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Translation & The Richness of Culture (An Interview with ATIA President Perla Ben-Zvi)

In the coming months, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) will be profiling some of our prominent members and those who have served (or continue to serve!) ATIA in a volunteer capacity. This month, we talked to Perla Ben Zvi, certified translator and current president of ATIA.

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How long have you been part of ATIA?
In the year 2002, I became an English to Spanish Certified Translator.

Tell me a bit about your personal history and what brought you to the organization.

I came to Canada in 1989, and after going through the process of “being an immigrant” myself, I tried to give back to the community by translating for immigrants at a non-profit organization.

I loved translating from the beginning.  I enjoy translating and interpreting for my clients so they may achieve their goals. I enjoy finding ways to represent as faithfully as possible the meaning of a text in another language and the constant learning experience of working on translations.  Sometimes the challenge is the topic and sometimes it is in how to precisely calibrate the translation to make it the best fit for the country in which the material will be presented.  Most of my translations are for Latin America where there are lots of different countries and I need to adapt the translation accordingly.

I was born in Argentina, where I studied four years towards a degree in Economics.  To improve my translations skills, I completed a program offered through New York University.  It was very interesting to be part of a class with students from different Latin American countries and to become aware of the subtle differences in the Spanish of the various countries.

In which positions have you served the organization?

I was the treasurer for two years from 2005 to 2007.  At that time the treasurer used to do the accounting, write receipts, issue cheques, prepare the budget, etc.  We were a smaller organization then, so the support was limited. From 2015 to 2017, I held the position of Vice President for Northern Alberta and I currently serve as the President.

Can you tell me about some of your most enjoyable moments as a translator? What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on so far? Do you have a favourite?

I very much enjoy doing translations in the agricultural field.  I always have something to learn about plants and animals and the richness of Alberta’s agriculture.

What struggles have you had?

Like many other translators, a big struggle is to find that “right word” in the sentence: you end up reading lots of material in the target language to make sure that the translations will read as ‘naturally’ as the original English text.  At times, the problem is that the document in English was not written in the best possible way and that makes translating it effectively a bit challenging, but you work around such things.

How did you know you were cut out for translation work? When I started to do translations I did not confine myself to personal documents.  I found that enjoyed the entire process of reading, doing research, translating, editing and feeling very good about the translation I had just finished.  I enjoyed reading books in the topics of translation, especially one by Marina Orellana entitled “La traducción del inglés al castellano”. Such things indicated to me that I had found my passion and my vocation.

What type of work do you primarily do? Is there another type you wish you did more of?

Over the years, most of my work has been translation, but in the last couple of years, I have increased my workload as an interpreter.  I find that the balance between translations and interpretations suits my professional goals of aiding a wide variety of clients very well.

ATIA has been around since 1979! In your opinion, what makes the organization successful and gives it such longevity? What sets ATIA apart?

ATIA is a professional organization and part of a national body (CTTIC). A major reason for our success and longevity is that we take pride in the way translators and interpreters become members after proving themselves as professionals through rigorous exams.  ATIA has a very strong Code of Ethics and the members are aware of the way they must conduct themselves in the field. Such standards have always set our members apart – to the satisfaction of their clients - and that makes the organization stand out for the better.

To become a member of ATIA requires preparation, experience, commitment and continuous study.

What vision have you brought to the position of President?

My vision is to help establish ATIA as the “place to go” for clients looking for professional interpreters and translators with high quality and ethical standards.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to travel, read books, and be with my family.

What is a quirky fact someone may not know about you?

I like salads and soups.

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Perla Ben-Zvi is a Certified English-Spanish Translator and an Associate Community and Court Interpreter. Perla provides high-quality English-Spanish translations in a variety of areas, as well as exceptional interpreting services in a number of settings. Her studies also include CISOC Community Interpretation Protocols and Procedures training and police interpreting. Perla has more than 20 years of experience working in the translation industry. Perla lives in Edmonton with her family.


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Important Tips for Working with Language Service Providers

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As a new translator starting out or a seasoned professional who likes to keep things simple, it might be the case that you decide you want to work for a Language Service Provider (LSP) or translation agency rather than seeking out clients directly. Whatever your reasons for pursuing work with an LSP, there are some important tips that can make your time with them more productive and mutually successful.

Recently, ATIA held a webinar with the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada, Michele Hecken. Michele went through a ton of introductory tips for working with LSPs and we are picking out and adding to our favourites for all of you.

1. Deliver on what you promise to. This might sound obvious but the snowball effect when working for LSPs is very real. The more solid work you produce, the more you will be offered. And the busier you will be. Note that LSPs sift through hundreds and hundreds of translation CVs regularly so your position there is always a bit tenuous, but one way to have job security is to be reliable for quality translations delivered on-tie, every time.

As harsh as that sounds, this is the world of working for LSPs. They are usually producing work globally and generally have a very large translator database. Everyone has off-days but there is less opportunity to come back from a few of those when working for an LSP simply because of the size of these organizations and how in-demand they are by clients and professionals alike. Stay consistent and manage your time to deliver quality translations regularly.

2. Specialize! This might seem counter-intuitive because you would think that the more types of translations you do would *translate* into more types of work offered, but this is generally not the case. The more you specialize in specific types of translations, the more work you are likely to build up in your area of expertise. You might even garner a reputation as the go-to translator for that specialization. Never be afraid to turn down translation work that you are not qualified to attend to – the LSP will likely respect your knowledge of your own boundaries and will appreciate that you don’t take on anything that is outside your areas of expertise, which could result in subpar translations.

3. Embrace the technological revolution! Translations-by-hand are still often seen as the best method for accuracy but they may be more time-consuming than you or the LSP you work for would like. At ATIA, we know many folks who recommend avoiding machine translations wherever possible. At the same time, there are some technological tools which make your work a lot easier – especially for everything but the translation itself! Use appropriate software for formatting, scheduling your work, storing your work, and invoicing at the end of the day. We have written about this previously, so be sure to check out the best online tools for professional translators.

4. Stay in your lane. Knowing your place as a translator is important for keeping yourself sane and on-track. It isn’t your job to work on source texts so if you find errors, don’t edit them. Simply translate to the best of your ability the meaning of the text. You can introduce a translator’s note to draw attention to project manager about the original errors who can then advise the client.

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ATIA Blog: Common Misconceptions about Interpretation

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Becoming a community interpreter is one of the most accessible ways to get into the industry and start your professional career as an interpreter. Many professionals in specialized fields such as court or medical interpreting started out in community and even continue to do community interpreting as well! That being said, it doesn’t mean that just because someone is multilingual or bilingual they can start interpreting for community organizations or groups and be successful. And it certainly does not mean they will have the skills required for work in hospitals or courts either! In this article, we will explore some of the common misconceptions about Interpretation, among new interpreters and clients alike!

Myth: Bilingualism means you can interpret well. While having a second language is obviously an essential aspect of being an interpreter as you will be conveying the meaning of verbal words and body cues from one language to another (either consecutively or simultaneously), it doesn’t follow that that is the only requirement for you to interpret well. In fact, fluency in both your mother tongue and the target language beyond the conversational level are absolutely essential as are the knowledge, vocabulary required and cultural understandings necessary to accurately convey someone’s communications. The relay of information across languages and cultures is a mastered skill that takes time, training, expertise and experience. It also requires that interpreters continuously improve their knowledge with regards to new words, colloquialisms (especially regionally) and update their necessary technology.

Myth: The interpreter can answer questions for you or the person you are communicating with. While the interpreter is never necessarily neutral (as some people claim!), that doesn’t mean that they are participating in a direct way in the conversation. The interpreter is responsible for providing understanding and facilitating conversation between two or more people – not for participating in that conversation by interjecting contributions or answering questions.

Myth: Simultaneous interpretation is always possible. While in most cases, this is possible because of the simplicity and redundancy of human language, it should be noted that in some circumstances (especially where a lot of various and complex technical jargon is used over a long period of time) simultaneity could simply be unrealistic.

Myth: Translators can just do the same job as interpreters, right? While tangentially related in terms of languages and conveying messages, please note that translation and interpretation are completely different fields with different areas of training

Myth: It is safe for any bilingual person to interpret in medical and court settings. The answer to this is simply no. In any setting, you should be using the services of a qualified language professional but in the settings of a medical environment or emergency, or a court room, it is often someone’s health, liberty or life at stake. Incorrect interpretations can send ambulances to the wrong address or offer the incorrect medical dosages. They affect someone’s defense or legal case. It is essential to realize how high the stakes are and don’t take unnecessary risks with your life or the lives of others.

Myth: Telephone or video interpreters are just as good as in-person. Don’t let fancy advertising and clever marketing fool you. There is no adequate replacement for in-person interpretation. So much of language is non-verbal, contextual and relies heavily on the interpreter being in the room so as not to miss any of these incredibly important subtle or gestural conveyors of information.

Myth: Any interpreter will do for any setting. Interpreters should be chosen based on their areas of specialization, expertise and experience – particularly when it comes to specific industries. Of course, most people think of medical or legal jargon which it is important to have knowledge of, but some interpreters are also working in special industries such as natural resources, engineering, and the like which may require a technical vocabulary as well.

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Upcoming Webinar: How to Partner with Language Service Providers & Translation Agencies

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Join us for this online webinar on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Our guest speaker, Michele Hecken is the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada and she will share insights on working with language service providers and translation agencies.

Cost: $10

ATIA Members: Free

This webinar is Professional Development Policy Compliant.

Refunds will only be issued in the event that ATIA or the speaker unexpectedly cancels.

Register here.


Michèle Hecken is the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada, the largest translation service provider in Alberta, and co-founder of Alpha Global Experts, an international consultancy firm specializing in global business expansion. Together, her companies provide in-country market intelligence, specialized local experts and strategic support to clients worldwide. Michèle supports organizations in the community that help entrepreneurs succeed, such as AWE and Entrepreneurs’ Organization and is a passionate speaker on the topics of global business, culture and innovation. Over the past 20 years, Michèle has done business in over 30 countries. Her clients include most of the world’s top 100 law firms, banks and Fortune 500 companies. Michèle holds a Master’s degree in translation and interpreting and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at MIT.

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ATIA Blog: Getting it Right or Lost in Translation?

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Emmanuel Macron—France’s handsome and charismatic President—made the news worldwide a little while ago for no other reason than his closing remarks at a recent speech in Sydney Australia.  President Macron exact words, directed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, were:  “I wanted to thank you for, and your delicious wife, for your warm welcome and a perfect organization of this trip, thank you so much.”  We know President Macron is fond of older women—his wife is twenty-five years older than him—however; I am certain this remark got lost in translation. What he probably meant was “delightful.” Luckily, PM Turnbull took it with a sense of humor and laughed it off.

Treading in the unknown territory of a new language, where would you be?  Would you be getting it right or would you be lost in translation?  There are many applications and gadgets nowadays that allow for a quick and cheap translation and promise to save you money and time.  While they might be useful for travelers to translate words quickly from a menu, these gadgets will not be helpful in a business situation.  These gadgets merely translate word by word—even when they claim to be intuitive.  In fact, professional translators will not use translation devices since its more cumbersome trying to decipher the resulting “translation” than doing it from scratch.  When doing a translation, many factors come into play that only the human brain can analyze such as complete ease and knowledge of the source language as well as the target language, understanding the culture and idiosyncrasies of the people who speak these languages and communicating the message without room for misunderstandings.

Friends of mine traveling in Taiwan took a picture of a plaque in Chiayi City high-speed rail station promoting the National Museum in Taipei.  The English translation did not flow well, but this section was the most interesting:  “In appearance, there seems to be a lack of closeness between cultures and arts in Taiwan and those in Asia.  However, judging from Taiwan’s history of intercourse with other members in Asia, actually, Taiwan has been quite intimately connected to other cultures and arts in Asia.”   It appears that the word lost in translation was “interaction.” 

Such examples are not the only culprit: common and innocent words have different meanings in all languages.  “I’m so excited, I just bought a new car!” means something else in Spanish since the word “excited” means “aroused.”; translated literally from English into Spanish it would be:  ”I’m so aroused, I just bought a new car!”  Your excitement over the new car would raise a few eyebrows and cause a lot of laughs among the Spanish-speaking folks.

It’s not a big deal to make mistakes and cause a few laughs—it happens; however, when it comes to business, you don’t want colleagues and potential clients laughing at you!  You need to get it right since your investments and reputation, among many other things, are at stake! Poor translations are not just embarrassing, they cause costly mistakes for businesses; misinterpretations have also caused severe problems throughout history with repercussions for centuries thereafter—from wars to religious connotations.  Translations need to be professional and render a faithful adaptation to avoid confusion. For such translations, you will require the services of a Professional Translator.   

Professional Translators work hard to develop their skills and have a complete understanding of the language and culture.  They will not only translate the written word, but they will also relay style and tone, and convert equivalent concepts.  Translators consider cultural references, including slang which does not translate literally.  Translations go through several revisions before becoming final ensuring the best outcome.  Next time get it right, hire a Professional Translator and avoid being lost in translation!

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Paulina Ponsford was born in Chile and has lived most of her adult life in Canada.  She worked as an Accountant for thirty years in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary.  At the same time, she always wanted to connect with people at a different level and for this reason, she became a volunteer Fitness Instructor and later on a Certified Facilitator in the area of human interaction.  Paulina is now preparing to become a Translator and Interpreter in the languages of English and Spanish.  Paulina also loves to travel and embraces what different cultures have to offer.  She is also an avid reader and some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Mark Mustian, and Isabel Allende.  If you would like to know more about Paulina, check out her blog at www.paulinaponsford.com where she shares some of her thoughts, insights, and experiences. 

 

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Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing

Margaret Chandler, who has been delivering grammar and punctuation workshops for ATIA for the last few years, has recently published a business writing book – Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing. Margaret is a teacher, writer, and editor and runs a communications company, Green Fuse Inc.

 Good Writing Is Good Business is a comprehensive guide (360 pages)  that includes advice on planning and prewriting, a grammar and punctuation refresher, a review of style principles (clarity, concision, energy, and flow), a discussion of editing strategies, and much more. With plenty of examples, exercises (and an annotated answer key), and appendices (including one for writers whose first language is not  English), this book is a great resource for anyone who writes (or translates) on the job.

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Free Orientation Session for the Public

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Are you interested in becoming a certified translator and/or interpreter? Are you already doing the necessary work of translation and interpretation in your cultural community? Do you want to start the process of certification or learn more about why it is important?

Currently, ATIA is doing outreach in cultural communities which represent a large demographic of the Albertan population but whose interpretation and translation professionals have yet to be certified with our Association. Certification is crucial for official document and legal translations, and to ensure the highest possible standard for final products. All of our members adhere to the best ethical standards in the profession and are actively sought out by clients in government, industry and the public.

Join the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) for a free orientation webinar:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

7:00pm (1 hour long)

During the webinar, we will cover the following subjects:

·         How to get involved in the profession

·         How to serve your community better

·         Why certification matters for professionals

·         The benefits of becoming a certified member of ATIA

·         Career advancement through translation/interpretive services

To register, contact ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio - development@atia.ab.ca

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Court Interpreter Mini-Course - Calgary

These unique mini-courses are provided voluntarily by court judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. Court interpreters can learn the vocabulary and procedures for court.

The lectures will take place several times year. The topic will be different each time, and will always relate to criminal law. After the lecture, there will be a Q&A session with the speakers.

Details and Registration Information

Date: June 7, 2018 (Thursday)
Time: 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. (please arrive 15 minutes early to register)
Location: 20th Floor Conference Room, Calgary Court Centre, Calgary, Alberta

TOPIC: Changes to Marijuana Laws, "What's Going On?"

Marijuana is being decriminalized and we will be discussing these changes. This topic is an important tool for Court Interpreters. It will give an overview of the new proceedings and legal vocabulary to take place in cases of impaired driving.

WHO: The Honorable Judges Brown, Rob Bassett (Crown), Kelsey Sitar (Defence), Alan Pearse (Defence)

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ATIA Blog: Translation Success (An Interview with ATIA Member Hellen Martinez)

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In the coming months, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) will be profiling some of our prominent members and those who have served (or continue to serve!) ATIA in a volunteer capacity. This month, we talked to Hellen Martinez, certified translator and interpreter, and former ATIA President.

How long have you been part of ATIA?

I became a member in 2003.

Tell me a bit about your personal history and what brought you to the organization.

I have a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpreting from my native Peru.  My dissertation thesis was about translation techniques for technical translation.  I was working as a full-time translator for engineering companies in Peru.  I was also a translator for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Peru.  When I moved to Canada, I intended to keep working in my career path.  I learned about ATIA through Luisa Izzo, who was my Grammar teacher at the University of Calgary. 

In which positions have you served the organization?

When I joined ATIA, I volunteered in events and fairs.  From 2007 until 2011, I served as VP for Calgary, and from 2011 until 2016, I served as president of our organization.

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Can you tell me about some of your most enjoyable moments as a translator? What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on so far? Do you have a favourite?

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ATIA Guest Blog: Translating for Theatre as Performative Translation (Interview with Dr. Stefano Muneroni)

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Translating a play for the stage may often be considered a form of literary translation, but it is a very different process. Unlike a novel or a poem, a play is meant to be performed, and the translator must consider how the language will be spoken and heard. 

 My own journey into translation started with an Italian to English translation of the play Three on a Seesaw (Tre sull’altalena) by Luigi Lunari. Since I am a novice at translating theatre, I decided to talk with a more experienced translator for insights on the process. I had a coffee with another Italian translator, Dr. Stefano Muneroni, who is Associate Professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Drama and does translation as part of his academic work. He is a native Italian speaker and translates Italian to English and English to Italian, as well as Spanish to English.

 During our conversation, Stefano confirmed my feeling that translating theatre is a different beast from other literature. Theatre does not remain on a page, but comes alive through actors in front of audience. Stefano described how a translator of theatre must account for the “speakability of the language.” He finds it essential to include staged readings of his translations in progress, in order to hear the language spoken aloud by actors. His translation would have at least two live readings before he declares it ready for rehearsal and production.

 Since the words of a play are intrinsically linked to live performance, Stefano describes the translation of a play as performative translation, rather than literary translation. He explains the gap between the two: “[When translating theatre] it’s not just about words. There will eventually be actors speaking those words and embodying those words. The body and voice of the actor cannot be taken out of the operation of translating a text.” For this reason, Stefano says it is crucial that translators of plays have an understanding of the theatrical process, and ideally be theatre practitioners themselves.

 Speech, language, dialect, and accent are important for creating characters in a play, and we talked about this while discussing how to handle the multitude of regional dialects in Italy. Stefano is currently working on an Italian to English translation of the play Finis Terrae by Gianni Clementi, which features dialogues between a character from Sicily and a character from Rome, both of whom speak their respective dialects. The characters’ dialects reveal a lot about their backgrounds, and are steeped in regional identities and history that Italians intimately understand. But the challenge is how to convey these nuances to an audience that may not have that same understanding. As Stefano explains, it would make no sense to put a Southern United States accent on the Sicilian character or a California accent on the Roman, since that would obscure the meaning of the play and who these characters truly are. The solution may be to play with different Italian accents in the English translation, possibly drawing on class, education, and age as ways to access how characters would sound in the target language. Another strategy could be about how the lines sound, thus looking closely at as lexical choices, intonation, rhythm, pace, or euphonics. Yet language is not the entirety of a play—an actor’s physical performance may be able to bring out nuances of a character that may not be expressed by the translated language. This is why it is crucial to have actors perform the translation and see and hear how they portray the characters.

 While an audience for a translation may not understand all the historical and cultural nuances, it is our responsibility as translators to communicate the original ethos of the work. Stefano often uses bilingualism in his translations so the audience does not forget the culture or language of the source text. One technique he uses is echo-translation, which has a character saying their line in the source language, and another character responding in the translation language, while making sure the context is not lost. Another technique is using cognates, words that sound similar in both languages. Stefano’s Spanish to English translation of the Mexican play El Ausente, by Xavier Villaurrutia, left about 20% of the text in Spanish, but using echo-translation and cognates made the play understandable to the audience.

 This conversation was certainly enlightening for me as a novice translator, and Stefano shared a lot of tools for the often daunting task of preserving the original intent of the language. If you are interested in translating for theatre but have no theatrical experience, getting involved in theatre practice is a good starting point. You might try a class in playwriting, theatre production, or acting, or even consider auditioning to act in a play. Getting first-hand experience in the theatre helps develop the understanding of the performability of language, the key for translating theatre.

This article was written as a guest blog for ATIA by community member, Giorgia Severini. Giorgia is a theatre director, playwright, translator arts administrator, and overall language enthusiast. Giorgia’s first foray into translation was in 2015 when she worked with Barrett Hileman on a new translation of Three on a Seesaw (Tre sull’altalena) by Italian playwright Luigi Lunari. This translation was produced by Fire Exit Theatre in Calgary, and Giorgia couldn’t resist directing her own production in Edmonton as well.

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ATIA Blog: Signs You're Cut Out For Freelancing

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If you have dabbled a bit in freelance work or are thinking about making it your career, there are some important points to consider when it comes to taking the plunge! While not all of these will be true for everyone and even if you don’t resonate with these, that shouldn’t deter you from trying out freelance work if you are inclined, the following list includes many of the characteristics freelancers commonly report as being important to do well in their work. So without further ado, here are the signs you might be cut out for freelance work:

You can focus.

This is a big one. Yes, some procrastination is inevitable and there are some folks who work best under pressure so procrastination can become a motivational and even inspiring tool to get quality work done. However, for most people, translation and writing work takes several drafts and time to percolate which means that leaving everything to the last minute or working on multiple projects simultaneously (thereby distracting you from all of them) means that your work can leave a lot to be desired. You have to be able to make lists of priorities and execute those items according to what is the most needed and most urgent. Spreading yourself too thin over a number of tasks or getting distracted by other things is a recipe for a mess!

You can be many different things to many different people.

Being a freelance translator does not mean that you will only be freelance translating. It also means that sometimes you are doing marketing work, networking and outreach, administrative assistant work, book-keeping, accounting and so forth. You have to be able to move between these positions fairly seamlessly and according to the contexts in which you find yourself.

You are willing to cultivate relationships.

The importance of being willing to cultivate long-term relationships with clients, businesses, organizations and groups that are relevant to your area of work cannot be underestimated. You don’t have to be a networking all-star but you do have to keep on top of community events you are invited to, social media interactions and the like. Frankly, this task is easier now than ever before because connection with others can be had at the click of a mouse.

You can conquer “impostor syndrome”. You believe in yourself and your work.

Being paralyzed by fear or perfectionism will only make your work harder and more stressful. Be open to constructive feedback and be sure to always check your work, but don’t become obsessed with every single detail. You should be able to produce polished work without having an emotional weighing of your self-worth tied to it. Remember you are a trained professional with skills and expertise to offer. If you don’t know something, learn it or admit it and move on!

You believe the rewards of freelance work outweigh the risk.

Freelancing is not without risks – particularly a sense of job security and perhaps a steady paycheque. But if you are willing to trade those things for all the benefits of being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere in the world, and choosing what work you put out into the world, you are unlikely to be disappointed. Plus if you have been making fairly decent money on the side for a while from freelancing, taking the plunge might not be so scary after all. Just imagine how much ore work you could get by focusing on what you do entirely.

You are willing to do *some* things for free.

This is a touchy subject but it is important to realize that there are plenty of things you will do to manage your business that you aren’t directly paid for. Unless you are making loads of cash, you are unlikely to be able to pull a salary from your profit to pay yourself for the management of the business beyond the actual freelance work itself. Returning emails, taking calls, arranging meetings and the like are all things that you can’t really invoice someone for. Depending on how you bill, whether by word or by hour, there is the chance that you can factor some of that overall time into how you do invoice though. It is important to measure how long you spend doing unpaid/non-invoiced work for your business because if you end up losing out of deals because you are spending so much time doing the nitty-gritty, it might be worth your while to subcontract some of that out to someone else.

You have healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.

There is going to be a time when all things converge at once and you are going to feel like you have to stay up until 2am every night for over a week to get everything done. How you deal with this matters. One of the number one reasons that folks leave the freelancing world is that they are unable to cope with the unique stresses it brings: from accommodating difficult client requests to feeling like you are working around the clock, from feeling like you can never clock out to giving up any semblance of a weekend. Be good about setting time boundaries so your work doesn’t bleed into every aspect of your life including recreational and family time. Make sure you can recognize when things start to get too hair for you and you need to take a breather. Figure out ways that you can make things more manageable, and know when to approach clients for more time, if needed.

You know how to say “No.”

This is another big one…especially when you are first starting out. Who wants to turn down work? At the same time, we can’t all do everything. We have areas of specialization and work-life balance to consider, among other things. Your limits are really up to you. Spend some time thinking about what you are doing with your life and your goals for the year or five-year period. Is the work you are doing helping you to achieve those goals?

You work well solo from home.

Most freelancers work from home or in public spaces like coffeeshops or libraries. Some get to the point of being so busy that they are able to rent an office space to meet clients and complete their work at. For the rest of us, working well, solo, from home is crucial to our success. If it really bothers you to be alone all the time, consider going to a monthly meet-up of freelancers for coffee where you can share your experiences and network, or meet a fellow freelancer for a work session at a coffee shop – just make sure you don’t end up distracting each other too much!

You have developed organizational methods that work for you.

There are plenty of other signs that a career in freelancing could be for you but ultimately you are the best determiner of that fact. What works for one freelancer, doesn’t work for everyone and over time, you will develop the organizational methods that work best for you. Some freelancers work best with a paper wall calendar and to-do lists on sticky notes, others are digital all the way. Whatever keeps you on track and ensures that your work gets done on-time and well is what you should stick with!

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ATIA Blog: Saving Lives Through Medical Interpreting

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The professional fields of certified translation and interpretation are no different than any other skilled and regulated vocation: there are standards to uphold and suggested rules to follow in order to maintain some semblance of consistency across the board. This is particularly the case with ATIA associate and certified members who are bound by a Code of Ethics which protects them, the client and the industry. Our members translate and interpret the world around us – we make communication possible.

One area of the field that goes beyond establishing communication between people into the realm of saving lives is medical interpretation. Medical interpreters bridge communication barriers and build understanding between doctors, nurses and patients. This understanding is crucial for making sure proper medical decisions are made from properly listing symptoms, to making professionals aware of allergies to medicines or other items they made encounter in a medical setting.

Medical interpretation is also essential for helping patients have a complete understanding of what their medical care will entail and to be able to give proper, legal consent for procedures based on that understanding. For this reason, in-person interpreting is the most desirable – not only does patient anxiety diminish, but interpreters that are present are better able to see what is happening at the moment of interpretation.

Why should your medical interpreter be certified through ATIA?

A study from 2014 by the American College of Emergency Physicians determined that interpreter errors had clinical consequences and that errors were significantly higher with ad-hoc interpreters. Professional interpreters had an error rate of 12% (versus 22% on average). For professionals with more than 100 hours of training and experience, their errors dropped below 2%! Additionally, the errors made were less likely to result in medical complications or compromising situations. In many cases, this could be the difference between health and illness.

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ATIA Blog: Essential Tips for Writing Your Translation CV

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Translation agencies and organizations looking to hire in-house translators tend to receive a high volume of applications, even on a weekly basis. It becomes increasingly important then to ensure that your CV stands out in all the right ways. But what does this mean? Below, we explore the “dos and don’ts” of translation CVs.

Do:

  • Highlight your assets in education and experiences. It is not unusual to put the most relevant education and work in bold to draw the hiring officer’s eye to that first and foremost.
  • Tell them a bit about yourself. The most important part of your CV is you and you are what will make it stand out from the rest! Take the time to write a short description of yourself that includes your motivations, skills and language combinations.
  • List your relevant work experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples
  • Include your published materials, being clear to highlight any books or peer-reviewed articles, research work and translations. If you can include links to each item, this will help your case in terms of ready accessibility for the hiring officer
  • Include your professional associations, including your level of certification with ATIA
  • List your relevant education experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples.
  • Include any relevant awards, scholarships, bursaries or other recognitions you have received.
  • Be specific about your language skills including listing your specialized translation fields (such as medical, court etc), as well as the language combinations you hold and your level in each combination.
  • Include information about your computer skills including (but not limited to): knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite or its equivalences (Mac OS, Google, etc); CAT tools or other management systems you may use; and any web skills you have.
  • Include a few other small details that help you stand out. These can be some of your interests, as well as other assets you have such as a driver’s license, if relevant.

Don’t:

  • Exceed 2 pages. One page is preferable.
  • Mess with formatting. Avoid strange fonts or making things difficult to read. Do not use colours or decorative elements to stand out – this just makes your CV look like it is not polished.
  • Include a photo of yourself. This will get you sent directly to the “toss” pile, no matter how perfect you are for the posting. It makes employers uncomfortable to see a picture of you which could influence how you and your application are received.
  • Include every job you have ever had in your “work experience” section. It isn’t relevant that you were a barista 8 years ago and worse, it can make your CV looks muddled. The “translation” to the hiring officer is that you aren’t very focused on your translation career.
  • Don’t include your grades with your education experiences. It takes up space and is not necessary unless you graduated with honours or distinction.
  • Write a separate cover letter – not many officers the time to read these anymore, especially if they receive a stack of them every week. A short email with your basic personal introduction, and some highlights from your attached CV are enough.
  • Forget to attach the CV. Everyone makes this mistake at some point and some places are more forgiving than others but it is best if you don’t make this mistake.

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ATIA Spring Social: Edmonton (May 5, 2018)

It's time for another ATIA social event in Edmonton! Join us for an evening of great Greek food (pay your own way) and outstanding conversation. It's a great opportunity to meet and network with other ATIA members in a positive atmosphere! Take the night off and join us! Please RSVP to development coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca by April 30, 2018 at the latest to confirm your place. Clicking "GOING" on Facebook does NOT count as confirmed attendance.

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ATIA Spring Social: Calgary (April 28, 2018)


It's time for another ATIA social event in Calgary! Join us for an evening of great Greek food (pay your own way) and outstanding conversation. It's a great opportunity to meet and network with other ATIA members in a positive atmosphere! Take the night off and join us! Please RSVP to development coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca by April 23, 2018 at the latest to confirm your place. Clicking "GOING" on Facebook does NOT count as confirmed attendance.

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Call for ATIA Member Volunteers: Law Day 2018

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Law Day is a nationwide day of activities to commemorate and celebrate our nation's adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, organized by the Canadian Bar Association, with cooperation and funding from the Alberta Law Foundation and the Law Society of Alberta. The goal of Law Day is to increase public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of our laws and our legal system. ATIA participates annually as a way of informing others about the presence and importance of legal interpreters and certified translators in the field of law. SIGN UP for a 2 hour shift and represent our Association with pride, meet other members and enjoy the day!

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ATIA Blog: Why Become a Translator?

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As soon as you begin to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning. 

— Barbara Sher

Some people know what-they-want-to-be-when-they-grow-up shortly after they come out of the womb.  For others, it’s a slow realization, and by the time they leave high school, they are on their way to realizing their dream career.  Some, unsure, ponder the options and might change careers and jobs until they find their true calling.  And then, there is me who thought I never really had a “calling,” until now that is.

After working thirty years as an accountant in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary, I found myself without a job.  The company I was working for was going through tremendous financial difficulties due to the recessive economy and—like many other companies—laid off many of its employees including myself.  I loved my job, and it was great while it lasted, but I knew it was not my true calling

I was envious of people who had a dream and followed it!  I never had a vision for myself.  But I always loved languages, reading, and writing.  After losing my job, I decided to start a blog, something I wanted to do for a long time.  My first articles were in English; later on, to reach a broader audience, I decided to start translating them into Spanish—my mother tongue.  One day, as I was happily pounding my keyboard while working on my translations, the idea of becoming a Translator hit me on the head like an awakening brick!  At that moment I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!  I knew what my calling was!

I had no idea how to go about, but I was entrepreneurial and put an add on Kijiji advertising my services.  Shortly, I received a call from a potential customer, after a few interactions she asked me if I was “Certified.”  I did not get the business since I wasn’t a Certified Translator, but it opened the door to the exciting world of Translators and Interpreters.  I started looking into it, and I found ATIA (Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta). 

Since finding ATIA, I’ve been right on track with their program.  I’ve attended every workshop ATIA has put on so far, and I’m preparing for the first two exams you must pass—Code of Ethics and English Comprehension.  ATIA has welcomed me with open arms, and every member I have met so far has been warm, friendly, and talented! 

The Translation and Interpreters industry is booming with the prediction that demand for their services will increase fifty percent by the year 2020; this is excellent news for people starting like me as well as for established translators and interpreters. 

Can just anyone who speaks more than one language become a Translator?  Not necessarily.  To become a translator, you need to be familiar with the culture behind the languages you will be working on.  You need to be extremely motivated and have the ability to work independently since most translators and interpreters are freelancers.  You need to have excellent writing and reading skills.  You also need to be very proactive in promoting your services and finding clients.                        

Strangely and whimsically, I realize now that I have been preparing for this my whole life.  I’ve made a point throughout the years to be fluent in Spanish and English by speaking, reading and writing in both languages.  Being at a “certain age,” while some people are thinking of planning on retiring, I’m excited and feel renewed at the opportunity of a new career!

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Paulina Ponsford was born in Chile and has lived most of her adult life in Canada.  She worked as an Accountant for thirty years in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary.  At the same time, she always wanted to connect with people at a different level and for this reason, she became a volunteer Fitness Instructor and later on a Certified Facilitator in the area of human interaction.  Paulina is now preparing to become a Translator and Interpreter in the languages of English and Spanish.  Paulina also loves to travel and embraces what different cultures have to offer.  She is also an avid reader and some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Mark Mustian, and Isabel Allende.  If you would like to know more about Paulina, check out her blog at www.paulinaponsford.com where she shares some of her thoughts, insights, and experiences. 

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ATIA Professional Development: The Ethical Translator/Code of Ethics Exam

The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) presents...

Professional Development Workshop

"The Ethical Translator" & Passing the ATIA Code of Ethics Exam

with Instructors Houssem Ben Lazreg and Regina Landeck

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Event Details:

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 10:00am - 3:30pm - Londonderry EPL, Edmonton - Londonderry Mall

10:00am - Registration and Welcome

10:30am - MORNING SESSION: Lecture and Discussion on the ethical neutrality of translators/interpreters as agents of sociopolitical change with Instructor Houssem Ben Lazreg

12:00pm- Brown Bag Lunch - Some refreshments will be provided but please bring a brown bag lunch as well

1:00pm - AFTERNOON SESSION: Interactive training session and discussion for successful completion of the Code of Ethics Examination with Instructor Regina Landeck

The Instructors:

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Houssem Ben Lazreg is currently a PhD. candidate, freelance translator/interpreter, and a teaching assistant for French/Arabic at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant of Arabic at Michigan State University from 2010–2011. He is a holder of a Masters degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). His latest publications include a translation of the novel "Screwballs by Catherine Mardon, "A Woman Walking Inside Me by Nizar Qabani" in Transference: Vol. 4 and co-author of the article “Marjane Satrapi and the Graphic Novels from and ` about the Middle East.” in Arab Studies Quarterly.

His research interests include politics and translation, Middle Eastern graphic novels, and Islamist militant movements. His recent experience includes service in translation and interpreting for The Family Center, Translation Agency of Manitoba, Precision Language Services in Edmonton, EZ Translation Company in Rochester, New York, and as a volunteer translator for the United Nations. His instructing experience includes work as a teaching assistant in both French and Arabic, as an ESL instructor and as an instructor of Foreign Language education at various institutions including: Indiana University of Bloomington, The American Language Institute at Nazareth College, Center for Maghrebi Studies, West Virginia University, the Canadian School of Public Service and the University of Alberta.

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Regina Landeck has been running her translation company, ProLingua Consulting, since 1998. She is a certified member of ATIA for German to English and English to German. Her educational background includes a Law Degree from Germany, a Post-graduate Diploma in Adult Education from the University of Alberta and a Master’s Degree in Translation from the University of the West of England. She has many years of experience teaching English as a Second Language, has developed online teaching materials and currently edits German language courses for Athabasca University. In addition, she teaches the ‘German to English Legal Translation II’ course in the Translation Certificate Program at New York University. Regina has been on Council of ATIA since 1995 and has served as the President of ATIA since 1998. She is very active within the professional community at the provincial and national level.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/at...

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The Best Online Tools for Professional Translators

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If you are working as a professional translator, especially in a freelance capacity, you know that there are plenty of things that need to be managed in order to make your client work proceed smoothly. Luckily, there are plenty of tool available to aid with managing everything from your clients, to documents and invoices, and everything in between. Below are five of our favourite online tools for professional translators – check them out!

1. Online Encrypted Clouds like DropBox, Google Drive or Sync: Online clouds are essentially folders on the internet or downloaded to a folder on your computer which allow you to share documents easily. You can share with all of your devices by downloading corresponding apps on your phone, tablet and computers so you are never without a much-needed document, no matter which device you happen to be using! You can also access the content even without your devices through the internet by logging into your account. You can also easily share documents with anyone from around the world and have the ability to either share cloud accounts or single documents and folders instead of having to email attachments all the time.

Some benefits of these clouds include: all of your documents being a single place that cannot be destroyed, even if all of your devices break down; most of these options are completely free or very close to free; and they are highly secure as they are fully encrypted services. You can keep all of your business neatly organized in folders in your cloud, from translation documents to blog posts you write to invoices – it is a handy centralizing tool that can make your work a lot more stream-lined. And the more organized we are, the better work we do!

Great options: Google Docs and Dropbox – free

Best option: Sync.com – For a small monthly fee, you keep your cloud services based in Canada with this Ontario company.

2.  Google Docs: Google Docs is an online, cloud-based word processing platform that is quick and helpful when you need to collaborate on documents with other people. Rather than doing your word processing in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, you write and edit your document on a Google server that is connected to the internet. All documents can be downloaded at any time and are automatically saved as you edit. This can be handy for translators who use copy-editors or proofreaders, particularly as margin comments can be added and any changes by any involved users are highlighted. This helps with avoiding having to send documents back and forth via email and running the risk of working on the wrong versions or having messy formatting changes as the document is passed back and forth. Oh, and it’s free – you just need a Google account to access it.

3.  Online appointment keepers: If you have ever had to set up a meeting with a client to discuss the details of a project in person or over the phone, you know there can be a lot of emails back and forth in an attempt to find a suitable time to chat. There are, of course, apps and webpages to help with that! One that is well-received by professional translators online is youcanbook.me which is cloud-based and allows you to easily set your availability and book appointments. All of these appointments can easily be synced with your Google Calendar to ensure continuity if that is your email host. Once you pass the link onto your clients, they will be able to see when you are available in your online calendar and can book themselves in whenever works for both of you!

4. Social Media Marketing Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite: Gone are the days where word-of-mouth can solely be relied upon for professional translators to get new clients and projects for work! The importance of self-marketing for freelancers cannot be overstated, and few places is this more important than on social media. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and so forth, offer us the opportunity to connect with new and existing clients, to send updates to our followers with great ease, and to generate a buzz around ourselves and our services. This can feel overwhelming for some professional though – after all, their work is in translation, not social media management! Fear not as there are easy-to-use options online that will make your life a lot easier. These social media management tools allow you to schedule content to all of your social media accounts in advance. It also allows for centralized access to your analytics so you can see how your audience is interacting with what you do – all from a single, user-friendly dashboard.

5. Invoicing Templates: After all is said and done, professional translators still need to get paid and this leads to the sometimes arduous task of needing to invoice our clients. You can save time with your invoicing by using online software that can help create templates that you then store in your online, encrypted cloud for ease of access later on (especially during tax season!). Whether you search for free templates that you can download or you build the invoice yourself by using Google public templates, it is sure to make the management of your invoices a lot more professional and streamlined. And you will save time too!

What are your favourite tools?

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Reminder: Upcoming Examination Information!

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Certification Examination - May 12, 2018

Information and the link to register can be found on ATIA's website in the Member's section (https://www.atia.ab.ca/members/certificiation-examination). Please ensure that you have met the requirements and completed your excel spreadsheet before submitting payment for the examination.

Cost: $245

Registration Deadline: January 31, 2018

The Certification Examination is administered as per CTTIC's instructions.

Anyone wishing to write this examination must be a member in good standing with ATIA (paid their dues for the current year and has no pending disciplinary matters before ATIA), and selected the “Accept Terms” on their website profile. Associate Members must pass the certification exam within 6 years of admission as Associate Member in any specific language combination. If you became an Associate member in 2013 (5 years ago) you will need to pass this exam or retake the next Associate-level exam.

Associate-level examinations

As member of ATIA you are welcome to register for the upcoming Associate-level translation examinations. The link to register for the English Proficiency examinations is no longer on the website, but if you would like to register please let me know.

Here are various scenarios:

  • If you are a member as 
    • a translator for XX-EN and you would like to add EN-XX, 
    • a translator for EN-XX and you would like to add XX-EN, 
    • an Interpreter (court, medical, or community) and you would like to add translator to your designation,
  • please register to write the next English Proficiency examination (member deadline: February 26) by contacting admin@atia.ab.ca. Examination date: Saturday, March 10, 2018 Cost: $30.
  • If you are a member as
    • a translator for EN-XX and you would like to add English into another language
    • a translator for XX-EN and you would like to add another language into English
  • please wait and register for the next Associate-level Translation examination. The registration for this will be on ATIA's website (www.atia.ab.ca/events) by March 19. The examination will be held on April 14.

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Court Interpreter Mini Course Calgary - February 2, 2018

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Where:          20th Floor Conference Room,

                      Calgary Court Centre  

When:           February 2, 2018, 12:00 – 1:30  

Topic:           Calgary ECR Unit:

                      “What’s Changed Since Jordan?”  

Who:            The Honorable Judge Mah

Rob Bassett (Crown)

Kelsey Sitar (Defence)                      

Price:            $15.00, lunch will be provided  

RSVP to Carmen Aguilera by January 30 so that food can be ordered and receipts prepared. 

Description  

We are very pleased to have one of our newest members, Rob Basset, take point on this lecture (Yeah Rob!)  

The Early Case Resolution (ECR) process is a crucial aspect of the Calgary justice system.  When assisting your clients, many (if not most) will have lawyers using this system.  

As stated previously, these lectures will take place several times year.  The topic will be different each time, and will always relate to criminal law.   

To register, please contact Carmen Aquilera at antiguahousealberta@shaw.ca.   

Questions, comments and general insults should be directed to Alan Pearse at

alan@alanpearse.com.

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Good Writing Is Good Business

Margaret Chandler, who has been delivering grammar and punctuation workshops for ATIA for the last few years, has recently published a business writing book – Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing. Margaret is a teacher, writer, and editor and runs a communications company, Green Fuse Inc.

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Good Writing Is Good Business is a comprehensive guide (360 pages)  that includes advice on planning and prewriting, a grammar and punctuation refresher, a review of style principles (clarity, concision, energy, and flow), a discussion of editing strategies, and much more. With plenty of examples, exercises (and an annotated answer key), and appendices (including one for writers whose first language is not English), this book is a great resource for anyone who writes (or translates) on the job.

Good Writing Is Good Business is available on Amazon for circa $23.00 at https://www.amazon.ca/dp/09959....

If you would prefer an e-book (PDF, Mobi, or ePub), please visit www.goodbusinesswriter.com. All the e-book versions have a hyperlinked index and are regularly $15.95. For ATIA members, Margaret is offering a discount on the e-books until December 31. You can buy the e-book for the reduced price of $13.25 using the coupon code ATIA2017.

If you would like more information on the book or are interested in bulk orders, please contact Margaret at margaret@goodbusinesswriter.com.

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Improve your English grammar and editing skills by taking a workshop!

Improve your English grammar and editing skills by attending the English Grammar and Punctuation for Language Professionals in Calgary on Saturday, February 10, 2018, or in Edmonton on Saturday, February 24, 2018

Register on our website to attend this information and interactive workshop taught by Margaret Chandler!

Poster: English Grammar And Punctuation For Language Professionals 2018 January

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ATIA Mentorship Program - Call for Certified Member Mentors

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Experience the power of knowledge sharing by becoming an ATIA mentor! 

If you are a certified ATIA member, you have the opportunity to benefit from developing a reciprocal mentorship relationship with an associate ATIA member.

As ATIA is piloting this project, we are currently in the first phase: mentor recruitment. If you are interested in the possibilities below, email our Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca today to be listed in our online directory as a willing mentor. Associate members can then search mentors in their language combinations.

Both members will agree to the ATIA Letter of Agreement/Understanding and your relationship will be underway!

  • Mentors assess mentee translations and provide feedback
  • Mentees gain insight into the practicalities of translation
  • Mentees may ask mentors to proofread client work
  • Mentors may assign certain texts for translation, may ask for glossaries or research to be conducted, and can provide first-draft translations for students to learn from
  • There is the possibility for a mentorship relationship to count towards ATIA Professional Development Policy requirements (To be announced) in the near future

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Translators & Interpreters Public Information Session

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Currently, ATIA is doing outreach in cultural communities which represent a large demographic of the Albertan population but whose interpretation and translation professionals have yet to be certified with our Association. Certification is crucial for official document and legal translations, and to ensure the highest possible standard for final products. All of our members adhere to the best ethical standards in the profession and are actively sought out by clients in government, industry and the public.

Are you interested in becoming a certified translator and/or interpreter? Are you already doing the necessary work of translation and interpretation in your cultural community? Do you want to start the process of certification or learn more about why it is important?

Join the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) for a public Information Session:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6:00pm

Jasper Place Edmonton Public Library (9010-156 Street, NW, Edmonton)

At the session we will cover the following subjects:

·         How to get involved in the profession

·         How to serve your community better

·         Why certification matters for professionals

·         The benefits of becoming a certified member of ATIA

·         Career advancement through translation/interpretive services

Refreshments will also be provided. To register, contact ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio - development@atia.ab.ca

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ATIA November Social in Edmonton

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The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) is hosting a November Social. Join us to meet and network with other ATIA members, enjoy a delicious meal together, and partake in fun activities.

Please note that the restaurant is completely vegetarian in order to accommodate most food preferences. Allergies can conveyed to the kitchen at the time of ordering.

RSVP to ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio, by October 31, 2017: development@atia.ab.ca

Only members who have RSVP'd can attend as our reservation space is limited. Thank you and hope to see you there.

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TransLit 11

The TransLit Editiorial Board, in cooperation with the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) and the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC), is proud to invite you to an intimate book launch in celebration of TransLit: Volume 11. POSTER

Thursday, October 26, 2017
6:30pm
Bogani Cafe
2023 111 Street, Edmonton

21 Authors. 22 Translators. 12 Languages.

TransLit 11 is a stunning compilation in celebration of world literature and diverse global cultures. Take a narrative journey with us from the shores of the Americas through Eastern Europe and into the Far East.  

Please note:

  • Copies of TransLit 11 will be available ($20 + GST)
  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase
  • Bogani Cafe is LRT accessible and has public parking

 Please RSVP at https://translit11yeg.eventbri... in order to make arrangements for attendees. There is no cost associated with this event.

TransLit Volume 11 includes texts from twenty-one authors and twenty-two translators in twelve languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Vietnamese.

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