LOCALIZATION UNCONFERENCE

In the absence of a predetermined agenda, participants create their own event, and a learning experience that continues beyond the conference.

BY RAFFAELLA BUSCHIAZZO

It’s April 27, we are in one of the spacious conference rooms on the salesforce.com premises in San Mateo; breakfast ranges from bagels with cream cheese to slices of fresh fruit and, of course, coffee and tea. It’s 8:30 am, people are arriving for the third annual Localization (l10n) Unconference in Silicon Valley. → continue reading

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WHAT MAKES AN INTERPRETER?

Our profession was up for interpretation at the 2012 Summit. Is it a matter of education? Certification? Organization? Conversation? Or is it something much, much more?

BY MARILYN LUONG AND EDURNE CHOPEITIA

If someone were to ask you: What makes an interpreter, and what does an interpreter make, how would you answer? Is there such a thing as “the interpreting profession”? We all agree that interpreters work to bridge the language barrier in communication between parties who would otherwise not understand each other. But how interpreters perform this noble task is not the same: some interpret without previous training; others have a masters degree in it. Some are conduits, while others contribute as cultural brokers.  → continue reading

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FITTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Hosted by the ATA and NCTA, the triennial conference for the International Federation of Translators provided insight and camaraderie for translators and translation companies alike. BY MARILYN LUONG

The world is getting smaller. We as translators (including interpreters and other language professionals) have facilitated this shrinkage. In the beginning of August this year, we have made the world yet a little smaller through gathering at the triennial conference of the International Federation of Translators (FIT). Held in 
San Francisco, the conference was hosted by the American Translators Association (ATA). As the host chapter, NCTA had a well-visited exhibit booth. → continue reading

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THE ATA CONFERENCE: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

NCTA volunteers kept a lively table at the ATA Conference in Denver.


Thoughts and experiences from an ATA Conference “First Timer.” BY CONNIE ARCHEA

Whatever qualms I had about attending my first ATA conference didn’t last very long.  Hopping on the shuttle at the Denver airport, I was greeted by three other ATA members on their way to the conference, and we immediately struck up a conversation.  Let the networking begin! → continue reading

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POETRY, EMOTION, AND COLLECTIVE BEAUTY

Expectations were surpassed at the ALTA Conference in November. BY MARGARITA MILLAR

This was my first time at the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference, which took place in Pasadena in November of 2009. When I registered for the conference in July, I didn’t know what to expect. The program seemed really interesting and I could not make up my mind about the panels I wanted check out.  The topics were diverse, ranging from song translating to finding ways to publish literary translation. The pre-conference reception was auspicious. Held on the outdoor patio of the Pacific Asia Museum, it was the stage for the presentation in song of Vietnamese poetry performed by Lê Phanm Lê, a poet and resident of Oakland, and her translator Nancy Arbuthnot.  To be outdoors listening to poetry, with plenty of food and wine to go with it, was truly a magical moment. The festive evening set the mood for the rest of the conference for me. → continue reading

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PROGRESS REPORT ON MEDICAL INTERPRETER CERTIFICATION

National Medical Interpreter Certification was a hot topic at the  2009 ATA Conference. BY LINDA JOYCE

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters was very pleased to participate in the  ATA 50th Annual Conference, held in New York City on October 28-31, 2009 and to introduce conference attendees to the nation’s first National Medical Interpreter Certification. → continue reading

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ATA TURNS 50!

As it reaches a milestone in its history, the ATA returns to its birthplace, NYC, with a stronger commitment than ever to promote our profession. BY NINA BOGDAN & KAREN TKACZYK

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

THE FUTURE IS HERE
Pavel Palazhchenko, Mikhail Gorbachev’s interpreter for many years, spoke to standing room only crowds at the ATA conference, and as I soaked in his words, admiring both his insightful perspective about the world of interpreting and translation as well as his wonderfully elegant English, I reflected also on the importance of this event. At the closing session of the conference, ATA President Nicholas Hartmann announced that ATA membership, as of now, numbers more than 11,000. In an interview that same day with Fox Business News, past president Jiri Stejskal stated that the profession of translator is just that—a profession (meaning, not a hobby or something one can take up after taking a Berlitz course) and that a proficient translator may well earn in the six figures. → continue reading

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A SMALL YET DIVERSE WORLD

Poolside breakfast to gear up for the workshops of the day.

Poolside breakfast to gear up for the workshops of the day.

The 2008 ATA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida drew a diverse crowd and positive reviews from NCTA attendees. Poolside receptions, balmy weather, and great workshops were enjoyed by all. BY KAREN TKACZYK, FARAH ARJANG VEZVAEE, AND RENATE CHESTNUT. → continue reading

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THE 8TH ANNUAL CHIA CONFERENCE

The California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA) celebrated its 8th Annual Conference in Costa Mesa, California during the weekend of April 11-12. BY JUDIT MARIN

The theme of this year’s Conference was “From Grass Roots to Redwoods: the Growth of Healthcare Interpreting in California.” In her welcoming remarks, Elizabeth Nguyen, CHIA’s newly elected President, noted that during the past few decades, tremendous demographic changes have continued to present new challenges as well as opportunities for healthcare providers, language providers, individual interpreters, and educational institutions to work together towards the common goal of improving access to health care for our diverse communities.

→ continue reading

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REPORT FROM THE “BURGH”

The NAJIT conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a huge professional and social success. BY CURTIS DRAVES

The NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) conference was held this year on the weekend of May 16-18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and since I grew up in that area, I decided it was the perfect time to attend my first NAJIT annual gathering. I’ve been interpreting in state court for only a couple of years, and am continually amazed at how the more I learn, the limits of knowledge in this field just seem to keep receding into the distance. So I booked my flights, arranged to see my family still in the area, and soon found myself at the William Penn Hotel in the “Burgh”. → continue reading

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The Conference by the Bay

By Steve Goldstein, Editor

The 48th Annual ATA Conference
San Francisco
October 31 – November 3, 2007

“The convention seemed to capture the current wave of interest and enthusiasm that is rippling through the translator world, as most convention-goers seemed to sense that the tide is in the process of being turned—that it is perhaps not now unthinkable that our professional pride and prestige will soon take on greater and more justified proportions.”

Those words were written 29 years ago, by a young translator and writer; an emissary from the West Coast to the 19th Annual ATA Conference in New York, who had, just a few short months prior, been a part of the birth of his own local organization, the Northern California Translators Association, in San Francisco.

The President of NCTA at the time—a man who had taken that young translator under his wing in the nascent organization—had just been elected President of ATA as well, and was about to take office at the New York conference. This was an unheard-of and unprecedented occurrence—a West Coast president of what was at the time a largely East Coast organization. There was electricity in the air, and our young translator would get to write about it, in the unofficial conference coverage report. He would also bring back some of that momentum with him to San Francisco, where a small group of his colleagues was already at work building the foundation for what would in time become one of the national organization’s strongest local chapters.

Times have changed since 1978, of course. That NCTA and ATA President, Thomas Bauman, is sadly no longer with us to see some of the important changes that his work initiated and continued; changes at the national level, certainly, where our profession has indeed come a long way—although not without having continued obstacles to overcome. Today, ATA is of course no longer just a regional organization, but it’s not just a national one, either; today, it is a powerful international professional association of over 10,000 members around the world.

But changes have occurred at the local level, too. And nowhere, perhaps, has the example been more instructive than here in San Francisco. ATA has brought its annual conference back to the birthplace of its most active chapter several times in the past three decades, watching as NCTA continued its own robust growth, built as always on the infectious enthusiasm of dedicated and tireless local volunteers who believe in working together to strengthen their profession.

Today, that dedication continues, through NCTA’s active role as the host chapter of the just-concluded 48th Annual ATA Conference in our City by the Bay, and via this special Translorial supplement reporting on the event. In these pages, we look at the conference from a variety of perspectives that may not always be found in the standard, straight-ahead reporting of the conference, as that information is available elsewhere. It is, instead, a decidedly more human approach because, well … translators are people, too, and that always seems the more interesting viewpoint, doesn’t it?

All those who are reading these words owe a debt of gratitude to their NCTA colleagues who did double-duty at the conference: as regular attendees, trying to learn and network and grow their own careers and businesses, and as your reporters, to give you a taste of the conference that you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to savor. Without their dedication and sacrifice—including that of Oscar Arteta and the tireless Christopher Queen, who took our terrific photographs—this supplement wouldn’t have been possible, and so to them I say, Thank you!

Has the tide in fact turned for our profession, since twenty-nine years ago? Certainly. But there’s still more turning to do, and while our young translator from that bygone era is no longer so young, he’s still here—to keep learning, growing … and working, to help turn that tide.

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