Newsbriefs: September 30, 2021

If you haven’t already, it’s time to join ATA as we continue our weeklong celebration of International Translation Day 2021!

From Instagram “bingo” to Facebook “mad libs,” we’ve invited translators and interpreters everywhere to share their work experiences. We’ve learned how Kate translated lyrics of 18th-century French arias, Maria interpreted at a “body farm,” and Ánfora worked on a project for the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia. We’ve met Lucy who specializes in human rights translation, Olivier who was the only interpreter for an eight-hour international conference on gender categories in Polynesia, and Shaima who translates in the public diplomacy sector. It’s been a blast!

It’s not too late to get in on the fun! Check out today’s challenge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and have fun with #ataitd2021!

ATA62 Annual Conference

Industry News

Britain’s Ministry of Defence Investigating Data Breach Exposing the Identities of Afghan Interpreters

The Washington Post (DC) (09/21/21) Francis, Ellen

Britain’s Ministry of Defence is investigating a data breach that disclosed the email addresses of dozens of Afghan interpreters who had worked with British forces. The Ministry reported that it had already suspended one employee in connection with the breach.

The BBC reported that more than 250 people seeking to relocate to the U.K. from Afghanistan—many of whom are still in hiding—were mistakenly copied on an email from the Ministry. Their email addresses could be seen by all recipients, showing people’s names and some associated profile pictures.

“We apologize to everyone impacted by this breach and are working hard to ensure it does not happen again,” said U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, calling the incident “an unacceptable breach.”

The mass email originated from the team responsible for coordinating relocations from Afghanistan, which has remained in touch with interpreters since the Taliban seized control. The email warned interpreters not to move if it wasn’t safe to do so and promised assistance. In a second email 30 minutes later, the Ministry urged recipients to delete the first message and recommended they change email addresses.

Member of Parliament Tobias Ellwood welcomed the investigation but said it was more pressing to get the interpreters out of the country as soon as possible. “Each day they remain in the country, the risk of the Taliban catching up with them increases.”

“The reality is we’ve left the vast, vast majority of our interpreters behind so this is going to have a profound impact on people who are still in the country,” said Former Minister for Defence Johnny Mercer.


Many Organizations Desperate for Interpreters as Thousands of Afghan Refugees Resettle in U.S.

New York Post (NY) (09/22/21) Bennett, Stephanie

Organizations helping to resettle Afghan refugees in the U.S. say demand for interpreters will likely surge as they take in more people over the next few weeks, leaving many struggling to fill vacancies.

The Biden administration is hoping to help resettle up to 65,000 Afghans through October and another 30,000 through the next fiscal year.

The Sahaba Initiative, a nonprofit in San Bernardino, California, that helps families with food, clothing, housing, and jobs, said it is looking to hire several interpreters. In addition to interpreters, Sahaba President Arbazz Nizami said the organization also needs “counselors and therapists and people who really understand how to address some of the mental health issues and who also speak the language and understand the culture.”

The International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization in New York, also needs interpreters. They are looking for volunteers, including those who are fluent in Pashto and Dari.

Refugee organizations in Arizona said they’ve had an outpouring of support from the local community, including individuals volunteering to help interpret.

“This is one of those times when we really are coming together as a country, people really want to help,” said Connie Phillips, chief executive officer of the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. “It’s been great to be able to highlight this refugee resettlement process. It’s really an honor to welcome them into our community.”

One interpreter from Arizona, who wanted to remain anonymous for her safety, said she has been interpreting phone calls almost daily since the first evacuations from Kabul. She said she wants to aid as many people as possible, including her own family still in Afghanistan.

“I’m crying almost every day,” she said.


U.S. Department of Justice Determines Florida Court Administrator Discriminated Against Former Court Interpreter

Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL) (09/22/21) Balona, Patricio G.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has determined that Mark Weinberg, administrator of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court (SJCC) in Volusia County, Florida, discriminated against a former court interpreter in 2015 when he fired her after she urged the courts to get more help for non-English speakers. The DOJ has ordered the Florida State Courts System to pay the interpreter $160,000.

“I feel vindicated,” said former SJCC interpreter Claudia Villalba. She is a federally certified court interpreter who has been approved as a rater of state and federal court interpreting exams by the National Center for State Courts.

DOJ investigators questioned Weinberg’s credibility, writing that he made inaccurate statements regarding a child custody case where a mother who spoke only Spanish was denied an interpreter. Documents indicate that Villalba helped the mother in that case by referring her to an advocate who was compiling a report for the DOJ on the Florida State Courts System’s violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When Weinberg fired Villalba, he claimed she was an “at will” worker and could be terminated without providing a reason. But DOJ investigators determined that Weinberg fired Villalba because he was unhappy that Villalba wanted interpreter services to be provided to all non-English speakers, and not only in criminal cases. It was also determined that Weinberg sought to punish Villalba for referring the Spanish-speaking mother to the advocate.

“DOJ finds that SJCC retaliated against Ms. Villalba in violation of Title VI,” the investigators wrote in the DOJ report. “Ms. Villalba engaged in protected activity, she suffered the adverse action of termination, her termination was casually related to her protected activity, and SJCC’s reasons for Ms. Villalba’s termination are pretext.”

Florida State Courts Systems Spokesperson Paul Flemming said Weinberg does not face any sanctions, as his actions described in the DOJ report are “not a disciplinary matter.”


U.S. Soldier Wins Long Fight to Get Afghan Interpreter Asylum

Associated Press (DC) (09/22/21) Watson, Julie

Army combat veteran Spencer Sullivan’s eight-year struggle to give his former platoon’s Afghan interpreter asylum ended in success on September 22.

Abdulhaq Sodais was granted asylum by a court in Germany, where he was forced to flee after repeatedly being denied a U.S. visa despite facing death threats for aiding U.S. troops during its 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Sullivan initiated the campaign after his platoon’s other interpreter, Sayed Masoud, was denied a U.S. visa before being assassinated by the Taliban in 2017.

“It’s ultimately just cathartic relief,” he said after learning that Sodais had been granted asylum. Sullivan was overwhelmed with emotion in part because the news also reminded him that he couldn’t help Masoud. “This long journey is over, but Masoud didn’t make it.”

Thousands of Afghans who helped U.S. troops have spent years languishing in the backlogged and strained U.S. Special Immigrant Visa program, and countless others were rejected due to minor inconsistencies in their work records.

Sodais first applied for a U.S. visa in 2013 but was turned down. He appealed four times before escaping to Germany, after his uncle was beheaded and his neighbor who worked for the U.S. military was killed by the Taliban.

He traveled for seven months through nearly a half dozen countries, suffering beatings and incarceration before reaching Germany, where his first asylum request was denied.

Sullivan wrote letters of recommendation, supplied photos of Sodais’ time with his platoon, and secured U.S. government records showing that his visa was denied because of a cursory review by a civilian contractor, who Sodais said falsely accused him of checking social media on the job.

In August, Germany temporarily suspended the deportation of all Afghans due to the turmoil in Afghanistan but didn’t specify how long the order would last. Sodais said he believes Sullivan’s letters led to his finally being granted asylum. His case will be reviewed in three years when he can then apply for German citizenship.

Sodais said he anticipates receiving his German passport so he can visit Sullivan and finally see the U.S. “I’m feeling right now that I will have an amazing future,” he said.


Washington Business Owner Repays $43K for Bogus Workers’ Comp Interpreting Bills

Insurance Journal (CA) (09/23/21)

The owner of a language services company in Seattle, Washington, accused of forging signatures and stealing money by billing the state for appointments that never happened, has pleaded guilty to third-degree theft.

Carla Moreno committed the reported theft while operating two companies, The Language Spot and Language Spot, both based in Pasco, Washington, from 2009 to 2017. A sole proprietor, she reportedly hired independent contractors to interpret at medical and physical therapy appointments for Spanish-speaking workers who had workplace injury claims with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Investigators found Moreno used a variety of methods to overbill the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for services, including billing for non-existent appointments, double billing for actual appointments, using the names and provider numbers of interpreters who worked for her in the past, and submitting billing forms with forged signatures of health care providers and certified interpreters.

Investigators also found that Moreno had submitted 60 billing forms with the name and provider number of a certified interpreter who no longer worked for her. The certified interpreter and five other individuals told the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries they were unaware Moreno had been using their names and provider numbers to bill for services.

Moreno was sentenced to serve more than 30 days in confinement, including 10 days in jail and 20 days through electronic home monitoring. She must also serve probation for two years. As part of her sentence, Moreno was also required to repay the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries $43,296 for overbilling the department for interpreting services.


Ex-Nazi Death Squad Interpreter Dies at 97 in Canada

BBC (United Kingdom) (09/23/21)

A man believed to be Canada’s last suspected Nazi war criminal has died at 97.

Helmut Oberlander had been fighting the Canadian government’s latest effort to revoke his citizenship over his involvement with a Nazi death squad.

He admitted to working as an interpreter with the squad but maintained he had been forcibly conscripted at age 17 and did not participate in the atrocities.

Born in Ukraine, Oberlander came to Canada in 1954 and first became a Canadian citizen in 1960. The country had revoked his citizenship and attempted to deport him three times since 1995. Each time he appealed.

The government said that when Oberlander first applied for citizenship he had knowingly concealed he had been an auxiliary of the Einsatzkommando, a squad that operated behind the German army’s front line in the Eastern occupied territories.

The Einsatzkommando is responsible for killing more than two million people, many of them Jewish. In his court appeals, Oberlander had argued that he had no alternative but to work for the Germans and would have been subject to the harshest penalties had he disobeyed.

Oberlander was the last of 12 Canadians who were alleged to have been involved with Nazi-era crimes but died before the government could complete the proceedings to deport them.

In an interview with a local newspaper in 2000, Oberlander had promised “to fight this case until death do us part, or until I run out of money and have to put a mortgage on my house, whatever comes first.”


Hunter Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting

ATA News

This Is Your Last Chance to Get the Best Deal!

Time is running out to take advantage of early registration discounts for ATA62’s Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 27-30, 2021). Whether you attend virtually or in person, you’ll get your best rate when you register by October 1.

ATA62 Conference Quick Clicks It’s Easy to Earn CE Points with ATA62!
Did you know that ATA-certified translators can earn up to 10 CE points when they attend ATA62? And 5 more CE points for attending Advanced Skills and Training Day? Yes, it all counts, even virtually.

Also, a number of interpreter credentialing organizations have approved select sessions for CE credit. If you’re a certified interpreter, you’ll want to check to see if your organization is one of them. Visit the ATA62 Continuing Education Credit page for a list.

Early registration discounts end October 1!

Corporate Member Employees Get ATA Member Rates!
ATA Corporate Member employees only need to log in with their company’s ATA member number and password, then complete and submit the registration form as they normally would using their own credit card. That’s a savings of $175, if they register by October 1.

Listen in, learn more
Find out more about the educational sessions, networking opportunities, precautions being taken to keep attendees safe, and more. Listen to Episode 64 of The ATA Podcast.

Just do it!
Early registration discounts end October 1. Guarantee the best registration rate by registering now.


October 1 is Your Last Day to Take the ATA Compensation Survey

Don’t miss taking the ATA Compensation Survey. The rewards are definitely worth it!

All participants will get access to the full report with interactive filters to create customizable reports for business decisions and long-term planning. Don’t rely on hearsay, internet posts, and anecdotes to manage your business. You can’t afford to guess whether your rates are too low or too high or whether it’s time to consider becoming a freelancer because your specialty is now a hot market. You need to make your decisions with a clear view of the job market based on reliable data. This is your opportunity to do just that.

Take the survey!

Bonus! To thank you for your time, we’ll be sending ATA’s webinar The Price is Right—Pricing Strategies for Your Translation Services to everyone who completes the survey—on demand and absolutely free!


ATA Elections 2021: Meet the Candidates

The Annual Meeting of Voting Members and Election is scheduled for 9:30-11:00 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 28, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The presentation of candidates will be available both in person and virtually. Voting members do not need to register for the conference to attend. (If you are not attending the conference, please contact to get access to the meeting.)

What’s on the Ballot?
ATA Voting members will elect the president-elect, secretary, and treasurer (each for two-year terms) and three directors (each for a three-year term). There are also five proposed Bylaws amendments on the ballot.

The candidates for this year’s election are:
  • President-elect (two-year term)
    Veronika Demichelis
    Geoff Koby
  • Secretary (two-year term)
    Alaina Brandt
    Cristina Helmerichs
  • Treasurer (two-year term)
    Ben Karl
    John Milan
  • Director (three positions, three-year terms)
    Eve Bodeux
    Robin Bonthrone
    Céline Browning
    Manako Ihaya
    Meghan Konkol
    Carol Shaw
Meet the Candidates
Listen to the candidates talk about the work they do, why they are running, and what skills and vision they will bring to their position on the Board. It’s all in Episode 66 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.

In-person ATA62 attendees can also meet the candidates for breakfast on Thursday, October 28 (7:30-8:15 a.m. CDT). Look for the tables reserved for this event in Northstar on the hotel’s second level.

Attention Voting members
ATA has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) to administer the 2021 elections. Proxy ballots and instructions were sent by email to all voting members on September 21. If you are a Voting member and have not received your proxy, please contact All voting will be electronic—there will be no paper ballots on-site.

Important! Add SBS to Your Safe Sender List
To ensure receipt of the proxy and voting instructions, please add as an approved sender in your email settings.


ATA Webinar: Beginner Tips and Tricks for Trados Studio

Presenter: Nora Díaz
Date: October 7, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. EDT
Duration: 90 minutes
Language: English
Level: Beginner
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

Whether you are relatively new to Trados Studio or are a true beginner, this webinar can help you maximize your productivity and efficiency with this popular computer-assisted translation tool.

Register now and plan for hands-on participation by downloading and setting up the trial version of the software.

This webinar was organized in collaboration with RWS.

What will you learn?
  1. How to customize Trados Studio
  2. How to use keyboard shortcuts
  3. How to work with tags
  4. The difference between options and project settings
  5. How to use filters
Register now! ATA Member $65 | Non-Member $90

ATA Members Get 35% Off Trados Studio
ATA members are eligible for a 35% discount on a new or upgraded Trados Studio 2021 Freelance and Trados Studio 2021 Freelance Plus license. Click to take the deal!

Special Notes
  • If you do not already have Trados Studio, download and install the 30-day trial version of the software in advance of the webinar.
  • Be sure you can open and use the software before the webinar starts in order to participate in the live demonstration. There will not be time to troubleshoot installation issues during the presentation.
  • This webinar is 90 minutes long.
Schedule your online learning!
Register now and watch this webinar on demand at your convenience! The link to the recording will automatically be added to the ATA Education section in your member record following the live event. Click here to learn how to watch purchased ATA webinars on demand!


Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Back to Business Basics: Maximizing Your ATA Directory Profile

Presenter: Eve Bodeux
Date: October 12, 2021
Time: 12 noon U.S. EDT
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
CE Points: None

Having a listing in ATA’s Language Services Directory—and the exposure it provides—are key benefits of being an ATA member, but it doesn’t stop there. Attend this free members-only webinar to learn how to use the Directory to showcase your talents and convince potential clients that you’re the right person for the job!

What will you learn?
  1. How to assess your Directory profile through the eyes of a potential client
  2. How to use the various sections of the profile to maximize exposure
  3. What external information to include
  4. What ethical issues to consider
  5. How to maintain an up-to-date profile
Register now! Free to ATA members, but you must sign up by 10 a.m. EDT on October 12.


ATA62 Division Events

ATA Divisions will hold their Annual Meetings virtually ahead of this year’s Annual Conference (October 8, 9, and 10). Meetings last one hour. You do not need to be registered for ATA62 to attend, but you do need to be a Division member. Click here for the schedule and Zoom join links.

What happens at a Division Annual Meeting?
It’s a little bit of business, a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of learning about what the Division has to offer—from meet-ups and webinars to listservs, newsletters, and blogs. Plus it’s an opportunity to meet people who really understand what you do because they do it too!

Attending ATA62 in person? Don’t forget Division social events!
Some Divisions have arranged for a meet-up or networking dinner. This is your chance to have fun outside the hotel while catching up with friends and getting to know new people. Most of these events require registration. Look here for details.

What’s an ATA Division? Not a Division member?
An ATA Division is a community within the Association that connects members with the same professional interests, challenges, languages or areas of specialization. The result is the best in practical networking, shared information, and opportunities to gain new clients. Learn more.

How to join an ATA Division!
Your ATA dues include membership in any or all of the Association’s 22 Divisions. So why not take a minute to increase the value of your membership. Click here and join an ATA Division and get connected!


ATA Annual Honors and Awards Ceremony

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. Who are the award recipients for 2021? Find out—virtually or in person—on October 29 (10:15-11:00 a.m. CDT) at this year’s presentation ceremony.


ATA Panel Presenting at Elevate Online Conference

What can you do to stay relevant and stand out in an evolving market? How can you ensure that you do the work you enjoy for clients who value your expertise? What marketing methods work well online? Where can you find opportunities to present yourself to clients or help them find you?

Get answers when ATA members Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Veronika Demichelis, and Meghan Konkol present “How to Market Yourself in Today’s Translation and Interpretation Market” at the October 6 Trados online conference Elevate. Registration is free!


Free ATA Members-Only Webinar for October

ATA offers members one free webinar every month. Here’s the freebie for October.

Divide and Conquer: Contract Clauses Assorted, Explained, and Simplified

Efficiency in translating contracts begins with understanding the parts of the document that make the whole. In this webinar, attorney and translator Paula Arturo shows you how to use categories of language to identify types of complex clauses. The result? You will learn how to avoid literal word-for-word and unnatural sounding target language translation.

What will you learn?
  1. Understanding a contract’s structure: the parts and challenges
  2. How to break complex clauses down to translate them more accurately
  3. Categories of language in contracts
  4. How to identify the category of language of each clause
  5. How to apply categories of language to translate clauses more accurately


In the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA 2021 Elections: Candidate Statements
Calling all Voting members! Participating in ATA’s annual elections (in person and virtually) 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 28, 2021.

Choosing and Building a Specialization
In our experience, the best way to ensure quality and a sustainable business practice is to specialize. Whether you arrived in the industry with a specialization or are currently working to build one, you’ll find it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Regardless of how you choose a specialization, you must work to build, maintain, and transform your areas of expertise to attract great clients and earn top dollar. (Karen Tkaczyk and Ben Karl)

Audio Transcription: What It Is, What It Is Not, And Why It Is in High Demand
As people continue to favor a fully virtual or hybrid model when it comes to holding conferences, workshops, webinars, group discussions, and networking events, the demand for transcription will only increase. This might be the sector to help diversify your services! (Rafa Lombardino)

Is Applying ISO Standards to Information Security the New Black in Translation?
Machine translation has grown exponentially. Translators need to adjust their standard practice to this new reality to provide high-quality translation services. (Dolores R. Guiñazú and Gabriela Escarrá)

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 ATA62 Sponsors and Exhibitors!

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Bronze Sponsors


A. Calvin Design LLC
Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
Cross-Cultural Communications, LLC
Fluent Audio
Hunter College MA in Translation & Interpreting
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Mindlink Resources, LLC
National Language Service Corps (NLSC)
Supertext USA, Inc.
The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)
U.S. Department of State, Office of Language Services
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Program in Translation & Interpreting Studies
Valiant Integrated Services


News summaries © copyright 2021 SmithBucklin


September 30, 2021

How often do you refer business to other colleagues?

See the Results!

Previous Poll Results

On average, how much time do you spend marketing your business? 59% = Less than 5 hours/month
11% = 6-10 hours/month
11% = More than 10 hours/month
19% = Who has time for marketing?

In This Issue

Int’l Translation Day
Save on ATA62 Conf
Compensation Survey
Meet the Candidates
Trados Studio Beginner
B2BB: Directory Listing
ATA62 Division Events
Honors and Awards
ATA at Elevate Conf
Free for Members
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Divide and Conquer: Contract Clauses Assorted, Explained, and Simplified

Back to Business Basics

Maximizing Your ATA Directory Profile
Oct 12, 2021
12 noon EDT
Free! Register now!

ATA Webinars

Beginner Tips and Tricks for Trados Studio
Oct 7 @ 12 noon EDT
Registration open

Calendar of Events

Int’l Translation Day
September 30, 2021

ATA62 Annual Conference
Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 27-30, 2021
Registration open!

Next ATA Board of Directors Meeting
October 30-31, 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota

International Translation Day
The ATA Chronicle
The ATA Chronicle September/October 2021

ATA Webinar Beginner Trados
ATA Business Practices Next Level Blog
ATA Elections 2021