Forensic Transcription and Translation Sessions at DVTA Summit

The September 10 East Coast Translators and Interpreters Summit, a first for the DVTA, brought in attendees from ten different U.S. states, representing 14 languages. Nearly one hundred individuals attended the Summit, participating either as attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, students, or speakers. The one-day Summit included several educational sessions that were eligible as CEU credits for certified professionals, and an ATA certification exam on Sunday for those interested in becoming certified.

Among the sessions offered were two lectures given by certified interpreter and translator Judith Kenigson Kristy, an expert in the area of forensic transcription and translation (FTT). Kenigson Kristy’s two sessions were well-attended, and for good reason! Her lecture on this too-often-ignored aspect of language services was enthralling and very informational. Between answering questions from attendees on how to estimate timing for these types of projects, how to know our responsibilities as transcribers, and how to format transcripts for the courts and attorneys, Kenigson Kristy provided DVDs containing helpful resources and practice recordings so that participants could not only learn about FTT but also give it a try for themselves.

Attendees listen eagerly to the lecture on transcription

Attendees listen eagerly to the lecture on transcription

One of the most helpful aspects of the FTT sessions was learning some specific and hands-on tips about transcription techniques and software. For instance, Kenigson Kristy listed several of her most commonly-used abbreviations in transcripts and their meanings ([IA] for inaudible, [INT] for interrupted, [UI] for unintelligible, etc.) and also gave a demonstration of how to reduce background noise in a tricky audio file using Wave Pad, an audio editing software. Additional tips included foot pedal basics, types of headphones that won’t hurt your ears, and a workflow for completing FTT projects: first review the audio and map out who is speaking and when; then do a first pass of the transcription; next, do a second review of the transcript after editing the audio to reduce background noise; finally, review the source audio again to ensure that you’ve only written what you can really hear before translating and editing the transcript.

DVTA appreciates Ms. Kenigson Kristy’s and all of our other speakers’ willingness to share their tips and tricks with Summit participants and we look forward to more great events like this in the future!

East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit – Opening and Closing Remarks

This past weekend DVTA held the first ever East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit at La Salle University in Philadelphia. We are proud to say that the event was a success, drawing in attendees from a variety of places, languages, and fields of expertise and covering a multitude of topics. For those of you who were not able to attend this event, you can find a copy below of DVTA President Tony Guerra’s opening and closing remarks – so you can see a small sampling of what you missed!

DVTA President Tony Guerra welcome attendees

DVTA President Tony Guerra welcomes attendees

Opening Remarks

Welcome to DVTA’s East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit!

I am so pleased to see so many familiar and new faces here today. According to our registration records, we have a tremendous representation of language diversity present, including German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Italian, French, Portuguese, Indonesian, Russian, Japanese, Turkish, Darfurian, Cantonese and Mandarin.

These participants not only represent a variety of language skills in translation, interpretation, transcription, voice-over, editing, subtitling and other applications but many of you are also experts in multiple fields and industries such as legal, medical, pharmaceutical, engineering, financial, government and military, marketing and so on.

I am reminded of a conversation I overheard between two interpreters on a ship that went something like this:

One says to the other “What happens if the ship goes down? I can’t swim…”

The colleague responds, “I can’t either, but I know how to yell for help in nine languages!”

Such talent in one room! Our membership is not limited to just freelance linguists but also agency representatives and project managers. Our Summit is a national and international affair, boasting participants from not only PA but also MD, OH, NY, NJ, DC, DE, TN, OR and even from the Middle East, Jordan!

You can’t imagine how proud I am to be associated with this unique association made up of remarkable skill, intellect and accomplishment. This year marks the 55th year that the DVTA has been in existence. DVTA past president, Helge Gunther, who is with us here today and set the bar very high during her tenure, a few years ago wrote an article for the ATA Chronicle on the history of the DVTA.

Established in 1960, a group of translators from Philadelphia and Camden started to get together for meetings, created some programs and even put out a newsletter. One year later, the newly formed American Translators Association (ATA as we now know it) formally accepted the DVTA as its first Chapter.  Currently there are over 15 Chapters and Affiliates nationwide, with DVTA still regarded as one of the most vital and prolific amongst all.  This reputation is well earned due to the tireless commitment and efforts of our outstanding board of directors, our committees and volunteers and the essential participation of all of you in the programs and events we organize on your behalf – as evidenced here today!

Another driver of our vibrant and dynamic culture is the continued sponsorships that we frequently receive from our corporate and institutional members.  Today’s Summit was made possible in part through the support of the Hispanic Institute, facilitating our use of their beautiful facility here at La Salle; our Platinum Sponsor, Nationalities Service Center; Gold Sponsors Language Services Consultants and Cross Cultural Communications; and Silver Sponsors Magna Legal Services, Accent Interpreting, Ricarti Group, and Magna Voce. Please be sure to stop by their exhibition tables in the Lobby of Holroyd Hall, say hello and introduce yourselves. We are also delighted to have the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) as a special exhibitor.

Now, I would be remiss if I neglected to also acknowledge the American Translators Association, which is our umbrella organization and which provides the DVTA not only with some financial support annually but also guidance, structure and resources to make these types of quality educational programs possible.

DVTA’s affiliation with the ATA, and in particular our Board’s and members’ participation in the ATA Annual Conference, allows us to tap into and bring to you the leading thinkers, teachers and pioneers in the language industry.  These conferences are designed to inspire us to be better translators and interpreters, to sharpen our linguistic skills, refine our technical abilities, and streamline our business practices. We recognize that not everyone has the time or budget to travel to San Francisco for four or five days, so what we try to do here today is to bring you a sampling of the types of fantastic international programming that comes together every year at ATA. The DVTA Programming Committee has done its best to create solid, distinct and enriching sessions in a way that will allow you all to get the most out of a single day.

I’d like to tend now to a bit of housekeeping and logistics regarding the Summit.. Please take the time after each session to fill out the green evaluation form so that DVTA’s Programming Committee is able to ensure that your interests, feedback and preferences are well considered in shaping future events.

In conclusion, I’d like to congratulate all of you for taking the time out of your weekend and for investing in your professional development by participating in our Summit. Not only will you leave enlightened, inspired and better connected to other professionals and agencies, but hopefully, the rewards will also manifest financially.  In other words, attending this Summit makes good business sense.  The May/June Chronicle in your folder has an article on a recent industry survey which reports that translators and interpreters who have some form of certification or accreditation earn about $5K to $10K more per year than those who have none. Quality, precision, education and business savvy do make a difference! Now without further ado, I’d like to present our keynote speaker and my good friend, Ms. Dorothee Racette.

2016-summit-group-dvta-la-salle

Group photo at DVTA East Coast Summit

Closing Remarks

Thank you all for your valuable participation in our Summit.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Programming Committee for their very hard work to make this Summit happen: Maria Emma Weir and Carlota Dalziel, DVTA Programming Co-Chairs. The Programming Committee: Rudy Tellez, Anne Connor, Eliane Markus and Eileen Haag, for tirelessly lending their time, creativity and energy towards making this happen during the last 6 months

I also want to thank those volunteers that came forward at the 11th hour to help in the actual execution of the event: Marina Fayanova, Melissa Chaves, Laurie Lane and Christine Verduin.

It was my distinct pleasure to work together with all of these volunteers and watch this amazing program take place. Thank you, thank you!

The work began last March, with planning and reviewing feedback from our members. After identifying topics, from there we reached out to potential speakers who were experts in the fields we wanted to include. The venue, the logistics and details all followed over the past seven months.

Please note that in October, we will be conducting elections for three positions which will be opening up on our board of directors and are currently accepting nominations of colleagues – or you may also self-nominate. We will be voting on a new Secretary, as Anne Connor will be stepping down, as will our Program Chairs Maria Weir and Carlota  Dalziel.  Interested candidates may contact Rita Weil or Yongmei Li for more information. We will be sending out reminder emails with details on the elections.

Safe travels and we hope to see you at our next event!

Tony Guerra.

President, DVTA

ATA follow up: Quantum presents “One Judge, One Agency, 10 Linguists, and 10,000 Translated Pages”

Quantum, Inc. was pleased to present at the 52nd Annual ATA Conference in Boston. In a panel discussion entitled “One Judge, One Agency, 10 Linguists, and 10,000 Translated Pages of Protection Orders”, we analyzed a recent translation project from the view point of the judge who commissioned the project, the translator who worked on the project, and the translation company that managed the project.

Honorable Ida Chen, judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and friend of DVTA, talked about “THE POWER OF TRANSLATIONS” from her first encounter with language translation, which sparked a huge protest in Philadelphia, how she received support from other judges, to the role she played in the translation process working with translators and editors as a legal consultant. Furthermore, Judge Chen presented, in Letterman’s style, the top 10 mistakes she made (and learned from), she talked about finding ways to collaborate with both the DVTA as well as with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Interpreter Program Administrator, and insisting that the work of translators and court administrators be recognized and rewarded.

The Russian translator, Yuri Balashov, PhD, discussed the challenges of working with
bilingual files, creating columns, templates, tables, and tables within tables. He revealed his strategy of translating, editing and finalizing the existing bilingual document first, then harvesting a memory from it before doing anything else. In addition, Dr. Balashov advised on the types of software that proved useful to him as a translator, and argued that one really needs three screens to work on a project of this complexity. His presentation was especially well received by the fellow translators in the audience who were working on similar projects and facing similar challenges.

The panel was moderated by Quantum’s Project Manager, Suzana Volquarts, who emphasized that it is not every day that a client accompanies their vendor to a large forum such as the ATA conference and thanked Judge Chen for her commitment to language access. Judge Chen understands more than anyone else that navigating our legal system is confusing, let alone when faced with documents not written in one’s native language. She understands the impact that a document such as Protection from Abuse Order translated into Russian, Vietnamese or Cambodian can have on the Russian, Vietnamese or Cambodian speaking defendant in Philadelphia courts. The impact that not only facilitates the language access but also, ensures that the LEP defendant is afforded the same opportunities before the law as their English-speaking counterparts. Ms. Volquarts also advised other Project Managers in the audience to embrace a client who wants to be involved in the translation process because it is a win-win situation.

The session generated a lot of interest, almost 50 people filled the room. Quantum was pleased to see so many familiar local faces: Natalia Petrova, Anne Connor, Lee Roth, among many others. We thank you for your support.

At the end, an audience member paid a compliment to Judge Chen by saying: “You are
not only a judge, you’re a linguist too.” We couldn’t agree more.

ATA follow up: LSA presents, supports and sponsors

The 52nd ATA Conference took place in Boston last week and provided an opportunity for stakeholders in the industry to connect, exchange ideas and learn about the latest developments in our field. Language Services Associates (LSA) sponsored the Speed Networking session which was attended by approximately 500 novice and seasoned linguists hoping to make inroads or expand their connections with contacts from around the world.

Along with sponsoring the Speed Networking event, LSA also presented as a part of the general session. LSA’s Maureen Garelick, Vendor Relations Manager in the Translation and Localization Division, presented “An Inside Look: What Agencies Really Want from Translators.” The presentation had high attendance from new and established translators.

The goal of the presentation was to review how freelance translators can find, develop and maintain mutually satisfactory relationships with language service agencies. Freelancers have ideas about what agencies want, but not all of those perceptions are accurate. Maureen discussed what agencies and freelancers expect from each other and how freelancers can effectively position and market themselves to an agency. Maureen also addressed some of the myths about agency motives, how agencies approach recruiting according to subject matter and project types and setting and negotiating rates.

Many of LSA’s linguists attended the presentation and enjoyed the many opportunities for interaction and fellowship with colleagues such as members from our local chapter, the DVTA. LSA was particularly pleased with the selection of Holly Mikkelson as the recipient of the Alexander Gode Award for her valuable services to the industry and with the election of their colleague and friend Tony Guerra as the Administrator for the Medical Division. We look forward to next year’s event to take place in San Diego.

ATA follow up: Warming up to HVAC, presented by Stephanie Delozier Strobel

As Anne Connor mentioned in her article about the ATA, there were several of DVTA members who presented successfully at the conference. We are proud of our members who show professionalism and dedication to their field!

One of those presenters was Stephanie Delozier Strobel, Technical Translator, French to English and DVTA board member who held a conference session entitled Warming up to HVAC.  During the session Stephanie explained the workings of an air conditioner, and a geothermal heat pump. She provided a virtual tour of a business in the Delaware Valley which has a large geothermal heat pump system. Butter Valley Harvest is a hydroponic farm growing pesticide-free produce. They cooperated with Stephanie by providing information and photos for her session.The session also included examples and explanation of design criteria used in HVAC (Heating ventilating and Air-conditioning ) design.

We are looking forward to more contributions to our ATA follow up series!