What’s happening at this year’s ATA Conference?
The 2016 ATA Annual Conference is headed back to San Francisco--this time with more sessions, more events, and the all-new Advanced Skills and Training Day. If you've never been to an ATA Annual Conference, or even if you have, you'll want to listen in as ATA President David Rumsey and President-Elect Corinne McKay talk with Host Matt Baird about what's new, which fan favorites are returning, and why you really need to be there.
Podcast links you’ll want to check out: 1) Conference homepage; 2) Conference hotel room reservations; 3) Roommate Blog; 4) Resources for first-time attendees; 5) ATA57 Conference App.
ATA Webinar: Negotiating Translation Agreements
Negotiation does not have to be a winner-take-all game. In this ATA webinar, lawyer-linguist Paula Arturo will demonstrate negotiating strategies that work in real-world business agreements. Plus how to adapt negotiating techniques to different types of clients. This is a “can’t miss” webinar!
California Governor Boosts State’s Interpreter Budget to $101.5 Million
California Federation of Interpreters (Sacramento) (08/12/16)
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a state budget that boosts the allocation for interpreter services to $101.5 million. The $7 million increase from last year's budget aims to expand access to interpreters for litigants in civil cases in all California courts. "We appreciate the governor's recognition that interpreter services in California are a fundamental requirement to ensure fairness and access to the court system," says California Federation of Interpreters (CFI) President Ariel Torrone. "This additional allocation will allow courts to expand services and take steps to recruit and retain more skilled interpreters." Even though funding for interpreter services has remained steady over the years, Torrone says the courts have allowed interpreter wages to stagnate for both employees and contractors. This led the state's interpreter budget to build a surplus that currently stands at around $12 million, according to the California State Budget Report. The failure to establish a competitive wage structure is making it much more difficult for courts to meet the demands of expansion. CFI Legislative Representative Mary Lou Aranguren says the new funding should allow for long needed improvements. "We're optimistic that courts will now see there's funding available and will work on improving compensation and working conditions to achieve the full expansion of services in civil proceedings."
Tesla Tweaks Autopilot's Chinese Translation After Beijing Crash
Bloomberg (NY) (08/15/16)
Tesla Motors Inc. has modified the translation of how the electric car manufacturer markets its autopilot system in China following a minor accident in Beijing involving the plug-in Model X crossover earlier this month. Tesla changed the translation on its website to list the autopilot system as a driver-assistance system, rather than as a self-driving system, says Gary Tao, a spokesman for the U.S. company who is based in Beijing. The wording was changed after Luo Zhen, a 32-year-old Beijing resident, sideswiped a parked car when using autopilot without keeping his hands on the wheel, which scratched his Model S but didn't result in any injuries. "[Tesla] didn't clarify the risk, but kept leaving the impression on everyone that its technology is fabulous and intelligent," Luo says. "It can easily mislead people to overuse the function." Tao states that Tesla has always asked drivers to use autopilot with both hands on the wheel since introducing the feature last year. "We hope to clarify that it is a driving-assisting function and hope people can use it in a correct way." China's regulators are currently crafting policies for autonomous driving and have directed automakers to suspend road testing of self-driving cars in the meantime. Domestic companies, including Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., Baidu Inc., and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., have urged the government to speed up the process and clear the way for technology that could make roads safer.
Study Finds Hospital Language Services Inconsistent Across U.S.
U.S. News & World Report (DC) (08/09/16) Rodriguez, Carmen Heredia
According to an analysis published in Health Affairs, a leading journal of health policy and research, more than a third of U.S. hospitals did not offer patients language assistance in 2013. In areas with the greatest need, about 25% of facilities failed to provide such services. Researchers analyzed survey data collected from 4,514 hospitals nationwide by the American Hospital Association. They also categorized hospitals according to whether they offered language services and by their ownership status--private nonprofit, private for-profit, or government-owned. Researchers also calculated the number of residents with low English proficiency in the facilities' service areas using census data collected from 2009 to 2013. They concluded that 69% of hospitals offered language services. Hospitals serving areas with moderate needs provided proportionately more assistance than facilities located in low- or high-need areas. "I think we can do better," says Melody Schiaffino, the lead researcher of the study and an associate professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. Private nonprofit hospitals were the facilities most likely to offer language services. Yet, in areas with the greatest need, about 36% did not have systems in place. In areas with low need, seven out of 10 facilities had the capability. Government-owned and private for-profit hospitals were far less likely to provide such help. Less than a fifth of private facilities offered language aid. Government hospitals had similar rates. Researchers found no pattern to explain which facilities provided language assistance. This inconsistency suggests patients may go to hospitals outside their official service area based on language services. Schiaffino says this results in higher costs for the facility and longer waiting periods for patients. Researchers who worked on the study say that more data is needed because immigration patterns are leading to new areas of language-diverse communities. Models need to be developed to predict where these pockets will emerge and what the level of need for assistance might become. "A lot of hospitals probably are not aware of the change in diversity and the scale of diversity in their community," Schiaffino says. Based on civil rights law, any hospital receiving federal funds must have language services available for its patients. Schiaffino says the challenge provides an opportunity for hospitals to empower their customers to be informed patients. "To receive a diagnosis in the language that you prefer is not an unreasonable request."
Statistics Used to Sound Out the Language Family Tree
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) (07/19/16) Walsh, Louise
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have developed a sound-based methodology that uses the statistics of shape to simulate how certain words were spoken 8,000 years ago. "As a word is uttered it vibrates air, and the shape of this sound wave can be measured and turned into a series of numbers," explains Professor John Aston, from Cambridge's Statistical Laboratory. "Once we have these stats, and the stats of another spoken word, we can start asking how similar they are and what it would take to shift from one to another." Aston says that a word spoken in a certain language will have a different shape than the same word in another language, or an earlier language. The researchers can use this information to shift from one shape to another through a series of small changes in the statistics. "It's more than an averaging process, it's a continuum from one sound to the other," says Aston, whose research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "At each stage, we can turn the shape back into sound to hear how the word has changed." Rather than reconstructing written forms of ancient words, the researchers triangulate backwards from contemporary and archival audio recordings to regenerate audible spoken forms from earlier points in the evolutionary tree. Using the relatively new field of shape-based mathematics, the researchers take the sound wave and create a visual representation of the sound as a spectrogram--basically an undulating three-dimensional surface that represents the shape of that sound--and then reshape the spectrogram along a trajectory "signposted" by known sounds. While Aston leads the team of statistician "shape-shifters" in Cambridge, the acoustic-phonetic and linguistic expertise is provided by a group led by John Coleman, a professor at Oxford University. "We've explicitly focused on reproducing sound changes and etymologies that the established analyses already suggest, rather than seeking to overturn them," says Coleman, whose research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Because the statistics describe the sound of an individual saying the word, the researchers are able to keep the characteristics of pitch and delivery the same. They can effectively turn the word spoken by someone in one language into what it would sound like if they were speaking fluently in another. Their work has applications in automatic translation and film dubbing, as well as medical imaging, but Aston says the principal aim is for the technology to be used alongside traditional methods used by historical linguists to understand the process of language change over thousands of years. "From my point of view, it's amazing that we can turn exciting yet highly abstract statistical theory into something that really helps explain the roots of modern language."
Mayan Languages Create Interpreter Shortage for Immigration Courts
Los Angeles Times (CA) (08/09/16) Carcamo, Cindy
An increasing number of immigrants from Central America into the U.S. over the past few years has left immigration courts struggling to find interpreters who are qualified to work in the Mayan languages, especially K’iché (Quiché) and Mam. The demand for interpreting services is especially acute for immigrants from Guatemala, which is home to more than 24 indigenous languages, and from countries such as Honduras. According to the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, Mam, a Mayan dialect spoken by more than 500,000 people in Guatemala, ranked ninth on the list of top 10 languages spoken in U.S. immigration court during the past fiscal year. Quiché ranked 11th. Both languages surpassed French. (Five years ago, Quiché and Mam didn’t even break the top 25 languages spoken in immigration court.) The shortage of interpreters who work in these languages is causing multiple issues for immigration courts. Judges often delay immigration hearings until an interpreter is found. Even more disturbing, there have been cases of asylum seekers being deported, even if they have a strong case, because a qualified interpreter could not be found in time. The interpreter shortage is exacerbated by a lack of Mayan-language interpreter courses, says Naomi Adelson, a Spanish-English court interpreter and coordinator of the Mayan-languages interpreter program at San Francisco nonprofit Asociacion Mayab. (Oakland is home to one of the largest concentrations of Mam speakers in the nation.) "I'm very concerned about meeting the demand [for Mam interpreters], especially since more [immigrants] are coming," she says. "The demand for Mam has just gone off the charts." Policarpo Chaj, a Quiché interpreter of Maya Vision, a language services provider that serves indigenous Guatemalans in the Los Angeles area, says he has fielded an increasing number of requests for interpreters. Chaj used to get one or two calls a year for interpreter services, but now he receives about 10 calls per month. "We can't meet the demand," he says. Some immigrants are unaware of their right to an interpreter in immigration court and settle for a Spanish interpreter who can't accurately convey the client's case. A good interpreter is key, says Eryk Escobar, a supervising attorney for the program that represents unaccompanied children at the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles. "If you don't have an interpreter, it's going to make a big difference at the end of the day."
ATA Government Relations Committee
The Board of Directors established the ATA Government Relations Committee at its July 30-31 meeting.
The Committee has been organized in response to the increasing number of requests for the Association to provide input on a number of legislative and regulatory affairs. Its work is part of ATA's mission to promote the recognition of the translation and interpreting professions.
The Government Relations Committee is charged to do the following:
Curious about what other ATA Committees do? Find out a committee's purpose, tasks, and members by clicking the committee name on the Governance Committees web page.
- monitor the activities of local, state, and national legislative and regulatory bodies;
- provide recommendations for responding to requests from these bodies;
- provide information regarding government activities to the Board and the general membership;
- address international regulatory issues, as appropriate.
5 Things You Should Know About the ATA Annual Conference
ATA's 57th Annual Conference
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
November 2-5, 2016
Register for the conference by September 23 and save 30%!
- It's about what matters to you.
Choose sessions on the issues and topics that are important to you. Network the way you want when you want. Attend only the social events you really care about. This is your conference, do it your way.
- There's no better value for the money.
Over 170 sessions, from practical skills to teaching theory, across all levels of experience. No other event can provide you with this level of professional development at this price.
- The Advanced Skills and Training Day will be worth it.
This "conference-before-the-conference" offers in-depth instruction by some of the most experienced translators and interpreters in the industry. Limited seating to guarantee individual attention.
- Some of the best solutions are in the Exhibit Hall.
Stay competitive with the latest technology, software, and services in the Exhibit Hall—wouldn't you rather ask your question in person than wade through countless online references?
- Brainstorm networking is totally cool.
There’s something special about getting to know people while working together as a team. And there’s nothing like learning how to solve a problem from a colleague. This is the best of both worlds.
Have you made your room reservation yet?
If not, then this message is for you: the ATA conference room block at the Hyatt is sold out. The Hyatt may have other rooms available, but not at the conference-discounted rate.
What to do? ATA has reserved an additional room block at the Hilton Financial District. It’s not the same deep discount as the Hyatt, but at $299 for a double or single this is still a good deal. And it’s only 0.6 mile from the conference.
Don’t lose out a second time. Book your room now!
More than Marketing 101
Your logo is memorable. Your print ads are eye-catching. Your website says all the right things. What's missing? A booth in the ATA Annual Conference Exhibit Hall—the one place where you can actually talk to your customers.
Don't miss this opportunity to tell Conference attendees what you and your company can do for them. Reserve your booth now before it's too late.
• Exhibitor Details
• Exhibit Hall Floor Plan
• Booth Reservation
Join the ataNewbies57 listserv
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Attention conference veterans! We need you on the list, too. There's a first-time attendee out there with a question you can answer. Take a minute or two to help a newcomer get ready for the conference.
In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
International Payment Updates
For companies of all sizes, the cost of each international payment transaction can result in a significant cost of doing business. Read on to find out what’s changed regarding the international payment options available today. (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux)
Where Does Language Fit in with Big Data?
What is “big data” and how did it become part of the language sector? How should translators and interpreters approach it? (Don DePalma )
SOAP Notes: Getting Down and Dirty with Medical Translation
Progress notes and patient records are the medical translator’s bread and butter, but this doesn’t prevent even the most experienced medical translators from making mistakes. (Erin M. Lyons)
How to Read and Translate R and S Phrases in Technical Texts
R (risk) and S (safety) phrases occur extensively in chemical documentation. The following explains their origin and set wording, along with their successors—the H (hazard) and P (precautionary) statements. (Matthew F. Schlecht)
U.S. Immigration Benefits for Professional Translators and Interpreters
The immigration options available to foreign-born translators and interpreters are varied. An immigration attorney and a certified translator explain the benefits and drawbacks of applying for immigration benefits for foreign-born translators and interpreters. (Elizabeth Ricci, Michael K. Launer)
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.
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