Dec 2, 2013
ATA 54th Annual Conference Summary
By: Paul Koehler
Translators and interpreters in many different language pairs gathered for the ATA 54th Annual Conference held at the San Antonio Riverwalk Marriot from November 6-9, 2013. This annual conference is always an important event and gives many translators and interpreters a chance to learn, network and get together with new friends and old colleagues.
Attendance from members of the Japanese Language Division was very robust, with about 55 members attending the official JLD dinner at the Iron Cactus, which was graciously organized by JLD Secretary Hiroki Fukuyama. Other happenings in JLD included the initial open house, several sessions and the installation of two new officers: Jim Patrick as Administrator and Nadine Edwards Assistant Administrator, while Masae Sullivan stepped down after serving as Administrator from 2011-2013.
This year’s distinguished speaker was Richard Walker, who came from Yokohama to give a presentation and workshop on “Fiendishly Difficult Japanese Sentences”. Initial plans were also announced for next year’s conference, which will be held at the Chicago Sheraton Inn from November 5-8, 2014.
Dear JLD Members,
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a relaxing holiday.
Although not even a month has passed since the ATA Conference in San Antonio, the planning process for next year's conference in Chicago is already beginning. The deadline for Distinguished Speaker proposals is in February, and the deadline for regular session proposals is in March.
If you were able to attend the conference in Texas, you may have heard us calling for ideas and suggestions for next year. We have received a lot of good feedback. Thank you and please keep it coming.
If you were not able to attend the 2013 conference, this is your chance to let us know what sort of sessions and presentations you would be interesting in attending. Who would you like to hear speak? What subjects would you like to learn about? Would you be interesting in giving a presentation? Do you know someone who would be a good speaker? Please let us know. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
Finally, if you would be willing to volunteer for the Planning Committee, please contact us. The Planning Committee is a group of JLD members who help find and solicit speakers and coordinate sessions for next year's conference. We will meet once or twice a month via Skype over the next few months. Several people raised their hands to held last month. If you didn't get a chance to volunteer in San Antonio and you would like to get involved, here is your chance!
Our first Planning Committee Meeting will be held Sunday, December 8 at 9pm EST. Please contact Jim or Nadine if you would like to attend.
Nov 4, 2013
Welcome to San Antonio and the ATA 54th Annual Conference!
Japanese Language Division Open House
1. Join the division www.atanet.org/divisions
2. Website www.ata-divisions.org/JLD
3. Blog www.jldtimes.blogspot.com
4. Mailing list groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/jld-list/info
5. Facebook www.facebook.com/ATAJLD
6. Linkedin www.linkedin.com/groups/Japanese-Language-Division-ATA
- We need volunteers to INTRODUCE presenters at the JLD sessions this year. Can you help?
- We want to post SUMMARIES of each JLD session on the blog. Can you help?
- Do you have any ideas for future sessions? Tell us what you would like to see.
- Do you know any potential speaker? Tell us who would be a good presenter.
- Contact Jim or Nadine if you want to help out in the Planning Committee for next year.
- Write an article for the blog. Talk to Tracy Miller for details about how to get involved.
- Start a discussion on the mailing list. Share interesting links.
ENJOY THE CONFERENCE
Newcomers’ Lunch – Friday 1pm to 2pm at TBD
- An informal lunch for JLD members new and old! Talk to Hiro Tsuchiya for details.
Annual Meeting – Friday 5pm to 6pm in Conference 11
- Review election results, division business and begin plans for next year. Get involved!
Annual Dinner – Friday from 7pm at the Iron Cactus (200 River Walk Suite 100)
- $45 per person. Only a few seats remaining. Talk to Hiroki Fukuyama ASAP!
Sep 23, 2013
- "Mark Spahn" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sep 23 03:17AM -0400
The best relationship between a translator and a translation
agency is one that minimizes the non-essentials of the
money-for-translation transaction. But some agencies are
fond of establishing a legalistic relationship, with a contract
("agreement" is the euphemism) setting forth what is supposed
to happen. There is nothing wrong in principle with this,
but it can be overdone. Consider the following provisions
of a contract between agency and translator. Commentary
follows each, in square brackets [...].
(1) "Fees may not be disclosed to any party outside this
agreement." This is restated as "Translator agrees that
Translator will never disclose to any Company clients
*or to any third party* [emphasis added] Fees paid to
Translator by Company."
[Why would the agency want the translator's spouse and
the tax authorities to be kept in the dark about this part
of the translator's income? Isn't this illegal?]
(2) "Governing Law. This Agreement shall be governed
by and construed in accordance with the laws of [country C]."
[What motivates this provision, when the agency is headquartered
in country A, and the translator lives in country B?]
(3) In a list of what constitutes Confidential Information,
which must be kept secret, is the unobtrusive phrase
"the terms and conditions of this Agreement itself".
[Huh? The contract itself is secret? What would be the
motivation for this provision? And this presents a logical
conundrum: How could you ever recruit translators?
You will have to reveal the entire text of the contract to
prospective new translators, some of whom will decide not to
agree to it and will therefore be free to make its text public.]
(4) In an orthodox contract, both parties sign and date it.
But here the contract is on a password-protected website
and cannot be downloaded. Instead of a signature, the
translator is asked to click on an "I Accept" button.
How can this possibly be legally binding? Moreover,
no company officer signs, or is even named in, this contract,
or clicks on any "I Accept" button. So is this meant to be
a one-way contract that is binding on one party but not the other?
[That "I Accept" declaration in lieu of a signature is an
interesting choice of words. It's not the bland "I Agree",
but "I Accept", which calls to mind Billy Graham at a
revival meeting: Billy says, "Do you accept Jesus Christ
as your Lord and Savior?" The crowd roars as one,
Until recent days, I have never seen a contract with
any of these provisions (1) to (4). Have you?
(Maybe I just lead a sheltered life not to have seen such
Please be assured that there really is a contract with
these provisions. As Dave Barry would say, I am not
making this up. (While poring through this contract, which
I was asked to read carefully before "I Accept"ing,
I jotted down notes on its various provisions. In the
unlikely event that anyone would like to see those notes
(8 pages!), just contact me and I can attach the Word file
to my email reply to you.)
Comments on these translator-agency contract provisions
are welcome. Have you had any experience with such
provisions, and how did you handle them?
I have a little theory that explains what the above provisions are
doing in a contract, but I'll keep it "confidential" for a few days,
lest I skew anyone's response.
-- Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
Sep 20, 2013
by Tracy Miller
It was a cold night in January a few years ago when I received a phone call very late.
"You don't know me, but I'm a friend of the family whose son disappeared on Mt. Fuji. You may have heard about it on the news," replied an unfamiliar voice.
"Can we possibly call on you to do interpreting if the family decides they need an interpreter?"
Having been involved in a missing persons investigation several years ago locally, I knew what this meant. Despite a sense of impending doom, I said, "Of course, I will do whatever I can to help."
Thus, began the weeks-long, heart-wrenching process of interpreting between the family of the young man missing on Mt. Fuji since January and the rescue team in Fuji-Yoshida-shi. The rescue team struggled to overcome searing winds and freezing temperatures in order to find him alive. I interpreted daily reports about the rescue team’s plan for the day. Would weather allow them to proceed with rescue operations? Did they find any clues that the son left behind? How cold and windy was it? What was the likelihood of avalanches? The questions seemed endless in the family’s quest to cover as many bases as possible. All I could do was reassure them of the experience and expertise of the rescue team. I could hear it in the voices of the men and women searching the mountain. They were making every effort to find the missing man alive.
Interpreters are often called upon to step up and serve in uncomfortable situations like this one. Our conduct leaves a lasting impression on the people we serve. Keeping this foremost in my mind, I quickly learned everything I needed to know about Mt. Fuji—the elevation, rescue activities, weather patterns, vocabulary for climbing, etc. I tried hard to concentrate and handle this job using the same protocol I would for any other. I know as a professional interpreter that I should maintain an emotional distance, but in a situation like this one it’s almost impossible not to become emotionally invested and personally involved. The family hung on the words of the rescue team as interpreted by me. Many times, I could not help but have a heavy heart when delivering grim news or no news at all. On the other hand, I also think that skillful interpreting in a case like this can make Japan seem a little less foreign. They asked me questions about Japanese culture, customs, and societal norms, hoping that a better understanding might bring some reassurance. Throughout the process, the family kept a special Facebook page to keep friends and loved ones updated on the efforts to find him.
Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending. The young man’s body was discovered in the spring, a few months after he went missing. A beautiful, peaceful photograph atop Mr. Fuji is the the last surviving image these parents have of their beloved son - a photograph showing him very much alive and well, doing what he loved
This experience reminds me that what we do as interpreters is more than just providing communication in another language. Sometimes, we provide a vital link with lives hanging in the balance. Interpreting for parents searching for their lost child and the rescue team diligently searching for him renewed my appreciation for the art and science of language, and how important it can be in human interactions.