Newsbriefs: October 16, 2020

What to know about ATA61!

The Virtual ATA61 Conference portal is now open! Login information has been emailed to all registered attendees. Don’t see it in your inbox? Check your junk mail or spam folder. Still don’t see it? Contact

    • Learn your way around the virtual portal
      First things first! Take time to browse the portal, noting the links at the top of the home page for Division Meetups, Agenda (sessions), Exhibitors, Sponsors, Community, Help, and More (Job Fair, Speaker Bios).


    • Click the Help link to read the frequently asked questions
      For an overview of the portal, read the frequently asked questions by clicking the Help link in the menu at the top. You’ll also find real-time tech support under the same link.


    • Complete your Community profile
      Once you’re in the portal, update your profile in the Community to include your working languages, areas of specialization, credentials, ATA volunteer positions, résumé, photo, and more. And don’t forget to use the Community feature to contact other attendees during the conference!


    • Build your schedule
      Click Agenda in the menu at the top to access the sessions. To create your schedule, click the star icon next to the sessions you want to attend. Note that your schedule is saved under the “My Interests” tab to the right of “All Sessions.” You can also use the “Add to Calendar” option from inside each session abstract.


    • Attention interpreters: review the sessions for approved CE credit
      If you’re a certified interpreter, you’ll want to check which sessions have been approved for CE credit by your credentialing organization. Click ATA61 Continuing Education Credit for details.


    • Download any handouts for the sessions you want to attend
      Open the session abstracts to download any available handouts. Note that not all speakers have provided handouts.


    • Join the Buddies Welcome Newbies session on Wednesday
      If you didn’t sign up for the Buddies Welcome Newbies event during registration, then just drop in at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. You only need to find the session listed under the Agenda and click “broadcast.” It’s the perfect orientation to what ATA61 has to offer—and a great way to start the conference with new friends.


    • Don’t forget the networking sessions
      From Brainstorm Networking to the Stronger Together sessions, you can connect to colleagues and expand your referral network at ATA61. Also note that two new networking sessions—Speed Networking and the ATA Veterans Circle Meetup—were recently added to the schedule.


    • Look for ATA’s daily “heads up” email
      You’ll find a short overview of the day’s schedule in your inbox every morning, from sessions and events to updates and news.


    • Make plans to attend the Awards Presentation
      There are six new ATA awards this year—Advocacy, Dynamo, Impact, Innovation, Mentoring, and Rising Star—in addition to the Galantière and Gode Medal Awards. Who won? Attend the awards presentation Friday at 11:30 a.m. to find out!


    • Follow the #ATA61 conference buzz
      Using #ATA61 is one more way to network and stay up to date with the latest conference news. Follow ATA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for everything conference related.


There’s still time to register for ATA61!

This is your opportunity to learn, share ideas, and build invaluable personal and professional relationships. Don’t miss it! Register now before registration discounts end today (October 16)! Late registration will continue to be available even after the conference has started!

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ATA Calendar of T&I Events

Industry News

Japanese Interpreters Struggle during First U.S. Presidential Debate

The Washington Post (DC) (09/30/20) Crawshaw, David; Kashiwagi, Akiko; Denyer, Simon

Thanks to some heroic simultaneous interpreters, Japanese viewers were treated to the real-time raw chaos of dueling candidates during the first U.S. presidential debate.

The three interpreters hired to cover the event by NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting service, faced what must have been one of their more challenging assignments. They had to keep up with the interjections, half-sentences, and fiery squabbling that characterized the clash between U.S. President Donald Trump and challenger former Vice President Joe Biden, as moderator Chris Wallace struggled to maintain order.

In clips of the debate, the three Japanese interpreters can be heard repeatedly talking over one another—and over President Trump, Biden, and Wallace—as they attempted to keep pace while making sense of the discussion.

Viewers who heard six voices simultaneously could be forgiven for changing the channel. “It’s really not like a debate. It’s more like we’re hearing a fight,” said one person on Twitter.

Others on Twitter expressed admiration for the interpreters’ skills and endurance, given the extended bickering and interruptions during the 90-minute debate. “Those interpreters deserve medals! What a horrendous task,” read another tweet.

It’s not the first time that Japan’s interpreters have had a hard time under the Trump administration. In 2017, interpreter Chikako Tsuruta said in an interview that she found it nightmarish trying to make sense of Trump’s remarks. “He is so overconfident and yet so logically unconvincing that my interpreter friends and I often joke that if we interpreted his words as they are, we would end up making ourselves sound stupid,” she said.

“The confrontation showed the true characters of Trump and Biden,” said Hiromi Murakami, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University. “But at the end, I still have no idea what Trump and Biden want, the policies they are planning, and where the U.S. is going.”

How the Deaf Community Challenged the White House—and Won

Forbes (NY) (10/02/20) Norlian, Allison

When the coronavirus began ravaging the country in March, Americans turned to the White House for guidance. However, 48 million Americans found themselves left out of the conversation. The deaf and hard of hearing community could not understand President Trump’s White House press briefings because there was no American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

But now, because of what’s being called a historic win stemming from a lawsuit filed in August, the Trump administration must provide an ASL interpreter at all future coronavirus press briefings. The ruling took effect October 1.

The case was filed by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in collaboration with five plaintiffs. One of the plaintiffs, Debra Fleetwood of New Jersey, who is deaf, was one of those citizens glued to the television seeking information.

“When the pandemic started, I watched the news often to see if I could understand what we were supposed to do to protect ourselves,” Fleetwood said. “The White House press briefings were captioned, but I could not really understand what was being discussed or recommended. I did not even realize I had to wear a mask out in public until I ventured out to shop for food and saw everyone wearing masks and that the store required masks.”

Fleetwood was frustrated, scared, and disappointed because she didn’t know how to protect herself adequately. She reached out to NAD and discovered the organization was already planning a lawsuit. She decided to join.

The staff at NAD had been actively trying to ensure ASL access on all government levels for coronavirus press briefings. They developed a template for members and state association affiliates to persuade their respective governors and mayors to provide ASL interpreters. They also worked to find the White House official responsible for disability access to discuss the issue with but came up empty-handed.

Around the same time, NAD saw a letter from the National Council on Disability to the White House asking them to provide ASL interpreters. Following their lead, on March 18, NAD mailed a letter to the White House asking that they provide ASL interpreters for all press briefings related to coronavirus. NAD never received a response.

“Many individuals contacted NAD and asked us to find a way to force the White House to provide interpreters for coronavirus briefings even if it meant suing them,” said Howard Rosenblum, NAD’s chief executive officer. “We explored our legal options, but we did not know of a prior case on this.”

On August 3, NAD filed the lawsuit. The case was filed as a federal complaint, but also included a preliminary injunction motion to seek immediate relief and compel the White House to provide ASL interpreters immediately.

On September 23, DC District Court Judge James Boasberg entered a final order making it clear that the White House must provide ASL interpreters for White House briefings that may cover coronavirus and are conducted on the White House grounds or at a federal agency. The judge ordered the Trump administration to provide ASL interpreters for briefings related to the coronavirus starting October. 1. The White House was also required to make the interpreters’ video feed available to the television networks covering the briefing to incorporate into their broadcast.

Fleetwood is pleased with the outcome and her own decision to join the lawsuit. “I hope that the White House learned that deaf people need access to information too and that it is not right to ignore deaf people’s concerns.”

Chicago Police Department Hires First-Ever Language Access Coordinator

WBBM (IL) (10/02/20)

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced it has hired its first-ever language access coordinator to help the department improve meaningful access to services and programs for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP).

In her new role, Roxana Cortes, who previously served with Chicago Public Schools as a translation specialist, will support the department’s efforts toward compliance with language access policy requirements mandated by the City of Chicago Office of New Americans.

“Impartial policing is central to promoting broad community engagement, fostering public confidence in our department, and building partnerships between our officers and the communities we serve,” said Deputy Superintendent Barbara West, who oversees CPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform. “We’re fortunate to have someone with Roxana’s skillset and experience guide our efforts as we provide equal language access to CPD programs and services for all Chicago residents.”

The consent decree guiding CPD’s reform efforts mandates a series of impartial policing practices that will ensure meaningful access to CPD programs and services for LEP individuals. These requirements include a review and revision of CPD’s language access policy to ensure that qualified and department-authorized interpreters are used in accordance with CPD policy. In addition to providing interpreters, the department is also required to publish English and translated versions of the language access policy into any non-English language spoken by a limited or non-English-proficient population that constitutes 5% or 10,000 individuals, whichever is less, on the official CPD website.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve developed an understanding and a passion for the needs of immigrants and refugees who require language access to city services,” said Cortes, who also served as a lecturer with The University of Chicago Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. “I’m looking forward to working with CPD as we implement a system of equal language access for our impacted communities.”

While over 1,200 CPD officers have self-identified as possessing some level of proficiency in languages ranging from Arabic, Chinese, and Polish to Romanian and Spanish, Cortes will also implement an accreditation system that includes independent assessment, testing, training, and proficiency certification for multilingual officers.

At Harvard, Language Courses Adapt to Connect Students across Screens and Cultures

The Harvard Crimson (MA) (09/28/20) Nair, Meera

As Harvard students and faculty settle into virtual classrooms this fall, language instructors across several departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences have been developing new methods of engaging students virtually.

Nevenka Korica-Sullivan, who teaches Arabic, said while the initial transition to online classes during the spring presented sudden challenges, the start of a new semester allowed for more careful adaptation of courses for remote learning.

“I think the core issue in any language class is how we can have a meaningful conversation and meaningful communication in class, because this is how we learn language,” Korica-Sullivan said. “Now, how I deliver material can be a little bit different, because I think online teaching has to be much more intentional. There is less room for being spontaneous, and that’s one thing that we are all missing,” she added.

María Parra-Velasco, who teaches Spanish, said language students meet with faculty four to five days a week, which helps students maintain constant communication with each other and the teaching staff. Parra-Velasco said she misses seeing her students in person and picking up on the emotional cues that help her navigate classroom dialogue.

“Emotion, surprise, doubt, questions—all that information is lost in Zoom when you can’t see students all together at the same time,” she said. Parra-Velasco also noted the challenge of picking up body language from students has increased the difficulty in distinguishing students’ pronunciation of Arabic words.

For the beginner American Sign Language classes, linguistics instructor Andrew Bottoms said adapting a “3D language for a 2D world” when signing online presented a particular challenge. “If I’m showing examples to my students, often there’s difficulty with them understanding and then copying,” Bottoms said. “I often have to turn myself to the side and will sometimes move all the way around so that students can see the 3D perspective that they’re not getting on a camera.”

Bottoms said he is using the fall semester as an opportunity to share with students how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the deaf community. He said he appreciates how his students have continued to engage with deaf culture outside the classroom through other online programming such as the Deaf Awareness Club, a student-run program hosted by the Phillips Brooks House Association.

“I think that we have worked very hard to make sure that our courses are engaging, but the students are also working very hard to take advantage of what is offered and making a big effort to engage with the materials and with their classmates,” Parra-Velasco said.

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ATA News

ATA Division Annual Meetings

ATA Divisions will hold their Annual Meetings virtually over the three days leading up to the Conference (October 18, 19, and 20). You do not need to be registered for ATA61 to attend. Click here for the schedule and Zoom join links.

Introducing 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, though 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. ATA’s Program will begin in 2021.

Reserve Your Spot! Free! Limited to ATA members. (registration required)

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 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 a new medical translator or interpreter 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

ATA 2020 Election

The slate is set, the candidates are ready, and the opportunity to learn more about who’s running for the Board is right here in front of you. Just click a name to meet the candidate!

Director (three positions, three-year terms)

Coffee with the Candidates
If you’re attending the ATA61 Conference, you’ll have the chance to meet the candidates virtually on Thursday, October 22. (9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. EDT)

Bylaws Amendments
In addition to electing Board directors, Voting members will vote on two proposed Bylaws amendments. Click here to read the text and additional information for each.

Attention Voting Members!
Proxy ballots and instructions were emailed to Voting members on September 16 and October 5. Voting members who have not received this election email should contact

The ATA Podcast

It’s not too late to sign up for the ATA61 Job Fair

Language Services Companies and Government Agencies: Don’t miss this free opportunity to be seen and get found by ATA61 attendees.

Participation in the Job Fair includes a listing for your company on the conference website and in the ATA61 virtual portal. Your recruiting information will be available and promoted throughout the conference so attendees can contact you directly.

No need to man an interview table or spend money on a hotel room, but you must be registered for the conference in order to participate.

How to sign up
Just complete the Agency Participation Form. Please note that all agency reps who participate in the Job Fair must register for the conference.

Take an Active Role in Your Association!

Attending the ATA Annual Conference is not just about education and networking. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the Association.

  • Attend the Annual Meeting of Voting Members, even if you can’t vote, to hear the candidates discuss their goals for ATA. (Thursday, October 22, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
  • Attend Coffee with the Board to get to know a little more about the members who lead the Association. This is your chance to introduce yourself, ask questions, and discuss what ATA can do to support your business and career. (Friday, October 23, 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.)
  • Attend the Annual Meeting of All Members to learn more about ATA’s accomplishments, activities, and future plans. (Friday, October 23, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)

Look for these events under the Agenda link at the top of the home page on the ATA61 Conference portal. You only need to click the “broadcast” link to attend the event.

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Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting

The ATA Board of Directors will meet online October 31-November 1. All ATA members are invited to attend.

Don’t know how a Board meeting works? Listen to Episode 3 of The ATA Podcast for a look at what happens “Inside the ATA Board Room.”

Want to attend? Email your name and membership number to with Request to Attend the ATA Board Meeting in the subject line.

The Board meeting agenda will be posted prior to the meeting. Look for it under “Board Meetings” on the Governance web page or on ATA’s online calendar.

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In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA 2020 Election: Candidate Statements
Calling all Voting members! Participating in ATA’s annual election is your opportunity to help shape the future of the Association. Learn what this year’s candidates for ATA’s Board of Directors have to say! Remember, the Annual Meeting of Voting Members will be held October 22, 2020.

Member Opinions: Discussion on Two Proposed Bylaws Amendments
Member feedback is very important to the growth of the Association. In this issue, we present opinions, both pro and con, regarding two proposed Bylaws amendments on this year’s ballot for Voting members:1) clarifying the rights and privileges of membership, and 2) having multiple candidates for each elective position of the Association.

5 Strategies to Improve Your Online Presence during and after COVID-19
There are potential clients out there right now searching online for services like yours, with more to follow in the coming months as businesses begin to ramp up activity. You need to be ready for them with a website that will capture their interest and showcase your work to the best advantage. (Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

Preparing Documents for Translation
Preparing documents for translation should never become a luxury we cannot afford or a casualty of tight deadlines or budgets. (Itzaris Weyman)

An Introduction to Translation in Market(ing) Research
Whether it’s the launch of a new mascara, refrigerator, car, or a revamped corporate image after a crisis, the results of market and market(ing) research are all around us. Here’s a look at the processes and terminology of market and market(ing) research from a translator’s perspective. (Robin Limmeroth)

What I’ve Learned from Remote Court Interpreting
Remote interpreting is a far better option than delaying everything until it’s safe to go back to the courthouses in person. However, I’ve now become a much bigger fan of in-person interpreting for various reasons. (Corinne McKay)

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


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News summaries © copyright 2020 SmithBucklin

October 16, 2020


How much of your work is post-editing machine translation?
See the Results!


Previous Poll Results

What percentage of your business came from language services companies in 2019?
20%   0%
13%   1% to 20%
40%   21% to 40%
7%   41% to 60%
7%   61% to 80%
13%   81% to 100%



In This Issue

What to Know for ATA61
Division Annual Meetings
Introducing ATA Masterminds
Upcoming Webinars
ATA 2020 Election
Not Too Late for Job Fair
Take an Active Role
Next ATA Board Meeting
The ATA Chronicle
Visit ATA61 Sponsors
Check Out ATA61 Exhibitors

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar! Translating Patents for Evidence and PCT Filing

Click to watch!


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


Back to Business Basics Webinar

Handling the Hollidays as a Freelancer
November 9
ATA members Only!
FREE! Register now!

Calendar of Events

ATA61 Annual Conference
October 21-24, 2020
Register now!

Board of Directors Meeting
October 31-November 1

See ATA’s Online Calendar for translation & interpreting events around the world.

It’s Time to Vote!

Learn more about the candidates!


The ATA Chronicle

The ATA Chronicle September/October

ATA Webinars Live and On Demand

Continuing education anywhere, anytime!

Advertise with ATA!