Newsbriefs: March 31, 2022

The ATA 63rd Annual Conference Website Now Online!

Plan now to join your colleagues for ATA’s 63rd Annual Conference in Los Angeles (October 12-15)!

Begin at this year’s conference website where you’ll find an overview of all the conference has to offer—from networking to education to social events. Be sure to listen to what last year’s attendees had to say about their experience. Finally, check out the fabulous city guide with things to do and places to go. There’s even an app to show you how to “Discover LA”!

Registration begins in July. Watch for it!

Book Your Room Early
A limited number of rooms at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel have been reserved at a discount for attendees. Remember, when you book your room at the host hotel, you’ll automatically be entered into the Stay and Win drawing. Learn more and book now!

Looking for a Roommate?
Use ATA’s Conference Blog to find a hotel roommate, set up a rideshare, or arrange other get-togethers and logistics.

Want to Know More?
Read “From the President-Elect: It’s Full Steam Ahead for ATA63!” in the current issue of The ATA Chronicle. And follow #ata63 on social media for updates and conference news!
Middlebury Institute of International Studies Translation Interpretation Localization

Industry News

Veterans Who Rescued Afghan Interpreters Help Canadian Forces Interpreters Evacuate from Ukraine

Global News (Canada) (03/25/22) Bell, Stewart; Semple, Jeff

Years after leaving the front lines, two Canadian veterans are tackling the horrors of war again as they help Ukrainians, including interpreters who worked with the Canadian Forces, escape.

For the past eight months, Kynan Walper, a former infantry officer who served in Afghanistan, and Dave Lavery, a former special forces officer, had been helping Afghan interpreters who worked for the Canadian military flee the Taliban. But after Russia invaded Ukraine last month, Walper and Lavery turned their attention to the war in Europe.

The Canadian Forces had been in Ukraine since 2015, training local security forces. As in Afghanistan, the Canadian trainers relied on Ukrainian interpreters. Fearing the interpreters could face added risks from the Russian forces because they had worked for a NATO country, Walper and Lavery traveled to Ustrzyki-Dolne, in the southeast corner of Poland, where they set up base operations and began the process of extracting former interpreters.

“We owe it to them,” Walper said. “They served Canada, and we want to serve them as well.”

While Walper and Lavery have a list of about two dozen interpreters in Ukraine, they said they had a wider mission to help anyone fleeing the Russian assault. They have also been sending materials like medical supplies and baby food to Kyiv and other cities that are under attack and experiencing shortages.

The two veterans work in an upstairs room, where maps are spread across tables and names are sketched on whiteboards. The news flashes on a wall-mounted TV. “We’re here for the long haul,” Lavery said.

While the task in Afghanistan similarly involved getting people out of danger, Lavery said Ukraine is more challenging in some ways, with intense combat, airstrikes, and shelling.

There are fewer interpreters in Ukraine than in Afghanistan, but there are enough to keep the veterans busy. “So far, we’re looking at probably about 25, you could say 25-plus. There’s more. There’s going to be a lot more,” Lavery said.

“Just like in Afghanistan, these interpreters put trust in Canada,” Walper said. “I know they meant a lot to the people who worked with them in the military. Having worked with interpreters myself, I know you forge very strong bonds. And I know people in the Canadian military who served on missions are extremely worried about their safety.”


White House Hires Full-Time ASL Interpreters for First Time

CBS News (NY) (03/29/22) O’Keefe, Ed

For the first time in history, the White House has full-time American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who help bring the president’s message to everyone during livestream broadcasts.

Elsie Stecker, who is completely deaf, is the first-ever official White House ASL interpreter. The groundbreaking position comes after advocates sued to get live ASL interpreting during COVID briefings. The Biden administration went a step further, hiring Stecker as well as non-deaf ASL interpreter Lindsey Snyder as members of the staff.

“This is a dream job of that combination of the political information and the interpreting. It fits me very, very well,” Stecker said. “I have to recognize and thank the deaf community and the grassroots deaf people who pushed so hard to make sure that this access was available,” Stecker said.

Stecker and Snyder spend hours each day preparing by reading up on the news and topics on the White House schedule. When an event starts, Snyder listens, then interprets for Stecker, who signs in front of the camera.

“I’m interpreting from English into ASL, and I’m essentially feeding Elsie, who then takes that message and interprets it,” Snyder said. “I call it real-time editing.”

The White House could have just hired someone like Snyder to do this work, but it went the extra step of hiring somebody who is completely deaf.

“Deaf people who are ASL users can watch and identify that it’s a deaf person signing on the screen,” Stecker said. “Most hearing interpreters, they learned ASL, so they have an accent in ASL, where a deaf person, who grew up using ASL, doesn’t have that same kind of accent,” she said. “We also, as deaf interpreters, can gauge what a deaf audience would potentially need—that some kind of terminology is clearer than others, or that some things need a little more expansion and explanation.”

Their work is helping bring crucial information to a larger audience.

“We have our own skill set that manages to come together to put out the most effective message to bring in a community that’s been marginalized for so long,” Snyder said.

“I’m not here for myself, to be in this position,” Stecker said. “I’m here for the deaf community to have access to those messages.”


Texas Environmental Agency’s Plan to Remedy Language Discrimination Allegations Leaves Advocates Frustrated

Texas Tribune (TX) (03/16/22) Douglas, Erin

A civil rights complaint prompted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s environmental agency, to guarantee interpreting and translation services at public meetings for people who don’t speak English. But the rollout has been plagued by confusing procedures and little clarity on how interpreters will be selected.

After years of allegedly discriminating against Spanish speakers with limited English proficiency, the TCEQ presented its plan to stakeholders this month for translating important agency documents and providing “competent” interpreting services at public meetings for environmental permits so people who don’t speak English can fully participate. The plan is part of an agreement the agency made to avoid potential civil rights violations that could jeopardize some of its federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But Spanish speakers and community advocates say the agency didn’t address their biggest concerns, including how “competent” interpreting will be defined. They say the TCEQ has largely ignored calls to ensure that translators and interpreters have the skills to communicate the complex environmental laws and procedures involved in companies’ permits to emit air pollutants, discharge pollution into water, dispose of hazardous waste, and more.

“Clear standards for translators and interpreters would ensure that people who speak limited English can fully participate,” said Shiv Srivastava, a policy researcher with Fenceline Watch, a small environmental advocacy group focused on language access for communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. “The TCEQ is literally trying to do the bare minimum by throwing something through Google Translate,” Srivastava said.

“This situation repeats itself all throughout Texas, where the agency has reason to know it should provide materials in Spanish and it doesn’t,” said Segarra Treviño, an assistant county attorney in Harris County.

Treviño added that language barriers go far beyond what the TCEQ has even begun to consider in its policies. “You don’t just need an interpreter, you need someone who can really grapple with the technical aspects of these applications and deliver culturally appropriate interpreting.”


Tennessee Couple Works with St. Jude to Translate Files to Help Evacuate Children in Ukraine with Cancer

Today (NY) (03/25/22) Holohan, Meghan

When the WhatsApp message comes in, Yuri and Lana Yanishevski start working. The Tennessee couple are translating medical records from Ukrainian into English for children with cancer living in Ukraine who need to be evacuated to other countries to continue their treatment.

“It’s very important,” said Lana, a pediatrician in private practice in Memphis. “Every chemotherapy protocol depends very much on the good diagnosis and the diagnosis already made. Doctors need to know what was done and which treatments they’re on, and without the translation, that’s very difficult.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine a little over a month ago, the Yanishevskis grappled with many tough emotions. The couple—who had emigrated from Kyiv to the U.S. in 1991—worried about family and friends still living in the country and felt like they wanted to do something to help their home country.

When the parents of one of Lana’s patients told her that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital needed volunteers to translate medical records for pediatric cancer patients, she knew the couple could make a difference with their skills. Yuri is an engineer at the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, so it was a perfect fit.

“We were feeling very helpless with the Ukrainian war that affected us deeply,” Lana said. “It was definitely very meaningful to be able to help in that way, and the connection was to St. Jude.”

St. Jude has been participating in the humanitarian effort, SAFER Ukraine, to evacuate pediatric patients from the country. SAFER Ukraine has already helped more than 600 patients find treatment in pediatric cancer hospitals in Europe and North America.

More than 200 people around the world are helping to translate the files. When a medical record becomes available, the group receives a WhatsApp message. Whoever is free claims the file and they receive an email with the medical record. More recently, files have been handwritten, likely from doctors rushing to help their patients be considered for evacuation sooner. Lana said manually translating those notes takes a lot of time—up to eight hours.

“It takes so long because you have to translate word by word,” Lana explained. “When it comes to treating cancer, which is as bad as it gets, there’s pretty much no room for error. These children are already balancing on the edge of life and death.”

The couple feels grateful for the public support of Ukraine. At times, the generosity feels overwhelming. “The kindness is coming from everywhere,” Yuri said. “St. Jude really went above and beyond to help those children survive and that’s just amazing.”


How CODA Helped Elevate the Deaf Community at the Oscars

Associated Press (DC) (03/29/22) Finley, Ben

CODA made history on more than one level at the 94th Annual Academy Awards. It marked the first time a film with a predominantly deaf cast won Oscars for best picture and best adapted screenplay. Troy Kotsur, who took home the award for best supporting actor, also became the first deaf male actor to receive an Oscar. The film’s achievements have helped spotlight American Sign Language (ASL) and gain recognition for the deaf community in Hollywood and beyond.

CODA follows a teenage girl who is the only hearing member of her working-class family. She dreams of going to music school but struggles with the idea of leaving her close-knit family. Advocates say the movie was more than deserving of the win, providing viewers insight on life without hearing.

CODA‘s success is an historic milestone and an incredible elevation for everyone in the deaf community,” said Howard Rosenblum, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf, a nonprofit organization run by deaf people to advocate for deaf rights. “There have been a number of movies with deaf roles, but rarely do they showcase deaf culture and deaf people interacting with one another in everyday life. CODA brought out the unique experiences of deaf families that have hearing children and shared this common story with the American public for the first time,” Rosenblum said.

Rosenblum says he hopes the film will help change the industry’s long history of rewarding actors and directors who have “exploited the trope of faking sympathetic disabilities to win awards for themselves without bringing in deaf people or people with disabilities to ensure authenticity.”

“Not that many deaf people are involved in the industry at this time. There are not that many deaf roles in front of and behind the camera. Hopefully that will change,” said Robert Weinstock, a spokesperson for Gallaudet University, which serves students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Three of the movie’s actors, including Kotsur, have ties to Gallaudet.

“We are hopeful that this means a shift within the Oscars and the movie industry in how they approach casting as well as how stories are told about deaf people and people with disabilities,” Rosenblum said.

In the meantime, for many in the deaf community, the Oscar win provides an unprecedented feeling of affirmation.

“The deaf world is finally unmuted,” said Laurie Barish, a personal assistant in Long Beach, New York, who was raised by a deaf parent. She said she saw her own life in the film’s story about a family “that wants to be heard” and to be seen as no different from anyone else. “I wish this happened when I was younger, for my mom. It was a wonderful gift. It was for the world to see that we’re all the same.”

ATA News

Last Call! ATA Mentoring Program Enrollment Ends Today

Advice, encouragement, lessons learned, career guidance—the benefits of being a mentee can be critical to the success of a career or business. ATA’s Mentoring Program offers members a one-on-one match with an experienced translator or interpreter for a six-month mentorship. Applications from interested mentees and mentors will be accepted through March 31. This will be your only opportunity to enroll in the 2022 program. Submit your application now.


Tailoring memoQ to Your Needs

Presenter: Filip Klepacki
Date: April 12, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. U.S. ET
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

Knowing your way around memoQ functions can save time and stress. Begin by attending this webinar to understand the different ways of customizing the memoQ interface. The type of work you do, and even the particular documents and workflow steps in your project, can all play a role in your setup. Don’t overlook what customization can do to improve your productivity!

You will learn how to:
  1. Customize the memoQ interface to make it easier to use
  2. Change settings, such as Go to next and auto look-up
  3. Improve your efficiency with core resources, such as Muses and QA settings
  4. Use keyboard shortcuts and additional resources to increase your productivity
Register now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60

ATA Members Get 35% Off memoQ
ATA members are eligible for a 35% discount on a new license for memoQ translator pro. Click to take the deal!

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


I Didn’t Know ATA Did That?

Are you missing out on member benefits simply because you don’t know they exist?

ATA has been busy rolling out initiatives one after the other over the last two years—from member discounts on CAT tools and the Inside Specialization podcast series to an industry-wide compensation survey, a new blog for established translators and interpreters, and quarterly virtual brainstorm networking sessions. Even long-time members may not be aware of everything ATA has to offer.

Learn how to access ATA benefits and services or just catch up on what’s new by attending this free one-hour member orientation session on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET. And be sure to bring your questions for a terrific Q&A session!

Free, but registration is required.

Note: This live event is an interactive experience with networking and sharing via Zoom’s chat feature. It will not be recorded. The next orientation session is scheduled for July 14, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET.


Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting: April 8-9, 2022

The ATA Board of Directors will meet April 8-9 in Alexandria, Virginia. Take time now to get to know the Directors and review the February 5-6 Board Meeting Summary. The meeting agenda will be posted next week. All ATA members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Do you have feedback for the Board?
The ATA Board values your feedback. What are we doing right? What can we do better? Comments are shared during the Board meeting and tracked over time to ensure we understand what is important to you. So, if you have feedback for the Board, please take a minute to send it to any of the Board Directors or email You’ll find the Board member email addresses here.

Want to know more about ATA Board meetings? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a behind-the-scenes look at how ATA conducts Association business.


ATA School Outreach Contest

B2BB: How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests

Presenter: Marina Ilari
Date: April 6, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): None

Get ready to tackle your next translation test with a new mindset! Join this webinar for a better understanding of the process, with plenty of useful tips to make sure you’re ready for the challenge.

You will learn how to:
  1. Understand some of a client’s typical expectations in testing
  2. Analyze the challenges presented in this kind of assessment
  3. Make use of what you’ve learned from previous successes and failures
  4. Review tips and techniques to maximize your chances
Register now!
Free to ATA members, but you must sign up by 10:00 a.m. ET on April 6. Click here to register.

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


ATA Virtual Brainstorm Networking Session

Find solutions! Make connections! Join your colleagues for this fun, fast-paced hour of solving common business challenges in small teams.

Registration is free and open to ATA members only!

Attend this virtual event on April 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET to meet new people, gain fresh insights, and expand your support network while sharing your own experiences.


Exploring Genealogical Translation: A Roundtable Discussion

All too often, genealogical translation is treated as an “add-on” to another specialty. However, this field has its own unique standard and special challenges. There is also the potential for tremendous growth as more and more archives are digitizing their materials.

What does it take to get into this specialty? Join this roundtable discussion for an overview of the types of projects, the background needed, and the skills required for success in the business.

This webinar was organized with the assistance of the French Language Division.

You will learn how to:
  1. Understand the types of projects a genealogical translator will receive
  2. Acquire the skills and background needed to translate historical records
  3. Identify and overcome the common challenges in translating genealogical documents
  4. Deliver the expected work products
  5. Manage the assumptions that can impact the client-translator relationship
Register now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


Free Members-Only Webinar for April

ATA offers members one free monthly webinar, available on-demand for 30 days. Don’t miss this month’s freebie!

Challenges in Human Rights Translation
Finding the best terms to use in any area of translation can be tricky. Fortunately, translators working in human rights translation have a deep reserve of resources to help them find the right word every time.

Watch this webinar to learn more about the wide range of documents available to human rights translators—from the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, and the European Court of Human Rights to other government bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The presenter uses specific examples to demonstrate research techniques using alternative reports, editorial opinion columns, fact-finding mission reports, and primary resources for NGOs.


In the March/April Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Summary of the ATA Compensation Survey
To address the need for a comprehensive picture of the market for translation and interpreting services, ATA recently conducted a compensation survey. The ATA Compensation Survey serves to provide professional practitioners and others with an overview of the income and pay rate data of translators, interpreters, and company owners working in the U.S. (Ted Wozniak)

Becoming a Mentor: Giving Back and Leveling Up
Mentoring someone isn’t just about sharing wisdom, passing along expertise, or supporting the development of (future) colleagues. Mentoring is also expected to benefit the mentor. Whether you’re working with a student, a new professional, or a colleague, the interactions you have as a mentor will lead you to reflect more critically and deeply on your professional practice. (Rachel E. Herring, Doug Bowen-Bailey)

Dynamic Duos: How Interpreters and Speech-Language Pathologists Collaborate to Serve Children with Disabilities
Interpreting and speech-language pathology are professions centered in language and communication. So, what happens when these worlds meet? Learn how speech-language pathologists and interpreters in Minnesota have collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Education to develop dynamic training workshops to help language professionals serve linguistically diverse school districts. (Elizabeth Watkins)

Literary Translation: Finding Focus in Its Fuzzy Borders
What makes literary translation challenging is also what makes it interesting. A good translation should respect and reflect the author’s style and vocabulary, but this doesn’t mean that every single word or phrase you choose has to perfectly resemble the author in style and effect. Let’s explore some of the frequent challenges faced by literary translators, such as making the voice of a character sound authentic and translating names and places with intentional meanings or symbolism. (Petra C. Rieker)

Interpreting in Rural Communities
Language access services that provide community interpreting remain concentrated in urban centers. As such, rural communities must rely upon remote access, a model that fails to account for the cultural specificity of rural life and livelihood. How are interpreters in rural communities adapting to meet the increased need for language access? (Thomas Genova, Tammy Berberi)

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 2022 Smithbucklin

March 31, 2022

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In This Issue

ATA 63rd Annual Conference
Last Call! Mentoring
Webinar: memoQ
Member Orientation
Board Meeting
B2BB: Translation Tests
Virtual Networking
Webinar: Geneaology
Member Free Webinar
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Challenges in Human Rights Translation
Click to watch!

ATA Workshop

Keep Your Spanish Sharp
Apr 23-24, 2022
10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. ET

ATA Webinars

ATA Member Orientation
Apr 12 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Free to ATA members!
Registration open

Tailoring memoQ to Your Needs
Apr 12 @ 11:00 a.m.. ET
Registration open

Exploring Genealogical Translation
Apr 26 @ 12:00 noon ET
Registration open

Working Without Pain
May 5 @ 12:00 noon ET
Registration open

Back to Business Basics

How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests
Apr 6 @ 12 noon ET
Free to members!
Registration open

Calendar of Events

ATA Mentoring Program
Deadline: Mar 31, 2022
Learn more!

ATA Board of Directors Meeting
Apr 9-10, 2022
Alexandria, Virginia
Learn more

ATA Virtual Brainstorm Networking
Apr 13 @ 8:00 p.m. ET
ATA Members Only, Free
Registration open

FIT World Congress
Jun 1-3, 2022
Varadero, Cuba
Learn more!

ATA63 Annual Conference
Oct 12-15, 2022
Los Angeles, California
Learn more

The ATA Chronicle March/April 2022

ATA Business Practices Next Level Blog
How to Keep Working While the Ground Is Shifting