nyct-summerIn August the NYCT held it’s Annual Summer Picnic. We were back at our old spot in the park. Depending on who you ask, summer is either really hectic or really slow. Please consider joining your fellow NYCT members for next year’s picnic. It’s always in August although the dates vary. For more pictures please check out the Facebook page and join in the conversation.picnic-2016central-park


EAFT, the European Association for Terminology, in collaboration with TermCoord, is organizing the Eighth European Terminology Summit in Luxembourg on 14–15 November 2016. Registration is open until the end of October.

2016 is the year of both the 20th anniversary of the EAFT as well as a Summit year. The main theme of the event, Visions and revisions, allows us to look back on the 20 years of the EAFT’s tireless work on terminology – as well as to look forward, talking about the future of terminology and its goals still to be reached.

Given that the Summit is also an anniversary and celebration, but also evaluation of twenty years’ worth of terminology, its structure will reflect its multifaceted character. Therefore, the Summit will be composed around 8 sections which summarize the themes of the earlier Summits (Cooperation & Collaboration, Social Media, Quality Matters, Responsibility, Interaction and Diversity, Terminology Profile, State Of The Art/Domain Loss, Declaration).
Each section, as per the main theme, will contain at least a revision (evaluation of the past achievements as well as pitfalls) and a vision (an idea, a hope, a plan, a goal) related to the theme of the section. Certain areas, such as terminology training, terminology research, terminology standardization, terminology management, or terminology tools, shall not be given a separate section, but rather – given their horizontal character – shall be present in several sections.

The registration deadline is 31st of October 2016. The registration can be completed by filling in a FORM. When you have filled it correctly, you will be asked to send the proof of payment to Once the submitted data have been verified, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.
For the information on registration fees, payment details, hotels in Luxembourg, and social events accompanying the Summit, visit the EAFT 2016 Summit page on our website. You can also read about the last EAFT Summit in Barcelona.


A symposium on raising the bar in professionalism, quality of service, remuneration, and working conditions

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
John Jay College of Criminal Justice | City University of New York
524 West 59th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The event is free, but you must RSVP to:

We are pleased to announce our second annual symposium on professionalization in translation and interpreting under the auspices of the New York Circle of Translators (NYCT), the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), the Association of Language Interpreters of Greater New York (ALIGNY), and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York.

Morning plenary session will feature:
-An overview of the translation and interpretation industries
-Stories from experienced translators and interpreters: training, credentials, getting started, challenges, success stories

Afternoon breakout sessions will address current and ongoing areas of concern in the specific fields of translation, legal/court interpreting, and healthcare interpreting. Local and regional spokespeople will present their experiences, research on best practices, and recommendations for raising the bar in the future.

An ending plenary session will summarize
the major conclusions of the day and provide attendees with resources for further steps in professionalization.

Email to reserve your spot. Remember to bring government-issued photo ID for lobby security checks.

Please join us for the 29th Annual Translation Prize honoring the best French-to-English translations in Fiction and Nonfiction published in 2015

Since 1986, the French-American Foundation, with the longstanding support of the Florence Gould Foundation, has awarded annual translation prizes for the best translations from French to English in fiction and nonfiction.

Tuesday, June 7 / 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The Century Association
7 West 43rd Street
New York City

Keynote Address by Lydia Davis

Acclaimed fiction writer & translator, three-time winner of the Translation Prize & 2016 Translation Prize Laureate

For more information, please contact Ilana Adleson at


Emily Boyce
Nagasaki by Eric Faye, Gallic Books

John Cullen
The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, Other Press

Christine Donougher
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Penguin Classics / Penguin Random House

Julian Evans
The Foundling’s War by Michel Déon, Gallic Books

Frank Wynne
The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre, Quercus / MacLehose Press


David Broder and Catherine Romatowski
Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End by Sylvie Tissot, Verso Books

Malcolm DeBevoise
Birth of a Theorem by Cédric Villani, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Bruce Fink
Transference: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VIII by Jacques Lacan, Polity Press

François Raffoul and David Pettigrew
Heidegger in France by Dominique Janicaud, Indiana University Press

Steven Rendall
Bonaparte: 1769-1802 by Patrice Gueniffy, Harvard University Press


In addition to honoring the winning translators, the French-American Foundation will introduce Lydia Davis as its first Translation Prize Laureate. Lydia Davis is a three-time winner of the French-American Foundation Translation Prize for her translations of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, and Rules of the Game I: Scratches by Michel Leiris. Her impressive literary career also includes such distinctions as the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for fiction and translation, the Man Booker International Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award of Merit Medal.

The Translation Prize has established itself as a valuable element of the intellectual and cultural exchange between France and the United States, promoting French literature in the United States and providing translators and their craft greater visibility among publishers and readers.

Professionalism and Professionalization

On June 2 of last year, the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), the Association of Language Interpreters of Greater New York (ALIGNY), and the New York Circle of Translators (NYCT) held a forum under the title, “Translation and Interpreting: from Bilingualism to Professionalism.” The response to the symposium, in which I had the pleasure to take part, was far more enthusiastic than we had anticipated. More than twice as many people attempted to sign up than we were able to accommodate. I think that this initial response, in addition to the follow-up feedback from the audience and presenters, speaks to the dramatically growing momentum for raising standards in our professions of interpreting and translating.

One of the presenters, Eric Candle of the IMIA, discussed the national medical interpreter training and certification, which has progressively become more lengthy and rigorous. Similarly, court interpreter certification in New York State and elsewhere has advanced by leaps and bounds since its beginnings in the 1970s and ’80s. The ATA translator certification exam has improved and gained acceptance as a universal standard. An ATA interpreter certification exam is in the works. Translator and interpreter training programs are popping up at an unprecedented rate.

Professor María Cornelio spoke on the Spanish Major Concentration in Translation and Interpretation at Hunter College which she directs. María Barros, of the Spanish Translation Service at the UN, discussed the question of whether the translation practice at the UN could serve as a model for the industry. Jean Campbell, of the Sherman & Sterling law firm, presented on professional standards in legal translation. In conclusion, I moderated a panel composed of Prof. María Cornelio, María Barros, Jean Campbell, Eric Candle, Ricardo Fernández (staff court interpreter at Manhattan Criminal Court), and Lionel Bajaña (supervisory interpreter at Bronx Criminal Court).

Despite the undeniable gains in professionalization, I think it is clear that much more work needs to be done and that we cannot be complacent. One challenge is the lack of resources to train and remunerate translators and interpreters. If the standard for translators is written translations that are nearly 100 percent accurate and read as if originally written in the target language, then this implies an extremely high level of prior education and experience. Likewise, if the standard for legal interpreting is that the limited English proficient (LEP) individual must understand the English-language proceedings in his or her own language as well as a native English speaker would, then the interpreter’s level of prior education and experience must be extremely high.

There are, of course, many thoroughly professional practicing translators and interpreters, but the onerous weight on their backs caused by scarce educational opportunities, inadequate remuneration, and unacceptable working conditions are bad for everyone. If translators and interpreters are to exercise the same level of competence as good doctors, lawyers, or accountants do, more money will need to be invested in their education and salaries. If linguists are not well remunerated, it is impossible to justify an investment in this career path—and then all of society will suffer.

Primary and secondary education programs need to offer better curricula in language training. Higher education also is an obvious essential in the training of translators and interpreters. But higher education is exorbitant in this country and our industry will not be able to tackle this larger problem on its own. Needless to say, bad translation and bad interpreting can lead to unspeakable calamity; in diplomatic catastrophes, wrongful convictions, medical malpractice, catastrophic financial loss, or in any other matter where miscommunication arises between people who speak different languages. For instance, some have attributed the bombing of Hiroshima and, separately, the escalation of the arms race in the 1950s to misinterpretations.

Another challenge that at least some of us face is that our work and training will not always be exposing us to every type of document we will translate or every type of proceeding we interpret in our subsequent career. There is always plenty of potential for something new that at times will make photocopy translation or interpreting (which is the aspired standard of perfection in legal translation and interpreting) an illusory goal. This especially applies to languages of lesser diffusion, such as Wolof, Tibetan, or Kaqchikel, to name a few of thousands. These translators and interpreters may find that their ability to accumulate preparatory training and experience is more limited due to the lesser availability of training and assignments. Yet I would submit that, as monumental as the task is of effectively providing language services, we are obligated to invest our energies in it. Too much is at stake not to: life, safety, and liberty, in addition to the potential for catastrophic financial loss.

Your reading this article is a sign that you are interested in change. I think the place to start a movement towards full professionalization is within and among our professional organizations: the New York Circle of Translators, the International Medical Interpreters Association, the Association of Language Interpreters of Greater New York, the American Translators Association, or the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, among others nationally and internationally. Your contributions and creativity to come up with solutions and implement them are sorely needed. We can continue to hold fora, such as the symposium, to educate ourselves, our clients, and society at large. In fact, the consensus among the organizers after last year’s event was that it would be very useful to make the forum an ongoing annual event.

Yet I think it bears emphasis that educating the general public is crucially important since the public will have to invest in our services in order for us to progress. This would necessarily include recognizing and remunerating the many outstanding professionals already practicing in line with the value of the service they are providing. If the highest standards currently being practiced are to become the rule rather than the exception, the public has to understand that better medical translations, better diplomatic interpreting, and better social services translation and interpreting will make us all more prosperous. If a legal interpreter breaches his or her confidentiality requirement, unduly steps into the role of lawyer, or omits content from his or her rendering of a proceeding, the potentially negative consequences are incalculable. We will also have to educate government officials who are in a position to implement far-reaching changes.

In short, more rigorous and affordable training and better remuneration are indispensable to continued professionalism and further professionalization of our industry and the rendering of service that our clients need and deserve.

Written by Leonard Morin
Leonard MorinLeonard Morin is a staff interpreter at Manhattan Criminal Court. He previously practiced as a full-time translator (since 2004) and interpreter (since 2006). Leonard interprets Spanish and Dutch and translates chiefly legal and cartography-related documents from Dutch, Spanish, and German into English. He earned a propedeuse degree in law in the Netherlands and graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Latin American Studies. Leonard has earned translation and interpreting certificates and won academic prizes for his Spanish and German. He previously served as president of the New York Circle of Translators.

GALA – the Globalization and Localization Association, Who are they? How do they Impact Translators?

So many factors impact our work as translators and interpreters. Small things like spotty internet connection to larger issues such as political mandates regarding language access, but what about the myriad of organizations and associations that deals with our industry. Below follows an interview with Allison Ferch, Director of Communications and Engagement, of the Globalization and Localization Association or GALA for short.

Could you explain the role of GALA in the translation and localization industry?

GALA is a trade association for the translation and localization industry. As a non-profit membership organization we offer a non-biased platform for information-sharing, collaboration, training, and professional development. We actively promote translation, localization, and interpreting as essential elements of global business and our outreach educates the general business community about the enormous benefits that the language enterprise brings to global business. In a nutshell, our role is to elevate the translation and localization industry, both in terms of internal maturity and sophistication, as well as how it is perceived by the global business community.

Has GALA achieved its’ original goals? What is GALA doing to meet its’ original purpose or has GALA increased the roles and agenda it had established upon inception?

GALA’s mission and vision have evolved since its inception. The association was originally formed by a group of language service provider (LSP) companies in order to address the unique needs of LSPs. Through a series of changes to the bylaws that happened gradually over a period of 10 years, GALA has now expanded its membership and its goals to meet the needs of all localization professionals, whether they work for vendor companies like LSPs or for enterprises in different sectors. GALA’S current mission is to support our members and the language industry by creating communities, championing standards, sharing knowledge, and advancing technology. Our vision is to be the voice for the language industry and the resource for the language enterprise.

GALA is primarily for agencies and large companies, but these employ translators who need to know what is trending in the industry.

-What have you heard from agencies or large companies about the industry?

-Technology is definitely a popular topic among professionals whether they’re on the buy-side or the vendor side of the industry. Machine translation (and post editing), audiovisual translation and subtitling, and video-remote interpreting will all be featured at our upcoming annual conference. Business owners continue to investigate new business models as alternatives to the per-word pricing model, and we also hear discussion about the “disintermediation” of the industry whereby clients request direct access to linguists and resources like translation memories. Finally, we hear of changing project lifecycles with an emphasis on smaller projects with faster turnaround times – often driven by Agile software development cycles.

-What types of changes are being implemented?

-Many translation and localization agencies are working on specialization, either in the sectors they serve or the type of services they offer. As they move into more consultative roles, they are able to move away from the price-per-word model. We see more emphasis on data-driven decisions from the client side as they seek to justify investments in language services and prove ROI to their upper management. And we see adaptations in project management to cope with the demands of Agile development with its smaller word counts and faster turn-around times.

GALA serves an international membership, however how does GALA interact with members on the local level?

In the past, GALA’s tagline was “Communicate locally, succeed globally” and though we no longer use that in marketing materials, we do still believe it. In spite of having member companies in more than 50 countries, we do interact with members regionally and locally. Our Partner Program is one way that we do this. Through a series of partnerships with regional associations, we extend our reach and are able to get involved in events and programs that otherwise would not be accessible to us and our members. We also co-organize local networking events in cities around the world. These events are always open to all industry professionals and provide a fun and easy way for people to connect with their peers. Finally, we encourage and support the development of local or regional user groups such as the Seattle Localization Group (SLUG) which plans quarterly meet-ups with speakers and networking.

Report from Jerusalem – Attending the Israel Translators Association Conference

At the ATA’s conference in Toronto in 2004, I met a translator from Israel who told me, “You know, we have one of these, too.” That was all I needed to start combining my annual visit to Israel with attendance at the Israel Translators Association conference.

The population of Israel is about 8.4 million. That’s less than the population of New Jersey. Yet each year the ITA conference draws about 350 attendees, as compared with about 1600-1800 for the ATA, which covers the entire USA and Canada. What’s going on here?

Israel is one of the world’s most internationally-connected economies. Developments in science, technology, medicine are quickly disseminated worldwide. In fact, Israel is No. 1 in terms of the percentage of its GDP spent on research and development (the US is in 10th place) . Many innovations we take for granted, such as WAZE, were originally developed there. This means that foreign countries are eager to establish a presence in Israel, hiring managers, leasing space and promoting products, while Israeli companies are doing the same worldwide. And when documents cross borders, translators find work. When I first joined the ITA, most translators, who are often immigrants to Israel, worked in language pairs other than Hebrew (Spanish, French, German, Russian <> English). Now, however, there’s plenty of work into and from Hebrew as well.

At the same time, Israelis are voracious readers. Not only have bookstores not disappeared, they are to be found on the main street of every city and even smaller towns, while the side streets are home to many used book stores, often full of browsers. At one of these, I looked for a volume of Harry Potter in Hebrew. “Harry Potter? Are you kidding? Those never last more than a day,” I was told. The Israeli translator of the Harry Potter books, Gili Bar Hillel, became an instant national celebrity, but fans were not shy about expressing their opinion on any word that they would have translated differently.

On the street outside our apartment in Jerusalem, old books mysteriously appear on a bench each morning. They range from encyclopedia volumes to books of poetry, and on this year’s visit I spied some in English, Hebrew, French German and even Greek. Passers-by leaf through them, sometimes pocketing one or two. We’ve never determined where these books come from, but they appear day after day, year after year, all efficiently “recycled” by this simple mechanism of trusting Israelis’ love of books.

The Israel Translators Association’s annual conference has one more thing going for it – it is usually held in Jerusalem, one of the world’s most fascinating cities, and a unique destination for international visitors. Over the years, thanks to that distinction and the international connections of its organizers, the conference has attracted numerous attendees and speakers who are themselves stars in the translation world. This year’s keynote speakers included André Lindenmann, President of the German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) and the ATA’s own Jost Zetzsche, author of the Chronicle’s “GeekSpeak” column.

In recent years the conference’s organizers have provided optional tours that take visitors to some of Jerusalem’s top tourist sites. This year’s offerings included two that truly embody the special nature of the city: An evening excursion to the recently-excavated tunnels beneath the Temple Mount took us on a voyage back 2000 years to the time of King Herod, the megalomaniac master builder of his era. Walking underneath the famed Western Wall, we saw water conduits, Roman streets and massive building stones used to build the famous walls of the city. One such stone, the largest ever discovered in a structure completed by human beings without powered machinery, has an estimated weight of 570 tons!

The next day, an early morning visit to the bustling Mahane Yehuda “Shuk” or market, with its outdoor stalls, vendors shouting out the quality of their wares, and handcarts pushing through throngs of shoppers with their ubiquitous plastic shopping bags, revealed the other side of Jerusalem: A city that is bustling, thriving and filled with life, despite the fact that news reports sometimes make it seem like a conflict zone. Looking through a rack of shirts for something suitable for the gorgeous spring weather that had suddenly taken the place of cold winter drizzle, I was jostled by Arab women in hijab, Hassidic women in the wig-plus-hat combination adopted by some sects, and teenagers with headphones and miniskirts.

The modern and efficient light rai
l line running along Yafo (Jaffa) Street, for centuries the route from the Mediterranean port of Jaffa (remember Jonah and the whale?) to the Old City, was filled with soldiers in uniform (some with Uzis), mothers and babies, older women with shopping carts and men in business suits with briefcases. Jerusalem is also home to thousands of American students who, after graduating Jewish high schools, spend a “gap year” in Israeli seminaries. One evening, walking from the hotel, I encountered a trio of them bouncing a basketball, which then flew into the road with its rush hour traffic. The next evening I saw the same girls and asked them about the ball. They looked at one another in amazement and I could not resist teasing, “Whatever you do in Jerusalem, your mother gets a call within the hour.”

The night before the conference opened, international visitors were invited to dinner at the Eucalyptus Restaurant, which serves a modern interpretation of biblical cuisine. All dishes have their origins in biblical scenes and all the spices and herbs grow in the surrounding hills of Jerusalem and Judea. In fact, the meals served at the conference hotel (registration includes lunch, dinner is optional) are a feast in themselves, a far cry from the sandwich carts and quick trips to the supermarket that have become lunch fare at recent ATA conferences. And networking over a leisurely three-course meal with white tablecloths is certainly a luxury to be prized.

Sessions are presented in either Hebrew or English (and occasionally in other languages – our German guest this year gave one in German) and virtually everyone at the conference is fluent in English. In addition, this year the plenary presentations made in Hebrew were simultaneously interpreted into English by professional ITA members.

The preconference workshops covered marketing, CAT tools, transcreation and social media. The sessions over the next two days ranged from the usual legal and technical topics to some that are distinctly Israeli, such as the translation of Judaica and, unfortunately, the politics and translation of terror. My presentation this year was entitled “Patent Litigation – Understanding the Choreography”. In it I attempted to assure legal translators that this growing and lucrative field is not only for technical experts.

Last year, together with my colleague Carl Wurtzel, I presented on the translation of clinical trial documentation. In fact, Israel holds a unique position in this area. It has one of the world’s most comprehensive health care systems, with a network of clinics that stretches to each town, kibbutz and settlement in the country, and top-ranked hospitals and research centers. In addition, some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have facilities in Israel, including Teva, an Israeli company that is the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of generic drugs. This makes the country a great place to conduct such trials. And the good news for translators is that most documentation is translated (and back-translated) into/from Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian to reach all sectors of the population.

Israelis are famously argumentative, and this was illustrated to me within minutes of setting foot on Israeli soil. The passport control officer asked the purpose of my visit. I responded, in Hebrew, that I was attending the Israel Translators Association conference. He then corrected me: “Oh, you mean the Interpreters Association”; I, in turn, corrected him and explained the difference. He asked me how many languages I spoke, and then interrupted himself to discourse a bit on the Hebrew words for spoken language and written language. Behind me stretched an ever-lengthening line of exhausted travelers, but no matter. I knew I had come to a country that takes its languages seriously, and for a translator or interpreter, that’s quite a welcome.

Written by Eve Hecht