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ATA curates articles from around the world as a service for members. ATA members receive these articles in Newsbriefs, an e-newsletter. See full issues of Newsbriefs.

Dispute Erupts over Translation Rights to New Nobel Laureate

January 20, 2021

After winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Louise Glück has found herself at the heart of less-welcome publicity due to a dispute over who should hold the Spanish-language rights to her work. Pre-Textos, a publisher based in Valencia, Spain, which has translated and released seven of Glück’s books, has called on the American poet to…

Boston Planning and Development Agency Adds New Language Access Rules

January 20, 2021

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is rolling out a new set of rules to ensure residents who don’t speak English well or at all can participate in public meetings about proposed developments. Under the new policy, slated to go into effect early this year, BPDA will require that those meetings and relevant materials…

Thousands of Afghan and Iraqi Interpreters Hope Biden will Help Them Resettle in U.S.

January 20, 2021

Afghan and Iraqi interpreters facing reprisals for helping American forces hope President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration will offer them asylum in the United States. Biden will have to contend with a backlog of thousands of visa applications from interpreters who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates…

Translation on Virginia Department of Health’s Website Told Spanish Readers They Didn’t Need COVID-19 Vaccine

January 20, 2021

A Google-generated translation on the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) website told Spanish readers the COVID-19 vaccine was “not necessary.” The translation in question was part of VDH’s Frequently Asked Questions page, where “the vaccine is not required” was translated as “la vacuna no es necesaria” (“the vaccine is not necessary”). The Virginia Vaccination Advisory…

Meet GPT-3, the Latest Natural-Language System

December 1, 2020

GPT-3, the latest natural-language system, generates tweets, pens poetry, summarizes email, answers trivia questions, learns language by analyzing online texts, and even writes its own computer programs. Before it was unveiled this summer by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence lab in San Francisco, GPT-3 had spent months learning the ins and outs of natural language by…

First Native American Poet to Serve as U.S. Poet Appointed to Rare Third Term

December 1, 2020

Joy Harjo, the first Native American poet to serve as U.S. poet laureate, has been reappointed to a rare third term by the Library of Congress. Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, was initially appointed in 2019. At the start of her tenure, Harjo explained what that honor meant for Indigenous peoples. “Some…

Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year Expanded for “Unprecedented” 2020

December 1, 2020

The Oxford Languages 2020 Word of the Year campaign looks a little different this time around. This year has seen so many seismic events that Oxford Dictionaries has expanded its word of the year to encompass several “Words of an Unprecedented Year.” Its words are chosen to reflect 2020’s “ethos, mood, or preoccupations.” They include…

How ‘Deaf Broadway’ Is Making Musical Theater Loud and Clear

December 1, 2020

Deaf actor and director Garrett Zuercher established the theater collective Deaf Broadway in March with the goal of providing unprecedented visual language access to live theater for the deaf community. Filmed in real time via webcam with diverse deaf talent from around the world, Deaf Broadway provides full and complete American Sign Language (ASL) access…

Australian Government Used Google Translate for COVID-19 Messaging

December 1, 2020

Documents have revealed Australia’s Department of Home Affairs used Google Translate rather than official translators to communicate with multicultural communities at the beginning of the pandemic. While the Department had hired translators to write official pandemic fact sheets, Google Translate was initially used for health messaging on parts of its website. Critics have stated that…

Amazon Bungles Its Launch in Sweden

November 16, 2020

Amazon’s launch of a Swedish retail site, its first in a Nordic country, has caused embarrassment at the e-commerce company after a series of errors led to confusing, nonsensical, and occasionally vulgar product listings. Amazon mixed up the Argentine and Swedish flags, labelled frying pans as items for women, allowed the sale of a swastika-emblazoned…

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