An ATA Professional Development Event
Presented by the American Translators Association
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Take advantage of special Early-Bird rates available until March 28.


Take advantage of special rates, available until March 5.


Earn up to 9 CEPs for the ATA Certification Program.


An ATA certification exam sitting will be held on Sunday, April 6.


Interested in becoming an Exhibitor? CLICK HERE

Interested in becoming a Sponsor? CLICK HERE


PLEASE NOTE: This program is subject to change.


Abstracts & Bios

Reaching for the Stars: How the U.S. Government Promotes Excellence in Language Services

No matter what your role in the language profession may be—staffer or freelancer, translator or interpreter, linguist or project manager—your career should be spent in the pursuit of excellence. How does the U.S. government achieve professional excellence through recruiting, testing, and training, as well as in the actual delivery of services? How does it reconcile the need for excellence in language work with the realities of the assignments it handles? The Department of State's Office of Language Services (LS) has been providing answers to these questions for over 200 years. In this presentation, three LS representatives will address these questions from three different perspectives. Beginning with an overview of LS and specific references to excellence in translation, this presentation will discuss the role of procurement policy and quality/performance standards, and the pursuit of excellence as it relates to escort and seminar interpreting.

This presentation will also provide an overview of career opportunities throughout the federal service, and will specifically address internship, contract, and staff opportunities at LS, typical LS translating and interpreting assignments, and what LS looks for when it recruits talent.

Marc Fallow has worked as an interpreter of Spanish since 1973. He acquired his language and interpreting skills by participating in a junior year abroad program in Valencia, Spain in 1969, and by enrolling in the Interpretation and Translation Certificate Program at the Georgetown University School of Languages and Linguistics. In 1982, he became qualified as a simultaneous interpreter and, in 1983, obtained a position at Meridian International Center where he worked as a program officer for 14 years. In 1997, he joined the Institute of International Education as a senior program officer and, in 2000, became chief of the Interpreter Assigning Unit of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Language Services. In this capacity, he oversees the assigning of interpreters in 50 languages to a variety of U.S. government-sponsored programs.

Joseph Paul Mazza graduated with a BA in international politics from George Washington University in 1984. He then worked as a translator of Russian and Romance languages at the Navy Department for five years. In 1989, he joined the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Language Services (LS) as a translator of Spanish, Portuguese, and French into English. He was promoted to reviewer in 1993, and eventually added Italian to his roster. In 2003, he was named chief of the Romance Language Translating Branch at LS. Since 2006, he has been the chief of LS's Translating Division.

Brenda S. Sprague earned a degree in business administration from Saint Frances University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. She has served as an administrative officer at the Consulate General in Seville, Spain, at the U.S. Sinai Field Mission, and at the Consulate General in Jerusalem. She served nine years in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. In June 1997, was selected as the director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Language Services, and was admitted to the Senior Executive Service in August of that year.


Translating and Interpreting for the FBI

This presentation will provide rare look into the inner workings of the FBI's Foreign Language Program.

Margaret R. Gulotta is the chief of Language Services of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the FBI’s senior language authority. She is the FBI’s senior executive responsible for managing the daily operations of the FBI’s Foreign Language Program. As chief of Language Services, she manages the deployment of linguists throughout the FBI, translation and interpreting quality control, language analyst career development and training matters, foreign language incentive pay, foreign language and culture training, language test development and administration, linguist recruitment and workforce planning, language services outsourcing, and the use of technology to process languages. She has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in operational linguist deployment, as well as developing and managing the FBI’s Foreign Language Program to keep pace with the rapidly growing demand. She is also the FBI representative to the Intelligence Community’s Foreign Language Executive Committee. In recognition of her results-oriented leadership and commitment to public service, she received a Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award in 2003.


Translating for the National Virtual Translation Center

Are you a talented bilingual expert who understands that quality translation is not a commodity and requires a language professional with depth and breadth of non-translation skills and experience? Have you ever wanted to translate for the U.S. government but did not want to be locked in as a full-time translator living and working in the Washington, DC area or face long-term deployment to inhospitable places?  Do you want to have the option of a career outside of translation but also be able to translate and serve your country too? Do you want to work from home or nearby your home translating as much or as little as you like? Attend this presentation to find out more about the National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC), its mission, and its job opportunities. The presenter will discuss the language challenges that brought about the emergence of virtual translation in the 21st century and how the NVTC is fast becoming a national treasure. This presentation outlines how web-based, virtual translation is cost-effective for both the U.S. government and preferable for hundreds of NVTC translators across the country from all walks of life.

Jeffrey S. Robinson is the director of the National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC), established by law in 2003 under the U.S. Patriot Act and the Intelligence Authorization Act for the purpose of providing timely and accurate translations of foreign intelligence. He is a federal government senior executive on assignment to the NVTC and, as such, he reports operationally to the director of National Intelligence and administratively to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As NVTC director, he is responsible for managing an innovative enterprise that employs—virtually—an expansive network of linguists. Over the course of his career, he has held a number of Department of Defense positions that included translator, analyst, supervisor, administrator, and manager. In all postings, he has worked extensively to apply private industry business principles and regimen within the public domain of government operations. Just prior to becoming NVTC director, he served as a senior counterterrorism expert where he developed solutions to increase the Intelligence Community's language capability to support the Global War on Terrorism. Since coming to the NVTC in July 2007, he has joined the Director of National Intelligence Foreign Language Executive Committee and is an ex officio member of the National Open Source and Document and Media Exploitation Committees.


Interpreting for the Federal and State Courts

In court interpreting, every word counts. Conveying the wrong meaning could mean sending someone to jail or putting someone out of their home unfairly. Court interpreting involves emotions, yet one must refrain from showing them; it demands accuracy and completeness, yet one must
quickly detect problems with meaning and solve them in an instant. This presentation will cover the requirements, exams, certifications, and codes of conduct required to be an interpreter in federal and state courts. Information about where to work as a court interpreter, how to market one’s services, and how to grow in the profession will also be presented.

James W. Plunkett has been the foreign language court interpreter coordinator of the District of Columbia Superior Court since 2001. He is responsible for prospecting, testing, qualifying, and contracting freelance interpreters and translators for proceedings in the DC Superior Court. He also assists in the training of new judges on how to work with court interpreters. He is certified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts as a Spanish and English court interpreter and is a rater supervisor for the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification. Since 2003, he has been an oral exam rater for the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination. He worked as a court interpreter for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa, Florida for seven years and became a senior interpreter in 1998. He holds a BA in General Social Studies from Providence College and he was raised in Lima, Peru.


Working with the U.S. Government: Information Resources

This presentation will reveal the means of improving communication between industry and the U.S. government. Such means of communication include websites and contacts for federal business opportunities, the Government Services Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Foreign Language Resource Center. The speaker will discuss resources and contacts for other areas as well, such as the National Virtual Translation Center and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. In addition, the speaker will provide references to government grant and award programs.

Jennifer DeCamp, PhD, is the Human Language Technology chief scientist at MITRE, a federally-funded research and development center for the U.S. government. In this position, she reviews and evaluates tools for translators and helps prototype new types of tools. She also helps develop language technology standards with various organizations including the International Organization for Standardization, ATA, and the Localization Industry Standards Association. She is currently working on developing metrics, measures, and testing approaches for evaluating technology to support human translators.


Government Outsourcing Equals Opportunities for Language Professionals

Although most U.S. government agencies only employ a few in house language specialists, this presentation will reveal the numerous opportunities of serving their many outsourced language needs and provide tips on how to take advantage of these opportunities. In order for a U.S. government agency to participate in the international organizations relevant to their fields, international affairs offices are created within an agency to handle their language needs. For example, the U.S. Postal Service belongs to the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency within the United Nations that focuses on the international postal sector. As such, the U.S. Postal Service's international affairs office works with postal counterparts in 190 countries that are also members of the UPU. By the same token, several other agencies have similar offices—the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs works extensively with the International Labor Organization; the U.S. Department of Commerce has the International Trade Administration that collaborates with the World Trade Organization; the U.S. Department of the Treasury has a large international affairs office and counterparts in many international organizations and agencies; the U.S. Department of Agriculture has the Foreign Agricultural Service; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a large internal affairs office including experts who work with the World Customs Organization. All of these offices, departments, and bureaus have needs for language professionals and this presentation will help you fill their outsourced needs.

Flori McClung, international postal affairs specialist, U.S. Postal Service.


Creating and Maintaining a Successful Client Relationship with U.S. Government Agencies

Abstract coming soon.

Muriel Jérôme-O'Keeffe is the president of JTG inc. She is responsible for the strategic vision of the firm and for developing vertical strategic alliances to offer complete solutions to JTG's clients. Through published articles and speaking engagements, she is a recognized leader in the language and localization industry and is frequently called upon to consult on issues impacting the industry. She is also a past president of ATA and currently serves on the Board of the American Foundation for
Translation and Interpretation and as chair of the ATA Ethics Committee.


Language Consulting at the Internal Revenue Service: Challenges and Accomplishments

From translation and review workflows to quality assurance, terminology management, and the promotion of cutting-edge language technologies, this language consulting team will provide an overview of the myriad of language activities conducted on a daily basis at the Internal Revenue Service for the production of tax documents for the limited-English-proficient population in the U.S.

Verónica Coon is a published language professional with over 20 years of experience in the field of translation and interpreting. She has worked extensively as a language consultant with private firms, international organizations, and the federal government. Currently, she provides onsite language technical assistance and advisory services to the Internal Revenue Service in support of the Virtual Translation Office (VTO) in the Media and Publications Division. Her scope of work includes consulting and linguistic support to the VTO in the areas of project management, best practices, language workflows, technical terminology, document translation, review, and language technologies. She is a member of ATA, the Interagency Language Roundtable, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and the Project Management Institute. She has an MA degree in English, Spanish, and German Translation from the Universidad Católica de Chile.

Carmen Gómez has extensive experience working with a variety of clients as a language consultant. She has worked for over 18 years as a translator, reviewer, interpreter, and language skills evaluator. She is ATA-Certified English to Spanish and was a grader for the ATA Certification Exam. She holds an MA in Translation from the Institute for Applied Linguistics at Kent State University and a degree in linguistics from Spain. She currently provides consulting services for the Internal Revenue Service's Virtual Translation Office concerning technical translation issues, quality assurance, best practices, language workflows, and the implementation of language tools, such as translation memory and terminology management. She is a member of ATA, the National Capital Area Chapter of ATA, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and the Metroplex Interpreters and Translators Association (Dallas, Texas).

John Vázquez is an English and Spanish freelance linguist with almost 25 years of experience in the U.S. and abroad. He provides a wide range of language-related services to both individuals and businesses, including translation, interpreting, and voice-over narration. He is a former official staff translator of both the Embassy of Mexico and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC. He is a past president and member of the National Capital Area Chapter of ATA as well as a member of ATA and the Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association.


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