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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.
  • 01/14/2015 7:50 PM | Anonymous
    The Wisconsin Court Interpreter Newsletter for fall/winter 2014 features Jacqueline Jugenheimer, a German-certified court interpreter. Read about your fellow MATI member by clicking the image below!

  • 01/04/2015 1:38 PM | Anonymous
    Machine Translation Technology and Internet Security

    by Joseph Wojowski

    An issue that seems to have been brought up once in the industry and never addressed again are the data collection methods used by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Skype, and Apple as well as the revelations of PRISM data collection from those same companies, thanks to Edward Snowden. More and more, it appears that the industry is moving closer and closer to full Machine Translation Integration and Usage, and with interesting, if alarming, findings being reported on Machine Translation’s usage when integrated into Translation Environments, the fact remains that Google Translate, Microsoft Bing Translator, and other publicly-available machine translation interfaces and APIs store every single word, phrase, segment, and sentence that is sent to them.

    Terms and Conditions

    What exactly are you agreeing to when you send translation segments through the Google Translate or Bing Translator website or API?

    1 – Google Terms and Conditions

    Essentially, in using Google’s services, you are agreeing to permit them to store the segment to be used for creating more accurate translations in the future, and they can also publish, display, and distribute the content.

    “When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.” (Google Terms of Service – 14 April 2014, accessed on 8 December 2014)

    Oh, and did I mention that in using the service, the user is bearing all liability for “LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES.” (Google Terms of Service – 14 April 2014, accessed on 8 December 2014)

    So if it is discovered that a client’s confidential content is also located on Google’s servers because of a negligent translator, that translator is liable for losses and Google relinquishes liability for distributing what should have been kept confidential.

    Alright, that’s a lot of legal wording, not the best news, and a lot to take in if this is the first time you’re hearing about this. What about Microsoft Bing Translator?

    2 – Microsoft Services Agreement (correction made to content - see below)

    In writing their services agreement, Microsoft got very tricky. They start out positively by stating that you own your own content.

    “Except for material that we license to you that may be incorporated into your own content (such as clip art), we do not claim ownership of the content you provide on the services. Your content remains your content, and you are responsible for it. We do not control, verify, pay for, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the services.” (Microsoft Services Agreement – effective 19 October 2012, accessed on 8 December 2014)

    Bing! Bing! Bing! Bing! Bing! We have a winner! Right? Hold your horses, don’t install the Bing API yet. The agreement continues on in stating,

    “When you transmit or upload Content to the Services, you're giving Microsoft the worldwide right, without charge, to use Content as necessary: to provide the Services to you, to protect you, and to improve Microsoft products and services.” (Microsoft Services Agreement – effective 19 October 2012, accessed on 8 December 2014)

    So again with Bing, while they originally state that you own the content you submit to their services, they also state that in doing so, you are giving them the right to use the information as they see fit and (more specifically) to improve the translation engine.

    How do these terms affect the translation industry, then?

    The problem arises whenever translators are working with documents that contain confidential or restricted-access information. Aside from his/her use of webmail hosted by Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. – which also poses a problem with confidentiality – contents of documents that are sent through free, public machine translation engines; whether through the website or API, are leaking the information the translator agreed to keep confidential in the Non-Disclosure Agreement (if established) with the LSP; a clear and blatant breach of confidentiality.

    But I’m a professional translator and have been for years, I don’t use MT and no self-respecting professional translator would.

    Well, yes and no; a conflict arises from that mode of thinking. In theory, yes, a professional translator should know better than to blindly use Machine Translation because of its inaccurate and often unusable output. A professional translator; however, should also recognize that with advancements in MT Technology, Machine Translation can be a very powerful tool in the translator’s toolbox and can, at times, greatly aid in the translation of certain documents.

    The current state of the use of MT more echoes the latter than the former. In 2013 research conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 64% of the 239 people who responded to the survey reported that colleagues frequently use free Machine Translation Engines; 62% of those sampled were concerned about free MT usage.

    In the November/December 2014 Issue of the ATA Chronicle, Jost Zetzsche relayed information on how users were using the cloud-based translation tool MemSource. Of particular interest are the Machine Translation numbers relayed to him by David Canek, Founder of MemSource. 46.2% of its around 30,000 users (about 13,860 translators) were using Machine Translation; of those, 98% were using Google Translate or a variant of the Bing Translator API. And of still greater alarm, a large percentage of users using Bing Translator chose to employ the “Microsoft with Feedback” option which sends the finalized target segment back to Microsoft (a financially appealing option since when selected, use of the API costs nothing).

    As you can imagine, while I was reading that article, I was yelling at all 13.9 thousand of them through the magazine. How many of them were using Google or Bing MT with documents that should not have been sent to either Google or Microsoft? How many of these users knew to shut off the API for such documents - how many did?

    There’s no way to be certain how much confidential information may have been leaked due to translator negligence, in the best scenario perhaps none, but it’s clear that the potential is very great.

    On the other hand, in creating a tool as dynamic and ever-changing as a machine translation engine, the only way to train it and make it better is to use it, a sentiment that is echoed throughout the industry by developers of MT tools and something that can be seen in the output of Google translate over the past several years.

    So what options are there for me to have an MT solution for my customers without risking a breach in confidentiality?

    There are numerous non-public MT engines available - including Apertium, a developing open-source MT platform - however, none of them are as widely used (and therefore, as well-trained) as Google Translate or Bing Translator (yes, I realize that I just spent over 1,000 words talking about the risk involved in using Google Translate or Bing Translator).

    So, is there another way? How can you gain the leverage of arguably the best-trained MT Engines available while keeping confidential information confidential?

    There are companies who have foreseen this problem and addressed it, without pitching their product. Here’s how it works. It acts as an MT API but before any segments are sent across your firewall to Google, it replaces all names, proper nouns, locations, positions, and numbers with an independent, anonymous token or placeholder. After the translated segment has returned from Google and is safely within the confines of your firewall, the potentially confidential material then replaces the tokens leaving you with the MT translated segment. On top of that, it also allows for customized tokenization rules to further anonymize sensitive data such as formulae, terminology, processes, etc.

    While the purpose of this article was not to prevent translators from using MT, it is intended to get translators thinking about its use and increase awareness of the inherent risks and solution options available.

    If you’d like more information about Machine Translation Solutions, please feel free to contact me, I’d be more than happy to discuss this topic at length.

    -- Correction --
    As I have been informed, the information in the original post is not as exact as it could be, there is a Microsoft Translator Privacy Agreement that more specifically addresses use of the Microsoft Translator. Apparently, with Translator, they take a sample of no more than 10% of "randomly selected, non-consecutive sentences from the text" submitted. Unused text is deleted within 48 hours after translation is provided.

    If the user subscribes to their data subscriptions with a maximum of 250 million characters per month (also available at levels of 500 million, 635 million, and one billion), he or she is then able to opt-out of logging.

    There is also Microsoft Translator Hub which allows the user to personalize the translation engine where "The Hub retains and uses submitted documents in full in order to provide your personalized translation system and to improve the Translator service." And it should be noted that, "After you remove a document from your Hub account we may continue to use it for improving the Translator service."


    So let's analyze this development. 10% of the full text submitted is sampled and unused text is deleted within 48 hours of its service to the user. The text is still potentially from a sensitive document and still warrants awareness of the issue.

    If you use The Translator Hub, it uses the full document to train the engine and even after you remove the document from your Hub, and they may also use it to continue improving the Translator service.

    Now break out the calculators and slide rules, kids, it's time to do some math.

    In order to opt-out of logging, you need to purchase a data subscription of 250 million characters per month or more (the 250 million character level costs $2,055.00/month). If every word were 50 characters each, that would be 5 million words per month (where a month is 31 days) and a post-editor would have to process 161,290 words per day (working every single day of this 31-day month). It's physically impossible for a post-editor to process 161,290 words in a day, let alone a month (working 8 hours a day for 20 days a month, 161,290 words per month would be 8,064.5 words per day). So we can safely assume that no freelance translator can afford to buy in at the 250 million character/month level especially when even in the busiest month, a single translator comes nowhere near being able to edit the amount of words necessary to make it a financially sound expense.

    In the end, I still come to the same conclusion, we need to be more cognizant of what we send through free, public, and semi-public Machine Translation engines and educate ourselves on the risks associated with their use and the safer, more secure solutions available when working with confidential or restricted-access information.

    -- bio --
    Joseph Wojowski is Director of Operations at Foreign Credits, Inc. in Des Plaines, IL, Chief Technology Officer at Morningstar Global Translations, and A Certified MemoQ Trainer. This article was originally posted on Wojowski's blog on December 9, 2014.

  • 11/19/2014 7:13 PM | Meghan McCallum (Administrator)

    11th MATI Annual Conference

    by Federico Vinas

    Federico Vinas is a Spanish Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI™) working with pediatric patients in southern Wisconsin. He does on-site, over-the-phone, and video interpreting.

    The 11th MATI Annual Conference, held on Saturday, September 20, 2014, was a successful event addressing relevant and important topics in the fields of interpretation and translation. The presentations were “Web 2.0, Mobile, and You,” “Interpreting in Pediatrics,” “Courtroom Dilemmas for the Court Interpreter” and “The State of the Language Service Industry,” presented by renowned members of our translation and interpretation communities.

    1.    Web 2.0, Mobile, and You: 21st Century Technology for Interpreters and Translators, by Katharine Allen, M.A., Co-President, InterpretAmerica.
    Ms. Allen presented one of the most vital topics for every interpreter and translator who wants to continue evolving in the profession. Technology is reaching into every aspect of the interpreter/translator’s work, including daily tasks, continuing education, advertisement, and resources, and we must stay current with new developments and opportunities, remain open to updates and offer the best service. This intricate technological world should be viewed as an advantage­–as a better way to communicate and improve ourselves, not as a challenge.

    Web 2.0 is enabling new forms of communication, collaboration and learning never seen before. These tools can help us create new venues for training, resources and education and access and share these from the comfort of our homes, offices or even around the globe.

    2.    Interpreting in Pediatrics: Building Blocks for Success, by Jennifer Flamboe, M.A., CHI, Chair, World Languages, and Director of Healthcare Interpretation, Alverno College.
    Ms. Flamboe presented the broad field of pediatrics, including topics such as physical, emotional and social development and the well-being of babies, children and adolescents. She said that the interpreter must prepare for many different subjects not only in primary care pediatrics but in every branch of medicine, such as cardiology and podiatry. She also addressed the proper utilization of techniques, modes and roles of interpretation and how these are crucial in pediatric environments. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics. The interpreter must always maintain register, tone and spirit in every encounter, respect everyone’s ideas and avoid judgmental thinking, all while promoting transparency. Pediatric encounters require specific communication techniques to promote successful communication with children at their developmental level and tend to look different from adult encounters.

    3.    Courtroom Dilemmas for the Court Interpreter, by Alexandra Wirth, M.A., Federally Certified Court Interpreter and Wisconsin Supreme Court Certified Interpreter.
    Ms. Wirth presented a complete and detailed list of the court interpreter’s role and the tenets by which a court interpreter should abide. She gave numerous examples of the appropriate solutions to common dilemmas that a court interpreter faces while performing his or her duties.

    The definition of a court/legal interpreter is not to represent the interest of any party involved. The definition is not translator, advocate, social worker, helper or tour guide, liaison, attorney, etc. The definition of a court interpreter is “a court employee who has the ability to render a complete and accurate interpretation of what is said in court from English into the target language, without altering, omitting or adding anything to what is stated or written and without explanation.”

    The interpreter is an honest, ethical, responsible professional who prepares, improves and cares for his/her profession. The interpreter should always promote the interpreter’s role, including scope and etiquette.

    Ms. Wirth also described the proper guidelines for interpreting in a court setting, including how to approach the judge, how to approach all other parties and how to work with a colleague or in a group. Teamwork is essential in the legal setting. Working with a colleague can create friction or conflict, but setting rules such as breaks, signals, terminology, preparedness and solving discrepancies beforehand may avert many potential disagreements.

    4.    The State of the Language Service Industry: 2014, by Hélène Pielmeier, M.A., Director of Industry Providers Services, Common Sense Advisory.

    Ms. Pielmeier presented key findings and answered questions related to the Common Sense Advisory’s Language Services Market report for 2014. She looked at where market trends can be expected to take the language service industry in the near future. For example, CSA’s analysis of major corporate websites showed that 12 languages now reach 80% of the online population, but the firm predicts that 20 languages will be needed in the future. Research also found that freelancers and LSPs hold sharply different views about the correlation between price and quality. And while Ms. Pielmeier said freelancers do not run the risk of being replaced by machines, she did say they may be replaced by people who are willing to do post-editing of machine translations.

    (More in-depth looks at each of the four presentations are forthcoming in the Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 issues of inforMATIon. They will also be posted to the MATI blog:

  • 11/19/2014 7:06 PM | Meghan McCallum (Administrator)

    Looking into the future of language services

    by Max Zalewski

    Max Zalewski is equal parts adventurer and logophile. He has been translating Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese into English for the last 7 years while living in Denver, Damascus, Barcelona, Aleppo, Madison, Cairo and Granada. Contact him at

    Is the language service industry teetering on the precipice of obsoleteness or will it be at the forefront of an increasingly globalized world? On September 20th, 2014, Hélène Pielmeier, Director of Industry Provider Services for the market research firm, Common Sense Advisory, addressed the direction of the trade at the annual conference of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters. The presentation featured an abundance of data about the language service industry with which Pielmeier created a looking glass to peer into the future and predict trends in the market.

    Pielmeier commenced the presentation by introducing Common Sense Advisory and discussing the methodology it utilizes to collect data. CSA is the only firm dedicated to market research of the language service industry. One way CSA acquires its data is by surveying and conducting in-depth interviews with LSP’s, universities, and buyers of language services. There are two types of membership with CSA: buyer and LSP; at present, it does not cater to freelancers. CSA performs research from the perspective of both types of members. CSA defines language service providers (LSP’s) as companies that provide language services and have two or more employees. For LSP’s, they analyze management, strategic planning, profitability and growthundefinedspecifically, they observe the three pillars of growth: sales, account management and marketing. CSA also researches specialty services (transcreation, interpreting, etc.) and technology (translation management systems, machine translation) marketed by LSP’s. On behalf of the buyers, CSA monitors what they want, satisfaction, and their perception of the price versus quality ratio, among other variables.

    In addition to surveys, CSA conducts consumer panels, briefings, and feature reviews. The market research firm is a pioneer in the landscape of the language services industry. Despite being a $45 billion dollar per year industry, CSA is the only entity dedicated purely to researching it. In addition to collecting its own data, CSA also monitors public data and filings, participates in online communities, and attends conferences. Each year, CSA produces reports, webinars, and longitudinal studies about the general trends of the language service industry as a whole.

    At its essence, the language service industry aims to solve problems created by language. From the 7 billion people across 195 countries, CSA breaks them down into 687 locales, which it defines as geographic locations with “the minimum of unique combinations of economy, politics, culture, and languageundefinednot counting minority languages, individual states, etc.” Twenty-six of these locales are located within the top ten trading nations.

    One way to monitor trade is through online commerce. CSA analyzed 2,400 websites of major corporations and found that 12 languages reach 80% of the online population. Furthermore, 90% of the most economically active people online can be reached by just 13 languages. Ordered from most to least economic activity online, these languages are: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, Arabic, Russian and Swedish. Interestingly, CSA does not expect the status quo to persist. On the contrary, it predicts that as a result of the overall online economy growing, more languages will be incorporated into websites. CSA forecasts that 20 languages will be required to cover 80% of online activity in the future. This represents an auspicious bit of news for the language service industry, both LSP’s and freelancers alike.

    Common Sense Advisory’s survey of consumers of translated products produced some expected and unexpected results. It is well known that consumers will not buy what they cannot read, but where do people start to make decisions based on their willingness to use their second language? According to the international average, 55% of online consumers prefer to make a purchase in their local language. However, this figure jumps to 74% when consumers were asked if they preferred to have post-sales support in their local language. CSA’s data shows that even if post-sales care is available in English, and consumers have a good command of English as their second language, they strongly prefer to have post-sales support in their local language. Generally post-sales support is for when a problem has arisen. The discrepancy in language preference correlates to the change in the consumer’s mindset.

    The demand for post-sales service in local languages is a microcosm of the overall trend that CSA foresees in the language service industry. CSA compiled data based on 831 responses to its annual survey that showed the industry generated $23.5 billion in revenue in 2009, and $33.05 billion in 2013. CSA anticipates the language services market will expand to $37.19 billion by 2018. Take a second to consider the magnanimity of those numbers. That figure means that the revenue generated in the language services industry is larger than the GDP of 40% of the world’s countries. 

    Based on these figures, the translation industry is growing at a rate of 6.23%, which is considerable, but below the past averages of double-digit growth. Pielmeier says that there are external and internal threats counteracting growth. External forces include economic recession, globalization of the work force, professional purchasing (big companies cracking down on rates). Internal forces consist of translation automation, changing nature of translation, and commoditization.

    As expected, the regional concentrations of translation buyers are not spread evenly across the world. The breakdown for percentage of market share by continent is as follows: Europe, 51.09%; North America, 37.81%; Asia, 9.96%; Latin America and Caribbean, 0.48%; Oceania, 0.41%; Africa, 0.24%. CSA calculates this data based on where the LSP is headquartered, not necessarily where the translation is produced.

    In addition to geographical location, sizes of the LSP’s vary as well. Sixty percent of LSP’s have only 2 to 5 employees. The final forty percent is divided as follows: 6-10 employees, 17%; 11-20 employees, 9%; 21-50 employees 7%; 51-100 employees, 3%; 101-500 employees, 2%; 501 or more employees, 1%. These numbers are based on 18,000 companies sampled. CSA used a larger sample size in the past but have since become stricter about separating freelancers from LSP’s. These figures demonstrate that the market is very fragmented and there are very few companies making large profits from translation.

    The services provided by LSP’s are dominated by translation and on-site interpreting, but there are also growing niche markets like video interpreting, phone interpreting, mobile app localization, machine translation post-editing, and transcreation. CSA performed a study in which they broke down language services into 18 different categories. Translation is by far the most widely sold service at 34% of the market share, followed by on-site interpreting at 10%, and software localization at 7%. Translation is sold by 83% of LSP’s; however, very few LSP’s are invested in smaller rising niche markets like interpreting technology and localization. These services represent a great opportunity for emerging LSP’s as well as freelancers. An LSP or freelancer that provides localization and translation has less competition and a larger market share. Interestingly, translation represents three quarters of revenue for the aforementioned 83% of LSP’s who sell translation; however, many of the fastest growing LSP’s in the world revolve around interpretation.

    Within the translation market, there is a discord between supply and demand in that the demand consists of many small projects, but suppliers want large projects. According to Pielmeier, smart companies are adapting to the small project market by creating retail portals for clients, thereby streamlining the overall process and foregoing quotes, signing contracts and explanations of the service. Clients can simply purchase translations online with a credit card and poof, it will magically appear on-time as promised. This industry is exploding thanks to the phenomena of convenient online purchasing. Language service professionals who want to fit into this changing world must use what Pielmeier calls the “agile adaptation methodology,” in which they get several small jobs throughout the day. On the side of LSP’s, technology is imperative in this market, demonstrated by the fact that companies that have adapted to technology have a much higher growth rate.

    Technology is changing every field. Even if language service professionals are unconcerned about losing their jobs to a machine, they might want to think about how to adapt technology into their business practices. Among other technological applications in the language services industry, machine translation is the most discussed. Some fields of translation are more susceptible to being replaced by machines. Literary translation, for instance, is unlikely to be affected by increasingly accurate machine translations, whereas engineering and legalese, which are more patterned forms of writing, are already translated using a synthesis of machine translation and human editing.

    What exactly is post-edited machine translation? In PEMT, the source text is analyzed by a translation memory, which has gathered patterns of past-translated material in both languages and creates a translation of it into the target language. Next, two types of post-editing can be applied: light editing and full editing. The light editing process only looks for lexical errors and syntax errors and mainly differs from the full edit in that it neglects the style of the texts and does not correct punctuation errors. The full editing process comes closest to human qualityundefinedideally equaling it. Pielmeier says that PEMT matching the quality of human translation is feasible, but it takes expert linguists trained to look for less obvious errors, match an appropriate style and still convey fluency.

    According to forecasts from CSA, both machine translation as a managed service and in-house machine translation service will increase nearly double from 2013 to 2016. With regard to the increased demand in machine translation, Pielmeier offered advice to freelancers: “You are not at risk of being replaced by machines. However, you are at risk of being replaced people who are willing to work with files that have gone through machine translation.” She also noted that on the LSP side, it is hard to find translators who are willing to work with machine-translated files and that “it is a fabulous opportunity for newcomers to the industry.” Pielmeier joked that given the mystery inherent in the nebulous nature of technology, any problems can be blamed on the machine, right?

    As mentioned earlier, machine translation is not likely to be used for all kinds of content, however online content in general is likely to be one of ways it is most used. Pielmeier stated that there simply aren’t enough human translators to account for the cornucopia of content uploaded to the Internet. The increase in the number of languages being used online will also lead to greater usage of machine translation because content can be translated into multiple languages at once. Lastly, another reason machine translation will be used more in the future is because the expansion of online content does not coincide with an increase in budgets. Some companies only budget enough to generate more and more content for their online profiles but do not necessarily increase their budgets enough compensate enough to pay human translators. The result is that they are willing to sacrifice style and opt for a faster and cheaper machine translation.

    The willingness to negotiate the style or accuracy of content brings up an interesting question about the relationship between price and quality. In a survey of 839 buyers of translation services, LSP’s and freelancers were asked whether or not there is a direct relationship between the price and the quality of a translation. All three agreed that there was a direct relationship. However, freelancers believe price and quality are directly related more than LSP’s, who both feel that price correlates with quality more than buyers. Quality is not necessarily the only value that consumers consider when making a purchase, and as a result the traditional process of translation, editing, and finally proofreading has been reduced to a less costly one or two step process.

    Pielmeier concluded her presentation with recommendations about how to best use this information. She suggested that no matter what your connection is to language services, you can use this information to understand how you want to fit into the overall puzzle. It is important to note that none of the data she presented directly represented freelancers; nevertheless, the data is still useful to freelancers in order to better understand those who ultimately purchase their services. As a business strategy for both LSP’s and freelancers, Pielmeier recommended identifying niche areas that will provide long-term work, such as localization. In general, being adaptable to technological advances is fundamental, for the best way to avoid becoming obsolete is to learn how to adjust the offer to what clients want.

  • 10/18/2014 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    Keynote Address by Katherine Allen on Technology and You

    by Kathy Stokebrand

    Kathy Stokebrand is a Spanish to English linguist. She has a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Journalism and anticipates an MA in Language, Literature and Translation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in December 2014. Stokebrand has been a MATI member since 2012.

    Mobility is the latest development in the evolution of technology, and Katharine Allen, professional interpreter and translator, reviewed some of the latest mobile tools for the industry at the MATI conference in September. Speaking in Madison at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, Allen led the program with her presentation, “Web 2.0, Mobile, and You: 21st Century Technology for Interpreters and Translators.”

    “Our profession is online,” declared Allen, who has a master's degree in translation and interpretation and is co-president of InterpretAmerica, an organization dedicated to raising the profile of the interpreting industry. Hers was an urgent plea for translators and interpreters to get involved with technology tools. Professionals in the industry need to try things, to see what they like and dislike because, according to Allen, if translators and interpreters are not involved, the tools won't be tailored to them.

    Technological advancement is nothing new, Allen noted, describing how tribes changed from a nomadic lifestyle to one based on agriculture. The industrial revolution followed that transition, taking about 100 years. Then, the digital revolution happened in the span of about 30 years, going from the typewriter to the computer.

    Allen observed that now, the mobile revolution is in progress, beginning with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, followed by the iPad in 2010 and Google glasses in 2013. The iWatch is set to be unveiled in 2015, she added.

    Web 2.0 is the second stage of development for the World Wide Web, characterized especially by the change from static web pages to dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social media. Users communicate, share content, and make the web their own, Allen said. Technology has provided access to an incredible amount of information, and interpreters and translators have to figure out how to leverage it, according to Allen. They need to learn how to filter the information and the tools to determine which will be most helpful to them.

    Allen noted that this progress and the changes that have come with it have brought turmoil. Technological advances have sped up generational differences, she said, adding that adaptation is critical. There was a panic that translation would be taken over by software, as the industry has flipped to a digital-based model that some translators did not survive. Still, the Internet broke down barriers and borders, and after this period of transition, a new equilibrium has been achieved, she said.

    The good news is that industry continues to grow because there are so many consumers who use other languages. However, Web 2.0, the mobile age and translation and web-based video will continue to spur change, Allen predicted. “There will be a lot of disruption,” she warned. Among the changes she foresees is greater prioritization of localization and a downward pressure on wages. Interpreters want on-site or face-to-face work situations but language-service buyers want telephonic and video-remote interpreting. End users want all of the above and more.

    As Web 2.0 continues to evolve, Allen noted that she is starting to see a lot of hybrid products and situations, such as speech to text applications, voice-over subtitles, customer service chats and real-time emails. Technology has also changed the way in which translators and interpreters are found and are finding work, Allen said. She compared various online sites and directories, such a sProZ, LinkedIn and the American Translators Association. Some sites include more than 300,000 professionals, while others have fewer than 3,000.

    Then, there are smart phone, what Allen calls “the great equalizer” because of what they offer to anyone who owns one. Smartphones allow access to the Internet, as well as helpful apps. They also have recording capabilities, allowing interpreters to listen to themselves and thus providing a valuable opportunity for self-evaluation. Additionally, smartphones have cameras and document readers that allow instant translation, albeit machine translation. Podcasts, which are available in many languages, provide an audio show on demand, and the next generation of this technology is vodcasting, also called video podcasting, in which video is added to the audio download of a podcast.

    All and all, valuable resources are just a few clicks away. Allen recommends finding “favorites” to bookmark, such as high-quality glossaries and speech banks from, for example agencies of the United Nations, the US State Departments, the European Union and court systems. Allen noted that technology has also changed how translators and interpreters collaborate. Online groups, such as discussion forums, provide training and information, and while it's difficult to send a cold email asking for help or information, adding a post or ping on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is much easier, providing almost instantaneous results.

    In an industry dominated by free-lance contractors who are not able, or at least less likely, to organize and advance priorities for rates and work environments, online collaboration is so important, according to Allen.

  • 09/03/2014 9:52 PM | Diane R. Grosklaus Whitty
    Here in Madison, WI, we have an informal group of interpreters and translators that gathers about once a month to talk shop and socialize. At our get-together the other night, I was asked if I thought it would be worthwhile to attend the MATI Annual Conference, which will take place in Madison this year.

    So I asked myself, why am I going?

    For the same reason I like to get together with my local colleagues at Panera (or Sardine, or wherever) every month -- but taken to the 10th power!

    As translators and interpreters, our work engages us to the exclusion of all else. Conferences like this present an unbeatable opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences, learn new tricks of the trade, and broaden our network of contacts, in this case with attendees from WI, IL, and IN.

    (In fact, our monthly Madison gatherings were born out of a MATI Annual Conference, where I first met Sasha Carrillo and where she, Catherine Jagoe, and I discussed the idea of getting together on a regular basis with our colleagues in the Madison area.)

    It is also an opportunity to have direct, personal contact with language service agencies at their exhibitor tables, which they pay to have precisely because they are looking to extend their roster of qualified, reliable interpreters and translators. We all know that nothing beats a face-to-face encounter -- and these vendors take a special interest in the serious professionals who manifest their commitment to providing quality services by attending professional events.

    Oh yeah -- and there are also those continuing education points. This year, the ATA will award 7 points for attendance at the conference. Two of the sessions will likely be applicable towards Wisconsin's new CE requirements for Court Interpreters (not my area, so I'm not totally familiar with it), and one session should be eligible for CCHI credits. But that's not the bottom line for me. Much more important is the opportunity to grab one of the presenters during a coffee break and pick her brain for even more information, or wheedle her email from her for future queries of my own.

    This year the conference ends with a social networking hour -- and that will be the icing on the cake for me!

    I hope you decide to join me and other colleagues from the tri-state area!

    Event information and registration:

    Diane Grosklaus Whitty

  • 08/26/2014 9:03 AM | Diane R. Grosklaus Whitty

    (thanks to Ben Kearney, Madison-based Dutch>English translator, for this contribution)

    I admit to being a bit sceptical when I was invited to the t&t open mic. Like most translators living in the U.S., I am continually obliged to explain and somehow account for the work I do, and I’m accustomed to the obscurity that is assigned to translation. Even if they are passionate about reading or foreign places, non-translators (or non-interpreters) whom I encounter tend to view the profession as either exotic or imaginary, and I have reconciled myself to this state of (exalted?) exile in the minds of friends and family members – with no good prospects for repatriation. So though I looked forward to an evening of reading and listening fun, I expected the event to be attended solely by working or would-be translators.


    What struck me first was the organic coziness of the Lakeside Coffee House. What a welcoming space! I really felt transported. But the best part was the enthusiasm among those gathered to hear works in translation read aloud, regardless of the subject matter or literary form. The range of material (Beowulf? Really?) and the number of readers surprised me, as did the size and composition of the crowd that came to listen. There were any number of non-translators attending who were eager to hear something different for a change. And that’s really what it was: a unique and open platform to present the translated word, with no strings attached.


    It was so fun to take part in this experiment and see my preconceptions dissolve. If you have friends with their own preconceptions/non-conceptions about translation, then bring them to the next edition of t&t, and bring along something to read! I can’t wait to hear what people come up with next. Tasty bits indeed.


    (For more information on the t&t open mics, go to


  • 08/08/2014 9:18 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Member Spotlight: Shenyun Wu

    For this Member Spotlight, MATI Director Sasha Federiuk Carrillo interviews Shenyun Wu, a Mandarin Chinese <>English interpreter. She holds a B.A. in English and International Affairs (double major) with a minor in Chinese language and literature from George Washington University. Shenyun currently works as a Senior Account Executive at a translation agency.

    Where do you live and/or work?

    I currently live and work in Madison, WI, but I was in Chicago for four years and in Washington, DC for four years before that.

    What are your working languages, and how did you acquire your language skills?

    I work between Mandarin Chinese and English. Born and raised in the US, I was fortunate to have spent my formative years in Taiwan because of my father’s work. In Taiwan I went to traditional Chinese schools and was thus able to build a solid foundation for my Chinese. I then moved back to the States to finish high school and college. Knowing that it was important to keep up my language skills, I made a conscious effort to take advanced Chinese language courses and found volunteer and internship opportunities to use and expand my language skills.

    How long have you worked in your field? How did you get started in the field of translation and/or interpretation?

    I started in both translation and interpretation in 2005 when I was in college and was looking for volunteer opportunities where I could use my Chinese language skills. My first exposure to interpreting was when I worked as a bilingual advocate for a nonprofit organization advocating against domestic violence. I also got trained through a nonprofit law firm to become a qualified Chinese interpreter and translator. I've been providing language services ever since.

    Describe an especially memorable or fulfilling professional experience.

    One of the most memorable experiences I had as an interpreter was interpreting during a C-section for twins. It was quite the experience being a part of the birthing process. I learned that an interpreter not only needs to just interpret, but also needs to provide a presence that allows the client to trust the interpreter during stressful or difficult situations.

    I notice that you are active on Twitter and LinkedIn, and even have a blog. Do you believe that social media is important in the development of our profession?

    Social media is an effective tool to get the most updated information in specific industries. Twitter and LinkedIn have allowed me to get access to the most-talked-about information and exposure to different aspects of the job that I'm not always aware of. My blog simply allows me to reflect on and share my experiences in the industry. The life of an interpreter can sometimes be lonely because it's often an independent job, so being able to interact with my peers and help them through my experiences has been a learning experience for me as well. We are able to grow more when we interact with others, and social media is an effective way for freelancers to share and exchange notes.

    Do you believe social media has had an impact on your career?
    Social media has encouraged me to be aware of the most up-to-date trends and news related to language services. The feedback I receive on my blog has also motivated me even more to improve my skill set.

    Do you have any tips for those starting out in the field?

    The first thing to know is that bilingualism doesn't automatically qualify someone as a translator or interpreter. Language is constantly evolving, and even seasoned interpreters and translators need to continue to expand their skills. Even after nine years in the field, I still have to prep for interpreting assignments to make sure that I anticipate potential terminology, especially the technical ones. When starting out in the field, I think it's important to understand the code of ethics, which is a set of guidelines for interpreters to follow. Lastly, always be professional, know your capabilities, and never stop learning.

  • 08/08/2014 9:07 PM | Anonymous


    By Witold Napiorkowski, a State of Wisconsin Certified, Federally qualified, and Cook County, IL qualified Polish court interpreter

    The issue of inter-state interpreter certification has been on the agenda for a while now. It has acquired a measure of new importance with the progress of the Cook County, Illinois court interpreter (CWA/CNG) contract negotiations. The interpreter negotiations team’s goal here is to (eventually) negotiate additional compensation for interpreters who acquire NCSC (National Center for State Courts – “the Consortium”) certified status. Though most of us are way beyond the test-taking public education phase of our lives, professional development is actually something that employment experts – as well as seasoned veterans – recommend, both for the sake of keeping skills as sharp as possible and maintaining healthy self-esteem, but also for “not losing the habit” of learning new things. It is hardly news to say that most professionals these days are facing a steady stream of new information which needs to be integrated into their job routines. In many professions, “continuing education credits” are a requisite to maintain job status. The only way to NOT see this as a burden is to enthusiastically embrace the boost in self-esteem that comes with acquiring new skills, and honing old ones.
    Two-day orientation, then written and oral examinations.

    The way to do this is to attend a two-day orientation and then “sit for” a written and an oral examination. In the case of Illinois court interpreters, since the test is still NOT being offered by the Illinois Court System – the exams may be taken in either Indiana or Wisconsin. It was my own fortunate – I maintain – choice to become more acquainted with the latter, this spring and summer.


    The program (CIP – Court Interpreter Program) administered by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, is coordinated and animated with gusto by Ms. Carmel Capati, a Wisconsin attorney, who shows a calling and passion for languages and securing a level playing field for the non-English-speaking user of the justice system. Carmel makes the entire experience an uplifting one. This was especially so for a Cook County interpreter – almost accustomed to a certain casual LACK of respect for the profession in our own bailiwick. In this regard, participation in the Wisconsin program seems a breath of fresh Northwoods air.

    STEP 1: Two-day orientation

    Though I had signed up and paid the orientation fee in August-September of 2012, for personal scheduling reasons it only became possible to make the necessary time this last March. The two-day orientation I chose was offered in Milwaukee – on the campus of University of Wisconsin, held, as they always are, over a weekend. Happily, the I-94 drive from Chicagoland, on both Saturday and Sunday, winds up being user-friendly, and not a contributor to hypertension at all. Summer highway construction does need to be factored in, though. To anyone used to professional conferences, the setting of the training is immediately familiar. The 40 or so orientation attendees were set up in a large hotel lobby-like hall, with self-serve bagels, fruit and coffee in the back of the room, and an easy chat-with-thy-new-neighbor ambient atmosphere helping while away the 30 or so minutes before the official beginning of the presentations. I found a good geographic mix of attendees from all corners of Wisconsin, and several smaller towns in Illinois. Age groups varied widely indeed, as did professions. English-Spanish was, as ever, the dominant language combination. As it happened, I found not a single Polish co-linguist, but Korean, Arabic, Mandarin, Serbo-Croatian, Japanese, and even Albanian were represented. I sat next to Alex - a very sociable Arabic interpreter, an eager conversationalist, in his mid-40s, who drives a limo as his second job. A down-to earth regular-people kind of vibe each way you turned, certainly no excuse for anyone to feel timid. Topics of informal table discussion revolved around real-life real-people situations, foreign accents were many and some sported with relish.

    Orientation: Well organized, interesting, and varied

    One thing which made the time go by relatively fast was the careful structuring of both days to incorporate large group presentations, Q & A, and class debate, with breakout sessions addressing specific courtroom skills. The whole-group presentations delved into organizational rudiments of the US / Wisconsin state court systems, interpreter ethics, common challenging situations. Included were presentations by court personnel, a short lecture by a State of Wisconsin judge, a court clerk, as well as by other linguists from the UW faculty.

    Breakout sessions: Vital skills practice, confidence booster

    To this relatively old hand, the breakout sessions felt particularly worthwhile. These were typically composed of 6 – 8 people and led by a moderator. The particular group I wound up in was that of the “exotic” languages – in short, any languages other than Spanish and Mandarin. The animator of our group, seasoned Spanish court interpreter Enrique, proved himself to be the consummate professional, in language as well as in teaching and his “classroom management” skills. Each of us had ample time and opportunity to try our hand at both the consecutive and the simultaneous mode – in both routine and sudden challenging “out of left field” situations. A good measure of class comradeship built up, with some humor / lighthearted fun and creativity elicited. I found the exercises with consecutive note–taking and mnemonic techniques especially helpful, and remember later feeling grateful to Enrique for the practice at my oral exam in June. Retention of longer chunks of highly specific information is my special challenge, and it turned out I was not alone in this. Most of you know what I am referring to. Feeling lost in a sea of numbers and proper names, while keeping up with a fast-talking witness is not particularly relaxing or even motivating. In all, the two eight-hour classroom days went by surprisingly quickly and painlessly.

    Wisconsin test-taking sites:

    As for venues, it was good to attend the training in a none-too-distant location like Milwaukee, given that I was short of time, and appreciated not having to set up at a hotel. Of course the annual schedule provides for other locations – as far away as Appleton and Wausau, which can be a nice choice for a metro-Chicagoan looking for a chance to break away from chores and change of scenery for a weekend.

    STEP 2: Written examination component: 2 options, or bothundefinedyour choice

    Upon completion of the orientation the next phase of the process was the prequalifying written examination. There are actually two options given to prequalify. One is the long-form multiple choice exam consisting of 135 questions covering primarily English language proficiency – with reading comprehension and vocabulary/terminology most stressed – but also with components of knowledge about the court system and interpreter ethics. The amount of time afforded certainly felt generous, for answering and reviewing/changing the responses. The other qualifying option was a translation test INTO your target language (other than English) consisting of 10 short paragraphs. It is remarkable how many people opt for BOTH – since the process allows it, and – as a practical matter – receiving a passing grade on at least ONE of these is virtually guaranteed. Peace of mind for the more timid among us, and a straight path to the BIG ONE – the actual oral interpreting exam, offered on another date as the third and final stage in the process.

    Exam payment tips

    A practical note is in order here: The organizers stipulate that you MUST HAVE RECEIVED a passing grade on the written component to even REGISTER for the oral. In practice, 4-6 weeks of time is provided for the graders to return their evaluation. Given that the overall process is stretched out over time and can easily take 10 months or more – it is a good idea to have your check covering the next phase in the process ready at the close of each preceding stage. The grading CAN take 4-6 weeks, but grades can sometimes be turned in much earlier. Then, subject to availability of a spot, you can “jump ahead” and select the next available date, a welcome surprise for this rather impatient writer. I found always having payment at the ready to be a strategy worthy of recommending (checks/money orders are best). Pass/fail notices arrive in the mail promptly at the address you had given them at the outset (make sure, if you are moving, to provide both old and new address).

    STEP 3: Oral examination component

    Well, the days and weeks have flown by, and finally, you have arrived at the date of the BIG ONE. In the meantime, of course, you practiced your note-taking and recall skills, listened to the ACEBO tapes/discs several times over in your car (what else is there to do on our long commutes, right?). Crucially, you got PLENTY of sleep the night before – mindful that this exam relies heavily on recall skills – THE FIRST skill affected by lack of adequate rest – you allowed a cushion of time for traffic, baaaad GPS directions, and finding parking . The latter can be taxing in more ways than one (loud and proud Chicagoans take heed – downtown Madison is not a one-horse town, by any means). Face it – at this late hour you should not be frantically reviewing your study materials – you should be calmly focusing, humming quietly and “remembering to breathe.” This is a time to release your Inner Buddhist. Arriving stressed out, sweating and panting is for the sophomoric amateur – you, on the other hand, are a calm and collected pro, thinking ahead and taking your challenges in stride.

    Relax, breathe deeply, and other useful test taking “tips”

    So, you have found the exam room, signed in, and are now running on autopilot. The setting is relaxing, with adequate lighting and temperature. Your name is called, you greet the Proctor, and are given a couple of minutes to settle in and familiarize yourself with the microphones and lay of the land. Before you know it, the exam has started. Sight translation is the first component, one page into your target language, one into English. You gladly observe in passing that the 6 minute time limit on each is generous, and the first two minutes given to reading the text silently and making any margin notes have allowed you to wisely note any unfamiliar terms/phrases and make a decision about their treatment. Your confidence is boosted sufficiently to attack the consecutive section. You will need every ounce of it, and all the focus you can muster – for this is the toughie of the whole deal. You listen to the source sentences, give yourself a few seconds, then smoothly render into the target language. While listening you may be furiously taking notes – perhaps lagging behind a bit and reconstructing the content. You pat yourself on the back for having gotten that full night’s sleep, and keep focusing on what is AHEAD. Without sufficient focus, here is where it is easiest to make the point-costly mistakes – dates, family names, addresses, business names, professional titles. Your writing hand begins to smart a little from the death-grip on your pen or pencil, you cringe a bit at the items you inevitably missed, but still keep focused on the balls being pitched your way. Those of us NOT blessed with a steel-trap of a short-term memory need to fall back on a reliable fast note-taking system. Which I recommend anyone to spend some study-time developing in preparation. You take comfort in the 20% margin – you need an 80% overall grade to pass. If you had been diligently accumulating points on your written (you had!) and on the sight-translation component (you had better!), then you have a comfortable buffer, and just do your best on recalling and rendering content in the consecutive, without agonizing or stressing out. In fairness, the length of the sections is not excessive – less, as I recall than on the State Department’s oral exam, for instance. You do get two repetitions – which come in VERY handy, and which I used up rather early in the process.

    Walk around, and breathe deeply!

    Time flies by, and you are done with the consecutive (roughly 20+ minutes). I found it helpful to ask my friendly exam proctor for permission to walk around a little. Take deep, relaxing breaths. Physical motion in general can help to make your speech patterns more rhythmical, which in turn boosts confidence! You are likely quite keyed up, but some of that is actually an advantage for the simultaneous section – you will establish some automatism, and perhaps faster speed. Same concept – one part into English, the other into your chosen language. After just a few phrases, you find yourself going into “the zone” – routine and automation take over, and “take you home”. Rather than reflecting, you “just do it”, perhaps surprising yourself that you knew the terms that just “came to you” of themselves – more fruit of sound preparation and good rest. The walking around has helped you with breath control, you are in your element. Before you know it, there is silence on the tape, you look up to see the Proctor’s smiling face. You are DONE. You promise yourself that whatever the outcome, you DO NOT want to do this over in the near future. Your mind wanders toward a suitable treat, rewarding all the diligence and hard work. And well you deserve it, my Friend! Another Season, Another Hoop Jumped in the saga of Unending Professional Development. Yes, but why me? Well, (in deep baritones), dear Language Professional, “this is the life you chose….”


    You have, till now, kept the entire project to a band of very close friends – no benefit in adding to the stress by advertising. But the wheels have been turning. They have looked up your (non-existent) rap sheet, and vetted your good character (of course it is good!). A short two months later, your name is in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s database and website of interpreters qualified to stand before their Supreme Court (and all their courts of common pleas you can name). Also importantly, you have done something for yourself, taken steps to increase your market value. Slowed the ageing of your brain’s synapses, struck a blow against early-onset Alzheimer’s (documented – simultaneous interpreting ranks among ten leading dementia-fighting professions). So in the intervening weeks – you won’t spend time fretting TOO much about failing or passing – this was a good wholesome exercise in its own right, something you needed for yourself. And for the standing of your much-underappreciated colleagues. And, surely, for those less fortunate ones who can use a leg up in the halls of justice – and whose voice sounds remarkably like your own .

    Additional information

    State of Wisconsin certification
    (Click “WI court system”, then “Services”, then “For interpreters”)

    State of Indiana certification

    **Cook County interpreter certification cost partial reimbursement policy** Our Chicago Newspaper Guild (CNG/CWA) contract specifies that up to 10 interpreters per year (may be full-time or sessions employees, first come, first served) may seek partial reimbursement for certification costs. Proof of registration for orientation, and for each examination component, as well as successful exam scores (certificate) on written and oral exam components, must be presented on the 33rd floor of Daley Center, Human Resources. Ask for the 3 “professional development” pre-approval forms you must fill out. Or you may use the cost of becoming certified as a professional development tax credit.

    Please note that the State of Indiana has its own orientation, testing, and certification costs. For further information, see the website referenced above.

    With County reimbursement, what would your total State of Wisconsin certification costs be? Let’s do the math:

    $175.00 2-day orientation
    45.00 Written examination into your target language [if chosen]
    0.00 Multiple choice exam on court procedures and ethics
    225.00 Oral examination [simultaneous/consecutive/sight translation portions]

    $300.00 CNG/CWA union contract specified County reimbursement
    $145.00 Grand Total after County reimbursement

    **To qualify for the reimbursement, you must strictly adhere to the application deadline and proof or registration/payment/passing scores, etc., specified by Human Resources in Daley Center [inquire at Reception, or ask to speak to Helen Barker**]. It is easy to get turned down for this reimbursement, though. There is still an open issue with the County about when to submit the reimbursement request. Technically, you are required to do it within 30 days of the “beginning of the course” (the reimbursement format is still for “educational courses”). Yet, you also need to submit a “certificate of completion”. Which works out as a sort of Catch-22, especially since the process is necessarily a drawn-out one in terms of time. The Union will be working on this with the County Administration.

    Currently, the Cook County interpreters Contract negotiations team is attempting to negotiate higher pay rates for full-time and sessions employees who acquire State of Wisconsin, State of Indiana, or Federal certification. Stay tuned for progress in this area!

  • 08/07/2014 11:33 AM | Diane R. Grosklaus Whitty
    (by Margie Franzen)

    Openness is something that's come upon the translation profession rather recently. More translators now have their names on the front covers of books than they did in years past. Blogs such as Three Percent (, from the University of Rochester, and Ampersand (, from the publishers of & Other Stories, review translations. Online journals such as Asymptote and Words Without Borders, through interviews and bios, give readers an idea of what translating a text involves. And, more and more, publishers such as the University of Nebraska, Open Book, or Pushkin Press carve a niche supply-and-demand for English-language translations. All of this is known in the translation world. But what about the wide-world at large? What about the world of readers and non-readers?


    The t&t open mic. translators. and. translations. is a get-together of local folks taking to the mic, sharing translations that have made them laugh, cry, learn from or ponder over. Anyone can read; anyone can come by to have a drink and listen. Translations can be published works that someone has read or they can be unpublished self-translations. So, the mic really is open! Genealogy letter from faraway relatives? Fascinating. Poem from a dreamer somewhere overseas? Delightful. Funny bilingual dictionary? Good for a laugh! Anything else translated? There's a ton!


    All readings are in English. No knowledge of the original language is necessary; we are, or can eventually allow ourselves to be, “unfettered readers” - as colleague, friend, and professor of translation studies at the University of San Antonio Melissa Wallace wrote to me recently in an email. The open mic hopes to unfetter readers from the lament of “I wish I knew more languages...” There is a growing body of world writing available in English. Thanks to translation, we can explore, we can travel beyond our linguistic and physical boundaries.


    Each open mic will be held at the Lakeside Coffee House in Madison in its chic, newly remodeled bar space. Anyone who reads gets a free drink and we hope they come in thirsty droves. A raised glass to anyone and everyone who steps up to the mic to share whatever translation they choose!


    The first open mic is set for Thursday evening, August 21, 2014. People sign up to read at 7 pm; reading starts at 7:30 and goes until about 9:00. There is a park right by the coffee shop – perfect for families with children who'd like to let the kids run around a bit before coming in and enjoying an artful end to the day. Or, for after-work socializing, there's nothing better for next-day office chatter than what you heard at the open mic the night before. The open mic is a perfect date-night or a sure-fire way to kickstart friendly banter about books. It’s great for the professed non-reader as well. What’s better than just enjoying a drink with books fed to you in tasty bits?


    &wordplay is the organizer of the open mic. Write with questions or for more information to:

    Like the open mic idea? Like our Facebook page!


    We hope to see you at an open mic soon!









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