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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.
  • 07/30/2017 9:41 AM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    Group Practice and the ATA Certification Exam

    By Erin Woodard, MATI Member


    An August 2016 ATA Savvy Newcomer article by Juan Lizama described how a group of translators from the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters (OSTI) studied together for the ATA certification exam. A group of approximately twelve language professionals met weekly online, translated assignments, and reviewed translation strategies prior to taking their respective tests. The group used the ATA exam resources to review one another’s translations in order to provide themselves with a realistic grading experience. In addition, they had ATA exam graders review translations of past exams in order to obtain feedback.

    This group practice approach to preparing for ATA’s certification exam is a helpful way for other linguists to prepare, as well. As translators, we often submit our work to private clients and translation agencies for onward transmission to the end user, however we don’t often have the opportunity to work together and review our translations with fellow professionals. An exam practice group allows translators to provide and receive feedback about their work in an effort to continuously improve the quality of their translations. In addition, it helps linguists prepare for the very specific and targeted grading scale of the ATA certification exam.

    Local groups of MATI members may consider setting up practice groups with fellow translators from their area to prepare for the upcoming certification exam being held before the MATI conference or for future exams.

    MATI members who want to form a practice group might consider meeting other interested members at upcoming charisMATIc events. Small groups might also consider reaching out to other MATI members via social media, phone or email to set up an online study group.

    Members who want to participate in a practice group could source content from many locations, including current events, trade magazines, etc. In addition, the ATA offers a practice exam, which is an opportunity for study groups to not only review each other’s translations, but also to receive feedback directly from the ATA exam graders. This is a great way to identify strengths, areas for improvement, and exam-specific pitfalls you may be experiencing.

    Best of luck to all linguists in the Midwest as you prepare for upcoming exam sittings, whether you choose to study individually or as a group!

  • 07/30/2017 9:11 AM | Thais Passos Fonseca

    MATI Member Spotlight: Erin Woodard


      Language Pair(s): French > English


      Degree(s)/Certification(s): Master of Professional French Studies and Translations Studies Certificate


      How long have you been a MATI member? Since 2015


      How did you acquire your B language(s)?

      I have my Master’s degree in French and I lived and worked in Grenoble and Paris, France.


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

    I started to work in the specific field of translation in 2015. Prior to that I worked for an international nonprofit that provides grant funding for international development initiatives. At the organization, I had the opportunity to work with people and languages from around the world.


    What inspired you to get into your field?

    I love foreign languages and have always been very passionate about them. I have found that the field of translation has allowed me to focus specifically on that passion, while continuing to work in an international field which I also truly enjoy.


    Describe an especially memorable or fulfilling professional experience.

    My favorite translating experience has been translating microcredit loans for the nonprofit Kiva. It is an organization that crowdsources funding for entrepreneurs outside of the traditional banking system. Online lenders can contribute to loans for individuals or groups who use the funding for their businesses and pay it back in installments. Once the loan is fully refunded, lenders can use those funds to support another individual. All of the foreign language loans are translated into English by Kiva’s team of volunteers and are posted online on the nonprofit’s website. I love seeing loans I’ve translated receive funding and knowing that entrepreneurs are benefiting as a result of a translation.


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

    I really enjoy using memoQ. I learned to use it in school and am always excited when I learn new functionality or find a way for it to help me be more effective with my work.


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

    I try to read all of the ATA’s Savvy Newcomer blog posts, as it which covers a variety of different topics in the translation industry. I find it enlightening and it exposes me to new topics in the field.


    Do you have any tips for those starting out in the field? For those who’ve been in the field?

    I have found that meeting with other translators is particularly motivating. In Madison, there is a group that gathers to discuss translation on a monthly basis, and I find these meetings energizing and inspiring. I enjoy hearing other linguists’ stories and learning how they work. I would encourage translators who are starting out to look for fellow professionals, either in person or online, and to join in the conversation.


    Why did you decide to join MATI?

    I joined MATI because I wanted to meet other local linguistic professionals and to continue my professional growth in the field. I have enjoyed attending MATI events and reading the organizational newsletter. I was also interested in finding additional information about translating as a freelance career, as well as learning more about translation theories and practice.


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

    I think that being a part of professional organizations demonstrates that one is serious about their field and serious about learning and developing their professional skillset.


    Would you like feedback from your MATI colleagues on any challenges you have faced in the field?

    I am always curious to hear how others differentiate themselves when reaching out to potential clients or translation agencies, and finding ways to stand out in the crowd of other translators.


    What do you do in your free time?

    I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family and getting to the yoga studio.


  • 05/07/2017 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Introducing charisMATIc: MATI’s Quarterly Social Gatherings

    By Meghan McCallum, MATI Vice President


    As part of new member offerings in 2017, MATI is hosting quarterly social gatherings in metropolitan areas of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. These informal events, called charisMATIc, are an opportunity for MATI members to network with each other, meet their local board members, and learn more about how to get involved with the association.


    charisMATIc ChicagocharisMATIc Chicago took place on March 10 at Bar Louie River North. President Joseph Wojowski and Treasurer Kate Jankowski hosted the evening, which was well-attended by members from the Chicago area.


    The second installment, charisMATIc Milwaukee, was held on March 24 at MOVIDA in Walker’s Point. Vice President Meghan McCallum, Secretary Amy Polenske, and Directors Marina Ilari, Ghada Shakir, and Tyann Zehms enjoyed seeing colleagues and meeting new members at the event.

    charisMATIc Milwaukee

    charisMATIc Madison was held at Barriques West Wash on April 19. Directors Kristy Brown Lust and Thaís Passos welcomed members and invited them to share ideas for future training and networking events.


    Please stay tuned for announcements of future charisMATIc events, including an Indianapolis installment! We look forward to meeting more of our members through these quarterly events. If you would like to help organize an upcoming charisMATIc event in your area, please contact us at

  • 05/07/2017 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Members Receive ATA Certification

    Timothy Friese (Chicago, IL) passed the Spanish to English, Arabic to English, and Portuguese to English ATA certification exams.


    photo of Caitlin JonesCaitlin Jones (Rochester, MN) passed the Spanish to English ATA certification exam. Congratulations, Timothy and Caitlin!


    Did you recently receive certification or complete a T&I-related training course or program? Share your member news with us! E-mail with the subject line Member news for inforMATIon.


  • 05/05/2017 1:16 PM | Anonymous

    Naming a “New” Reality: Span-USism

    By Alejandra Patricia Karamanian


    For last year's words belong to last year's language 
    And next year's words await another voice

    T.S. Eliot


    Spanish is no longer a candidate. The word “candidate” comes from Latin candidatus, meaning “white,” and makes reference to ancient Roma, where those running for public office wore a white toga. The Spanish language has already taken off its toga to become one of the most used and studied languages worldwide. It is not surprising, then, that English to Spanish translators are increasingly interested in U.S. Spanish with its popular language on one hand, and its academic language, on the other.

    In Spanish, we have the term estadounidismo to describe the words or phrases born out of the two languages in contact in the United StatesEnglish and Spanish. Inserted in a formal socio-cultural-language communication situation, these words or phrases (a) are fully Spanish as they meet the word-formation requirements while bearing the U.S. English language and cultural stamp, and (b) already exist in the Spanish language but now with a new meaning. Examples: Departamento (as a public entity), paralegal, elegible, copago, to name but a few.

    Languages are constantly picking up neologisms to name new realities, and this is not the exception to the rule. In Spanish, the suffix –ismo equals –ism in English with the meaning of “indicating a characteristic usage, esp. of a language” (, and thus forming argentinismo, chilenismo, colombianismo, and a long list of -ismos belonging to the 23 varieties of Spanish spoken in the world. The good news is that the 23rd edition of Diccionario de la Lengua Española has included estadoundismo. By the way, the English dictionaries list words like Italianism, Gallicism, Briticism, Hellenism, etc., but not any –ism for the –ismos listed above.


    At this point, my question was what English term would stand for estadounidismo. Browsing dictionaries, I found the following words that describe foreign words that initially seem to fit our search: AnglicismAmericanism, Anglo-Americanism. But when we compare them to their Spanish counterparts anglicismo, americanismo, and angloamericanismo, something is missing.

    Let’s look at some definitions of these terms in English dictionaries:

    Merriam WebsterAnglicism

    1:  a characteristic feature of English occurring in another language

    2:  adherence or attachment to English customs or ideas

    Origin and Etymology of Anglicism

    Medieval Latin anglicus English

    First Known Use: 1642          

    Other dictionaries also show that this definition doesn’t incorporate the meaning of estadounidismo: See Oxford Dictionaries and Wikipedia.


    Merriam WebsterAmericanism

    1:  a characteristic feature of American English especially as contrasted with British English

    2:  attachment or allegiance to the traditions, interests, or ideals of the U.S.

    3:  a: a custom or trait peculiar to America

         b: the political principles and practices essential to American culture


    The Oxford Dictionary definition for Americanism also does not include our desired definition.


    Oxford DictionariesAnglo-Americanism

    1. A characteristically American English word, phrase, or idiom, (now especially) one borrowed into another language.

    2. Cooperation or integration between England (or Britain) and America; allegiance to or advocacy of this.
    a. anglicismo

    b. americanismo
    c. angloamericanismo

    Origin: Early 19th century; earliest use found in Christian Observer. From Anglo-American + -ism.


    Along these lines, the translation of these three terms, Anglicism, Americanism, and Anglo-Americanism do not represent the full diglossic reality of an estadounidismo. Let’s make a proof to sustain this hypothesis by translating them back and looking up their definitions in Diccionario de la Lengua Española: anglicismo, americanismo, angloamericanismo.

    a. anglicismo
    De ánglico e -ismo.

    1. m. Giro o modo de hablar propio de la lengua inglesa.

    2. m. Vocablo o giro de la lengua inglesa empleado en otra.

    3. m. Empleo de vocablos o giros ingleses en distintos idiomas.


    b. americanismo

    1. m. Cualidad o condición de americano.

    2. m. Carácter genuinamente americano.

    3. m. Amor o apego a lo americano.

    4. m. americanística.

    5. m. Vocablo, giro o rasgo fonético, gramatical o semántico que pertenece a alguna lengua indígena de América o proviene de ella.

    6. m. Vocablo, giro o rasgo fonético, gramatical o semántico peculiar o procedente del español hablado en algún país de América.

    c. angloamericanismo.

    De angloamericano e -ismo.

    1. m. Vocablo, giro o rasgo fonético, gramatical o semántico peculiar o procedente del ingléshablado en los Estados Unidos de América.

    And now our star today and the definition included in the same dictionary:


    1. m. Palabra o uso propios del español hablado en los Estados Unidos de América.

    At this crossroad, it is clear that neither Anglicism, nor Americanism or Anglo-Americanism can faithfully stand for our estadounidismo because none of definitions include its specific meaning.


    With the goal of creating a neologism revealing the “new” socio-culture-language reality as well as incorporating “a word or use proper to U.S. Spanish,” I would propose translating estadounidismo using blending, which is one method of word formation, creating the blend or composite acronym: Span-USism.


    Proposals of definitions for dictionaries’ entries:


    1. a characteristic feature of the U.S. Spanish language.

    2. a word, phrase or construction that is peculiar to the Spanish spoken in the United States of America.

    3. a word, phrase or construction peculiar to the U.S. Spanish language.




    Footnote: After all this analysis, it is worth noting that, unfortunately, just 6 estadounidismos have been included in the 23rd issue of Diccionario de la Lengua Española: billón, congresional, guardavidas, sobador, trillón, and last but not least estadounidismo, of course! A long way to go…



    Alejandra Patricia Karamanian is a Certified Sworn Translator, Copy Editor and Proofreader of the Spanish Language, and holds an M.A. in Teaching Spanish for Foreigners. She is an independent translator in legal, business, and international relations fields; online/onsite teacher at translation for national and international associations of translators, the New York University, and online Spanish courses for foreigners. She is a member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE). Languages: Spanish, English, French. Contact:, or


  • 05/04/2017 10:30 PM | Anonymous

    MATI 14th Annual Conference: September 23, 2017


    Please join us for MATI’s 14th Annual Conference on Saturday, September 23, 2017, in Madison, WI! We are working hard to provide you with great, relevant presentations and networking opportunities.


    For the ever-popular networking hour at the end of the conference, we will have themed tables for targeted conversations. Let us know what themes you would like to talk about by emailing the MATI board at


    The conference will be held at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. More information about registration and discounts will be provided soon.


    Interested presenters may submit proposals online by May 15.


  • 05/04/2017 10:26 PM | Anonymous

    MATI 2017 Elections

    Would you like to help choose the next MATI representatives? Please make sure to vote in the upcoming elections!


    This year the following MATI offices are up for election: President (1 year term), Vice President (2 year term), Treasurer (1 year term), Secretary (2 year term), Director A (2 year term), Director B (2 year term), Director C (1 year term).


    Ballots with a complete list of candidates will be emailed to MATI members with voting instructions on or around May 15. To cast an online ballot, you will need to log on to your profile on the MATI website. The web pages containing the ballot instructions, candidate statements and the online ballot can only be viewed by MATI members.


    The duties for each of these positions are as follows:

    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. The President shall be a voting member in good standing of ATA.


    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. The Vice President shall be a voting member in good standing of ATA.


    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 publications. The Treasurer must be an individual member in good standing of ATA.


    Secretary. The Secretary shall be responsible for recording the minutes of the meetings of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, and the bimonthly 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. The Secretary must be an individual member in good standing of ATA.


    Director. The Board of Directors is responsible for determining policies and proposing changes to the Bylaws of the Association. The Board shall review the work of the officers of the Association, and of all (other) committee chairs. The Board shall set the membership dues each year, and shall meet at least four times each year. Directors must be individual members in good standing of ATA.


  • 05/04/2017 10:18 PM | Anonymous

    Upcoming MATI Webinars


    MATI’s 2017 webinar series brings you two new seminars! Please plan on joining us for these valuable continuing education opportunities.


    Saturday, May 27, 12:00 p.m. (CST)

    "Interpreting culture: The cultural work of professional medical interpreters"

    Izabel E. T. de V. Souza, Ph.D., English-Spanish interpreter and interpreter educator


    In this workshop, Dr. Souza will help participants identify all the activities that are within the medical interpreter’s scope of practice, with respect to addressing cultural issues. You will learn about the challenges, disadvantages, advantages, timing, scope, limitations, and other aspects of addressing cultural issues as a medical interpreter. Dr. Souza will also discuss the latest interpreting research theories related to addressing culture while interpreting.



    Saturday, June 24, 1:00 p.m. (CST)

    "Specialization. The context unknown for translators in technical translations. Case study in the mining industry"

    Nora Fiorini, M.A., English-Spanish translator

    In this webinar, Nora Fiorini will use a case study in mining industry translation to examine issues of context and implicit knowledge. She will discuss the main pros and cons of specialization in translation in general, and for the mining industry in particular. Translation examples/vocabulary and mining theory will be provided. Participants will practice examples of English to Spanish mining texts.



    Registration is open for these sessions. Registration is $20 per session for MATI members ($30 for non-members). Webinars are scheduled to run for one hour, including time for Q&A. When attended live, each webinar is approved for 1 CEU toward ATA and WI Court Interpreter certification requirements. Certificates will be awarded upon completion. Webinar recordings will be available for registrants who are not able to attend the webinar live. Please stay tuned for more details and additional webinar announcements.


    NEW! Recordings of past webinars are now up on the MATI website!

    Through the new "Archived Webinar" function, you will have access to a year’s worth of webinars. Visit the archive page and let the retroactive online learning begin!  

  • 05/04/2017 10:02 PM | Anonymous

    Join ATA in Advocating for Translators and Interpreters Affected by Immigration Changes 

    By Kristy Brown Lust MATI Director

    As a chapter of the American Translators Association (ATA), the voice of over 10,000 interpreters and translators in the United States and abroad, MATI’s mission includes cooperating with the ATA and advocat[ing] for the rights and interests of professional translators and interpreters. We share the concerns raised by the ATA in its recent statement about President Trump’s executive order on immigration, and we invite our members to join us in advocating for interpreters and translators who are negatively impacted by this order. 

    ATA wrote that the President’s executive order, which suspends issuing visas to nationals from certain countries in the Middle East and northern Africa, will have a negative effect on interpreters and translators who are citizens of those countries.

    The statement continues, ATA values the strengths and skills of its diverse membership, which includes a large number of immigrants to this country as well as overseas members in over 100 countries. The experience and expertise brought by these members benefits not only the association, but the nation at large.

    Read the full statement and find links to join ATA in contacting your elected officials to advocate for translators and interpreters in the United States and around the world.

  • 05/04/2017 9:43 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Board Organizes for 2017

    By Kristy Brown Lust, MATI Director


    On February 25, the MATI board of directors met in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This half-day retreat gave us an opportunity to collaborate in person on a wide-ranging agenda of event planning and decision making. Here are the results: 

    • We identified all open positions for the upcoming elections and appointed a nominating committee.
    • We set dates for nominations and board electionsnominate by April 28 and vote on or around May 15.  
    • New board members will be installed at the July 8 business meeting. 
    • We created the framework for the 2017 conference on September 23 at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI. 
      • It was decided to put out a call for speaker proposals.  
      • Honorariums were set for presenters. 
    • We solidified plans to host an ATA certification exam sitting on September 22 
    • We decided to host quarterly charisMATIc social hours in local MATI cities: Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison.  
      • Events are networking opportunities and a way for members to meet directors as well as share feedback on how to improve the organization. 
    • We discussed potential webinar topics and presenters.  
      • If you have any idea of topics you would like to see covered, please contact us at 
    • We appointed directors to the membership, communications, programs and webinar committees. 


    Check out the Get Involved article for ways to engage with the board of directors and MATI in general. We look forward to meeting many of you at upcoming MATI social hours and the conference in September. If you have a question or concern you would like to share with the board, please email us at 

    photo of MATI board of directors 

    From left to right: Kate Jankowski, Thaís Passos, Marina Ilari, Joseph Wojowski, Kristy Brown Lust, Meghan McCallum, Ghada Shakir, Amy Polenske. Not pictured: Tyann Zehms


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

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