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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.
  • 03/09/2016 12:36 PM | Meghan Konkol

    ATA Chapters: Recruiting New Members

    By Joseph Wojowski, MATI Vice President

    This article is posted with permission from Wojowski’s Translation Technology blog. The article was originally posted on Wojowski’s blog on March 3, 2016.

    The second topic in this blog series is the hardest to discuss. It’s the one that quite honestly, no one wants to do and there are no easy ways of going about it. Still, there are a few different approaches to how you can go about recruiting new members. The main methods are school outreach, social events, and conference presence.

    School Outreach

    When done right, recruiting new members, and more importantly, recruiting new active members starts in the last half of high school until that person becomes a professional translator or interpreter. Hear me out on this.

    Every single semester, the universities of the world enroll students into their language and translation programs, and every single semester, students graduate from those same programs. If we were to attract them to the organization at that time and engage them as student members, they would presumably later graduate and become engaged individual members.

    I have visited my graduate school alma mater on several occasions to talk to some of the classes about the translation and interpretation industries. The students are always asking me about how to get started in the industry, and I take that opportunity to plug ATA and MATI, along with other resources. At the time I started doing that, I was not a member of ATA; I developed all my own materials and created my own PowerPoint slideshow and CAT tool demonstration and explanation, but here’s something that’s great about being in ATA, in case you don’t know about it. ATA’s School Outreach Program gives pointers on talking to different age groups about T&I, in addition to already-made presentations and other resources. And here’s one more great thing about this program: by participating, you can have the chance to attend the annual ATA conference for free! Every year, ATA’s School Outreach Program has a photo contest. All you have to do is submit a picture of yourself talking to students about translation and interpretation, and if your photo is chosen, you win free registration to the conference! For more information about ATA’s School Outreach Program, visit

    A suggestion might be to integrate the School Outreach Program into your own chapter. If the chapters and members reached out to schools in their areas and established a dialogue between the organization and the school, then the chapter would create an ongoing source of potential new members for both the chapter and by extension, the American Translators Association.


    Social Events

    What is any group without social events? While they may not be set meetings with agenda or set topics of discussion, social events are pivotal to the feeling members get in regards to the organization as a whole. These do not need to be lavish banquets and grand galas; they can be as simple as a happy hour or dinner meetup. And while business may not be the goal of the party, when profession is the common ground, it inevitably comes up.

    On January 16th of this year, MATI President and ATA Director Christina Green hosted a post-holiday association party at her home. The event was catered by Christina’s friend and chef, and a good number of T&I professionals gathered to see old colleagues and new and enjoy a Saturday afternoon together. Because we were all translators and/or interpreters, conversation gravitated toward the issues pressing our industries; and as I sat down at the dining room table with a plate of food, some attendees started talking about translator scammers. I was planning on letting them talk and simply exploiting my eavesdropping abilities (honed during my grad school days when I was studying phonetics) to see what they had to say, but another attendee had other plans for me. Earlier in the party, she had given me good feedback on the presentation I had given at MATI12 in September on this exact topic; so, she encouraged me to speak up and join the conversation. The topic of translator scammers evolved into data security and by the end of the conversation, everyone at the table was scared out of their minds because they had not thought of the online risks that exist for language services professionals. But that’s how these social events go: people start discussions, share knowledge and help each other out—the real goal of informal social events organized by the chapter. There were a few attendees that day who were debating joining MATI because they did not know if it was worth it. In the end, they told me that they then saw the value of membership because of that gathering and the open sharing of knowledge.

    Conference Presence

    Having a presence at conferences and having someone sitting at the chapter table is another way to bring people in to the organization. In Miami, I sat at the MATI table almost the entire time. In that time, I made friends with Victor from NCATA, hilariously annoyed an overly serious CIA representative, and got a handful of people to join MATI. Going to the conferences is not enough, sitting at the table (no matter how mundane it may sound) is important, but it’s only useful if you draw people to the table.

    What not to do

    There is one method of member recruiting that should not be done as it will stain the reputation of your organization and annoy the intended audience: directory email blasts. What you do not want to do is search a directory for translators in your area and send them emails, whether by email blast or direct email. This method will not draw translators to your organization; it will turn you into a spammer and will drive people away.

    The overarching theme behind recruiting new members is that you want them to see that you run an active, vibrant organization. Conversely, having an empty table at the conference and not having regular events sends the message that active member participation is not a high priority for your organization, when the goal of chapters and affiliates is to bring people together and help them to make meaningful connections.

    In next week’s article, we’ll examine the organization’s website: functionality, appearance, and user interaction.

    Joseph Wojowski is the Vice President of MATI; Director of Operations at Foreign Credits, Inc. in Des Plaines, IL; Chief Technology Officer at Morningstar Global Translations; and a Certified MemoQ Trainer.

  • 03/02/2016 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    Attracting New Members to ATA

    By Joseph Wojowski, MATI Vice President

    This article is posted with permission from Wojowski’s Translation Technology blog. The article was originally posted on Wojowski’s blog on February 25, 2016.


    At last year’s ATA Conference in Miami, the recurring topic that was brought up was that of membership. How do we increase our numbers, how do we maintain the numbers we have, and how do we increase the number of active (voting) members? Clearly this is a subject of discussion for any organization, and crucial for any organization’s continued success, but I wonder if this is something the national association should be tasking itself with at all. In my honest opinion, I believe membership in the national association should be less of an issue, but in order to do that, we need to re-envision the role ATA's Chapters or Affiliates from a local organization of translators advancing local professional development to ATA’s street team or ground crew. I would argue, therefore, that the role of the regional chapters should be to be the manifestation and voice of the national association in their areas, in addition to recruiting new members into their own organizations and then funneling those new members up to the American Translators Association.


    As an executive board member of my own regional chapter of ATA, I care deeply for the Association and its chapters, divisions, and affiliates. I was heartbroken when, in Miami, I discussed the state of our Association with my roommate, Jeff. He told me that his local chapter was not very active and every time he tried to initiate action for attending the conferences as a group, or anything, he was always met with indifference or, “I’ll have to get back to you” from the board members. My heart went out to him; I felt his frustration. I believe that in any volunteer organization, if there is someone who is willing to take initiative and organize, that person should be welcomed with open arms and nurtured. Talking with others, I would ask questions like, what activities does your chapter provide in regards to opportunities for furthering professional development throughout the year? Many responded that they did not know. It seems to me that the chapters have started off on the right foot in establishing a network of T&I professionals, but they have not taken that a step further in offering their membership the best possible opportunities to further professional development; especially in regards to exploiting available technology that does not require a person to be physically present to attend a learning opportunity.


    So this is a topic I would like to submit to my fellow colleagues and this post will be the first in a series of blog posts aimed toward helping chapter leaders gain a fresh, renewed approach to being an ATA Chapter. In this nine-part blog series, I’ll break down the approach my own chapter (MATI) takes in executing regular chapter functions throughout the year. These are both functions that are dictated by being a chapter of ATA as well as ones that we’ve come up with on our own to engage our members and add value to membership.


    Part 1: All Hands on Deck!


    What happens when you talk to other translators about ATA? There are generally three types of responses: the first type of response is positive and the types of people who have this experience in ATA are those who are actively involved with it. These people are active in their chapters, sometimes also on the board of directors; they are division moderators, and they are National Association Board members. The second type are those whose response is negative and these people generally either have misplaced anger or take no part in the association, chapter, or division activities (their loss). The third and last type of response is the fringe response filled with craziness and conspiracy theories; these responses often come from people who had to put their foil hats on before responding to your question. It can be understood, therefore, that when it comes to lackluster organization activity, fault is grounded in a systemic problem that starts with apathy from the membership. The value of membership in chapters and the national association as a whole is only seen when you take an active role in the organization’s activities; you take away from your experience that which you put in.


    I submit for your consideration some responses to this poll on that asks the question, “Have you ever left a professional association?” The first comment I’d like to point out strikes hard.


        I joined the ATA “to see” two or three years ago. I didn’t invest anything except the fee for one year, and I didn’t get anything apart from a few scammers and their magazines which I never managed to read, so I didn’t renew the experience the year after. It was basically money down the drain, but as business expenses, so at least it wasn’t taxed. -Philippe


    This is a “case in point” scenario. This person, while he may not live in the US, did not bother to get involved, attend conferences or contribute to the community and therefore left after one year. At least he was responsible enough to acknowledge that he didn’t invest any more than the one-year membership, but that was why his experience was so lacking.


    Let’s look at another comment.


        I let my membership in the ATA lapse and don’t envision going back. The trade magazine for the most part is, well, rather 20th century, and their certification program is ridiculous, usually involving travel to another city, hard copy dictionaries that you must bring yourself, pen and paper, (although some keyboarded exams are now possible as I understand it). Furthermore, my clients don’t know or care if I am certified by the ATA. They care only about the quality of my work and my ability to meet deadlines. -J.E.


    “J.E.” hits a point that I take seriously and personally. As you will see in future posts, my main focus when approaching my MATI Board position is to continue modernizing the way it operates. Luckily, it was already pretty far along by the time I took up my post, but there are things that I’ve created or are currently in the works that will continue to bring the organization into the second (and subsequently, third) decade of this century. Modernization and up-to-date-ness of the appearance (branding) of the organization is key. Now, this issue is mainly the fault of the board. Decisions need to be made at the managing body level to make sure the organization portrays a modern brand and not something that has an outdated feel (ex. while it was modern at the time, no website should look like this one in 2016).


    These chapters of ATA are worth developing. The more time and effort we put into the organizations, the more valuable membership becomes. I often find myself taking a step back to put myself in the shoes of a non-member and thinking of things that would attract me to or turn me off from an organization. If you preach to the choir, you will only ever save the choir. In 2016, we find ourselves at veritable crossroads in the future of our association and we can either do what we’ve always done and perpetuate the same issues we have always had, or think about other colleagues and newer colleagues and what would draw them to our group.


    So let me leave you for the week with one last comment on that poll to consider along with the question, “Is this the lasting impact we want to leave with our members?


        “It seems a lot of professional associations entail a lot of money for very little benefit in return, except for the name-dropping.” -Natalie


    Joseph Wojowski is the Vice President of MATI; Director of Operations at Foreign Credits, Inc. in Des Plaines, IL; Chief Technology Officer at Morningstar Global Translations; and a Certified MemoQ Trainer.

  • 02/18/2016 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Spotlight: Meet Elizabeth Colón

    Elizabeth Colón is an inspirational speaker, author & the CEO of Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions, LLC, a Chicago based firm that provides translation and interpreting services. Elizabeth launched Metaphrasis with nothing but an idea and a skill set (speaking Spanish and English). Since then, it has blossomed into a fast growing, forward thinking, globally relevant business.

    Where do you live and work? I live in Frankfort with my husband and son, and my company, Metaphrasis, has been located in West Town, Chicago since 2010.

    How did you acquire your B language?
    I grew up with parents who didn’t speak any English so our primary means of communication was in Spanish. Later in life, our family relocated to Puerto Rico where I was given the opportunity to speak Spanish all the time. It was a great way of immersing myself in a language I love, and this experience seeded an overall passion for language.
    How long have you worked in the field? 25 years combined in healthcare and interpreting.

    How did you get started in the field of translation and interpreting? Like many of my colleagues, many of us started interpreting informally while accompanying our parents or someone we knew to medical appointments. When I graduated from high school, I immediately went into the field of healthcare and saw firsthand the disparities among patients that were coming into the hospitals. One encounter stood out in my mind in which I was pulled into a medical interpreting situation simply because I was bilingual. I was not professionally trained, and I did not fully understand all of the medical terminology. Experiencing this became the catalyst to my becoming trained as a medical interpreter. As my career has grown, it has been a rewarding experience to see the applications in other industries as well. There is virtually no industry that is untouched by the needs for language services and cultural sensitivity.
    What is your favorite thing about working in this field? My favorite thing is meeting interpreters who come from all around the country. I get to learn things I never knew, eat foods I’ve never tasted and appreciate all the hard work they do. Together we are a powerhouse of cultural diversity!

    Do you have any tips for those starting out in the field? For anyone starting out in the field, I would recommend that you do your homework on language companies. Research and interview companies you want to work with to see if your values align with theirs. Network as much as possible, because you never know where a referral will come from. Joining groups and associations (of course like MATI) will also provide a great deal of resources for you. Finally, I recommend seeking out a mentor. This is a role I personally take very seriously and love. A mentor can help guide you, pave the way for your career to grow and is generally a fantastic resource for anyone to have.
    What do you do in your free time? I have committed myself in 2016 to my love of lifelong learning. As I continue to explore my own professional and personal growth, I have begun reading and learning more and recreating many facets of my life. I also have a passion for mentoring and community service activities. I currently serve as a Board member of the Norwegian American Hospital Foundation. I also belong to the Future Founders organization and frequently speak to students in underserved public schools on a variety of topics that foster development for future career and life opportunities. I am an active member of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and an ambassador for the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Business initiative. You could say, I like to keep busy!

  • 01/29/2016 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    MATI Offers Two 2016 Webinar Series

    MATI members have the opportunity to participate in not one, but two great webinar series for the 2016 season: the MATI Webinar Series 2016: Research & Practice in Translation and Interpreting and Jumpstart for 2017: A Long-Term Study Plan for the Federal Oral Exam.

    MATI Webinar Series 2016: Research & Practice in Translation and Interpreting

    MATI Director Susan Schweigert and the Webinars Committee have put together an excellent program of sessions for the Research & Practice Series, which was kicked off on January 21 with Ana Soler’s presentation “Interpreting in Educational Settings: A Growing Profession.” We’re very excited to be able to offer members webinars through October of 2016, thanks to the professional interest in presenting!

    Other upcoming webinars in this series are:

    • Proofreading our Translations and Spanish US-isms by Alejandra Patricia Karamanian
      Friday, February 19, 6:00pm-7:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • Reel Fun: Improving your Subtitles by Ana Salotti
      Saturday, March 19, 1:00pm-2:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • Hard Conversations with Health Care and Legal Professionals about Interpreting Protocol by Michelle Pinzl
      Wednesday, April 20, 6:00pm-7:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • From Scattered Documents to Valuable Translation Material: The Advantage of CAT Alignment Tools by Martin Chamorro
      Friday, May 20, 6:00pm-7:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • Alphabet Soup Unscrambled: A Layman's Guide to a Social Security Disability Hearing by Olga Shostachuk
      Thursday, June 16, 6:00pm-7:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • Literature for the Medical and Legal Language Professional: What Reading Gives You that a Dictionary Doesn't by Margie Franzen
      Saturday, September 17, 1:00pm-2:00pm, U.S. Central Time
    • Bridging the Gap between the T&I Industry and Academia: Developing a Community of Practice by Dr. Sarah Berthaud and Sarah Griffin-Mason
      Saturday, October 22, 1:00pm-2:00pm, U.S. Central Time

    Each webinar in this series is 45-55 minutes long, followed by 5-15 minutes of Q&A. Discounted pricing for members is among the benefits of MATI membership; MATI members pay $20 for each webinar, and non-members pay $30. The webinars are a great opportunity for continuing education credits as well. Each webinar is approved for 1 CEU toward ATA and WI Court Interpreter certification requirements. Members need only a computer and internet access to attend, and all details surrounding the event will be emailed to those registered a few days before the webinar takes place.

    More information on MATI Webinar Series 2016: Research & Practice in Translation and Interpreting can be found at:

    Jumpstart for 2017: A Long-Term Study Plan for the Federal Oral Exam

    In collaboration with the MATI Webinars Committee, Ernest Niño-Murcia, a state and federally-certified freelance court interpreter, presents this series of webinars to guide participants through setting and executing a long-term plan for success for the 2017 Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam.

    The sessions in this series can be taken in combination or individually and include:

    • Session 1: Vocabulary Building - Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, 7:00pm-8:00pm CST
      This online session will kick off the series by laying out the keys to success on the exam (vocabulary, interpreting skills and exam strategy) before outlining an 18 month study plan to strengthen these areas effectively over time.
    • Session 2: Interpreting Skills for the Oral FCICE - Late 2016
      Building on the material covered in the previous webinar, this online session will focus on interpreting skills for the exam, specifically what successful candidates need to be able to do on each section and how they can reach that level (what and how to practice).
    • Session 3: Exam Strategy and Practice Exam - Early 2017
      This final session will be an opportunity for participants to put content and skills covered in earlier sessions to use in a live, interactive setting. Before taking a practice version of the federal oral exam, instructor will offer tips on exam strategy, or how to avoid the traps that cause otherwise-capable interpreters to fail the exam (time management, nerves, managing emotions). After taking the exam, participants will grade their performance as the instructor reveals and discusses acceptable and unacceptable answers for each scoring unit.

    The cost to participate for Sessions 1 and 2 is $25 for MATI members and $35 for non-members. Additional information on each session and on how to register can be found at: New sessions for this series may also be added, depending on demand!

  • 01/26/2016 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s MA in Translation and Interpreting

    By Katalin Young

    The MA in Translation and Interpreting offered by the Center for Translation Studies (CTS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a now in its third year.  In addition to providing an undergraduate certificate in translation studies, CTS delivers the Master’s degree program both online and on-campus, with three specialty tracks for students to choose from: literary translation, technical translation, and conference and community interpreting.  Students in all three tracks take required courses in terminology and CAT, the theory and practice of translation, the ethics of translation and interpreting, in addition to a capstone seminar. Students also take two courses in their specialization and two electives.

    Three Specialization Tracks

    The three tracks represent the career paths that students choose for themselves, and they can make a final decision about which track they wish to pick no later than their second semester.  Of course, it’s not uncommon for students already to know what they wish to focus their talents on from the beginning, but sometimes students discover that they have more talent or interest for a different track as they progress.

        Students first focus on core courses that are considered essential for the T&I profession, then begin to take the first course in their chosen track in the second semester.  These specialty classes continue into their second year, during which they also take two electives and complete their Capstone project. Although each student must pick one of the three tracks, by carefully planning their electives they can gain expertise in a second field as well. Alternatively, students can pick electives from a variety of courses, such as Translation in the European Union, Film Subtitling, and/or specific language-pair translation courses (such as Arabic-English, German-English, or Spanish-English or translation).

    Students with Any Language Pair Accepted

    CTS at Illinois does not give preference or restrict admission to students working on particular languages rather than others.  All of our courses are taught in English, and the training provided applies to any language pair.  With dozens of languages taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, CTS faculty have a tremendous resource pool to draw from to assist with the language-pair practice component of interpreting courses.

    Online and On-Campus

    CTS offers the Master’s program both on the campus of UIUC and also online.  This enables us to reach a variety of students from different backgrounds and with different circumstances, such as those working full-time and those living in other states or countries. The online and on-campus programs consist of the same courses and require two years to complete, but while campus students take two to three courses simultaneously each semester, online students take eight-week courses consecutively, one at a time.

    For more information on the Translation Studies program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, please visit the Center for Translation Studies webpage or email

    Katalin Young is an MA student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and is focusing on Conference and Community Interpreting in the Translation Studies program. Although she is dedicated to the practice of Spanish<>English interpreting, she has also studied many other languages, including Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Catalan, and currently, Korean.

  • 01/21/2016 9:01 AM | Meghan Konkol

    SOAP Notes: Getting Down and Dirty with Medical Translation

    A review of the presentation given by Erin M. Lyons on November 5, 2015 at ATA’s 56th Annual Conference in Miami last November.

    By MATI Member Patrice Van Hyle

    I attended this session out of personal interest as I used to do quite a bit of French/Italian to English translation of medical and hospital records early on in my career, but after some years found that I preferred pharmaceutical translation which includes a wide variety of texts such as informed consent forms, investigator brochures, clinical drug trials, packaging and labeling, and instructions for use, to name a few. I guess you could say I followed the advice of many ATA presenters over the years urging newbies to find their own niche and to specialize, specialize, specialize…

    Erin Lyons, also a French/Italian to English translator, specializing in the area of medical and life sciences translation, gave a very thorough and quite captivating presentation on the nuts and bolts of the SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) format used by doctors and how to better make sense of the scribbled notes, acronyms, abbreviations and unique language found in medical charts, lab reports and the like. Her stated objective was to help translators replicate the style and voice of healthcare professionals in their medical translations. In my opinion, she successfully accomplished this goal.

    She began by clarifying exactly what a SOAP note is and showed the audience a visual display of a typical medical record and its various sections therein: the Subjective, Objective, and Assessment sections and the last section containing the doctor’s Plan and the recommended next steps to follow.

    The Subjective section contains the patient’s main complaint or a history of the current illness. In other words, it lays out the primary reason the patient is seeing the doctor or why the patient is in the hospital. Doctors endeavor to gather and record as much subjective information as possible in this section, such as the illness’s onset, character, severity, duration, location, aggravating factors, etc.

    The Objective section contains the information gathered by the doctor through observation or measurement primarily of the vital signs (height, weight, temperature, blood pressure) or by performing a physical exam, lab tests, and recording any of the patient’s prescriptions.

    The Assessment section contains the medical diagnosis and includes all possible and likely etiologies (causes) of the illness.

    The Plan section contains the next steps to take per the doctor’s recommendation and may include the ordering of additional lab tests, radiological work-ups, referrals to specialist doctors, future appointments, patient monitoring, etc.

    After that initial overview, Erin delved into the nitty gritty of the actual phraseology and terminology encountered in a SOAP note and the necessity of researching correct usage so as to best render the sentence and/or word into the target language. Erin gave attendees a very useful tip by providing the link to an incredible website: where we can obtain the exact medical wording/terminology for almost any medical condition by entering a medical code or keyword in the search box. For example, from my home computer, I entered the word “pulmonary” in the search box and obtained a complete list of pulmonary-related ICD-10 Codes1 and their precise code description. To name a few for the purpose of illustration: pulmonary mycobacterial infection (Code A31.0), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (Code J84.112) or congenital pulmonary valve insufficiency (Code Q22.2). This resource will save tons of time for the medical translator and made the presentation worth attending in and of itself!

    Erin emphasized using the present tense in our translations even though the source may use the past or a mix of tenses and explained the necessity of handling acronyms appropriately as the target audience of our translation may not be a healthcare professional. She suggested we expand acronyms (d/c = diarrhea/constipation) but not attempt to translate the more complex or lengthy acronyms directly as this often results in total gibberish—as I know from personal experience! She said identifying the type of acronym or abbreviation can help us in the translation process. For example, becoming familiar with Latin abbreviations such as h.s. = hora somni = at bedtime, or inversions of acronyms written in the source language medical report, such as IRM (French) for MRI (English), etc.

    In the middle part of her presentation, Erin gave a review of the body systems that frequently appear in a SOAP note (for example, musculoskeletal, neurological, endocrine, and cardiovascular) and the doctor’s use of specific terminology when dictating or writing ROS (review of systems) notes. She gave attendees another very helpful link with numerous tools for understanding SOAP notes in general:, and specifically with regard to deciphering lab tests, a wonderful link to an index of medical glossary terms, conditions and their related lab tests:

    A few final points Erin offered were to remember to refer to the physician in the third person, even when the first person is used, to be succinct using plain language and to not embellish the text and to use an appropriate register (formal) and medical terminology (often the Latin cognate). For example: abdomen vs. stomach, renal vs. kidney, thrombus vs. blood clot, etc.

    In sum, SOAP notes are intended to improve communication among healthcare providers by using a specific notation system that is structured and organized. This highly structured system can provide the translator with clues on deciphering the medical terminology and acronyms found within the document. Since SOAP notes are universal, Erin advised translators to learn the preferred terminology, acronyms, symbols and shorthand associated with their specific source and language combination.

    The link to her complete and very informative presentation can be found at:

    1 (10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It contains codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases.

    Patrice Van Hyle is a freelance translator from French and Italian into English and has been in operation since 2002 under the auspices of her own company, /PVH TRANSLATE LLC/. She has attended many ATA Conferences over the years and has been active in other similar organizations such as MATI, CHICATA, the Milwaukee World Trade Association, the International Institute and the Alliance Française of Milwaukee. Patrice enjoys writing and has contributed numerous articles to various publications both in the area of translation as well as in the field of human rights, the environment, international development and interreligious dialogue. Her most recent translation specializations include the pharmaceutical industry, the environment and labor law. She was featured last March 2015 on the cover page of the Milwaukee Journal's Business Section in an article entitled “Love of languages translates into fast-growing career”. Read in full at:

    Check out Patrice's website at: or her LinkedIn profile at:

  • 01/13/2016 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    The Personal Cloud: your own asteroid in cyberspace

    (Part 2: instructable)

    By Joseph Wojowski, MATI Vice President

    This article is posted with permission from Wojowski's Translation Technology Blog. It is a follow-up to "The Personal Cloud: your own asteroid in cyberspace," published on the MATI blog with permission in August 2015 from Wojowski's blog. Readers may benefit from reading that original article before attempting to follow the instructable below.

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    This post is a follow-up to my previous post regarding personal clouds. While Tonido for Windows on a desktop or laptop works just fine, the power conscious might want a low-power alternative to keep their personal cloud online and always available. As a point of reference, the typical computer power supply for a desktop draws 22 Amps at 5 Volts. In contrast, the Raspberry Pi 2 (herein RPi) draws 1.8 Amps at 5 Volts.

    Assuming you have certain peripherals already, you should be able to set up your RPi powered cloud server for about $60. Here are all the things you will need:

    All of the items you will need.

    Hardware items you likely will not have or will not have spares to dedicate to full-time usage.

    Hardware items you may already have in your living/work space.

    • USB Mouse and Keyboard set
    • HDMI cable
    • Ethernet cable (this item may be replaced by a USB WiFi dongle after initial set up, but setting up the system like this will not be described in this post)
    • USB SD Card Reader
    • External Hard drive with independent power source

    Estimated time: 1 hour depending on internet speed and familiarity with UNIX-based systems.

    To start out, take the RPi and place it in its case. Plug in all the cables (including the HDMI to a receiving monitor/television) except for the micro USB plug for power.

    Get your software lined up and download Raspbian for the operating system (it will download as a .zip file; unzip it to your downloads folder; the resulting unzipped file will have the extension .dd), and rufus to create the bootable MicroSD Card (i.e. mount Raspbian onto the MicroSD so that the RPi unit can read it properly as a source for the Operating System).

    Insert the MicroSD card into the card reader and plug it into a USB port on your computer (or directly into an SD slot with the adapter if you have a computer with an SD reader). When the MicroSD card appears on your list of devices with removable storage, right click on it and select format. Under File System, select FAT (File Allocation Table) if under 8 GB or FAT32 if above 8 GB. Unselect “Quick format” and rename the volume label if you like. Click start. (This could also be done in rufus alone, but I find that everything moves a long more smoothly if you format it to the file system you want separately.)

    Once the disk has been formatted, open rufus, select the device from the dropdown list under device, FAT/FAT32 under file system. Next to “create a bootable disk using,” select “DD Image,” and next to that dropdown list, click on the icon which allows you to select an image. Navigate over to where the .dd image file is located; select, click open, and then click start.

    After it does its thing, eject the disk from the computer and place it in the microSD card slot on the RPi unit. The old RPi units had a friction-fit SD Card slot where you just slid the SD card into the socket as far as it would go; in the RPi 1 Model B+, and the RPi 2, they replaced the friction fit SD slot with a push-push microSD slot – push the microSD card (metal contacts up) into the slot until it clicks and release. To remove, do the same.

    Once the microSD card has been inserted into the unit, turn on the receiving HDMI display and plug the microUSB into the port and into the wall. Once you do this, the screen will show all the tasks the RPi is performing. The first time you start up the RPi, you will be brought to the Raspberry Pi Software Configuration Tool (which you can always access from terminal by giving the command for raspi-config) which is a GUI that you can navigate using the arrow keys and “enter.” Select option 3 “Enable boot to Desktop/Scratch” and then the second option, “Desktop Log in as user ‘pi’ at the graphical desktop.” Once you select that option and hit “enter,” you will be brought back to the main menu. Now, go to option 4, “Internationalisation Options.” For US, Go to “Change Locale” and with the spacebar, unselect en-GB and select en-US-UTF-8. Hit Enter. Next go to “Change Timezone” and select your timezone by largest nearest city, “Chicago” for me. Lastly for Internationalisation Options, select “Change Keyboard Layout” and change to your keyboard’s layout. Go down to the eighth (8th) item to select “Advanced Options.” At this menu, go down to A0 Update and hit “enter” and the RPi will use network connection to retrieve any available software updates – just let it do its thing. Once that has finished, select <Finish> at the bottom of the main configuration screen and you will be led back to the regular RPi Text-based UI.

    When you are presented with “pi@raspberrypi¯$” you can type sudo reboot and the RPi will reboot itself, applying the changes to the configuration–it should be noted that if ever you are asked for a username or password, the default username is “pi” and the default password is “raspberry.” When the RPi reboots, it will boot directly into the Desktop GUI Environment.

    Once the RPi has rebooted, open the LXTerminal and input the following commands (each line is separated by hitting Enter).

    sudo mkdir /usr/local/tonido
    cd /usr/local/tonido
    sudo wget
    sudo tar -zxvf tonido.tar.gz
    ./ start

    Next, in a separate LXTerminal window, type in: ip addr show eth0

    Open the web browser and access Tonido by going to https://<RPi IP Address>:10001
    Replace <RPi IP Address> with the one given after inet from the second LXTerminal window.

    Then, you will be allowed to create your username and password. Once you have done that, you can click on “Settings” and then “Misc” where you can choose which folders to which you would like to allow remote access.

    When that is complete, you can unplug the HDMI cable and leave the unit where it is while it runs Tonido. The great thing about this service is that just like with other personal clouds, you can access your files from a web browser or you can also mount it as a drive in Windows, access items from your mobile device using the application, etc.

    And one last item, do not ever worry about messing up anything in the software of the RPi. If ever something does not work like it should, all you have to do is re-format the MicroSD card and start over again. The glories of working with a Raspberry Pi!

    For more information regarding Tonido and the Raspberry Pi including instructions on how to set Tonido to start automatically on boot, visit

    Joseph is the Vice President of MATI; Director of Operations at Foreign Credits, Inc. in Des Plaines, IL; Chief Technology Officer at Morningstar Global Translations; and a Certified MemoQ Trainer.

  • 11/18/2015 7:07 PM | Anonymous
    On “Lying Through Their Teeth: Identifying Translation Scams”

    By Joseph Wojowski, MATI Vice President
    with adaptions by Alaina Brantner, MATI Director

    At MATI’s 12th Annual Conference, I spoke about translator scammers during my presentation, “Lying Through Their Teeth: Identifying Translation Scams.” An awareness of translation scams is essential in the technological age of our industry, in which a translator’s professional credentials and contact information can be hijacked, resulting in monetary losses, the loss of (potential) clients, a damaged reputation, and losses in valuable time and efforts to restore the state of one’s business. In this article, adapted from a previous blog post I wrote on the topic (posted on my Translation Technology Blog here, and on the MATI Blog here), I provide step-by-step instructions for the some of the tips I spoke about at MATI12 for preventing and combating scams.

    Let me start with an introduction of the kinds of scams that are prevalent: the theft of CVs and résumés, and fake translation job offers.

    In terms of the first category of scams listed above, translators and interpreters well understand the importance of the CV or the résumé, since for most T&I professionals, we do not create/update these documents every couple of years to gain new long-term positions. Rather, CVs and résumés are the ambassadors for our brand and draw people in to contract us out for work on a daily basis. We have spent years going to school and building our professional reputations, work and experience, efforts which are represented in documents of this kind, and which can be damaged if that information is not carefully protected. Professionals need to protect themselves from translator scammers, who actively seek out CVs and résumés that are editable and then change the contact information—nothing else—and submit the fraudulent CV as their own to get work. The unsuspicious agency receives the fraudulent CV, checks out the legitimate translator’s credentials and uses the contact information found on the CV to hire the thief. The thief will then delay delivery of the translation, and if s/he delivers at all, the translation will almost always be poor in quality due to the use of free, public machine translation, such as Google Translate, without post-editing. What’s worse, the scammed project or quality manager may then contact the actual provider regarding issues with their supposed work! The legitimate translator is then stuck with the headache of trying to repair both the botched job, which they didn’t accept or agree to, and their damaged reputation.

    Similarly, scammers may pose as translation companies or independent project managers and prey on unsuspecting freelance translators. They will set up jobs and contract freelancers out for projects, overpay by check and then ask the freelancer to send a check with the difference. Meanwhile, the original check to the freelancer bounces, the freelancer gets charged a bounce fee, and the check to the thief with the difference gets cashed. What ends up happening is that the freelancer gets taken for a ride and penalized twice for performing a legitimate service.

    Combating these con-men

    First and foremost, I believe in being pro-active in all matters dealing with fraud. The harder you make it for someone to steal your credentials, the less-likely someone will be to do so. In my honest opinion, it is worth the time to make stealing your credentials harder when preparing your CV than the damage caused by a ruined reputation.

    1. Translators: stop sending out your CV in editable document format.

    Editable documents such as text files and word documents are called that for a reason, they are editable; and as described above, conmen can make fast work of your editable content! Even in documents that are password-protected, text can still be copied and pasted to another document. PDF files are not even an adequate solution, since scammers can still copy and paste content from that file format. For a medium level of security, I therefore recommend that you save your CV as a PDF, export the PDF files to jpeg format (you’ll get one image per page). Next, reassemble the images into a single PDF (this will also make the file size smaller).

    Then, go into password encryption and modify the Document Restriction Settings, not allowing text access or content extraction from the document and only allowing low-res printing. This level of security prevents the reader from using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to lift text from the flat image, prevents them from copying the image via snapshot, and prevents others from exporting the images to other file formats.

    For a higher level of security, use the document open settings to restrict the opening of the PDF, in addition to the medium level document restrictions using a different password than the medium level password. This will enable you to control who can and cannot open your CV and still control what they can do once they have opened the document. If you chose this higher security route, I will leave it up to you as to how you would like people to get the password to be able to open the document. A simple suggestion might be to have someone who would like to see your CV submit a request on your personal website asking for the password. Get creative, but always be aware of who you are giving viewing access to.


    2. Translators: cross-reference contact information with information found on the company’s actual website. There are also a number of references on LinkedIn and translator fora you can visit to see if anyone else has written about a company that has contacted you for services. And head over to and do a quick search to see if someone who contacted you is on the scammer list.

    3. Translators and LSPs: check the sender’s IP address and verify that the message was sent from the translator or company’s documented location. There are a number of methods to check the IP address of the sender, depending on the email carrier you use. In general, you will right-click in the body of the email and click a phrase like “Show source.” In gmail specifically, you click the down arrow next to the “reply” button and then select “Show original.” This will bring up a webpage containing the html coding. You can next click Ctrl+F and search for “Received: from”. Not too far after that highlighted phrase, you should be able to find the IP address of the sender, four sets of two to three numbers separated by periods (i.e.; redacted in the image below). Copy the IP address into one of many IP address locators, like, which will give you the location of the server from which the sender’s email has originated. Check that this location matches the location of the vendor/LSP that you are working with, but also be aware that for accounts like gmail and outlook, the IP address will be the location of the server hosting those accounts.

    4. LSPs: when looking over résumés, check out the person’s contact information on her or his résumé, and cross-reference this information against any profiles on TranslatorsCafé, Proz, and/or professional association directories, etc. (trusting the professional association directory over any other source). If something does not quite add up, send the translator a message letting them know about the contact information discrepancy.

    5. LSPs: check for consistency in other provider details. Red flags include language pairs that don’t match the geographic location of the provider and a lack of contact information. When checking CVs and résumés, you can also verify that the document properties correspond with the vendor’s details. Simply right click on the un-opened file, and navigate to properties. From there you can check the “details” of the file, including the document author.


    Fighting back against translation scams

    Once you’ve identified a translation scammer using the tips provided above, fight back! Help your colleagues avoid scammers by sharing the scammer’s contact details on social media, and forward the fraudulent email and CV to or You can even flood the scammers’ inboxes with emails, by visiting

    Overall, protecting yourself from translation scams just boils down to how pro-active you are. You do not want to be in a situation where you have a translation company on your back accusing you of providing poor translations, asking you to fix the errors when you did not have any prior contact with them to begin with. Or wasting time and energy hounding a translation company for payment when the company never really existed in the first place. Being aware of translation scammers and taking simple steps to protect yourself and your colleagues can help ensure that our work environment is a safer place for all professionals.

    Websites/resources of interest:
    Carola Berger’s article on Translator Scammers in the October 2014 ATA Chronicle

    Joseph Wojowski is the Vice President of MATI. He is Director of Operations at Foreign Credits, Inc. in Des Plaines, IL, Chief Technology Officer at Morningstar Global Translations, and a Certified memoQ Trainer. Joseph’s slides from his presentation at MATI 12 can be found at:

  • 11/10/2015 9:18 PM | Meghan Konkol

    MATI Member Spotlight: Catherine Breckenridge

    Name: Catherine Breckenridge


    Language Pair(s): French to English


    Degree(s)/Certification(s): M.A. in Language, Literature, and Translation, concentration in French to English translation (in progress)


    How long have you been a MATI member? Two months

    Where do you live and/or work?

    I live and work (and go to school) in Milwaukee. I am a student in the M.A. in Language, Literature, and Translation at UWM, concentration in French to English translation. I also work full-time for an international medical society downtown.

    What inspired you to get into your field?

    When I was younger I had some misconceptions about what makes a good translator. I was always interested in language and cultures, and I had studied French all through school, but felt a translation career was unrealistic. I thought that my school-learned skills would never compete with the skills of those who had lived in a francophone country for a long time or learned French from a parent. I didn’t understand that being a good translator isn’t just being bilingual. Then, as an undergrad I saw a lecture by a patent translator working in my language pair. She had acquired her B language through study, like me, and she was not an engineer, but she was still very successful in her work because she was an excellent researcher and writer. It made me see translation as a real option for the first time.

    I’ve taken a little bit of a winding path, but one constant has been the enjoyment and fulfilment of helping people communicate across language and cultural barriers. In Fall 2014, I officially entered the MALLT program and I’m really happy to be starting this new career.

    Where do you see your field going in the future?  What are the most urgent issues to be addressed?

    So, I’m going to answer this question as a student who has not yet worked professionally in the field – take it with a grain of salt. This semester, we’ve been studying the professional aspects translation, including challenges faced in educating the public about the field. Clients with misconceptions about the translation process have unreasonable expectations for work volume and speed, not to mention the idea that Google Translate is a viable replacement for a professional translator. From my perspective this seems like the major issue of the day. If we’re not all working to correct these misconceptions, then we could find ourselves trying to meet them, lowering work quality and subsequently the client’s perception of our skills and talent. Aside from always having those good conversations with clients, blogs seem a good vehicle for to discuss these issues with the general public, and having them improves SEO.


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

    I’m going to turn this around and ask my future colleagues, for a student just starting out in the field, what is the one thing you wish someone had told you at the beginning? You can reach me at


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

    Three reasons:

    1)    Professional networking – it really seems paramount in our profession

    2)    Continuing education – constant learning is key, keeping sharp in the future after graduation

    3)    Improving my professional profile – I believe that belonging to professional organizations like MATI helps me distinguish myself to clients

  • 11/10/2015 9:15 PM | Meghan Konkol

    IUPUI Offers Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies

    By Enrica J. Ardemagni, Ph.D.

    In the fall of 2016 Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will begin a Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies in French, German and Spanish. The Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies builds on a set of successfully implemented undergraduate translation courses by a cadre of faculty experts in the field in a context of increased demand for higher credentialed professionals and academic specialists. 

    Globalization of business, law and trade relations and the changing US demographics have increased demand for translation skills in many fields, especially: educational, medical, legal and technical. The current demand for skilled translators far outweighs the supply available.   


    Consistent with the recommendations of the national academic and professional organizations, the graduate certificate program will ensure that all graduates have gained the knowledge, competence, critical thinking and linguistic skills to:

    • Integrate the theory into the practice of translation

    • Command the lexical precision, the detailed understanding of contexts or terminologies, and a nuanced sense of the purpose of language and its multiple audiences

    • Understand the complexity of ethical decisions that they will have to make in their professional practice

    • Discuss professionally their choices before future clients or employers

    The certificate is a total of 18 credit-hours, or a total of six courses, distributed among two core courses in the history and theory of translation, and the application of computer-assisted translation technologies, followed by two language-specific translation courses in Spanish, French or German, a linguistics course and a final internship or individual project. Additional offerings include four courses on Medical and Legal Interpreting. Courses are offered on a strategic rotation schedule.

    For more information, please contact


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