The past year had been very productive for the New York Circle of Translators. In addition to our regular monthly events, we held our first all-day literary translation workshop co-organized by Program Director Kate Deimling and Vice President Alta Price and the first symposium towards the professionalization of the translation and interpreting professions spearheaded by former President Leonard Morin and co-organized by volunteers Miosotis Vargas, Ana Lis Salotti and Administrator Louise Jennewine.
In mid-2015, the Board hired former NYCT Secretary Gigi Branch as our Webmaster. Gigi had worked on a new website for the Circle on a volunteer basis and unveiled it at last year’s Business Meeting and Mixer. She helped us migrate the website to a new, substantially cheaper hosting service this summer with a view to resolving some of its problems and worked closely with the design team to fix any bugs that came up last year.
Sadly, 2016 marks the departure of Program Director Kate Deimling, who had brought a wealth of events to the Circle. Since fall 2014, she had organized panels on subjects as diverse as machine translation, ATA certification and transcreation, relaunched the Circle’s mentoring program and found time to organize a joint mixer with the Community of Literary and Magazine Presses. Kate also executed our first speed-networking event in October. She will continue heading the mentoring program, which pairs novice translators with seasoned professionals. We cannot say enough about how grateful we are to Kate for all her energy and ideas and wish her the best in her future endeavors.
In 2015, we also learned about the elimination of NYU’s highly successful and reputable online translation certificate program, which had offered a multitude of courses, attracted students from all over the world and helped many of our members acquire the skills and subject matter knowledge necessary to take the leap into commercial translation. The Circle had written to NYU administration to express our disappointment with the termination of longtime Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting and NYCT supporter Milena Savova, who had helped us secure our current meeting space. We also expressed our concern about the elimination of another U.S. translation certificate program, as well as the simultaneous interpreting certificate program, following the 2014 closing of the University of Chicago translation studies certificate program, copying then-ATA President Caitilin Walsh on the letter. We urged NYU to retain translation and interpreting studies and to allow both new and former students to take translation courses on a one-off basis for the purpose of continuing education and specialization. We are glad that the M.S. in Translation program was retained and sincerely hope that the newly developed diploma program, which currently offers an Advanced Diploma in Digital Media Translation and Localization, will continue in the same vein.
We offer a warm welcome to our newly elected Board members, who will be available to meet members in person at the February 2nd Business Meeting and Mixer. Program Director Ana Lis Salotti, Secretary Lisa Rodriguez and Treasurer Andre Kononenko have been proactive members of the Circle and I’m already excited by everything they bring to the table. I enjoyed collaborating with and supporting our Board members in their roles in 2015 and hope to continue doing so this year. A big thanks to everyone who contributed their time to the Circle! I look forward to seeing you at our meetings.
The NYCT Gotham had a conversation with our newly elected Secretary Lisa M. Rodriguez about the industry and the NYCT. Below are the answers to some of the questions posed to her.
What do you hope to hope to accomplish during your tenure on the Board?
L.R. Most of all I would like to be helpful. I’ve been translating since 2011 and the ATA and NYCT have given me an enormous amount of help. I’d like to give back, whether that means preparing the minutes of our Board meetings, proctoring the ATA certification exam, helping at meetings and workshops or just making newcomers and others feel welcome and included in the Circle. The quality of the NYCT meetings and workshops is very high. The Literary workshop is one that certainly stands out.
What do you feel are the most pressing needs for the Circle?
L.R. The Circle needs to continue to have active meetings. The November 2015 meeting was filled to capacity. It was standing room only. The biggest issue at that time was getting enough chairs for everyone. All meetings should have that problem.
What do you feel is the most pressing issue for the industry in general?
L.R. Good professional development comes to mind. I’ve worked in two other industries, and I believe that new translators have access to excellent support from associations, professional development classes and experienced colleagues-much more than what new professionals receive in some other fields.
How did you come to the industry?
L.R. I started as a teacher. I taught in Spain for 16 years. When I returned to the States I found myself in financial services. After my job moved to the west coast, I completed the NYU program and transitioned into translating. The NYU program was very helpful. It was the perfect program for me.
What hidden talent do you have?
L.R. Well it’s not so much a talent but I am a big fan of audio books and podcasts. Right now I’m listening to an audio book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It’s the autobiography of a woman originally from Somalia. The author reads it herself which makes it quite poignant. Last week I listened to Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, a biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice.
This information comes from member associations of FIT and is reprinted from Translatio.
Austrian Associations succeed in Raising Awareness on the Difference Between Translators and Interpreters
In a joint effort, the German-speaking professional associations loosely organised within the framework of what is called “Bremer Runde”, which meets several times a year to discuss issues of common interest, addressed the subject of the frequent though mistaken use of the terms “translator/translation” and “interpreter/interpretation” in the German
In Austria, five independent professional associations work together under the umbrella of the “Translationsplattform” (www.translationsplattform.at), in particular to attract more attention and to give more weight to their arguments when reaching out jointly to the public or to specific stakeholders.
Acting upon the discussions within “Bremer Runde”, the Austrian associations got together to draft and send out letters to the media and to the editors of “Österreichisches Wörterbuch” (a standard monolingual German-language
dictionary that is widely used in Austrian schools). The letters clearly outlined the differences between the activities performed by translators and interpreters and proposed definitions to be added to the dictionary. They were accompanied
by a joint press release on the topic.
The Austrian associations were very pleased with the media echo their efforts received. The response of the dictionary editors is especially worth mentioning, as they welcomed the valuable input and easy-to-understand presentation of the terms in question and promised to take account of the suggestions in the next edition of the dictionary.
Dagmar Sanjath, Secretary General of UNIVERSITAS Austria, Interpreters and
UNI 11591:2015 – Italy has its own national standard to certify translators and interpreters
Three years in the making, the new UNI standard has finally been given the green light by UNI (Italian Organization for Standardization) on September 10, 2015. It was proposed by AITI and
written in collaboration with AIDAC, AIIC, Assointerpreti, ANITI, AssiITIG and TradInFounder under the supervision of esteemed professors from the Università di Bologna, DIT Forlì, Trieste and Fondazione Universitaria San Pellegrino.
The new standard provides requirements for the knowledge, skills and competence expected from individual TSPs and ISPs in accordance with the CEN GUIDE 14:2010 (“Common policy guidance for
addressing standardisation on qualification of professions and personnel”) and the European Qualification Framework (EQF).
It outlines eight professional profiles:
conference interpreter, legal interpreter,
healthcare/medical interpreter, business interpreter, technical-scientific translator,
audio-visual script translator and dialogue writer, legal translator, and language localisation professional.
The UNI 11591:2015 was recently presented during
a road-show in Genoa, Rome, Venice, Florence,
Turin, Trento, Trieste, Ancona, and Bologna with a large audience of professionals in attendance. Plans to be in Naples and Sicily in early 2016 are
Third-party certification for translators and interpreters is likely to be available next year, once the certification schemes are drafted in compliance with ISO 17024. A milestone in the global translation and interpretation industry, the UNI 11591:2015 provides guidance for the qualification of professional translators and interpreters on the market and their clients.
It’s a new year and a good time to look at what is trending in the job market. Whether you are looking for a language service provider or you are looking to become an interpreter, the language service industry is all the buzz. This week, The DC posted an article about immigration escalation and projections. The amount of foreign born people in the US from 1880 – 1970 increased by only 40%, while the amount from 1970-2060 will have increased by 715%! That is a jaw dropping number, and a good indicator that language services will continue to grow as the country does.
The industry on a whole is in a massive state of expansion. Technological advances make language services more accessible, and therefore businesses are starting to utilize them more. Interpreters and translators are among the fastest growing career paths in the country and that is predicted to continue at least for the next decade.
Medical Mission Seeks Volunteer Interpreters
Looking for a good cause? Project H.A.N.D.S. requires certified medical interpreters for patient safety. If you are certified and can donate 10 days, Project H.A.N.D.S. is accepting applicants for their May 13 – 21, 2016 trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The goal is to establish a Cervical Cancer Prevention Program. They need two Certified Medical Interpreters.
Direct inquiries to Maria Schwieter, RN, CHI, at (219) 229-5351
Interpret. Spread the word. Help others. Save lives. Join this rewarding work!
Reprinted from the ATA Chronicle’s June 2012 issue with gracious permission from the author and the editor
Language is ever evolving and never static, and interpreters must strive constantly to expand and refine their linguistic knowledge. As such, they must incorporate ways to practice language skills into their daily lives. Many of us have used paper flashcards to help facilitate language acquisition at some point in our career. It is a simple method: on one side of the card we write a term in our first language (L1), and on the reverse we write the same term in our second language (L2). Oral flashcards take the concept of practicing forward and backward translation a step further by turning it into a listening and speaking activity. As we shall see, this technique is particularly valuable to interpreters.
Why Oral Flashcards?
Creating a study method that works for you is key to successful and sustained vocabulary practice and development. Oral flashcards are productive tools for learning new terms or practicing less commonly used ones because the exercise mimics
what interpreters actually do on the job by drawing on auditory and vocal skills far more effectively than traditional paper flashcards. They can also be created easily. Instead of writing on a card, you create an audio recording of the terms you wish to practice. The process involves just a few steps:
• Prepare a list of terms or phrases you want to learn and group them by topic. Familiarize yourself with the terms so that you can pronounce them smoothly when recording. Each recording should be no longer than five minutes. This will facilitate locating terms quickly for review and will keep digital audio files smaller.
• Record yourself saying each term in L1, leave a brief interval to allow yourself time to respond during practice sessions, and then say the term’s equivalent in L2. You should
also make a second recording from L2 to L1, since it is important to create oral flashcards that move in both directions to strengthen backward and forward translation. There are a variety of methods with which to create oral flashcards.
Digital Recorders: These devices are an inexpensive option. Some recorders give you the ability to create multiple files containing word lists, but you will be unable to customize the list names since they will appear simply as numbers on the recorder’s display. This is a disadvantage because you will be unable to scroll through and find specific lists quickly or switch the order of your lists. Some digital recorders come with software that allows you to upload recordings as mp3 files to the computer, where you can rename the list files so they are easy to locate and differentiate. From there, you can burn a CD or transfer the files to an iPod, mp3 player, or smartphone. Although
digital recorders with this capability cost more, it is worth the extra investment to have the flexibility they offer.
Podcasts: You can create podcasts with programs such as Audacity, PodProducer, and WildVoice Studio, which can then be transferred to an iPod or mp3 player or else played directly from your computer. Again, these have the benefit of allowing you to customize the names of your lists so they can be identified and located easily.
GarageBand for Mac: If you are a Mac user, the GarageBand application, which comes standard as part of the iLife suite, provides a user friendly option. GarageBand allows you to select “Create New Podcast Episode” from the main menu. Users can indicate whether their recording is of a male or female voice, which improves quality. Editing features include the ability to change the timing of your recording, split tracks, move portions of a track, and insert new portions of recorded material into an existing track. The recording quality is good and it is easy to export files directly to iTunes and upload them to an iPod, iPhone, or burn them to a CD.
Windows Sound Recorder for PC: PC users might be interested in Windows Sound Recorder. This application, which comes standard on PCs, is user-friendly and allows you the benefit of recording directly to your desktop. This is an especially good option for those new to recording on anything other than a digital or standard tape recorder, since it requires no additional investment. The only requirement is that you have a sound card and an inexpensive microphone.
Software: Free downloads or recording software are also available, such as Audacity (for PC, Mac, and Linux at http:// audacity.sourceforge.net/download) and Free Sound Recorder for PC (http://cnet.co/Free-Sound). If you want something with more capacity, you can purchase a number of software programs. Prices vary, so do your research and find the one that best fits your needs and preferences (see reviews at
Smartphone Apps: Many smartphones come preloaded with a voice recorder. You simply record onto your phone and play it back whenever you want to practice. There are also downloadable apps for purchase that allow for voice recording. For example, I have used QuickVoice on my iPhone for voice recording (www.quickvoice. com/quickvoice).
Tape Recorder: Finally, there is nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned tape recorder, if this is what you feel most comfortable using. A disadvantage will be searching for your lists or locating them using a counter. In addition to helping us learn and practice, an added bonus of oral flashcards is that they are considerably more portable and accessible than a notebook or a stack of traditional paper flashcards. It is much easier to schedule time to practice and study vocabulary into our daily routine when it can be done while walking the dog, running on the treadmill, vacuuming, or cooking dinner. Repetition fulfills important functions in normal, everyday speech. The effectiveness of oral flashcards goes beyond mere convenience. This approach to term acquisition also
takes advantage of certain neurological theories associated with how we learn and retain information, some of which are discussed below.
Learning in Chunks
Research in second language acquisition has shown that attempting to learn a language word by word will not result in the internalization of that language’s overall linguistic structure, and instead can contribute to fossilization because a speaker is unable to create original utterances with the language. Communicative approaches to language learning thus emphasize the importance of meaningful input: hearing the language used realistically and in context so that learners can begin to incorporate it into their ever developing internal understanding of how the language works. Similarly, these approaches stress the importance of learning meaningful chunks of language in context.
According to David Wood, coordinator of the program for the Certificate in the Teaching of English as a Second Language at Carleton University’s School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, these chunks are linguistic formulas or, “fixed strings …
of words that have a range of functions and uses in speech production and communication and seem to be cognitively stored and retrieved by speakers as if they were single words.”1 Many first phrases spoken by those just beginning to learn a language (e.g., “What’s your name?” or “How are you?”) are common examples of chunks. Similarly, the doublets and triplets common to legal language can be described as chunks (e.g., “give, devise, and bequeath”). Because these word strings follow a set pattern, speakers can remember and use them without variation. By learning the meaning of a chunk, we are able to communicate without having to think
through the nuts and bolts of its construction.
For example, Spanish learners can easily express likes and dislikes using Me gusta / No me gusta long before they understand indirect object pronouns. Such formulaic sequences play an important role in language acquisition. Chunking aids in the internalization of language and contributes to fluency by increasing the amount of
speech produced without a pause. 2
In other words, we communicate meaning rather than simply string individual words together. Novice language learners, for example, can have a completely legitimate conversation using nothing but chunks such as “Hello, how are you? What’s your name? Where are you from? Where do you live? What’s your phone number? Nice to meet you. I’ll see you later,” and so on. Speech patterns and tendencies to use formulaic sequences are such that we become aware of them both consciously and subconsciously. Never was this clearer to me than the time I had a student raise his hand and ask what I was always looking for when I said Vamos a ver (“Let’s see”) as I consulted the list of activities for the day. This type of awareness, as Wood points out, helps, “establish a pattern recognition unit, which is then strengthened by frequent input, eventually leading to single-step memory access … [and] … automatization or retrieval in a single-step process of remembering”3
Thus, we do not have to think of each individual word or form in a chunk; rather, the entire
string is accessed and produced as one unit. Using these chunks or even a series of them allows time for us to attend to other utterances that demand more attention and are not formulaic. For example, a novice language learner does not consciously have to think about the meaning of “My name is…” and can instead pay attention to the information that follows.
Without a doubt, repetition is essential to learning chunks of information. It is not enough simply to listen to something; we need to reproduce the sounds and train our vocal chords to form them. Repetition in language learning has sometimes gotten a bad rap because of its association with the behaviorist audio lingual approach of the 1950s and 1960s. Lee James and Bill VanPatten, both internationally recognized scholars in the field of second language acquisition, note that audio lingualism, which is based on
theories of behaviorism, was originally, “[d]eveloped at military schools (where one did not question authority) … [and it] … explicitly cast the instructor as drill leader.”4 The end goal of this approach is to create good habits in language learners and eliminate bad ones. Therefore, audio lingual learning activities emphasize patterned drills. Central to this approach are compact language drills (CDLs) in which learners repeat what an instructor says.
As a result, repetition is sometimes cast aside because it conjures up the image of rote drills. Nevertheless, repetition fulfills important functions in normal, everyday speech. We need only think of how children parrot everything they hear when learning to speak to know that repetition serves as a building block of language learning and, later, original creation with the language. This is a result of a component of working memory known as the phonological loop, which deals with spoken and written language. In an article in Psychological Review, Alan Baddeley, Susan Gathercole, and Costanza Papagno explain that the phonological loop, “comprises both a phonological store, which holds information in phonological form, and a rehearsal process, which serves to maintain decaying representations in the phonological store.”5 Similar to using chunks, repetition allows us to produce easy to remember formulaic utterances while giving our minds time to craft what follows.6
Second language speakers have to know both content and form to create utterances within a language. Novice language learners tend to remember words in L2 by binding them to their L1 translation; in other words, they do not see a new L2 term as having meaning in and of itself, but rather through its link to the word in L1.7 In an article discussing language representation and processing in fluent bilinguals in Neuropsychologia, Shekeila Palmer, Johanna van Hoof, and Jelena Havelka explain that with increased proficiency, speakers of a second language develop, “an asymmetrically connected linguistic system in which the two lexicons are linked both directly at the lexical level, and indirectly via independent links between each lexicon and the conceptual store.” 8 That is, we make connections both on a word-for-word and a meaning-for-meaning level. As many of us know from experience, the consequence of this asymmetrical system is that backward translation going from L2 to L1 is faster than forward translation because it tends to be lexical, or at the word level. In contrast, forward translation tends to be based more on meaning and concepts. 9
The concept of listening to a recording also ties into how the brain processes auditory stimuli. Music and memory are uniquely linked. Music often accompanies our memories, and those memories of music come back very accurately. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, has found in his work with patients that, “musical perception, musical sensibility, musical emotion, and musical memory can survive long after other forms of memory have disappeared.” 10
As linguists, we can capitalize on our musical intelligence and the strength of musical memories. If you listen to anyone for very long, you will pick up on the unique rhythmic qualities of his or her individual speech. We can likewise tap into our own musicality the
unique rhythms and sounds of our individual way of speaking to help us remember by following the beat of our speech patterns. Self-repetition of words and phrases plants a rhythmic memory in your brain of the way you produce those words and phrases. Practicing our vocabulary by listening to audio recordings of ourselves repeating terms allows us to draw on the rhythm of speech (and not so much on the linguistical aspects) to retrieve and recall content.
For example, whether you consider yourself a musician or not, you likely have experienced something known as an earworm at some point in your life. Earworms are those snippets of music that get stuck and replay through our minds, often with maddening consistency. When we remember, neurons fire in the same pattern as when we first perceived the object or event we remember. In the case of earworms, it
appears that the pattern is firing repeatedly much like a scratch on a vinyl record or CD.11 As studies of music and the brain indicate, musical memories often outlast other memories since they are stored differently. Tapping into your own musicality by using oral flashcards to learn, practice, and remember is like having a backup rhythmic copy of the concrete.
As country singer Trisha Yearwood sings, “The song remembers when.”12 Oliver Sacks likewise quotes one of his correspondents: “Every memory of my childhood has a soundtrack to it.”13 Many of us would agree with both observations regarding the power of musical memory.
Understanding How We Learn
Taken together, these understandings of the architecture of our linguistic system suggest that oral flashcards are an effective strategy to help us enhance our vocabularies and improve our skills as interpreters. Because we, as linguists, need to be able to move back and forth fluidly between languages, our practice of new terms should challenge us. Our practice of new terms should challenge us to exercise every aspect of the brain’s capacity to learn and adapt to linguistic patterns.
By using repetition to strengthen our proficiency in a language, and by becoming familiar with the musicality of our individual pronunciation, we will become more aware of how these language patterns can affect our performance.
1. Wood, David. “Uses and Functions of Formulaic Sequences in Second Language Speech: An Exploration of the Foundations of Fluency.” The Canadian Modern Language Review (Volume 63, no. 1, 2006), 14.
2. Ibid., 13-33.
3. Ibid., 17.
4. Lee, James F., and Bill VanPatten. Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003), 7.
5. Baddeley, Alan, Susan Gathercole, and Costanza Papagno. “The Phono logical Loop as a Language
Learning Device.” Psychological Review (Volume 105, no. 1, 1998), 158.
6. Rydland, Veslemøy and Vibeke Grøver Aukrust. “Lexical Repetition in Second Language Learners’ Peer Play Interaction.” Language Learning (Volume 55, no. 2, 2005). 7. Palmer, Shekeila D., Johanna C. van Hoof, and Jelena Havelka. “Language Representation and Processing in Fluent Bilinguals: Electrophysiological Evidence for Asymmetric Mapping in Bilingual Memory.” Neuropsychologia (Volume 48, 2010), 1426-1437.
8. Ibid., 1426.
9. Ibid., 1426.
10. Sacks, Oliver. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (New York: Vintage, 2007), 373.
11. Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (New York: Dutton, 2006).
12. Prestwood, Hugh. “The Song Remembers When” [Recorded by Trish Yearwood]. On The Song Remembers When [CD]. Nashville: MCA, 1993.
13. Sacks. Musicophilia: Tales ofMusic and the Brain, 37.
As my internship at the New York Circle of Translators (NYCT) nears its end, it has been a great experience to be able to learn and grow in an environment full of others who share my interest in languages. My name is Hasia (Angela) Bronstein and I am an undergraduate student presently completing my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish/English Translation and Interpretation Studies at the City University of New York—Hunter College.
Ever since I can remember I have had a fascination with languages and human communication. Their unique phonetic compositions, distinct writing systems, and grammatical complexities fascinated me ever since I was a small child; how in one language we say “I miss you” and in another “I feel your absence”. I started learning Spanish when I was in sixth grade and it started out by happenchance as an error in my class schedule. My teacher insisted, “Stay a week and if you don’t like it you can drop it.” Learning languages soon became a pastime for me and I continued to study Spanish through high school. I now speak English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew with some knowledge of French and I am now focusing my linguistic pursuits on Arabic. I continued to study Spanish through college. Like most college students, the focus of my major changed a few times starting out as an Applied Linguistics major and then a Romance Languages major I eventually transferred to Hunter College in the Spring of 2013 and decided to take my interest in languages towards a more focused career path majoring in Spanish/English Translation and Interpretation studies.
The program at Hunter is unique and still growing showing a great potential and is one of the only programs in the New York City area offering an undergraduate degree in Translation/Interpretation.
The degree is through the Spanish Department and consists of a wide array of courses which students must take in Spanish Grammar and Composition, Modern Literature and Translation theory and practice, Translation in the professions which focuses on a specific professional arena such as medical, legal or literary translation.
Classes in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation are also offered. Course requirements are allied with the Hunter College English Department insuring that students have a strong basis and are well rounded in the culture, literature and structure of both language pairs.
I arrived as an intern at the New York Circle of Translators after meeting and discussing possible internship positions with my program director, Professor Maria Cornelio. Students seeking a BA in Spanish Translation/Interpretation must complete an internship.
The internship position is an opportunity for students to utilize the skills learned in class as well as to network and develop new skills from hands-on work experience. Professor Cornelio had invited students to attend a couple of events held by the New York Circle of Translators and I found them interesting and informative. While brainstorming with Professor Cornelio about possible internship positions, she suggested the option of interning with the NYCT and the rest is history!
My internship experience has been positive. While interning for the New York Circle of Translators I had the opportunity to attend events in which speakers and panelists discussed issues involved in the translation field and how to tackle the challenges involved in the fields of Transcreation and Subtitling. Other events included the NYCT Annual Networking Event which experienced great success in connecting translators and interpreters with Translation Agencies seeking to benefit from each member’s unique set of skills. I helped by making phone calls and spread sheets organizing member information and did my best to facilitate any difficulties involved in holding these events.
Overall the NYCT and their events are like a family which serves to help one another by offering advice and support. They have an up and coming mentoring program which that seeks to provide one on one professional guidance by experienced members to those new to the fields of translation and interpretation. I am very grateful to be able to have served as an intern for the New York Circle of Translators and have great expectations for the future both for myself and for the NYCT.