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.