2016 East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit – Sept. 10, 2016

Registration is Now Open for the 2016 East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit, featuring:
Business Skills * Translation * Interpretation* Transcription
Saturday, September 10 at La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA
Bonus: A Computerized ATA Exam Sitting will be given on Sunday morning, September 11

** APPROVED FOR 6 ATA CE Points, 6 AOPC CEUs (including 3 for Ethics),
6 Delaware AOC and 6 Maryland AOC CEUs

Location: La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA
For pricing and other details, download the event flyer:
DVTA ECSummit10Sep2016_Flyer
Or visit the Event Website:  https://www.regonline.com/2016DVTAEastCoastSummit

DVTA sincerely thanks the following Summit Host, Sponsors and Exhibitor:









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My Experience as a Volunteer Interpreter

As a freelance translator, my opportunities for personal interaction (or even getting out of my office at all during the day) can be limited. While I appreciate the flexibility of the job and love the work I do, let’s be honest—it can get lonely! I also enjoy volunteering my time for people who are in need. This is why I decided to offer my time as a volunteer interpreter for Philadelphia VIP.

While my main business is translation, I have received training and had some experience as an interpreter as well. A course at the graduate level introduced me to the interpreting world and showed me what an amazing opportunity interpreters have to be the missing link in the chain of communication for so many individuals, so when I heard about Philly VIP’s need for volunteer interpreters, I jumped at the chance to work with them.

Philadelphia VIP is an organization that offers pro bono legal services to low-income Philly area clients. Volunteer attorneys aid the organization’s clients in a wide range of civil cases, and in some of these cases the attorneys need volunteer interpreters to assist with client-attorney communication for those with limited English proficiency. These volunteer interpreters are never asked to interpret in court.

Interpreters are assigned on a case-by-case basis, so I am working to facilitate communication between one attorney and one client as they work on and discuss the case. In my current case, I have had the opportunity to meet with the client and attorney both in person and over the phone, spending no more than one hour per week on the case. I have had the chance to enable communication as they deal with the client’s tax issues and try to sort through what kind of legal help he needs.

One of my favorite things about this experience has been the gratitude I sense from both the client and the lawyer. It’s very rewarding to hear both of them say that they don’t know what they would do without me, and it’s great to know that I’ve helped give someone peace of mind and a better future.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering as an interpreter for Philadelphia VIP, contact Rida Haq at rhaq@phillyvip.org or complete the volunteer enrollment form at https://phillyvip.org/content/language-access-volunteer-enrollment-form.

DVTA Looks Back at 2015’s Successes and Makes Resolutions for 2016

This past year saw some great success for DVTA at the hands of our very involved and hardworking board members and volunteers. Not only did the Association hold its regular annual events, such as the Winter Luncheon at Cabrini College, the Summer Picnic/Networking Event at Appleford Estate, and the Annual Business Meeting at Magna Legal Services, we were able to move forward with other efforts and events that have greatly benefitted the membership as a whole.

The first major accomplishment DVTA enjoyed this year was to get its new website and member portal up and running in early April. The new site features a single platform (WordPress) for all of DVTA members’ needs, making it a great one-stop shop for everything related to the Association. Now, members can access the event calendar, DVTA blog, directory of language services professionals, and members-only forum all in one place. This effort would not have been possible if not for the hard work of many board members and other individuals, whose work is also lessened by this new site through automated membership notifications and reminders. A long-awaited relief!

DVTA’s second big news from 2015 was the Spring into Action event held at La Salle University. The two-day conference brought in attendees from a variety of different locations for a weekend of great sessions on Spanish translation and interpreting, as well as excellent networking opportunities. This joint effort by DVTA, the Hispanic Institute at La Salle University, and the ATA Spanish Language Division attracted over 130 attendees, some of whom sat for the ATA certification exam offered the second day of the event.

Another key success for DVTA in the past year has been its increased media exposure. Board and corporate members of the Association were interviewed for an August edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, offering insights about the translation industry and the future of language services. DVTA was also featured on the cover of the September 2015 edition of the ATA Chronicle, which highlighted the Association’s efforts in conjunction with the First Judicial District Court to develop and implement an ongoing shadowing program for judicial interpreters.

The year to come also holds great promise for DVTA. Elections for three new board positions (one secretary and two events/programs co-chairs) will be held in September, and the Association will host its annual Winter Luncheon on March 13 (once again this year at the magnificent Mansion at Cabrini College) and Summer Picnic/Networking Event in August. The Association is also planning to hold the first East Coast Translation and Interpretation Summit in September. This Summit will be non-language specific and an ATA certification exam will be offered during the event. If you are interested in helping to plan and coordinate this exciting new effort, please contact our Programming Co-Chairs: Carlota Dalziel (rc4dalziel@comcast.net) and María Weir (maria@mariaweir.com).

DVTA Annual Luncheon Gala – Sneak Peak at the Sept. East Coast Summit

DVTA Annual Luncheon Gala – Sunday, March 13 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM



Location: The Woodcrest Mansion at Cabrini College   Date: Sunday, March 13, 2016
600 King of Prussia Road                                                Time: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Radnor, PA 19087                                                            Price: $45 (Incl. Tax & Gratuity)

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about the launch of our East Coast Summit on September 10, featuring the best speakers in the industry, in celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the DVTA. Pre-registration will be offered at a special discount only for attendees of the luncheon.

NOTE: Don’t forget to set your clocks forward an hour for DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME on Saturday night, March 12. We wouldn’t want you to miss a moment of the following day’s festivities, let alone a whole hour!

All current, paid DVTA Members will receive an email invitation with the full menu and registration form. Or you may view the form here: DVTA_LuncheonGala2016_Invitation_ECSummitPreview

In order to make this gourmet luncheon more affordable to our individual members, the following DVTA Corporate Members have graciously stepped forward for partial sponsorship:

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Automation doesn’t solve everything: 5 things you should know about machine translation

19 January 2016

Written by

Businessman uses tablet, global business conceptTaco Bell’s return to Japan in 2015 was widely anticipated, but the company’s launch of its Japanese-language website spawned a media frenzy—not because of the food. With machine-translated menu items that turned “cheesy fries” into “low-quality fleece” and “Crunchwrap Supreme—Beef” into “Supreme Court beef,” the company had to rush to take down the site to mitigate the damage to its image.

Translating your materials professionally is a smart business move. It makes people more likely to buy your product or service, and support costs go down as people can access information in their own language. But where to begin?

Sure, professional translators will get you exactly what you want, but you’ve probably heard some buzz about machine translation (MT) and are wondering if it might save you money and time. Before you take the plunge, here are some things you should know about MT.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Free online translators are very popular—Google alone serves up more than a billion translations a day. It’s important though to understand what you get when you use any free machine translation service:

  • They can only give you an idea of what the foreign text says: Since they have to translate everything from love letters to shopping catalogs, they are designed to generalize rather than specialize. They don’t “know” what your text is about, so they “guess.” Often they guess correctly. Sometimes they don’t.
  • MT systems leverage big data and are programmed to give preference to the most popular words and phrases: Predictably, problems emerge. In some language combinations, “U.S. president” was translated as “Bush” well into the Obama administration.
  • They store and use your data to learn: That’s fine for a public Web page of your family trip, but not for your company’s confidential material.

Free translators are fine for the casual user, but their reliance on statistics, errors from incorrect data and lack of confidentiality make them unsuitable for serious business translation.

It won’t work for all texts and languages

Most serious MT users invest in training proprietary machine translation engines for specific kinds of text. If trained well, the resulting output should get words right, though it might not sound particularly elegant or even be grammatically correct. However, even MT vendors agree it would be counterproductive to use MT for creative materials such as marketing copy or literature, and that it’s best used for drafting large sets of documentation or short-lived or otherwise untranslated materials.

It’s also important to note that machine translation does not handle every language equally well. Languages with a similar structure may produce fairly good results, but if they differ greatly or there isn’t enough data, it might be more costly or impossible to develop a solution—making it more cost-effective to use a professional translator.

In short, there is no easy formula that can be applied to all text types and languages.

Machine translation is an ongoing process

Long before the first word is ever translated, consultants, outside vendors or in-house specialists need to determine an appropriate approach. You will need to:

  • Establish why you want to use machine translation in the first place (as opposed to professional translators).
  • Determine which types of text and languages you want to translate using MT or professionals.
  • Evaluate what data and expertise you have available or need to acquire to configure and customize your machine translation solution.
  • Assess how your professional translators and editors can support the process.
  • Train your machine translation solution with new materials you produce.
  • Fine-tune your process and re-evaluate your approach as technology continues to evolve.

You may not save time or money

Your machine translation process will change as your technical team and your translators and editors become better at working with MT.

Costs will likely shift. Once you’ve settled on an approach, your higher initial investment in systems and training costs might level off to a lower but ongoing constant—like any other IT investment. Engineering costs could be relatively stable, but translation and editing costs might eventually drop as systems improve and translators and editors refine their strategies. However, there are many variables that can affect machine translation cost and time savings, which may prevent the desired savings or make it more costly than professional translation.

Machine translation uses humans; human translators use MT

MT and translation professionals interact: An editor may correct machine translation output and—depending on the system—simultaneously “teach” the system so the same error does not occur the next time.

In a more integrated process, professionals use machine translation to support their work in combination with their high-end software. By interweaving several tools, translators often achieve a significant productivity and quality boost.

At the end of the day, accurate information is key as you decide whether to invest in automating your translation processes. Consulting with experts will help you make a wise decision that gets your message across clearly and effectively without tarnishing your image.

Caitilin Walsh

Caitilin Walsh

Caitilin Walsh is the past president of the American Translators Association. She has also worked at Bellevue College in Washington for more than 20 years, training the next generation of translators and interpreters. The American Translators Associationrepresents over 10,000 translators and interpreters across 91 countries. Along with advancing the translation and interpreting professions, ATA promotes the education and development of language services providers and consumers alike.