interpreters in April that the facility had “no confirmed cases of coronavirus and that it had been cleared to continue operating by county health officials.”
The lawsuit stated that workers at the Waterloo factory had actually tested positive for the virus and that local health officials had requested that Tyson Foods close the facility.
The lawsuit also claimed that Tyson Foods removed “many interpreters from the plant floor after their discussions in April.” According to the lawsuit, managers also instructed U.S. Department of Agriculture food inspectors in April not to wear masks inside the plant because it would “send the wrong message.”
“We can tell you we’ve worked hard to provide coronavirus training and education in multiple languages to our team members to help ensure they’re safe at work and at home,” a spokesperson for Tyson Foods stated. “We have about 20 translators at the Waterloo plant covering more than half a dozen languages. We’ve distributed 300,000 cloth masks to our team members that they or family members can use outside our plants.”
Tyson Foods also stated that it has allocated millions of dollars, including about $20 million at the Waterloo plant, for bonuses to frontline workers and to deploy measures to protect employees from COVID-19.
“We are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant,” said Dean Banks, chief executive officer of Tyson Foods.
“Those allegedly involved have been suspended without pay, and Tyson Foods has retained former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an investigation into the claims,” Banks said. “If confirmed, Tyson Foods will take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company.”
How Translators in the Netherlands Are Making COVID-19 Information More AccessibleThe Local (Austria) (11/27/20) Martins, Lais
Vulnerable communities around the world are faced with a lack of access to information on COVID-19 and how to protect against it, including immigrants who don’t speak the local language. Across Europe, initiatives have been emerging to fill the gap, including in the Netherlands.
What started as a student Facebook group to translate news reports into English from the Dutch Broadcast Foundation for friends at the height of the coronavirus crisis has now evolved into a page with over 35,000 followers. Rather than translating government guidelines, the volunteers seek to offer contextual information on the crisis in the Netherlands.
“I noticed that many students around me were unable to catch up on the latest news, or very much lost in translation, and were basically in a state of panic and constantly asking the Dutch students to translate what was going on,” said Noes Petiet, a student at Utrecht University who is one of the people responsible for the page.
People began sharing the link to the group’s Facebook page, which rapidly became very popular. Only a week after it was first created, the volunteers—a team of 10 students—decided to transform it from a community group into a public page.
The team was initially surprised by the demand. “We assumed that in a country that is so internationally focused as the Netherlands, there would be some kind of journalistic source to keep everyone up to date, including those who don’t speak Dutch,” said Petiet. “I guess we found a hole in the market.”
Apart from informal initiatives such as the student-led Facebook page, other organizations have taken on the mission of translating information for lower socioeconomic communities. That’s the case of the Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities, a Dutch organization focused on health inequalities in the Netherlands.
The organization began translating basic government information on the coronavirus at the end of February, when the first case was registered. What began as a volunteer-driven project to make information available in five languages has now grown to a more formalized initiative that offers translations in 13 languages.
“When the crisis started, we already saw that the information being provided by the government was too hard to understand for people who are illiterate, with too many difficult words and very few images,” said Mohammed Azzouz, a program manager at the Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities who coordinates the translation work.
The Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities then began translating government guidelines not only into other languages, but also adapting the content by using more simple and easily understandable vocabulary, including illustrations. Azzouz believes the process works because the organization has a better understanding of the needs of the communities they aim to reach.
“If you know why people act the way they do, you can create more effective tools,” said Azzouz. “Because it doesn’t help if you just keep spreading the basic information without being aware of the context people are in.”
Korea Times (South Korea) (11/23/20) Hyo-jin, Lee
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) is urging South Korea’s National Police Agency to provide better interpreting services to foreign nationals during legal procedures.
The recommendation stems from a petition filed by the wife of a Moroccan man charged with assault after a fight with a Korean man in March. She said her husband was not provided with an interpreter during the police investigation and was forced to sign documents he didn’t understand.
NHRCK stated that providing adequate interpreting would ensure that foreign nationals who are unfamiliar with the country’s criminal proceedings do not suffer similar discrimination or disadvantages.
“The police should make sure they meet the basic needs of foreign nationals during their investigation, such as providing interpreting services or allowing a legal guardian to accompany the individual, even if the person in question does speak Korean,” NHRCK said in a press release. “Police stations must also be equipped with translated versions of necessary information on criminal procedures such as the Miranda warning.”
The husband, an employee of a moving company, was loading boxes onto a truck in Seoul when he was approached by a Korean man who called him an “illegal immigrant.” The Korean man attempted to take photos and threatened to file a police report. An argument ensued involving physical conflict, after which both men filed police reports. The officers who arrived on the scene ordered the Korean man to come in for questioning at a later time but detained the Moroccan man.
The officers who conducted the investigation stated that they assumed an interpreter was not necessary because the Moroccan man “had been living in the country for eight years with a Korean wife.” The man was not indicted.
NHRCK stated that while the man could communicate in Korean, he didn’t fully understand the legal terminology used and couldn’t express his thoughts adequately. NHRCK added that this ordeal constituted an “unreasonable measure and abuse of public power because it violated the man’s rights and personal freedom.”
CNN (NY) (11/13/20) Cairns, Rebecca
When the pandemic made face masks an everyday essential, Japanese startup Donut Robotics spotted an opportunity. They created a smart mask—a high-tech upgrade to standard face coverings designed to make communication and social distancing easier.
Working in conjunction with an app, the C-Face Smart mask can transcribe dictation, amplify the wearer’s voice, and translate speech into eight languages.
Taisuke Ono, chief executive officer of Donut Robotics, stated that the smart mask doesn’t offer protection against the coronavirus. Instead, it’s designed to be worn over a standard face mask. Made of white plastic and silicone, it has an embedded microphone that connects to the wearer’s smartphone via Bluetooth. The mask’s Bluetooth chip can connect to smartphones up to 32 feet away. The system can translate between Japanese and Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, English, Spanish, and French. The app displays the translated text on the wearer’s smartphone.
Donut Robotics first developed the translation software when working on a robot called Cinnamon, designed to provide tourists with useful information and help them navigate airports. But when the pandemic hit, the robot project was put on hold. That’s when the team’s engineers came up with the idea to use their software in a face mask.
Ono said the first wave of distribution is expected to take place in Japan, with 5,000 to 10,000 masks available by the end of December. They will cost between $40 to $50, with an extra subscription fee for the app. Ono said Donut Robotics will not expand overseas until April 2021 at the earliest, but that there has been interest in the U.K. and U.S.
Ono hopes the mask will make new social distancing norms in locations such as hospitals and offices easier by enabling good communication.
“We still have many situations where we have to meet in person,” he says. “In this new normal…the mask and the app are very helpful.”
CNN (NY) (11/30/20) Chavez, Nicole
When the pandemic hit the U.S., the hosts of Radio Indígena were among the first people who could explain COVID-19 to Mexican farmworkers in Ventura County, California, thanks to their ability to switch between the languages spoken by their listeners.
Radio Indígena was created in 2014 as an extension of the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), a group that helps Indigenous families in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The initial goal of the station was to provide information about labor rights and health programs to Mexican farmworkers in their native languages. Currently, the station broadcasts 40 hours of original programs in Spanish and the Indigenous languages of Mixteco, Zapoteco, and Purépecha.
MICOP estimates that about 20,000 people from southern Mexico live in the area. Most of them are farmworkers and some only speak their native language. Genevieve Flores-Haro, associate director of MICOP, estimates that about 3,000 people listen to the station daily.
Bernardino Almazán, a producer who used to work picking cilantro, said one of the biggest challenges in the early months of the pandemic was explaining what COVID-19 was. The Mixteco language, he says, dates back at least 2,000 years and does not include modern medical terminology.
“We had to find other ways to talk about the virus, give examples of similar illnesses, and explain the symptoms,” Almazán said.
The station has since produced a series of COVID-19 public service announcements about health protocols, school closures, price gauging, and mental health.
Almazán and his colleagues have also found themselves debunking rumors about the pandemic. Almazán said they had to clarify that undocumented immigrants who seek medical attention due to COVID-19 wouldn’t be affected by the “public charge” rule, a federal provision that makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits like food stamps and housing vouchers. Another conspiracy theory that the hosts have addressed is whether Microsoft founder Bill Gates wanted to use a potential coronavirus vaccine to implant tracking devices in people.
“We recommend that listeners not pay attention to gossip circulating on social media or to people who may not have accurate information,” said Francisco Didier Ulloa, the station’s coordinator and Almazán’s co-host. “Our duty is to report responsibly.”
Arcenio López, executive director of MICOP, said Radio Indígena has been crucial to informing Indigenous communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties about the pandemic.
“It would be ideal if everyone learned English, but the reality is that there are people who will never learn English and there are people who have just arrived in this country,” López said. “All of them deserve to have vital information in their native language, as it’s a basic human right.”
How to Make the Best of Your ATA Membership in 2021There’s an association for almost every industry and profession. What makes ATA stand out from all the rest? Watch The Benefits of ATA Membership to find out.
What’s the most important benefit of ATA membership? Professional community? Continuing education? Directory listing? ATA President-Elect Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo talked with Matt Baird, host of The ATA Podcast, about the one member benefit that convinced her to join ATA and all the benefits that keep her coming back. Listen now to Your ATA Membership Matters.
Is your listing in the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters all that it could be? Read Getting the Most from Your ATA Directory Profile in the September/October 2019 issue of the ATA Chronicle Online.
Click to renew your ATA membership for 2021 now!
New! Payment Plan Available. To help those members who find it difficult to pay membership dues in full at this time, ATA is offering an installment plan in 2021. Renew online to choose this payment option.
ATA Membership Dues and Tax Returns
Remember, if you plan to claim payment of your 2021 membership dues on your 2020 tax return, you must renew by December 31. As always, consult your accountant for tax advice when taking business deductions.
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 Members Only area of the website and click the Invoice History link. Online payments are posted 3-5 days following a transaction.
Now’s the time to download your membership card! Just log in to the Members Only area of the ATA website and click the Membership Card link in the menu bar. And thank you for renewing!
Is the ATA Mentoring Program for You?Need to move your business forward? Have questions about technology, management, or clients? Transitioning from employee to full-time independent contractor? Check out the ATA Mentoring Program.
Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 31. This will be your only opportunity to enroll in the 2021 program.
Learn more about the ATA mentoring experience!
• Tapping into the Expertise I Needed (Jessica Hartstein)
• Mentoring for Freelancers: Beneficial at All Levels (Karen Rückert)
• The Benefits of Mentoring (Ben Karl)
• How to Have a Super First Year in ATA: The Mentoring Program (Molly Yurick)
• ATA Mentoring through the Eyes of a Mentor-Mentee Pair (Lea Rennert, Rutie Eckdish)
Advice, encouragement, lessons learned, career guidance—the benefits of being a mentee can be critical to the success of a career or business. This is your ATA membership at work! Submit your application now.
Back to Business Basics Webinar SeriesSometimes it’s the simple things that trip you up or hold you back in business. That’s the point behind ATA’s Back to Business Basics webinars.
This series of 45-minute webinar sessions offer practical advice on common translation and interpreting business problems. Free to ATA members! Click to watch the first four presentations in the series!
- Entrepreneurial Habits for Freelance Translators and Interpreters
- Handling the Holidays as a Freelancer
- Diversification—A Tool for Thriving in Uncertain Times
- Effective and Pitch-Perfect Marketing during and after COVID-19
Next Back to Business Basics Webinar: Setting Business Goals
Presenter: Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Date: January 14, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 45 minutes
Setting realistic goals for your business can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What is the right combination of ambition and reason? How often do you assess your progress and adjust your tactics?
In this fifth episode of ATA’s Back to Business Basics Webinar Series, presenter Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo will examine steps to developing realistic goals, turning goals into achievements, how and when to evaluate your progress, and ways to handle the unexpected.
Reserve Your Spot! Free! Limited to ATA members. Registration required.
The New Remote Interpreting Landscape: Back to the Hack
Presenter: Katharine Allen
Date: January 26, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point: 1 ATA-approved
By the end of 2020, every platform that offered remote communication was being used to deliver interpreting services—Google Meets, Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Live, and more—regardless of their suitability for the job. The result? Interpreters are being asked to accommodate a never-ending number of hacks to force square pegs through round holes to make these platforms work.
Register to attend “Back to the Hack” to learn how to make sense of the new remote landscape and strategies for handling it.
Register now! ATA Member $45 Non-Member $60
[ATA-Business-Practices] PPP Update: Forgiveness, Tax
For a quick wrap-up and reminder on this year’s Paycheck Protection Program, check out the December 16 message from member Robin Bonthrone on the ATA Business Practices Listserv. Not a member of the list? Join now to keep up with scams, business management issues, and general discussions on the state of the translation and interpreting professions. Click ATA Business Practices Listserv to learn more!
ATA61 Conference Winner
Congratulations to Susanne van Eyl, winner of a registration to ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota! Susanne’s name was randomly selected from those attendees who completed this year’s overall conference survey. Surveys received by December 1 were automatically entered into the drawing for a free registration.
- Session Recordings Available Online
If you attended the conference, be sure to go back to the conference portal and listen to any of the sessions you missed or replay those that you’d like to hear again. Those who did not attend the conference, or who would like to purchase one of the Advanced Skills and Training Day (AST) sessions, should look for the recordings to be available in January.
- One More Session Added
Speaker Paula Arturo was unable to present her Thursday session “Legal Translation in Plain Language” (010) due to technical difficulties. Rather than disappoint, Paula presented her presentation as an ATA webinar on December 2. The on-demand recording is now available to ATA attendees on the conference portal.
Did You Miss the ATA61 Annual Conference?
It may have been virtual, but ATA61 delivered as much—and more—as any previous ATA Annual Conference. Relevant sessions? Check. Fun online networking events? Check. Being able to join conference sessions from a sunny backyard in San Diego or a beach in Oregon? Check. It’s all here in the ATA61 conference video recap. Watch now to see what you missed!
Latest Issues of Translatio and Counterpoint Online
The latest edition of Translatio, the quarterly newsletter of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), is available for download from FIT’s website.
This issue reviews FIT partnerships around the globe, including formal and informal collaborations with many international organizations supporting varied initiatives, such as protection of linguists in conflict zones, the importance of indigenous languages and cultural diversity, translation services in disaster relief, and concerns for copyright issues in translation practice.
Also, not to be missed in this issue is an update on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines and a new joint effort by FIT Europe and the European Union Association of Translation Companies to develop GDPR guidelines that would address the entire translation and interpreting industry, from individual practitioners to language services companies.
One More Good Read from Europe!
The fourth issue of Counterpoint, an e-zine for anyone interested in literary translation, is now online and available for download free of charge. Published twice a year by the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations, Counterpoint #4 features articles such as “Literary machine translation: Are the computers coming for our jobs,” “Duel with Deep,” and “CAT tools—the literary translator’s new assistant?”
Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2021
Join the Joint National Committee for Languages-National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) February 3-5 for Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2021. This three-day event brings together language educators and industry professionals who are interested in advocating for language learning in the U.S. Attendees will learn about federal language policies and programs, train to develop advocacy skills, and team up to meet virtually with Congressional staff members.
- Virtual Congressional Meetings
- Group Planning Session
- Language Policy Session
- Networking Breakout Sessions
- Inspiring Keynotes & Panelists
- Virtual Awards Reception
- Mentorship Program
- Delegate Assembly
- Virtual Event Bag
If you don’t tell Congress how critical languages are for job growth, national security, and social justice, who will?
Quick Clicks for Details
- Learn more
- Hear from past attendees
- Follow @JNCLInfo and #LAD21 on Twitter
- Ask questions
- Register to attend
In the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA Introduces Six New Awards at ATA61!
Attendees at ATA’s 61st Annual Conference came together virtually for a special awards presentation to recognize colleagues for their contributions to the Association and the translation and interpreting professions. ATA introduced six new ATA awards this year—Advocacy, Dynamo, Impact, Innovation, Mentoring, and Rising Star. Read on to find out who was honored!
Should I Market My Translation or Interpreting Services on Social Media?
Translators and interpreters raise this question pretty frequently. But here’s the thing. If you’re planning to market your business on social media, keep in mind that it’s a long-term strategy. The more you show up and the more authentically you engage, the more you’ll get out of the social media platform(s) you choose for your business. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Six Remote Simultaneous Interpreting Platforms and Zoom
Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) is the new reality. So, what are some of the RSI platforms out there and what features do they offer? What are the technical requirements to support these platforms on your workstation? Let’s get a better idea of what to look for in terms of functionality by comparing some of the more popular platforms on the market. (Natalia Fedorenkova)
Language for the Good of All: ATA Members Make a Difference in the National Language Service Corps
Volunteers for the National Language Service Corps (NLSC), a U.S. Department of Defense program authorized by Congress, provide linguistic expertise and cultural competencies across the entire federal government. Learn what three ATA members have to say about their experiences working with NLSC and why you should consider participating. (Rusty Shughart)
Women and Machine Translation
It has always bothered me that there seems to be a serious under-representation of women who are involved in the development of machine translation (MT). Since it didn’t make much sense for me, a man, to write and complain about that, I asked three women who are involved in MT in academics and development to discuss the topic. (Jost Zetzsche)
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.
December 28, 2020
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In This Issue
ATA Petitions CDC
Best ATA Membership 2021
ATA Mentoring Program
Business Basics Webinars
PPP Update: Forgiveness
Language Advocacy Days
The ATA Chronicle
Renew for 2021
Installment Plan Available!
ATA Webinar SeriesThe New Remote Interpreting Landscape: Back to the Hack
12 noon ET
Closed Captioning &SDH
12 noon ET
Registration opening soon!
Subtitling: How a Text Translator Can Become a Subtitler
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Back to Business Basics Webinar
Setting Business Goals
ATA members Only
Free! Registration required!
ATA Members Only
Free ATA Webinar!
Managing the Stages of Your Small Business
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Calendar of Events
Board of Directors Meeting
January 23-24, 2021
ATA New Member Orientation Session
February 2, 2021 Registration opening soon
Virtual Language Advocacy Days
February 3-5, 2021
ATA62 Annual Conference
October 27-30, 2021
Best Business Practices
How to Build a Translator/Interpreter Résumé That Sells
Continuing education anywhere, anytime!