What constitutes a creative act? Is the translation of a work merely interpretation, or is there something more? Translator and author Cristina Vezzaro shares her own creative introspection. BY RAFFAELLA BUSCHIAZZO

NCTA and the Italian Cultural Institute jointly presented Creativity Revealed: from Translation to Writing with Cristina Vezzaro on August 3rd at the Italian Cultural Institute in downtown San Francisco. Cristina Vezzaro shared her explorations of creativity, from translation to writing and back to translation. Her thoughts are the result of examining her personal experience as a literary translator and writer, and of extensive research in related fields. → continue reading


Cover of the September 2011 issue of Translorial.Despite a long history of oppression, the ancient and beautiful Ukrainian language lives on. BY NINA BOGDAN

My recent travels to Ukraine and Russia gave me reason to reflect on the turbulent history of the Ukrainian language. It is a language that has survived despite years of oppression and attempts throughout history to negate and eradicate it. My father was born in a tiny village in the eastern part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the 1920’s. By the time he arrived in the United States, he had become accustomed to speaking Russian as he lived in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany for several years, where the primary language was Russian. I had always assumed that he had grown up speaking Russian but, when I first visited the place where he was born, I realized that this was not necessarily so. → continue reading


Jacolyn Harmer presenter at the May GM.

Jacolyn Harmer, presenter at the May General Meeting.

While technology skills are increasing among the young, critical thinking is taking a hit. BY NAOMI NORBERG

On a Saturday afternoon so beautiful it didn’t bode well for high turnout, NCTA members showed their dedication by showing up in significant numbers for the May 7 general meeting in downtown San Francisco. The meeting began as usual with a welcome session for new members (six or seven this time) and networking among the rest. Our new president Paula Dieli then began the meeting by introducing the new “refreshment queens” Connie Archea and Rita McGaughy, and thanking ION Translations, LLC of Berkeley for sponsoring the refreshments.

Kristen Corridan then announced the upcoming events and workshops, including the summer picnic (June 26th), the Legal Translation for Court Interpreters and Translators workshop (June 18th), and a workshop (no date given) by Tuomas Kostianen on preparing for the ATA certification exam (next San Francisco sitting on July 31st, just before the FIT conference). Paula then announced the arrival of the latest Translorial, and Yves Avérous asked for volunteers to replace Nina Bogdan, who will step down in September after three years as Translorial editor. Roles will be split so that those who want to deal with the writing aspect can do that while others take on administrative and logistic tasks. Kristen then introduced Jacolyn Harmer, who spoke to us about Shifting Trends in Translator and Interpreter Training. → continue reading


To avoid mental laziness brought on by new tech tools, make a point of watching yourself and your mind at work. BY JULIET E. JOHNSON

Technological changes over the past decades have revolutionized how we translators work as well as the very nature of translation. More subtly, the tools we use have altered our cognitive processes. The purpose of this article is to highlight the connections between how we work, how we think, and what it means to be a translator. Seeing those connections more clearly can help us mindfully choose how we work, how we think, and what kind of translation work we personally undertake and pursue. → continue reading


Are language service providers limited in their ability to address downward price pressures due to now irrelevant anti-trust legislation? BY STAFFORD HEMMER

In February 2011, fellow NCTA Jonathan Goldberg member posted a message to the NCTA groups list about a Hebrew-English job offer he had recently received. He was willing to investigate the option of taking on the assignment from a client who expressed dismay at the quality of the existing translation products they had been receiving. However, when Goldberg learned that the compensation for his work would be “$0.05/word – no match,” naturally the conversation was terminated. Hebrew<>English is a language pair that, according to the ATA’s 2007 Translation and Interpreting Survey of Compensation, generally commands about $0.22/word by the average ATA language service provider (LSP). Mr. Goldberg noted that, “the fact that they have had a translator until now working at that rate, irrespective of the quality of the translations, is cause for concern. Some translators should be reminded that there is no need to agree to such a low rate or even to agree to double that rate―particularly if the translation is from English and more particularly if it requires a non-Latin font.” → continue reading


Legal translation workshop attendees.

Our workshop classroom at the UCSF Downtown Campus.

Professor Holly Mikkelson shares her expertise in legal translation and interpreting. BY INEZ MORAN

Approximately 50 translators and interpreters representing various languages attended the three-hour “Legal Translation for Court Interpreters and Translators” workshop in San Francisco. The Seminar was held on June 18th at the Judicial Council of California —Administrative Office of the Courts. Holly Mikkelson provided excellent insight and expertise on nuances often present in legal document translation. This seminar was replete with pertinent information. As a new member of  NCTA, I found this seminar to be informative and full of useful tips for our profession.

Mikkelson, a highly regarded authority on interpretation and translation, currently is Adjunct Professor of Translation and Interpretation at the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Graduate School of Middlebury College. She is an ATA-certified translator (Spanish <> English) and a state and federally certified court interpreter who has taught translation and interpreting for over 30 years. She is the author of the Acebo interpreter training manuals as well as numerous articles on translation and interpretation. She is a co-author of Fundamentals of Court Interpretation: Theory, Policy and Practice. Professor Mikkelson has presented lectures and workshops to interpreters and related professionals throughout the world. → continue reading