As it reaches a milestone in its history, the ATA returns to its birthplace, NYC, with a stronger commitment than ever to promote our profession. BY NINA BOGDAN & KAREN TKACZYK

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

Pavel Palazhchenko, Mikhail Gorbachev’s interpreter for many years, spoke to standing room only crowds at the ATA conference, and as I soaked in his words, admiring both his insightful perspective about the world of interpreting and translation as well as his wonderfully elegant English, I reflected also on the importance of this event. At the closing session of the conference, ATA President Nicholas Hartmann announced that ATA membership, as of now, numbers more than 11,000. In an interview that same day with Fox Business News, past president Jiri Stejskal stated that the profession of translator is just that—a profession (meaning, not a hobby or something one can take up after taking a Berlitz course) and that a proficient translator may well earn in the six figures. → continue reading


Volume 31, Number 3

In our high-tech world, the ATA exam continues to be a low-tech institution. BY NINA BOGDAN

The decision to take the ATA certification exam is based on a number of factors, one of which is whether or not the individual translator is at the stage of their career that they are ready. There is nothing more frustrating than spending the time preparing for the exam (and paying the substantial fee) and then not passing.
ATA statistics on this issue make it clear that novice translators, for example, those who have just graduated with a degree in a foreign language—even an advanced degree—should not expect to pass the exam. The overall pass rate for the ATA exam is under 20%. These statistics are not broken down by language combinations as, according to Terry Hanlen, ATA Deputy Executive Director and Certification Program Manager, this would be like comparing apples and oranges since some language combinations have hundreds of exams while others only have five. → continue reading


In this first part of a two-part series we look at how certification fits into the language provider’s business plan. BY NINA BOGDAN
Quote to ATA exam.
In the eight years since 9/11, analysis of events, policy debates, and proposals for change have steadily continued in one venue or another. The one conclusion that seems irrefutable is that we, as a nation, were woefully unprepared when it comes to the application of translation and interpreting skills. There were many references to a purported backlog of Arabic language material left untranslated at such a critical time. This led to revelations of our lack of qualified linguists in other “critical” languages such as Urdu, Punjabi and Farsi. → continue reading


An ATA-sponsored translation tools seminar in San Francisco provided information about ways to increase professional productivity. BY RON TISCHLER
Morning instructor Rosalie Wells.The translation tools seminar held on March 14, 2009 at the Westin Market Street in San Francisco was divided into morning and afternoon sessions, plus there were exhibitors, a networking session, and a parade! The parade down Market Street, which seemed to have something to do with the color green, could be watched (until you got too cold) during the lunch break. The morning session, given by Rosalie Wells was titled “Productivity Tools for the Professional Translator.” The afternoon session, given by Dierk Seeburg of IcoText, was titled “Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools, from Term Extraction to Integrated Translation Environments.” There were about 100 attendees and four exhibitors: Across, Payment Practices, Total Recall (product named Snowball), and Wordfast.
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Poolside breakfast to gear up for the workshops of the day.

Poolside breakfast to gear up for the workshops of the day.

The 2008 ATA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida drew a diverse crowd and positive reviews from NCTA attendees. Poolside receptions, balmy weather, and great workshops were enjoyed by all. BY KAREN TKACZYK, FARAH ARJANG VEZVAEE, AND RENATE CHESTNUT. → continue reading


A report on a workshop for candidates planning to take the ATA certification examination. BY NORMA KAMINSKY

On August 23, Tuomas Kostiainen, NCTA President and member of the ATA Certification committee, who has been an ATA exam grader, once again stepped up to share his knowledge, experience, and advice with translators contemplating taking the ATA Certification Exam. Tuomas’ presentation included a discussion of the exam itself, reasons to take it, explanations of eligibility requirements, skills tested in the exam, grading, preparation, planning, types of errors, and tips for success. → continue reading