Newsbriefs: November 2, 2020


Congratulations to Newly Elected Directors!

ATA held its regularly scheduled election on Thursday, October 22, at the Annual Meeting of Voting Members during ATA61’s virtual Annual Conference. Directors elected, each to a three-year term:

  • Veronika Demichelis
  • Lorena Ortiz Schneider
  • Robert Sette

The newly elected directors join currently serving President Ted Wozniak, President-Elect Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Secretary Karen Tkaczyk, Treasurer John Milan and Directors Eve Bodeux, Alaina Brandt, Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner, Jamie Hartz, Cristina Helmerichs, and Meghan Konkol. Thanks to all ATA voting members who participated in this year’s election!



Industry News

Need an Interpreter to Vote? Amid Pandemic, California Is Trying to Help
CAL Matters (CA) (10/28/20)
Lozano, Michael

California’s push to expand language access in elections has run headlong into pandemic fears and record numbers of Californians voting early at polling centers and from home. This presidential election is the first since Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Voting for All Act in 2017 to expand access for voters who are not fluent in English. The state law requires the increased availability of translated materials and that counties report to the state the number of bilingual poll workers for each precinct. In addition, language access advocates won a lawsuit last year to force the state to follow the California elections code. Despite legal requirements, some counties say they are struggling to find enough bilingual poll workers because people do not want to risk contracting the coronavirus. “It’s hard to find people who are bilingual who can take a full day off from work and spend the day as a poll worker,” said Christina Fletes, a voting rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California. “It’s especially hard for counties that are not in metro areas and don’t have community-based organizations they can reach out to for help.” Charles Evans, an attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, said while counties have put in noticeable effort to provide language access, the pandemic seems to have stymied them. His organization relies on community poll monitors to gather feedback for counties following elections, but they’ve had trouble recruiting for that as well. “Given the pandemic, it’s difficult to gauge whether counties could have done better or whether this is the best they could do,” Evans said. Fifteen counties using a new state-approved voting center model will be able to rely on technology to help fill language gaps. They will have a multilingual helpline available or an iPad that connects voters to an interpreting service offering a Facetime-like video feed. That feature was first introduced at voting centers in March and includes American Sign Language. Mike Sanchez, a spokesperson for Los Angeles County, said he couldn’t offer numbers on bilingual poll workers, but that every center will have electronic voting machines assisting voters in 13 languages. Los Angeles County’s interactive sample ballot also comes in different languages and is available online. Excessive language barriers can mean citizens walk away from casting a ballot altogether. Others end up voting solely on issues covered by major media, like the presidential ticket, but not on local measures or candidates that have direct impact on their neighborhoods. As a program analyst at the Hmong Cultural Center, Charlie Xiong has seen the Hmong-American citizens he serves give up casting a ballot. He said they often look on with confusion as he walks them through the sample ballot guide printed in English. “They don’t really know what they’re voting for,” Xiong said. “But then some vote anyway because they feel entitled to vote as U.S. citizens.”


Group Home Provider Settles Allegation from Deaf Resident
ABC News (NY) (10/27/20)
Barakat, Matthew

Federal litigators reached a civil settlement with the largest operator of group homes in Virginia for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over allegations it failed to provide necessary sign language interpreters. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced the settlement with Good Neighbor Homes, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia. The settlement resolves allegations that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide an interpreter for a deaf resident. The complaint alleged that interpreters were missing even during important meetings, including discussions about an investigation of an accident in which the woman was seriously injured. The complaint alleged that the resident’s sister was often forced to step in to provide communication assistance. Court papers indicate the woman lived at a Good Neighbor group home in Goochland County near Richmond from 2014 to 2017. Terwilliger said the resident suffered from multiple disabilities in addition to being deaf, including cerebral palsy, and that service providers must be prepared to handle all necessary aspects of care. Good Neighbor, which runs more than 50 group homes across the state, agreed to pay $225,000 to the resident, $40,000 to the sister, and a $50,000 civil penalty. Charles James, a lawyer for Good Neighbor, said in a statement that compliance with the ADA is a priority for the company. “Good Neighbor is glad to have resolved any misunderstanding of our former resident’s communication needs and preferences,” James said. Terwilliger also announced he is creating a Civil Rights Enforcement Unit in his office that will be dedicated to such cases. He said it will be the only unit among the 93 U.S. attorney offices nationwide with multiple lawyers committed to such a unit.


Teachers in Minnesota Adjust to Support Online Language Immersion
Star Tribune (MN) (10/22/20)
Klecker, Mara

Language immersion programs in Minnesota are getting creative this year to help students acquire world language skills, including offering internships to international students who connect with students online for reading groups and conversation. Over the summer, educators from about 70 of Minnesota’s language immersion and dual language programs worried about how they could replicate the immersive experience from afar. It presents a particular challenge for students with parents who can’t speak Spanish, Chinese, French, or other languages a student would hear in class. Lesley De Paz, who teaches at Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School, said that in the first week of distance learning, her students were quiet and hesitant. “They really didn’t want to speak, and it was very fragmented.” But several months into a new school year, La Paz and her colleagues have found ways to meet the challenges. Several immersion programs are offering hybrid learning models that bring younger students into the building several times a week so they get more in-person instruction. Some immersion programs are partnering high school students with elementary immersion classrooms or helping parents find other language learners who can help their child practice their skills. The older students often lead virtual conversations or guide read-aloud sessions. “They love it because they get to talk with a big kid,” said Molly Wieland, the K-12 world language and immersion coordinator for Hopkins Public Schools, which offers Spanish and Chinese immersion. Minnesota students learning Chinese can get free tutoring from university students in Beijing through a partnership with St. Cloud State University’s Confucius Institute. There is currently a waiting list of students who want to be matched with a tutor. “I think parents sometimes worry their kids aren’t getting enough practice,” Wieland said. “But we now have so many tools at our disposal. If the pandemic had happened 20 years ago, this wouldn’t be nearly as doable.” Terrae Weatherman has noticed her six-year-old daughter is more comfortable initiating conversation in Spanish since she started attending classes at Tierra Encantada, a Spanish immersion day care offering distance learning programs. “I’m not sure we would have been able to support the classes she has that teach in Spanish,” Weatherman said. “Hearing Spanish is just not something we could have offered her at home.” Despite the challenges of the unusual school year, De Paz said she has seen parents step up to help with language immersion teaching. And her students have grown a lot more confident and chatty—gone is the silence during video calls. “We’ve watched these kids have to gain a lot more independence,” she said. “That’s really empowered them.”


Pilot Program in Illinois Strives to Offer Better Court Interpreters at a Better Price
Chicago Daily Herald (IL) (10/16/20)
Fuller, James

Kane County has the only judicial circuit in Illinois that uses a third-party contractor for all language interpreting services, and that’s raised concerns among judicial officials about the costs, quality of interpreters, and fragility of case rulings that go to appeal. But judges in the circuit say they have a plan to amp up the service while also slashing the price. Circuit Judge Rene Cruz of the 16th Judicial Circuit told the county board’s judicial and public safety committee that the state is now reimbursing local courts for online-based interpreting services. Cruz said this is a huge savings compared to the way Kane County gets its interpreters. For example, a recent need for a Hindi interpreter at a traffic court case cost the county nearly $600. The interpreter charged what Cruz described as a standard hourly rate plus travel costs. The interpreter was needed for 10 minutes. Kane County does not have any full-time interpreters on the payroll like surrounding judicial circuits. Cruz said the cost is even greater if an interpreter does a poor job. He referenced an Indiana case in which a man in prison for 15 years on drug trafficking charges had his conviction overturned because an interpreter botched the explanation of the man’s constitutional rights. “Everything had to be undone,” Cruz said. “Think about the cost of prosecuting someone, the cost of now having to reinvent this prosecution. But the greater cost is having to look at every single case that the interpreter was involved with to figure out whether or not the same errors occurred. The possible consequences can be staggering.” A new online interpreting service is providing online access to interpreters with the highest level of certification. Kane County is among a handful of jurisdictions piloting the service. It bills the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts directly, making the service free to Kane County during normal business hours. Outside those hours, the administrative office is reimbursing up to $60 per hour whenever the county uses an online interpreter. In limited test use so far, the county has cut costs for interpreting services and received $50,000 in reimbursements. Judges want to use some of the reimbursement money to hire a full-time coordinator to handle all interpreter selections and reimbursement paperwork.


Ex-Nazi Interpreter in Canada Loses Appeal at Immigration and Refugee Board
CBC (Canada) (10/22/20)
Bueckert, Kate

Helmut Oberlander, a former Nazi interpreter who is fighting to retain his Canadian citizenship, has lost his appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board and will now move on to a deportation hearing. Oberlander, 95, of Ontario, has been in a legal battle with the Canadian government since 1995, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched an investigation into his alleged involvement in war crimes during the Second World War. That triggered a process to strip Oberlander of his Canadian citizenship. He has challenged the action in various courts. Oberlander served as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando, one of Hitler’s notorious killing squads responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of people. Oberlander has maintained he was forcibly conscripted by the Nazis when he was 17. He has never been charged with a crime and is not accused of taking part in any executions. Oberlander came to Canada in 1954 and obtained citizenship in 1960. The federal government maintains he obtained citizenship through “false representation or fraud” because he never disclosed his wartime work as an interpreter for the Einsatzkommando. His case will now proceed to an admissibility hearing before the immigration division of the Immigration and Refugee Board to determine whether Oberlander is inadmissible and should be removed from Canada. In a statement, Martin Sampson, vice president of communications at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said: “Mr. Oberlander was a member of a Nazi killing unit responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews and gained access to Canada under false pretenses. This ruling is one step closer to justice for thousands of Canadian Holocaust survivors and their descendants and one step closer to his rightful deportation from this country.”

ATA Calendar of T&I Events

ATA News


Free! Training for ATA’s New Mastermind Program!
Presenters: Dorothee Racette, Tess Whitty
Date: November 5, 2020
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
Dialogue with colleagues can be incredibly important as you move through the various stages of your career, but it’s hard to rely on random chance conversations for advice. ATA’s popular Mentoring Program offers members match-ups with experienced translators and interpreters to tackle goals, but that kind of one-on-one relationship can feel a little too structured for some people. What else is there? Enter ATA’s new Mastermind Program! Attend this webinar to find out how peer mentoring and collaborative professional development works. The program will begin in 2021. Join this webinar for early training.
Reserve Your Spot! Free! Limited to ATA members. (registration required)

ATA Bylaws Amendments
Voting members also voted on two proposed Bylaws amendments. Note: ATA’s Bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the Voting members.

Proposed Amendment to the ATA Bylaws: Rights and Privileges
Number of votes cast: 825. Required to pass: 550 or: 531. Against: 294. FAILED

Proposed Amendment to the ATA Bylaws: Multiple Candidates
Number of votes cast: 839. Required to pass: 560 For: 681. Against: 158. PASSED

Did You Miss the ATA61 Annual Conference?
It may have been virtual, but ATA61 delivered as much—and more—as any previous ATA Annual Conference. Relevant sessions? Check. Fun online networking events? Check. Being able to join conference sessions from a sunny backyard in San Diego or a beach in Oregon? Check. It’s all here in the ATA61 conference video recap. Watch now to see what you missed!
Make Plans to Attend ATA62 in Minneapolis!
It’s not too soon to start making plans for ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 27-30, 2021). And ATA’s Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association (UMTIA) can’t wait to welcome you. Check out the group’s video invitation showing you all that Minneapolis has to offer!

Upcoming ATA Webinars

Back to Business Basics: Handling the Holidays as a Freelancer Presenter: Corinne McKay, Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Date: November 9, 2020
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: All

Planning for the holidays as a freelancer can be tricky. Will taking time off be bad for your business? Can you find new clients during the holiday season? Is it a good idea to send holiday gifts to your clients, and if so, what gifts are appropriate? Look for all the answers in this Back to Business Basics webinar!

Reserve Your Spot! Free! Limited to ATA members. (Must register)

Diabetes 101: An Overview for Medical Translators and Interpreters Presenter: Tracy Young, RN
Date: November 12, 2020
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
CE Point: 1 ATA-approved

It does not take long for new medical translators and interpreters to see that terminology for diabetes is a necessity in their work. But what about an understanding of the disease? Even experienced linguists may fall short on knowing the full story, and the latest treatment options for the condition. It’s time to know more!

Register now! ATA Member $45 Non-Member $60

Questions? Need more information?
Call: +1-703-683-6100, ext 3001


Final Notes for ATA61 Attendees
  • Session Recordings Available Online
    If you attended the conference, be sure to go back to the conference portal and listen to any of the sessions you missed or replay those that you’d like to hear again. The recordings will be online for at least six months. For those who did not attend the conference, or who would like to purchase one of the Advanced Skills and Training Day (AST) sessions, look for the recordings to be available for sale later this year.
  • One More Session Coming Soon
    Due to technical difficulties, Speaker Paula Arturo was unable to present her Thursday session “Legal Translation in Plain Language” (010). Rather than disappoint, Paula has agreed to turn her presentation into an ATA webinar. Both the webinar and its on-demand recording will be free to all ATA61 attendees. Watch your inbox for date, time, and login information.
  • ATA61 Community Open for Six Months
    The Community tab on the ATA61 portal home page will remain open to attendees for six months. Just log in as you did for the conference and look for the tab in the top menu bar.
  • ATA61 Continuing Education Points
    ATA-certified translators earn 1 continuing education point (CEP) for each hour of conference sessions attended, up to a maximum of 10 CEPs. Eighteen interpreter credentialing organizations have also approved ATA61 sessions for CE credit. If you’re a certified interpreter, check the ATA61 Continuing Education Credit information to see if your organization is one of them.
  • Submit Your ATA61 Survey for a Chance to Win
    Your ideas and suggestions have helped shape the ATA Annual Conference over the years. So, please take the time to complete your overall ATA61 conference survey and tell us what you think. You can access the survey on the conference portal. Surveys submitted by December 1 will automatically be entered to win a free registration for the ATA62 Annual Conference in Minneapolis (October 27-30).

2020 ATA Honors and Awards
Each year, ATA recognizes colleagues who, through their daily work, volunteer activities, and careers exemplify the qualities that define excellence in our field or who have made a significant impact on the profession of translation and interpreting. This year’s recipients were announced during an awards presentation on October 23 during ATA61’s Annual Conference.
ATA School Outreach Contest Winner

Watch Who Won the 2020 ATA School Outreach Contest to learn more about Giovanna Lester’s winning entry and ATA’s School Outreach Program!

Free Members-Only Monthly Webinar
ATA offers members one free webinar every month. Don’t wait to watch this month’s freebie!
Educational Interpreting—An Emerging Specialization
Interpreters have been working in schools for years with little acknowledgment of the complex skills needed to do the job. Now the field of educational interpreting is finally gaining recognition as a specialty—and a career worth considering! Learn how to find work as an educational interpreter, what skills interpreters working in this new specialty should have, and why our profession needs to step up, make space, and provide concrete resources for educational interpreters.

About the Presenter Katharine Allen is a health care and community interpreter with more than 30 years of experience in interpreting, training, and curricula design. She holds an MA in Translation and Interpretation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. As a passionate educator and trainer, Katharine is a popular presenter at national and international conferences. She is also the co-founder and president of InterpretAmerica, an organization dedicated to raising the profile of the interpreting profession.

Virtual Pathways to Legislative Impact

Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2021, the Joint National Committee for Languages’ annual policy and networking summit, will take place February 3-5, 2021. This three-day event will virtually bring together language educators and industry professionals who are interested in advocating for language learning in the U.S. Attendees will learn about federal language policies and programs, train to develop advocacy skills, and team up to meet with Congressional staff members.

How Does It Work? The Language Advocacy Days (LAD) event is a complete package with pre-conference webinars, an online legislative priorities overview session, virtual breakout sessions to discuss briefing materials, and strategies for effective advocacy from senior legislative staffers—all leading up to virtual meetings scheduled between LAD attendees and their representatives on Capitol Hill.

Why Attend? If you don’t tell Congress how critical languages are for job growth, national security, and social justice, who will?

Quick Clicks for Details

Coming Up in the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA Introduces Six New Awards at ATA61!
Attendees at ATA’s 61st Annual Conference came together virtually for a special awards presentation to recognize colleagues for their contributions to the Association and the translation and interpreting professions. ATA introduced six new ATA awards this year—Advocacy, Dynamo, Impact, Innovation, Mentoring, and Rising Star. Read on to find out who was honored!
Should I Market My Translation or Interpreting Services on Social Media?
I hear this question from translators and interpreters pretty frequently. But here’s the thing. If you’re planning to market your business on social media, keep in mind that it’s a long-term strategy. The more you show up and the more authentically you engage, the more you’ll get out of the social media platform(s) you choose for your business. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)
Six Remote Simultaneous Interpreting Platforms and Zoom
Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) is the new reality. So, what are some of the RSI platforms out there and what features do they offer? What are the technical requirements to support these platforms on your workstation? Let’s get a better idea of what to look for in terms of functionality by comparing some of the more popular platforms on the market. (Natalia Fedorenkova)
Language for the Good of All: ATA Members Make a Difference in the National Language Service Corps
Volunteers for the National Language Service Corps (NLSC), a U.S. Department of Defense program authorized by Congress, provide linguistic expertise and cultural competencies across the entire federal government. Learn what three ATA members have to say about their experiences working with NLSC and why you should consider participating. (Rusty Shughart)
Women and Machine Translation
It has always bothered me that there seems to be a serious under-representation of women who are involved in the development of machine translation (MT). Since it didn’t make much sense for me, a man, to write and complain about that, I asked three women who are involved in MT in academics and development to discuss the topic. (Jost Zetzsche)
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.

Visit ATA61 Sponsors and Exhibitors
Platinum Sponsor
SDL Trados Studio is an ATA61 Platinum sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Wordfast is an ATA61 Gold Sponsor
Silver Sponsor
Alliant is an ATA61 Silver Sponsor

News summaries © copyright 2020 SmithBucklin

November 2, 2020

In This Issue

Congrats to New Directors
Free Mastermind Program
ATA Amendments
Did You Miss ATA61?
Upcoming Webinars
Final Notes for Attendees
2020 Honors and Awards
Free Monthly Webinar
Language Advocacy Days
The ATA Chronicle
Thanks to Sponsors
Thanks to Exhibitors

Business Practices

Query Sheet Management for Project Managers and Translators

ATA Webinar Series

Introducing ATA’s Mastermind Program November 5 12 noon ET
Reserve your spot!

Diabetes 101: An Intro for Medical Translators and Interpreters
November 12 12 noon ET
Register now!

Post-editing: How to Make Machine Translation Work for You (in Spanish)
December 3 12 noon ET  

Next Back to Business Basics Webinar
Handling the Hollidays as a Freelancer
November 9 ATA members Only!
Register now!  
ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Educational Interpreting—An Emerging Specialization
Click to watch!  

Calendar of Events

Virtual Language Advocacy Days
February 3-5, 2021
Learn more!

ATA62 Annual Conference
Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 27-30, 2021

Advertise with ATA! 



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