Newsbriefs: February 16, 2021

Middlebury Institute of International Studies

It’s Here!

ATA’s new website is now online, and it’s definitely turning heads! Check out just a few of the comments we’ve received from members:

“It’s well-structured and you can easily find your way around.”

“Wow, very impressive. So much nicer, gorgeous to look at, and very much easier to navigate.”

“New ATA website is impressive indeed. The navigation has been taken to a great new level of convenience. It’s an excellent example of what it means to make our digital presence ‘user-friendly.'”

Ready to take a look around? Let’s start at the top with a note to clients about why they’re in the right place.

Professional Translators and Interpreters Connect Us to Our World
When you care about your customers, want to take your message to the next level, and are committed to quality, the language professional you need is an ATA member.
  • Homepage: The Language Services Directory front and center, plus easy access to the latest industry news, events, resources, advocacy, and member benefits.

  • Certification: Everything about ATA certification!

  • Career and Education: Resources for newcomers, professionals, and educators/trainers—from growing your career to business strategies to tools and technology. Something for everyone.

  • Client Assistance: Information to help clients understand what you do, from a guide to contracts and agreements to tips for buying language services.

  • Events: Upcoming continuing education, the certification exam schedule, and the ATA Annual Conference.

  • News: Translation and interpreting services in the news, plus The ATA Podcast, Chronicle, and Newsbriefs all in one place.

  • Member Center: All your ATA benefits and account access in one place.

  • Language Services Directory: Client resources and a new intuitive user interface to search for freelancers and companies.

  • About Us: Governance and all those things that are part of running the Association.
Now that you’ve had a quick walk-through, we hope you’ll take some time to really get to know the resources available on the site. There’s no time like the present to get started!

And please use the “Submit Feedback” form to let us know what you think and to report any broken links or problems. You’ll find the link to the form in the footer at the bottom of each web page. Thanks for your help!
Hunter Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting

Industry News

New York Lawmakers Pitch Bill Requiring State COVID Websites to Offer Translations
New York Daily News (02/11/21) Slattery, Denis

Two New York lawmakers want to ensure that New Yorkers who do not speak English as their primary language have access to the latest information about COVID-19.

New York Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou introduced legislation this month requiring the state to translate all websites for non-English speakers, especially pages dealing with anything related to the pandemic. The bill requires state agencies to provide translations of all COVID-19 information within 30 days.

“More than five million New Yorkers live in households where the primary language isn’t English,” Hoylman said. “That’s why we can’t let language be a barrier to life-saving information, especially during the current pandemic.”

Currently, the state website featuring information about eligibility for COVID vaccines includes a drop-down language component. However, several other sites, including New York’s main coronavirus website, do not.

New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly noted that minority communities have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis and that the state is attempting to fight vaccine hesitancy in immigrant, Latino, and Black communities.

“Making information available to the state’s residents who speak a language other than English could go a long way to achieving those goals,” Hoylman said.

Niou said her office has been inundated with phone calls from constituents who have had trouble navigating the state websites, especially as the public seeks information about vaccines.

“There is a tremendous gap between those who have the resources and ability to access the resources we have available and those who do not,” Niou said. “It’s essential that we promote equity and provide culturally sensitive, language accessible information and services in our online resources and information, especially when it comes to issues related to COVID-19.”
Rutgers University Translation Program Aids Newark’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Efforts
Rutgers University-Newark School of Arts and Sciences-Newark (01/29/21) Lerner, Lawrence

Faculty, students, and alumni of the School of Arts and Sciences-Newark (SASN) at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, have found many ways to be of service during the pandemic, from 3D-printing masks for frontline health care workers to delivering food to the elderly and needy. Recently, the Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) community has found another way to contribute by aiding the city of Newark’s contact tracing efforts via its Lives in Translation Project (LiT).

Created in 2016 by Jennifer Austin, a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, and a group of RU-N faculty from SASN and Rutgers Law School, LiT leverages the university’s remarkable diversity by recruiting undergraduate volunteers to serve as interpreters and translators to help immigrants seeking legal services.

In April of last year, Newark Alliance, a nonprofit which focuses on economic revitalization and partners with the city on its contact-tracing work, contacted RU-N Chancellor Nancy Cantor to see how the university might get involved. Cantor then reached out to LiT Director Stephanie Rodriguez and LiT Co-Founder Randi Mandelbaum, a professor at Rutgers Law School who runs its Child Advocacy Clinic.

“After speaking with Newark Alliance, Nancy suggested we create a group of both translators/interpreters and legal-clinic experts in case any contacts needed legal advice,” Rodriguez said. “It seemed vital to engage voices for people with limited English proficiency and put them at ease.”

Rodriguez put out a call for student volunteers and was flooded with responses. The program now has 25 volunteers who help provide interpreting and translation in Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.

To prepare for the job, volunteers completed a six-hour training, which was a combination of live video sessions and online tutorials, complete with PowerPoint presentations, self-assessments, and scripts, and a follow-up training with the New Jersey Department of Health in June.

Volunteers work from home using Google Voice to connect via audio with Newark residents, identifying themselves as calling on behalf of the Newark Department of Health. They reach out to contacts who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, ask if they’re exhibiting symptoms, and identify any underlying conditions the contacts may have.

“I’m so glad that Rutgers University offered this internship,” said Desiree Roquetti, a senior pursuing a BA/MA in political science as part of an accelerated program. “I’ve been able to feel like a valuable member of my community by using my language, communication, and operational skills to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Rodriguez has been floored by both the rapidly changing landscape and the enormous response.

“I would never have thought I would be faced with a pandemic my first semester with LiT, but it’s been so encouraging to see how students responded, how our multilingual students wanted to share their language skills, and how LiT students have given a voice for self-advocacy to communities who may not have had one.”
Revamped White House Website Aims for Inclusivity and Accessibility
National Public Radio (01/21/21) Treisman, Rachel

Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, sharp-eyed internet users noticed several major changes relating to the inclusivity and accessibility of the White House’s official site. Among them are a new feature allowing users to include their pronouns when submitting contact forms and a relaunch of the Spanish-language website.

The White House contact form now includes gender-inclusive pronouns and prefixes, such as “they/them” and the gender-neutral title “Mx.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplified the news in a tweet and issued a statement praising the Biden administration for “taking immediate steps towards inclusion.”

“Pronouns matter. Adding inclusive pronouns to a contact form is more than just a demonstration of allyship,” said GLAAD President and Chief Executive Officer Sarah Ellis. “Research has shown that recognition and respect of our pronouns can make all the difference for our health and well-being—especially when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.”

The Biden White House has also brought back “La Casa Blanca,” its Spanish-language website. The Census Bureau reported in 2016 that Spanish was “by far” the largest non-English language spoken in the U.S., spoken by 13.3% of the population ages five and older.

A statement on the site said it is working toward conforming to an established set of accessibility guidelines in an effort to help make the website content accessible to all users, including those with sensory, cognitive, and mobility disabilities.

“This commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans,” the site stated.
Studies from Japan Find Singing in Some Languages Could Spread COVID-19 More Easily than Others
CBS News (01/28/21) Craft, Lucy

Does singing in different languages create more potentially infectious droplets and aerosols? Researchers in Japan say the answer is yes. At least three separate studies have shown that when it comes to emitting droplets and aerosols, not all languages are equal.

Studies were commissioned last December by the Japan Association of Classical Music Presenters (JACMP), which represents professional musicians, orchestras, and concert hall managers, to run an experiment involving unmasked singers. Eight professional vocalists—equally divided between male tenors and female sopranos—took turns performing short solos in a laboratory-clean room. The subjects sang excerpts from three pieces commonly performed here: A popular Japanese children’s song, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy; and Verdi’s La Traviata.

In terms of vocal emissions, it was no contest. Trilling in German and Italian generated twice as many particles per minute (1,302 and 1,166, respectively) as crooning in Japanese (580).

But JACMP Director Toru Niwa cautioned that the takeaway from the studies shouldn’t be to avoid European music during the pandemic. While several amateur singing venues have yielded super-spreader incidents, Niwa said Japan’s professional choirs haven’t been tainted by a single community transmission event—regardless of the language being sung—despite returning to rehearsals and performances in live music halls.

“Classical music is basically the western canon,” he said. “If we stopped singing in French, Italian, and German, we wouldn’t be able to perform anymore.”

A separate study by the Japan Choral Association (JCA), which represents 4,500 amateur groups, had 20 child and adult singers perform solo excerpts, pitting a Japanese graduation tune against Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The study found that singing in Japanese propelled particles a maximum distance of about 24 inches—only about half as far as warbling in German, which flung particles up to 44 inches from a singer’s mouth.

“When singing in German, we advise our members to stand at the maximum distance from each other,” said JCA Secretary-General Masakazu Umeda.

Umeda and Niwa explained that their studies reflect how the Japanese language—with its soft, comparatively gently-voiced consonants—leaves a lighter footprint when it comes to vocal emissions. In fact, the JCA found that singing in nonsense syllables composed entirely of the Japanese vowels “ah, ee, oo, eh, oh” yielded almost no emissions at all.

Guidance for school choirs from Japan’s Ministry of Education directs children to wear masks and keep singers at least 6.5 feet apart, ideally in a “plaid” pattern, alternating positioning between rows, to make everyone more visible to an audience.

Distancing singers on stage for pro ensembles means choirs must get by with just 60 singers, instead of the usual 100 or more. Opera singers have been advised not to face each other when performing, and not to walk around the stage mid-song.

Niwa said that by having singers stand in the alternating plaid pattern, with at least the recommended distance between them—whether they wear masks or not—”the risk is substantially reduced.”
Researchers Claim that AI-Translated Text Are Less “Lexically” Rich than Human Translations
Venture Beat (02/03/21) Wiggers, Kyle

In a new study, researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the University of Maryland attempt to quantify the lexical and grammatical diversity of “machine translationese” (i.e., the fingerprints made by artificial intelligence [AI] translation algorithms). They claim to have found a “quantitatively measurable” difference between the linguistic richness of machine translation systems’ training data and their translations, which could be a product of statistical bias.

The researchers examined a range of different machine learning model architectures, including neural machine translation and phrase-based statistical machine translation. In experiments, they tasked each with translating between English, French, and Spanish and compared the original text with the translations using nine different metrics.

The researchers report that in experiments, the original training data—a collection of reference translations—always had a higher lexical diversity than the machine translations regardless of the type of model used. In other words, the reference translations were consistently more diverse in terms of vocabulary and synonym usage than the translations from the models.

The researchers point out that while the loss of lexical diversity could be a desirable side effect of machine translation systems (in terms of simplification or consistency), the loss of morphological richness is problematic as it can prevent systems from making grammatically correct choices. Bias can also emerge, with machine translation systems having a stronger negative impact in terms of diversity and richness on morphologically richer languages like Spanish and French.

“As machine translation systems have reached a quality that is (arguably) close to that of human translations and as such are being used widely on a daily basis, we believe it’s time to look into the potential effects of machine translation algorithms on language itself,” the researchers wrote in a paper describing their work. “All of our metrics indicate that the original training data has more lexical and morphological diversity compared to translations produced by the machine translation systems.”

The researchers propose no solutions to the machine translation problems they claim to have uncovered. However, they believe their metrics could drive future research on the subject.
Poetry and Translation Are Intertwined for Sawako Nakayasu
Japan Times (Japan) (01/23/21) Kosaka, Kris

Sawako Nakayasu, a poet and assistant professor at Brown University, has a deep commitment to translating from Japanese to English, and said translation “seamlessly intertwines” with her own writing and affects her writing choices.

“I love how translation pushes me as a poet,” she said. “It’s like writing poetry with formal constraints, except that the form is much more constrained. It’s challenging, and I have to search for new ways to make language work.”

In 2015, Nakayasu translated Tatsumi Hijikata’s Butoh notations for the book Costume en Face: A Primer of Darkness for Young Boys and Girls, and she recently collaborated on a translation of the poems of Korean modernist poet Yi Sang, whose early writings were in Japanese.

“What you choose to translate is one of the most important decisions you can make as a translator,” she said. “Out of the wealth of literature available in a given language, whose values are shaping that decision, and what is your role in that conversation?”

Nakayasu observed that when it comes to writing and translating, “translation provides an opportunity to break down our assumptions about literature and how we consume it as an artistic artifact.

“Thinking about ancient oral traditions of literature is helpful in considering how we might engage with translation,” Nakayasu said. “Doing so provides more room to acknowledge and celebrate, even value, the interpretation and artistry of the translator.”

Nakayasu advocates strongly for poets cultivating translations skills. “At the most fundamental level, it’s helpful to be a poet, because the act of translating poetry is also an act of writing poetry,” she said. “The more flexibility (or muscle) you have as a writer, the more tools you have with which to approach translation. If I try to approach the entire endeavor with a wider view, or with the lens of an artist, interesting possibilities can arise.”
ATA62 Annual Conference Call for Speakers

ATA News

ATA Podcast: ATA 2020 in Review
How did ATA do in 2020? In Episode 52, ATA President Ted Wozniak and President-Elect Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo tell Matt Baird, host of The ATA Podcast, how 2020 became the “year of the ATA volunteer.” From membership to advocacy, from professional development to honors and awards, ATA members pulled together to make things happen for their colleagues. And both Ted and Madalena say there’s a lot more of that to come in 2021!

How to Subscribe?
Get new episodes of The ATA Podcast as soon as they’re released! Just look for ATA on the podcast app of your choice and choose to follow or subscribe!

Audiovisual Translation Doubleheader
The industry stats say it all: the average person will increase their daily online video watching from 84 minutes in 2020 to 100 minutes in 2021, while the total time collectively spent viewing online videos has increased 32% a year on average since 2013.

The demand for audiovisual translation is growing rapidly.

If you’re thinking of adding a new specialty to your services, this is a good one to vet. And these two webinars organized by ATA’s Audiovisual Division will give you the introduction you need.

Too Busy to Attend?
Register now and watch the on-demand recordings at your convenience! We will email you a link and an access code to each recording after the live event. Don’t miss this opportunity to “schedule” your future online learning!

Register for both and save!
ATA Member $75   Non-Member $105
  • Subtitling: How a Text Translator Can Become a Subtitler
    Presenter: Deborah Wexler
    Date: February 24, 2021
    Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Level: Beginner
    CE Point: 1 ATA-approved

    Subtitling is a translation job. You’re a translator. Shouldn’t that be enough? Actually, it’s not. When you’re translating a book or document, you have a single stream of text to deal with. When you’re translating a movie, you have two streams of information coming at you at the same time and are limited by reading speed and the number of characters allowed. And the differences don’t stop there.

    Register now!  ATA Member $45   Non-Member $60
  • Closed-Captioning and SDH: An Introduction
    Presenter: Mara Campbell
    Date: February 24, 2021
    Time: 1:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Level: Beginner
    CE Point: 1 ATA-approved

    The techniques of closed-captioning and subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) are great entry-level tasks in the audiovisual translation industry. Presenter Mara Campbell will cover roll-up captions and pop-on captions with and without placement, as well as the pros and cons of available freeware and professional software.

    Register now!  ATA Member $45   Non-Member $60

Boost Your Career with an ATA62 Presentation
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference.

Proposals must be received by March 1, 2021.

If you’ve never written a proposal to present at an ATA Annual Conference, then this is the place to start! How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal is a free webinar that will guide you through the process step by step while offering tips on common pitfalls and proposal styles. Don’t skip this. It’s free!

How to Submit a Proposal
All proposals are submitted through an easy online form. You do not need to be an ATA member to submit, but you do need to be prepared to present in person in Minneapolis. Also, please note that we have limited the number of submissions per proposer to three this year.

How Proposals Are Selected
Proposals are selected based on the value and originality of the content. Presentations should engage the audience, encourage discussion, and provide information relevant to the translation and interpreting professions. Proposal selection is a competitive, peer-review process.

Renew Your ATA Membership for 2021!









ATA 2021 Elections: Call for Nominations
The 2021 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is now accepting nominations to fill the positions of president-elect, secretary, and treasurer (each a two-year term) in addition to three directors’ positions (each a three-year term).

The deadline for submitting a nomination is March 1, 2021.

ATA’s success depends on the leadership of its officers and directors. That leadership begins with nominations like yours. Click here to start.

Is the ATA Mentoring Program for You?
No matter where you are in your career, the advice and encouragement from working professionals with on-the-job experience is priceless. But finding the right mentor is not always easy.

Once a year, the ATA Mentoring Program offers a unique matching service to a limited number of mentees and mentors. ATA members interested in participating must submit an application by March 31.

“When I made the switch to working for myself, I felt a bit like a fish out of water. There was so much to learn—how to attract direct clients, get my foot in the door at agencies, juggle a large number of jobs with different expectations. I wanted advice from someone who had been in my shoes. My ATA mentor turned out to be just what I was looking for.” Jessica H.

Want to know more? Watch this free Mentoring Program webinar to learn how the program works, or read The Benefits of Mentoring to discover more about the mentoring experience.

My mentor encouraged me to trust my instincts when it came to marketing and networking, regardless of what the “how-to” articles say. And she reminded me to be patient with my business. There is no short-cut to getting clients. Really, she helped me in so many ways. It’s hard to sum it all up! Molly Y.

This is the only open enrollment period in 2021. Only 30 mentees will be accepted. Don’t miss this chance to get the support you need—it’s an invaluable ATA member benefit. Submit your application today.

“My mentor showed me what he did to succeed in a competitive, but high value, segment of the market. Even though I had been running my own successful translation business for nearly four years, there was a lot to learn from how someone else handled the challenge of finding new clients.” Ben K.

Free Members-Only Monthly Webinar
ATA offers members one free on-demand webinar every month. Don’t miss this month’s freebie!

How to Utilize LinkedIn Strategically to Reach Your Ideal Clients
Many freelancers set up a LinkedIn account because they know it’s what professionals do. Then, they promptly let their profile collect dust—and wonder why it doesn’t bring in much business. Is this you?

Don’t let the marketing power of LinkedIn slip through your fingers! Watch this webinar to learn how a few key strategies can make a difference in reaching your ideal clients and expanding your referral network.

About the Presenter
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo is a freelance translator (Spanish and Portuguese>English) and owner of Accessible Translation Solutions, a boutique translation agency based in Southern California. She is currently ATA President-Elect, ATA61 Conference Organizer, and chair of the Association’s Governance and Communications Committee.

Go Virtual for the 2021 School Outreach Contest
The ATA School Outreach Contest is on, and the prize is a free registration to ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference!

How to Enter the Contest
Share your career story with any educational-level or age group of students, then submit a summary of your experience along with a photo of your presentation—a screenshot works just fine. Online presentations are a great way to reach students and teachers while many schools are closed or limiting access to school employees only.

How to Prepare a Presentation
ATA volunteers have created resources, handouts, and presentations for you to use, covering elementary school to graduate-level students. It’s all on ATA’s website, ready for you to download and revise to make the presentation your own. Check out ATA School Outreach Presentation Materials.

Want to See How It’s Done?
We’ve put a virtual presentation together for you to give you a few ideas. Watch ATA Presents Careers in Translation and Interpreting and get inspired!

Don’t Have a School in Mind?
If you’re interested in speaking to students about translation and interpreting but don’t have a specific school in mind, let us know. We’ll do our best to match you up with a school looking for a presenter.

Update Your Safelist
Registering for an ATA webinar? Then you’ll want to add to your email sender safelist. This will ensure that you receive the Zoom email with the webinar’s join link. And while you’re at it, go ahead and safelist to be sure you receive announcements from ATA. Click here to learn how.

In the January/February Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Call for Nominations: ATA Officers and Directors
Do you know someone who would make a good potential candidate for ATA’s Board of Directors? If so, ATA’s Nominating and Leadership Development Committee would like to hear from you. Any ATA member may make a nomination. Here’s your chance to help shape the future of the Association!

How Did Your Work Change in 2020?
Given the many challenges 2020 presented, members of The ATA Chronicle Editorial Board reached out to their colleagues (both interpreters and translators) and invited them to answer the following question: How did your work change in 2020?

The Demands of On-Demand Interpreting
In a time of increased professional isolation with interpreters working from home, here’s some light on the challenges and rewards of the essential work of on-demand over-the-phone interpreting. (Linda Pollack-Johnson)

Translation as an Art: How to Get Your Work in a Museum
Museums have evolved from rather stuffy places to lively multimedia experiences with exhibitions on anything from art and photography to fashion, film, and music. Here are some examples of the types of projects you might encounter when working for museums, including some challenges you’re likely to face. (Percy Balemans)

Why Your Website Needs a Contact Form and How to Get It Right
Contact forms on websites are nothing new these days. But not all freelance translators or interpreters take advantage of them. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

2020 ATA Honors and Awards Recipients
ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize outstanding work done by both seasoned professionals and students of our craft. This year’s recipients are…

Treasurer’s Report
There tends to be a lag between when an economic shock takes place and when its effects are generally experienced. As such, while our finances still look fairly solid in this report, it’s essential to bear in mind that rockier roads lie ahead. (John Milan)

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

February 16, 2021

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In This Issue

It’s Here!
Podcast: ATA 2020 Review
AV Doubleheader
ATA62 Conference
Renew for 2021
ATA 2021 Elections
Mentoring Program
Members-Only Webinar
Virtual School Outreach
Update Your Safelist
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
How to Utilize LinkedIn Strategically to Reach Your Ideal Clients

Click to watch!

ATA Webinar Series

Subtitling: How a Text Translator Can Become a Subtitler
February 24
12:00 noon ET

ATA Member

Closed Captioning & SDH
February 24
1:30 pm ET

ATA Member

ATA Member

Best Business Practices

Nine Ways to Stand Out in the Translation and Interpreting Industry

Calendar of Events

ATA62 Call for Speakers
Deadline: March 1

ATA Mentoring Program
Deadline: March 31

Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting
April 24-25, 2021

ATA62 Annual Conference
Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 27-30, 2021
Call for Proposals

The ATA Chronicle January/February 2021
Alliant Professional Liability Insurance
ATA offers U.S. military 50% off on a new ATA membership
Attention U.S. Military! Join ATA and take 50% off your membership dues!

ATA School Outreach Program
Advertise with ATA!


ATA is a professional association founded to advance the translation and interpreting professions and foster the professional development of translators and interpreters. With almost 10,000 members in more than 100 countries, the Association includes translators, interpreters, language services providers, educators, project managers, localization specialists, hospitals, universities, and government agencies.