Spring into Action 2015 – Planting the Seeds of Professional Success for Language Interpreters and Translators April 25 and 26, 2015 – La Salle University By Carlota Dalziel

 

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How best to put words to this experience? A weekend treat, both from the intellectual and social angles. Two days dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in an atmosphere of great camaraderie and a “je ne sais quoi” difficult to express in writing. The conference was well attended. There were 133 guests. The speakers were impressive and the wide variety of the themes they covered appealed to both interpreters and translators. Food and drinks served were first class and contributed to a feeling of contentment. No wine, alas! The good stuff, though, flowed generously at the dinners on both days. The one offered at Rosa Blanca in Old City on Saturday evening was followed by a guided tour of historic old city graciously given by Donna Jarvela, Conservator and Restorer of the Cultural and Art Heritage. It proved especially informative to the out-of-town folk, as well as to the visiting speakers. The optional evening activities were superbly organized by Armando Ezquerra Hasbun. DVTA Program Chair Maria Weir did a wonderful job at organizing the dinner at Rosa Blanca as well as selecting the menus for all the meals enjoyed throughout the weekend. She was assisted by Program Co-Chair Carlota Dalziel.

Together with ATA’s Spanish Division the DVTA excelled at putting on this outstanding event, to which the Hispanic Institute of La Salle University contributed by providing a great venue, as well as the coffee break refreshments.

It would make for too lengthy an article to detail all the sessions open to the attending public. A few of the speakers, though, are worth mentioning here. James Plunkett, Coordinator of Interpreter Services and of the Language Access Program of the District of Columbia Courts, Matthew Schlecht, scientific medical translator, Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, certified by the Federal Courts, NAJIT and by ATA in the English › Spanish language pair, Anthony Rivas, core faculty at the University of Arizona’s Agnese Haury Institute and Antonio Martin from Spain, a Spanish Philology specialist from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Other outstanding presenters were Heidi Cazes Sevilla, Leticia Molinero, Izaskun Orkwis, Gabriela Jenicek, Doborah Saldaña, Renee Wulf, Rudy Tellez, Georganne Weller, Virginia Valencia, Rudy Heller and Marian Greenfield (former ATA President from 2005 to 2007). DVTA President, Antonio Guerra, also gave an informative presentation on The Power of Collective Engagement. Intensive skill-building workshops were also offered to both translators and interpreters. One of particular interest given by Armando Ezquerra Hasbun was titled “The Subtle Art of Transcreation.” This author found it inspiring and thought-provoking, being a subject rarely touched upon in similar seminars. Transcreation is a term used chiefly by advertising and marketing professionals to refer to the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. As a working interpreter, this author was keenly interested in the workshop, where successful interpretation was defined as the art of accurately conveying meaning and “evoking the same emotions and carrying the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language.”

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Another story that merits a special mention was one brought up by Anne Connor, DVTA secretary and former president. It happened at one of the final sessions on Sunday with the Panel of Experts on Translation -which ran right into the Translation Roundtable. Giovanna Lester was moderating a panel formed by Kirk Anderson, Marian Greenfield, Antonio Martin, Anthony Rivas and Anne Connor. I quote Anne: “When an audience member asked a question about proofreading/editing one’s own work, Antonio Martin preferred to answer in Spanish. Gio then asked if there were any non-Spanish speakers in the room. Three interpreters from the School District of Philadelphia (two Khmer and one Mandarin) raised their hands. At that, Rudy Heller hopped out of his chair in the front row and crouched behind the three interpreters, simultaneously and flawlessly interpreting every word that came out of Antonio Martin’s mouth, as well as a follow-up comment from another audience member who preferred to tell her story in Spanish because of the poorly translated Spanish words she’d seen at a doctor’s office. It really summed up the spirit of the whole weekend!” End of quote.

Armando Ezquerra Hasbun ably chaired Spring into Action, assisted by the DVTA board and Francesca Samuel, head of ATA’s SPA. A very effective team indeed. Comments on the seminar have been pouring in. Here are a few:

“You deserve a standing ovation for the amazing conference” (Sylvia Castellanos). “I finally learned how I can actually practice to improve my skills, rather than just have all the material thrown at me and then just be told, go home and practice.” (Christina Verduin). “Tony, Armando, Anne, Maria and Carlota went over, above and beyond what was expected of them, in making things work so smoothly … What an experience! A success at all levels: the welcome, details, preparation, selection of speakers, attendees, location… weather too!”(Gio Lester). “I had a great time; made new acquaintances, renewed old ones, and learned more about the interpreter business than I have been able to glean in all my previous years. I also appreciated the chocolate and cookies in the goodie bag that I was given after the sessions on Saturday! Someone knows about my sweet tooth!” (Matthew Schlecht). Each speaker at the seminar received a goodie bag.

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On Sunday afternoon before the roundtable sessions, and outside in the pleasant sunny weather, a musical group spontaneously came together and delighted attendees with an impromptu concert. Many in the audience joined in the singing with gusto. DVTA member and First Judicial District of Philadelphia staff interpreter, Javi Aguilar, had brought his guitar and other musical instruments. Once he got started it didn’t take long before people were singing and dancing along with him! James Plunkett from the Washington, D.C. courts joined in and played on Javi’s guitar with great enthusiasm. Javi also played wooden flutes while a few from the public provided the percussion, using Javi’s Costa Rican shells to great effect. This joyous display of talent will no doubt be fondly remembered by performers and audience alike.

The last Sunday event was held at Olney 100. A round table with a panel of experts had been invited by DVTA for the occasion. The panel members were James Plunkett, from the DC Superior Courts, The Honorable Ida K. Chen, from the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania (a frequent guest at DVTA events), and Mr.Osvaldo Aviles, from the Administrative Office of the Courts of PA. It turned out to be a very lively and informative session, with a brisk exchange of questions and answers on the latest issues in the field of interpretation. Judge Chen’s lively contribution was inspiring, best expressed in the words of Tony Guerra, DVTA’s president “Thank you for lending your phenomenal presence, wit and wisdom to contribute to the success of our event. It was encouraging and thrilling to have experienced so many individuals gathered with the common goal of quality, skill and ethics in language access and so fitting to have you and Osvaldo in our midst.”

A delicious dinner on Sunday night at Tierra Colombiana brought to a close an unforgettable seminar. There was definitely a “je ne sais quoi” to this event, and I don’t mind repeating myself! Thank you DVTA! Thank you ATA SPD! Thank you La Salle Hispanic Institute! The successful outcome was the earned reward. An appreciated parting touch was a free headshot offered to all attendees by the team of professional photographers in charge of photographing the group at closing on Sunday. All good things come to an end…

ATA Compass and Conference News

ATA Compass
Just wanted to remind everyone to take a look at the ATA Compass, which is a Client Outreach Blog, in case you haven’t read it before. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/TheATACompass

ATA Conference Contest
Win one free night at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter courtesy of ATA! For contest details, see: http://www.atanet.org/conf/2013/win.htm

The American Translators Association (ATA) will host its 54th Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas November 6-9. This conference showcases diverse panel discussions, expert presentations, training workshops and scholarly papers. Both general and language-specific sessions will be offered. The conference also offers language professionals one of the best opportunities to network with colleagues. For conference information see http://www.atanet.org/conf/2013/

For questions, contact Ms. Lauren Mendell, Member Relations and Office Manager
Phone: 1-703-683-6100, extension 3001

54th Annual Conference


The American Translators Association (ATA) will host its 54th Annual Conference 
in San Antonio, Texas November 6-9. This conference showcases diverse panel 
discussions, expert presentations, training workshops, and scholarly papers. 
Both general and language-specific sessions will be offered. The conference also 
offers language professionals one of the best opportunities to network with 
colleagues. For conference information see http://www.atanet.org/conf/2013/

For questions, contact Ms. Lauren Mendell, Member Relations and Office Manager
Phone: +1-703- 683-6100, extension 3001
Email: Lauren@atanet.org

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.

 

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