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InforMATIon Blog

The MATI blog features articles pertaining to translation and interpretation. Subject matter includes issues pertaining to the field in the form of explorations into language, methodology and technology, book reviews, biographies, notes on presenters and meeting summaries. The views, opinions and statements expressed within each posting do not necessarily reflect the position of MATI as a whole.
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  • 04/17/2023 2:17 PM | Kelley Salas (Administrator)

    The Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters welcomes proposals for presentations at our 20th Annual Conference, to be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at IUPUI in Indianapolis.

    All proposals are due by Wednesday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. 

    We are looking for presentations from all areas of translation and interpreting, including finance, law, government, medicine, literature, science and technology, education and training, terminology, independent contracting, and business management. Presentations should provide timely, innovative content and encourage lively discussion. 

    Presentations should be approximately one hour in length. Each presenter will receive an honorarium of $200; MATI may also be able to offer a stipend to defray travel expenses.

    Proposals should consist of an abstract (summary of presentation content) of up to 200 words and a speaker bio of up to 100 words.

    You do not need to be a MATI member to submit a proposal. If you know someone who would be a great presenter this September, please encourage them to submit a proposal before the May 17 deadline!

    Click here to submit a proposal.

  • 02/28/2023 2:46 PM | Kelley Salas (Administrator)

    ATA’s Savvy Newcomer Blog: A Great Resource 

    Whether you’re new to the profession or not, there’s a lot to learn from the ATA Savvy Newcomer blog. The posts are written by fellow ATA members, and they cover everything from marketing and pricing to study resources to work-life balance. At the start of this year, I took a quick look through the Savvy Newcomer archives, and found several posts to inspire and support me in my goals around work-life balance, social media, and professional development. 

    Daniela Guanipa’s post, Keeping a Steady Pace: Balancing Work, Volunteering, and Family Life, offered great suggestions for work-life balance. I needed this reminder to identify what my priorities are right now, and to use routines and time-tracking to stay focused on them. I also liked Tess Whitty’s piece, All Work and No Play?, which lists ten tips for achieving balance and avoiding overwork.

    I sometimes avoid social media under the guise of “productivity,” even though it’s connected me with some amazing clients and projects. But I’d like to become much more intentional in my use of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Marion Rhodes’s post, Creating a Social Media Plan for Busy Translators, inspired me. She designed a daily “power hour,” set specific goals for posting, and ultimately doubled her Twitter following and tripled traffic to her website. If I can do a fraction of what she describes, I’ll be off to a great start!

    I often get asked about the ATA certification exam, and so much has changed since I took the handwritten test and was certified for Spanish to English in 2008. I’m considering pursuing English to Spanish certification, too, and I found Emily Moorlach’s post on Taking and Preparing for ATA’s Online Certification Exam very helpful. There’s also a mega-list compiled by Helen Eby titled Study Resources for Translation Certification. Both resources are well worth bookmarking!

    Regardless of your goals for the new year, you’re likely to find support, inspiration, and ideas at the Savvy Newcomer. Even though the blog is geared toward students and newbies to the profession, there’s a lot of great material for those of us who are mid-career and beyond.

    Kelley D. Salas is an ATA-certified Spanish>English translator and editor specializing in nonfiction and children’s literature. She is an experienced medical interpreter and a certified court interpreter in Wisconsin and Illinois. Salas serves on the MATI board of directors.

  • 02/08/2023 2:28 PM | Kelley Salas (Administrator)

    MICATA, the Mid America Chapter of the American Translators Association, invites MATI members to propose a session or workshop for the upcoming MICATA Conference, scheduled to take place on April 14-15, 2023, at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS. Proposals on all topics relevant to our profession are welcome.Click here for more information and to submit a proposal for a session, panel, or workshop.

  • 02/08/2023 2:18 PM | Kelley Salas (Administrator)


    We encourage our members to write for our blog and newsletter, InforMATIon. Please submit stories in the fields of translation, interpretation, and languages. The following submission types are welcome:

    ·       Commentary on translation and interpreting issues

    ·       Letters to the editor                                     

    ·       Book reviews

    ·       Reviews (of technology, resources, etc.)

    ·       Translator/interpreter profiles or interviews

    ·       Announcements (awards, jobs, events, etc.)

    ·       Reprints (with permission from original publisher)

    Suggested length is 300-800 words. Occasionally we will consider longer, feature-length articles of 2,000-2,500 words. Photographs and graphics in the form of .gif or .jpeg are also accepted.

    Upcoming submission deadlines:

    ·       March 1, 2023 for Summer 2023 issue

    ·       June 1, 2023 for Fall 2023 issue

    ·       October 15, 2023 for Winter 2023 issue

    ·       Jan 1, 2024 for Spring 2024 issue

    Submit files in Microsoft Word format to kelleydsalas[at]gmail[dot]com, with the subject line “InforMATIon Article Submission.” Please include the author’s name and contact information in the e-mail. Add 3-4 lines of biographical information at the end of the article. Articles may be edited for clarity and length.

  • 02/03/2023 4:27 PM | Kelley Salas (Administrator)

    Dear MATI members,

    On behalf of the MATI Board of Directors, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all MATI members a happy new year! May 2023 bring you many opportunities to connect with others in the translation and interpreting community while growing your skills as language professionals.

    The 2022 MATI Elections marked the start of new terms for a few folks serving on the MATI Board, including myself. The 2022-2023 MATI Board is as follows:

    President: Meghan McCallum
    Vice President: Kate Breckenridge
    Secretary: Laura Salcido
    Treasurer: Kate Jankowski
    Directors: Reme Bashi, Marina IlariKelley SalasAlexandra Wirth

    Please join me in welcoming all new board members, and thanking this entire group for their dedication to serving our association!

    In case you missed it, MATI held its 19th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in September. We were delighted to once again bring together our local T&I community for a day of learning and networking—this was the first in-person MATI conference since 2019! A big thanks to our speakers: Daniel Tamayo (Keynote: A Successful Career in Translation and/or Interpreting), Robert Sette (Overcoming the Discomfort of Self-Promotion), Saul Arteaga (911 Telecommunication Interpreting), Allison Bryant (Taxes for the Taxed), and Daniela Guanipa (Navigating the Waters of Change) for providing this incredible lineup of educational sessions for attendees.

    A number of MATI members also attended ATA’s 63rd Annual Conference, held in Los Angeles, California, in October. Again, this was a much-anticipated opportunity for our members to connect with other translators, interpreters, clients, educators, and more from the world of T&I. ATA’s Audiovisual Division was especially active, with several sessions bringing us into the exciting world of subtitling. We also saw an exhibitor table from the ATA Literary Division displaying many works translated by ATA members. The ATA Awards Ceremony recognized several colleagues for their various accomplishments in and services to the translation and interpreting professions.

    If you are an ATA member, please be sure to indicate on your ATA membership renewal form that you are also a member of MATI, your local chapter. MATI receives funding from ATA based on the number of members that indicate their chapter membership. We appreciate your support and look forward to using this funding to continue serving you through educational programming, networking opportunities, and more throughout the year.

    Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for MATI’s 20th Annual Conference, which will take place in Indiana in September 2023. Stay tuned for updates on the exact date and location. Event planning is underway and the MATI Board looks forward to sharing more details soon.

    MATI’s programs and events are powered by volunteers, and there are plenty of ways you can participate! If you’d like to volunteer your time to serve MATI, whether it’s through social media support, writing for this newsletter, conference planning, hosting a networking event, or presenting a webinar, please get in touch with us and let us know you’d like to get involved. You can contact the MATI Board at

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023,

    Meghan McCallum

    MATI President

  • 03/03/2022 2:43 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    By Adjo Mireille Agbossoumonde, Founder and CEO of Le Pont Translations LLC

    This post was originally published in ATA-TCD News . It is re-posted with permission.

    In this article we will focus on the importance of following professional standards even in remote interpreting settings, self-care for remote interpreters and interpreters at large, and tips to help you deal with interpreter trauma.

    Now more than ever before, language service companies are providing language solutions that empower companies to communicate with their clients wherever they may be and/or do business globally, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic by bridging the gap of language barrier through remote interpreting (RI) in various settings.

    To provide an understanding of what types of interpreting fall under this umbrella term, and how they differ from one another, the next sections will discuss the three ways in which virtual interpreting can be performed or delivered: over-the-phone interpreting (OPI), video remote interpreting (VRI), and remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI).

    It is worth noting that there has been more demand for RSI (on different platforms) since the beginning of the current pandemic with the cancellations of conferences. It is used for virtual meetings such as Multilingual conferences, corporate events, meetings, workshops, training and/or daily briefings. For more details see this Nimdzi article on the subject: The Virtual Interpreting Landscape.

    Telephone & Video Remote Interpreting (OPI & VRI): Consecutive
    Mostly used in these main settings:

    • Medical (telemedicine and in person health care)
    • Legal/Court (depositions or general court proceedings & Immigration)
    • Educational: Parent-Teacher conferences, other IP meetings, and more
    • Business: customer service, meeting and more


    The main reason is that, like in any other profession, professional interpreters are required to abide by the standards governing their profession whether they are working on-site (face-to-face) or remotely.

    Observation: During this pandemic, we have noticed a new trend of different actors in our industry relegating standards to the sidelines or completely ignoring them, including language companies, interpreters and clients. We should always uphold them. For reference, check out the following links:


    • Practical (helps with interpreter fatigue): We know that conference and sign language interpreters work in pairs, taking turns every 20-30 minutes to relieve one another. Team interpreting is also used in court proceedings—notably trials and depositions—but not all courts use it.
    • Essential to accuracy and completeness of the message: The quality of the interpretation depends on it. Given the responsibilities associated with performing this complex task of interpreting that leads to fatigue, it is crucial that both interpreters work as a team to deliver the message accurately. See the recent NAJIT Position Paper on Team Interpreting In Court-Related Proceedings.
    • Advocacy and client education:Interpreters need to advocate for themselves when needed, and inform the clients or end users of the benefits of team interpreting. They also need to follow the relevant code of ethics for the best outcome possible for all parties.


    FAQ: Do remote interpreters experience trauma while performing their duties?
    A: Yes, they do, and so do all interpreters. Thus, the importance of self-care.


    Generally remote interpreters work with one or more language services companies. They log into their servers or take calls using a landline (recommended) or a mobile phone.

    Tip: Have water with you. You will need it! If you need water while on a long call or if you start coughing and choking for some reason, inform the client: “This is the interpreter, and the interpreter needs a water break” or “The interpreter needs to be excused,” if you need to relieve yourself.

    TRAUMA: Tips to cope with work related trauma

    As we all deal with the anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we want to take a moment and acknowledge all the brave interpreters who help ensure equal access to vital community services such as health care, justice, and education. Interpreters are essential workers too. You can download the safety tips for Providing Interpreting Services During COVID-19.

    I trained professional interpreters to be neutral, impartial, strong emotionally, and not to be attached to the story they are interpreting. Still, interpreters are human like everybody else, so these stories can affect them emotionally and even physically at times.

    Tips for Coping with Interpreter Trauma

    • Breathing: Take a deep breath (you can stop and breath even on a call).
    • Debriefing: Talking to a professional or another colleague can be extremely helpful. Note that some companies have debriefing protocols in place, but they are very few.
    • Exercise: Studies have shown that exercise is good for our emotional wellbeing and
    • Laughter therapy: Humor is good for you.See this article on the topic: Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke.
    • Breaking the isolation: “Physical distancing is not social distancing.” Make the call! You might consider joining a professional organization if you do not belong to one yet, which affords you the opportunity to network. Safely spend time with others, friends and families.
    •  Anything else (cooking, dancing, singing, yoga, meditation, mindfulness) that works for you.

    Learn critical self-care techniques for remote interpreters in this webinar. You’re Worth it! Self-care for Remote Interpreters: An Urgent Priority by Marjory Bancroft.

    Adjo aka Mireille Agbossoumonde dreamed of becoming a Journalist because she admired a native Ewe Journalist growing up in Togo. Because of her love of languages, she went on and graduated from Université de Lomé, Togo, with a Bachelor in English and Linguistics and a Master’s degree in Translation English-French and became a Sworn (Certified) Translator and Interpreter in 2000. She also obtained a Certificate in Pedagogy from the National Institute of Education Sciences (INSE) and a Professional Development Certificate/Badge for Simultaneous Interpreting from NYU, New York university in 2016. Before moving to the US, she was a high school teacher and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for 6 years and here in the US, she taught French as a Second Language in Atlanta Public Schools, GA-USA for 4 years. She is currently an experienced French Conference/RSI and remote interpreter (French, Ewe & Mina) and has been a full time interpreter since 2009 specializing in medical, legal and immigration court interpreting. She is also a federal Language Consultant as a Member of the NLSC, National Language Service Corps. She also served as Contract Interpreter Monitor for USCIS (2010-2017).

    Adjo likes singing, dancing and cooking for her family and friends (now for friends impacted by COVID-19) when she is translating, interpreting or running her company, Le Pont Translations LLC (Founder and CEO) based in Atlanta where she resides.


  • 03/03/2022 2:34 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    By Val Swisher, Founder and CEO of Content Rules, Inc.

    This post was originally published in ATA TCD News. It is re-posted with permission.

    Usually, when someone tells you that your translations are poor, the first tendency is to blame the translators. Blaming the people doing the work might make sense. However, in my experience, the cause of poor translation is often not the person trying their best to translate the content. The problem lies every place else.

    Here are three reasons your translations might be of poor quality:

    1.      Your source content is poor.

    2.      Your workflow isn’t working.

    3.      Your translation memories are a mess.

    Poor Quality Translations Reason 1: Source Content

    Often, when a translation is of poor quality, you don’t need to look any farther than the source content itself. There are many things that can be wrong with the source content. My examples are for English source content, but you can find similar issues in other source languages. Here are some source English issues I run into all the time:

    Long Sentences

    Do you know how long we’ve been (I’ve been) talking about the scourge of the long sentence? Gosh, it’s been years. Yet, time and again, I still find source content riddled with sentences that are 30, 40, 50, and even 95 words. Yes, 95 words is my new all-time high. And I wish I was joking, but I’m not. Long sentences are difficult to understand in English. They become impossible to translate.

    Let me state it again – with feeling…

    Your sentences should contain fewer than 26 words.

    Grammar Errors

    If your source content has grammar and style errors in it, translating that content can be a real challenge. Do everyone a favor and keep those (short) sentences grammatically correct.

    Tone of Voice

    The nature of our content conversations with our customers has become very chummy. A chummy tone of voice is often grammatically incorrect and usually full of colloquialisms. When we create content in this way, we often use sentence fragments, made up words, and all sorts of punctuation. Very friendly may be your brand’s tone of voice. But, remember that chummy doesn’t necessarily translate.

    Poor Quality Translations Reason 2: Workflow Issues

    There are many places in the content life cycle for the workflow to fail. Sometimes, the hiccup is in the hand-off between the content creators and the localization team. Even more often, the problem is in the hand-off between the localization team and the translators.

    I once worked with a customer that continued to send new and revised content to the translators up to, and including, the day that the translations were due to be returned. At this company, the notion of “freezing” the content was as foreign as the languages they were using. It seemed that every day, new and revised content was forwarded to translation. And every day, there was some type of translation crisis. No surprise! This customer wanted my advice on changing translation companies. Clearly, changing vendors was not going to solve the problem. Changing the workflow and the unrealistic demands on the translators were needed.

    Another problem with workflow is the lack of in-country review (ICR). It continues to amaze me that there are companies that do not do a review of every language. In some languages, content is simply tossed out to the public without a second set of trained eyes evaluating it first. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are going to go through the time, effort, and expense of translating your content, you need to have someone – preferably an employee who is a native speaker – review the content. Otherwise, you risk having inaccurate or poorly translated content floating around.

    [Tweet “It continues to amaze me that there are companies that do not do a review of every language. #xl8”]

    Poor Quality Translations Reason 3: Translation Memories

    I recently did a multilingual content quality evaluation for a customer. As part of the evaluation, we took a close look at their translation memories (TM). What we found was surprising (but not too surprising):

    • Multiple translations for the exact same segment.
    • The exact same translation for the exact same segment listed 30+ times.
    • The source and translation pair mismatched – in other words, the source and target no longer lined up in the TM. This resulted in an incorrect translation being paired with the source segment – for a huge number of translation units.

    Translating content from bloated or corrupted TMs makes the task difficult, if not impossible. The quality of the translation suffers and the cost to you rises quickly. To keep your TMs in working order, someone should clean up the TMs after each translation is complete. If that’s not possible, then the TMs should be scrubbed on a timed and consistent basis. If not, the TM is likely to end up being marginally usable. Sometimes, that is worse than not having a TM at all.

    What About the Translators?

    It is possible that the problem with your translation is the fault of the translator. There are people in the field who are less adept at their job. It does happen. However, if you see a systemic issue with your translations, for example, all or most of the translations are problematic, I suggest you look elsewhere than the people doing the work. The problem could lie in what you provide, how you provide it, or the resources the translators have to do their job.

    Val Swisher is the Founder and CEO of Content Rules, Inc. Val enjoys helping companies solve complex content problems. She is a well-known expert in content strategy, structured authoring, global content, content development, and terminology management. Val believes content should be easy to read, cost-effective to create and translate, and efficient to manage. Her customers include industry giants such as Google, Cisco, Visa, Facebook, Roche, and IBM. Her fourth book, “The Personalization Paradox: Why Companies Fail (and How to Succeed) at Creating Personalized Experiences at Scale,” was published in 2021 by XML Press.

    Val is on the Advisory Board for the Technical Communications Program at the University of North Texas. When not working with customers or students, Val can be found sitting behind her sewing machine working on her latest quilt. She also makes a mean hummus.

  • 03/03/2022 2:31 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    MATI President Christina Green connected with Saul Arteaga, Director SWITS, Ltd. to discuss some big challenges LSPs face when trying to hire quality interpreters.

    1. One of the challenges many language companies face is finding quality interpreters.  As a seasoned language professional and as a business owner. Can you explain why that is?

    We interpreters are as good as our last interpreting assignment. I can answer from my experience as a language company owner for almost 20 years, and still learning along the way, that finding quality interpreters, when needed, at an agreement rate and terms that a contract allows, is one of the main challenges because interpreting is a profession that has been built by different levels of credentials, aptitudes, skills and expectations.

    You have interpreters for specific languages, such as ASL, that you need to be licensed in your state to work in specific settings, like schools and courts. Then, you have some language interpreters who are working on the command of their second language, in the same exact settings. And to make things more complicated, professionals who have been hired under good intentions are not understanding the role of the interpreter. Many times the demands dictate how much an interpreter can get paid. Furthermore, professional standards vary from location to location. I also feel that there is an existing sentiment of “anti-company” that may affect the decision of some qualified interpreters to collaborate with language companies.  

    2. How difficult is it finding interpreters for Languages of Lesser Diffusion (LLDs) in today's market, why do you think that is?

     I think that we can divide the answer by separating large language companies and smaller ones.  The former may have the ability to offer many hours, a variety of modalities, and settings that attract LLD interpreters. The latter may not have as much volume and modalities to keep the interpreter busy enough to reach their professional goals.  As a result, the interpreters may try to find more consistent employment with other language companies or organizations that hire interpreters directly such as hospitals or businesses. In a way, it is just a shift of limited resources and puts the interpreter and language company in a situation that may be more difficult to manage and causing language companies to struggle to fill appointments.  Let us keep in mind that most interpreters hired by language companies are freelancers; however, because of the IRS classification guidelines, some language companies hire interpreters as staff; this is clearly another big topic in the industry.  The current labor market for interpreters has significant new realities. The pandemic has put us all in unprecedented situations that we are still learning to navigate. There are other options outside interpreting in the general labor market, and hey, this is America, the land of opportunities and dreams. We generally must work hard to accomplish our goals.

     Spanish is the main language requested for most language companies making LLD requests come in at less volume.  It is difficult for LLD interpreters to make a living solely on interpreting. Many times, they have to add translations to the mix, hold second jobs or rely on other income.  There are great LLD interpreters in the profession. Sometimes one is fortunate to find them and believe me, language companies try to hold on to them as much as possible. Another factor is that language skills are only a part of the whole service, and reliability and professionalism needs to be included for the service to be premier.


    3. How can a language company staff assess interpreters of other languages understanding what your customers and the market demands?

    This is a difficult situation especially for LLD, since there are so many languages that do not have any available certification or assessments. Thankfully, we have some certifications available by the NCSC and certification for medical interpreters. The United States is a huge melting pot and the laws mandate language access to LEP persons for many settings. Companies generally rely mainly on the interpreter's resumes, affiliations to language organizations, reputable national rosters and interviews.  As a company, SWITS has developed some commonly used language assessments that give us an idea of the level of skills of the candidate we are going to hire. This is not a psychometric test. These assessments do not always happen since having assessments for all languages would be a huge task. The assessments are reviewed by more seasoned and credentialed interpreters when possible. The assessment can be taken in person or remotely. SWITS has also put together a 60-hour training accredited by the IMIA Accreditation Commission for Medical Interpreting Educational Program and one of the requirements is passing language fluency tests. The market is very demanding and sometimes the buyers of language services do not understand the interpreters are not just sitting in a room waiting for a call to take or to go to an assignment. There are fewer requests for LLD compared to Spanish. The amount of work they receive many times does not encourage them, or justify the expense, to seek further training, certification or be part of interpreter associations. The other part to keep in mind is that LLD interpreters are a very diverse group, coming from different parts of the world,  having different cultures, different perceptions about providing services, and speak some languages that may be more complicated to interpret into English and vice versa. There is also a wide generational and educational spectrum among interpreters of this language group.


    4. How do you ensure that your staff and freelance professionals attend continued education programs?  How difficult is it to make sure they improve their knowledge?

     It is difficult to pinpoint what motivates people in a workplace. There is a common denominator that could be the pay and benefits, but ultimately people can sit at conferences or trainings and not pay attention. We cannot force them to be attentive.  One can see who are the motivated interpreters that are willing to learn on their own and/or seek training opportunities. We must be careful what we demand from interpreters because if they are independent contractors, they are responsible to keep up with the standards of the industry. When interpreters are staff, the employer has to ensure they are trained and keep up with the standards.  We offered free training opportunities but some interpreters do not find the time to attend or feel they already know the subject matter. However, there are others who take the opportunity and run with it, and those are the ones willing to accept constructive criticism and ask questions. Asking interpreting related questions is a great practice in regard to language and assignment situations. Otherwise, how do we learn? The internet has made it possible to learn a great deal about our profession. I remember the days where one had to carry dictionaries to our assignments, now we bring our phones as a consultation tool.  In the past, we have had to drive or fly to conferences and now we can learn from the comfort of our home. In order to be a committed interpreter you must think about interpreting in your daily life, use your surroundings and interactions to challenge yourself to learn the best way of communicating concepts in different languages, listen to people who use their native language and read in your working languages if there is material available. It is a rewarding career from the standpoint that we can use all learned skills in edifying our lives.   At least that is how I view it.  Certifications and credentials are an excellent way to ensure that the interpreters are improving their knowledge. Certification and credentials are hard things to achieve but it is not the end all, or reaching the summit of Mt. Everest, and remember, you still have to keep up with your skills for the rest of the journey. 


    5. What do you think language company owners and trainers should consider when working with LLD interpreters?

     Language Company Owners need to make sure that they are communicating effectively with all their interpreters, which can be a difficult task because people in general communicate differently and when communicating interculturally it can be even more challenging. So finding a way to pass information and expectations is paramount. That also involves training your operations staff about the different ways that people communicate and making sure your operations staff are aware of the possible challenges.  It is an extra step of check and balance in a very diverse workforce. We cannot spell out every aspect of an interpreting job or what it entails.  Having LLD of materials to read is not always the answer. Some people do not read much.  You can incorporate short videos in your communication training tools and simplify the process as much as possible.  I heard one time that interpreting is a professional practice. Interpreters practice their own service with some variations and they must be responsible at all times to manage the flow of the interpreting assignment and foster good professional relationships with their clients.  For the trainers, I would say that we have to present things in a simple, clear way, not so academically, because not all interpreters are interested in that or at that level of learning, especially when the material is presented in their second, third, or fourth language. The trainers have to be open-minded interpreters with experience because while training there are many what ifs and the instructors will have to provide a sounding response or guidance.  The instructors will not be there when the interpreters are performing the assignment. I always ask the participants of my training, if you do not subscribe to any of the standards that I am presenting or discussing, I want you to challenge me because you must believe in the concepts to be able to practice them naturally.

      I want to thank you for the interview. It has been a pleasure and has given me the opportunity to share my observations with my colleagues. I think that all interpreters share different challenges but at the same time we have a common goal which is to be as accurate and professional as possible with our interpretations; no more, no less. Many times we allow the clients to dictate the speed, the setting or terms and conditions, and sometimes we have to educate the clients that there will be some adjustments in the agreement for the interpretation to happen or discuss this after it has happened.  We have to respect everyone involved in the interpreting assignment. Being flexible is also a big factor when it comes to interpreting. Many times we have to work with the interpreting service stakeholders and find a common ground.

    Saul Arteaga was born and raised in Lima, Peru. At 19 years old, he immigrated to the US where he worked while attending a community college. He further pursued his academic career by receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and completing classes toward a Master’s Degree in Translation Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2002, Mr. Arteaga established SWITS, Ltd., a language service provider based in Delavan, Wisconsin which provides all language services, including signed languages, to healthcare organizations, law enforcement, circuit and municipal courts, and educational institutions.

    In 2004, Mr. Arteaga passed the Wisconsin Certified Court Interpreter examination. Soon after, he became a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Committee to Improve Court Interpretation and Translation in Wisconsin Courtrooms.

    In addition to legal interpreting, Mr. Arteaga also pursued medical and community interpreting, passing the Medical Interpreter Competency Examination offered by the National Center of Interpretation at the University of Arizona and attending classes at the Agnese Haury Summer Institute for Court Interpretation and Medical Interpretation at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

    To further demonstrate his commitment to providing high-quality interpretation services, Mr. Arteaga passed the National Board of Certified Medical Interpreters and the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters examinations. He also completed the Leadership in Language Access in Healthcare advanced certificate program offered by the IMIA Language Access Leadership Academy.

    As a believer in interpreter education, Mr. Arteaga acted as an adviser for several community college interpreter programs in Wisconsin and Illinois. He originally developed Equal Footing to ensure SWITS interpreters had a better understanding of the role of the interpreter as well as best practices. This seminar grew into the 60-hour medical and community interpreter training that is now offered.

  • 03/03/2022 2:24 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    In the past two years, we have seen the importance of being connected to others. As your ATA Chapter Vice-President, I would like to share why being a member of a professional organization is worth your while.

    Whether you are a translator or an interpreter, a membership in ATA has many benefits, from having access to a wide network of colleagues, job opportunities, and educational and financial resources.

    ATA member benefits, include:

    • ATA online directory profile*
    • The ATA Chronicle
    • ATA certification exam option
    • Professional networking
    • Business discussion forums
    • ATA division membership
    • Mentoring and Masterminds Programs
    • Professional affiliation
    • Credit union financial services
    • Professional insurance services
    • Professional development, including free and discounted CPD opportunities
    • Discounts on tools and software 
    • And much more!

     *One of the most tangible benefits, the directory allows both purchasers of language services and colleagues to search for you by language, credentials, expertise, location, and more. Many ATA members report that their ATA directory profile results in new projects with new clients year after year.

     Learn more about the benefits you'll enjoy as an ATA member.

     Hear what ATA members like best about their ATA membership.

    ATA is a huge source of information for me. I feel much better informed about the state of the industry, about technology, about standards, about educational opportunities, about the marketplace, and about ethics in the marketplace because of my ATA membership.” - Jennifer G.

     What's more, your ATA membership can financially benefit MATI. 

     One of the most attractive benefits of chapter status is ATA's dues rebate. When chapter members renew their ATA membership, they may instruct ATA to pay a 10% dues rebate to a chapter of their choice. In 2021, ATA provided over $28,000 in rebates to its chapters! 

     ATA helps you grow on a national level—and on a regional level—by supporting MATI’s programs and your professional development.

     Learn more about what ATA membership can do for you and join ATA today!

  • 03/03/2022 1:54 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    by Michelle M. Pinzl, MATI Member

    Even as COVID-19 has brought light to historic racial and class disparities that exist across the world, spring of 2022 invites us to be hopeful that we are turning a corner on this global pandemic. Though history repeats itself when it comes to power, privilege and oppression, communities around the world continue to call us to action via social movements. Feminist grassroots campaigns like ni una menos in Latin America, protest gender-based violence. The Black Lives Matter movement struggles to eradicate the omnipresent white supremacy of our systems and societies. Most recently, communities around the world have come together to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Within this context, interpreters and translators as both cultural brokers and facilitators of language access, also inspire action for racial and social equity in our professional work.

    When power and privilege manifest in the world around us, what is palpable in terms of injustice for some, can appear mysterious or invisible to others. How many times have upper administrators, legislators, and others in positions of power (usually White, usually male, usually straight, usually middle or upper class…) write policies and protocols for those who never got the chance to be a part of the conversation? Those policies and protocols, in turn, most often negatively affect those with less power (often Black and Brown, often Indigenous, often limited English proficient, often LGBTQ+, often poor…). What is clear about privilege and power, is that when we have it, we often don’t see it or notice it; can scarcely imagine that it exists. And when we are not the holders of privilege and power, we cannot forget that our voice is always diminished, we remain unseen and go unvalidated.

    So how do we come together as professionals and professional organizations to continue to advocate for more social justice and equity in our daily work? Talking about these themes within our professional circles, as part of the work that we do, is a start. Developing an action plan is a next step. It is for these reasons that MATI is providing the three-part webinar series in coming weeks: Race, Power and Privilege: Building Social Justice and Racial Equity in the Professions of Interpreting and Translation. The series consists of three 90-minute sessions with the following titles: (1) Exploring Intersecting Identities; (2) Our Privilege. Our Power.; (3) Plans for Social Justice and Equity in Our Work as Interpreters and Translators.

    Participants of this three-part webinar series will reflect on their personal identities in varying social contexts. They will also examine how privilege works to normalize some identities and cultural practices over others. By identifying the intersectionality of shared and diverse identities, facilitators will encourage community and empathy within interpreting and translation circles. After becoming familiar with vocabulary and terminology related to social justice and equity, attendees will be encouraged to identify instances where privilege manifests as racist behavior or has been established in racist policies in our professional lives. Through identity building exercises, personal reflection, and both small and large group discussion, participants will gain a deeper understanding of identity politics and privilege as they manifest. Finally, participants will work to develop a personal plan for interrupting systemic racism and developing transformative policy change in the interpreter and/or translator workplace. All language pairs and identities are welcome. Minorities are encouraged to participate.

    In essence, the aim of such work and such conversations is to positioninterpreters and translators as powerful professionals. We can spark cultural, ideological, and political change because ours lived experiences and intersectional identities serve as direct contributions to linguistic justice. Our voices are essential in identifying where privilege reproduces or perpetuates privileged and oppressive frameworks. Interpreters must be empowered to continue advancing the profession, mitigate the intersectional failures of language policy, and center minoritized voices in social justice and equity. We look forward to more talk about this in with you and our professional organizations this year!

    Michelle M. Pinzl (she/her/ella) is the Coordinator of the Community Interpreting Certificate and Assistant Professor at Viterbo University where she teaches Spanish, French and Interpreting Studies. She earned her Master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Intercultural Management from the Université de Limoges in France and is currently a PhD candidate at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, in Spain. She is a certified Spanish<>English Court Interpreter for the State of Wisconsin and a certified Medical Interpreter through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). Michelle frequently presents in the US and abroad to varied audiences on numerous topics in the field of translation and interpreting. She has been interpreting for healthcare, social service agencies, schools, businesses, as well as various sectors of the farming industry in Wisconsin since 2006.

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Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters
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American Translators Association
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