Attention Interpreters! New Directory Features
Interpreters now have more ways to get found in ATA's Directory of Translators and Interpreters! Check out these new options to categorize your services, experience, and expertise.
U.S. Speeds Cases of Military Interpreters Blocked by Travel Ban
Associated Press (DC) (02/11/20) Johnson, Gene
The Trump administration has agreed to expedite the cases of former U.S. military interpreters and other refugees whose efforts to emigrate to the U.S. have been stalled by the president's travel bans.
This action was cited in a settlement filed in a federal court in Seattle on February 10. It concerned more than 300 refugees who were about to be granted sanctuary in 2017 when their applications were halted as part of the president's efforts to limit travel from several mostly Muslim countries. Some of the refugees are close relatives of refugees already in the U.S., while others are from 11 nations that Trump singled out for security reasons.
"The government tried to keep refugee families apart under the pretense of national security," said Lisa Nowlin, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington, which sued along with several other organizations. "This settlement aims to undo the harmful effects of the illegal and misguided ban on refugees."
The restrictions on refugees from the 11 countries and on relatives of those already in the U.S.—known as "follow-to-join" refugees—were companion measures to Trump's broader travel bans on those seeking visas to enter the U.S., which the Supreme Court eventually allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle blocked these measures in late 2019 in consolidated lawsuits filed by the ACLU, Jewish Family Services, International Refugee Assistance Project, and other organizations. They claimed that the bans were discriminatory, arbitrary, and violated due process rights. By the time Robart agreed to block the bans, hundreds of refugees had their cases upended, leaving them in administrative limbo. For many, background checks, medical clearances, or other required documentation had expired by the time the bans were revoked. That meant they had to begin the process over again.
Plaintiffs included former U.S. military interpreters in Iraq, who sued under pseudonyms because they could face threats if their identities went public. Others were refugees who had petitioned to have their spouses and children join them in the U.S. from camps in Kenya, Uganda, and elsewhere. One plaintiff, Allen Vaught, a war veteran from Dallas, said the refugee ban "derailed efforts to get my last surviving Iraqi interpreter, who served bravely alongside U.S. military forces for many years, to the U.S."
The settlement doesn't mean automatic admission for the refugees, but the government agreed to move their cases to the head of the processing queue. "What the administration did really messed up their [refugees] cases," said Mariko Hirose, litigation director for the International Refugee Assistance Project. "This settlement is aimed at making sure that people who were affected by the ban are able to get their cases adjudicated and hopefully come to the U.S. very quickly."
Judge Rejects Lawsuit over Trump's Lack of Records of Meetings with Foreign Leaders
The Hill (DC) (02/11/20) Coleman, Justine
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has rejected a lawsuit against President Trump over not retaining records of his meetings with foreign leaders.
Jackson ruled that past legal precedents stated she cannot monitor the White House's enforcement of laws on how executive branch records are kept. Because the lawsuit concerns how the White House acted, instead of the legality of the policies on keeping records, she said she doesn't have the power to ensure the White House followed those policies.
"The Court is bound by circuit court precedent to find that it lacks authority to oversee the president's day-to-day compliance with the statutory provisions involved in this case," Jackson said. "This opinion will not address, and should not be interpreted to endorse, the challenged practices; nor does it include any finding that the Executive Office of the President is in compliance with its obligations."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the National Security Archive, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) filed the lawsuit after reports found that the White House allegedly was not complying with record-keeping mandates. The plaintiffs claimed that U.S. State Department officials, including language interpreters, were excluded from meetings with foreign officials, including those between the president and Russian or North Korean officials, and between President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Saudi officials.
"We're obviously disappointed to see today's ruling," said CREW Spokesperson Jordan Libowitz. "Our legal team is currently reviewing it to determine any potential future action." National Security Archive Spokesperson Lauren Harper said an appeal to the Washington, DC Circuit Court was planned. "The big takeaways for us on this case are that Judge Jackson effectively calls on Congress to revisit the records laws and the unfettered control of the Executive," Libowitz said.
SHAFR President Kristin Hoganson called the dismissal "a hit to our nation's documentary record." She also warned that "allowing the president to cut deals with foreign leaders without leaving any kind of record harms our democracy as well as our security."
Iowa Senate Bill Proposes Eliminating Sign Language Board, Licensing for Interpreters
The Daily Iowan (IA) (02/16/20) Harrell, Kelsey
A key senator in the Iowa Senate has proposed shelving a bill introduced in January calling for the elimination of the state's Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliteraters and the licensing of interpreters.
Senator Jason Schultz, chair of the subcommittee for the bill, proposed shelving the legislation after receiving feedback from the deaf community and sign language interpreters. Schultz had previously stated that the measure was part of a state initiative to gauge the appropriate level of government regulation and participation in boards and licensing.
In a joint letter criticizing the bill, the Iowa Association for the Deaf and other advocacy organizations for the deaf and hard of hearing community outlined reasons why lawmakers should table the bill. Advocates wrote that the deaf population would lose safeguards preventing unqualified interpreters and signers if the bill passed. They also warned that the bill would impact the quality of education deaf children receive. Proponents continued that interpreter licensure has facilitated high-quality interpreting for medical, legal, educational, and social-service scenarios. "People not qualified to interpret will be sought more because of lower pay rather than whether they can effectively communicate in the language preference of the deaf person," the signatories wrote.
Lawmakers heard arguments for and against the bill earlier this month, but Schultz said legislators were unaware beforehand that the number of states that license American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters is expanding. He also said a private-sector organization that could substitute for governmental involvement with licensure doesn't currently exist.
Given the lack of an alternative, Schultz said he would recommend the bill's tabling to Senate State Government Committee Chair Senator Roby Smith. Senator Claire Celsi said that deaf individuals and interpreters also told her that removing the Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliteraters would disrupt the deaf community.
Schultz and Celsi also stated that fellow subcommittee member Senator Zach Whiting asked the interpreters at the meeting if technology could be used as a substitute for their positions. A deaf man responded that although phone applications to transcribe speech exist, ASL has a different grammatical structure and other distinctions that prevent consistently accurate translation from English, while some community members don't speak English as a first language.
"After everyone spoke, it was crystal clear that we need this Board in Iowa, and deaf and hard of hearing people need us to stand up for them and say, 'No, we're not getting rid of this Board because it's absolutely crucial that we have it,'" Celsi said.
New York City Comptroller Pitches Interpreter Bank to Provide More Language Services
AM New York (NY) (02/12/20) Pozarycki, Robert
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said he's asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to consider establishing a Community Legal Interpreter Bank "to recruit, train, and dispatch legal interpreters to legal services organizations across the city."
This would help address a serious problem affecting thousands of residents who speak a language other than English. "Language impacts every aspect of life, and too many New Yorkers who speak languages of limited diffusion are underserved and deprived of basic services due to a lack of quality frontline interpreters," Stringer said. "This has to change."
The interpreter bank was proposed by community organizations representing immigrants in New York City, including African Communities Together, the Mexican American Students' Alliance, the Asian American Foundation, and the New York Immigration Coalition. Stringer wrote in his letter to de Blasio and Johnson that the concept is largely based on a proposal from Washington, DC's local government, and is crucial for helping the city and its immigrant population counter the current administration's anti-immigrant policies.
Stringer said immigrants who primarily speak languages of limited diffusion are "most vulnerable" to those policies. The U.S. Census Bureau calculates that dozens of languages are spoken by fewer than 5,000 people across New York City's five boroughs, which complicates finding interpreters for such languages to help people in legal matters.
Stringer has requested $2.25 million in city funding to launch the interpreter bank, and another $750,000 to roll out three "language services worker-owned cooperatives" to deliver "an estimated 25,000 hours" of interpreting services for New Yorkers who speak languages of limited diffusion.
Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, lauded Stringer's initiative. "Despite the fact that New York City has one of the most inclusive and expansive language access laws in the country, there are still thousands of hard-working families who are forced to navigate complex government and court systems without access to appropriate language services," he said. "These are simple and cost-effective solutions designed to make New York City work for all."
Amaha Kassa, executive director of African Communities Together, agreed, noting that "our African immigrant members are proud to be part of New York City, a place that offers the promise of inclusion and equality for all. However, without language access, that promise will never be achieved."
Santa Maria High Students in California Nationally Recognized for Work on Bilingual Yearbook
Santa Maria Times (CA) (02/04/20) Place, Laura
Students at Santa Maria High School in California have received national recognition for their work on the school's first bilingual yearbook.
The 2018-19 yearbook, entitled Pura Vida ("awesome" or "cool") is the first bilingual edition to be printed with both Spanish and English titles, quotes, and interviews. National yearbook company Walsworth Publishing highlighted the yearbook for its multicultural coverage in its November magazine.
Until now, the yearbook—previously called The Review—was only available in English. Before last year's transition to a bilingual edition, yearbook adviser Tina van den Heever said sales were behind those of other schools in the district. She hopes the bilingual versions will appeal to more families. "Sales are starting to pick up because people see that it's bilingual and the kids really enjoy looking at the book, but I'm thinking it's still going to take some time to pick up enough to see a real substantial difference," van den Heever said.
She cited the lobbying efforts of seniors Astrid Gonzalez Pacheco, Yesenia Gijon, and Brenda Ballasteros last year as critical to the yearbook's production. The three are currently working on the last yearbook of their high school tenure and say they're thrilled to continue making it more accessible to non-English- or Spanish-speaking members of the school community.
"The number of Spanish speakers is pretty high," said Gonzalez Pacheco. "A lot of parents don't speak English, so they wouldn't buy it. But this year, they were able to get a yearbook."
The yearbook translations are completed by Santa Maria High School campus translator Liliana Espinoza. Ballasteros said the class wanted to publish a bilingual yearbook to benefit parents as well as Spanish-speaking students. "We thought more people would be able to understand and participate in the activities," she explained.
Van den Heever is delighted that more students want to participate in compiling memories from the school. "It's an avenue for creativity. I tell students, 'You may not know it right now, but in 10 years you'll really appreciate this book.'"
St. Paul Minnesota to Pay $95K to Settle Deaf Woman's Discrimination Suit
Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN) (02/20/20) Nelson, Emma
The city of St. Paul, Minnesota, has agreed to pay $95,000 to settle a case brought by a deaf woman who said the St. Paul Police Department didn't provide her with a qualified interpreter when she tried to file domestic assault charges.
The St. Paul City Council approved a settlement with Catrina Hooper, who filed two lawsuits against the city alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Federal Rehabilitation Act, and Minnesota Human Rights Act. In addition to the payout, the settlement requires the St. Paul Police Department to provide certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. The lawsuits also accuse the city of violating a 2013 settlement involving a deaf man who said he was mistreated after asking for written communication during a traffic stop. The man, Douglas Bahl, claimed that a scuffle ensued in which he was sprayed with a chemical irritant and pulled from his vehicle.
According to a complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, Hooper requested a qualified ASL interpreter for a September 2014 meeting at which she planned to a file domestic assault charge against her mother. Despite Hooper's objections, the police department offered an officer who was not a qualified interpreter. When Hooper went to the police station to file her charge, officers arrested her in connection with the assault and didn't provide a qualified interpreter to communicate during the arrest.
After Hooper was released from jail, she tried again to file a domestic assault charge and provide a statement. Police officers called her multiple times, inviting her to return to the department and make her complaint. When she did, officers arrested her again, and again didn't provide an interpreter. "As a result of the defendant's actions, its failure to act, and its policies and practices, the plaintiff has suffered, and continues to suffer emotional injuries, including but not limited to, humiliation, embarrassment, and anxiety," the complaint stated. The city denied Hooper's allegations.
Under the Bahl settlement, the police department has agreed to provide qualified ASL interpreters and train its staff on the communication needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Under the Hooper settlement, the police department will amend its policy to explicitly state that the department will use only certified ASL interpreters in scheduled interviews and meetings. Supervisors will be trained on the updated policy, as will all new employees for the next four years.
"While this settlement was reached to avoid protracted litigation," City Attorney Lyndsey Olson said in a statement, "it also provides an opportunity to expand city policy to ensure we're better responding to the needs of everyone in our community."
Is Your ATA Membership Ending Tomorrow?
If you haven't renewed yet, your ATA membership will end February 29. Don't lose your most important professional resource. Renew now!
Take time to download your ATA membership card. Simply login to the Members Only area of the ATA website and click the Membership Card link in the menu bar.
Upcoming ATA Webinars
Members save 25% on ATA webinars!
Too busy to attend? You can register for one or both of these webinars and links to the recordings will be emailed to you following the live events.
- Understanding Remote Simultaneous Interpreting
Presenter: Liz Essary
Date: March 18
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
Level: Beginner, Intermediate
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved
Remote simultaneous interpreting, or RSI, is here to stay. Will you sit on the sidelines or get on board?
Attend this webinar for a big-picture look at RSI and its applications. You'll learn how RSI differs from video remote interpreting (VRI) and over-the-phone interpreting (OPI), the challenges of adding RSI services to your business, and the questions to ask when considering an RSI job. [more]
Register now! ATA Members $45 Non-Member $60
- Personal Branding 101
Presenter: Ben Karl
Date: April 7
Time: 12 noon U.S. Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes
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 create and use to drive their business. By the end of the presentation, you'll have a first draft of your own personal brand. [more]
Register now! ATA Members $45 Non-Member $60
Are You Using the Correct ATA Logo?
Your membership in ATA signals a commitment to quality and ethical practices, and there's no better way to show that commitment than by using the ATA member logo on your website, business cards, and print marketing. But first, be sure you're using the correct version.
What's the correct version of the ATA logo?
If the full name of the association is not included in the logo design, then your logo is out of date and can no longer be used.
Have you seen more than one ATA logo design?
Probably! There are actually four designs, each designated for a specific purpose. Here's how to identify which one to use where:
How can I get the ATA logo?
- Logo for print material: full name of the association + tagline
- Logo for website: full name of the association + membership category
- Logo for business cards: full name of the association + the word "Member"
- Logo for email signature: same as for a business card, downsized to fit a signature block
Send an email request to ATA Headquarters. You must include your membership number. Please allow five business days for your request to be verified.
Don't forget to read the ATA Logo Usage Guidelines
It's important to know the dos and don'ts before you get started. Click to read the ATA Logo Usage Guidelines now.
Take the Challenge! Become an ATA-Certified Translator!
The ATA Certification exam is challenging, even for those with experience. Don't miss this opportunity to prepare.
ATA Certification Exam Prep Workshop
August 15, 2020 • Atlanta, Georgia
Session I (9:00am – 12:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA English>Spanish Certification Exam (Instructor: Diego Mansilla, CT)
Session II (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
Preparing for the ATA Spanish>English Certification Exam (Instructor: Holly Mikkelson, CT)
Attend one or both of these workshops to increase your chances of passing the exam. Actual exam practice tests will be used as examples throughout the sessions.
What do the sessions cover?
Take advantage of discounted rates, available until July 31.
- How exams are graded.
- Mistakes frequently made by test-takers and how to avoid them.
- Tips for preparing for the exam sitting.
Limited seating! Both workshops are limited to 25 participants to ensure individual attention and an optimal learning experience. These workshops will not be recorded.
For more information on the ATA Certification Program, go to www.atanet.org/certification.
Last Weekend to Watch This Month's Free ATA Webinar
Don’t miss this month’s free ATA webinar. This is how your membership works for you!
Agencies vs. Freelancers? A Market Analysis
Technology and internationalization have given freelancers the tools to work globally, as agencies are going high-tech and controlling a larger share of the market. Have these movements in our industry created an "us vs. them" mentality? Are agencies and freelancers destined to be at odds with one another?
It's time to analyze where we are in the present in order to plan for where we could be in the future.
The latest edition of Translatio, the quarterly newsletter of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), is available for download from FIT's website.
In addition to coverage of ATA’s 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, this issue highlights FIT’s upcoming 22nd World Congress in Cuba (December 3-5, 2020). The issue also reports on activities and events in Denmark, Germany, Panama, Canada, Cuba, France, Colombia, Belgium, Mexico, and Argentina.
Did You Miss Your Division’s Move to Groups.io?
Following last fall's announcement that Yahoo Groups would no longer offer web-based listserv services, ATA moved its Division listservs to the Groups.io platform.
If you missed the transfer, or if you'd like to join an ATA Division listserv, just login to ATA's Members Only and click Divisions in the menu bar mid-page. Then click the Division listserv you'd like to join.
Note: You must be a member of the Division before you can sign up for for the group's listserv. To join a Division, click the Modify Your Divisions link at the bottom of the page.
Coming Up 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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