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COVID-19 and Support for ATA Members


As the world comes together to respond to COVID-19, ATA would like to take a minute to recognize the important roles translators and interpreters are playing during the crisis.

“Language matters during a pandemic. Translators and interpreters are essential to how our society makes sense of public health and guidance.” Ted Wozniak, ATA President

As always, thank you for your service to the global community and your ATA membership.

Free ATA58 Virtual Conference

ATA would like to encourage members to see downtime as an opportunity to strengthen their skills and stay connected to their passion for languages. To support that goal, we have made the ATA58 Annual Conference recordings available for free to all members.

This virtual conference offers 49 sessions, ranging from law to medicine, business to literary translation, science to government, and more. We are confident there is something here for everyone. Click Free ATA58 Virtual Conference to begin watching.

ATA Members and the CARES Act

Last week, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The legislation is intended to lessen economic impact of the nationwide economic shutdown.

ATA has summarized the major provisions that are most likely to affect ATA members, both individual and corporate. Click to read ATA Members and the CARES Act.

Do you have a resource to share?

ATA is compiling a list of business resources to assist translators and interpreters during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources will be posted to ATA’s website. If you have a useful resource to share, please go to ATA Resources for Translators and Interpreters and submit. We are looking for links specifically related to business management, continuing education, and COVID-19 information sources.

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Industry News


Language Barriers Hamper Coronavirus Response
The Hill (DC) (03/22/20) Moreno, Edward; Bernal, Rafael

Non-English-speaking communities are increasingly concerned that information on coronavirus (COVID-19) is being communicated to them after the rest of the country and in less detail, creating a divide that could put minority groups at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has Spanish and Simplified Chinese translations for its main COVID-19 website, but without all the resources that are available on the English-language site. And public service announcements produced by the federal government that come out in English sometimes aren't followed by a Spanish translation until the following day.

"Our federal government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone in our communities—whether they speak English, Spanish, or any other language—has access to the same public health information on the coronavirus crisis," said Representative Joaquín Castro, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). "It's unacceptable that the government is falling behind in distributing translations of critical life-saving guidance in other languages commonly used in the U.S. beyond English," Castro said.

On Monday last week, the White House and the CDC produced a set of coronavirus guidelines asking Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to stay in their homes as much as possible for at least 15 days. However, a Spanish-language version of those same guidelines was not released until Tuesday.

"There's no excuse for this administration failing to provide public health recommendations in Spanish at the same time the information was made available in English on the CDC and White House websites," said Representative Tony Cardenas, chairman of Bold PAC, a CHC committee.

"At the very least, you could do the top five languages spoken by those who are of limited English proficiency, which are Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog," said Representative Judy Chu, chairperson of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Chu joined Representative Nydia Velázquez to urge the CDC to make its information available in those five languages. Chu said she would appeal to her colleagues in the Tri-Caucus—the CHC, CAPAC, and Congressional Black Caucus—to demand that language inclusion be a part of the third coronavirus stimulus bill. "We need to have a Tri-Caucus push on this," Chu said.

The language groups affected by a lack of information are diverse and spread across the country. According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 25 million Americans did not speak English proficiently in 2015. According to Juliet Choi, executive vice president and chief of staff of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, that figure includes six million Asian-Americans and 100,000 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. "When we need to communicate with the public, especially in times of crisis, we need to think about this, plan for it, and allocate adequate resources upfront," Choi said. "Otherwise we're really creating unnecessary additional layers of barriers toward ensuring that our communities are safe, healthy, and well informed."
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Boston Delivers Multilingual Pamphlets on Coronavirus to Homes Across City
The Boston Globe (MA) (03/21/20) Fox, Jeremy

Last week, an estimated 1,000 city employees and volunteers set out to distribute multilingual information packets on the coronavirus (COVID-19) to every home in Boston, informing residents about ways to avoid spreading the illness and about resources provided by the city, including sites to access food.

At Town Field in Dorchester, volunteers gathered around 9:00 a.m. to pick up reusable plastic shopping bags filled with heavy stacks of the packets, along with blue rubber gloves and hand sanitizer, before dispersing throughout the neighborhood. They were asked to strictly follow the guidance of public health officials about keeping physical distance from others and told not to try to speak to residents to minimize interactions. Residents were also asked not to step outside while the information was being delivered.

Dorchester resident Jeffrey Doucette, who has ample experience going door to door as a volunteer for political campaigns, said it was nice to get out and see his neighbors emerging from their homes, even if he only saw most from across the street. "A lot of people were very, very appreciative. It's actually kind of nice that people are outside and being very neighborly," Doucette said.

Neighbors who saw Doucette approaching their homes promised to share the information with others in their households and apartment buildings. "It was nice to see people being willing to spread information that was being given out," he said. Doucette added that he was touched by the gratitude and sense of community. "Hopefully that gratitude for what others are doing will be the lasting effect after this crisis is over."

According to city officials, the text in the packets included information in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, and Russian. The city offers guidance and information on the new coronavirus in additional languages at www.Boston.gov/coronavirus, through the Mayor's Health Line at (617) 534-5050, and through interpreters available through the city's 311 telephone service.
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Low-Income Immigrants Face Insurance/Language Barriers Amid Pandemic
Vox (DC) (03/13/20) Kim, Catherine

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeps across the nation, many from low-income immigrant communities are particularly vulnerable.

According to a 2019 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, while only eight percent of citizens are uninsured, that number rises to 23% among immigrants with legal status. Meanwhile, among undocumented immigrants, uninsured rates increase to 45%.

But health coverage isn't the only obstacle low-income immigrants face. Language barriers make it difficult for them to access information on prevention, testing, and quarantine guidelines. According to Edgar Chavez, chief executive officer of the Universal Community Health Center in Los Angeles, support for this community has mainly come from states, local community clinics, and organizers. Chavez said it's mostly fallen on their shoulders to quell anxiety over a public health crisis, provide accurate information on prevention in multiple languages, and offer adequate health care for little pay. Even then, it's not enough to provide immigrant communities the support they need during a health crisis like this, as resources remain scarce and misinformation runs rampant. "It's a ripe situation for us to have an outbreak in the underserved community because they're not coming in to get the proper information or even get properly diagnosed," Chavez said.

Then there's the fear surrounding citizenship status that's driving immigrants away from seeking appropriate help. Shannon McConville, a senior research associate at the Public Policy Institute of California, says that undocumented immigrants are more likely to shy away from health care facilities because they want to avoid being reported.

This is where community clinics, which do not ask for citizenship status, have been stepping up to help. Chavez says community clinics are often seen as trusted and safe institutions within local immigrant groups and provide services in people's native languages, which is why their education methods are so effective. "We're trying to give them as much as we can like a safety blanket, letting them know that we're here if they need us, we're going to see them, and we're not going to close our doors," Chavez said.

Clinics are also getting creative in their outreach efforts. When the Academy of Medical and Public Health Services—a member of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) that serves mainly Filipino and Chinese immigrants—realized that its clients were being flooded with misinformation, it began reaching out with information via WeChat, which is a popular mode of communication within the community. According to Seongeun Chun, senior manager of health policy at NYIC, the group has been translating official government responses to COVID-19 in languages like Mandarin to ensure that immigrants get the most accurate updates possible.

Help also extends beyond just providing information about COVID-19. Doug Olson, a practitioner in Connecticut and vice president of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU), said his community clinics also connect patients with necessary resources as people begin to stockpile in preparation of an escalation of the outbreak. Some have even modestly sized food banks located within the health care facility to provide more direct aid, he added.

"Epidemics don't discriminate," said Louise McCarthy, president of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles. "They don't discriminate based on your documentation status, based on your income, or anything, and health care shouldn't discriminate, either."
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Bill to Boost Bilingual Access in the House
Language Magazine (CA) (03/17/20)

Last month, Representative Raúl Grijalva introduced the Supporting Young Language Learners' Access to Bilingual Education (SYLLABLE) Act in the House of Representatives. The bill helps establish high-quality dual-language immersion programs in communities with high numbers of low-income families and supports those programs from pre-K to 5th grade.

"Today, bilingualism is an asset in our multicultural society and provides our students with more job opportunities in the economy of the future," Grijalva said. "The SYLLABLE Act recognizes that importance, supports dual-language programs in low-income communities, and ensures that every child has access to new educational opportunities that prepare them for a successful future."

Studies show both native English speakers and English Learners in dual-language immersion programs benefit from bilingual education and experience substantial gains in language, literacy, and math. While these programs remain in high demand across the country, they tend to cluster in affluent communities that provide limited access to low-income students.

"The SYLLABLE Act opens the doors of opportunity to the students who benefit from dual-language learning immersion programs the most," Grijalva said. "Investments in creative programs like these are a significant step forward toward closing the achievement gap and helping our students reach their full potential."
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ATA News


Free On-Demand: InterpretAmerica 2020

On March 26, InterpretAmerica held a two-hour online panel to discuss how to ensure professional interpreting services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Attended by more than 1,500 translators, interpreters, company owners, buyers, and consumers, the panel’s speakers addressed the financial fallout in the interpreting business and what steps we can take to recover and move forward.

ATA President Ted Wozniak, who was one of the panelists, pointed to translation and interpreting associations for the support, community, advocacy, and information sharing they provide.

A recording of the event is now available on demand at no cost. Don’t miss it!
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We are a community—connect and share!

COVID-19 has disrupted the translation and interpreting marketplace in ways we could not have imagined three weeks ago. This is going to be a real challenge. But as an ATA member, you don't have to go it alone.
  • ATA Division Listservs provide opportunities to share and discuss everything from terminology to options for going forward. Login now to join a division.

  • More than 800 members follow the ATA Business Practices Listserv. Discussions range from contracts to payment practices to the latest scams. The support is real and practical. Request to join.

  • The ATA Chronicle-Online keeps members up to date on technology, business, and translation and interpreting practices. Read "Watch Your Back for a Recession" in the January/February 2020 issue.

  • ATA Social Media is terrific for connecting with translators and interpreters and keeping up with ideas, webinars, podcasts, and the latest T&I news around the world. Use #atanet or #ataconnect.

Questions? Need more information?
Remember, ATA is here to support you, both now and in the future. Please do not hesitate to let your association know how it can support you in your professional life. Staff are available 9 to 5 EDT! Call us at +1-703-683-6100, extension 3001, or email ata@atanet.org.
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Upcoming ATA Webinars

Check out these upcoming ATA webinars. Remember, members save 25% on registration, and every registration includes an on-demand recording of the live event!
  • Personal Branding 101
    Presenter: Ben Karl
    Date: April 7
    Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Level: All
    CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

    Personal branding is no longer the exclusive domain of celebrities like Oprah, Madonna, and Kimye. It is something that everyone—especially freelance professionals—can use to drive their business. Let Presenter Ben Karl will show you how! [more]

    Register now! ATA Members $45 Non-Member $60
  • Becoming a Court Interpreter in California
    Presenter: Jennifer De La Cruz
    Date: April 25
    Time: 2 pm U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Level: All
    CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

    What does it take to work as an interpreter in the California court system? Attend this webinar to find out! You'll learn what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed, the basic structure of the California courts, resources to prepare for the proficiency exams, and exercises to evaluate your readiness to become certified or registered in the state. [more]

    Register now! ATA Members $45 Non-Member $60

  • How to Utilize LinkedIn to Reach Your Ideal Clients
    Presenter: Madalena Sanchez Zampaulo
    Date: May 7
    Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Level: All
    CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

    Many freelancers set up a LinkedIn account because they know it’s what professionals do. Then, they promptly let their profile collect dust—and wonder why it doesn't bring in much business. Is this you? Don’t let the marketing power of LinkedIn slip through your fingers! Attend this webinar to learn how a few key strategies can make a differece in reaching your ideal clients and expanding your referral network. [more]

    Register now! ATA Members $45 Non-Member $60
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In the March/April Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Studying the Emotional Aspects of Online Learning
Emotional aspects in learning processes have been considered (at best) of secondary importance, but they’re essential for any learning to take place. (Diego Mansilla)

Creating New Terminology: Do Translators Really Do This?
Technical material is authored to achieve clarity. Therefore, new terms must not be coined randomly. This article will introduce readers to the principles of term formation covered in international standard ISO 704 Terminology Work-Principles and Methods. (Barbara Inge Karsch)

Why You Should Care about Terminology Management
If proactive terminology management before starting a translation is currently not part of your routine, here are some compelling reasons to change your ways. (Uwe Muegge)

Bring Your “A” Game to Video Game Localization
Video games require translators to take so much more than the translatable text into account. From in-game scripts to packaging and marketing, video games offer a broad spectrum of content guaranteed to keep translators engaged and entertained—and challenged! (Marina Ilari)

Subtitling and Closed-Captioning Software
What should you be looking for in audiovisual software? After looking at what’s come before, we’ll review some of the features that are a must for translators working with subtitling and closed-captioning software. (Deborah Wexler)

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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The ATA Podcast

News summaries © copyright 2020 SmithBucklin

April 1, 2020

In This Issue

COVID-19 and Support
InterpretAmerica 2020
Connect and Share
Upcoming Webinars
The ATA Chronicle



Next ATA Webinar


ATA Webinar Series

Personal Branding 101
April 7
12 noon EDT
Register now!

Becoming a Court Interpreter in California
April 25
2 pm EDT
Register now!

LinkedIn Strategies to Reach Clients
May 7
12 noon EDT
Register now!


Advocate for Your Profession


Calendar of Events

ATA School Outreach Contest Deadline
July 18, 2020
Learn more

ATA Certification Workshop
August 15, 2020
Atlanta, GA
Register now

ATA 61st Annual Conference
October 21-24, 2020
Boston, MA
Registration opens July 2020

XXII FIT World Congress
December 3-5
Varadero, Cuba
Save the date!

See ATA's Online Calendar for translation & interpreting events around the world.



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The ATA Chronicle
The ATA Chronicle March/April 2020
University of Wisconsin Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Middlebury Institute of International Studies