ATA President Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo recently sent a letter to Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican on behalf of ATA and the Advocacy Committee to address concerns raised by members in Nebraska regarding stagnant interpreter compensation and unfair travel reimbursement policies.
The letter notes that the current hourly rate of $50 for certified court interpreters has not been adjusted since 2004. “The cost of living nationwide has increased substantially since then, and interpreter compensation should be adjusted to match. These fees do not fairly reflect the value and scarcity of interpreter skills in your state.”
The letter states: “ATA supports the right of all interpreting professionals to seek compensation that is commensurate with their knowledge, skills, and abilities, the scarcity of their services, and the vital role they play in our justice system. We encourage the Nebraska Judicial Branch to work together with interpreters in the state to find beneficial terms all parties can agree to.”
Nebraska Court Interpreters Win Raises after 19 Years and a Nine-Day Walkout
Slator (Switzerland) (06/22/23) Albarino, Seyma
Nearly two decades after their last official raise, in 2004, and nine days into a walkout, Nebraska court interpreters learned that the State Supreme Court had approved an agreement to increase rates.
“Nebraska interpreters are back to work!” freelance Spanish court interpreter Kelly Varguez posted on LinkedIn. “I’m so proud of my stellar group of colleagues and so thankful to the solidarity shown by court interpreters across the country.”
Varguez, co-founder of the Interpreter Advocacy Nebraska Steering Committee, estimated that 10 of Nebraska’s 15 Spanish interpreters participated in the first week of the walkout, plus 100% of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and 95% of interpreters of languages of lesser diffusion. “Many of our colleagues in neighboring states refused or backed out of work in Nebraska to support our efforts,” Varguez said.
According to a memo from State Court Administrator Corey Steel, the adjustments to court interpreter fees approved by the State Supreme Court will go into effect July 1, 2023. “Court interpreters are vital to the justice system and what we do in the judicial branch,” Steel said. “Obviously, they are a piece of this big puzzle we have.”
ASL and certified deaf interpreters will gain the most, moving from $50 to $75 per hour. Certified and provisionally certified spoken language interpreters will also receive $75 hourly, up from $65. The rate for registered spoken language interpreters will increase from $45 per hour to $60, while non-certified spoken language and deaf interpreters will receive $50 per hour instead of $35. All interpreters will be paid a two-hour minimum for assignments.
The updated fee schedule meets some of the initial requests made by court interpreters. Interpreters had hoped for $85 per hour for certified interpreters along with a 3% automatic yearly increase, neither of which was written into the agreement.
Earlier this year, Senator George Dungan introduced legislation requesting that an additional $600,000 per year be added to the state’s two-year budget to support pay increases for interpreters. Governor Jim Pillen vetoed the proposal, which ultimately led interpreters to walk off the job on June 12th.
Constanza Meier, one of the court interpreters who participated in the walkout, said she was glad an agreement had been reached. “I’m happy and relieved because we did this walkout as a last resort,” Meier said. “We love our work and we know we’re needed at the court. We just hated to leave everybody stranded, but it was a necessary step.”
Meier added that an agreement would not have been possible without the court administration’s support. “We’re grateful to the administration for being willing to listen to us, to work with us, and to finally agree to give us a raise.”
British Museum Offers to Pay Translator after Allegedly Using Her Work without Permission
The Guardian (United Kingdom) (06/22/23) Khomami, Nadia
The British Museum has offered to pay a translator for her work after she alleged her translations had been used without permission or payment.
Yilin Wang, an award-winning translator, poet, and editor, said she did not receive credit or reimbursement for her translations of the work of Qiu Jin, a Chinese revolutionary, after they appeared in the British Museum’s “China’s Hidden Century” exhibit. Wang requested compensation, recognition, and an apology from the museum.
“Hey British Museum, it has come to my attention that your exhibit ‘China’s Hidden Century’ uses my translations of Qiu Jin’s poetry, but you never contacted me for permission,” Wang wrote on Twitter. “Please note this is a copyright infringement! How are you going to fix this?”
Wang said the translations of Qiu Jin’s poetry were originally published in the LA Review of Books in 2021, and that the British Museum used them in the exhibit’s text, a photo wall, a large-print guide, and the exhibit catalogue. Wang also emphasized the amount of effort put into researching and translating each of Qiu Jin’s poems, estimating it took “a week to several months, perhaps at an average of 20-50 hours.”
The British Museum responded by removing a segment of the exhibit featuring the translations. The museum issued a statement that it had apologized for the “unintentional human error” and “offered financial payment for the period the translations appeared in the exhibit as well as for the continued use of quotations from Wang’s translations in the exhibit catalogue. The catalogue includes an acknowledgment of her work.”
Museum officials said they took copyright permissions seriously and had “made an inadvertent mistake and fell short of our usual standards.” They said the amount offered to Wang is what would usually be given by the museum for this type of work.
The “China’s Hidden Century” exhibit is the result of a four-year research project in collaboration with more than 100 scholars from 14 countries. The exhibit consists of 300 objects, half from the British Museum and half borrowed from 30 British and international lenders.
Julia Lovell, a professor of modern Chinese history and literature at Birkbeck University and one of the principal researchers of the exhibit, said she was “in full sympathy with Ms. Wang’s anger” and had been in contact with the translator to apologize for the error.
Lovell said while she was not involved in any design or permission aspects of the project, including with regards to the Qiu Jin installation and the use of quotations in the exhibit, she recognized that what had happened was wrong. “It was a genuinely accidental, unmalicious human error amid a very complex project, for which the British Museum has apologized profusely and sincerely and sought to make amends.”
Interpreters at MaineHealth Overwhelmingly Vote to Form Union
Bangor Daily News (ME) (06/22/23) Stockley, Leela
Medical interpreters at MaineHealth, the largest health care network in Maine, have voted unanimously to form a union.
The interpreters filed for a union vote in April, saying they were coming together for “respect, equality, a fair wage, and a real voice.”
Constant Kabuyenge, who interprets Swahili, French, Kirundi, and Kinyarwanda at Maine Medical Center in Portland, said he supports the union as a way to better advocate for interpreters’ interests. “We basically wanted to sit at the table where interpreters’ issues are being discussed—including wages and conditions of work—and also wanted to have a voice in our workplace.”
The interpreters, who will join the Maine Service Employees Association, are the second group of MaineHealth employees to form a union. In September 2022, roughly 2,000 nurses at Maine Medical Center ratified their first union contract after more than a year of negotiations with the administration.
“MaineHealth is reviewing the union elections results within the guidelines set forth by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If the NLRB certifies the results, we will begin bargaining in good faith,” MaineHealth said in a statement.
“As interpreters facilitating communication between our patients and providers, we are also advocates, health system navigators, and cultural brokers,” the interpreters said in a statement. “By forming our union today, we will make sure that our jobs are sustainable for ourselves and for interpreters who follow in our footsteps.”
The Biden-Harris Administration Announces $8 Million to Promote Native Languages and Support Native Teachers and Tribal Education Agencies
U.S. Department of Education (DC) (06/12/23)
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has announced more than $8 million in grant funding across three key initiatives to raise the bar for Native American students. The funding includes three competitive programs to increase access to Native American languages in America’s schools, support and promote the success of Native American teachers, and ensure that tribal educational agencies can coordinate grant resources alongside state and local partners.
Each of these programs is designed to help meet the urgent need to strengthen the vitality of Native American languages, retain more Native American teachers as leaders, and reinforce collaborative relationships between tribal and state educational agencies.
“Our efforts to raise the bar for multilingual learners includes strengthening and revitalizing Native languages and the recruitment, retention, and leadership of Native educators,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These investments reflect our belief at the Department of Education that tribal sovereignty starts with educational sovereignty, and that all Native American students deserve access to an inclusive, culturally affirmative education that’s reflected in the teachers in their schools.”
Approximately $2.9 million in funding will support a new Native American Language Resource Centers (NALRC) program. The new centers will help preserve and protect Native languages by promoting the use of Native American languages in classrooms across all age levels, academic content areas, and types of schools. The NALRC program will promote policies set forth by the Native American Languages Act and ensure the revitalization and reclamation of Native American languages.
The USDE also announced $2.75 million in available funding to support the first-ever Native American Teacher Retention Initiative (NATRI) competition. The NATRI competition will help address the shortage of Native American educators and promote retention by facilitating opportunities for Native teachers to serve in leadership roles in their schools. This demonstration grant competition will also fund projects that help educators of Native American students better provide culturally appropriate and effective instruction and support for Native American students. These efforts are aimed at ensuring that educators have the necessary knowledge and understanding of Native communities, languages, tribal histories, traditions, and cultures.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to addressing teacher shortages and growing and retaining a pipeline of educators who can meet the needs of Native American students and provide instruction that’s grounded in appreciation for and understanding of their unique tribal histories, traditions, languages, treaties, and cultures,” Secretary Cardona said.
ATA Mid-Year Membership Campaign: Refer 5 Friends for a Chance to Win!
We’ve started our mid-year membership campaign 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.
ATA Standards Committee Spotlight:
Unveiling the Latest Industry Innovations and Advancements at ASTM F43’s Biannual Meeting of All Members
Welcome to our ATA Standards Committee Spotlight, where we bring you concise updates highlighting the latest developments, revisions, and advancements in various industry standards, ensuring you stay informed and connected to the ever-evolving landscape of global standards on language services. Click here to learn more about ATA’s Standards Committee.
During the F43.01 Subcommittee on Language Interpreting meeting, industry experts discussed an international standard on remote interpreting that is being developed.
A membership orientation session was held in which the functioning of F43 was described for new and continuing members.
During the F43.06 Subcommittee on Captioning meeting, industry experts discussed an international standard on captioning that is being developed.
During the F43.02 Foreign Language Instruction meeting, industry experts discussed building a new set of guidelines for teaching and learning English as a foreign language.
The second part of ASTM F43’s Biannual Meeting of All Members will be held July 26, when the F43.03 Subcommittee on Language Translation will hold three sessions to discuss international standards on translation quality. These meetings are open to the public, so take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the latest developments in the standards community! Check the F43 Committee site for more details.
Recording Now Available for Purchase!
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. The following sessions are included:
Keynote Presentation: AI, NMT, ChatGPT, and Little ol’ Me: How AI Will Continue to Change Our Industry and Your Work (presented by Jay Marciano)
Finding the Value in Human Translation and Interpreting When Machines Are So Good (presented by Jonathan Downie)
Confessions of an MT Post-Editor: A Report from the Trenches of the World’s Newest LSP Profession (presented by Matthew Schlecht)
TM & MT Tools: Rivalry or Symbiosis? (presented by Yuri Balashow)
Translators & Interpreters Speak: Where We Are and Where We’re Going (with moderator Jost Zetzsche and panelist Matthew Schlecht)
Come get a refresher on all the benefits of your ATA membership! ATA is continuously working to add more benefits for our members. In fact, there are so many, even longtime members might not be aware of everything ATA has to offer! Find out what you’ve been missing!
During this FREE, fun, and informative session, learn how to access your ATA member benefits and services or just catch up on what’s new and get live answers to your questions from ATA’s Membership Committee.
Note: This live session is intended to be an interactive real-time experience and will not be recorded. There will be additional sessions this year if you can’t make this one.
Are you looking to elevate your career and stand out in the competitive translation market? Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to boost your career! Join our workshop and gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to excel on ATA’s certification exam. Take the first step toward becoming an ATA-certified translator by enrolling today!
Learn the ins and outs of ATA’s certification exam so you’ll know what to expect.
Boost your confidence as you prepare to take this rigorous exam.
Receive a graded practice exam with individualized comments from an experienced grader.
Hone your translation skills by discussing different solutions and receiving feedback from your peers and the instructor.
Get tips about time management to maximize your efficiency.
Please note: A practice test must be submitted before July 10.
Listen to Episode 86 of The ATA Podcast: Advocacy Committee Updates
Advocacy for the T&I professions is one of the main reasons ATA exists and a main benefit for our members. The Advocacy Committee was established to advise the Board of Directors on policy and legislative issues affecting translation, interpreting, and related fields.
In this episode, ATA Podcast Co-Host Andie Ho speaks with Ben Karl, ATA director and chair of ATA’s Advocacy Committee. Ben covers all facets of the Advocacy Committee’s work. The Advocacy Committee is on your side, and Ben explores what that looks like on the international level.
It’s Not Too Late to Enter ATA’s School Outreach Contest
Did you share your translation or interpreting career with students this year? Did you capture the moment with a photo or screenshot? Then you’re all set to enter ATA’s School Outreach Contest for a chance to win a free registration to ATA’s 64th Annual Conference!
The contest deadline is July 31, 2023.
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.
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ATA is a professional association founded to advance the translation and interpreting professions and foster the professional development of translators and interpreters. With more than 8,500 members in more than 100 countries, the Association includes translators, interpreters, language services providers, educators, project managers, localization specialists, hospitals, universities, and government agencies.
ATA Newsbriefs provides executive summaries of noteworthy articles about the translation and interpreting professions. It is distributed every month to ATA members as an exclusive membership benefit. The editorial staff monitors nearly 11,000 newspapers, business publications, websites, national and international wire services, summarizing significant articles into easy-to-read newsbriefs.
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