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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.
  • 03/11/2018 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Mini-Member Spotlight



    Name: Edmund Asare


    Language Pair(s): French-English


    Any Degree(s)/Certification(s): 

    PhD (Translation Studies), Kent State Ohio

    MA Translation/MLIS UW-Milwaukee

    MA (French) Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN



    What is your career?

    Foreign language professor


    Why did you decide to join MATI?

    I joined MATI because I was seeking an opportunity to contribute directly to the work of the association. I also wanted to meet and network with other translators and interpreters.


    What is your favorite part of the workday?

    Teaching and working with students in the classroom and on projects.


    What do you do in your free time?

    I read and I enjoy outdoor activities as the weather permits.


    What do you enjoy most about your participation on the MATI Board?

    The privilege of meeting regularly, planning and collaborating with a terrific team, made up of highly talented and energetic individuals. I cherish the opportunity to contribute to the work of MATI.

  • 03/09/2018 10:44 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Call for Proposals for MATI’s 15th Annual Conference, September 29, 2018

    Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Campus Center, Indianapolis, IN

    The Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters is now accepting presentation proposals for their Annual Conference.

    We are looking for proposals that provide up-to-date and innovative content, promise to stimulate audience engagement and discussion, and will have a lasting impact on attendees. Presentations should be approximately one hour in length. Each presenter will receive an honorarium from MATI of $100.


    Proposals must be received by April 16, 2018.


    Proposals are invited from all areas of translation and interpreting, including finance, law, government, medicine, literature, science and technology, education and training, terminology, independent contracting, and business management.


    Your proposal should include an abstract (summary of presentation content) of up to 200 words and a speaker bio of up to 100 words. It may also be accompanied by a video of a previous presentation.


    You do not need to be a MATI member to submit a proposal. If you know someone who would make a great presentation, please encourage them to submit today!


    Please submit your proposal via this link:

  • 03/09/2018 10:31 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    MATI 2018 Webinar Schedule

    All webinars are presented from 7:00pm – 8:00pm Central Standard Time


    March 29, 2018 – Paula Penovi;

    Transitioning from Translator to Interpreter: Everything You Need to Know about Healthcare Interpreting

    Abstract: This webinar focuses on discovering the world of medical interpreters through the eyes of a professional translator who recently decided to venture into this field. We will be debunking common misconceptions about the profession and exploring everyday challenges faced by interpreters, the national certification process, and all the necessary skills to be successful at this job.


    April 26, 2018 – Cynthia Penovi;

    Translator in Disguise: An Insider's Guide to Finding Trustworthy Translation Agencies, Contacting them, and Building a Lasting Business Relationship

    Abstract: In this webinar, we will discuss how to find good translation agencies, the best way to approach them, and what to do after receiving a job. We will also discuss what Project Managers look for in translators and the key to becoming one of their preferred vendors.

    May 24, 2018 – Anna Enright;

    VRI as a New Trend/On the Screen

    Abstract: VRI industry is getting more popular and expanding into different aspects of our life.
    The medical industry is already taking advantage of this easy-to-access, user-friendly service in helping thousands of LEP patients on a daily basis in achieving their healthcare goals.
    In this presentation, I share my experience as a Medical VRI who applies knowledge and passion to help LEP patients in my everyday VRI work, while I also provide some education on how to be successful in this growing career.


    August 14, 2018 – Meghan McCallum; Top Tips from My First Three Years as a Freelance Translator

    Abstract: Calling all newbies: congratulations on taking the plunge into freelancing! You’ve got a good foundation of translation skills to get started, but what about everything else? What should you do to ensure your new business is successful—and not just a leap of faith? In this session, Meghan McCallum will teach new freelance translators a variety of tips gleaned from her first three years in freelance translation. She will share simple but effective strategies that freelancers can implement into their routines to ensure long-term success. This session will focus on organization, essential investments, productivity, making the most of non-billable time, and more.

    October 26, 2018 – Alejandra Patricia Karamanian;

    Copyediting and Proofreading as Part of the Translation Process

    Abstract: The presentation concerns the challenge of twenty-first-century translators, who must be nonstop learners of new skills, ready to succeed in an increasingly competitive, demanding society. Copyediting and proofreading have become two additional skills—among others, such as CAT tools, Internet search, online reference material, time management , and cultural sensitivity—that translators should acquire in order to render clear, consistent, error-free, and fluent translated texts.

    NOTE: The first webinar of the year was on March 1, 2018 -- Olga Shostachuk; Is an Emoji Worth 1,000 Words? Abstract: The attendees learned cross-cultural pitfalls and technological divides in vastly different interpretations of emojis and how to figure out the best way to accurately convey an emoji’s meaning. The participants also learned about research and legal discourse pertaining to emojis and improved their emoji terminology management and research skills.

    Would you like to receive information on our 2018 Webinar Series and other MATI events? Send us an email at to be added to our mailing list.

    MATI members can attend our webinars and other events at a discounted rate. Individual memberships start at just $35/year. 

    Become a member here: Membership

  • 03/09/2018 10:17 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    MATI 2018 Elections - Call for Nominations - Join Us on the Board of Directors!

    MATI's Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for the offices of President and at least three (3) Board Members. All positions serve a two-year term of office on the board. Below please find a description of the duties for each of these positions, according to the MATI bylaws.

    President. The President chairs the meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, and shall represent MATI at regional, national and international events where possible. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees except the nominating committee. The President is responsible for supervising the general affairs of MATI and may delegate functions as approved by the Board of Directors. The President shall execute on behalf of MATI all documents, obligations, contracts, or other instruments which the Board of Directors have authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board of Directors, or by MATI bylaws, or by statute to some other officer or agent of MATI. The President shall have the right with the Treasurer to sign checks and other documents that pertain to the use of MATI funds. The President shall be responsible for writing the Annual Activities Report and disseminating it to MATI members through electronic correspondence, surface mail, or MATI publications. The President shall also present the Annual Activities Report, as well as a Financial Statement, to the ATA Board.


    Director (Board Member). As a tri-state organization, the MATI Nominations Committee has the additional task of seeking candidates that reflect our geographical distribution. We hope our members will give serious consideration to running or nominate other members they think have a lot to contribute.


    The terms of office for the Board officers/members elected in the 2018 elections will run from our Annual General Membership Meeting in July of this year until approximately June 2020.


    The deadline for submission of candidate names is Friday, APRIL 6 at 5:00 PM, and ballots with a complete list of candidates will be sent to MATI members with voting instructions on or around Monday, April 16. All candidates must specify the position for which they are running and submit a short biographical statement indicating why they are running for that 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 Annual Membership Meeting held this summer. Those who have been elected to a position on the MATI board will be expected to attend the Annual Business Meeting at a date and place to be determined when installation of board members will take place. The Annual Business Meeting is followed immediately by a yearly Board Retreat.

    Please send nominations to the Nominating Committee ( no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on APRIL 6.

    The Nominating Committee

    Tyann Zehms, Alaina Brantner, Edmund Asare, and Amy Polenske.


  • 03/09/2018 10:13 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Evanston's Language Access Policy

    By Daina Jauntirans, MATI Treasurer

    "Think globally, act locally," goes the old adage. And last November, the global translation community alerted me to an issue in my own backyard. In November 2017, I was sitting at my computer typing away as usual. Like many of us, I had Facebook open, since I follow several translation groups on that platform. Before long, I noticed several notifications and private messages from colleagues popping up. As it turns out, a fellow translator halfway across the world in Berlin had read an article entitled "Panel Learns Translation Isn't Cheap" in a small, local online publication. The article outlined a municipal government's difficulties in deciding how to provide translation and interpretation services to non-English speakers. The town? Evanston, Illinois: my hometown.

    After reading the article, I understood the outcry from fellow translators and interpreters. A city staff member had apparently been quoted a price found by many professionals who read the story to be exorbitant for a three-page Spanish translation. The participants in the Human Services Committee meeting to discuss language access knew that the city's commitment to equity required them to extend language services to refugees and other non-native speakers, but seemed unsure of how to do so. Which documents should be translated? How should the cost be determined? Should interpreting be provided? By phone or in person? Should city staff be asked to interpret? In addition, citizen comments on the various articles about the meeting included a "greatest hits" of translation don'ts: high school students could translate, college students could interpret, Google Translate would save the city money...

    Clearly, some education and advice from our industry was needed. Several professional translators from all over the country both commented on the articles and wrote letters to the city offering corrections ranging from the use of the terms "translation" and "interpretation" to the importance of using qualified language service providers. City staff was also alerted to the existence of professional organizations like MATI.

    I was among those to contact Evanston's city government. In speaking to our town's Equity Coordinator, I learned that work on a language access policy was already underway by a committee composed of staff who deal with the public and have dealt with translation and interpretation issues in some way. The first step was to determine need, although it was pretty clear from the information available that the front runner in terms of languages was Spanish. Community partners such as educational institutions, hospitals, the library, and a community health center - institutions that already provide language services - were being contacted to determine how they provide those services and whether resources could be pooled.

    Fortunately, it was my impression that my city is very interested in having professional translators and interpreters contribute their expertise to the process of determining Evanston's language policies. The industry can be a resource, not just in terms of language knowledge and translation and interpretation skills, but on issues such as QA, the role of technology, and others. I look forward to following this process in my town and will be happy to provide updates as progress is made.


    A native speaker of English and Latvian, Daina Jauntirans (through her business, Mozaika Language Services, Inc.) specializes in German-to-English translation of corporate communications, financial reporting, marketing and related material. She has an MA in Translation from Monterey (now Middlebury) Institute of International Studies and currently holds several non-profit volunteer positions, including serving as treasurer on the MATI board. Contact:

  • 03/09/2018 10:09 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Madison Civil Rights Department Takes on the Language Barrier

    By Manuela Francavilla, MATI Secretary

    On November 6, 2017, at MG&E headquarters in Madison, the Civil Rights Department of the City of Madison and Mario García Sierra, a community advocate and Community Services Manager at MG&E, organized a meeting where translators and interpreters from the community engaged in a discussion of the city’s Language Access Plan (LAP).

    Because “all ‘Public’ and ‘Private Entities’ receiving Federal financial assistance are obligated under Title VI” (City of Madison, Civil Rights Dept. website) to offer free translation and interpreting services to their patrons, and also because community advocates had expressed their concerns about the full accessibility of Limited English Proficient (LEP) residents to city services, the City of Madison has been working on the foreign language issue for some time.

    In fall 2016, the city’s Common Council adopted Resolution No. 34666, which not only prohibited the use of translation machines but also assigned the Civil Rights Department the task of developing a plan to address the language barrier problem. Since then, the department has been working on the draft of the LAP. During these months, they met and talked with many interested groups and also decided to host the November 6 event in order to introduce the draft to language professionals in the community and get their feedback “before the city moves forward to the next phase,” as García Sierra stated in his invitation.

    At the meeting, all participants were supportive of the initiatives described in the 30-page document, including: training all city employees about existing translation and interpretation services; prohibiting city staff from relying on minors, friends, and volunteers “whose competence [in translation and/or interpreting] has not been assessed”; and calling for the future hiring of a pool of full-time translators and interpreters.

    During the discussion, language professionals eagerly shared their thoughts, comments, and advice, all well received by city representatives. For example, in order to evaluate the language skills and knowledge of translators and interpreters, some suggested looking into the many Master’s programs in translation and interpretation offered by universities all over the country, as well as the certifications issued by associations such as the American Translators Association and language assessments by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In order to ensure the use of consistent, exact vocabulary throughout the city website and in city documents, speakers underlined the importance of preparing glossaries with technical terminology specific to each department. Lastly, in order to track the progress of the LAP, others recommended including a detailed timeline of its goals and phases (the plan has no timeline to date).

    For more information on City of Madison and Civil Rights Department efforts on this matter, please go to

    Manuela Francavilla is an Italian native speaker, translator, and language instructor living in Madison, WI. She has been a member of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters since 2011 and in June 2017 was elected Secretary.


  • 03/09/2018 10:03 PM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Social Media Tips & Tricks from MATI Conference Keynote

    By Kristy Brown Lust, MATI Director

    How does the general public know what you do? MATI Conference keynote speaker Sabrina Madison posed this question to the audience during the 2017 event and encouraged attendees to harness social media’s power to raise awareness of their work and expand their reach. She said this tool is an excellent method for educating potential clients and the general public about the important contributions translators and interpreters make.


    If you attended, what tips from the conference have you implemented? What new things can you try in 2018? This article summarizes some of Ms. Madison’s key points. See which things you might want to work into your 2018 plans.


    Why Should I Use Social Media Professionally?

    • Share regular content to show up in more search results
    • Use a consistent hashtag when sharing content to create community
    • Show people you’re an expert in your areas of specialization
    • Educate potential clients and general public about importance of translation and interpretatio


    What Makes a Great Professional Profile?

    • Simple mantra: one-sentence description of who you are
    • Good profile photo: with just you in the photo
    • Consistent across all platforms: use same name/handle on all sites and use the same or very similar photo


    What Tools Can I Use?

    • Aviary: free photo editor app
    • #womenintech, Pixaby and CreateHER Stock: stock photo websites
    • Word Swag: app for adding quotes to photos
    • Google Alerts: sign up for news on industries you work in

    Tell us how you’re using social media or give us your best social media tips for business and we’ll share your post with our followers. Just tag @MidwestMATI on Facebook or Twitter.

  • 09/12/2017 9:35 AM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    MATI’s 14th Annual Conference


    MATI 14 will take place on September 23, 2017 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The keynote speaker, Sabrina Madison, will talk about how to “Expand Your Reach with Social Media.”


    This is the first year we'll have two concurrent sets of workshops: one set of workshops focused on interpreting and another focused on translating!

    Register now!

    Presenters are as follows*:

    • Interpreting Sessions
           - Suzanne Couture: "Professional Development for Remote Interpreters”
           - Ana Soler: "Interpreting in Educational Settings: A Growing Profession"
           - Gloria Rivera: "Note-taking Strategies"
    • Translation Sessions
      - Olga Shostachuk: "Is an Emoji Worth 1,000 Words?"
      - Michelle Kang: "Metaphors as Reflected in Our Action, Thought, and Language"
           - Christina Green "Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity in Translation - Language Services for Community Agencies"   

    New this year, we’ll have a photographer at the conference capturing all the exciting moments of the day.


    *Program subject to change

    Thanks to our event sponsors

    Gold Level

    Silver Level

  • 09/11/2017 6:27 PM | Anonymous

    Downtown Madison Hotel Information

    • The Visitor’s Bureau has a list of recommended hotels on their website,  Under Hotels you can choose the location you want by using the drop-down menu in the center of the purple area. Select “Central/Downtown” then click “Discover.” 

    • Hotels in walking distance to/from the Monona Terrace Center are:

    • Hilton - adjacent to the Monona Terrace

    • Best Western Inn on the Park - one-two blocks from the Terrace

    • Hyatt Place - two-three blocks from the Terrace

    • The Madison Concourse Hotel - two-three block from the Terrace

    • Hotels somewhat in walking distance include:

    • Mansion Hill Inn - three-four blocks from the Terrace

    • The Edgewater Hotel (which includes a UW Alumni discount) - four-five blocks from Terrace


    The Visitor’s Bureau also notes that there will be many events happening in town the weekend of the conference so there may be a limited amount of rooms available. If you book lodging outside of downtown, you can:

    • Drive to the Conference (see below for parking options)

    • Catch a cab or Uber

    • Use Madison public transportation

    • Many Madison public buses go to the Capitol Square, which is very close to the Monona Terrace. Here is a link to the City of Madison Metro Transit map, fares, and schedule (make sure to look at the weekends/holidays schedule)



    • City parking in walking distance can be found in public parking ramps and lots (Keep in mind that lots tend to be smaller and fill sooner). Among the closest include:


    • Restaurants are all around Monona Terrace and you can see the Chamber of Commerce website and downtown restaurants map or the Visitor’s Bureau website for more information. Also, weather permitting, you can eat at the Lake Vista Café (scroll down the page) on the rooftop of Monona Terrace.


    • To explore Madison the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce webpage has a lot of helpful information or the Visitor’s Bureau website.  Some suggested highlights are within walking distance of the conference:

    • Or take a simple stroll up and down State Street or along the shores of Lake Monona or Lake Mendota

    If you will stay for the weekend, other attractions include:

    And if your family is with you…

  • 08/15/2017 10:21 AM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Why Translators and Interpreters Should Tackle Advocacy

    By Kristy Brown Lust, MATI Director


    Local, state, and federal lawmakers are tasked with creating legislation that regulates hundreds of industries. They rely on professionals from those fields to provide context and help them understand what is at stake for professionals working in the industry and how laws impact the people and businesses who use our services. As experts whose field deals with every industry imaginable, translators and interpreters are ideally situated to provide this context to help lawmakers understand the challenges our clients face, as well as the value we provide as language professionals.


    Civic engagement through advocacy is one way translators and interpreters can increase the visibility of our profession and, more importantly, assist lawmakers in crafting legislation that best serves and supports our various constituents. This includes everyone from patients in healthcare settings to military personnel working in other countries.


    The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters recently hosted a free webinar that outlined how language professionals could approach advocacy. One advocacy issue mentioned was meaningful language access requirements for patients with limited English proficiency in healthcare settings. While the specific focus was interpreters working in healthcare, their lessons are widely applicable for all language professionals. The session included presentations from Don Schinske with Cal Capitol Group and California Healthcare Interpreting Association and Bill Rivers with the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS).


    Tips for getting started with advocacy:

    • Conduct research on current legislation related to your field. Often state and national organizations have legislative agendas that can help you quickly find what upcoming legislation will cover. For example, the JNCL-NCLIS website lists legislation they are tracking.
    • Get involved with local and national organizations by signing up for their advocacy action alerts.
    • If you’re attending the 2017 ATA Conference in Washington D.C. in October, plan to participate in the T&I Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
    • Write letters to the editor or individual journalists when you see incomplete or misleading news coverage on translation or interpreting or when you want to share your perspective as a professional working in the field.

    Visit CCHI’s website for links to the full presentation audio and other advocacy resources. And check out a recent ATA Chronicle article on the organization’s advocacy and business outreach efforts.

    ATA Advocacy Day Screenshot


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
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Alexandria, VA 22314

phone: 703.683.6100
fax: 703.683.6122
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