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.