Newsbriefs: May 31, 2023




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Maryland’s Governor Signs Bill that Would Help Prevent Fraudulent Sign Language Interpreters

WTOP (05/03/23) Ryan, Kate

This month, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed Senate Bill 346 into law, which will require Maryland to establish a licensing and regulatory system for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters in the state.

“Sign language interpreters make sure that every single Marylander is able to engage in the work of the government and that every Marylander has the ability to know what’s happening in the halls of power,” Moore said.

When he testified in favor of the bill, Kelby Brick, director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, told lawmakers that people who are deaf and hard of hearing often deal with interpreters who are poorly trained or appear to have passed themselves off as proficient when they clearly are not. He cited an incident that made global headlines. At the funeral for former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013, a sign language interpreter hired for the event was accused of being a fake, signing nonsense throughout the ceremony seen by millions around the world.

Brick, who is deaf and testified through an interpreter, told lawmakers in Annapolis, “I want to let you know that this happens on a day-to-day basis in the state of Maryland to our deaf and hard of hearing constituents.”

Leslie Puzio, the program manager for the ASL interpreter program at Frederick Community College—one of only two colleges in Maryland that offer programs for the training and certification of ASL interpreters, said the latest census figures show there are 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing residents in Maryland. “I’m sure that number has grown, but that’s the latest census statistic we have.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, mandated access to communications for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and advocates such as Puzio say access to well-qualified sign language interpreters is critically important.

“This is really to ensure that deaf consumers have access to any and everything in the state of Maryland,” Puzio said.


Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel Win International Booker Prize for Time Shelter

NPR (05/23/23) Blair, Elizabeth

Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and translator Angela Rodel are the winners of the International Booker Prize for Time Shelter, a darkly comic novel about the dangerous appeal of nostalgia. This is the first time a Bulgarian novel has won.

The novel beat five other finalists for the prize, which recognizes fiction from around the world that has been translated into English. The $62,000 prize will be divided equally between Gospodinov and Rodel.

Time Shelter imagines a clinic that recreates the past, with each floor reproducing a different decade. Intended as a way to help people with dementia unlock their memories, the clinic soon becomes a magnet for people eager to escape the modern world.

In its review of Time Shelter, The Guardian wrote: “From communism to the Brexit referendum and conflict in Europe, this funny yet frightening Bulgarian novel explores the weaponization of nostalgia.”

The International Booker Prize jury stated that the novel was “intricately crafted and eloquently translated” by Angela Rodel. “Time Shelter cements Georgi Gospodinov’s reputation as one of the indispensable writers of our times, and a major voice in international literature.”

Time Shelter is Gospodinov’s third novel to be published in English. A poet and playwright, he is one of Bulgaria’s most translated authors. Angela Rodel is a literary translator who lives in Bulgaria. In addition to Time Shelter, she translated Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow and a short story collection by Bulgarian writer Georgi Tenev.

“It is commonly assumed that ‘big themes’ are reserved for ‘big literatures,’ or literatures written in big languages, while small languages, somehow by default, are left with the local and the exotic,” Gospodinov said. “Awards like the International Booker Prize are changing that status quo, and this is very important.”

Rodel said she was grateful to the prize for rejecting the belief that “if you’re a good translator, maybe you shouldn’t even be noticed.”

“This is a creative process,” she said. “This is a definite collaborative work of art that we’re creating with our authors. I’m just endlessly grateful to the Booker for putting that out in front in this award.”


These Nunavik Students Helped Write and Illustrate Their Own Award-Winning Book

CBC News (Canada) (05/21/23) Watts, Rachel

Fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students at the Nuvviti School in Ivujivik—the northernmost village in Quebec’s Inuit territory of Nunavik—helped write and illustrate L’inugagullirq, a book based on a local Inuit legend. The students, teachers, and other collaborators on the book have been selected to receive a reading recognition award from Quebec’s government.

The book was published online as part of Université du Québec à Montréal’s (UQAM) Un livre à la fois, a project partnering elementary and UQAM students, who work together to create an illustrated book. It’s the first time a school in Nunavik has been involved with the project, which typically partners with Montreal schools.

Nelly Duvicq, who teaches French as a second language at the Nuvviti School, said she first heard about the Un livre à la fois project last October. When Duvicq told her class they would be participating in the project, they told her they wanted to write about their village. Duvicq then invited two community elders into her class to provide students with inspiration for their original story.

The basis of L’inugagullirq is the legend of a family on a fishing trip where one member encounters the inugagullirq, a “mini-version of humans, but a lot smarter,” said 12-year-old Ulluria Mangiok, Duvicq’s daughter, who worked on the book.

Geneviève Lafrance, a French literature professor at UQAM, helped students refine the story’s text and draw the illustrations. “We created the story in November,” she said.

Lafrance visited the school alongside her colleagues, Alexandrine Hugonnier, a UQAM student, and Daniel Chartier, UQAM professor and director of the Laboratoire international de recherche sur l’imaginaire du Nord, de l’hiver et de l’Arctique. “After that, the children translated the story themselves in Inuktitut with the help of their Inuktitut teacher,” Lafrance said. Another of the students, Deseray Qaunaaluk, narrated the Inuktitut version of the L’inugagullirq audiobook.

Ivujivik Mayor Adamie Kalingo said legends such as the inugagullirq were passed down strictly through oral tradition. He said the book is the kind of effort “that will help preserve our language amongst our youth.” Kalingo was very impressed by the students’ achievement. “I just want that type of thing to continue well into the future.”

Duvicq said both elders and students are eager to preserve Inuit culture in the face of modern-world pressures. “What’s important here is that those writings can be preserved,” she said. “And the fact that it’s targeting the kids means that we’re passing on that piece of culture.”

Government of the Northern Territory of Australia to Increase the Number of Aboriginal Interpreters

The National Tribune (Australia) (05/22/23)

Australia’s Northern Territory Government has launched a recruitment campaign to increase the ranks of interpreters working for the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS).

AIS helps minimize language barriers for Aboriginal Territorians who don’t speak English as a first language by providing face-to-face, over-the-phone, and audiovisual interpreting services. AIS also offers recorded and produced messaging in most of the widely used Aboriginal languages in the Northern Territory (NT).

AIS recruits and trains Aboriginal-language interpreters in various urban, regional, and remote sites across the NT and Cross Borders. They are employed for various situations, including medical, police interviews, court, and negotiations with housing services. They also work at community events.

“AIS provides a vital service helping Aboriginal Territorians who do not speak English as their first language so they can interact effectively with government and non-government services,” said Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Selena Uibo. “Interpreters create bridges in our diverse community, and it is exciting to support AIS to boost numbers by offering excellent employment opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians.”


This Spanish Interpreter Student Plans to Use Language to Save Lives

Central New Mexico Community College (NM) (05/23/23)

Evelyn Moreland will soon graduate from Central New Mexico Community College’s (CNM) Spanish Interpreter Program, which trains bilingual learners to become certified interpreters in legal, health care, or community fields.

“I originally wanted to get my Spanish interpreter certificate just as a way to grow professionally,” Moreland said. “But through this program I have found where I truly belong.”

Before coming to the U.S., Moreland had a successful career as a professional dancer in Mexico. But after finishing a U.S. dance tour, she decided to stay in New Mexico and has taught Spanish ever since at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Annunciation Catholic School.

When Moreland’s daughter started preschool a few years ago, she decided to use her spare time to continue her education as well. She enrolled in CNM’s interpreting program.

“When I registered, I thought, ‘I already speak Spanish and English, so I’ll be just fine,'” Moreland said. “Then when I started classes, I realized it was much harder. There are so many rules. When you’re interpreting in a medical setting, saying one word incorrectly can harm a patient. It’s a big responsibility but helping others makes it worth it.”

In addition to her CNM coursework, Moreland completed shadow sessions with a trained interpreter at the University of New Mexico Hospital, which only solidified her desire to become an interpreter. “My status as an immigrant, my ability to speak and interpret Spanish, and even my accent were needed and valued,” she said. “As an interpreter, I am going to help save people’s lives because I can break down barriers with my language and my voice, and that feeling is truly indescribable.”

Once she completes her certification, Moreland hopes to practice medical interpreting as soon as possible. She also wants to encourage other native Spanish speakers to become interpreters as a way to give back to the community and find a sense of belonging.

“This country needs interpreters,” she said. “And by becoming an interpreter you realize the value you bring to the table and the connections you are able to make between people. As an immigrant, that is a very healing experience.”

ATA News

June Webinars Coming Your Way!

A new month brings new learning opportunities with ATA! Be sure to watch your inbox for the June Webinar Roundup. Topics related to taking control of your business, machine translation, and chatGPT await you next month.

Do not want to wait on the Roundup?
You can check out the coming classes on the ATA Webinar Series page.

ATA Virtual Conference: Congratulations and Thank You!

Many thanks and congratulations to the Virtual Conference and Professional Development Committees on all their hard work in planning and executing our first one-day Virtual Conference! The event was well-attended and the feedback has been well-received.
If you would like to review one of the informative sessions, or missed the conference, not to worry. The recordings of the sessions will be available soon on the ATA website, stay tuned for more information.

Another big thank you goes to our sponsors, we appreciate your support of the conference and look forward to future partnerships! Please be sure to visit their websites and support them when you can.

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.

Questions About ATA Certification? Check Out the Latest Episode of the ATA Podcast!

In case you missed it. Our latest ATA Podcast is full of all things ATA Certiifcation.

ATA Podcast Host Matt Baird speaks with David Stephenson, Chair of ATA’s Certification Committee. David shares insights into the practice test, explains what you should do with the results, and provides a long list of ways to prepare for the exam.

Show Highlights (Click the link to access the article or page listed.)

Please send comments, questions, or requests about the ATA podcast to

News summaries © copyright 2023 Smithbucklin

May 31, 2023

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