International Translation Day 2019 – A Day in the Life of a Translator or Interpreter

Have you heard? ATA is encouraging translators and interpreters to celebrate International Translation Day (ITD) in a BIG way this year! A United Nations resolution passed in 2017 recognizes ITD as the day to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, and to celebrate this huge step for our profession, ATA is celebrating big time on September 30, 2019. We just need your help to make it happen!

What’s the big deal?

How often do you meet people who don’t know what translators and interpreters do, or how many times have you cringed when you heard a translator referred to as an interpreter and vice versa? How often have you had to explain to friends or family members that yes, you do make a living as a translator or interpreter? How often do you encounter people in your community who are unaware of the role language services play in our world? Probably all too often!

What’s the plan?

On International Translation Day (September 30, 2019), ATA will unveil an informational video taking viewers through a day in the life of a translator or interpreter. The video will help you get the word out to both your professional andpersonal network—people who may not be familiar with what you do—about the importance of your profession and your role in it.

I’m in. What do I need to do?

  • Follow ATA on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) and share the video on your own social media accounts on September 30. You can also visit the ITD webpage on September 30, download the video and post it on your own social media accounts. In your post to social media, we’d love to see you tell us what a day in your life as a translator or interpreter looks like.
  • Find out if your local ATA Chapter or Affiliate will be hosting a gathering to celebrate translators and interpreters. If not, consider hosting one yourself!
  • Schedule a School Outreach presentation in honor of ITD. Now is the time to teach the next generation of translators and interpreters about our exciting and growing profession. Materials and inspiration can be found at the School Outreach website.

A Day in the Life of a Translator or Interpreter!

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. Raising awareness about translation and interpreting will help pave the way for a better future for our profession, and it can start right here in our own backyards. You can help! Mark your calendars, follow ATA on social media, and help spread the word by sharing the video on September 30, 2019!

About the author

Molly YurickMolly Yurick is a Spanish to English translator specialized in the tourism, hospitality and airline industries. In the past she has worked as a medical interpreter in Minnesota and as a cultural ambassador for the Ministry of Education in Spain. She has a B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies and a Certificate in Medical Interpreting from the University of Minnesota. She is currently living in northern Spain. You can visit her website at: http://yuricktranslations.com/

Get out the vote 2019

ATA members should vote!

We get the leaders we vote for. ATA is fortunate to have an all-volunteer Board of Directors that dedicate their time and energy to directing and bettering our organization. These directors and other specific positions are elected at an annual meeting of voting members during the annual conference each year.

In September, ATA always gives voters the information to carry out our duty to vote with intelligence. In the past, ATA has published candidate statements. Since 2017, they also release candidate statements by podcast.

For 2019, this is the timeline:

Become a voting member.

Become a voting member by September 22, 2019 (preferably well in advance): There are several ways to do this:

  1. Through Active Membership Review
  2. By becoming an ATA Certified Translator (CT): CTs become voting members as of their date of certification (after passing the ATA certification exam)
  3. By becoming an ATA Credentialed Interpreter (CI): CIs become voting members as of the approval of their CI designation (after having their non-ATA interpreter credentials verified by fulfilling these requirements)

According to ATA President Corinne McKay, “If you are approved [by the deadline], you can vote in the October election. This process is free and takes literally five minutes. Also, remember that you do not have to attend the conference in order to vote; if you have voting status in ATA, you can vote by electronic proxy and everyone will receive that information before the conference.”

Become an informed voter.

a) Read the candidate statements published in the Chronicle in September and/or listen to the podcast containing the candidates’ statements (released in early October).

b) You can also find other supporting information to help you make your decision, such as the ATA profile of each candidate, what they have done in ATA or local chapters, or a LinkedIn profile… There is so much we can do now that the possibilities are endless. You can also email the candidates directly with questions.

Get out and vote!

a) Attend the election at the ATA Conference on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. and vote, OR

b) Sign up to vote by proxy/mail

If you care about the future of our organization—and our profession—voting is one way to change things for the better. Let’s support democracy at ATA!

Image source: Pixabay

The Certification Toolbox: Get Ready!

Reblogged from The ATA Chronicle, with permission

Late fall and early winter are traditionally a slow time for ATA’s Certification Program, since no exam sittings are scheduled between ATA’s Annual Conference and the beginning of the new exam year in March. Certification graders take advantage of this respite to select new exam passages, fine-tune grading standards, and tend to other housekeeping tasks.

This period is also a good opportunity for prospective certification candidates to get ready to take the exam in 2017 by exploring ATA’s toolbox of exam preparation resources. Here’s an overview.

Practice Test

It can’t be said enough: completing a practice test and studying the results is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam. ATA practice tests are retired exam passages that the candidate translates at home and returns to ATA Headquarters. Practice tests are evaluated by graders in the same way as the actual exams. However, unlike the actual exam, the candidate receives a marked copy, showing each error with a brief explanation as needed. This is a terrific way for prospective candidates to see what sort of text they could encounter, how the grading standards are applied, and what skills they might need to work on to pass the exam. Best of all, practice tests will be available online in 2017.

New Media

ATA is committed to employing new media for preparing candidates for the certification exam. The latest example is a webinar given in September by Michèle Hansen and Holly Mikkelson. If you missed it, you can purchase a recording from ATA’s website: http://www.atanet.org/webinars. Stay tuned for other new media approaches to candidate preparation!

Website

Translators interested in certification often overlook the valuable information readily available on ATA’s website. The Certification Exam Overview and the Frequently Asked Questions are a good place to start. (See links at the end of this column.) If you’re contemplating sitting for the exam, be sure to check out these essential resources.

Prep sessions

This year’s Annual Conference in San Francisco included workshops to prepare candidates for the certification exam in four languages: Spanish, French, Japanese, and Italian. These in-depth sessions, moderated by certification graders, are extremely popular and considered highly useful by prospective candidates. Watch for them at next year’s conference in Washington, DC—but also think about asking your local chapter or affiliate to schedule a session at your local or regional conference in 2017.

Into-English Grading Standards

One overlooked and important resource for candidates is the Into-English Grading Standards (IEGS). This document, downloadable from ATA’s website, sets forth standards applied by all ATA graders of foreign-into-English language pairs when assessing a variety of issues, such as proper punctuation, nonparallel constructions, and split infinitives. It’s a must for exam candidates translating into English, and is especially useful at computerized sittings, since candidates can access the searchable PDF version on their computers.

Independent Practice

If you don’t translate material on general subjects on a regular basis, and/or you have not done timed tests lately, independent practice should be part of your personal exam preparation toolbox. A simple way to hone both skills—working with expository texts and working quickly—is to search the Internet for texts that resemble the practice test in your language pair. Good sources are articles from online publications written for a general (but educated) audience. Download articles that interest you, copy them into Word files, and set aside time to practice translating parts of them into your target language. If you’re very busy (as most of us are!), just start with one paragraph at a time, minimizing your use of reference tools (print and online dictionaries). After a few practice sessions, you’ll likely see your speed and facility improve.

Translation Instructions

The final tool is not something candidates can prepare for in advance, but it’s still an important part of the exam: paying close attention to the translation instructions that accompany each passage, specifying the source of the text, the reason it is being translated, the audience addressed by the translation, and the medium in which it will appear. This opening statement, which precedes each exam text and, in fact, should be considered part of the overall passage, gives the candidate important information about how to approach the translation task, especially with regard to style and register, but even in such basic regards as terminology and usage.

So, grab your toolbox and put it to good use! 

Links to Information about the Certification Exam

ATA Webinars on Demand
“A Guide to ATA Certification”
www.atanet.org/webinars

Certification Exam Overview
www.atanet.org/certification/aboutexams_overview.php

ATA Certification Into-English Grading Standards
www.atanet.org/certification/Into_English_Grading_2013.pdf

ATA Certification Program: Frequently Asked Questions
www.atanet.org/certification/certification_FAQ.php


Image source: Pixabay

David Stephenson serves as chair of ATA’s Certification Committee. Contact: david.translator@gmail.com.

Online Training Resources for Translators

Reblogged from The ATA Chronicle, with permission

As chair of ATA’s Translation and Interpreting Resources Committee, my goal is to gather information on resources of all kinds, including those related to professional development. The following discusses short-duration online training that does not lead to a certificate or university credit.

Webinars

Webinars are online seminars—a sort of mini-class on a specific subject. Normally, you pay a fee and receive a link you can use to “attend” the talk live.

When I was chair of ATA’s Translation and Computers Committee (2009–2011), I created ATA’s webinar series after talking to Lucy Brooks, who was running a similar series for the Chartered Institute of Linguists, a sister organization in the United Kingdom. I ran the series for four years, then handed the baton to Karen Tkaczyk, who served as administrator of ATA’s Science and Technology Division (2010–2015). Lucy now runs a for-profit webinar series under her own brand, eCPD.

To provide readers with an in-depth look at how webinars for translators and interpreters are organized, including the selection process for speakers, I decided to interview both Karen and Lucy.

Naomi: What are the advantages/disadvantages of webinars over in-person events?

Lucy (eCPD): Webinars completely eliminate the need to travel. This clearly saves two things: money and time. In-person events can be presented many miles from a translator’s home or office. It takes time to get there, and if the event is really a long way away, accommodation and food are required along the way.

Webinars tend to be offered in bite-sized chunks, ranging from an hour to 90 minutes. It’s easy to block this amount of time in your schedule, even on the busiest days. If you have to miss the live webinar for some reason, you will usually be able to view the recorded event after it’s over (more than once if you desire).

Of course, in a webinar you don’t get the same interaction with the speaker. You cannot see his or her body language, nor do you get to meet your fellow attendees. But if you attend a live webinar, you get a chance to ask questions and join in the interaction that is provided in many webinars.

To participate in a webinar, all you need is a computer with an up-to-date operating system and decent broadband. I find that the best option is a PC or Mac with dedicated Wi-Fi.

Naomi: How do you ensure top quality in your webinars and courses?

Karen (ATA): We contact potential speakers based on their reputation in the industry, conference evaluations, and personal references. ATA divisions also refer speakers to us, with topics they know will be useful to their members. In fact, we encourage all divisions to do that. In particular, we would love to offer more language-specific sessions. We also look for speakers who are knowledgeable in business management for freelance translators and interpreters.

There is no foolproof way to find and select speakers. Some may be excellent at presenting in-person, but not as good at presenting online. The reverse is also true. The skill set is slightly different. Some people can train effectively when looking at a blank screen, whereas other speakers need to see the audience’s energy and become dull or dry without it. ATA’s job is to use all the Association’s resources to find the best of our own, as well as great speakers from outside ATA.

Lucy (eCPD): For our own program of events at eCPD, I personally seek out speakers. I use my extensive knowledge of the industry to get top professionals, such as Gwen Clayton, Jason Willis-Lee, Andrew Leigh, and Joy Burrough-Boenisch, to offer presentations and courses to translators all over the globe. I also look for top professionals in other industries—such as Christopher Barnatt (3D printing), Ken Adams (law), and Ivan Vasconcelos (oil and gas exploration)—to pass on their expertise in their areas and to give translators working in their fields a thorough background in the subject.

Naomi: What kinds of webinars do you have?

Karen (ATA): We have some language-specific webinars, but most of ATA’s webinars focus on business practices and specialty subject areas. Recent business webinars have covered negotiating contracts, terminology management, marketing, and proofreading. Subject-specific webinars have included intellectual property law, patents, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical interpreting.

Lucy (eCPD): We have covered many subjects during the six years I’ve been running eCPD Webinars. We organize them into 10 categories:

  • Audiovisual (covering subtitling, localization, films, etc.)
  • Business (marketing, finding clients, getting paid, getting started)
  • Creative (art world, tourism, gastronomy, transcreation)
  • Financial translation
  • Legal translation
  • Medical translation
  • Science and technology
  • Style
  • CAT tools
  • Research

There are around 150 titles in the library, so there is a lot from which to choose. There is also a section for interpreters. Many of the videos are offered in languages other than English (e.g., Polish law, a French translation workshop, the German legal system, and Spanish law).

Naomi: How do webinars compare to longer courses, like on Coursera?

Karen (ATA): Coursera and other Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers are an amazing resource. For subject matter expertise, they are hard to beat. Having said that, MOOCs usually last several weeks and require a much greater time investment than webinars, so they will not suit everyone.

Lucy (eCPD): Because the webinars are short (although they sometimes come in a series of three or five lessons), they are less of a commitment than taking a course on Coursera, for example. But the webinars we produce are made with translators in mind, whereas MOOCs are not.

Naomi: What do webinar attendees say about the webinars after taking them?

Karen (ATA): Post webinar surveys ask attendees to rate content and speaker performance, as well as whether they would recommend the webinar to a friend. On average, 80% to 85% of attendees rate ATA content and speaker performance as “good to excellent.” An overwhelming majority say they would recommend the webinar to a friend. Some presenters draw rave reviews; others get quieter compliments. It’s hard to please such a diverse audience, but attendee surveys show we are getting it right as a rule.

Lucy (eCPD): On the whole, attendees are very appreciative of the medium. It allows people who have home and family commitments or who live far away from a large city to have access to high-quality training tailored precisely to translators and interpreters. Because we keep the quality high, the satisfaction rate is very high. So high, in fact, that eCPD Webinars is now an accredited provider of CPD (continuing professional development, or continuing education), upholding the demanding standards of the CPD standards office in London. We are also an approved training provider registered by the official Dutch government office (Bureau Btv).

Naomi: If someone misses out on booking a live webinar, can they purchase it retrospectively?

Karen (ATA): Absolutely! ATA has a library of recorded webinars available for streaming (www.atanet.org/webinars). There are no limits for how many times the webinar can be viewed, and recordings are available for at least five years.

Lucy (eCPD): We usually make a webinar that was broadcast live available in our e-library a few weeks later. Of course, people who view a webinar this way don’t have the opportunity to ask questions, but they can watch the video as often as they like, and all the handouts are available in the form of downloads. At certain times during the year we offer special promotions of our videos from the e-library, making it a very cost-effective way to accumulate continuing education points.

Naomi: If someone books a live webinar but cannot make it to the live session, what happens?

Lucy (for eCPD and ATA): If you buy a seat at a webinar, whether for an ATA webinar or an eCPD webinar, it’s essential to follow the instructions carefully. We ask you to register for the webinar, but we check the lists frequently and make sure that everyone is registered with GoToWebinar, the service we use to provide webinars, before the start of the webinar. Provided you don’t “cancel” your place, which would mean you wouldn’t show up in the registration database, you will receive a link to the recorded webinar a few hours after the webinar is over. We try to do this within a few hours, but it can take up to 24. In addition, if there is a handout, we send it to you.

Lucy (eCPD): Based in the U.K., eCPD is ideally located to hold live webinars at times that are also convenient to attendees all over the world. Some of our CPD courses start at 10:00 a.m. in the U.K., which is probably not ideal for people on the American continents, but great for people in Asia and Australia. Others begin at 2:00 p.m., and even 4:00 p.m., which is more convenient for those in the western hemisphere. Either way, all our webinars are recorded. Attendees who are unable to make the live event can ask questions retrospectively and receive an attendance certificate, provided they watch the recording within two weeks of the live session. After that, they can watch it, but the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback expires.

Karen (ATA): ATA webinars are usually scheduled for noon eastern time. That suits most people in the U.S. and many ATA members elsewhere who are a few hours ahead.

Naomi: Who runs webinars for ATA?

Karen (ATA): Mary David at ATA Headquarters does all the heavy lifting for the logistics and behind the scenes work. Lucy at eCPD takes care of infrastructure. After last year’s ATA Annual Conference in Miami, I was asked if I would like to pick up the member review portion of the process. (Officially that means I run the Webinar Subcommittee of the Professional Development Committee.) I would welcome other volunteers, should anyone love online training and want to help make the program stronger!

Naomi: How can someone propose giving a webinar? Do speakers receive payment?

Karen (ATA): We’re happy to hear from anyone with subject matter expertise and speaking skills. Contact Mary David at ATA (mary@atanet.org). Speakers receive a stipend of $300 from ATA.

Lucy (eCPD): I’m always happy to discuss proposals from potential trainers and to discuss terms. Proposed talks must meet our quality criteria, and I’m happy to discuss these if you approach me. 

Other online training options not mentioned explicitly above are listed below.

Links to Online Training Resources

Translation and Interpreting Webinars and Courses:
ATA Webinar Series

www.atanet.org/webinars

The ATA Podcast
Episode 8: The ATA Webinar Program with Karen Tkaczyk
www.atanet.org/podcasts

Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer
http://seminare.bdue.de

eCPD
www.ecpdwebinars.co.uk

International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters
www.iapti.org/webinar/

International Medical Interpreters Association
www.imiaweb.org/education/learningseries.asp

National Council on Interpreting in Health Care
www.ncihc.org/trainerswebinars

Societé Française des Traducteurs
http://bit.ly/SFT-training

Translation Automation User Society
Translation Technology Webinars
https://events.taus.net/events/webinars

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

  • Coursera
    www.coursera.org
    (Provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online.)
  • Edx
    www.edx.org
    (Provides access to online courses from universities and institutions, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California–Berkeley, Microsoft, and the Smithsonian.)
  • Class Central
    www.class-central.com
    (Features a directory of MOOCs offered by institutions in many languages.)

Image source: Pixabay


Lucy Brooks has been in business for over 30 years, and for 23 of these has run a small, successful translation business from her office in the U.K. A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (translation and language services) and a qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, she translates from German, French, and Spanish into British English, concentrating on technical, publicity, business, and commercial subjects. More recently, she has been providing online training for translators and interpreters through her company eCPD Webinars. Contact: lucinda.brooks@btconnect.com.

Karen Tkaczyk works as a French>English freelance translator. Her translation work is highly specialized, focusing on chemistry and its industrial applications. She holds an MChem in chemistry with French from the University of Manchester, a diploma in French, and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Cambridge. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. After relocating to the U.S. in 1999, she worked in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. She established her translation practice in 2005. Contact: karen@mcmillantranslation.com.

Naomi Sutcliffe de Moraes has a PhD in linguistics (University of São Paulo), a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in physics (University of California, Los Angeles), and a bachelor’s degree in law (University of London). She translates both Portuguese and Italian into English. She is currently a visiting professor at the Federal University of the ABC Region, Santo André, Brazil. She is chair of ATA’s Translation and Interpreting Resources Committee. Contact: naomi.linguist@gmail.com.

Linguist in the Spotlight: An Interview with Izumi Suzuki

The five interviewees featured so far in our “Linguist in the Spotlight” series possess a collective 100-plus years of experience. This week’s interviewee boasts nearly half that on her own. Izumi Suzuki, who has worked an impressive 40 years as a translator and interpreter, is an ATA-certified translator in Japanese<>English (both directions!), as well as a certified court interpreter.

Of Izumi’s several specializations, at least one may surprise readers: classical ballet. (Read on to learn about her own dance career!) Her other areas of expertise include the perhaps less artistic, but no less formidable, areas of production control, quality assurance, and the automotive industry.

To highlight Izumi’s long-term commitment to the professions (she’s one of about 600 ATA “life members”), and to glean insight from her significant experience, we asked her to share what has kept her going all these years. As someone who has adapted to tremendous change in the professions over the decades, she also offers advice on how newcomers can cope with an evolving landscape in the fields of translation and interpreting.

On what has motivated her long-term ATA membership and commitment to the professions all these years

First of all, I joined ATA to take the certification exam. Then I went to a conference and attended Japanese Language Division sessions. I was blown away by the fact that so many Americans were speaking fluently in Japanese, and the sessions offered me so much to learn. The proverb that came to mind was「井の中の蛙大海を知らず」: “A frog in the well cannot conceive of the ocean.” I met many colleagues, made many friends, and learned so much from them. I have also received many jobs since I became certified.

Then I was asked to be a grader, later the division administrator, and finally, a member of the ATA Board. The more I got involved, the more I learned, and the more friends I made. These volunteer activities benefit not only other members, but the volunteers themselves. Currently, I serve as a member of ATA’s Interpreting Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the Certification Committee. The results we get from these committee activities are rewards to me.

Advice for newcomers on how to adapt to advancing technology: If you can’t beat them, join them

When I started translating, I used a typewriter, then a word processor, then a computer. Now I use memoQ. As new software emerges to make translation more efficient and more accurate, new translators should adapt to whatever technological changes come in. Given the progression of AI translation, proofreaders will be needed more and more in the not-too-far future, and translators must be ready.

In interpreting, technologies are coming in, too, such as remote interpreting. New interpreters should be prepared to use devices that support that type of interpreting. Also, mastering note-taking using iPad, etc. would help, too.

However, the fundamental skills for translation/interpreting will not change, and we should keep striving to improve our skills.

Classical ballet, or the story of how a Japanese translator came to translate French

My favorite project has been translation work for the Royal Academy of Dance in England. I am a former ballet dancer (I still take classes almost every day), so I know the exact meaning of ballet terms, all of which are in French.

I occasionally translate materials for ballet-teacher training. Since I teach ballet from time to time, I thoroughly enjoy the content that I translate. This is my dream job. What would be even dreamier would be to interpret for a famous dance company when they visit Japan. I’m still waiting.

What is your favorite part of your work as a translator-interpreter?

I was trained as an interpreter, so I prefer interpreting. Interpreting will make you meet new people, which I love. It’s not just meeting people—you become that person that you are interpreting for a short time. In other words, you live his/her life, just like an actor does, and you get paid for it. What a luxury it is! I have met people who are the best in their fields, and I can always learn a lot from them.

A useful tip for budding interpreters and translators: Know your limits, but don’t limit your opportunities

Do not take an interpreting job if you don’t think you can handle it. In case you do have to take such a job (like when a client is desperate and says they don’t mind even if it’s not your area), make it clear that your knowledge is limited and that you need materials to study beforehand. If no materials are available, then you’d better reject the job. Once you get materials, study hard, ask someone who knows the subject, and memorize terminology.

This applies to translation, too. You may think that you have time to research and check your translation via the internet, but usually there is a deadline. You may lose time for sleep. Then the job is no longer worth doing, and your product will not be good.

To break into a new area, I recommend teaming up with someone who knows the subject so that you can learn. As you do it over and over, you’ll become good at it sooner or later. The most important thing is to GET INTERESTED in the subject once you take a job. This will motivate you to keep going.

Ms. Suzuki established Suzuki-Myers with her late husband, Steve D. Myers, in 1984. She is certified in Japanese<>English translation by the ATA. Currently, she serves as a member of the ATA Certification Committee and the Interpreting Policy Advisory Committee.

Ms. Suzuki is also a state-certified J<>E court interpreter. She is a founding member and former president and board advisor of the Michigan Translators/Interpreters Network) (MiTIN), an ATA chapter. She is a member of the Interpreting Committee of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT). She is also Secretary of the Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwestern Ontario.