Newsbriefs: July 31, 2023


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Attend educational sessions, job recruitment events, and networking opportunities, all designed specifically for professional translators and interpreters. Visit the ATA64 conference website for a complete rundown of the sessions and events being offered this year! Here are some highlights of what to expect in Miami!

Learn from the experts! The breadth and depth of the general conference sessions not only feature the experience and knowledge of your colleagues but also Distinguished Speakers.

Don’t forget to register for Advanced Skills & Training Day: Advanced Skills and Training (AST) Day takes place Wednesday, October 25. A “conference-before-the-conference,” AST Day offers a selection of three-hour courses specifically chosen to provide intensive, interactive instruction from highly acclaimed speakers. (You must be registered for the 3-day conference to register for these courses. Additional fees apply.)

Networking Events: ATA64 offers a wide variety of specialized networking opportunities where you can build partnerships, promote your services, make new friends, get more involved with ATA, or simply have fun! These include:

  • Job Fair: Company reps will host tables and post their current and ongoing needs at this recruitment event. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with clients who are ready to meet, interview, and hire you!
  • T&I Book and Resource Fair: Celebrate books written by colleagues and discover T&I podcasts, blogs, training, and other resources created and offered by translators and interpreters.
  • Buddies Welcome Newbies: This mutually rewarding opportunity pairs “Newbies” (first-time attendees) with “Buddies” (experienced attendees) so they get the most from their conference experience.

For complete details on all events, see the ATA64 Conference Schedule.

Visit the Exhibits: Find everything you need in one place! ATA’s Exhibit Hall allows you to discover new products, learn about school programs, and see which agencies are hoping to recruit your services. (Note: Exhibit and sponsorship sales will open in August.)

Continuing Education Credit: Earn while you learn! ATA64 provides continuing education opportunities for both ATA-certified translators and credentialed interpreters. The Continuing Education Credit page on the conference site will be updated as approvals are received.

Book Your Room Today at the Official ATA64 Conference Hotel!
ATA64 will be held at the Hyatt Regency Miami. Rooms are booking fast. Make your reservations now to take advantage of the special rates for ATA64 attendees! ATA rates are available until September 29, 2023, or as space allows.

Register Today!
Register by September 16 and save! Can’t attend the entire conference? ATA is offering a Saturday-Only registration rate.

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Not an ATA member? Join ATA and save with our mid-year membership rates. Save 50% on your 2023 membership dues when you join for 2024. Join today and your membership will not expire until December 31, 2024. Learn more here!

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Phone: +1-703-683-6100, ext 3001
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Industry News

California Court Interpreters Urge Lawmakers to Oppose Two Proposed Bills

Slator (Switzerland) (07/27/23) Albarino, Seyma

Nearly three years after California freelance interpreters and translators won an exemption from gig worker bill AB 5, court interpreters find themselves embroiled in yet another battle over well-intended bills with potentially dramatic consequences: AB 1032 and AB 432. The two proposed bills are intended to solve the challenges California courts face in trying to retain qualified interpreters.

The California Federation of Interpreters (CFI) sponsored California State Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco’s AB 1032, which would modify an existing framework governing the employment relationships between trial courts and court interpreters.

In a June 28, 2023, letter signed by more than 75 interpreters, the Coalition of Working California Interpreters urged the California Senate Judiciary Committee chair and vice chair to reject AB 1032, describing the bill as “a hodgepodge of misguided provisions.” The Coalition criticized CFI for not seeking input from other stakeholders such as working interpreters, legal and language access advocates, and populations with significant rates of limited English proficiency (LEP).

“To garner support from interpreters and community organizations, the sponsors are promoting the bill as a pathway to benefited union jobs for relay interpreters and contractors,” the letter stated. “The bill does not provide benefited positions for either and dangerously deteriorates language access for Indigenous communities.”

Interpreting languages of lesser diffusion—more specifically, Indigenous Mexican languages—features prominently in AB 1032. Presumably, to meet the growing need for interpreters in these languages, the bill would eliminate restrictions that limit the instances in which untested relay interpreters may work. The Coalition argued that this would create a separate and unequal standard of justice for LEP speakers of Indigenous languages and set “a dangerous precedent for all linguistic minorities.”

There is, however, something of a silver lining for AB 1032, in that the threat to independent contractors has been defanged, at least for now. “As originally introduced, AB 1032 completely eliminated current provisions in the law allowing courts to use independent contractors when they don’t have enough employees to cover the work,” said Mary Lou Aranguren, a certified court interpreter.

Along with fellow former union representative Daniel Navarro, a state and federally certified court interpreter, Aranguren headed up a coalition called the California Alliance of Legal Interpreters to express opposition to AB 1032. The group collaborated with the American Translators Association (ATA) and the Coalition of Practicing Translators and Interpreters of California (CoPTIC) to share its analysis of the bill with other interpreters.

“Once the broader interpreter community understood, there was a lot of pushback,” Aranguren said. “The authors restored the status quo and removed those changes from the bill.”

Another bill, AB 432, sponsored by California State Assemblymember Mike Fong, proposes the Court Interpreters Workforce Pilot Program. If passed, AB 432 would provide training for up to 10 participants in four courts per year, with the goal of producing more court interpreters. ATA has objected to AB 432 in several letters to the California State Assembly’s Committee on Appropriations.

“This bill ignores the underlying reality about why the courts have had trouble attracting applicants for employment: the salaries offered are lower than what interpreters can make in other legal or conference settings, where their skills are more highly valued,” ATA President Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo wrote. “As evidenced by the number of certified court interpreters in California’s state registry, there isn’t a lack of qualified talent.”

ATA Advocacy Committee Chair Ben Karl agreed with Sánchez Zampaulo. “The latest version requires training program graduates to work for the court for three years or reimburse the court for the cost of the training program, without addressing the most pressing needs facing the courts,” Karl said. “Until pay increases, the courts will have trouble filling their needs gap.”

Sánchez Zampaulo’s recommendations include increasing court interpreter compensation, offering grants to aspiring court interpreters for existing training programs, reimbursing continuing education expenses for interpreters, and offering oral exams more than twice a year. “The cost of additional exam sittings is surely less than creating an entirely new program to meet goals already being addressed by existing frameworks,” she said.

In a July 13, 2023, letter to the same committee chair and vice chair, Sánchez Zampaulo repeated the same suggestions, stating: “The amendments made to the bill on June 26, 2023, did not address the concerns we raised in [the previous] letter, and therefore, we must oppose AB 432.”

A committee hearing date for AB 1032 is currently scheduled for August 14, 2023. AB 432 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary once the summer recess ends in August 2023. Karl said that both chambers will have until August 31, 2023, to pass any bills, with a September 30, 2023, deadline for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign bills into law or veto them.

“If interpreters do not speak up, this bill is likely to pass,” Karl said of AB 432. “If they share their views with their lawmakers, those same lawmakers will be able to represent the voices of their constituents, both interpreters and LEP individuals, and vote accordingly.”

CoPTIC President Lorena Ortiz-Schneider drew parallels between the two proposed bills and AB 5, the impetus behind CoPTIC’s founding, writing in an op-ed, “Together, these two bills […] will decimate the ability of professionals with hard-earned state credentials and even certifications to work in California.”


More than 2,000 Afghan Interpreters Who Worked with British Troops Finally Granted Visas

The Daily Mail (United Kingdom) (07/17/23) Wiliams, David; Greenhill, Sam; Beckford, Martin

After more than a year of delays, Britain’s Home Office has ordered an “immediate” approval of visas to more than 2,000 Afghan interpreters and others who aided U.K. forces in Afghanistan.

After the Taliban took over Kabul, the U.K. offered sanctuary to interpreters, along with their families, whose work saved many British lives. The 2,000 interpreters who fled to countries like Pakistan and Iran were told they would receive visas to move to the U.K. However, their entry was blocked by a rule stating they had to arrange for housing to get a visa.

A legal challenge brought by some of the interpreters appears to have persuaded the Home Office to ease that policy, with Home Office Secretary Suella Braverman directing officials to “immediately” approve the visas. Leigh Day, a leading U.K. law firm, and advocates at Sulha Alliance, a U.K. charity whose work focuses solely on Afghan interpreters, assisted with the campaign to expedite the interpreters’ asylum.

Although the Home Office has approved the visas, it stated that “it is vital those arriving have somewhere suitable to stay once they are in the U.K. so they can put down roots immediately.” New arrivals will not be housed in hotels but in “settled accommodations.” This has advocates concerned that interpreters will still be denied travel to the U.K. until these “settled accommodations” can be arranged.

Sara de Jong, co-founder of the Sulha Alliance, said while she welcomes the government’s decision, she still thinks that “to expect our former Afghan colleagues to find their own accommodation in the U.K., a country they have never visited, is almost impossible.”

Musa, a former interpreter, who has been in an Islamabad hotel with his wife and child for more than a year, said: “We must now be allowed to move quickly to the U.K. because our lives have been on hold too long.”

In response to advocates’ concerns, The Home Office said: “The U.K. has made an ambitious and generous commitment to help at-risk people in Afghanistan and, so far, we have brought around 24,600 people to safety. We continue to honor our commitments to bring eligible Afghans to the U.K.”


New York Attorney General Tries to Expand Language Access for Extreme Weather Alerts

WENY News (NY) (07/25/23) Kline, Elise

New York Attorney General Letitia James has joined a coalition of 16 state attorney generals to expand language access for weather alerts at a time when the country continues to face extreme weather.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), James and other attorney generals proposed that the FCC offer wireless emergency alerts in more languages.

“In just the last few weeks, New Yorkers have been hammered by violent storms, flash flooding, and extreme heat, and receiving wireless emergency alerts during these emergencies can mean the difference between life and death,” James said.

Theodore Moore, vice president of policy and programs at the New York Immigration Coalition, said the effort to expand language access is critically important for the safety of state residents. “It’s extremely, extremely dangerous when you can’t receive these alerts in a language that is accessible to you,” Moore said.

Moore said during extreme weather, timing is critical when following safety instructions such as staying indoors. Certain storms may not allow residents enough time to seek assistance if they are unable to understand the alert on their phones. “You need to be able to read it yourself because, quite frankly, if you ignore it and then you do exactly what the alert is telling you not to do then you’re putting yourself at harm.”

In their letter, the coalition of attorney generals also proposed that the FCC use alert templates created by human translators rather than relying on machine translation. The coalition stated using human translators rather than machine translation will avoid inaccuracies and increase the number of languages available from 13 to at least 25.

Expanding languages through the FCC requires a rule-making process. James and other attorney generals stated in their letter that they are committed to helping this process.

Denver Offers to Train Interpreters for Free to Address Influx of Refugees

Westword (CO) (07/25/23) Kelty, Bennito

A program initiative by the Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (DOIRA) will provide bilingual residents with free interpreter training and a chance at contract work with the city.

Denver officials are looking for residents proficient in English and one of more than a dozen languages, including Vietnamese, Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, French, Burmese, Karen, Farsi, Somali, Nepali, Korean, Urdu, Haitian Creole, Khmer Armenian, and Swahili, and are open to those who speak additional dialects. The city plans to start training polyglots next month, with classes beginning on August 21 and running for about three weeks.

“The intention is to have community interpreters to respond to the needs of the community,” said Heidi Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Denver Human Rights and Community Partnerships Department. “We just want to be able to increase the number of interpreters out there, especially for languages that are not as commonly spoken.”

Rodriguez said demand is greatest for Spanish interpreters because so many of Denver’s non-English-speaking residents hail from Latin America, especially Mexico. However, there is also a lack of interpreters for several other languages, including Karen and Nepali. In recent years, Denver has brought in refugees from Afghanistan and hosted migrants from South America, mainly Venezuela, which has boosted the city’s need for interpreting services.

“You don’t have to live in the City and County of Denver to apply for this program,” Rodriguez said. “We’re offering this to whomever can apply and be part of these classes.” Applicants will be asked to pass a proficiency test in both English and their target language.

The city is taking applications from people who can attend at least 13 in-person classes during the week in August and early September. Those interested can apply online, with a registration deadline of August 10.


Houcorp to Pay $50,000 to Settle EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit

STL News (MO) (07/24/23) Smith, Martin

Houcorp, Inc., a Missouri fast-food restaurant franchise operating seven restaurants in Indian River and Brevard Counties, will pay $50,000 and provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to applicants and employees upon request for interviews, orientations, training, and performance reviews to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the suit, an applicant advised Houcorp’s hiring and training manager she was hard of hearing and asked for an ASL interpreter for her orientation with the company. The manager responded by stating that Houcorp did not provide ASL interpreters, which made it impossible for the applicant to attend orientation and start her job.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree requires Houcorp to update its job postings and hiring advertisements, revise its anti-discrimination policies, post a notice regarding this lawsuit, and report on the handling of requests for reasonable accommodations. Houcorp will also provide live training to owners, managers, and human resources personnel on the ADA, as well as training designed specifically to raise awareness about issues affecting the deaf community and dispelling stereotypes associated with hiring deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. Houcorp will also conduct an internal audit to identify potential obstacles and make the workplace more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants and employees.

“We commend Houcorp for working proactively with the EEOC,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg. “The company’s willingness to provide training and implement changes reflects a good faith effort to resolve this matter, and the Commission is pleased with the resolution.”

“Houcorp should be commended for agreeing to a consent decree early in this litigation,” said EEOC Miami District Director Evangeline Hawthorne. “This settlement includes provisions that ensure deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants and employees will have the benefit of ASL interpreters going forward, and we appreciate Houcorp’s commitment to improvement.”

ATA News

ATA Advocacy: Updated Action Alert for ATA Members in California

Thanks to all our members who have already contacted their legislators regarding AB 432. A lot has happened since our last call to action and we need your help once more.

This bill, which seeks to create an additional pathway for aspiring court interpreters to obtain full-time employment in California courts, has undergone multiple amendments and been considered by several legislative committees. However, these amendments have not substantively improved the bill to the point where ATA’s Advocacy Committee can support it. The bill continues to ignore the issues underlying the perceived shortage of qualified interpreters in California. For this reason, we still oppose AB 432.

On July 13, 2023, ATA President Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo sent a letter to the California Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of ATA’s Advocacy Committee urging legislators to oppose the bill.

We encourage all ATA members in California to contact their legislators now to tell them why this bill still does not work for them or our judicial system.

ATA Mid-Year Membership Campaign: Refer 5 Friends for a Chance to Win!

Our mid-year membership campaign is in full swing and you can help! All you have to do is refer 5 potential members. If they join/rejoin by September 30, 2023, you’ll be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card!

*Make sure the person you refer writes your name on their membership application where it says “Did a Friend Refer You?”

** The deadline to be entered is September 30, 2023.

Learn more here

AFTI First-Time ATA Conference Attendee Scholarships

The American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI), ATA’s non-profit foundation, is pleased to announce a limited number of $500 scholarships to help current students or recent graduates of translation or interpreting studies programs or related fields defray the registration cost of attending ATA’s 64th Annual Conference in Miami, Florida (October 25-28, 2023). Students may be part-time or full-time. The program must lead to a degree or certificate and be offered by a college or university.

Application Deadline: July 31, 2023

ATA Membership Diversity Award

Each year, the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI) offers a limited number of fully paid ATA memberships to individuals joining ATA for the first time who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

Award recipients will be selected based on answers to essay questions on the application form. The selection committee will give preference to students and newcomers to the translation and interpreting professions, including people changing careers. The award will be distributed across as many language pairs as possible in any given year. At least one award per year must go to a U.S. citizen by birth. Applications will be accepted until all awards are made.

You’ll find all the details and the application form on AFTI’s website. Be sure to share with your family, friends, and colleagues through your social media networks! #atadiversityaward

Apply Now!

Upcoming Webinars

Essential Steps for Starting and Staying in the Translation Business
August 9: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. EDT
Presenter(s): Fernando Cuñado
Discover the most useful tips and tricks to help you get through your first year as a freelance translator and beyond.
Register Here (Free to ATA Members!)

Church Interpreting: The Who, What, How, and Why
August 14: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Presenter(s): Jonathan Downie
Attend this webinar to learn about the growing field of church interpreting. You’ll leave with a better understanding of the opportunities and skill requirements so you can determine whether it’s a specialty you want to pursue!
Register Here

ATA TEKTalks: Is the Right Tool for You?
August 24: 12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. EDT
Presenter(s): Anne-Sophie De Clercq
Learn the pros and cons of the top language localization tools to discover which one best fits your needs and goals!
Register Here (Free to ATA Members!)

The Ins and Outs of Machine Translation in Trados Studio
August 31: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT
Presenter(s): Nora Díaz
Ready to make machine translation work for you in Trados Studio? In this webinar, we’ll explore the MT engine included with Trados Studio, along with apps that provide access to other MT engines.
Register Here

Call for Articles: Translatio

The editorial team of Translatio, the quarterly newsletter of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), is seeking articles from members of FIT organizations in English, French, or Spanish for their next International Translation Day issue.

Articles can be about initiatives or achievements at your association or organization, International Translation Day, past or upcoming conferences, board elections, etc. To recap a recent initiative or event for fellow member associations, consider sending high-quality photos with detailed captions in lieu of an article. If possible, please consider providing submissions in more than one language to assist the editorial committee. Articles that do not meet the submission guidelines will not be accepted. Please note that articles may be edited for clarity and style. (Past issues may be viewed here.)

Submission Deadline: August 18, 2023

Please submit articles to

The ATA Chronicle Receives APEX Award

The ATA Chronicle has been awarded the 2023 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in Magazine, Journals, and Tabloids. ATA’s flagship publication, The ATA Chronicle provides in-depth articles covering vital aspects of the translation and interpreting industry.

About the APEX Awards
Established in 1988, the Annual Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX) is an annual competition for publishers, editors, writers, and designers who create print, web, electronic, and social media. It is open to communicators in corporate, nonprofit, and independent settings.

Click here to read The ATA Chronicle – Login Required
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  • Click on Log In at the top right.
  • Select “Lost Your Password” and enter your email address (do not enter username or member #).
  • Click “Get New Password.”
  • You should receive an email with a link to reset your password.
  • Click the link and use the “Suggest new password” prompt.
  • Then use your login and new password to login.

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ATA’s Translating and Interpreting the Future Virtual Conference

Did you miss ATA’s Translating and Interpreting the Future Virtual Conference on Saturday, May 20, 2023? Don’t worry. You can purchase the recording on ATA’s website. Start learning today!

Note: If you registered to attend the virtual conference, log into the virtual conference site to access the videos. Conference attendees will have access to the videos until August 20, 2023.

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Do you have news to share with us? If so, you might be featured on our social media channels. You may submit your news here.

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July 31, 2023

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Conference Information

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AFTI First-Time ATA Conference Attendee Scholarships
Application Deadline: July 31, 2023

ATA Membership Diversity Award
Applications accepted until all awards are made.

Student Translation Award
Application Deadline: July 31, 2023

ATA Webinars

Essential Steps for Starting and Staying in the Translation Business
August 9: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. EDT
(Free to ATA Members!)

Church Interpreting: The Who, What, How, and Why
August 14: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT

ATA TEKTalks: Is the Right Tool for You?
August 24: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. EDT
(Free to ATA Members!)

The Ins and Outs of Machine Translation in Trados Studio
August 31: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT

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