The new Board of the New York Circle of Translators took office as of January 1 of this year, and I am no longer president. I am happy to pass on the reins to my successors and confident they will do an excellent job. I hope that future boards will be equally strong. Of course potential weaknesses in the future will be compensated somewhat by the work of our paid administrator (currently Louise Jennewine, who continues in that role).
The hard work over the last three years by our board members, including me, Louise both as program director and administrator, and members who have volunteered has made our organization more robust and hopefully viable in the long term. But what higher purposes does all this serve to make it worthwhile? After all, we are not sacrificing our time and hard work merely for entertainment. We aim to provide something transcendental to our members and society.
I think it is fair to say that the first thing on our members’ minds is higher pay, followed by better working conditions. Third would be higher quality products and services for our clients, not only because higher pay is hard to justify without being able to guarantee high quality, but because translators and interpreters generally want to do an excellent job anyway; it gives more satisfaction to know one did the job properly and that the customer and society were well served. Continue reading…
What Is Happening with ISO, ASTM and Going Forward into the Future
Article based on an interview by Margarite Heintz Montez with Marjory Bancroft
Marjory Bancroft is the Director of Cross-Cultural Communications and also the World Project Leader responsible for developing the upcoming standard ISO 18841, Interpreting: General Requirements, for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The Gotham had a conversation with her regarding standardization for interpreters, which seems to be on everyone’s mind today. Members of the NYCT will really appreciate her insight into the standardization process. Many organizations including the ATA have been discussing certification and standardization, but so far the ATA has not developed any certification for interpreters.
ISO recently published its first International Standard for interpreting: ISO 13611:2014, Interpreting: Guidelines for Community Interpreting. The second ISO standard, 18841, will be a stricter requirements standard that addresses all areas of interpreting; 18841 is intended to be an “umbrella” standard.
This standard which should be completed by 2017 addresses three key areas:
Terms and definitions
Requirements for interpreters
Requirements for Interpreting Service Providers (ISPs, including self-employed interpreters who act, in effect, as their own interpreting agencies).
After the standard is published, there might be companies who seek to create a certification program, particularly for ISPs, based on the standard,.
ISO involves input from many countries. For instance, 29 countries were involved in the development of the community interpreting standard. For the new standard, 42 national member delegations are participating, in addition to many “liaison delegations” that can’t vote but include the European Commission, European Parliament, FIT (international Federation of Interpreters) and WASLA (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters), among others.
ISO standards are strictly voluntary, so although they are international standards that technically apply to all countries, in reality only those interpreters and ISPs who choose to comply with ISO interpreting standards will do so.
ASTM International is another organization that develops international standards. However, for interpreting the ASTM involvement is primarily U.S.-based. Thus, the ASTM interpreting standard ASTM F2089: Standard Practice for Language Interpreting is more an American standard. However, ASTM standards in general are used in more than 100 countries, so the interpreting standard might be used in a number of countries.
ASTM standards must be revised and updated every few years. That revision just took place for F2089 and the newest version of this interpreting standard has just been published. It is a stricter standard than its previous version, which is likely to please many professional interpreters. However, this standard, like ISO’s, is voluntary.
In addition to international standards, the United States has medical and court standards as well as certification programs. The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), the National Association of Interpreters in the Judiciary (NAJIT), the federal courts and the state courts have published a code of ethics for interpreters. In addition, NCIHC and IMIA have published formal, researched standards of practice. Standards of practice are standards developed by professionals for professionals. Those published by IMIA and NCIHC have had influence in other countries.
Sign language also has both general and specialized (including educational) standards of practice published by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and they are needed.
In addition, the National Board of Certified Medical Interpreters (NBCMI, part of IMIA), the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), NAJIT, federal courts, many state courts and RID have all developed national or state certification for interpreters for either medical interpreters (IMIA and CCHI) or court interpreters (NAJIT, federal courts and state courts). The state of Washington has also developed a state certification for community (medical and social services) interpreters. In some ways, because it involves both a written and oral skills examination, certification implies a set of strict standards.
Finally, three U.S. entities have developed standards that address training and education programs for interpreters:
In 2010, the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) published its revision of Accreditation Standards for programs that educate sign language interpreters.
In 2011, NCIHC published National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs.
In 2012, IMIA published National Accreditation Standards for Medical Interpreter Education Programs.
International migration has been a major force in the drive for standardization. There is an inescapable need for professional interpreters in medical, community and the legal areas. Hospitals, government agencies and even schools have added pressure to have more qualified certified interpreters.
Alas, money is a major driving force. Hospitals do not want to be sued for inappropriate care or negligence. To reduce risk and liability, many hospitals are engaging more qualified and certified professional interpreters. Agencies that send interpreters to hospitals also then need more qualified and certified interpreters to send, and interpreters themselves see having more qualifications as a sign of professionalism.
Certification and Credentials
A training certificate is not certification! What would it cost interpreters to obtain real certification? The answer varies by specialization. Each state court may have a different cost, whereas national certification for medical interpreters by CCHI or IMIA costs roughly $450.
However, credentials are credentials, whether an interpreter is just starting out or is a seasoned veteran. A certificate for attending a training program or conference is a credential. For medical, court and general interpreters, however, certification is considered the most important credential.
Certification for state courts is available in about 20 languages, but for federal courts only in Spanish. The two national medical interpreter certifications cover 7 languages. However, even taking the written test alone for court or medical interpreter certification (which an interpreter of any language pair can do) is a credential worth having.
Whether or not one can get certified, it behooves interpreters or all levels to try to attain meaningful credentials, perform their work to the best of their abilities and know about and follow the relevant standards. Doing so is one hallmark of a professional interpreter.
The Gotham Translator wishes to thank Marjory Bancroft for her time in helping us prepare this article.
About the Author Margarite Heintz Montez is a conference interpreter and editor of The Gotham Translator. She has been a long-time member of the NY Circle of Translators, the ATA and is on the Human Rights Committee of FIT.
We should be ready to launch the new website (www.nyctranslators.org) by the end of the month. As you can see, the online issue of the Gotham Translator (www.gothamtranslator.org) is now live. After more than a year of planning and developing these two sites, we extend our sincere thanks to all members for their patience throughout this lengthy process. The current Circle site, which is based on older technology, has been in desperate need of an upgrade, and for that reason, our primary goal with this undertaking was to resolve the existing technical issues that have plagued our members as well as the site’s administrators. We took the opportunity during this process to update the site in other ways.
Our New Websites
We sought to create a stronger visual brand to market our growing profession and our members’ language services and experience. Our intention with the new design of the two sites, our email template and social outlets is to present a more positive and professional image of the Circle and our members. Moreover, the fact that the responsive design can be accessed via desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone devices makes it more serviceable to both members and language service buyers. We encourage you to frequent both sites, but we first would like to give you a quick preview of each one.
The new Circle site is designed for three different types of users: potential members, buyers of language services and most importantly, our members. As was the case with the old site, all visitors have access to general information about the Circle, the events calendar, direct access to The Gotham Translator, resources for language professionals, an online directory of our members and their language services and easy contact to the Board of Directors and the Circle Administrator. Additionally, the new site, which can be easily updated, will offer comprehensive and dynamic information for all users, especially on events within the Circle community and the language service community at large. We have added more advanced searching capabilities in our member directory for those language service buyers seeking more specific language skills and services.
We are most excited about our member section. With the new member login, active members can access their accounts, set up and update the new, extensive profile format, register directly for meetings and special events, follow our community online, visit our photo gallery, download the Circle logo for personal use and eventually access audio files of our monthly meetings. All in all, we hope our new site will stimulate and strengthen communication within our Circle community.
For the initial login, both active and inactive members should login with the e-mail address that is associated with the old site. When we are ready to launch, we will be sending out an e-mail with detailed instructions to guide members through the login process. We suggest that all members create a new username and password for the new site. After logging in, active members should be taken to their account page. We encourage you to spend time updating your profile page. Your profile information from the old site should have transferred to the new one. However, as you will see, we have added many more service and experience categories along with social media information so that you can complete your profile to your liking. Inactive members will be prompted to renew their membership for member access to the site. As I said, we will be contacting you with more specifics on the login process. If you have any questions or experience issues logging in, please contact us through the website.
The New Gotham
We are very pleased to introduce you to our first issue of the new online Gotham Translator. We will be e-mailing our members a link to each new online publication but we encourage you to visit the site as much as you like. Each issue will include articles, news and events pertinent to our industry, involving both the Circle and beyond. You will have the opportunity to comment on articles, which we hope will enrich the professional dialogue between our members. And we invite all members to consider contributing to the newsletter. Contact our Editor, Margarite, about ideas or suggestions for articles. Or share language-related news and events with the Circle community. You will find details about submissions at Publish in the Gotham.
Please be aware that a few details concerning the Gotham remain open at this time. Our Board of Directors needs to establish new advertising rates, which will be lower than those in the printed edition. If you know of anyone who might be interested in advertising in our online Gotham, please refer them to the site or contact Margarite with your ideas. We also hope to be able to add share buttons and social media icons to the new Gotham, but these details also need to be reviewed by the Board as they are a departure from the policy relating to our printed edition.
We ask for patience as we launch both sites. Naturally, we hope that everything will go smoothly, but as is often the case with technical procedures, members may encounter bugs or glitches with either site, whether they be browser or device related. If you should experience any difficulties with either site, please let us know. Our development team is accustomed to designing websites for our industry, and they are ready to address any such issues. Finally, these sites were created for our members, so we would love to get your feedback on them!
About the Author
Gigi Branch is a freelance Fr > En translator who specializes in marketing and editorial translations. She has been a member of the New York Circle for the past 10 years. She also works as a Digital Content Manager and Project Coordinator.
Announcing NYCT’s Mid-March Conference on Literary Translation
NYCT Program Director Kate Deimling and Vice President Alta Price are pleased to announce “Adventures in Literary Translation,” the Circle’s first-ever conference on the topic, to be held this coming March. The event will feature a two-hour session of presentations by three professional literary translators, an hour-long lunch and networking break, and a two-hour roundtable discussion with a panel of five experts discussing the topic from an editing and publishing perspective.
Presenters include: Russian > English translator Antonina Bouis; Spanish > English translator G. J. Racz; French > English translator Lee Fahnestock; German > English translator Benjamin Ross; publisher Chad Post (Open Letter Books, Three Percent); and editor Sal Robinson (Melville House, The Bridge Series).
Details: Date: Saturday, March 14
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: the Woolworth Building (entrance at 15 Barclay St.)
NYCT Members in advance: $40
Students in advance: $30
NYCT Members onsite: $60
Students onsite: $50
Non-members in advance: $75
Non-members onsite: $100
* Students must bring valid student ID to the conference
** All registration fees include lunch
We’ll send more details and a registration link as the date approaches, so look for an NYCT email in your in-box, and please help spread the word among your colleagues, clients, students, and the broader community!