When "More is More"
In a world of information overload, less is often more. Think of website or marketing copy where short and sweet is best. But when it comes to working with professional communicators, the more time and energy you invest in getting your message right, the more time, money, and headaches you save down the line.
ATA’s PR Committee states the case for translators and interpreters in its latest client outreach article "When It Comes to Communication, More Is More."
Over the past two years, ATA's Public Relations Committee has written ten client-education articles for business and trade association magazines. This direct approach to reach the individuals responsible for contracting translation and interpreting services is only one of the Committee's outreach campaigns. Check out the podcast below to learn more.
ATA's Public Relations Program
Listen in to Episode 16 of The ATA Podcast for a big picture view of the Public Relations Committee's work to get translators and interpreters noticed and employed.
Your ATA Membership Dues at Work
While ATA's Public Relations Committee members are all volunteers, ATA does work with an outside public relations firm to publish articles in business magazines.
When you renew your ATA membership for 2018, remember that your dues support this public relations campaign. It's important. If we don't reach out to educate clients, who will?
California Court Commissioner Disciplined for Abusive Behavior toward Interpreter
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) (10/04/17) Egelko, Bob
Longtime Alameda County, California, Superior Court Commissioner Mark Kliszewski has been reprimanded by the state judicial disciplinary agency for insulting and cursing at a court interpreter and allowing staff members to make racist and sexist comments in his courtroom. This is the third time the Commission on Judicial Performance has publicly disciplined Kliszewski.
In its public reprimand, the Commission noted that between 2010 and 2015, Kliszewski made numerous insulting and derogatory remarks to staffers about a court interpreter, sometimes in her presence. After being notified by a staff member in 2010 that the interpreter had reported his remarks to her supervisor, Kliszewski referred to her as a "f—bitch."
Kliszewski was also cited for permitting members in juvenile court to "routinely make offensive and inappropriate comments" in the courtroom, some of them racial or sexual in nature, when the court was out of session. The Commission says that although Kliszewski claims he requested staffers to "tone down" their remarks, he was unable to stop them and sometimes laughed at the comments.
The Commission states that Kliszewski was suspended without pay for two weeks in 1996 for "discourteous and improper treatment" of a female social worker in his courtroom. He was suspended without pay for 120 days in 2000 for misconduct, including misrepresentations in his campaign literature during an unsuccessful election campaign for Superior Court judge.
The Commission says Kliszewski's conduct is in violation of a judicial officer's duties "to maintain high standards of conduct, to refrain from exhibiting bias, and to be patient, dignified, and courteous to people in his courtroom."
French Schoolteachers Push for 'Gender Neutral' Grammar
The Telegraph (United Kingdom) (11/08/17) Samuel, Henry
Citing inherent sexism in French grammar, 314 French teachers say they will stop marking alternatives to male-dominated rules as incorrect. The teachers' push for "gender neutral" grammar clashes with the Académie Française, which has warned that movements to make French more gender neutral is placing the language in "mortal peril."
The teachers' call to action comes amid soul-searching in France over wider gender inequality following the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. In an opinion piece appearing on www.slate.fr, the teachers state that the time has come to eliminate grammatical rules dictating that "masculine trumps feminine" in terms of plural nouns.
Under the standard rules, a male and a female friend are described as amis, while two or more friends are called amies only when no men are included.
The teachers point out that the rule dates back to the 17th century, but was only imposed en masse when primary schooling became compulsory in the late 19th century. The teachers argue that the rule was applied for "political" rather than linguistic reasons, citing a 17th-century book on French linguistic "purity" by Scipio Dupleix, who was appointed by Louis XIII as a historiographer of France and a councillor of the state. Dupleix wrote: "Because the masculine gender is more noble, it takes precedence alone against two or several feminines, even if these are closer to their adjective."
The teachers argue that this rule contributed to a mindset in which "men and women accept the dominance of one sex over another." They propose three possible alternatives. The first, once commonplace in France, is that adjectives take the gender of the noun nearest to them, even when one is masculine and one is feminine. An example would be les hommes et les femmes sont belles, not beaux (men and women are good-looking). The second option is that a "majority agreement" takes precedence, whereby an adjective agrees with the higher number of masculine or feminine nouns. For example, Deux hommes et trois femmes sont belles (two men and three women are good-looking). The third option would be to leave the gender up to the writer.
The teachers urge French teachers around the world to start adopting the new rules. However, many say the proposed rules will butcher the French language. Among them is Sir Michael Edwards, the only British member of the Académie Française, who branded the unwieldy gender-neutral words "gibberish." A poet and professor from London, Edwards says that he has no objection to feminism. "My objection against a chopped-up, erroneous French is strictly linguistic."
Chinese Firm Blames Incorrectly Labeled Ingredient on Mistranslation
Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (MD) (11/07/17) Brennan, Zachary
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning letter to the Guangdong Zhanjiang Jimin Pharmaceutical Company in China following its discovery that one of the over-the-counter drugs the firm made was mislabeled.
The label stated that the product contained the active pharmaceutical ingredient hydrocortisone, when in fact it contained dexamethasone acetate. The drugmaker told the FDA that "a translation mistake" was to blame for the confusion on the label for its Piyanping Anti-Itch Lotion. In its warning letter, the FDA notes that the company's quality unit approved multiple lots of the drug to be distributed in the U.S. with the incorrect active ingredient listed on the label.
Although all lots of the drug shipped to the U.S. were recalled in August, the FDA says the company failed to provide additional details concerning how its quality unit failed to detect the mistranslation and the steps being taken to prevent a recurrence. During a five-day inspection in May, the FDA also found that the company failed to test its drug products for identity and the strength of active ingredients prior to release and distribution.
Interpreting Deaf Suspect Is Complicating Murder Trial
TwinCities.com (MN) (11/08/17) Gurnon, Emily
Problems encountered while interpreting for a deaf man arrested on suspicion of murder in St. Paul, Minnesota, is complicating his trial. Michael Sherman is charged with the murder of Lelia Kim Scott, who died in January after being hit on the head and neck by a baseball bat. Sherman does not deny killing her, but argues he was defending himself. The two were in a dispute over a prostitution deal.
The problems began while Sherman waited for an interpreter in an interview room following his arrest. During that time, Sherman "talked" to himself—sometimes he made facial expressions, gestured in American Sign Language (ASL), or finger-spelled words. A prosecutor has argued that Sherman implicated himself in some of this "talk," which was videotaped.
Among the state's witnesses called so far is Albert Walla, a deaf teacher of ASL at the University of Minnesota. Prosecutor Rosita Severin initially called Walla and his wife and business partner, Jill Hartman, to work as a team to interpret what Sherman said while in the police interview room. (Hartman is a hearing person and also communicates in ASL.) However, Judge Teresa Warner stated Walla would have to interpret by himself, with the court-appointed interpreters relaying his testimony. But the interpreters paused frequently and talked among themselves, apparently confused by Walla's testimony.
"I am very concerned that it takes three very qualified court interpreters, one of whom is a certified deaf interpreter, to simply interpret what this witness is telling the jury," says Defense Attorney Murad Mohammad.
After the jury left for the day, the four court interpreters approached the judge's bench, stating they had some concerns about their role in relation to Walla. One suggested that Walla merely spell out English words that might approximate the sign. On the other hand, without context, it can be difficult to know whether an interpreter is conveying a verb or a noun, for instance, at any particular time. And the signs can't necessarily be interpreted into English words.
At the conclusion of Walla's testimony, Mohammad told Warner he was "concerned about Mr. Walla's ability to convey what he's seeing in the video."
Marty Barnum, director of Communication Service for the Deaf, a nonprofit organization, has been watching much of the trial. She says court interpreting is complicated when it involves ASL and that context is important. She notes there seemed to be confusion about whether Walla's role was to give an English equivalent to Sherman's signs or assign a meaning. "In a trial of this nature, the stakes are high and the need is to be as accurate as possible."
Indiana Agency Providing Few Language Services for Refugees
Indianapolis Star (IN) (11/27/17) Wang, Stephanie
Advocates for refugees and immigrants in Indiana say the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) could be unfairly discriminating against them by failing to provide sufficient language services. The agency's language accommodations are mostly limited to offering the written driver's exam in 14 languages, chosen according to the state's population. The test can be read aloud in English to a person who has a disability, lacks basic literacy skills, or has failed it twice. In addition, anyone can ask for a hearing for a special accommodation, such as scheduling the use of an interpreter to overcome a language barrier. However, advocates say refugees have little awareness of this process and that it is overly complicated.
Proponents note agencies help set up jobs and places to live for refugees when they arrive, but they do not help them obtain long-term transportation. This makes lacking a driver's license especially painful in places with limited public transit, particularly with many workplaces employing immigrants and refugees located in the suburbs.
DeeEllen Davis, a social worker and volunteer for the Wesley United Methodist Church's Refugee Faith Care Team, says some refugees resort to driving illegally or purchasing counterfeit driver's licenses. Meanwhile, the state driver's education school is considering adding a new program, English as a Second Language for Driving, to instruct non-native English speakers on driving terms and concepts.
Exodus Refugee Immigration, a resettlement agency, offers a federally funded course to teach refugees basic road safety, including what to do if they are pulled over. It runs a class in French for African refugees and has completed one in Arabic. "Any help the BMV can provide to these populations would be really appreciated and really help them maintain their independence as they're starting new lives here," says Exodus Refugee Executive Director Cole Varga.
Tawada and Bernofsky Win Inaugural Women in Translation Prize
The Bookseller (United Kingdom) (11/16/17) Onwuemezi, Natasha
The inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation was awarded to Memoirs of a Polar Bear, written by Yoko Tawada and translated by Susan Bernofsky. The novel concerns three generations of polar bears who live and move in human society, which the judges describe as "unusual, funny, and sad at the same time, personal and yet very political."
The judges also note: "Human society has rarely been described with such acuity nor seemed so strangely wayward. Magical fantasy collides with brutish political demagoguery. Susan Bernofsky's deft and delightful translation revels in the disorienting wit and unsettling perspectives of Tawada's furry stars." [Note: Susan Bernofsky was the 2015 recipient of ATA's Ungar German Translation Award.]
The Warwick Prize is awarded to an English-language translation of a literary work written by a woman writer and published in the U.K. or Ireland, with the prize shared equally between the writer and translator. The prize's mission is to correct the gender imbalance in translated literature and to boost the number of international women's voices accessible by a U.K. and Irish readership.
ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
Many candidates who fail the ATA Certification Exam are surprised and wonder how—after so many years of experience—they did not pass. With only a 20% pass rate, the exam is definitely difficult. This workshop will help you better prepare for the challenge!
The workshop is broken out into morning and afternoon sessions. Both workshops are limited to 25 participants.Guarantee your place by registering now!
- Session I (9:00am – 12:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA English>Spanish Certification Exam
Instructors: Rudy Heller, CT, and Diego Mansilla, CT
Learn more and register!
- Session II (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
Preparing for an ATA Into-English Certification Exam
Instructors: Andy Klatt, CT, and Bruce Popp, CT
Learn more and register!
ATA Recognizes Members
Members are and always will be ATA's greatest asset.
We'd like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank those who have supported ATA and its activities for 25 years or more (continuous membership). ATA has become what it is today because these members were there for the Association.
Visit the Chronicle-Online for a complete list of the 806 individuals, companies, and institutions who have been ATA members for 25 years or more.
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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