CNBC: Where the Jobs Are
When CNBC decided to feature translators and interpreters in its Where the Jobs Are series, the network turned to ATA for information. The result? The reporter got the facts straight. This is not another "machine translation will rule the world" story.
Several clips were aired repeatedly throughout the day on CNBC Business and on NBRbizrpt in the evening. An interview with ATA member Jutta Diel-Dominique and ATA President David Rumsey appeared in several cuts of the videos.
You can watch the video clips here!
Demand for Translators and Interpreters Skyrocketing
CNBC (NJ) (07/07/17) Rogers, Kate
The U.S. is becoming more globalized and interconnected each day. As a result, skilled translators and interpreters are finding their services in higher demand.
The American Translators Association (ATA), citing data from the Department of Labor, reports that the professional translator/interpreter population has doubled in the past seven years, while the number of companies in the industry has climbed 24% in that same period. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment for those in the industry will grow by 29% through 2024. "As the economy becomes more globalized and businesses realize the need for translation and interpreting to market their products and services, the opportunities for people with advanced language skills will continue to grow sharply," says ATA President David Rumsey. Rumsey adds that the association predicts that the largest growth is within contracted positions, giving workers and companies more flexibility.
While salaries within the industry vary, highly skilled translators could potentially earn six figures annually. Rumsey says ATA helps freelance translators and interpreters network with many companies, including Microsoft, Netflix, and Honda, as well as government agencies such as the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
However, multilingualism is only one ingredient for successful employment. Rumsey says translators who want to distinguish themselves professionally should keep working and refining their skills. "It's a lifelong practice, and it requires keeping up not only your language skills but your subject matter skills so that you really understand the industries and fields you are working in," he notes.
While there was once a fear that technology would replace humans in the process as demand for services increased, the opposite has happened—it's enhanced their work.
"The overall industry is growing because of the amount of content out there—it's increasing exponentially," says Jiri Stejskal, president and chief executive officer of CETRA. "Technology is helping to translate more content, but you need an actual human involved for highly specialized content."
The High-Pressure Work of Presidential Interpreters
The Atlantic (DC) (07/07/17) Graham, David A.
In any meeting with a foreign leader, the usually anonymous figures who facilitate communication aren't just there to mechanically transfer words between languages. Interpreters can also function as failsafes, fact-checkers, and even as confidants—especially for inexperienced presidents like Trump.
These interpreters are usually career U.S. State Department staffers who often bring years of experience to a meeting. White House interpreters are provided by the State Department's Office of Language Services, which tests potential interpreters on general knowledge. "To work at the very top, you have to have an incredible arsenal of general knowledge, because the president will get into every damn topic you can imagine, from nuclear submarines to agriculture to treaty problems to labor problems to God knows what," says Harry Obst, who interpreted for seven U.S. presidents and eventually led the Office of Language Services. Obst is the author of White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation, which details his own experiences and the art of interpreting.
Like anyone else in a sensitive meeting, an interpreter must have a high security clearance. He or she will also have received all the same briefing books as the president. That's essential so that the interpreter can understand the nuances of the information discussed and know the vocabulary. But it also means that the interpreter can serve as a crutch for the president, catching minor factual errors or slips of the tongue. In addition interpreters serve as record-keepers, taking notes that, according to Obst, end up in the National Archives.
During President Trump's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the administration wanted to keep the number of people participating in the meeting small to minimize the possibility of leaks. However, Obst says that top interpreters will never reveal anything to anyone who was not a participant.
A figure like Trump, who sometimes mangles the English language and offers his own array of peculiar phrasings and usages can present a different set of challenges for an interpreter. However, the presence of an interpreter is always an asset. "The interpreter will help the principal if he wants to be helped," Obst says.
Uber Wins Right to Contest English Tests for London Drivers
Reuters (NY) (06/27/17) Pitas, Costas
London's transport regulator will delay the introduction of new English-language requirements for private-hire drivers after Uber won the right to appeal against the plans. The proposed requirements could cost the ride-hailing service thousands of drivers.
Uber lost a March court battle against Transport for London (TfL), but was granted an appeal in late June. During the appeals process, Uber cited TfL data showing that the language criteria, which would involve written tests for many, could mean that about 33,000 drivers out of a total of around 110,000 operating in London would be unable to renew their licenses. Drivers applying for a new or renewed license have until the end of September to prove they meet the more rigorous English-language criteria.
"We're pleased to have secured this appeal to defend tens of thousands of drivers who risk losing their livelihoods because they can't pass an essay writing test," says Tom Elvidge, Uber's London general manager.
Despite the appeal, TfL says the plans are still likely to go into effect in April 2018 after a Court of Appeal hearing scheduled for February. "We maintain that all licensed drivers must be able to communicate in English at an appropriate level," a TfL spokesman states. "We will continue to robustly defend this position at the appeal."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has pushed for the requirement, partly in response to pressure from drivers of the city's traditional black cabs, who fear their business model is being undercut.
White House Still Lacking Spanish-Language Website
Associated Press (DC) (07/03/17) Colvin, Jill; Lugo, Luis Alonso
The Trump administration has made little progress in restoring the White House's Spanish-language website, while other online efforts to serve Spanish-speaking citizens have ranged from non-existent to paltry. Despite assurances in January from White House officials that the administration would launch a new Spanish-language site following the closure of WhiteHouse.gov/espanol shortly after President Trump took office, the site remains dark. In addition, the administration has removed the position of director of Hispanic media outreach, while its Spanish-language Twitter account is less active, with heavy English text and sloppy translations. Only 41 tweets have been sent from the account since the inauguration, with about half in English, while the Spanish tweets contain many typos.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, White House director of media affairs, recently said she expects a Spanish site to launch later this year, noting "the priority remains to improve the English-language website." Aguirre Ferre also said there is currently no plan to hire a press officer exclusively committed to Spanish-language media, noting she and another staffer in the communications operation are bilingual and conduct interviews in Spanish. Luis Miranda, director of Hispanic media at the White House during the Obama administration, says the Spanish site offered Latinos not just translations, but also important information about immigration, health issues, banking, and veterans affairs. "For us it was important that all of our constituents across the board were getting as much information as possible about what we were doing," Miranda says. Activists see the lack of Spanish content as part of a wider trend by Trump and the administration to exclude Latino constituents.
Meet a Guy Who Makes a Living Translating Emojis
CNBC (NJ) (07/17/17) Graham, Luke
Emojis may seem simple and fun, but using them incorrectly can be a huge embarrassment to companies, potentially damaging their brands, especially when trying to reach an international audience. That's why some companies are reaching out to specialists, like Keith Broni, to help them navigate safely through the growing emoji media minefield.
Last December, London-based translation company Today Translations put out a call for an "emoji translator." The job listing made news, partly because of its novelty—it's believed to be the first role of its kind. Broni beat 500 other applicants for the job. His first translation for the company involved changing several idioms (such as "no pain, no gain" or "speak of the devil") into understandable emoji versions. Since then, Broni's clients have included public relations firms and the marketing departments of multinational companies.
The number of emojis has increased dramatically since the first set of 176 icons was developed in Japan in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita while he was working for Japanese mobile operator DoCoMo. There are now over 2,000 icons.
Broni says that companies trying to reach an international market need to be aware that certain emojis hold different meanings to different cultures. For example, the "thumbs-up" emoji is popular in the West, where Facebook users "like" posts with the thumbs-up button, but the gesture is traditionally considered offensive in the Middle East. The same goes for the "A-OK" hand gesture, which is offensive in Latin America. Even the basic happy face isn't so basic. In China, Broni says it's often used to convey that you're finished with a conversation.
Broni explains that another issue with using emojis is that they can differ in appearance from platform to platform. The shape of the emoji, and even its color, can appear remarkably different, depending on the device or operating system used. One example is the "rolling eyes" emoji. On most devices this would convey the meaning of someone rolling their eyes in disdain, but on others it may appear as if the eyes are shooting up in expectation.
Broni says emojis can be very helpful to businesses because they add emotional context and non-verbal communication to a piece of text. They're also very popular, and not just with the young—older generations are using them more.
"Emojis allow us to imbue digital messages with the non-verbal cues inherent in face-to-face interaction," he says. "They allow us to signify the emotional context of a statement that would normally be conveyed in vocal tone, pose, or gesture, rather than just the words themselves."
The ATA Podcast: Halftime Report 2017
We're a little more than halfway through the year—it's a good time to look back on what ATA has accomplished this year.
In this episode of The ATA Podcast, President David Rumsey reviews the first six months of 2017 as well as his time in office. Ethics, the computerized certification exam, finances, and outreach to sister organizations are all part of the picture. President-Elect Corinne McKay gives a sneak preview of this year's 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC and wraps up the podcast with the latest on ATA's public relations efforts.
This is Episode 13 of The ATA Podcast. Listen now!
What is The ATA Podcast?
It's a quick way to learn more about ATA—the people, events, and programs. Episodes are presented as short interviews with podcast Host Matt Baird. Easy to listen to, The ATA Podcast offers you a behind-the-scenes view of how ATA works.
How to Subscribe
Subscribe to The ATA Podcast and get the next episode sent to you as soon as it's published! The subscription is free. Not sure how to subscribe? This article from Hubspot will walk you through it step-by-step, screenshots included.
Be sure to leave a comment
Listener comments and suggestions are a big help. Did you like the episode? What would make it better? Do you have an idea for an interview? Let us know. Email ATA Podcast Host Matt Baird with your feedback.
Stay and Win at the Washington Hilton
Five lucky winners will receive one free night's stay at the Washington Hilton, the host hotel for ATA’s 58th Annual Conference (October 25-28, 2017). Room reservations made before October 23 will automatically be entered to win.
And be sure to book your room early! It's not unusual for ATA's room block to be sold out before the Conference.
Looking for a way to stay in the Conference hotel and save money, too? Why not share the expense with a roommate. The ATA Roommate Forum can help you connect to other conference attendees. Give it a try!
Lead with Languages
The Lead with Languages website now includes a description and discussion of translation and interpreting jobs. The article walks through specific steps to take in order to become a translator and interpreter.
Lead with Languages is a language proficiency awareness and advocacy campaign launched by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages who turned to ATA for assistance. The initiative aims to make language learning in the U.S. a priority by promoting the importance of language skills in a wide range of careers.
Other areas of the campaign's website feature video clips of successful professionals who use a second language in their careers—not only the high-profile jobs at the UN and CNN, but also the down-to-earth positions in business and management. Another area of the site offers video clips of students describing their experiences in learning other languages.
Learn more about the Lead with Languages campaign on Facebook or follow #LeadWithLanguages.
Act Now to Become Part of the ATA Annual Conference
The ATA Annual Conference is a once-a-year opportunity to get your name in front of translators, interpreters, language companies, educators, and government agencies from around the world. There is no better way to increase your visibility and build your brand.
Five levels of sponsorship let you choose how, when, and where to promote your business. Check out our new sponsorship add-ons. Another way to increase visibility!
Print and online advertising guarantee that your business will be seen. Deadline for final program ads is August 18.
A booth in the Exhibit Hall brings customers to you, ready to make a connection.
Invest your marketing budget where it counts! Whether you want to reach more than 11,000 ATA members or 1,800 Conference attendees, the ATA Annual Conference can make it happen.
In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
Treasurer’s Report: The First Eight Months of FY2016–17
The Association’s finances have continued the positive development of the past few years. (Ted Wozniak)
Colorado Translators Association Conference Recap
More than 80 language professionals braved a spring snowstorm to attend the Colorado Translators Association’s seventh annual conference. (Sharon Heller, Katja Yeats)
Competency-Based Education and Translator Training
How can we maximize the effectiveness of university translator training programs? Competency-based education is an innovative approach to teaching and learning that has been gaining traction in universities throughout the U.S. and beyond. (Jason Jolley)
How can project-based internships add value for an organization? Here’s one language services provider’s approach to designing a mutually beneficial project-based program that includes well-established goals, training, evaluation, and feedback. (Serena Williams)
Expanding Your Business: Genealogical Translation
Genealogy is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the U.S., but once Americans trace their ancestors back to the “old country,” they often get stuck. Even if they’re able to obtain historic documents from non-English-speaking clerks, they find that they cannot read them. This is where the skilled translator steps in. (Corey Oiesen, Bryna O’Sullivan)
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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