Site search

Upcoming events

Log in

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.
<< First  < Prev   ...   9   10   11   12   13   Next >  Last >> 
  • 07/26/2013 9:35 AM | Anonymous
    Se Deus é brasileiro, então o papa tinha que ser argentino!

    - Attributed to Pope Frances during his recent visit to Brazil


    “If God is Brazilian, then the pope had to be argentine!”

                                                    - In the words of Google translate


    Since when does God have a nationality? And why are the Brazilians all laughing hysterically at this comment, while the rest of you just look perplexed or, at best, have a smile on your face?


    First, the dependent clause is a reference to the old Brazilian adage that Deus é Brasileiro  “God is Brazilian.” It couldn’t be clearer (or more heretical, my German-American-Lutheran roots whisper in my ear).


    Second, the crux of the independent clause might actually be obvious if you remember that neighboring countries, and even states or provinces, often engage in fierce athletic rivalry and other types of jousting.


    So, with his tongue in cheek, “Papa Chico” – as he has affectionately been called in Brazil these days – is recognizing the Brazilian claim to god-like status at the same time that he is playfully reminding Brazilians that God’s representative on earth belongs to the opposing team.


    You may be able to feed a computer program word strings and teach it to recognize verb forms, and you might even be able to get it to orient to audience, at least in terms of identifying and choosing proper register. But how do you immerse a machine in the myriad subtleties of culture?


    And what’s the human translation solution in this case? It will indeed depend upon context and audience. Take for instance the following situations:


    1. Interpreting for the Oscars in Brazil – Skip all jokes. This was the decision made in the early 1990s by the TV network Rede Globo after repeated attempts by the country’s top simultaneous interpreters to keep up with the humor. Couldn’t be done.


    2. An academic paper by a liberation theologian on the decline of the Catholic Church in Brazil – Footnotes are acceptable in an academic paper, so perhaps that would be the choice here.


    3. A literary piece – What’s your overall approach? Are you “Americanizing” (or “Britishizing”) the work, or do you want your readers to have a taste of cultural peculiarities? In other words, are you turning “Vá com Deus” into something like “Godspeed,” “Go with God” or “God be with you,” or are you tending toward a colloquial “Take care”? You might opt to replace the humor with something more readily appreciated by your Anglophone audience. Then again, within the broader context of the work, the phrase might be understood well enough.


    While I do not dispute the role of MT in certain cases, as translators we are all too familiar with its limitations. So for those of you fearful that MT will take over your market, just remember:

    Long live humor.

    Long live allusions.

    Long live little-known regionalisms.

    Long live obscure idiolect (at least if the author is alive and can be consulted).

    Long live all forms of imperfect output by native speakers.

    Long live creativity – the author’s and ours.


                                                                         (by Diane Grosklaus Whitty)

  • 07/15/2013 5:37 PM | Anonymous

    Margie Franzen is a Spanish/English interpreter and translator and a Dutch/English translator and has been a member of MATI for one and a half years. She has a M.A. in Economics and a M.A. in Spanish Literatures & Linguistics.

    How did you acquire your B language(s)?

    Right now I work full-time at Dean Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin and a lot of patients I interpret for ask me the same question! Well, first, they want to know where I’m from. I’m from Wisconsin, am not Latina and started learning Spanish in 7th grade because, well, because all 7th graders did. I didn’t get it at all! I didn’t understand the concept of conjugation nor did I have a particular motivation to learn other languages. At that time in Beloit, Wisconsin, I didn’t have Spanish-speaking classmates, and it wouldn’t be until high school that my best friend would actually be from a Spanish-speaking family.

    I do remember vividly the day I got hooked on learning other languages (besides Spanish, I’ve since studied and learned, to various degrees, Portuguese, German, French, Latin, Arabic and Dutch). That day I was sitting in a freshman Spanish class, and a student waltzed in while class was  going on and had this totally short but also totally rapid-fire, to my ears fluent, exchange with the teacher in Spanish. I wanted to be able to do that!!!

    Still today I usually joke that my language learning habit comes from this emtional place of “wanting to be on the inside”. And, I love the challenge of making new sounds. That is, admittedly, the hardest part for me, but after seeing how it does come after enough practice, it keeps me optimistic! Right now I’m grappling with Dutch vowels and trying to become a more fluent speaker of Dutch. People in the Netherlands have a bit of a tricky time placing me because my accent is a weird mix of all my other “B” languages (Spanish, French, German). I have an amazing Skype tutor from the Dutch Club of Chicago, I watch the news regularly in Dutch, I read as much Dutch as my after-work hours allow and go to Amsterdam about once or twice a year.

    And, in the meantime, I try to keep up with my “A” language, English! I don’t know the meaning and nuance of half the words my mother knows. She is, perhaps, the person with the widest passive and active English vocabulary I know!

    What inspired you to get into your field?

    The joke here is that I recently realized how many “crushes” I’ve had on translators. Erasmus of Rotterdam, Fray Luis de León….the idea that there were people out there willing to take on the challenge of figuring out where our non-fictions come from and of creating linguistically accessible readings of that knowledge is a constant attraction for me.

    My way to translating is a long-winding one. I am very interested in pregnancy, childbirth and the way people seek or attain good health. While I was studying Spanish literature and linguistics in graduate school, I, along with everyone else, learned how Arabic medical technologies were brought into Latin by a whole monarchy-sponsored translation infrastructure. In our more modern times, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was absolutely floored by the variation of practice and options available to me based on who and how knowledge and skills had been passed to various practitioners, in this country and others. My daughter is now 9 years old and I continue to be interested in the responsibility translation – or language, more generally – has in sustaining not only a high-quality professional life, but a highly imaginative personal life as well.

    What continues to inspire you?

    In my free time…no wait, in all my time, I sit around and dream up ways to get people to read more. And, working as a translator has convinced me that translating is an amazing way to delve into the reading process. Like spoken conversations where speaker and listener are both responsible for keeping up a conversation, written meaning is co-created by writer and reader. The thing with translation is that there is a writer who is mediating this co-creation and so it gets even more interesting.

    I used to be someone who scoffed at reading things in translation. I’ve since left that attitude behind because it doesn’t serve me. Most of the literary theory I’ve based papers on have used theories I read in translation. When I read medical texts in my native language, English, for my interpreting work, I recognize that this body of knowledge is indebted to translated research, albeit some years ago. In a way, my regular yoga practice and the skill that yoga teachers bring to class have been made possible by the translation of yogic texts. Basically, it’s a gratefulness to my everyday activities that continue to inspire in me an awe of translation’s power to influence.

    Do you have a book, blog or methodology that you would like to recommend?

    Yes. Many. Google (not all at once!!!): Asymptote translation journal, Versal literary mag, For the Love of It Wayne Booth, Toon Tellegen English, Michel de Certeau The Practice of Everyday Life.

    If you could ask your MATI colleagues for advice on an issue, what would that issue be?

    Right now I’m very, very curious to know what children’s authors people love from other languages. Don’t worry about whether you know if it’s been translated yet or not. I can research that!

    I’m also looking for advice, feedback and innovative, optimistic suggestions for translation workshops. Some of the workshops I do are on my website: That said, I’m looking for facilitators for the languages I don’t speak or read. Email me if you are curious to know more!

  • 05/30/2013 9:39 AM | Anonymous
    Today MATI announced the winners of the 2013 annual elections. The following candidates were elected to serve on the board for the terms indicated below:


    Vice-President: Mariza Marcolongo Vogel (2013-15)

    Secretary: Amy Polenske (2013-14)

    Treasurer: Katarzyna Jankowski (2013-15)


    Board member: Sasha F. Carrillo (2013-15)

    Board member: Meghan McCallum (2013-15)


    Congratulations to all of our new board members!


    The full list of current MATI board members can be found at:


  • 05/29/2013 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    MATI-member Margie Franzen, MA, CHI,  is a staff interpreter at Dean Health System in Madison, Wisconsin. She recently demonstrated that medical interpreters don’t need to sit on their hands and wait for educational opportunities to come to them. Acting on her own initiative, she organized a workshop for medical interpreters that focused on how best to use the resources available at hospital libraries. In addition to being free of charge, the two-hour session earned holders of the CHI or AHI certification and ATA-certified translators two hours of continuing education. She has set a fine example of resourcefulness and community spirit. Franzen’s description of the workshop follows:

    Libraries and language professionals are natural partners. Translators, working with written texts and with scrutinous editing, utilize databases and reference sources frequently. Interpreters, often working with multiple dialects and medical vocabulary, have also turned to libraries at some point to brush up on terminology or to finesse cultural understandings of the languages they work with.

    Hospital libraries, however, are often a resource left untapped by medical translators and interpreters. This May, librarians with two large hospitals in Madison, Wisconsin – Meriter Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital – offered a two-hour workshop on what each library offers to interpreters and translators. It was the first time either Robert Koehler, Chief Medical Librarian for Meriter, and Leslie Christensen, Medical Library Manager for St. Mary’s, had sat down to address how their physical “brick-and-mortar” location and internet resources could meet the needs of language access in the healthcare professions.

    Some of the useful talking points were:

    1.      Hospital libraries are places where freelancers and staff interpreters may access information.

    2.      PubMed, a research database, is available free of charge and so provides information to all, regardless of staff or freelance status.

    3.      Other databases, such as OVID (Medline), are only available through a hospital library because it is a hospital must purchase this resource. In this case, all are welcome to use computers, scanners and copiers at the libraries.

    4.      Much is available online; this in-person workshop gave people more efficient search techniques that will aid their use of online materials.

    In the planning leading up to the workshop, both librarians overwhelming wished to put a friendly face to the name of “hospital librarian” so language professionals will be approach them whenever they need information for their work. Indeed, when do we need additional research to bolster our professional contributions in interpretation and translation?

    The increasing professionalization of medical interpreters calls for commensurate skills in database use to conduct literature searches and document best-practices. Consider an interpreter services department working with clinical psychotherapists on whether it is appropriate to have the same interpreter for all of a client’s sessions. It behooves the interpreters to access published literature on whether this is indeed the best practice and to know if the medical research differs from other conclusions published in applied linguistics research. Or consider an interpreter recruited to a trainer position whose course compares the pros and cons of video-mediated encounters and face-to-face interpreting. Such a course is enriched not only by the professional experience the trainer will have amassed on the job, but also by knowing how to bolster anecdotal evidence with published research.

    This workshop was planned in order to provide two hours of continuing education, both through the ATA (for translators) and through CCHI (for medical interpreters). CCHI especially calls for intermediate or advanced topics in interpreting, and this workshop did address needs that language professionals encounter after having worked professionally in the interpreting field. This workshop was also unique in that it brought together interpreters and translators. Future workshops may make use of what skills translators have that interpreters might learn from – such as these research skills – and which skills translators could pick up from interpreters – such as digesting and holding visual “chunks” of information in their memory to then put words to that image. Comments, ideas or feedback on how this might happen for MATI members in the future may be directed to Margie Franzen at



  • 05/20/2013 2:59 PM | Anonymous

    Dear MATI members,


    We are pleased to announce a Brown Bag series, shared and accessible via the web, for the 2013-14 academic year. As the Brown Bag title Research & Practice in Medical Interpretation indicates, each session is an opportunity for exploration in how academic research and professional interpreting practices support successfully mediated medical or health encounters.


    Please forward the following call for presenters and papers for an upcoming Brown Bag series provided via webinar. We are currently soliciting abstracts from interested presenters until July 31st, 2013.


    The webinar Brown Bag series is sponsored by MATI. The Call for Presenters is open to researchers, graduate students, professionals and administrators from elsewhere in the U.S. or other countries since no travel is required to present. All support for presenting via the webinar platform will be provided.


    Please address questions regarding submissions to Margie Franzen at


    Thank you,

    MATI and the Organizing Committee

  • 04/03/2013 9:34 AM | Anonymous
    Dear MATI Members:

    I, Diane Grosklaus-Whitty (Wisconsin), have been chosen to be the Supervisor of 
    Elections with the Nominations Committee to search for candidates for MATI office.
    The other members of the Nominating Committee for 2013 are Carlota Hursey 
    (Indiana) and Alaina Sylla (Wisconsin).

    At this time, we are accepting nominations for the offices of 
    Secretary, Treasurer and four (4) Board Members. The Secretary is for a one-year 
    term of office, and all other positions are for a two-year term of office on the board. 
    Below is a description of the duties for each of these positions.

    According to MATI bylaws,
    Vice-President. The Vice President shall assist the President and perform his or her 
    duties in the event of the President’s absence, incapacity or removal. The Vice 
    President shall also be an ex-officio member of all committees except the 
    nominating committee.
    Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for recording the minutes of the 
    meetings of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, and the monthly 
    general meetings, for disseminating the minutes and keeping all records pertaining 
    to all meetings, regular and emergency, and shall be in charge of correspondence 
    and announcements of meetings of the Association.
    Treasurer. The Treasurer shall receive and collect all monies of the Association and 
    give official receipts, keep records of all money transactions, and deposit all funds 
    in a bank as designated by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall have the 
    right with the President to sign checks and other withdrawal documents that 
    pertain to the use of the funds of the Association. The Treasurer shall be responsible 
    for writing an annual financial report that will be disseminated to the members of 
    the Association through electronic correspondence, surface mail, or Association 
    Board Member. As a tri-state organization, the MATI Nominations Committee has 
    the additional task of seeking candidates that reflect our geographical distribution 
    too. We hope our members will give serious consideration to running or nominate 
    other members they think have a lot to contribute. The terms for the elected 
    officers will run from our Annual General Membership Meeting in June until 
    June 2014 or 2015. 
    The deadline for submission of candidate names is APRIL 15, and ballots with a 
    complete list of candidates will be sent to MATI members with voting instructions 
    on or around MAY 1. All candidates must submit information about which position 
    you are running for as well as a maximum 300 word statement of why you want to 
    run for this position. Candidates may be nominated or self-nominate. 
    Announcement of the elected board members will be made in time for the new 
    board members to observe the June 2013 Annual Membership Meeting. Those 
    who have been elected to a position on the MATI board will be expected to attend 
    the June Annual Business Meeting in Chicago from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. when 
    installation of board members takes place. The Annual Business Meeting is 
    followed immediately by a four-hour yearly Board Retreat.

    Please send nominations to MATI at or to the 
    Communications Committee at no later than 
    5:00 p.m. CST on APRIL 15. 


    The Nominating Committee 2013
  • 02/20/2013 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    Welcome to the first edition of Member Spotlight! This monthly feature will highlight one of MATI’s wonderful translators or interpreters. We look forward to learning about YOU!! For the first edition, MATI President Christina Green has kindly agreed to answer a few questions. Green has been the president of MATI since June of 2012, and she is the director of Green Linguistics. She has a degree in Modern Languages from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and works between English and Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese. Green has been a member of MATI since it was founded in 2004.

    How did you get started in the field of translation and/or interpretation?

    I spoke French at home with my mother, and Italian with my father, and we lived in Venezuela, so languages were a common thing for me. I was torn between going to Law School and studying languages, and I finally chose languages, thinking that it was a degree I could use anywhere in the world if I ever decided to leave my country.

    What is your favorite thing about working in this field?

    I feel that I am a very lucky person, for I do something that I absolutely love! When translating, I learn a lot of new things. I like researching and I am very organized, so the translations are fun projects for me. When interpreting, I love interacting with others, and I feel I take with me valuable lessons, regardless of the setting. Working with languages is almost like reading a new chapter of a book every day. Above all, I love the satisfaction of delivering a quality product or providing a good service.

    What program/tool/dictionary couldn’t you live without?

    That question would have been so different 5 years ago! I use to have square miles of dictionaries, and now they are all condensed into the Web. Some of my favorites include the ones from the Real Academia, the Collins, the MedlinePlus Encyclopedia and the Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique. I also use translators forums at Word Reference and ProZ to cross check some terms or get other people's input.

    Why do you think it’s important to belong to professional organizations like MATI?

    The value of exchanging ideas with other people is incredible. I have met amazing professionals through my participation in MATI and the ATA, who have become my friends. Belonging to an organization like this is a great way of networking and expanding in our line of work. It also allows us to keep current on the trends in the industry. I always learn from my colleagues.

    What do you do in your free time?

    Given that as a translator I never know how much free time I will get, I treasure every moment I have away from a computer with my family. I also do ballroom dancing and try to do a couple of triathlon every year since 2008. I love traveling as well, and I am often able to combine my trips for interpreting with some pleasure.

    Thank you to Christina for taking the time to answer these questions and for being an AWESOME president!! Would you like to recommend someone to be featured in the MATI Member Spotlight? Send submissions to!

  • 02/18/2013 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    Hello MATI Members,

    This Thursday, the Centro Hispano of Milwaukee and the Grzeca Law Group will be hosting an information session titled, "Understanding the Current Immigration Climate." This event will be held from 3 to 5 pm at Centro Hispano’s Murgía Campus (1645 South 36th Street, Milwaukee). Please see the description of this event below, taken from Mi Voz, and mark your calendars for what is sure to be a very informative event!

    Centro Hispano Milwaukee a BIA Accredited Agency and the office of Grzeca Law Group will present a public meeting on the "Provisional Waiver". The provisional waiver allows for US citizen undocumented spouses to apply for their green card (LPR) while waiting in the United States. This will STOP the separation of families who under the current immigration law an undocumented spouse will have to wait for their green card in their home country from 2 to 10 years, meanwhile leaving behind their spouse and children in the United States. The "provisional wavier" will take effect on March 4, 2013. 

    Many thanks to Vicki Bermudez for bringing this event to our attention.


    The MATI Board of Directors

    Would you like to contribute to the MATI blog? We welcome articles, letters to the editor, book reviews, biographies, comments on issues pertaining to the field, information on upcoming events and member news. Submit your ideas, along with 2-3 lines of biographical information, to MATI reserves the right to edit all submissions

  • 02/07/2013 6:53 PM | Anonymous

    Hello MATI members!

    We now present to you with great excitement and pride the new, and much improved, MATI website! YES! Countless hours went into its creation, and on behalf of all MATI members, the Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to thank Christina Green and Susan Schweigert for the untiring effort they put into redesigning the website and giving our organization a new and modern image. That is truly something for which to be thankful, and we hope all of you feel as re-energized about our organization as we do, as we collectively witness the unveiling of this site.

    Along with our new website, we have a new blog, a new adventure for MATI! Once fully up and running, this blog will be updated weekly, and every month you can expect to receive an email in which excerpts of blog entries have been compiled for your convenience. The blog will feature articles by local experts in translation and interpretation, and subject matter will include issues pertaining to the field in the form of explorations into language, methodology and technology, book reviews, biographies, notes on presenters and meeting summaries. Most importantly, the blog will feature things that are important to you: your concerns, your accomplishments and your ideas!

    Please do not hesitate to make contributions to the blog or suggestions for its improvement. We look forward to writing this new chapter of our organization’s history with the wonderful community that is MATI.

    Best regards,

    The MATI Board of Directors

    Would you like to contribute to the MATI blog? We welcome articles, letters to the editor, book reviews, biographies, comments on issues pertaining to the field, information on upcoming events and member news. Submit your ideas, along with 2-3 lines of biographical information, to MATI reserves the right to edit all submissions.

<< First  < Prev   ...   9   10   11   12   13   Next >  Last >> 


We post event updates and webinar announcements on Facebook. Add us to your social networks and be part of our ever-growing community.

Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters
28 West Lake Street, Unit #8
Addison, IL 60101

American Translators Association
225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 590
Alexandria, VA 22314

phone: 703.683.6100
fax: 703.683.6122
(Office hours 9a–5p ET)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software