ATA Position Paper: Call for Comments
The ATA Board of Directors has released a draft of the first ATA position paper: Machine Translation-A Clear Approach to a Complex Topic. Login required.
ATA members are invited and encouraged to read the draft, then tell us what works and what doesn't. Use the link at the end of the document to provide your feedback.
The deadline for submitting comments is September 5, 2018.
All comments will be reviewed for possible incorporation into the final version. The final draft is expected to represent a consensus view of ATA's position on machine translation. Your input is critical to making this happen.
What is a Position Paper?
A position paper is an official document representing a group's viewpoint on a key issue. Typically the paper will define the problem or controversy, then use facts and inductive reasoning to support a particular position or recommendation. The goal of a position paper is to convince an audience that a viewpoint is logical and valid.
Position Paper or White Paper?
They are not the same. A white paper provides general information about a topic; a position paper expresses a particular viewpoint on an issue.
Set the Record Straight
Now more than ever, media outlets hype machine translation as the solution to whatever needs to be translated. The negative impact on human translation services is undeniable. Don't miss this opportunity to help ATA change the conversation.
Use the link at the bottom of the position paper draft to send us your comments. Deadline to submit is September 5.
Hospital Interpreter Program for Australian Aboriginals
Australian Broadcasting Corp. News (Australia) (07/06/18) Bamford, Matt
Interpreters have been introduced at five hospitals in Western Australia's far northern region as part of a six-month, $200,000 trial to improve Aboriginal patients' interactions with medical staff. The 22 interpreters are stationed at hospitals between Broome and Kununurra as part of a state government partnership with Aboriginal Interpreting WA.
Ainsley O'Connor, an interpreter at Broome Hospital, says growing up in a community where English was rarely spoken has provided her with a unique insight into the obstacles many Aboriginal people face when coming into contact with the health care system. "The biggest misconception with Aboriginal people is that we all speak English," she says.
Communication barriers contribute to Aboriginal people being more likely to leave the hospital against the advice of medical staff, making them vulnerable to higher death rates. According to the most recent statistics provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a quarter of Indigenous patients in Western Australia did not access a health service when needed because it was not culturally appropriate.
Stuart Costaine, a patient at Broome Hospital, says the introduction of interpreters would make hospitals a less intimidating place for Aboriginal patients. "People get frightened, they get scared, and without interpreters they find hospitals a bit hard for them," he says. "You feel happy you've got an interpreter there, and you feel safer to speak what you want to speak."
According to Western Australia Country Health Service Spokesperson Jo Gray, the interpreter program could change Aboriginals' perception of the health care system. "When you promote that we have Aboriginal language speakers, it breaks down those barriers," she says. "As an Aboriginal woman, knowing that someone speaks my language, I can go into the hospital and not feel ashamed."
Broome Hospital Resident Medical Officer Jen Alderson sees the program benefiting doctors and patients. "I think part of the problem is that Aboriginals don't necessarily understand the importance of some of the plans we're sending them home with, so having an interpreter to help clarify is very important," she says. "There's no downside. At the end of the day we're here to get the best outcomes for our patients, and if interpreters can be part of our team, that's only going to help."
Most European Students Learn a Language in School While Americans Lag Behind
Pew Research Center (DC) (08/06/18) Devlin, Kat
According to the Pew Research Center, there are significant differences between the U.S. and Europe when it comes to language education.
Learning a language is a nearly ubiquitous experience for students throughout Europe, driven in part by the fact that most European countries have national-level mandates for formally studying languages in school. No such national standard exists in the U.S., where requirements are mostly set at the school district or state level.
Across Europe, students typically begin studying their first language as a required school subject between the ages of six and nine. Furthermore, studying a second language for at least one year is compulsory in more than 20 European countries.
Overall, 92% of European students are learning a language in school. According to Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Commission, most primary and secondary school students across Europe study at least one language as part of their education. Of the 29 European nations for which data are available, 24 have a language learning rate of at least 80%, with 15 of those reaching 90% or more students enrolled in language courses. In three of the four countries with the smallest student populations—Luxembourg, Malta, and Liechtenstein—100% of students are reported to be learning a language.
Meanwhile, far fewer K-12 students in the U.S. participate in language education. According to a 2017 report from the American Councils for International Education, only 20% of K-12 students are enrolled in language classes throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Mixed emphasis on language study may reflect Americans' perceptions of what skills are necessary for workers today. In a 2016 Pew Research Center report on the state of American jobs, only 36% of Americans reported that knowing a language was an extremely or very important trait for workers to be successful in today's economy, ranking it last of eight skills for workers' success.
Siri Threatens the Icelandic Language
Ozy (CA) (07/09/18) Zublin, Fiona
As the Icelandic language faces tough competition from the increasing use of English, particularly in technology, Icelandic authorities are focusing their efforts on what needs to be done to keep the language from declining.
Although Icelandic is not currently an endangered language, its future relevance to younger generations poses a growing concern. While 90% of Icelanders still speak Icelandic as their first language, recent studies have found that 30% of 13- to 15-year-olds speak English with their friends. With exposure to technologies such as Siri and Alexa that are tailored to English, younger generations are increasingly learning to value English over Icelandic.
Sigridur Sigurjónsdóttir, a professor of Icelandic linguistics who has been researching the effects of English exposure on Icelanders, says exposure among the very young may be a far bigger problem. "We're now seeing very young children watching YouTube videos or Netflix, and around 40% of the three- to five-year-olds I talked to started using the internet before the age of two," she explains. "That's when you acquire your language." Sigurjónsdóttir says this indicates that Iceland's youngest citizens may not effectively absorb Icelandic grammar, even if it remains their first language. "Young people see the world as their playground, and this shapes their attitudes," Sigurjónsdóttir says. "They don't see Icelandic as useful."
Ári Páll Kristinsson, head of the Language Planning Department at the Árni Magnússon Institute of Icelandic Studies, refuses to watch the decline of the Icelandic language from the sidelines. Last year, he received funding from the Icelandic government to develop language technologies in Icelandic. The project, scheduled to launch later this year, will concentrate on speech synthesis and speech recognition in Icelandic, as well as open-source machine learning systems geared toward the language. With Icelandic versions of Siri, Alexa, and GPS, Kristinsson hopes to protect Icelandic from the encroaching use of English.
"For languages like ours, there has to be a constant effort to try to find ways to make this work," says Steinþór Steingrímsson, a project manager at the institute who focuses on language technology. "Technology-wise, we don't have to be as pessimistic as we were two or three years ago."
Kristinsson says the country's young people must find Icelandic useful and relevant to discourage them from turning to English. "If we lose the Icelandic language, there will be no Icelandic nation."
How a Sign Language Interpreter Works to Bring Music to Everyone
CNN (GA) (08/09/18) Axelrod, Josh; Ahmed, Saeed
Sitting off to the side of the main stage, Lindsay Rothschild-Cross might look like she's simply enjoying the music, but she's actually performing a valuable service—interpreting each syllable and solo with precision for deaf concertgoers using American Sign Language (ASL). Rothschild-Cross, an ASL interpreter, travels the country each summer to interpret at festivals and concerts.
When Rothschild-Cross interprets at a concert, she doesn't just show up that day and sign lyrics in real time. She'll spend weeks researching the artists, their repertoire, and learning the context for each song. When artists won't share their set list, she makes educated guesses about what they're most likely to play and then taps into the themes and emotional motifs of each song. She says she needs to understand what the artist is feeling to do her job properly. "I truly feel like artists know when an interpreter is in it for the right reasons," Rothschild-Cross says. "That's how I'm able to incorporate all their feelings." With five years of experience and a vast résumé of other ASL-related activity, Rothschild-Cross has come to a simple conclusion: "Music interpreting is its own breed."
Rothschild-Cross says that an interpreter is not just signing the words coming out of a singer's mouth; there are instruments, pitches, and noises to convey as well. Rothschild-Cross can sign for instrumental breaks or even beat-boxing. She'll sometimes add qualifiers—descriptive adjectives or adverbs—while miming an air guitar or flute solo to express the full breadth of the music. For longer notes or held-out sounds, she will hold out the sign as well. She indicates a higher pitch with a scrunched-up tight face and a lower pitch with puffed-out cheeks. She is plugged into the stage with a sound pack to tap directly into the artist's sound. Rothschild-Cross works with a team of two to three interpreters who are stationed around the venue. They switch off every few songs and stand in the back and along the side to sign notes and provide guidance to the main interpreter.
Rothschild-Cross uses her job to advocate and correct misconceptions. "Some people are like, 'Why would a deaf person even go to a concert? They're deaf.' Well, why are you going to a concert? To enjoy it!" Rothschild-Cross says. "Deaf people have the right to enjoy that, too."
Despite a lack of awareness among some, many artists welcome her presence. On multiple occasions artists have come up behind her on the interpreter stage and pulled her up to the main stage, or hugged her during the concert. Rothschild-Cross says she will keep performing each summer to make music more accessible and to represent those who embrace her dynamic signing and magnetic performance. And to those who don't, she has a clear and far-reaching message: "Be open-minded and accepting of other cultures."
ATA 59th Annual Conference: You Belong Here!
More than 1,600 translators, interpreters, students, educators, and company owners will attend ATA’s 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The opportunity to network with this many colleagues only happens once a year. Don't miss this chance to build relationships and grow your referral network.
Save 30% when you register by September 14!
Advanced Skills & Training Day
Expand your conference experience, supercharge your conference education! Add an Advanced Skills & Training Day (AST Day) session to your registration. Choose from 16 masterclass workshops conducted by some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry. Limited seating to ensure individual attention for an exceptional learning opportunity. Learn more.
Job Fair Now Two Days!
(Thursday 6:00pm–8:00pm | Friday 6:00pm–8:00pm)
Two days to meet with agency reps looking to recruit translators and interpreters. Not your usual résumé and business card exchange! Keep watching the Conference website to see which agencies will be there. Learn more.
Fan Favorite! Brainstorm Networking
A fast-paced, round robin session of working in teams to solve real-world business problems. A great way to get to know colleagues and learn how someone else does it. Learn more.
Don't forget your business cards!
There's still nothing like a business card when it comes to networking. Why not add the ATA member logo to yours before you head to the conference. See the ATA Logo Usage Guidelines for details.
The best investment you can make in your business and career!
More than 170 sessions, from practical skills to business management systems, from beginner to seasoned professional—no other event can provide you with this level of professional development at this price.
Don't miss the early registration deadline. Register today!
New Orleans Marriott Room Block Close to Selling Out
More than 90% of rooms discounted for ATA59 attendees have been sold. Make your room reservation online today to guarantee you don't miss the chance to stay in the ATA59 Conference hotel.
Two additional hotels added!
If you miss the room block savings at the Marriott, visit the ATA59 Conference website for booking links to the Courtyard Marriott New Orleans and the Hampton Inn New Orleans Downtown. Same great room rates!
As with the Marriott, these room blocks are limited. And remember, ATA rates are only available until October 1 or as space allows.
The latest issue of Translatio, the International Federation of Translators' quarterly bulletin, is available for download from the organization's website. This edition announces Cuba as the site for the Federation's 2020 World Congress and renews the call to petition the UN for the protection of linguists working in conflict zones. The issue also includes a wrap-up of the organization's XXI Congress in Brisbane, Australia, where The ATA Chronicle was awarded the FIT Prize for Best Periodical.
Upcoming ATA Webinars
Two new ATA webinars have been scheduled for the fall. Pick one and register today! And don't forget that ATA members save 25% on registration!
Too busy to attend? Register now and a link to the recorded webinar will be sent to you after the live event.
Interpreting in Danger Zones
Presenter: Maha El-Metwally
Date: September 18
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-Approved
Interpreters currently working in conflict zones are routinely threatened, attacked, kidnapped, injured, killed, and imprisoned for doing their jobs. Join presenter Maha El-Metwally for a look at the conditions these interpreters face, the efforts of Red T and other organizations to assist them, and what the worldwide interpreting community can do to support their colleagues. Learn more.
Find and Keep Your Best Clients Using the 80/20 Principle
Presenter: Tess Whitty
Date: October 2
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-Approved
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, is a widely used tool in business management. Marketing guru Tess Whitty is ready to show freelancers and company owners how to take their business to the next level with six strategies based on the 80/20 rule. Learn more.
In the July/August Issue of The ATA Chronicle
ATA at “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World”: A Roundtable at the United Nations
The purpose of “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World” was to address the need for greater legal and physical protection for translators and interpreters in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict peace-building. (Lucy Gunderson)
Volunteering: Making Your Investment of Time Worthwhile
Can we, as freelance professionals, really reach a balance wherein paid work, continuing education, and volunteering each play equitable roles, all while maintaining a work-life balance? (Jamie Hartz)
Translation Scams Reloaded
Scams are on the rise in online commerce. Learn about the three most common types of fraudulent schemes in the language industry, along with steps to protect against them. (Carola F. Berger)
Translation and Interpreting in Mexico: Uncharted Territory, Rich Waters
Featuring 100 pages of demographic data, earnings information, language combinations, and educational backgrounds—the 2017 Survey on Translation and Interpretation in Mexico sheds light on the fascinating depth and breadth of translation and interpreting in Mexico. (Laura Vaughn Holcomb)
Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! Is Your Translation Business Sellable?
The theoretical ability to sell one’s business is actually a reflection of its value to others. Here’s how translators can add tangible value to their services to make their business appealing to a potential buyer. (Avi Staiman)
Translating Diagnostic Imaging
Translating diagnostic imaging reports can be a challenging but rewarding aspect of medical translation for which the translator must master the technical basics of the diagnostic imaging modality, the report structure, and the specialized source and target vocabulary. (Erin Lyons, Lori Newman)
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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