Newsbriefs: June 15, 2023




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ATA 2023 Elections: Slate of Candidates Announced

ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections during the ATA 64th Annual Conference in Miami, October 25–28, 2023, to elect a president-elect, secretary, and treasurer (each a two-year term), as well as three directors (each a three-year term).

Additional nominations, supported by a written petition signed by no fewer than 60 voting members and the nominee’s written acceptance statement, must be received by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee by July 8. Acceptance statements and petitions should be submitted to Nominating and Leadership Development Committee Chair (NLDC) Ted Wozniak ( ).

Candidate statements and photos of the candidates will appear in the September/October issue of The ATA Chronicle and on ATA’s website. Article VII, Section 2 d. 2) of the ATA Bylaws states that the NLDC “shall propose multiple candidates for each elective position of the Association….”

The revised slate of candidates proposed by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee are:

Geoff Koby
Meghan McCallum

Robin Bonthrone
Marian S. Greenfield

Eve Bodeux
Helen Eby

Yasmin Alkashef
Analía Bogdan
Jason Knapp
Jessie Liu
Daniel Sebesta
Chaowei Zhu

Become an ATA Voting Member
Did you know that you do not need to be ATA-certified to vote? Any ATA Associate Member who can demonstrate that they are professionally engaged in translation, interpreting, or closely related fields may apply for Voting Membership. How? Just complete and submit the ATA Active Membership Review application. No additional paperwork required. It’s fast, free, and easy!


Industry News

Interpreters Working in Nebraska Courts Stage Walkout to Protest Stagnant Wages

York News-Times (NE) (06/13/23) Bamer, Erin

Nebraska state courts could experience delays in services following the decision by some interpreters to stage a walkout after negotiations for a pay increase failed.

The walkout comes several weeks after Governor Jim Pillen vetoed a pay increase for court interpreters that was proposed in the state’s two-year budget. State Senator George Dungan attempted to override that veto but failed to get enough support from other lawmakers.

After rumors of a walkout surfaced, the state court administration came forward with an offer to increase rates for interpreters. However, the offer wasn’t accepted because it was only about half of what was initially requested and gave higher increases to some interpreters over others. A lack of available interpreters due to the walkout could mean delays in court services, an increased reliance on video interpreters, and extra money spent extending some cases.

“There’s no official count for how many interpreters are participating in the walkout statewide, and no end date for the protest has been set,” said Kelly Varguez, a court certified Spanish interpreter.

According to a press release from Interpreter Advocacy Nebraska, the hourly rates for the state’s court interpreters have not changed since 2004, despite numerous attempts to raise them. The current rate is $50 per hour for certified interpreters and $35 per hour for registered and non-certified interpreters, with a two-hour minimum.

“It’s pretty egregious that we haven’t had a wage increase since 2004, so I think drawing attention is our last resort,” said Frankie Macgregor, a Spanish interpreter.

“This will continue until we get what we think is right,” said Pamela Duncan, an American Sign Language interpreter.

This year, Senator Dungan proposed a bill to appropriate about $1.2 million in the budget to cover rate increases for court interpreters. After debate in the state’s Appropriations Committee, the funding was lowered to about $400,000, and was then eliminated entirely through Governor Pillen’s veto. “Our interpreters do some of the most difficult and necessary work in our courts and deserve to be paid accordingly,” Dungan said.

Indianapolis Public Schools District Expands “Language Justice” Policy

Washington Examiner (DC) (06/14/23) Troutman, Elizabeth

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), the largest school district in the city and the second largest district in Indiana, has proposed changing its language justice policy to address an increase in English learner students over the past five years.

IPS will establish a language justice task force this month after the Board of School Commissioners approves the proposal. The task force will build a team of translators and interpreters, organize translation/interpreting services, educate staff on language justice, work with human resources to hire bilingual staff, and provide students with classroom support.

IPS has seen a 20% increase in English as a new language (ENL) students since 2018, enrolling more than 6,000 ENL students this year. According to district language data, more than 33% of students in Indianapolis are non-English speakers.

According to the proposal IPS put forward to the Board of School Commissioners, language justice will now be defined as “the practice of ensuring that people can communicate effectively, understand information, and be understood using the language in which they feel most comfortable.”

IPS aims to respect the cultural experiences of students and ensure that students who are not native English speakers can fully participate in the school system. The district’s proposal also states that language justice “actively challenges the idea that there is a dominant language, because multiple languages can coexist within our society.”

The majority of ENL students in Indianapolis are native Spanish speakers. More than 90% of ENL students speak Spanish, while 2.3% are fluent in Creole, 1.2% speak Swahili, and 0.7% speak Arabic. Other languages include French, Burmese, Portuguese, and Yoruba.

The task force–composed of classified staff, school leaders, teachers, families, students, and community partners–will establish administrative guidelines regarding language justice. IPS stated the guidelines will “provide detailed descriptions of procedures” and “direct specific actions to achieve stated objectives.”

The policy requires the district’s superintendent to regularly update the Board of School Commissioners on progress toward expanding its language justice policy.

The board’s general policy statement reads: “The Board of School Commissioners is committed to creating an IPS community where student outcomes cannot be predicted by race, ethnicity, or language diversity.”


U.S. Lawmakers Aim to Extend and Expand Visa Program for Afghan Interpreters

Stars and Stripes (DC) (06/02/23) Lawrence, J.P.

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate will seek to increase the number of visas available for Afghan interpreters and others who worked with American forces.

The bill would extend the Special Immigrant Visa program to 2029 and authorize an additional 20,000 visas. The bill is sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Roger Wicker.

The legislation, known as the Afghan Allies Protection Act, also aims to streamline the application process for the program, which has seen yearslong delays and a backlog of more than 100,000 cases.

“Every day our allies remain in Afghanistan under Taliban rule is another day that their lives and the lives of their families hang in the balance,” Shaheen said.

The program’s extension in 2022 faced objections from some lawmakers, and it was removed from the annual defense bill that year. Lawmakers negotiated a last-minute deal afterward and agreed to extend the program through another spending bill.

The Afghan Allies Protection Act would remove the need for Congress to reauthorize the program each year and instead place an end date of 2029 on the program.

Shaheen and Wicker said the fixed time frame would provide stability for applicants. “The U.S. has a moral obligation to follow through and help these supporters who have given invaluable assistance to our forces for over 20 years,” Wicker said.

Connecticut Senate to Vote on Bill to Provide School Interpreters for English Language Learners

Connecticut Public Radio (CT) (06/05/23) Cosme Torres, Lesley

The Connecticut State Senate is set to vote on the Multilingual Bill of Rights. The bill would provide interpreters in schools for families that do not speak English as their native language.

The Multilingual Bill of Rights, once known as the English Language Learners’ Bill of Rights, would require school boards to provide interpreting services when requested. Supporters say interpreters would be beneficial during critical interactions such as parent-teacher conferences and meetings with school administrators.

An interpreter would be available in-person at the school or via phone or zoom call. According to Hamish MacPhail, a policy and research director at ConnCAN, a state-level education advocacy group, the bill represents an important move for school districts with bilingual programs across the state.

“This allows districts to understand what the implication of the bill is and how to either hire an interpreter in house, if you have one predominant language that a lot of your students speak, or contract with a service that offers interpreting for many languages,” McPhail said.

If passed in the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will take effect at the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

Tucson Puts CART Captions Forward in City Council Meetings

Tucson Sentinel (AZ) (06/06/2023) Morales, Bianca

In Tucson, Arizona, hearing-impaired residents will now have better access to the Tucson City Council with a new on-screen captioning system that will provide more accurate real-time transcriptions of what elected leaders and others say during meetings.

A meeting on May 23 marked the first time the Communication Access Real-Time (CART) platform was used in this capacity. Kat Stratford, a hearing-impaired staffer in Councilman Paul Cunningham’s Ward 2 office, said the captions made a tremendous difference.

“With services like Microsoft Teams, the captions are imperfect,” she said. “I am profoundly hard of hearing and the captions were terrible.” In one instance, Stratford said the auto-captioning failed to differentiate between “I” and “aye,” which are frequently used during government meetings. CART offer better accuracy because captions are typed by professionals in real time while a person is speaking.

Natalie Rose, manager of communications and outreach at the Arizona Center for Diversity Law, said CART captions became increasingly popular during the pandemic when meetings went virtual. “We use CART during our trainings,” she said. “It’s like turning on closed captioning on the TV at home. Everyone has the right to attend public meetings, and it’s up to businesses and organizations to make them accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Stratford said that while CART makes meetings accessible, the service isn’t cheap, running as much as $200 an hour or even higher. She said the cost is most likely the factor that stops many businesses from using the service.

“It is an expense, so I’m glad the city is making room in their budget for the service,” Rose said. “Hopefully, this triggers other cities to include these captions for everyone to have equal access.”

ATA News

Recording Now Available for Purchase!
ATA’s Translating and Interpreting the Future Virtual Conference

A huge thank you to our sponsors and all those who attended ATA’s Translating and Interpreting the Future Virtual Conference on Saturday, May 20, 2023.

Did you miss it?
Don’t worry. The recording is now available for purchase on ATA’s website.

ATA Board Meeting Summary: May 6-7, 2023

The American Translators Association’s Board of Directors met May 6-7 in Alexandria, Virginia. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of ATA’s website. Board Meeting Summaries help members keep up with ATA news and activities—from the latest financial reports to plans for the Annual Conference to committee projects and activities.

Read the latest ATA Board Meeting Summary now!

Upcoming Webinars

Health Care Equity and Language Access in Indigenous Populations
June 21: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT
Presented by: William Giller

Join this webinar to explore the particularities of working with the most widely spoken Indigenous Central American languages in the Bay Area. We’ll also discuss the current realities speakers of these languages face regarding equity in language access to health care.

You will learn how to:

  • Identify the main Mexican Indigenous languages spoken in California.
  • Understand the major challenges faced by Indigenous groups in the U.S.
  • Educate health care providers and other stakeholders about the importance of using Indigenous-language professionals whenever possible.

Click here for more information and to register

Integrate ChatGPT in Your Workflow to Boost Productivity
June 28: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Presented by: Daniel Sebesta

Discover how ChatGPT can revolutionize your language business. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to stay ahead of the game and learn about efficient prompt engineering and other crucial considerations.

You will learn how to:

  • Understand this emerging technology as it relates to your language business.
  • Identify promising use case scenarios in translation, research, and admin tasks.
  • Be aware of the risks and pitfalls related to privacy and accuracy while taking advantage of the opportunities presented by this technology.

Click here for more information and to register

Professional Partnerships for Interpreters
July 29: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. EDT
Presenter by: Maha El-Metwally

Discover how forging professional partnerships can advance your business. In this webinar, we’ll look at the benefits of expanding our professional network and forging partnerships with professionals from other domains.

You will learn how to:

  • See when partnering needs to happen.
  • Choose the types of partnerships that make sense for interpreters.
  • Build your network.

Click here for more information and to register

Make This the Year You Enter ATA’s School Outreach Contest!

There’s no time like the present to start planning a School Outreach presentation and contest entry!

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 if you presented virtually. Check out these tips for taking the winning shot!

And be sure to listen to Episode 53 of The ATA Podcast to learn more about the program and all the resources ATA has at the ready for putting together a presentation. The deadline for the 2023 contest is July 31.

News summaries © copyright 2023 Smithbucklin

June 15, 2023

Do you translate personal records (birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, etc.) for individuals?


See the Results!

Previous Poll Results

If you are a translator and not ATA-certified, please share your primary reason:

23% = I do not want/need to be certified.

0% = An exam in my language pair is not offered.

20% = I have taken the exam but failed.

9% = I planned to take the exam, but I do not feel I am at the right professional level.

49% = I would like to take it, but it is not in my budget.

ATA64: Reserve Your Room Now!

Book your room at the Hyatt Regency Miami now by clicking  HERE.

Conference Information

ATA Webinars

Health Care Equity and Language Access in Indigenous Populations
June 21 @ 11:00 a.m. EDT

Integrate ChatGPT in Your Workflow to Boost Productivity
June 28 @ 12:00 p.m. EDT

Professional Partnerships for Interpreters
July 29 @ 12:00 p.m. EDT

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