Newsbriefs: November 30, 2022

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Industry News

She Pushed for Having Wildfire Alerts in Spanish. Now She’s Taking Language Equality to Colorado’s House of Representatives

Colorado Public Radio (11/26/22) Otárola, Miguel

Elizabeth Velasco, a translator who was recently elected to Colorado’s House of Representatives, became directly involved with conservation in 2020. It was one of the worst years for wildfires in Colorado’s history, and one that directly threatened her hometown of Glenwood Springs.

As fire burned a mile east of the city, firefighters asked Velasco if her translation agency could translate emergency alerts into Spanish. She jumped at the opportunity, translating dozens of press releases and signing a contract to translate for the state’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. Velasco is now a certified wildland firefighter and has served as a public information officer for megafires in California and Oregon.

Velasco said her Mexican upbringing and experience as a translator prepared her to be a voice for her district. “I want everyone to understand what I’m saying, and I want people to ask questions and participate.”

Velasco decided to run for office after being frustrated by shortcomings in Colorado’s language access plan, especially delays in communicating emergency information to the Spanish-speaking community. “During COVID and during a very crazy fire season, I saw that we were leaving people behind, and it felt like there was a disconnect between leadership and people on the ground,” she said. “I knew we could do better, and our families and our communities deserved better.”

Velasco said state agencies and other emergency management officials need to be proactive and create plans where they’re able to reach everyone. “To me, there’s a lack of trust, and strong relationships with the community would really help with emergency communications.”

Velasco said the way to start building stronger relationships between the community and state officials is to reach out and make people feel included in the decision-making process. She said greater language accessibility is important not only in emergency situations, but at all levels of government. “I think we need people to be engaged and to support someone who’s going to fight for them and who has their values.”

“I definitely will bring in my perspective as someone who provides language access. Because that’s needed at all the levels—in emergency communications, in health care, in our court systems, and in our schools. Language access definitely needs to be a priority for the state.”


Illinois School District’s Bilingual Program Celebrates 50 Years

Daily Herald (11/16/22) Krishnamurthy, Madhu

In Illinois, Elgin Area School District U-46’s bilingual program is marking 50 years of helping students become bilingual and biliterate. It has evolved from just a few classes at select sites into an award-winning program offered districtwide starting in prekindergarten and going through high school.

Last year saw the first graduating class of high school students from the program, and the first group of students who started the program in first grade will graduate next spring. For the 2022-23 school year, U-46 has roughly 12,000 students enrolled in the program, making it one of the largest dual language districts in the country.

“The program has connected me more with my identity,” said Giselle Naranjo, a senior at Larkin High School. “It has helped me better understand my culture, my parents, and myself—emotionally and mentally.”

Naranjo, who is on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Student Advisory Council, said not losing her Spanish language and her cultural identity helped her gain confidence to succeed in other aspects of academics. “It’s a great privilege to say I know two languages,” she said. “It’s just a great gift to be able to communicate.” It’s a skill Naranjo hopes will be an asset for a future career in business and criminal justice.

U-46’s dual language program serves Spanish-speaking English learners. It offers a bilingual educational environment in which students are taught literacy and academic content in English and Spanish, where 80% of classroom instruction is in Spanish and 20% is in English. As students move up in grades, the portion of English instruction increases by 10 percentage points per grade until both languages reach parity by third grade.

High school students in the program are required to take four years of Spanish language arts and four years of English language arts. Coursework includes advanced placement offerings in Spanish. The goal is to foster bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism, helping students improve academically while incorporating awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity.

“One of the things I’ve always admired about the school district is how very proactive they are,” said Lois Sands, a retired district bilingual teacher and former principal of Streamwood Elementary Early Childhood Center, which served bilingual students. She said that throughout her teaching career bilingual educators like herself saw students’ Spanish skills as a strength that could be transferred when learning a new language. “Keeping kids strong in their home language was an emphasis,” she said. “And you would notice the difference. Students who were strong readers in their native language made that transition to English more quickly.”

“Our district has done a fantastic job of committing to the dual language model, so much so that it’s part of board policy,” said Griselda Pirtle, U-46 director of the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department. “It capitalizes on and helps maintain students’ home language skills instead of seeing them as a deficit.”


Microsoft Teams Platform Makes It Easier to Host Meetings Using Sign Language

Engadget (11/18/22) Fingas, J.

For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, it will now be much simpler to participate in a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Microsoft announced it has introduced a dedicated sign language view feature to the video conferencing platform. The new feature enables sign language users to select up to two other participants’ videos to be fixed in a central location on the screen, allowing designated signers to be visible throughout the meeting. Those video feeds will remain at sizes large enough for sign language to be visible, even when slides or screen shares are visible. Notably, Microsoft said the feature is personal to the user and is invisible to the other participants on the call.

Microsoft also announced a new “sticky” accessibility settings pane for Teams. The new pane gives users easy access during calls to make changes like turning on the sign language view by default or pre-identifying preferred signers. Sign language view and live captions can also be quickly toggled on or off within the pane. This means users won’t have to worry about pinning interpreters or enabling captions every time a Teams call begins. They can jump directly into a meeting instead of tweaking options.

The sign language view and accessibility pane are currently available only through a public preview on a user-by-user basis. Microsoft said it will release both features to all commercial and government customers in the “coming weeks.” However, it could be longer before everyone can use the functionality. Still, this promises to greatly simplify meetings for anyone with limited hearing—and might make Teams more viable if alternatives like Zoom (which only recently added support for interpreters) aren’t up to the task.


Six Translators Win Inaugural PEN Presents Award for Sample Translations

The Bookseller (United Kingdom) (11/23/22) Brown, Lauren

English PEN has named six translations in four Indian languages as recipients of the first PEN Presents award. The new award was launched in June to support the production of sample translations and expose publishers to titles from underrepresented languages and regions.

An international committee of writers, agents, editors, and critics chose the winning samples, which will be promoted to publishers of translated literature. The winners were selected from 12 short-listed translators, who received grants to author samples of their proposed works.

The winners are Deepa Bhasthi, for a translation from Kannada of Banu Mushtaq’s Haseena and Other Stories; Gopika Jadeja, for a translation from Gujarati of Umesh Solanki’s Transformations; Kartikeya Jain, for a translation from Hindi of Chandan Pandey’s Songs of Glory; Shabnam Nadiya, for a translation from Wasi Ahmed’s The Ice Machine from Bengali; Nikhil Pandhi, for a translation from Anita Bharti’s Chronicle of the Quota Woman and Other Stories from Hindi; and V. Ramaswamy, for a translation from Bengali of Adhir Biswas’ Last Boy: An Untouchable Boy’s Classroom from Bengali.

“Selected from a phenomenal shortlist, these samples comprise the first few thousand words of what I’m sure will soon be books in the hands of English-language readers,” said Will Forrester, English PEN’s translation and international manager. “This inaugural selection features six exceptionally talented translators conveying six significant works of literature across linguistic borders. Taken together, these projects represent an extraordinary range of languages, contexts, and perspectives. We are excited to see which publishers—in the U.K., India, and across the Anglophone market—take them on.”

Preti Taneja, co-chair of English PEN’s translation advisory group, said the samples highlight the depth of ideas and breath of stories being written across India and the diaspora, and to the talent of the writers and translators creating them. “We are thrilled to be presenting these artists and their words. It’s a privilege to support them as they make their way to English-language publishers and readers.”

English PEN and the British Council collaborated on PEN Presents as part of the British Council’s India/U.K. Together Season of Culture. Literary festivals, events, and journals will showcase the PEN Presents winners throughout 2023.

“Through our work in literature and publishing, we are creating more platforms and opportunities for outstanding Indian writers and literary professionals to take the best of Indian-language literature to global audiences in new translations into English,” said Jonathan Kennedy, director of Arts India, British Council. “The India/U.K. Together Season of Culture has literature, publishing, and translation as key elements of the collaborations between India and U.K. with emerging and established creative professionals. We are delighted at the lineup of the inaugural PEN Presents winners and are excited at the prospect of some great Indian voices writing in Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, and Gujarati being read by English-language audiences for the first time.”

Middlebury Institute of International Studies

ATA News

U.S. Department of Justice Renews Commitment

Attorney General Merrick Garland has issued a memorandum calling on federal agencies to strengthen language access for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). The document asks the Civil Rights Division, in collaboration with the Office for Access to Justice, to review and update language access policies and plans, consider effective outreach to linguistically marginalized communities, explore best practices for posting multilingual web content, and review whether federal agencies will update or modify their language access guidance to their federal financial assistance recipients.

The directive affirms the federal government’s commitment to LEP communities and meaningful access to programs and activities in accordance with Executive Order 131666, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (August. 16, 2000). Read the Department’s press release and see

Is Your Freelancer Status in Jeopardy?

On October 13, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor published a notice of proposed rulemaking that puts forward a restrictive interpretation of the “economic realities” test, which is used to determine an individual’s status as an employee or independent contractor for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The new proposed economic realities test would include the following six factors:
  1. Opportunity for profit or loss depending on managerial skill
  2. Investments by the worker and the employer
  3. Degree of permanence of the work relationship
  4. Nature and degree of control
  5. Extent to which the work performed is an integral part of the employer’s business
  6. Skill and initiative
Why This Matters to Translators and Interpreters
Factor 3, which may restrict freelancers from working with repeat clients, could be problematic for language professionals, as could Factor 5, which is very similar to the infamous “B” condition of the ABC test and would prevent businesses from contracting with freelancers to perform work that is considered an integral part of the hiring entity’s business (i.e., a language services company could not contract with freelance translators and interpreters).

The proposed regulations, if finalized, would expand the coverage of the FLSA by treating as “employees” a large number of individuals who, under current law, are classified as independent contractors. This could be detrimental to many translators and interpreters working as independent contractors.

Read ATA’s Statement on the Proposed Rule for Independent Contractor Classification

Don’t Miss the Deadline to Comment!
Make your voice heard. This issue may impact your ability to work as a freelancer in the future. Written feedback has been requested by the Department of Labor. Click to learn how easy it is to make your voice heard! The deadline to comment is December 13, 2022.

Translating Intellectual Property-Related Legal Documents

Presenter: Graciela Souter
Date: December 6, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. ET
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 2 ATA-approved

Build a solid foundation for understanding intellectual property (IP) law and some of the key terminology used in the field!

This webinar will cover how IP law works, the types of IP documents, the differences between IP legislation in the U.S., European Union, and Latin America, and the mechanisms to settle issues related to IP. In addition, the presenter will analyze original documents with specific terminology that IP translators often have to translate when working with attorneys, companies, and individuals involved in IP litigation. A glossary with explanations of the most frequently used terms and expressions will be included.

Although some examples of translated expressions will be given in Spanish, the presenter will ask attendees working in other languages to contribute translations in the chat box for a shared best practices experience!

You will learn how to:
  1. Understand the basics of IP rights, types of IP, and the ways IP law works
  2. Use specific vocabulary and expressions found in IP documents
  3. Identify the differences in the protection of IP rights among different countries
  4. Recognize the new concepts and vocabulary resulting from differences in IP rights
This webinar was organized with the assistance of the ATA Law Division.

Register now! ATA Member $90 | Non-Member $120

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

ATA Board Meeting Summary: October 15-16, 2022

The ATA Board of Directors met October 15-16 in Los Angeles, California. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website.

Board Meeting Summaries are a great way to 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!

The next ATA Board of Directors meeting will be held virtually February 11, 2023.
The ATA Podcast

Free ATA Member Orientation Session December 8

Join members Lorena Ortiz Schneider, Tony Guerra, and Jessie Liu on December 8 at 6:00 p.m. ET to get answers on all things related to ATA membership.

What will you learn?
  • How to set up your online ATA Directory listing
  • How to join and participate in ATA Divisions
  • Where to find ATA social media
  • Where to look for ATA professional development
  • What ATA publications are available
  • What ATA member discounts are available
  • How to contact the right person for help at ATA
  • And more!
Note: Due to the interactive nature of this event, it will not be recorded. The next ATA Member Orientation session will be in 2023.

Free, but registration is required.

Don’t miss out on benefits you can really use simply because you didn’t know they existed. Even if you joined ATA years ago, this presentation is for you!

Last Chance to Complete Your ATA63 Surveys

What’s it like to win a free registration to ATA’s 64th Annual Conference in Miami (October 25-28, 2023)? Submit your ATA63 Overall Conference Survey for a chance to find out! One name will be selected at random from submitted surveys for a complimentary registration.

More Chances to Win
Five winners will also be randomly selected from those attendees who submit Session Surveys. Each will receive a free ATA on-demand webinar of their choice.

Your Feedback Is Important
You can access the surveys through the desktop version of the conference app until December 1. Questions? Contact

Once again, thank you for attending ATA63 and taking the time to help us plan another great conference next year!

B2BB: Setting and Raising Your Rates as a Freelancer

Presenter: Corinne McKay
Date: December 15, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner
CE Point(s): None

How do you set or raise rates for your translation and interpreting services? Hint: It’s not about what someone else charges!

Knowing how much you need to earn in order to reach your financial goals is a key part of being a freelancer, but many translators and interpreters are not “numbers people” and struggle to set their rates and reach their desired income. In this Back to Business Basics webinar, you’ll learn strategies for calculating your target rate and what to do when you want to earn more money.

You will learn how to:
  1. Determine what you need or want to earn as a freelancer
  2. Turn your goal income into an hourly or per-word rate
  3. Establish green, yellow, and red zone rates
  4. Give yourself a raise
Register now!
Free to ATA members, but you must sign up by 10:00 a.m. ET on December 15. Click to learn more and register.

What is ATA’s Back to Business Basics Webinar Series?
Sometimes it’s the simple things that trip you up or hold you back in business. That’s the point behind ATA’s Back to Business Basics webinars—a series of 45-minute webinars offering practical advice on common translation and interpreting business problems. Click to review the series archive and take advantage of this ATA member benefit

FIT International T&I Legal Forum

The International Federation of Translators (FIT) and the Swiss Association of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters (ASTTI) have announced the XIV FIT International Forum on Legal Translation and Interpreting in Spiez, Switzerland (July 8-9, 2023). Translators, interpreters, terminologists, academics, researchers, and students are invited to attend. Abstracts for one-hour presentations will be accepted through December 14, 2022. New technologies in legal translation and interpreting, changes in the profession post COVID-19, and legal translation and interpreting standards and best practices are among the suggested topics. For additional information, contact

Free ATA Members-Only Webinar for December

ATA offers members one free webinar every month. Don’t miss the freebie for December 2022!

Accounting and Taxes for Freelance Translators and Interpreters in the U.S.
Being a freelance translator or interpreter means that you wear many hats to keep your company running, including financial management. How do you keep your receipts, invoices, and payments straight? And what about your tax deductions—what business expenses qualify?

Watch this webinar for a chance to learn money matters from certified public accountants. You will get an overview of freelance accounting procedures, including business recordkeeping options; banking; taxation for employees versus independent contractors; and multi-state, local, and foreign tax reporting responsibilities.

The webinar also includes professional advice on the costs involved in getting started and structuring your business. You’ll also learn about the tax deductions available for small business owners, such as retirement planning; self-employed health insurance; business insurance; business use of home, phone, internet; and purchase of equipment and tools.

This webinar is intended for language services providers who have tax obligations in the U.S.

Continuing Education Credit
Each free members-only webinar is approved for one ATA continuing education point (Category B), unless otherwise stated. After watching the webinar, complete and print the Independent Study Verification form. It will serve as your certificate of continuing education if your CE record is selected for audit at the time of your ATA recertification.

Coming Up in the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA Strategy Committee Update
The language services market is constantly evolving, growing, and adapting to changes in technology and economic forces. ATA and its members are affected by these changes. The Board needs data and analyses to make informed decisions about the industry, the Association, and individual members’ livelihoods. Here are some of the initiatives the Strategy Committee has been working on to help the Board in their task. (John Milan)

How Case Studies Can Help You Market Your T&I Services
While testimonials are powerful, case studies allow you to tell the story of your clients’ successes as a result of working with you. When well-written, case studies can be very useful in marketing to potential clients. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

Interpreting Is a Performance Art
In addition to all the linguistic aspects, our work as interpreters involves performance. Thinking of yourself as an actor giving a stellar performance will help improve the quality of your work. (Javier Castillo)

We Need to Talk about…Money!
It can be embarrassing and feel intrusive when someone asks about your rates, particularly if you suspect that you’re not earning enough or you’re not earning what you would like. However, if we are less obscure and cryptic about our own rates, more translators in the profession might start re-evaluating what they charge. (Justine Raymond)

Protect Your Career by Protecting Your Eyes
As translators and interpreters, we need to protect our vision if we want to work productively. Given the nature of our jobs, however, and our dependence on computers for everything, avoiding screen use altogether is simply impossible. How can we strike a balance between using technology to work and avoiding health problems caused by overusing our eyes in the process? (Danielle Maxson)

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

November 30, 2022

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In This Issue

ATA Membership 2023
LEP Language Access
Freelancer Status at Risk
Webinar: Intellectual Prop
Board Mtg Summary
Member Orientation
Last Chance to Win
B2BB: Freelance Rates
FIT Legal Forum
Monthly Free Webinar
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Accounting and Taxes for Freelance Translators and Interpreters in the U.S.
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Renew Your ATA Membership for 2023 Now!

Don’t lose the marketing power, continuing education, industry insight, and member discounts you get with your ATA membership. Click here and renew now!

ATA Member Orientation Session

Dec 8 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Learn more

Don’t miss out on benefits you can really use simply because you didn’t know they existed. Even if you joined ATA years ago, this presentation is for you!

Back to Business Basics

Setting and Raising Your Rates as a Freelancer
Dec 15 @ 12 noon ET
Free to members!
Registration open

Calendar of Events

Win a free ATA64 registration!
ATA63 Conf Survey
Deadline: Dec 1, 2022
See conference app

Board of Directors Mtg
Feb 11, 2023

Virtual Language Advocacy Days 2023
Feb 8-10, 2023
Registration open

ATA64 Annual Conference
Oct 25-28, 2023
Miami, Florida
Preview now!

ATA Business Practices Next Level Blog
Mentoring: Get As Much As You Give

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