Newsbriefs: September 29, 2020

Celebrate International Translation Day with ATA

Get Ready to Celebrate ITD with ATA Tomorrow!

September 30 is International Translation Day 2020! Get ready to celebrate with ATA as we remind the world just how critical translators and interpreters really are!

  • How Your Smartphone was Made Thanks to Translators and Interpreters
    Watch for the animated video at 9 a.m. tomorrow! See how translators, interpreters, localizers, transcreation experts, proofreaders, editors, and more helped turn a concept into the cell phone you’re likely holding in your hand.Yes, ITD 2020 is all about showing the world’s 3.5 billion smartphone users how our work directly impacts their daily lives!
  • Social Media Blitz
    Share, share, share with your family, friends, and clients. Look for the video link on all ATA social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. And be sure to follow #InternationalTranslationDay and #ataitd2020.
  • The ATA Podcast, Episode 50
    The first episode of The ATA Podcast was released on September 30, 2015. It’s only fitting, then, that we reach the milestone Episode 50 on ITD 2020. Look for it first thing tomorrow morning on the podcast page on the ATA website.

Make your voice heard on ITD 2020! Share, follow, and promote #InternationalTranslationDay and #ataitd2020. And don’t forget to celebrate!

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UC Davis Medical Interpreter Position

Industry News

White House Ordered to Have Live Sign Language Interpreting during Coronavirus Briefings

CNN (NY) (09/23/20) Polantz, Katelyn; Kelly, Caroline; Stracqualursi, Veronica

Last week, a federal judge ordered the White House to include a sign language interpreter in its video feed during coronavirus briefings beginning October 1. The order means that live video feeds available to television networks will also include American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting.

“Defendants shall include a qualified ASL interpreter in the feed for all White House coronavirus briefings,” DC District Court Judge James Boasberg wrote, “either by putting an interpreter physically near whomever is speaking or by including an interpreter located elsewhere within the video frame.”

If the latter, the White House will make footage of the remote interpreter available in a way that “allows the networks to include the qualified ASL interpreter in their live broadcasts,” Boasberg added.

The news follows a lawsuit filed by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and five deaf Americans last month attempting to force President Donald Trump and other top officials to have ASL interpreters at COVID-19 briefings. Boasberg had previously indicated earlier this month that the White House might be required to provide interpreters.

Howard Rosenblum, chief executive officer of NAD, said the order “sets a great precedent to achieve the goal of full accessibility.”

“Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic,” Rosenblum said.

In their lawsuit filed last month, the plaintiffs alleged that the lack of live sign language interpreting at White House coronavirus briefings was against the law.

“By contrast to written captions, an interpreter is able to convey the tone and context of a message through facial expressions, sign choice, and demeanor,” the lawsuit stated. “Further, the provision of live closed captioning frequently contains errors and omissions that make it difficult or impossible for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to understand the information being provided in the briefings, particularly if they are not fluent in English.”

The plaintiffs pointed out that governors in all 50 states have provided in-frame ASL interpreting during their public briefings on the coronavirus.

“President Trump, however, does not,” the lawsuit stated. “He now stands alone in holding televised briefings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic without ever having provided any ASL interpreting.”

According to court documents, since March, Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force have not been seen with an ASL interpreter while addressing the public during the pandemic, though the Trump administration has used interpreters in past briefings, including for hurricanes.

The federal government’s National Council on Disability and some members of Congress had already written to the White House requesting that it add ASL interpreters. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 11.5 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss.

More Afghan Interpreters Eligible to Move to U.K. Under New Rules

The Guardian (United Kingdom) (09/19/20) Walawalkar, Aaron

Dozens more Afghan interpreters who risked their lives for British troops will be able to apply to settle in the U.K. following the government’s decision to expand its relocation plan.

Former interpreters and servicemen have welcomed the move, which could mean about 100 linguists and their families will be eligible to apply for resettlement, but said more must be done for the hundreds still at risk of reprisals in Afghanistan.

According to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence, almost 450 interpreters have moved to the U.K. with their families under the original relocation plan launched in 2013. At present, former employees need to have been made redundant on or after May 1, 2006 with 12 months or more of service “outside the wire on the frontline” to apply.

The changes—to be introduced next month through secondary legislation—will mean any interpreter who resigned on or after the same date with a minimum of 18 months of service on the frontline can apply for relocation.

“Our efforts in Afghanistan simply could not have been possible without the help of brave interpreters who risked their lives to work alongside our personnel throughout the conflict, said U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace. “They did not leave us behind then, and we will not leave them behind now.”

The Interpreters’ Lives Matter campaign group said it was “delighted” by the news but warned the plan still doesn’t include everyone. “You are leaving a large number of interpreters behind at risk and at the mercy of terrorist Taliban,” Interpreters’ Lives Matter tweeted.

“Every interpreter we can make safe is good news,” said retired Colonel Simon Diggins, who has long campaigned for Afghan interpreters. “I’m very impressed by the way there appears to have been a change of spirit, and there appears to be a door open. It should be every interpreter’s right to come here.”

According to a 2018 report by the U.K.’s Defence Select Committee, British forces in Afghanistan employed 7,000 Afghan civilians, of whom about half were interpreters. The report found the U.K. has “dismally failed to protect Afghans who worked as interpreters for the British army and are now at risk from the Taliban and Islamic State.”

Local Organization in Alabama Raising Money for Clear Mask Campaign for Deaf Community (AL) (09/19/20) Jackson, Lauren

Adjacent Space, a Birmingham, Alabama, organization that advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing, has started a new campaign to help end a unique challenge the community is facing during the pandemic.

The Clear Mask Campaign is collecting donations to purchase clear masks to distribute to members of the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind communities, as well as sign language interpreters and teachers for the deaf.

“COVID-19 has impacted the deaf communities across our state,” said Trey Gordon, co-founder of Adjacent Space. “If you have a full face covering, like a cloth mask, you don’t get that tone or emotion that the person is emoting,” Gordon said. “That’s a very important and complex piece of information that’s missing from the communication.”

With the statewide mask mandates, communication can be a struggle for deaf people, Gordon said.

“A clear mask is so helpful for us,” Gordon said. “We’ve full accessibility to not only the words but the tone, the complexity of the language, and that makes it more accurate as far as what is being conveyed.”

Gordon said Adjacent Space is around $100 short of his $1,700 goal. Once reached, he will be able to give out more than 400 clear masks.

“If we reach our goal, we’re not going to stop there, we’re going to continue to be able to purchase more clear masks and provide more masks to the community,” Gordon said. “When people are signing, we need that full understanding between the people.”

How Iowa’s “English-Only” Law Affects Some Voters

Iowa Public Radio (IA) (09/16/20) Arena, Kassidy

This year’s election has the potential to be unlike any other in recent memory. But imagine if you didn’t speak English fluently and lived in a state where an antiquated law prohibits the translation of election materials.

In Iowa, it’s still illegal for the state to translate official government forms, including anything related to an election. This makes it really hard for non-fluent English speakers in Iowa to gather official voting information.

Iowa’s “English-only” law, as it’s known by some, dates back to 1918 after World War I. Governor William Harding signed the Babel Proclamation into law, which made English the only language legally permitted in the state. It was intended to limit the German language in schools and other public spaces.

It was repealed only five months after Harding signed it, but then in 2002, Governor Tom Vilsack signed the Iowa English Language Reaffirmation Act. It states that all official documents “on behalf of, or representing, the state and all of its political subdivisions shall be in the English language.”

Iris Tun, who makes informational videos in multiple languages for the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center, said she has been translating voter registration forms at her church for free. Tun said Iowa’s “English-only” law scares her community.

“Even though they are citizens, they’re really scared because a lot of people say that if you do something wrong, if you make a mistake, the police come and get you and you can go to jail,” Tun said.

Some county auditors saw this problem in past elections and tried to translate voter forms or provide multilingual how-to videos. But U.S. Representative Steve King sued the Iowa secretary of state in 2007 for violating the law. King argued that if someone was a U.S. citizen, they had to prove that they were proficient using English, so there was not a need to translate government documents.

But people who translate the forms disagree, including Terry Potter and Jan Flora of A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest professional organizing network. Flora translates voter forms into Spanish and Potter distributes them to other organizations throughout the state.

“In this COVID year, since it’s so complicated, and things have become so messy, what we’re trying to do is, first, make sure people are encouraged to register,” Potter said. “And then ultimately, that people vote whichever way they’re most comfortable with.”

Tun feels the state has a responsibility to Iowans, whether they speak Spanish, Burmese, or anything else. “If state officials want everybody to vote, maybe they should do something,” Tun said. “If they don’t care, if they don’t want everybody to participate, they can continue to do it like this.”

In the meantime, Tun said voting is one of the promises you make when you become a citizen, so she is going to help as many people as possible keep that promise.

Rwandan and Harvard Medical Students Help Shatter Coronavirus Language Barrier

Forbes (NY) (09/06/20) Wright, Andrew

Olivier Uwishema, a Rwandan medical student in Turkey, used the money he saved from his monthly scholarship stipend to establish a nonprofit organization that is helping to translate and distribute COVID-19 information in 26 languages with the assistance of Harvard Medical School students.

“In response to the COVID-19 crisis and in recognition of the need for timely information relevant to primary care, I started the Coronavirus Global Awareness project to make sure no one is left on the sidelines of this pandemic,” Uwishema said. He added that over 200 medical students, medical residents, and doctors have joined the project.

In 2018, Uwishema founded the Oli Health Magazine Organization (OHMO), with the goal of engaging youth in professional health education and scientific research. Then the pandemic hit and he knew he couldn’t just stand on the sidelines.

“Being a Rwandan medical student abroad pushed me to realize that I should stop being a spectator. Rather, I need to become part of the solutions to the most pressing health issues in my community,” he said.

Uwishema said that students from Harvard Medical School are part of a team that includes people from all over the world who are now involved in the creation and translation of accessible COVID-19 resources.

“The collaboration between OHMO and Harvard Medical School is based on resources where OHMO collaborates with the student organizations to provide accessible, evidence-based COVID-19 information in many languages, vetted by physicians, professors from Harvard, and other professional health providers worldwide,” Uwishema said.

Uwishema, who was featured on the United Nation Youth Envoy’s top 10 list of young people who are fighting COVID-19 across the globe, says his experiences growing up in Rwanda motivated his current efforts.

“I vividly remember how many clinics in my country were understaffed and did not have accurate information on some diseases,” Uwishema said. “This experience made me want to pursue medical studies so that I could be a part of the solution of delivering health care and building strong health systems in my country and beyond.”

In addition to the global work, Uwishema is also trying to help his home country. OHMO is working with authorities in the Nyamagabe District in Rwanda to keep teaching young people to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 by properly wearing face masks, hand washing, and using hand sanitizers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught me that we are all the same human beings,” Uwishema said. “I believe that through collaboration there is a kinder, more compassionate world we can build together.”


ATA News


Get a Sneak Peek at ATA61 with Presenter Jay Marciano

ATA61 is less than a month away! With that in mind, this special edition of The ATA Podcast features an interview with conference speaker Jay Marciano. Jay gives Host Matt Baird a preview of his conference presentations, including why translation is a growth industry, how the business model for pricing translation is failing us, and where machine translation and post-editing fit into the future of the industry.

5 Benefits of Attending ATA61 Virtually!

  1. Save time and money.
    No hotel, no travel, and more than $250 cheaper than last year’s ATA Annual Conference rgistration.
  2. Attend live or not
    All 120 sessions streamed live and available on demand for at least six months.
  3. No regrets.
    Easily switch to another session if the one you’re attending is not for you.
  4. Learn more a second time around.
    Watch a second, third, or fourth time–and more–to reinforce what you learned.
  5. Wear whatever you want.
    No need to figure out what “business casual” actually means. It’s come as you are!

Corporate Member Employees Get Member Rates!
Your employees only need to login with your ATA Corporate member number and password, then complete and submit the registration form as they normally would.

There’s Still Time to Register for ATA61!
Registration rates increase on October 17. Register now to save!

ATA 2020 Election: Get to Know the Candidates

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!

Listen to the candidates talk about the work they do, why they are running, and where they stand on opening ATA’s certification exam to non-members. It’s all in Episode 48 of The ATA Podcast.

Read the individual candidate statements to find out what skills they will bring to the Board and what they hope to accomplish, if elected.

Even if you are not a Voting member, check out what this year’s candidates envision for ATA’s future. Just click a name to meet the candidate!

Director (three positions, three-year terms)

What’s on the ballot?
ATA Voting members will elect three directors, each for a three-year term. In addition, two proposed Bylaws amendments are on the ballot.

How are candidates selected for the slate?
Learn who is eligible to hold ATA office, what the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee looks for in a potential candidate, how the Committee members are chosen, and more. Listen to Episode 33 of The ATA Podcast.

When is the election?
ATA will hold its regularly scheduled election on October 22 during the upcoming virtual ATA61 Annual Conference.

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

Upcoming ATA Webinars

Back to Business Basics: Diversification
Presenter: Corinne McKay
Date: October 5, 2020
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: All

Freelancers with diverse businesses tend to do better in a slow economy. So, how do you go about diversifying your translation and interpreting services? How do you decide what new services to offer? Where do you find clients when you’re just getting started? Look for all the answers in this Back to Business Basics webinar!

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

Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
Presenter: Joel Snyder
Date: October 7, 2020
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
CE Point: 1 ATA-approved

Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, those working in audio description convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to those who are blind or have low vision. It’s a growing specialization for linguists. You’ll want to learn more!

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

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

Free ATA Members Only Webinar

ATA offers members one free webinar every month. Don’t wait to watch this month’s freebie!

Translating Patents for Evidence and PCT Filing
There is a methodology to the madness! Understanding the complex rules of translating patents for international and national court proceedings and knowing how to meet the requirements for literal translation are crucial elements of a patent translator’s work.

This webinar covers the methodology to satisfy these literal translation requirements, including “conservation of lexemes” and “equivalent phrasing.”

About the Presenter
Martin Cross began his career in Tokyo as an in-house editor of Japanese patent translations. Later, he lived for many years in Italy and France, where he translated from those languages into English. His articles have been published in the New York Law Journal, the Westlaw Journal, The ATA Chronicle, and Intellectual Property Today.

Martin has routinely served as an expert witness on Japanese>English translation in patent litigation matters before U.S. courts. Look for Martin on his blog Patent Translations Inc.


ATA Bylaws Amendments

In addition to electing Board directors, Voting members will vote on two proposed Bylaws amendments. ATA’s Bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the Voting members.

Each proposal is accompanied by commentary explaining the rationale for the amendment. Please note that material proposed to be deleted is struck through; material proposed to be added is underlined.

Read the proposed amendments to the Bylaws

Be an Informed Voter

Take time to learn what these changes will mean to the operation and governance of the Association before you vote. Check out the additional information below for each proposed amendment.

Deadline for Exhibit Space Discount Is October 5!

ATA’s 61st Annual Conference is the ultimate opportunity to increase your market reach and visibility. This is unparalleled access to your target market!

  • Brand Recognition
    High impact promotion to more than 10,000 industry professionals—before, during, and after the conference—in The ATA Chronicle and ATA Newsbriefs. Invaluable brand recognition!
  • Exclusive Promotion
    Company name, profile, and website URL on both the ATA website—not available at any other time of the year—and the ATA61 virtual portal.
  • Networking Access
    One complimentary registration—your ticket to meeting attendees and connecting with new buyers at ATA61 networking events. Exhibitors also receive a free registration to attend all 120 sessions, live and on demand.

Putting your company in the right place at the right time couldn’t be easier. Don’t lose this chance to showcase your company.

Book your virtual booth space by October 5 to save $250. Act now, click to select!

Free! Sign Your Company Up for the ATA61 Job Fair

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.

Reminder: Changes in ATA Continuing Education Requirements

In 2018, the Certification Committee organized a Continuing Education Task Force to review the continuing education requirements for ATA-certified translators (CTs). The Task Force was specifically charged to consider changes that would better reflect the realities of today’s translation profession and marketplace.

The group’s recommended changes were presented in 2019 and subsequently approved by the ATA Board of Directors. The revised continuing education requirements went into effect January 1, 2020.

To review all the changes, please see the Certification Forum in the March/April issue of The ATA Chronicle and the Continuing Education Record web page on the ATA website.

Here’s a Summary of What’s New:

Exemption for Age 60+

  • CTs 60 years of age or older must now submit CEPs but are exempt from the recertification fee.
  • CTs 60 years of age or older who have claimed the over 60 exemption in the past continue to be exempt from reporting CEPs.
  • CTs who were born before January 1, 1963 are exempt from reporting CEPs.

Category A (per reporting period):

  • CEPs for online courses can continue to be claimed for interactive events.
  • Non-interactive online courses must be reported as Category B (independent study).
  • Proof that an online course was interactive must be submitted to qualify for Category A points, if the course was not already pre-approved for CEPs.
  • Events are capped at no more than five CEPs per day (one hour = one point).
  • Multi-day events are capped at 10 CEPs.
  • Earning CEPs for reading articles in the ATA Conference Proceedings is no longer possible.

Category B (per reporting period):

  • The maximum reportable CEPs for this category has been lowered from 15 points to five points.
  • The ATA Independent Study Verification Paper that was already required for each activity must now be accompanied by a statement of how the activity relates to the CT’s professional development.

Category F:

  • Category F allowed points for “translating and interpreting work experience involving particularly challenging assignments, allowing the member to expand his/her translation and interpreting capabilities.”
  • This category has been eliminated as the Continuing Education Task Force found it to be especially vague and difficult to verify.

Category G (per reporting period):

  • Renamed Category F.
  • Category allows one point per professional association membership.
  • Total points per reporting period has been changed from four CEPs to three CEPs.
  • Now limited to associations “related to the translating and interpreting professions, other than ATA” or membership in professional associations related to their work as translators in a specialized field (e.g., law, medicine, and engineering).
  • In the case of specialized fields, a statement of how membership in the association relates to the CT’s work must also be submitted.
  • Proof of membership must be provided for three consecutive years during the reporting period.

Approving Events for Awarding CEPs:

  • ATA individual and corporate members may apply to have an activity or event approved for CEPs—free of charge.
  • Non-member organizations and educational institutions may apply to have an activity or event approved for awarding CEPs—for a $50 fee—only if they are involved in the translating and interpreting professions.
  • Non-member for-profit entities may not apply for or receive approval for ATA CEPs.

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

September 29, 2020


What percentage of your business came from language services companies in 2019?
See the Results!

Previous Poll Results

If your work has decreased during the pandemic, have you tried to break into a new market or specialty?

33% Yes
33% No
22% No, but considering
11% No, not considering


In This Issue

ATA Celebrates ITD2020
Sneak Peek at ATA61
ATA 2020 Elections
Upcoming ATA Webinars
Monthly Free Webinar
Bylaws Amendments
Exhibit Space Deadline
Free Sign-Up for Job Fair
Changes in CEP Program
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!


Back to Business Basics Webinar

Limited to ATA members!

October 5
FREE! Register now!

ATA Webinar Series

Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
October 7
12 noon EDT
Register now!

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

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

It’s Time to Vote!

Learn more about the candidates!


Calendar of Events

Translation Day

September 30, 2020
Celebrate with ATA!

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.

Read This!


The ATA Chronicle

The ATA Chronicle September/October

ACTFL Lead with Languages Initiative
ATA61 Annual Conference