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T&I Advocacy Day 2017




The ATA 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC was an opportunity too good to pass up! It was the right time and place for ATA's first Advocacy Day.

Forty-five translators and interpreters traveled to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, October 25, to inform Congress about issues impacting T&I professions. Advocates met with staffers in 68 Congressional offices and Executive Branch agencies.

Why advocate?
Advocacy above all else is educating Congress on issues and policies affecting the industry. But even more important is proposing a solution. Explaining the problem is not enough.

Advocacy Day participants focused on three T&I issues during their Congressional office meetings.

Statements on Advocacy Issues and Recommendations for Action

T&I Advocacy Day 2017 was hosted by ATA in partnership with the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL). JNCL, along with the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS), lobbies Congress and the Executive Branch on behalf of the language community.
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International Baccalaureate Organization

Industry News


D.C. Circuit Court Backs English-Only Emergency Alerts
FindLaw (NY) (10/19/17) Coble, Christopher

The District of Columbia Circuit Court has sided with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a lawsuit challenging the agency's policy of not requiring broadcasters to provide emergency alerts and broadcasts in languages other than English.

Under the current system, broadcasters receive emergency messages from the government in English and then have the choice to interpret them into other languages.

Several public interest organizations brought the English-only alerts to the FCC's attention following Hurricane Katrina and petitioned the Commission to force broadcasters to air multi-language emergency alerts. The FCC declined, opting instead to take additional time to gather information on how those requirements could be implemented. Two of the petitioning groups—the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council (MMTC)—sued the FCC in an attempt to require the FCC to produce alerts in other languages.

However, the DC Circuit Court found the FCC was within its rights to delay any decision on such a requirement. The LULAC and MMTC cited Section 1 of the Communications Act, which states that the FCC operates "so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service." While the LULAC and MMTC argued this required the FCC to force broadcasters to air emergency alerts in other languages, the court disagreed, writing, "If Congress intended to require multi-lingual communications in general, and multilingual emergency alerts in particular, we would expect Congress to have spoken far more clearly than it has done in this general statement of policy."

The LULAC and MMTC also argued that the FCC's delay was "arbitrary and capricious," but Judge Brett Kavanaugh found the reasons to go back and study the issue further valid. "In any event, it is surely reasonable (even if frustrating to petitioners) for the FCC to move cautiously and gather more comprehensive information before deciding whether to force private broadcasters to play a major new role in the emergency alert system."

The LULAC and MMTC expressed "deep displeasure" over the court's decision, saying the lack of multilingual broadcasts puts lives in danger in emergency situations. "More than 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, not only has the FCC not acted, but the court has refused to compel the FCC to act," says MMTC President Kim Keenan. "We will decide shortly whether to appeal to the new FCC leadership, or to Congress, to take a stand and correct this deep moral injustice."
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New Jersey Websites Adding Gujarati and Korean Translations
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) (10/16/17) Zoppo, Avalon R.

The New Jersey Board of Elections has begun to include translations of candidate statements and public questions in Korean and the Indian language Gujarati on its website, in addition to English and Spanish.

The additions reflect the state's changing demographics, especially in North and Central Jersey. U.S. Census data from 2014 estimated that more than 300,000 Indians and 98,000 Koreans reside in New Jersey. Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center found New Jersey had the third highest number of foreign-born residents in the nation, after California and New York.

Jersey residents such as Sharmista and Sudhir Patel say seeing their language on the state's election website "feels special." This is particularly significant in light of complaints about the lack of translations at state polling sites. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, counties must provide language assistance during elections to groups that do not have an adequate understanding of the English language. New Jersey is home to eight such counties, including Middlesex County, which will offer Gujarati translations on paper ballots in November. Bergen County, where nearly 60,000 Koreans live, introduced ballots in Korean in 2010.

"Beyond voting, the move makes Asian Americans feel more at home in New Jersey," says Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission, which prepares the candidate statements. "It points to a policy long held by New Jersey of assimilation," he adds.

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji says voting accommodations benefit first-generation immigrants the most. "Older generations have kids that go to schools here, they are paying taxes, they are naturalized citizens, but they are still not fully comfortable with the English language because they came here later in life," Mukherji says.

Ashok Dave, a Hindu priest in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, says easing the voting process for immigrants is an attempt to create unity at a time when division is prominent. "Though we are coming from different countries, we are all American and we are all one."
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Iowa Supreme Court Considers Right to Refuse Interpreters
Quad-City Times (IA) (10/13/17) Becker, Tara

Are defendants who can demonstrate that they should have been allowed to waive their right to an interpreter entitled to an automatic reversal of a conviction? This is a question the Iowa Supreme Court tackled during a special session in the case of the State of Iowa versus Carlos Ariel Gomez Garcia.

According to court documents, Garcia, 26, a native of Honduras, was charged in Muscatine County District Court with delivery of cocaine in December 2014. Garcia, who is able to read and understand English, sought to waive the assistance of court interpreters at his trial. According to court documents, Garcia believed that the presence of interpreters would have been distracting and confusing to him and would unfairly prejudice the jury against him.

District Court Judge Stuart Werling instructed standby interpreters to provide real-time interpreting, but told Garcia he could remove the wireless earpiece if he no longer wanted to use their interpreting services. Garcia then waived his right to a jury trial and opted for a bench trial. The judge ultimately found him guilty on the drug charge and he was sentenced in September 2015 to up to 10 years in prison.

Garcia appealed, arguing that he adequately demonstrated his ability to read and understand English to the judge. The Iowa Court of Appeals determined that the trial court erred in refusing to accept Garcia's waiver of interpreting services and reversed his convictions and ordered a new trial. The state argued on further review before the Iowa Supreme Court that improperly denying a waiver of interpreting services does not fundamentally affect the fairness of the proceedings and does not warrant automatic reversal of a criminal conviction.

During the special session, six justices of the state's highest court questioned Assistant Iowa Attorney General Louis Sloven and Courtney Wilson, Garcia's defense attorney. Sloven argued that presuming prejudice and automatically reversing the conviction is "unworkable."

"I think that the real reason that we object to the decision by the Court of Appeals is that this just isn't one of those kinds of errors that affected the fundamental fairness of the trial, but goes to a basic constitutional right where it would be appropriate to say presumed prejudice means automatic reversal." Sloven argued that the judge acted out of caution when he ordered interpreters to be on standby and said that the ability to be able to have a conversation in another language on the street or in a chosen profession is "very different than being able to understand everything that is said in a highly specialized legal proceeding." Sloven added that it is "much better" to have interpreters present in the courtroom providing services "even if they don't get used."

Wilson argued that the real prejudice is having the interpreter present and visible to the jury panel. "I think it's a wonderful notion to believe that through jury selection or through a limiting instruction that we can encourage jurors to come forward and tell us about their biases, but I think the reality of the situation is that most people aren't willing to admit their biases or prejudices in front of other individuals."

Wilson stated that other federal and state courts around the country have found that an automatic reversal is appropriate when a defendant is denied the right to an interpreter. "I believe this court would be the first court to find that there should be automatic reversal when the defendant is denied the right to waive an interpreter."

The justices could hand down a written decision in two or three months.
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Legal Decision on Interpreters Puts Broadway Theaters at Risk
Forbes (NY) (10/29/17) Hershberg, Marc

A recent legal decision regarding the provision of sign language interpreting services for deaf-blind patrons could make Broadway theater owners more vulnerable to disability discrimination lawsuits.

On October 6, the same day that Hamilton settled its disabilities lawsuit with a deaf theatergoer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the movie theater chain Cinemark had to provide tactile interpreting services for its deaf-blind patrons under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The services allow audience members who cannot hear or see to understand what is happening in both the film and the theater by feeling the hands of sign language interpreters.

The deaf-blind plaintiff in the case, Paul McGann, wanted to attend a screening of the film Gone Girl and asked Cinemark to provide tactile interpreting services for him. But after realizing that hiring two tactile interpreters would cost at least $260, the theater chain denied his request. As a result, McGann sued Cinemark for disability discrimination in federal court.

The law requires places open to the public, such as theaters, to "take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services."

Cinemark first argued that tactile interpreters do not fall under "auxiliary aids and services" because they are not "auxiliary" or supplemental to the service that it normally provides. But the appellate court pointed out that the Americans with Disabilities Act specifically defines "auxiliary aids and services" to include qualified interpreters. The appellate court stated that offering tactile interpretations of a film does not "require any changes to the video or audio content of the movie, the screens or sound systems that present the movie, or the physical environment—including the lighting—in or around the theater."

Cinemark has argued that providing the accommodation imposes an undue burden. While the average ticket price for a film is about $8.85, the theater chain would be required to spend at least $260 hiring tactile interpreters for each deaf-blind customer. "Cinemark should not be required to incur these losses," its attorneys argued on appeal.

Although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit sent the case back to the lower court for additional fact-finding on whether or not the accommodation results in an undue burden, the outcome could have serious implications for Broadway theaters. If a movie theater chain is required to provide tactile interpreters under the Americans with Disabled Act, then a Broadway theater might also be forced to provide the accommodation. "There is no rational distinction that would apply to a Broadway theater, or any theater, that would distinguish it from a movie theater," says Scott Greenfield, a trial lawyer.

Greenfield says that lawyers who can collect legal fees from noncompliant businesses when their disability discrimination lawsuits are successful might see Broadway as an opportunity. "They might be able to sue all of the Broadway theater owners and win," Greenfield says. "If anything, it would seem to be a slam dunk following Cinemark."
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Independent Publishers Dominate Women in Translation Prize Shortlist
The Bookseller (United Kingdom) (10/11/17) Onwuemezi, Natasha

Books from independent publishers Portbello, Pushkin, Comma, Fitzcarraldo Editions, and The Gallery Press have been shortlisted for the first Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, which seeks to "address the gender imbalance" in translated literature and boost the number of international women's voices available to British and Irish readers. The winner will receive a $1,320 prize, which will be shared equally by the author and her translator.

The 2017 prize is being judged by Boyd Tonkin, special adviser for the Man Booker International Prize, Susan Bassnett, emeritus professor of comparative literature at the University of Warwick, and Amanda Hopkinson, visiting professor in literary translation at City, University of London.

"We're very happy at the quantity and quality of the submissions received for this inaugural prize," say the judges. "Insofar as this prize was intended to rectify a shortfall in the representation of women among translated writers, it has proven that there is a good range of writers currently being translated."

The judges also note that they want the prize to encourage publishers to be more "serious" about translating women writers. "Without deliberately aiming to do so, our shortlist shows that there is much more to translation out there than is usually documented." According to Nielsen BookScan, translated titles account for around 3% of the overall U.K. print book market.

Chantal Wright, a professor of literary translation at the University of Warwick who is serving as coordinator of the prize, says that she is very pleased with the response to the prize. "We received many more submissions than we expected across an array of genres—even including a graphic novel—and from publishers of all sizes."

The source languages represented are Polish and German, with two shortlisted titles apiece, as well as Irish and Russian. Shortlisted from Portobello are Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg, translated from Polish by Eliza Marciniak, and Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated from German by Susan Bernofsky (recipient of the ATA 2015 Ungar German Translation Award). Belarusian Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich has also been shortlisted for Second-Hand Time from Fitzcarraldo Editions, translated by Bela Sheyavich.

Also shortlisted are Comma Press' Swallow Summer by Larissa Boehning, translated from German by Lyn Marven, Pushkin Children's Books' Clementine Loves Red by Krystyna Boglar, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Zosia Krasodomska-Jones, and the Gallery Press' The Coast Road by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, translated from Irish by 13 translators.

The winner of the prize will be announced in early November.
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Payment Practices

ATA News


ATA Webinar: Game Localization

Translating video games sounds like fun, and it is! But any game localization expert will also tell you it's one of the most challenging jobs in the industry.

Ins and Outs of Game Localization

Presenter: Paula Ianelli
Date: November 15, 2017
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1

Attend this webinar for an overview of the game localization process—from audiovisual restrictions and marketing requirements to idioms, catchphrases, puns, and cultural references in a variety of contexts and styles. You'll walk away knowing what is expected of translators working in game localization and what skills translators need to develop to break into this field.

Register: ATA Member $45  Non-Member $60

Unable to attend? You can register now and a link to the recorded webinar will be sent to you after the event!
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Gode Medal Recipient: Georganne Weller

Outgoing ATA President David Rumsey presented the ATA Gode Medal to Georganne Weller at the association's Annual Meeting of All Members on October 27, 2017. The award is given in recognition of an individual or institution for outstanding service to the translation and interpreting professions.

Georganne has been a conference and legal interpreter (ES/PT>EN), educator, author, researcher, and staunch advocate for interpreting and translation professions for more than 30 years.

Through her interests in translator and interpreter education, she has been instrumental in the development of numerous training programs, including the design of a master's degree program at the Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico. She has also lectured and published extensively in the fields of sociolinguistics, language politics, bilingualism, and indigenous languages at regional, national, and international levels.

Over the course of her career, Georganne has championed the preservation of Mexico's indigenous languages, and as the Director of Linguistic Policies at the Mexican National Institute for Indigenous Languages, she has promoted professionalization, training, and certification of interpreters in these languages—work she continues to this day.


Georganne's accomplishments have had a tremendous impact on the translation and interpreting professions. ATA is honored to have her as a Gode Medal recipient.
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ATA58 Annual Conference Wrap-Up


From the Welcome Celebration to the keynote speaker and closing reception, ATA's 58th Annual Conference lived up to expectations with rave-reviews and non-stop networking—not to mention a packed Job Fair, a fantastic Brainstorming Session, and another successful Advanced Skills & Training Day.



Relive conference moments, see what you missed!

Video Recap: Scenes from the conference
Conference Slideshow: Three days of people and events
Photo Booth: Who's that at the Welcome Celebration?
Member Photo Gallery: Add your own conference photos!


New! Virtual Conference

On-demand sessions for on-demand learning!

A number of Conference sessions were recorded for online continuing education. Virtual Conference sessions will be available in four to six weeks.

Did you attend ATA58? Free access to the Virtual Conference is automatically included with your three-day registration. More for your money and no regrets for the sessions you missed!

Couldn't attend? Watch for upcoming details on how to access sessions from the ATA58 Conference!
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ATA and AFTI Honors and Awards

Each year, ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation present annual and biennial awards to encourage, reward, and publicize outstanding accomplishments by both seasoned professionals and students. This year's award recipients were announced at the Annual Meeting of All Members on October 27, 2017.

Ungar German Translation Award
Dr. Alex Levine
Exploratory Experiments: Ampere, Faraday, and the Origins of Electrodynamics
(Friedrich Steinle)

Marian S. Greenfield Financial Translation Presentation Award
Mary Lou Bradley, Judith Lyons
Financial Technology ("Fintech")

S. Edmund Berger Prize for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Translation
Bruce Popp
"The Three-Body Problem and the Equations of Dynamics"

Student Translation Award
Delaney Swink
University of Oregon
Robert D. Clark Honors College
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Congratulations to Newly Elected ATA Officers and Directors

ATA held its regularly scheduled elections on Thursday, October 26, at the Annual Meeting of Voting Members.
  • Officers elected, each to a two-year term:
    President-Elect: Ted Wozniak
    Secretary: Karen Tkaczyk
    Treasurer: John Milan
  • Directors elected, each to a three-year term:
    Director: Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
    Director: Geoff Koby
    Director: Elena Langdon
The Board appointed Tony Guerra to a one-year Director position to fill the vacancy left by Karen Tkaczyk's election as Secretary.

The newly elected officers and directors join currently serving President Corinne McKay and Directors Evelyn Yang Garland, Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner, Cristina Helmerichs, Frieda Ruppaner-Lind, and Faiza Sultan.

To learn more about ATA's governance and structure, see How ATA Works.


2017-2018 ATA Board of Directors

Standing, from left:  Directors Geoff Koby, Elena Langdon, Cristina Helmerichs, Evelyn Yang Garland, Faiza Sultan, Frieda Ruppaner-Lind, Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Tony Guerra, and Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner.

Seated, from left: Treasurer John Milan, President Corinne McKay, President-Elect Ted Wozniak, and Secretary Karen Tkaczyk.

Additional 2017 Election Results
  • Proposed ATA Bylaws Revisions: Proposed Bylaws revisions to expand voting rights to Associate members who are professionally engaged in language services and who have been members of the association for three consecutive years. The proposal failed to reach the two-thirds vote required to pass. Failed. (For 147; Against 374)
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ATA School Outreach Contest Winner 2016-2017

The 2016-2017 ATA School Outreach Contest Winner is Marybeth Timmermann. Marybeth received a free conference registration to ATA's 58th Annual Conference.



Marybeth's Story

"Why would anyone be a translator when my phone can do that automatically and for free?”

Convincing juniors and seniors that it's not all about Google Translate was the goal. Not an easy task in a Midwestern farming community with limited contact with foreign languages. But they got it!

Read more ATA School Outreach Stories on the ATA website!

The 2017-2018 School Outreach Contest is now open!

The winner will receive a free registration to ATA’s 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana (October 24-27, 2018). Visit the ATA School Outreach Contest for details!

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Coming Up in the November/December Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Reading Beyond the Lines: The Translator’s Quest for Extra-Textual Information
Looking for extra-textual information is an essential component of translation, albeit one often overlooked or taken for granted. (Nahla Baydoun, Ibrahima Diallo)

Scheduling Translation Projects
Translators, translation project managers, and any other project participants should be able to draw up schedules to ensure that they can complete their own tasks within the allocated time frame. (Nancy Matis)

You’re Not Fluent Yet! Speaking the Language of Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is a rapidly growing niche for translators. However, to get your foot in the door, you need to demonstrate to potential clients an understanding of the issues and terminology involved. (Natalie Pavey)

From Beginning to End: The Interpreted Medical Visit
During a recent medical interpreting assignment, I was reminded of how difficult this work really is and how flexible we have to be. (Elizabeth Essary)

“How Long Will It Take You to Type This in English?”
An award-winning literary translator takes us on a tour of how experienced translators organize to meet deadlines and seek to produce an accurate, readable version in their target languages. (Ros Schwartz)

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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November 1, 2017

In This Issue

T&I Advocacy Day
ATA Webinar: Games
Gode Medal Winner
ATA58 Wrap-Up
ATA & AFTI Awards
Elections 2017 Final
School Outreach Winner
The ATA Chronicle


ATA Webinars

Game Localization
November 15
12:00 noon ET
Register Now



Calendar of Events

ATA 59th Annual Conference
October 24-27, 2018
New Orleans, LA

ATA Certification Workshop
January 20, 2018
Boston, MA
Registration coming soon!

ATA Certification Exam
Upcoming schedule


Mile High Multilingual Services Advertise with ATA!