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.
  • 05/27/2020 10:46 PM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    By Maha El-Metwally

    Acoustic shock can have very serious implications for interpreters but we are not paying enough attention to it. This issue gained more awareness in the context of remote interpreting but also in the context of colleagues who got acoustic shock while working in Canada, Paris and other places. As interpreters, we need to educate ourselves about what is an acoustic shock.

    Let’s start with a definition. There are several definitions out there and one of the definitions is: "exposure to a sudden, loud, shocking or startling noises, usually in one ear, which may subsequently develop into painful symptoms"(1). Acoustic shock can have many symptoms. It could have physical symptoms like headaches, tinnitus, nausea, hyperacusis, muffled hearing, and vertigo. Other symptoms include numbness or burning sensations around the ear. If the symptoms persist, it could even lead to psychological symptoms including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and even depression.

    So what can you do in order to protect yourself against an acoustic shock and against its consequences? You could start by purchasing a limiter. Limiters are not widely spread in the world of interpreting but they are widely used in the world of TV  and the music industry. They are small pieces of equipment that act as a middleman between your headphone and your console or computer. They inhibit any sudden surge in sound from reaching dangerous levels. The manufacturers calibrate the limiters to suit the make and model of your own headphones. You may want to check brands like AdaptEar or LimitEar.

    There are some consoles that have built-in limiters. It is good practice to ask questions about the equipment you are asked to use when you work in a meeting. Conference technicians would be able to tell you more information about the equipment. Being educated about the equipment that we are using is a good idea. There are also headphones with built in limiters. They may not offer 100% protection against acoustic shock but they go part of the way. The brands and specifications are in the link to Naomi Bowman’s article at the end of this article.

    Some colleagues suffered an acoustic shock and they had to go through a long treatment. During the treatment period, they could not work. At the risk of stating the obvious, our hearing is essential to our livelihoods as interpreters. You may want to look at an occupational accident insurance. There are types that could cover any periods of unemployment that you may have as a result of an occupational accident and acoustic shock may qualify as one. This way, if you suffer an acoustic shock, you do not suffer a loss of income.

    Our busy lives involve a lot of air travel and some types of aeroplanes can be very noisy. Using noise-cancelling headphones when travelling can help protect your ears. It is also a good idea to have regular hearing checks as we may not be aware that our hearing is deteriorating.

    When we do in-person interpreting, we often rely on others to ensure that the equipment functions properly. However, under the current circumstances when we have to work from home, we need to take responsibility for that part as it is not feasible for somebody else to do that for us.




    Naomi Bowman’s article on how to choose a headset:

    Cyril Flerov’s article on decibels:

    Maha El-Metwally is a conference interpreter for the languages: Arabic (A), English (B), French and Dutch (C). She works for a wide range of international organizations, including the European Institutions and the United Nations. She is a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) and the American Translators Association (ATA) where she serves on the Leadership Council of the Interpreting Division. She is also a Board member and member of the Admissions Committee of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) where she was recently made fellow.

    ​Maha has an MA in interpreter training from the University of Geneva. She is associated with a number of universities both in the UK and abroad where she contributes to the curriculum. She is passionate about technology in the field of interpreting and offers courses on the subject internationally.

  • 05/27/2020 10:42 PM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    Dear Members,

    The year 2020 has brought some unexpected changes, and at MATI we have been trying to keep up with new developments as they happen.  The pandemic has redefined and rearranged the way we communicate with others and do business. Just the other day I was thinking that blowing out the candles on a cake will no longer be possible. That is, unless we want to eat the whole cake!

    MATI has increased its offerings in continuing education opportunities for our members. The board has been quite busy planning and adapting to the new normal, as yet still undefined. We offer a monthly lineup for professional development that can be checked on our website, and that also includes some free webinars for our members.

    The social distancing norms also pushed us to postpone the MATI 17th Annual Conference planned to take place in Milwaukee this year. We understand that due to the crisis, many professionals will choose to spend money on more essential things, and that a conference may not be their main focus.

    However, we are planning to offer a half-day training on September 12, the same day we had scheduled our original conference. We expect this to be a virtual event. More information will be posted soon.

    We are revamping our website, and with that, we will have a much-needed fresh look and easy to navigate features, which will allow external consumers to find professionals among our members more easily through our membership directory.

    Last, we just concluded our elections and we have a new group of officers. This year, Ghada Shakir, Enrica Ardemagni, Daina Jauntirans, and Manuela Francavilla will be leaving us. Their terms have come to an end, and on behalf of the board, I cannot thank them enough for their contributions. I know they will continue assisting our association through our committees and will still be actively involved in our activities.

    I also want to welcome to the board Kate Jankowski, Amy Polenske, Kelley Salas, Maggie Hong, and Enric Mallorquí Ruscalleda. Our virtual board installation and board retreat will take place on June 27. Details will be posted on our website and will follow via email as well. I encourage all of you to participate. Last, I want to thank the members who participated in the elections, who expressed interest and who assisted in making this a smooth process.

    Please stay safe and cherish your family and loved ones. We have learned the hard way how essential we are as professionals and how fragile we are as humans.

    Cordially, Christina Green, MATI President

  • 12/28/2019 1:08 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    MATI 16th Annual Conference

    By Catherine Breckenridge

    Over 100 language service professionals gathered together at the MATI 16th Annual Conference on Saturday, September 7, 2019 in Chicago, IL at Conference Chicago at University Center, to enjoy a day of great education and networking with colleagues.

    MATI was very pleased to welcome Dr. Bill Rivers as the 16th Annual Conference Keynote Speaker. Dr. Rivers spoke about coalition-based efforts to bring greater visibility to language services. He encouraged all attendees to become advocates for their profession.

    Elizabeth Colón led an engaging plenary session, guiding attendees through the steps to transition from freelancer to entrepreneur by shifting our perspective to think of ourselves as business owners and by self-incorporating as a business.

    In the afternoon, education was themed along two tracks – interpreter and translator. The interpreter room focused on healthy practices, both personally and professionally. 

    Erika Shell Castro helped us learn to recognize the signs of burnout and secondary traumatization in interpreters, as well as strategies for self-care and best practices in providing support for those experiencing burnout. Takeaways include protecting work/life balance, developing and deepening professional and social relationships for support and personal growth, and recognizing, listening to, and acting on the warning signs of burnout before they begin to affect our lives and our work.

    Moving from healthy mind and body, to healthy business practices, Tony Rosado asked us to carefully consider and value the factors that distinguish us as linguists when setting professional fees. These include professional experience, education, and other types of life experiences that contribute to our expertise.  He urged us to see ourselves as a profession, not an industry, and to set sustainable fees that reflect our status as professionals.

    In the translator room, Jill Sommer spoke about contingency planning and crisis management, asking those of us in the audience to consider what actually happens in an emergency, what can be done to prepare for unforeseen events and disasters, and how to protect our business and ourselves.

    Audiovisual linguist and manager, Deborah Wexler demystified the roles and work of an audiovisual linguist. She broke down technical components of subtitling and dubbing/re-voicing, distinguished between the different uses for this work, such as entertainment or accessibility, and discussed different team roles for each type of work. 

    In addition to some great professional development, attendees enjoyed connecting with friends and colleagues at breaks and even sharing a drink or two with colleagues during the hors d’oeuvres and happy hour event following the educational program. A few lucky attendees even took home fun raffle prizes.

    MATI would like to thank our attendees and our sponsors for making this such a great day! We had a blast. We hope you did too, and we hope to see you in Milwaukee in 2020! 

  • 12/28/2019 1:05 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    Reflections from ATA60 in Palm Springs, California

    By Amy Polenske

    A few weeks ago, I headed to Palm Springs, California, for what I was certain would be another enriching conference experience at ATA60. I joined roughly 1,400 other translation and interpreting professionals seeking to take advantage of all the professional development and networking opportunities that the annual ATA conference has to offer.

    Conference Venue

    This year, the conference was held at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Past conferences have been hosted at large hotels, so this was a new model for ATA. Personally, I enjoyed the setup. I stayed at a hotel adjoining the convention center so most events were a short walk away and all meetings and sessions were on the same floor so it was easy to find where you needed to be. For those staying at other nearby hotels, the beautiful weather made traversing a few blocks to the venue an added bonus. The Welcome Celebration, Closing Reception, and daily breakfast were held outdoors, allowing conference-goers to enjoy the mountain landscape as we caught up with colleagues and introduced ourselves to new faces.

    Session Highlights

    The conference sessions offer a vast array professional development learning opportunities. I sought to learn more on a variety of topics, with a particular interest in how technology is playing a role in our industry. In Can Machine Translation Boost Your Productivity? An Experiment, speaker Johanna Klemm explained how she incorporated MT into her freelance translation workflow (after discussing with her client) to increase her productivity about 10% compared to non-MT workflows this past year. This approach is an interesting contrast to how translations agencies are employing MT in-house and then seeking post-editing services from freelance translators. Seeing a freelancer successfully leverage MT in particular settings on her own gave me a new view of MT’s possibilities for the future.

    Another session, Why Translation Technology Still Matters, brought together representatives from SDL, Wordfast, and MemoQ to discuss current technology trends in the industry such as cloud-based platforms, speech-to-text functionality in CAT tools, and the increasing number of features packed into traditional desktop CAT tools. The speakers also offered insight into how they see translation technology evolving in the future.

    I also attended an interpreting session presented by Odilia Romero called Indigenous Migration to the U.S.: Historical Perspective, Contemporary Problems, and the Struggle for the Recognition of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. While I do not work in interpreting myself, the topics covered were highly relevant to the current debate surrounding immigration in the U.S. and I enjoyed gaining insight on the particular struggles that indigenous peoples face due to language barriers, in addition to the growing need for trained interpreters of indigenous languages.

    Networking and Catching Up with Colleagues

    Networking opportunities were abundant through structured events, such as Brainstorm Networking and the Job Fair, but they are also easy to experience spontaneously when you’re surrounded by 1,000+ industry professionals. I was happy to run into a number of fellow MATI members in Palm Springs. I also had the chance to reconnect with fellow volunteer translators from micro-lending platform Kiva, former co-workers, and MALLT alumni. Finally, I made new connections with students, translators, and Project Managers. I always find it inspiring to hear about other people’s careers and the diversity of work present in our industry.

    I left ATA’s Annual Conference feeling rejuvenated and motivated to take on new challenges in my professional life, and would recommend the experience to anyone seeking a different perspective or new opportunities in translation and interpreting.

  • 12/28/2019 12:31 AM | Catherine Breckenridge (Administrator)

    Presenting Core Competencies of the Localization Manager

    By Alaina Brandt

    I entered the field of localization while completing my Master of Arts in Language, Literature, and Translation at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In my first role as a quality reviewer, I proofread translated content in languages I couldn’t read at various stages of localization production. My job was to check that correct punctuation was used in target content, for instance, and to this day, I cannot stand to see a straight apostrophe where a curly apostrophe should be used! At the time the work seemed mundane, but reviewing translated content helped me build an understanding of issues common for romance, character, and script languages. When I went on to become a project manager, I used this experience to ensure the efficient processing of thousands of localization projects in eighty-plus languages.

    I began advocating for the project manager after attending my first conferences as a director of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters. What stood out to me then was the conflictual nature of the relationship between project managers and translators. Translators told war stories of working with LPMs with a “file pusher” mentality. These translators weren’t being provided with necessary instructions like style guides or termbases. They couldn’t get answers to critical queries.

    On the employment side, I noticed that my responsibilities far exceeded what seemed to be the messaging about my role. My experience in project management includes work at three localization firms of varying organizational maturity. In one of my jobs, I carried a project load of nearly 50 daily projects with 48-hour turnarounds while also establishing the infrastructure for a lucrative new client. In another role, I shifted our model from outsourcing to a single LSP to outsourcing to independent contractors. In that role, I established company-wide price lists for purchasing translation services while cutting out a middleman who was not providing value for the PM fees they were charging.

    While my duties were often more characteristic of program management, my role was undervalued. I often operated without the authority that would have allowed me to move strategy forward quickly and create the bandwidth for a greater client load. I observed burn-and-turn hiring cycles in which project managers with no background in translation or localization were hired and worked around the clock until they quit, taking important institutional knowledge with them. As a PM with training in translation, I knew that localization management required an advanced, broad skill set obtained through higher education or years of experience. I also knew that as an industry we could do so much better. This context prompted my research in localization management competencies.

    The LMCC typology

    My research began in the spring of 2018 when I started teaching localization management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. I collected around 70 job descriptions for localization project managers and studied those descriptions to identify the wide range of skills employers need. In the fall of 2018, I received funding for a Graduate Research Assistant, and GRA Cheng Qian joined the project. She used memoQ to tag the job descriptions in a localization competency termbase, in which unique skills were classified according to competency area. Students in the fall 2018 rendition of my Localization Project Management course at MIIS participated in this tagging as well. From the 70 job descriptions, we collectively identified nearly 1000 skills that we later boiled down into the typology of Localization Management Core Competencies (LMCC) that is found on our Core Competencies of the Localization Manager website ( Our typology was also built based on research in education programs in localization, international standards of best practice, and other resources. This typology is under ongoing development.

    Stakeholder Engagement on Localization Competencies

    As our typology became solidified into 7 dimensions with over 300 associated skills, we prepared to conduct stakeholder engagement on the topic. In the spring of 2019, we prepared an industry survey which was piloted on students in my Advanced Localization Project Management course at MIIS. In the summer of 2019, I traveled to Xi’an China to give the keynote address at the WITTA-TTES forum 2019, where I introduced our typology to the industry for the first time. I then published the Core Competencies of the Localization Manager website to educate the industry on our research. In the fall of 2019, two additional GRAs were added to the project: Vanessa Prolow and Xiaofu ‘Rick’ Dong. At the beginning of the semester, I took Dr. Netta Avineri’s Survey Design course at MIIS, and we polished our industry survey based on the knowledge gained in that course. We launched our industry survey of 35 questions shortly thereafter which collected respondents’ perspectives on localization competencies and training. Our thanks to the 62 respondents who took our survey!

    LMCC Industry Survey Results

    According to broad estimates on the number of localization practitioners in the United States, we would have needed around 400 responses for our survey results to be conclusive. While are results are not conclusive, they do give a good temperature check on the reception of our localization competencies within the industry. Our survey enjoyed global participation: Around 60% of respondents self-identified as being from the United States, and around 20% self-identified as being from Asia. We also had participants from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Our survey was taken by experienced professionals as well. Around 40% of our respondents had over 10 years of experience, and around 65% of our respondents had over 5 years of experience.

    Xiaofu ‘Rick’ Dong conducted the initial analysis of survey responses that I presented at the ATA’s 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs; and forthcoming publications will dive more deeply into the nuance of our survey results. For the time being, major takeaways from our survey are as follows:

    • In terms of management competencies, terminology management ranked 11th for importance of the 15 competencies we presented to respondents. According to international standards of best practice, if you are not managing terminology, you do not have a quality product. This ranking therefore demonstrates that terminology management is an area where much stakeholder education is needed. From a practical standpoint, managing terminology when carrying out multilingual projects with multiple translators per language prevents unnecessary rework. From a marketing standpoint, terminology management should be viewed as perception design… As translators are aware, words elicit complex emotions tied to concept relations within the brain. Localizers would do well to be aware of the emotions their terminology evokes to avoid product failures in global markets

    • In term of technological competencies, despite the fear with which machine translation is viewed, MT ranked 4th for importance of the 15 competencies we presented to respondents. (CAT and TMS tied for first place. General technological literacy and project management applications tied for second place.) Our survey demonstrates that ongoing stakeholder education on the skills required for such services as PEMT is needed for MT to be accepted by translators. For instance, according to ISO standards on human translation and PEMT, the latter actually requires more skills and competencies that traditional human translation, despite the undervaluing of PEMT in terms of perception and rates.

    • Just over 55% of respondents agreed that bilingualism is necessary for the professional practice of localization management. This takeaway has important implications for bilingual education in the United States, where the promotion of monolingualism threatens our country’s ability to complete on a global level.

    Moving Forward with Localization Competency Research

    The work of the LMCC research team is ongoing, and our existing typology benefits the industry in a number of ways. Employers can use our typology to identify the competencies they have in house to make more strategic hiring decisions when adding talent to their teams. Localization practitioners can use our typology to identify the competencies they have and the competencies they need further development in. Trainers can use our typology to determine the what should be the core of their training programs and where nuance can be added. For more information on our research, please see our Core Competencies of the Localization Manager website (, which presents further information on the context for our research and our methodology. We also welcome feedback on version 4 of our typology, which is under ongoing development.


    Alaina Brandt is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Translation and Localization Management (TLM) program of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She is on the board of directors of the American Translators Association, and she’s the Assistant Administrator of the Translation Company Division of ATA. She is a member of Committee F43 on Language Services and Products of ASTM International. Brandt is CEO and founder of Afterwords Translations. She holds a Master of Arts in Language, Literature, and Translation from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

  • 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: