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The ATA Podcast

What's Wonderful about ATA60 in Palm Springs?

Clear blue skies. Star-filled nights. Palm trees in the desert. And a mountainside almost close enough to touch. Palm Springs is different!

From the magnificent venue to the session choices to the special events, Conference Organizer Ted Wozniak shares all the reasons why ATA60 will be super in Episode 35 of The ATA Podcast.

Listen now to Episode 35 of The ATA Podcast!

Bonus! Last year Ted gave a complete rundown of ATA59 in ATA Podcast Episode 24. The conference city was New Orleans, but the conversation covered the where, why, and what of conference events that take place every year. Episode 24 is a "big picture" view and definitely worth a listen.

  • Professional Contacts

    The ATA Conference Job Fair has become an indispensable recruitment tool. The translators we meet there are inevitably more serious, more experienced, and more reliable than the standard pool of translators sending us CVs online. They have been "pre-filtered," if you will, by the effort and expense of attending a well-recognized conference. Sara H.
  • Critical Information

    Many of my major clients had indicated that I would be a less desirable contractor if I could not work with more up-to-date CAT tools. I visited the SDL booth in the Exhibit Hall at ATA58 and had a personal walk-through of Trados, plus time to play around with the system. I would not have been confident enough to make a purchase decision without that hands-on demo. After installing the new software, a client, who was ready to find another vendor, once again became a steady source of work. The system easily paid for itself within two weeks' time. Matthew S.
  • Direct Clients

    At ATA48 in San Francisco, I met an owner of a boutique agency based in Frankfurt who was looking for financial translators. We had lunch, discussed terms. I have since earned more than $150,000 from this client. I spent $2,500 to attend the conference. That’s a return on my investment of more than 5,900%, or 50.6% per year. Ted W.
Early registration ends September 13. Don't miss out on the savings!

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New York University Certificate In Translation Industry Essentials

Industry News

The Strange Case of the CIA Interpreter and the 9/11 Trial
New York Times (NY) (08/14/19) Rosenberg, Carol

During a hearing in 2015 at the Guantánamo war court, a defendant recognized an interpreter from the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) black-site prison network where the U.S. tortured detainees. What followed was an epic legal entanglement.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the men charged with conspiring in the September 11 attacks, announced that he knew the Arabic interpreter sitting beside him from the secret CIA prison network. However, by revealing the man's name in open court, bin al-Shibh had undercut the government's efforts to keep under wraps the identities of most of the people who worked at the black sites. The interpreter's name, initially included in the court's daily transcript, was later redacted. Defense lawyers were secretly instructed that what occurred constituted a security breach, and that they were bound by a national security directive to keep quiet. The revelation derailed a week of pretrial hearings and was the start of one of the strangest and most complex chapters in the September 11 case's pretrial hearings.

The interpreter hasn't been seen publicly at Guantánamo since, and now defense lawyers and prosecutors claim they didn't know about the man's past when he was assigned to interpret for the defendants. Sources with knowledge of the case confirmed that the interpreter had worked for the CIA and had falsified his background in interviews with defense lawyers when he was assigned to the Guantánamo trial.

The episode offers a graphic illustration of why the effort to try, convict, and execute the five men accused of conspiring in the September 11 hijackings has been mired in pretrial hearings since 2012. In the years since bin al-Shibh recognized the interpreter, defense lawyers sought to question him to help them develop their arguments to avert a death-penalty trial for their clients. They claim information from the interpreter could strengthen their defense theory that the Bush administration miscarried justice by torturing the suspects in the black sites rather than taking them to the U.S. for trial. They also want to know if the interpreter can fill in gaps left by the CIA's destruction of evidence, to argue that the defendants have been deprived of due process.

The interpreter's testimony has taken on greater importance, the lawyers say, because he may be a rare eyewitness to how the defendants were held and interrogated in the black sites.

Prosecutors are determined to stop the testimony—or at least restrict it to a secret session. They have warned the judge that opting for open-court testimony, even if communicated in a way that concealed the interpreter's identity and distorted his voice, would prompt the government to cite a national security privilege and deny his testimony altogether. However, a judge could freeze the proceedings until the government permits the testimony.

Prosecutor Clayton Trivett admitted in court that the interpreter's identity had been publicized, but said he and his family would be in danger even if he were to testify anonymously. The interpreter's name has now been officially classified. Although English is the interpreter's second language and he has an accent, Trivett warned that a foreign intelligence agent who somehow managed to hear the testimony could theoretically track him down.

Anne FitzGerald, an investigator with Amnesty International in London, who saw the interpreter episode occur in the courtroom at Guantánamo in 2015, calls the tug-of-war over his testimony "some sort of metaphor for the whole process," which has dragged on for years with few signs of coming to a close anytime soon. "It was so bizarre in the first place that he appeared in court," FitzGerald says. "Either it was an enormous oversight on somebody's part, or not. So it's equally bizarre that they've taken four years to figure out what to do about it."
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Hunting for the Holy Grail of Digital Language Translation
National Public Radio (DC) (08/20/19) Uhler, Andy

One of the most vexing challenges for artificial intelligence is language interpreting and translation, not only because there are so many languages, but because machines still have a difficult time figuring out all the nuance and context of human speech and the written word.

Translation technology has come a long way in the past few years, but there's still a lot of work to do. And what scientists really want to develop is something like that ugly creature from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Babel fish.

"That is the holy grail," says Andrew Ochoa, chief executive officer of Waverly Labs. His company plans to launch a product in November called Ambassador. It's an over-the-ear translation device that will require Wi-Fi, a smartphone, and Bluetooth. "As the information is being captured via your earphones and earbuds, that data signal is being sent through your smartphone to the cloud where it's processed and then relays back through the smartphone to the cloud," Ochoa says.

Bigger technology firms like Google and Microsoft are investing billions in artificial intelligence, including language translation. Google recently revealed that it's working on something called Translatotron, which is supposed to convert what you say into another language in your own voice simultaneously.

Dave Kemp, who runs the website FuturEar, thinks Google might find translation's holy grail before anybody else. "Google is a search company, but they're also a data company," he says. "And what they're so good at is taking their data and basically learning from their data."

In an email, Google states that it's not trying to profit directly from translation. Instead, it sees mastery of world languages as a way to extend its global reach. Kemp thinks translation will likely end up a moneymaker for Google and explained one way that might work. "Let's say that I'm in Paris and tell Google to, 'Navigate me to the best Parisian café,' and that somehow that's tied to not only the location settings but the translation," he says. "If Google perfected that piece of translation, it could sell more ads."

Lorien Pratt, chief scientist at the AI firm Quantellia, notes that what Google is perfecting is translation for everyday life, casual conversation. She says that translation technology has to advance much further for conducting business, where mistakes could cost a lot of money. "And then there's jargon-specific translation, so like if I'm a medical practitioner or a lawyer or something like that, obviously that needs extra intelligence," Pratt says.

That's the stuff businesses can't get wrong because the consequences could be far greater than using the wrong noun when you're looking for the bathroom. Pratt says the current technology is advancing quickly, but the true Babel fish is still just science fiction.
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U.S. Scraps Requirement for Mortgage Borrowers' Language Preference
Reuters (NY) (08/09/19) Schroeder, Pete

The U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has reversed a decision requiring mortgage lenders to ask what language borrowers speak, stating that the answer to this question would not reveal the "most relevant and useful" information.

Consumer groups have criticized this move, arguing that making lenders responsible for identifying the primary language of borrowers will help guarantee that they can easily secure mortgage assistance if needed. FHFA has instructed mortgage houses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to hold off on using an updated mortgage application form after ordering several changes. Among those changes was eliminating the question on a borrower's preferred language, which instead will be placed on a voluntary additional form.

"FHFA's position is that the purpose of the form is to collect the most relevant and useful information and statutorily required data for a lender to originate a loan," says an FHFA spokesperson. Lenders had been mandated to use the new form starting February 1, 2020, but that date has been postponed due to the changes, with no new deadline as yet announced.

The previous FHFA leadership announced in 2017 that it would include the language question on the updated standard form for mortgage lenders. This prompted industry concern that the question could lead borrowers to expect lenders to deliver translation services, which could set up additional legal risk for firms.

Consumer groups, however, warned that struggling borrowers who did not primarily speak English had problems getting relief during the 2008 financial crisis, and may have faced foreclosures that could have been evaded with improved language services. "We are deeply disappointed that FHFA has suddenly decided to reverse course," states Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at the Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund.
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Canada to Fund Student Training for Legal Translation
Markets Insider (NY) (08/12/19)

The Government of Canada has announced a four-year allocation of $710,410 for the Université de Saint-Boniface's (USB) Bachelor's of Translation Program, to provide students training in legal translation in both official languages (English and French).

The funding will underwrite the launch of 10 new online courses in legal translation and law as additions to the current undergraduate curriculum. This will guarantee that all interested students, practicing attorneys, and translators can benefit from the courses, regardless of their location. Through these courses, USB students will gain a solid foundation in legal translation. USB's goal is to enlarge the capacity of legal translation services in both public and private sectors across Canada, and make services and documents in French more accessible.

"Access to justice in both official languages across Canada is an important characteristic of our justice system," states the Honorable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. "This initiative will improve access to justice in both official languages and promote the development of the legal profession."

Carmen Roberge, director of USB's School of Translation, echoed this sentiment, noting "the school is pleased to receive funding from Justice Lametti to develop online courses to be included in its online bachelor's degree curriculum. USB is pleased to contribute to increasing access to justice in both official languages."
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Burning Man Festival Sued by Deaf Men After Dropping Interpreters Program
Bloomberg (NY) (08/21/19) Burnson, Robert

Burning Man is being sued by two deaf California men who say the annual celebration of art and radical community has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing participants.

According to their complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco, the men say they want Burning Man "to cease unlawful discriminatory practices and implement policies and procedures that will ensure effective communication, full and equal enjoyment, and a meaningful opportunity to participate in and benefit from Burning Man services."

The complaint was triggered by Burning Man's decision in 2017 to stop providing American Sign Language interpreters. One of the men who filed the suit says he asked the festival earlier this year to provide him with a sign language interpreter for the event.

According to the complaint, a festival organizer responded to the request by citing two of Burning Man's organizing principles: radical self-reliance and communal effort. "Through these guiding principles," the organizer wrote, "we encourage our participants to rely on their own resources in discovering Black Rock City."

This year's Burning Man festival kicked off on August 25 in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
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ATA News

Corporate Member Employees Get ATA60 Member Rates!

Do you work for an ATA Corporate Member? Then take advantage of the member savings on your ATA60 conference registration! You only need to login with the company's member ID and password. From there, complete the registration form with your personal contact information and payment. No limit to the number of employees who can register under their employer's ATA membership.

Register today! Rates increase after September 13.

Do you work for a company that's not an ATA member? Why not ask them to join ATA. In addition to saving on ATA Annual Conference registration, Corporate Member employees also get the discounted member rates on ATA webinars and workshops.

See what you save with the ATA member registration rate!

Attention Corporate Members! Let your clients know that your company supports continuing education for its employees. Show them your commitment to quality and the extra value you offer with well-informed, knowledgeable translators and interpreters.
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ATA Board Meeting Summary: August 3-4

The ATA Board of Directors met August 3-4 in Denver, Colorado. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website.

Read the latest ATA Board Meeting Summary now!

This is your opportunity to learn what the Association is doing for you. Take time to stay informed. And don't forget—all ATA members are welcome to attend Board meetings.

The next ATA Board of Directors meeting will be held October 26-27 during the ATA60 Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California.

Standing from left: Directors Evelyn Yang Garland, Tony Guerra, Geoff Koby, Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner, Eve Bodeux, Cristina Helmerichs, Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Elena Langdon, and Meghan Konkol.

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

ATA offers members one free monthly webinar. Each webinar is available on-demand for 30 days. Here's the free webinar for the month of September.

Translation Contracts: Beyond the Basics
You've got the contract, but should you sign it? Let lawyer-linguist Paula Arturo walk you through the standard—and not so standard—contract clauses. You'll take a look at some of the most common problems and examine which contract demands are acceptable and which are inadvisable. Plus you'll learn how to use the ATA model services agreement.

About the Presenter
Paula Arturo is a lawyer, translator, and law professor with nearly two decades of experience in the language profession. She is a co-founder of Translating Lawyers Academy, an online program helping legal translators hone their writing and translation skills. She is also a founding member of ATA’s Law Division and administrator of ATA’s Literary Division.

Going to the ATA60 Annual Conference?
Don't miss Paula's three-hour session "Legal Translation Workshop: Mastering Linguistics and Law" on Advanced Skills & Training Day. Learn more!
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Get Ready to Celebrate in a Big Way!

ATA is set to make International Translation Day 2019 all about showing the world what a typical day in the life of a translator or interpreter looks like. You can help! Just share ATA's ITD video with your family, friends, and clients on September 30. Look for the video link on all ATA social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Make your voice heard—share, follow, and promote #InternationalTranslationDay and #ataitd2019 on September 30!
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Coming up in the September/October Issue of The ATA Chronicle

ATA 2019 Elections: Candidate Statements
Calling all Voting members! Participating in ATA’s annual elections is your opportunity to help shape the future of the Association. Learn what this year’s candidates for ATA’s Board of Directors have to say, and remember to vote!

Are You Getting the Most from Your ATA Directory Profile?
To enable potential clients to make the most effective use of the Directory of Translators and Interpreters, ATA members should strive to keep their profiles up to date. Members should also take advantage of all of the Directory options that allow an individual to highlight their services. (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux and Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo)

How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests
If approached with the right mindset, translation tests can be a professionally enriching experience for translators. Remember, there’s a lot more being judged than your translation ability. (Marina Ilari)

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Future-Proofed Translator: What I Learned from TAUS
As language specialists, we tend to think of machine translation and artificial intelligence as the monsters under the bed. But if we’re willing to embrace these monsters, we can use them to our advantage. (Tess Whitty)

ATA at the New York Rights Fair and Book Expo
ATA’s presence at the New York Rights Fair and Book Expo was a resounding success. Enthusiastic responses received from potential clients revealed a wealth of opportunities for our members in the publishing industries, both in the U.S. and abroad. (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux)

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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News summaries © copyright 2019 SmithBucklin

August 30, 2019

In This Issue

ATA60 in Palm Springs
Employee Discount
Board Meeting Summary
Free Webinar
Int'l Translation Day
The ATA Chronicle

ATA60 Job Fair


Meet the people who are looking to hire!
Learn more

Calendar of Events

Translation Day

September 30, 2019

ATA 60th Annual Conference
October 23-26, 2019
Palm Springs, CA
Registration open!

ATA Certification Exam
Upcoming schedule

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

ATA Webinars

How to Elevate Your Website Copy: 4 Case Studies
September 26
12 noon EDT
Registration opens September 3

Future-proofing Strategies for Your Freelance Career
October 8
12 noon EDT
Registration opens September 3

ATA Members Only

Free September Webinar!
Translation Contracts 
Click to watch!

Get noticed by more than 10,000 ATA members!

How? Become an ATA Annual Conference sponsor! Contact Adrian Aleckna for details.

ATA Member Benefit Spotlight

Advocacy and public relations are key elements of your ATA membership!
Learn more

Build your brand Reach your market

 A button or banner ad in ATA Newsbriefs will connect you to thousands of professional translators, interpreters, and language services companies.

Contact Jeff Sanfacon for details.

Across Translator Edition v7 International Year of Indigenous Languages International Translation Day 2019
Translation and Indigenous Languages | International Translation Day 2019