Translation Scams Reloaded and More – Translorial Fall 2018 Edition

Translorial Fall 2018 Edition

NCTA members can now enjoy the latest edition of Translorial in print and downloadable PDF versions, covering a variety of topics.


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Selected articles from Translorial Fall 2018, Vol. 40, No. 2: → continue reading

Protecting Interpreters and Their Clients: An Introduction to the Interpreters Guild of America

By Johanna Valle Sobalvarro

Protecting Interpreters and Their Clients

The Interpreters Guild of America (IGA) is a unit of the NewsGuild-CWA, a union representing journalists, interpreters and translators, social justice workers, and nonprofit and public-sector professionals. Its main purpose is to protect the rights of interpreters, who bear tremendous responsibilities and are vulnerable to a number of professional challenges.

IGA’s role

IGA assists freelancers in educating themselves about the business of interpreting through continuing education and helps them to understand the steps needed to improve working conditions. These aspects of interpreting practice are very important, because in many interpreter-training programs, the focus is mainly on techniques and vocabulary. That leaves new interpreters unaware of what is necessary to protect themselves against exploitation and fraud.

Ongoing training is available to IGA members free of charge. Topics include reading and enforcing contracts as well as proper billing, collection, marketing, and accounting practices. As the only professional interpreters’ organization that tracks the reputation of language agencies that hire freelancers, we accomplish this by querying members about their interactions with agencies. In this way, colleagues keep each other informed about unscrupulous agencies that don’t pay for services provided.

IGA encourages certification to promote professionalism and simultaneously protect limited English proficient (LEP) clients by ensuring that they are being assisted by a trained professional. An untrained bilingual might not be familiar with interpreting techniques or understand the importance of the protocols and the code of ethics that bind interpreters.

In addition to offering educational opportunities, IGA also lobbies Sacramento for better work conditions for freelancers working in state courts and in the workers’ compensation system. In 2014, IGA helped pass Assembly Bill (AB) 2370, which requires that during court proceedings, the court interpreter’s certification number be read aloud and thereby become part of the proceedings. This has helped discourage uncertified and untrained interpreters from trying to work on legal cases for which they do not have proper credentials. This not only protects the work of certified interpreters but also helps protect the person using the interpreter by ensuring that a competent professional is presenting their case.

Currently, AB 2370 applies only to court interpreters, but the IGA is working to amend it to require certification for medical interpreters involved in workers’ compensation cases. In the present law (California Evidence Code section 755.5), there is a loophole that allows insurance company adjusters to “provisionally qualify and use” an uncertified interpreter when a certified interpreter is not available. Agencies use this loophole to avoid paying professional rates for certified medical interpreters and instead hire untrained persons for a third of the rate. These ad-hoc interpreters have no training in vocabulary, diagnosis, or protocols and can put injured workers at risk by misinterpreting their diagnosis, treatment, or legal case. This is especially true in medical-legal evaluations, which are the only opportunities for the injured worker to be heard and evaluated by an independent doctor. We argue that allowing “provisional qualification” of untrained medical interpreters disregards the well-being of the injured worker.

My role

As a member of the California Commission on Access to Justice and Chair of the Language Access Committee, I focus attention on certification issues in the California Division of Workers’ Compensation. This involves advocating actively with the Commission to ensure that the problems in the workers’ compensation system are recognized as a major violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. I am encouraging the Commission to support IGA’s efforts to amend AB 2370 to make medical certification of interpreters for injured workers mandatory.

I’m also working to direct more attention to the issue of the legal aid agencies across the state that are relying on untrained volunteers to act as interpreters, putting the legal cases of low-income Californians in jeopardy. Legal aid agencies rely heavily on funding from the State of California to help people in need: having access to credentialed interpreters is imperative to protect low-income persons, and in fact protects all Californians seeking legal aid

For more information about the Interpreters Guild of America, please visit www.interpretersguild.org.

TRANSLATION AND ETHNOGRAPHY: ETHNOCENTRIC OR NON-ETHNOCENTRIC?

Two disciplines, common goals: understanding cultural codes, discovering order in “the foreign,” rendering through language an appreciation of “the unknown other.”

BY MEHDI ASADZADEH AND ALI ABBASI

To an ordinary reader, translation might mean finding “equivalents” for the words of the source text in the target language, thereby making the words of one language understandable in another. But for a translation researcher, it denotes a broader phenomenon where the strangeness has to be found out, decoded and incorporated into the rendered text. → continue reading

TRANSLATION AND POSTCOLONIALISM

Translation and interpreting have a fascinating historical role in the development of empire and the postcolonial world. AN INTERVIEW BY THOMAS J. CORBETT

The work of Robert J. C. Young, Julius Silver Professor of English & Comparative Literature at New York University, concerns marginalized peoples and cultures. Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction devotes its final chapter to translation. Translation is seen not only as a colonial activity but also as a metaphor: transplanting England to New England, for example, is itself a form of translation. The interview began with an oblique question, a question that provoked a typically original and enlightening response from Professor Young. → continue reading

SOME DINOSAURS AND DRAGONS…

The young whippersnappers today have no idea how good they have it. BY INES SWANEY

When NCTA was founded in 1978, any mention of e-mail would have been understood as Express Mail known in the United States as Special Delivery. This was the common way of sending urgent information, all typed or printed on paper, of course.  Fax machines were a luxury that some major companies had at their offices. I still recall my first encounter with one of these devices. Someone explained to me that it worked just like a photocopier, except that you started with an original and then the copy would come out somewhere else, even in another continent, as long as everyone’s telephones lines were working properly and you got to keep the original. My cousin in Houston, who was involved in the energy industry, bragged that he had received a fax all the way from Qatar. → continue reading

WHY EDIT? SHOULDN’T IT BE PERFECT?

Professional translation is a multi-step process. BY DAGMAR DOLATSCHKO

Why do we need editing and proofreading at all? Shouldn’t all translators be perfect to begin with? What’s an editor and why is proofreading different from editing? And why should I pay anything extra for editing and proofreading? Isn’t that part of the translation process?

To illustrate the first point I’d like to start out with a little story about a lawyer in Germany. The law firm wanted to find out more about how we work and how we ensure quality. So I proceeded to explain the usual process:   → continue reading