DVTA Annual Business Meeting & Networking Event

The Delaware Valley Translators Association Cordially Invites You to:
The 2012 Annual Business Meeting & Networking Event

Location: Holiday Inn Historic District
400 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 

Directions and public transit info.: http://www.phillydowntownhotel.com/hotel-near-liberty-bell.aspx

Please come and join your local colleagues for a brief annual business meeting recapping the events of 2012 and brainstorming about the upcoming seminars and/or events of 2013.

Immediately following the meeting, there will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar for additional networking and socializing opportunities. Members who drive to the meeting will receive a special parking discount of $15 in the hotel’s garage.

So, mark your calendars and let us know whether you can attend by Friday, November 30. We look forward to seeing you then!

ATA Conference – San Diego – October 14-27, 2012 – Comments by Carlota Dalziel

My travel started on United Nations Day, October 24, a fitting day, I mused, for an interpreter to make the six-hour journey from Philadelphia to San Diego for the ATA’s 53rd Annual. I could have done without that 4 am early start, though. On the first of the two flights I was jolted out of my sleepy stupor when I heard a resolute “Carlota”! And, behold! there was colleague Tony Guerra greeting me from the distance. Sharing lunch with him later in the Phoenix connection was a welcome break in the long trip. Upon arrival in San Diego we were welcomed by deliciously balmy weather, and were soon checking in at our hotel after a short taxi ride.

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront was a beehive of activity, with a fair number of well known faces and plenty of new ones. There was excitement and expectation in the air, with over 1.800 attendees estimated to arrive for the event. Registration was brisk and efficient. The program of activities and sessions was mind boggling.  There were speakers from all over the world and the conference schedule offered sessions on every conceivable subject related to interpretation and translation. There was no way I could do it all. This I remedied by ordering the DVD-ROM on the full proceedings that the ATA put out.

The Welcome Reception was held at the Promenade Patio where the tables were set out on the lawn under a canopy of stars. The food selection was excellent and varied. Pasta and taco tables were two of the many choices. Attendees were also served tasty hors d’oeuvres and a well stocked bar effectively encouraged socializing. It cannot be denied that food is an all-important part of any event of this kind, and that laid out by the ATA at this conference was of superb quality, indeed. Everyone enjoyed the generous continental breakfast each morning. At the Spanish Division Open House, held at the Sapphire Ballroom of the hotel immediately after the opening reception, delectable desserts were offered to all members. Here I got a chance to reconnect with friends and acquaintances from past conferences and to meet a number of new people as well.

Interpreting Trauma is one of the sessions I found most sobering and informative. The speaker, Christiane Abel, addressed her audience with an account of her experience as an interpreter for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ICTR. It was fascinating to learn how she coped with the deeply disturbing testimonies heard from survivors of the horrific genocide. We heard of the need to focus the mind and shut out emotion, and of how, surprisingly, the interpreter can after some time function purely technically and render a good interpretation. At the end of the session a couple of attendees in the audience who had interpreted in comparable situations shared their experiences.

A session which specially caught my interest was Consecutive 2.0 – New Technology for an Old Technique or “An Introduction to Sim-Consec” by Franz Poechkacker. The session reviewed technology-assisted interpreting and dedicated some time to the digital pen, a device that can be used either as an ordinary pen for taking notes during consecutive interpretation, or as a recorder that  allows the user to record, listen and interpret without depending on note taking. I found it a novel idea that might take some getting used to but could be extremely helpful. One does wonder, though, how protected confidentiality can be if an interpreter can walk away after an interpreting assignment keeping the information on his “pen”. This could become an issue in some settings. From what I understand there is no official restriction in any court.  Portability and precision are two of the advantages of the digital pen.

The day time sessions were followed by evening events. I attended a lively dinner organized by the Spanish Division at a San Diego restaurant.

On another evening the Interpreters Division had their celebratory dinner at the Sevilla Tapas Bar.  A DVTA board member, Maria Weir, was largely responsible for organizing the event , although she was unfortunately unable to attend. On that same evening I was invited to an event hosted by CETRA at the hotel. I went with Anne Connor, another DVTA Board member. Trying to avoid burning the candle at both ends, my intention was to stay just for a short while. However, the success of the event and the animated conversation with colleagues kept me up later than ever.

Two of the sessions I will not easily forget. The first was Gangs and Guns. Julie Rexwinkel gave us a very comprehensive and graphic description of the meanings of tattoos on prison inmates as well as information regarding gangs, segregation, guns and other weapons that are commonly used in state prisons systems. The second, Interpreting Slang and Taboo Language for the Courts, was certainly an eye-opener that gave me more terminology than I bargained for. Speaker Alfonso Villaseñor’s colorful vocabulary, and his expressive delivery, surely beats that of an English sailor! I am tempted now to look for opportunities to use some of it myself.

The Book Launch Celebration of Found in Translation, by Nataly Kelly, highlighted the importance of translation and interpretation in our world today and its impact on the every day life of those who practice it.

Understandably, super storm Sandy became a matter of some concern to many at the conference. As of day two the weather channel was frequently checked and calls made home to discuss the advisability of an earlier return home, under the likelihood of flights being canceled.

This 53rd ATA conference will possibly be remembered by many as the “Sandy Conference”, especially by those of us who returned home to power outages and flooding. However, the hurricane did not dim the success of an extraordinary program. Benefits from the many activities and information sessions were reaped by all. The exhibits were outstanding too, and I am now the happy owner of West’s latest legal dictionary and of Witness, the selected poems of Mario Benedetti, in its dual Spanish-English version. The poems were translated into English by Louise B. Popkin. Having the two languages side by side makes this book a stupendous way to appreciate how one adapts to the other and to quickly pick up colloquial expressions.

I look forward to San Antonio next year and sincerely hope that no weather event will interfere in our plans to stay an extra day or two and enjoy this lovely city.


Cook Books. A Translator’s Last Fear



by Carmen Ferreiro

With Thanksgiving Day only one day away, it’s no wonder I was thinking about cooking today, or more exactly about what I’m going to cook on Thursday.
After living in the States for over twenty years, I consider myself totally bilingual. I can switch from English to Spanish and back at the drop of a word. Even the newspaper headlines, a puzzle that needed careful deciphering when I first moved here, hold no mystery for me.
But the moment I open a cook book, all my years of experience disappear and I feel again as lost as I did, so many years ago in California, when they first asked me if I wanted my sandwich “for here or to go.”
The first problem when trying to decipher an American recipe is, of course, the crazy system of measurements they still use. The moment I read cups, pints, fluid ounces and the like my head starts spinning. Then, there is the specific culinary vocabulary, and last but not less baffling, the cooking itself. I learned to cook in Spain, using olive oil and lots of onion and garlic and tomato in almost every recipe. I learned to mix ingredients together and prepare two course dinners. Yes, I know, that was a long time ago. Yet still, I haven’t changed my cooking patterns. Not a bit.
To my children’s friends’ surprise there is no ketchup in my refrigerator, or mac and cheese in my pantry, and I always drink my coffee black, an espresso, in a small cup.
I guess that, where food is concerned, I’m still one hundred percent Spanish and cooking a big turkey with bread crumbs inside is not in my genes, and the recipe to do so is not in any of my Spanish books. Which means that if I’m going to prepare the big bird, I’d have to follow an American recipe.
And I’m not sure I’m ready yet.
What about you? Do you find cook books from a country different than yours intimidating?

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban was born in Galicia (northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where she finished her Ph.D. in Biology. For the next ten years, she worked as a researcher both in Madrid and at the University of Davis in California. Since 2000 she has being a translator (En<>Sp) and writer (English and Spanish). Her two writer websites are:  www.carmenferreiroesteban.com and http://www.writeeditpublish.com/. You can also follow her at her blog: http://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/

She’s working right now at creating her website as a translator.

Carmen Ferreiro, Ph.D.

Writer/Editor/Translator (En<>Sp)
Life Sciences/Medical/Pharmaceutical/Literary


Credit for picture: France: The Beautiful Cookbook- Authentic Recipes from the Regions of France by Gilles Pudlowski, Pierre Hussenot, Peter Johnson and Leo Meier (Nov 7, 1989)

Impressions of a first time attendee at the ATA 53rd Annual Conference in San Diego – by Carmen Ferreiro

In my experience, translators live in two worlds.

Some of us grew up in one country before moving to another, others studied languages at school, then lived abroad. This experience marks us. We may speak both languages fluently and feel totally comfortable in both cultures, but because we cannot turn off our knowledge of one world when looking at the other, this also makes us outsiders.

That’s why attending my first annual conference in San Diego was such an extraordinary experience. I loved meeting so many people from so many different backgrounds who, like me, had a dual take on life.

But if meeting like-minded attendees was an unexpected bonus, the conference itself was even more gratifying. It provided an excellent space to network, learn about the new and improved CAT tools, and its more than 200 sessions covering a wide array of subjects had something for everyone.

In my case, and because I went to the conference to learn how to increase my client base as I move toward being a full time translator, I chose the workshops that were business related.

I did so reluctantly since, with my background in Biology and Languages, I feared I would not be able to follow the business jargon, but I was surprised. The speakers were most knowledgeable and conveyed their information in a language I could understand.

If I had to choose my two favorite workshops I would name: Chris Durban’s “The Care and Feeding of Direct Clients” and Friderike Butler and Jeana Clark’s “Making the Whole Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Virtual Partnership Among Freelance Translators.”

Chris Durban’s insistence we take pride in our professions was most inspiring, and I loved Friderike and Jeana’s idea of creating a partnership between two (or more) freelance translators to offer their services as a translator/editor team to their clients. It’s a win/win situation I’d love to imitate.

As for so many sessions I missed, I can’t wait to get them online to listen to them on my own time.

What about you? Which ones were your favorite sessions and why?


Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban was born in Galicia (northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where she finished her Ph.D. in Biology. For the next ten years, she worked as a researcher both in Madrid and at the University of Davis in California. Since 2000 she has being a translator (En<>Sp) and writer (English and Spanish). Her two writer websites are:  www.carmenferreiroesteban.com and http://www.writeeditpublish.com/. You can also follow her at her blog: http://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/

She’s working right now at creating her website as a translator.

Carmen Ferreiro, Ph.D.

Writer/Editor/Translator (En<>Sp)
Life Sciences/Medical/Pharmaceutical/Literary


The Criminal Justice Center of Philadelphia opens its door for a seminar to more than 100 interpreters – by Maria Weir

The weekend of October 20-21, 2012, Widener University School of Law, the First Judicial District (the Philadelphia Courts) and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) with the collaboration of EZ Language, Language Services Associates, Quantum, Inc. as well as the Delaware Valley Translators Association offered a language-specific workshop on court interpretation for Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish Languages.

Early Saturday and Sunday mornings a continental breakfast waited the arrival of interpreters from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and some of them Chicago, New York and Ohio.

The Plenary Sessions were conducted by Agustin de la Mora, who offered many tips and information about key skills on note taking, consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation, as well as protocols, standards of practice and best professional practices.

After the plenary sessions, attendees gathered in small groups with recognized instructors: Agustin de la Mora for Spanish, Jacki Noh for Korean, Natalia Petrova for Russian, Marwan El Bakri for Arabic and Christina Wu Yee for Mandarin and Cantonese. Each group practiced with audio recordings, transcripts and documents, skill- building exercises in all three interpreting modes, and discussed terminology and cultural awareness.

The seminar also included the presentation of Gabriela Jenicek on The Pennsylvania Code of Ethics for Judiciary Interpreters.

The Honorable Judge Ida Chen, who has been an avid advocate of interpreters, conducted an animated and instructional Mock Trial on “How to Interrupt and Correct the Judge”.

All participants received a copy of the Interpreter’s Quick Reference Manual for Protection from Abuses (PFA) in Courtroom 3 of Family Court, which contains the translation of all legal forms used in this Court. All in all, an incredible enterprise, under the leadership of Judge Chen, and a great help to the interpreting community!

The organization, instructors, materials and networking with fellow interpreters turn the weekend at the Criminal Justice Center in an instructional experience and a professional opportunity for the constant quest of being the best in our profession.

Thanks to all the organizers and instructors who made it possible!

By Maria Weir

English<>Spanish, Interpreter and Translator.