Newsbriefs: January 20, 2021

ATA62 Annual Conference Call for Speakers

ATA Members Talk about Membership

We asked members to tell us how they used ATA member benefits. Here’s what they had to say!

CONNECT to colleagues and community

“The biggest benefit of being a member of ATA is having the support of a huge community of professionals that is helping me grow in my career.”
Mayda Villar, San Sebastian, Spain
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ADVANCE your career and business

“I am so proud of this. Getting ATA-certified is one of the highlights of my career. It can really help advance your career as a translator.”
Marina Ilari, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
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LEARN the T&I business

“I know how to set my rates and how to sell my services and who to go to when I need advice.”
Aida Carrazco, Zapopan, Mexico
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GROW your client reach

“I have made dozens of very productive connections through ATA that I can attribute literally thousands of dollars of revenue to since I joined. If I did it all over again, I just would have joined sooner.”
Ben Karl, Long Beach, California
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SAVE with members-only benefits

“You definitely save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in advertising because just being in the Directory is just the best advertisement you can ever have.”
Olivier Kempf, San Diego, California
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Did You Forget to Renew?
Thank you for your membership and support in 2020. If you have not renewed for 2021, then this is the time to click here and renew now!

New for 2021! Payment Plan Available
Take advantage of ATA’s installment plan to pay your membership dues for 2021! Available to all members. Just renew online to choose this payment option.

Already Renewed?
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.
Training for Translators

Industry News

Translation on Virginia Department of Health’s Website Told Spanish Readers They Didn’t Need COVID-19 Vaccine
ABC 8News (VA) (01/15/21) Manzanares, Keyris

A Google-generated translation on the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) website told Spanish readers the COVID-19 vaccine was “not necessary.”

The translation in question was part of VDH’s Frequently Asked Questions page, where “the vaccine is not required” was translated as “la vacuna no es necesaria” (“the vaccine is not necessary”).

The Virginia Vaccination Advisory Workgroup raised concerns about the faulty translation during a meeting last week. Dr. Rebecca Vargas-Jackson, a member of the group, said her students at George Mason University were the first to bring it to her attention. Before the faulty translation, the English passage simply meant the vaccine wasn’t mandatory, Vargas-Jackson said.

“There is nothing worse than providing misleading information to people who are looking for some answers,” Vargas-Jackson said.

VDH stands by the translation.

“Many Spanish speakers do read this form as it was intended—namely, to make clear the vaccine is not mandatory and therefore will not be forced on anyone,” said Maria Reppas, director of communications for VDH.

VDH did not officially state that the website had been updated, but the translation on the site now reads: “La vacuna no será obligatoria para los virginianos y no existen sanciones legales por rechazarla, pero le recomendamos que la obtenga una vez que esté disponible.” (“The vaccine will not be mandatory for Virginians and there are no legal penalties for refusing it, but we recommend that you get it once it is available.”)

The state’s health department relies on Google Translate to provide the website’s content in over 90 languages, and the tool is available on VDH’s website.
Thousands of Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters Hope Biden will Help Them Resettle in U.S.
The Washington Post (DC) (12/30/20) Gearan, Anne

Afghan and Iraqi interpreters facing reprisals for helping American forces hope President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration will offer them asylum in the United States.

Biden will have to contend with a backlog of thousands of visa applications from interpreters who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates say the Trump administration ignored or made worse.

“We have a moral obligation to those who served shoulder to shoulder with our men and women on the ground and who put their security and the security of their family members at risk,” said retired General David Petraeus, who commanded U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The backlog includes roughly 17,000 Afghan interpreters and others who helped U.S. forces or diplomats seeking special visas to resettle. Counting immediate family members who would also enter the U.S., those applications represent an estimated 70,000 Afghans. The number for Iraqis is estimated at about 100,000.

Over 1,000 Iraqi and Afghan applicants signed a petition to Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris in December. Many said they are facing harassment or death threats, which may worsen as Trump plans to withdraw additional U.S. forces from war zones where Americans have been deployed for nearly 20 years.

“Many of them risked everything to work with U.S. Armed Forces in our countries (Afghanistan and Iraq) because we believe in America and its values,” the current and former interpreters wrote in the letter. “Because of this, we have been threatened and targeted by the Taliban, the Islamic State, and other armed groups that consider them traitors.”

Advocates for the interpreters said delays that mounted over the past four years are due in part to new security and bureaucratic requirements, while denials for seemingly qualified applicants increased.

The State Department inspector general said it takes the government 852 days on average to process a successful Afghan special immigrant visa, not including how long it takes applicants to submit paperwork and complete other steps to move their cases down the bureaucratic line.

A State Department official said the administration has added resources dedicated to processing these visas “and taken steps to streamline the process at every application stage.” Some cases require additional time to thoroughly evaluate the applicant’s eligibility for a visa.

“We are committed to ensuring those who sacrificed their own safety to help U.S. national security interests have an opportunity to seek refuge in the United States,” said an anonymous State Department official.

The U.S. government doesn’t track casualties among applicants, but volunteer groups working to aid applicants estimate that at least 1,000 Afghan and Iraqi interpreters have been killed while awaiting visas.
Boston Planning and Development Agency Adds New Language Access Rules
WGBH News (MA) (01/14/21) Wintersmith, Saraya

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is rolling out a new set of rules to ensure residents who don’t speak English well or at all can participate in public meetings about proposed developments.

Under the new policy, slated to go into effect early this year, BPDA will require that those meetings and relevant materials be interpreted in the popular languages of the city’s various neighborhoods.

BPDA has previously provided interpreters on a case-by-case basis when specifically requested or deemed necessary.

Brian Golden, BPDA’s director, said the policy is a response to demographic shifts.

“We’ve got a city that is increasingly diverse. The city is a radically different place today, demographically, than it was when I was growing up here,” Golden said.

On top of the more diverse population, Golden said the city is experiencing a building boom that has created more than 60 million square feet of new development in the past seven years. “As that trend spreads from downtown into neighborhoods, residents need to know what’s happening,” he said.

“It is absolutely key that people understand the pros and cons of development,” Golden said. “If we are not being understood, either because we’re not explaining things well enough or because we’re not explaining things in a language that, literally, people can understand, that’s a real problem.”

Boston has stepped up its outreach to non-English speakers in recent years, forming an Office of Language and Communications Access that provides accessibility training to other city departments and helps finance activities like braille transcription, video captions, and audio transcripts.

Those in the language services industry said the city has come a long way since the days when non-English speakers were relegated to the rear corners of meeting rooms, where a non-certified interpreter might have offered informal interpreting of the proceedings.

“It feels like we started in the stone age,” said Linda Barros, a local freelance interpreter. Barros, who moved to Dorchester in the 1980s, said meeting spaces frequently felt “chaotic,” with people straining to hear while two or three languages were spoken simultaneously.

“Now non-English-speaking people will come in, and if they see headsets, they already know it’s for them,” she said, describing the modern audio systems that connect interpreters with their audiences.

“This is a diverse world, and the fact that you have immigrants in our country not understanding the language, I think we’re missing out,” Diana Pagano, an operations executive with Interpreters and Translators, Inc., said. “We’re going to miss out on a big, big community that can be contributors…It’s just about empowering them.”
Dispute Erupts over Translation Rights to New Nobel Laureate
The New York Times (NY) (12/09/20) Minder, Raphael; Alter, Alexandra

After winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Louise Glück has found herself at the heart of less-welcome publicity due to a dispute over who should hold the Spanish-language rights to her work.

Pre-Textos, a publisher based in Valencia, Spain, which has translated and released seven of Glück’s books, has called on the American poet to intervene in its favor after her literary agent selected another Spanish-language publisher a month after her award. Pre-Textos had let the Spanish rights to Glück’s work expire, but it maintains that it should be rewarded for broadening her readership and publishing her work at a loss.

“We want some kind of justice for 14 years of loyalty to an author who was almost completely unknown to Spanish-language readers until the Nobel Prize,” said Manuel Borrás, the literary director of Pre-Textos. “For years, we have lost money in the name of promoting great poetry and a wonderful author.”

Borrás acknowledged he had little ground for a lawsuit against the agent, Andrew Wylie, but he said “there is also something called ethics.” According to Borrás, Wylie did not offer Pre-Textos a chance to sign a new rights contract after Glück won the Nobel Prize. Instead, Glück will now be distributed in Spanish by Visor, a publisher that specializes in poetry.

Chus Visor, an editor and the founder of Visor, said he would start publishing Glück as soon as possible, and that he found the dispute bewildering. “What happened with Glück has happened with authors throughout life and in Spain as well: many change publishers, including some who go to Pre-Textos,” he said.

The dispute between Pre-Textos and Wylie has been debated on Spanish-speaking social media and largely presented as the fight of a small publisher against a powerful and ambitious agent. Borrás said he was grateful for the “tsunami of solidarity” that Pre-Textos had received, particularly from Latin America.

Damián Tullio, a translator working in Argentina, said he initially felt outrage when he heard that Pre-Textos had lost the translation rights to Glück’s work, but he now thinks that Glück should seize on the newfound interest the Nobel Prize has generated in her poetry and work with whichever publisher can provide the strongest and broadest international book distribution.

In general, Tullio said, “independent Spanish publishers have a lot of difficulty to distribute their books in Latin America.”
Medical Interpreter Is Voice for Baltimore’s Latino Patients during COVID-19 Treatment
The Baltimore Sun (MD) (12/29/20) Garcia, Stephanie

Elsa Aguilar Bustos serves as a medical interpreter at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, helping Latino patients navigate the intricacies of treatment for COVID-19 and other procedures.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, Latinos account for 10% of Maryland’s population, but 23% of COVID-19 cases. Baltimore’s Latinos also have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“An interpreter is the voice of the patient when they cannot speak English,” said Stella Karias, who was Bustos’ manager for five years. “An interpreter’s role is very important during medical discussions, especially in making sure that the message is effectively communicated. They are a very important part of the clinical team.”

When the pandemic began, Bayview pushed for interpreters to work from home to minimize exposure and to accommodate for the lack of personal protective equipment, but Bustos said that wasn’t an option for her. “She wanted to continue to come in and serve our patients face-to-face,” Karias said.

Bustos, who contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, is now back at Bayview. She has worked the night shift for the past nine years and has no plans to retire. Bustos said she can interpret for up to 10 patients on any given night. “When we’re called for an emergency, we have to be there,” she said.

The pandemic has elevated the need for qualified, professional medical interpreters who are not only fluent but also trained in cultural sensitivity and removing emotional bias. Karias said in addition to being well-versed in medical terminology, diagnoses, and treatments, interpreters nurture trust between the patient, their family, and their doctors.

“What I can tell you about Elsa is that she loved her job and she was very caring and compassionate with patients,” Karias said. “She was very familiar with the community and with the different organizations. She didn’t only interpret for them, but she wanted to help them in any other way she could.”
With Indigenous Language Classes on Hold, University of Winnipeg Launches New Ojibway Radio Drama
CBC (Canada) (12/21/20) Babb, Orinthia

Canada’s University of Winnipeg has created an Ojibway radio drama to fill the gap left when Indigenous community language courses were put on hold due to the pandemic.

The new series, Aakoziiwigamig: An Ojibwe Radio Drama, is broadcast on Native Communications Incorporated (NCI FM) radio, with episodes also available at the University of Winnipeg’s Office of Indigenous Engagement website.

Lorena Fontaine, the University of Winnipeg’s Indigenous academic lead, says the program originated from a desire to sustain Ojibway language use for students after community classes through the school’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Center and Indigenous Languages of Manitoba were canceled due to the pandemic.

“I was concerned that students who were taking Indigenous language classes at the university now had nowhere to go and practice in the community speaking the language,” said Fontaine. She has been working with NCI FM General Manager David McLeod on the series since its summer launch.

The University of Winnipeg is also developing an Indigenous language program, and Fontaine hopes to incorporate the radio drama and include students.

“We need more places to hear and practice the language,” she said. “I can see this being an important component to our language program, and we could get students in the production in the future.”

The 10-minute audio drama segments will air each second Wednesday until June 2021. Fontaine said there will be a teaching session before each episode to highlight key words and to increase listener engagement for non-Ojibway speakers.

The drama’s script was written by Patricia Ningewance, a leader in Ojibway teaching and translation in Canada. She was inspired by the hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy to set the series in a hospital. “Pat also thought a dialogue in a hospital would accommodate different dialects, because we have a number of Ojibway speakers with different dialects in Winnipeg,” Fontaine said.

The initial program was recorded through Zoom, with assistance from Kent Davies and Brett Lougheed from the University of Winnipeg’s Oral History Center. Fontaine said the recordings offer “a way to be with community without having to be together in person.”

University of Massachusetts Certificate in Translation and Interpreting

ATA News

ATA62 Annual Conference: Call for Speakers
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference.

Gain Recognition as an Industry Leader
The ATA Annual Conference attracts 1,500 attendees, bringing together translators, interpreters, educators, project managers, and company owners. Making a presentation to such a diverse audience is an excellent way to build your reputation and résumé, widen your networking circle, and position yourself as an expert in your field!

5 Tips for Writing a Proposal
  1. Focus your session on providing relevant, practical education.
  2. Define clear objectives for what attendees will learn.
  3. Show how applying this knowledge will benefit them in their work.
  4. Create a title that is short and conveys the usefulness of the presentation.
  5. Keep your content targeted to a specific level of experience.
Watch How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal to learn more about common pitfalls, proposal styles, and presentation tips. Free!

Will ATA62 be a Virtual Conference?
ATA62 will be a hybrid (in-person and virtual) conference. All speakers should be prepared to present in person in Minneapolis. You will be asked to note your willingness to present in person only, virtually only, or either in person or virtually on the proposal submission form.

Proposals must be received by March 1, 2021.

You do not need to be an ATA member to submit a proposal. If you know someone who could make a great presentation, encourage them to submit!

Submission Limit
Please limit the number of submissions to three proposals. Additional submissions will be disregarded.
ATA Webinar: The New Remote Interpreting Landscape
Presenter: Katharine Allen
Date: January 26, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Level: All
CE Point: 1 ATA-approved

By the end of last year, every platform offering remote communication was being used to deliver interpreting services, regardless of its suitability for the job. And interpreters were expected to make it all work, from providing ad hoc technical services and juggling multiple digital devices to educating and working with new clients unfamiliar with the industry’s best practices.

It’s a whole new world for interpreters. Learn how to make sense of its possibilities and problems by attending this 60-minute ATA webinar on remote interpreting. We’ll also examine strategies for working with clients and knowing when to say “no” to a job.

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

Too busy to attend? Register now to receive a link to the on-demand recording after the live event.
Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting Online
The ATA Board of Directors will meet online January 23-24. Click here to read the Board meeting agenda.

All ATA members are invited to attend. To request a Zoom join invitation, email your name and membership number to with Request to Attend the ATA Board Meeting in the subject line.
Back to Business Basics Webinar: Phone and Email Etiquette
Presenter: Corinne McKay
Date: February 15, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: All

Communicating with clients is key to every freelancer’s success. Still, it’s a skill that few of us have studied—or even thought about in any strategic way.

In this sixth episode of ATA’s Back to Business Basics Webinar Series, presenter Corinne McKay will start with the basics of professional email and phone communication. Then she’ll move on to advanced communication issues and tactics, such as the strategic use of auto-responders, cultural differences in phone and email communication, and when to communicate with clients by phone instead of email … and vice versa.

Reserve Your Spot! Free! Limited to ATA members. Registration required.

New ATA Member Orientation Session
Start your ATA membership off on the right foot by learning how to take advantage of all the benefits the association has to offer!

This one-hour member orientation session is a roadmap to the “what, why, and how” of ATA member benefits, including setting up your directory profile, joining and participating in divisions, and group-buying discounts. Don’t miss out on benefits you can really use simply because you didn’t know they existed! Registration is required.
Register for the ATA Mastermind Program
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.

ATA’s Mastermind Program can help! The new program offers freelancers a chance to tackle business issues in small collaborative groups. Watch this training session to learn how peer mentoring works, then submit your application to get involved! This is your chance to take advantage of a new kind of mentoring designed to offer you the support you need.
Free Members-Only Webinar for January
ATA offers members one free webinar every month. Don’t wait to watch this month’s freebie!

Proofreading Your Work Efficiently and Effectively
Drafting the perfect translation—and proving you are worth the money—can get messy. Learn how to put that final shine on your work to establish your reputation for quality translation every time, no matter what your drafting process looks like behind the scenes. Techniques and ideas discussed are easily applied to any language!
Notice—Member Sanctioned
Wagner Consulting, Ltd., New York, New York (December 2020), also doing business as “Wagner Consulting International,” “Wagner Consulting LLC,” and “VIP Translators,” was sanctioned for violations of the third, sixth, seventh, and eighth tenets of ATA’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics and was expelled from the Association. Further, the company, its owners/officers, and any commercial successors, affiliates, or subsidiaries are banned in perpetuity from membership in the American Translators Association. The company and its owners/officers, and any commercial successors, affiliates, or subsidiaries are also to be barred in perpetuity from the use of any ATA logos, references, or other intellectual property.

Article III, Section 6.b. Disciplinary Actions of the ATA Bylaws states, “All disciplinary actions are taken pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board from time to time, which procedures may be amended only by a two-thirds vote of the Board.” The procedures are addressed in the ATA Policy on Ethics Procedures. The sanctions applied to these individuals are in accordance with the ATA Policy on Ethics Procedures, Section V.
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.
Coming Up 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


January 20, 2021

Who does your business taxes?
See the Results!


Previous Poll Results

Have you ever done any volunteer translation/interpreting work?
31% = Yes, fairly often
65% = Yes, from time to time
0% = No, but I would like to
4% = No, and I don’t plan to

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ATA Webinar Series

The New Remote Interpreting Landscape: Back to the Hack
January 26
12 noon ET
Register now!

Closed Captioning &SDH
February 24
12 noon ET
Registration opening soon!

Subtitling: How a Text Translator Can Become a Subtitler
February 24
1:30 ET
Registration opening soon!

Back to Business Basics Webinar
Phone and Email Etiquette
January 14
ATA members Only
Free! Registration required!

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Proofreading Your Work Efficiently and Effectively
Click to watch!

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
Learn more!

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

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 The ATA Chronicle November/December 2021
 ATA Webinars Live and On Demand
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