New England Translators Association
 A Professional Resource for Translators and Interpreters
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Keynote speaker: Professor Aviva Chomsky

A Country of Immigrants? Settler Colonialism, Immigration, and Race in the United States

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Mediating between different languages and cultures is at the root of what translators and interpreters do, whether we interpret in medical or legal settings or translate pharmaceutical inserts or marketing materials. Our collective richness consists of the diversity of languages and peoples who come to this country. Yet we see a trend in the United States to criminalize and then exclude whole groups of people on the basis of culture and language in the mistaken belief that their exclusion will somehow keep us “safer.” Translators and interpreters provide needed services to immigrants, create bridges across languages and cultures that can enrich people’s lives, and by their very work offer a challenge to nativist worldviews.

The presentation will examine different aspects of the contemporary rise in racism and nativism and its historical roots. It will discuss the nature of the debates on immigration, nativism, and anti-immigrant racism, myths about immigration and about language, as well as the role of language and specifically of translation and interpretation, in current social realities.


Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her books include Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (Beacon Press, 2014; Mexican edition, 2014), A History of the Cuban Revolution (2011, 2nd ed. 2015), Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class (2008), They Take Our Jobs! And Twenty Other Myths about Immigration (2007; US Spanish edition 2011, Cuban edition 2013), and West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870-1940 (1996). She has also coedited several anthologies including The People behind Colombian Coal: Mining, Multinationals and Human Rights/Bajo el manto del carbón: Pueblos y multinacionales en las minas del Cerrejón, Colombia (2007), The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (2003), and Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean (1998). She has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants’ rights movements for several decades.

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.

Ethics or Professional Conduct?                                                            

Interpreters are likely to encounter problematic situations that raise doubt as to the best course of action and do not provide clear answers as to the outcome of decision options. Codes of ethics help, but some situations may be multifaceted, and even seasoned interpreters who know the ethical canons may have trouble honoring all of them.          .
This session will address various factors that affect interpreters’ behavior, including personal beliefs and expectations. It will also describe existing codes of ethics and professional practice, why they exist, and the differences between them. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss real-world problematic situations and propose suggestions as to the best course of action.


Gladys Matthews holds a degree in French from the Universidad de Costa Rica, and a master's degree in terminology and translation and PhD in linguistics with an emphasis in legal translation from Université Laval in Canada. She has extensive experience as an English/French into Spanish translator, specializing in legal and education policy translation. An experienced court interpreter, Matthews trained at the Agnes Haury Institute of the University of Arizona and is certified in the state of Indiana. She is currently course director in the Master of Conference Interpreting of Glendon College of York University, Toronto. She also served as program director and faculty member in various colleges and universities, including Metropolitan State University of Denver, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and the College of Charleston. She has trained and worked as a medical interpreter and is a registered family law mediator in Indiana.

Translating for a Minority Group: The Politics of Language

The struggle of minorities and their public narratives are nothing new. Translation, although a silent ally, has long had a pervasive role in spreading such narratives and sparking social conversations and change across the globe.

Nonetheless, what is the role of the translator? How can neutrality be balanced with a clear political choice when a translator’s job is to project the voice of social activists to a new audience? How to make the right choice of words when, from an insider’s point of view, seemingly harmless subtleties can subvert the narrative?

In 2014 I started a blogging project translating the voices of a very specific population: autistic adults and teenagers. In doing so, I became involved in their struggle, their vindication, and their language. I had to make choices and I saw myself as more than a neutral voice, but a puzzle piece in the Disabilities Movement.                        .


Alexia Klein was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She has a strong scientific background, having graduated from high school as a chemistry technician, and holding degrees in pharmaceutical sciences and the history of science, all from one of Brazil’s most prestigious universities, the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).                          .

Her passion for the written word and for languages has made her shift interests towards the craft of translating. She attended classes in English to Portuguese translation at the New York University School of Continuing Education and is a member of the ATA and the NY Circle of Translators. She resides in New York City.


Introduction to Computer-Assisted Translation Tools

Have you ever heard terms like translation memory; terminology management; rules-based, statistical, and neural machine translation; FAUT; and FAHQT? Are you curious but intimidated by computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools? Have you ever wondered if maybe these technologies could help you translate more effortlessly and faster, and therefore be more competitive? In this workshop, you will learn the basic principles of how CAT tools work, what they can (and what they cannot) do for you, how you can use them to produce high-quality translations without losing your individuality, how they can free you to focus on the most creative parts of the translation process, and where you can obtain more information and training. This workshop will be a continuation of last year's workshop (“Computer Tricks for Translators”).



Eduardo Berinstein is an ATA-certified translator and federally certified court interpreter. He served as director of interpreter services at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He was part of the MMIA committee that developed the first standards of practice for medical interpreters, adopted by the MMIA in 1995 and later by many professional organizations nationwide. He has taught at Bentley College, Cambridge College, and the National Center for Interpretation. He currently teaches at the BU Medical, Legal, and Community Interpreter Program, and runs a cooperative translation company:

12:45 – 1:45 p.m. 

Skill-Building Strategies for Interpreters and Interpreter Trainers

Interpreters and would-be interpreters are often at a loss as to how to improve their skills. Classes where the same stilted role-play dialogues are used ad nauseam can get boring very quickly, for students and for teachers. I have tried out several different strategies on my lab rats—students, I mean–—and on myself, and I'll share some of these with you.


Steve Sanford has been a court and conference interpreter for 20 years and is currently a full-time employee of the Trial Court of Massachusetts. He has been an instructor in Boston University’s interpreting program since 2005. The Interpreter's Gym, his Soundcloud page, provides free audio files for interpreters to practice with. Steve has also trained and mentored new court interpreters and participated in the translation of court forms. He has interpreted for two former presidents of Cabo Verde, for a former president of Brazil, and for Nixon da Silva.

Visible Violence

How do we signal diversity, when, as translators, our work is predicated on erasing, or in the words of Lawrence Venuti, “forcibly replacing,” a foreign voice? Violence, as we know, works both ways. Whether we are writing only for the target language audience, thus domesticating the foreign text, or transporting our target audience to the foreign voice, thereby visibly foreignizing our text, translation is an inherently violent act. In this panel we explore these ramifications at stake in translation and the visible and political role translators play as ambassadors of diversity, especially within literary translation. Borrowing from tactics in feminist translation, we will also discuss some tools and strategies that might better signal diversity in translation. While translation is inherently violent, it is our task to be more keenly aware of the power differences that exist as we negotiate between linguistic and cultural differences, and visibly signal this diversity.


Laura Balladur is lecturer of French and Francophone Studies at Bates College. Her broad interests include the theory and practice of translation, cinema, the relationship between literature and science, the mind-body dichotomy, and the embodied self in dance. She and her copresenter, Francisca Lopez, designed and collaborated on a translation class, then coauthored the article “Translation for Cross-Cultural Thinking in the Liberal Arts,” detailing the experience.     .

Francisca López serves on the faculty at Bates College. She specializes in contemporary Spanish literature and culture. Some of her more recent essays reflect her new theoretical preoccupations, such as the relationship between global and local cultures and how this relationship influences definitions of self and nation. She and her copresenter Laura Balladur designed and collaborated on a translation class, then coauthored the article “Translation for Cross-Cultural Thinking in the Liberal Arts,” detailing the experience.

I got 3,243,756,981 hits! How come I picked the wrong term? Assessing your sources in terminology research

Translators and interpreters rely on different tools when doing research to solve terminology problems. Nowadays, we have access at the tip of our fingers to innumerable types of documents and sources that offer us many options. While in the past finding enough information could be a problem, today it might seem that we have too much of a good thing.

Nevertheless, no matter if we are using paper or electronic sources, the term we decide to finally use will only be as good as the quality of the sources we are relying on.

This presentation will address the different types of source materials that can be useful in terminology research. It will also provide different criteria for assessing those sources and their results, in order to help us decide if they are correct or which would be the best option for the specific translation we are working on.


Heidi Cazes is a translator, interpreter, and terminologist. She has a graduate diploma in translation from El Colegio de Mexico and a master’s in terminology from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She has worked on researching terminology, developing specialized dictionaries, and lecturing in terminology; she is currently an instructor in the English On-line Terminology Graduate Course given by IULA. She is also a US Federal Court-certified interpreter and ATA-certified translator. She works as a translator and interpreter for different clients, and with the US Department of State as a contract translator and conference-level interpreter. She is a member of ATA, NAJIT, and IAPTI.


2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Panel on Business Practices

Tapani Ronni, et al.

Demystifying Sight Translation in Healthcare Settings

Sight translation in healthcare settings often occupies an underprivileged position among the interpreter’s skills. The frequency of this mode’s application varies depending on the institutional policy and often on the interpreter’s own preference to encourage “converting” it to the consecutive interpreting mode when, instead, a provider explains or summarizes a document. Yet, this skill can be argued to be the most difficult one to master as it requires a balance of interpreting and translation skills, with an added challenge of the variety and complexity of healthcare documents themselves. The presentation focuses on identifying elements of equivalency constituting accurate sight translation of a healthcare document and corresponding interpreting subskills needed to master this mode. Attendees will receive practical guidelines for assessing and improving their mastery of sight translation. The presentation is conducted in English and meant for experienced interpreters.


Margarita Bekker, CoreCHI™, is lead Russian interpreter, education and training, at Stanford University Medical Center, and chair elect of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters. Margarita is a certified Bridging the Gap trainer. She was a Russian-language coach at the City College of San Francisco HCI program. Since 2012, she has been a curriculum developer and instructor of healthcare interpreting courses (Russian) for a master-level distance learning program at Glendon School of Translation at York University, Toronto, Canada. Margarita is a former president of the California Healthcare Interpreting Association and a former chairperson of the CHIA Conference Committee.

Considering Linguistic Racism and the Problematics of “Diversity” for Translators and Interpreters of English

When English is involved in translation and the elephant in the room is often linguistic racism, “diversity” cannot be taken for granted as a simple good. This session examines English and its paired languages not as discrete systems but as living characters in a drama of shared and competing interests. Here we ask: How does English get along, change, or become changed in interacting with other languages? In the parlance of the marketplace, what does it mean to own, sell, or buy English, choose, or subsume English in one's repertoire of other languages, or bypass English altogether? For translators, how is “diversity” at once a benefit and a liability? How might translators be implicated in exploiting the “other” while at risk of being appropriated themselves? This session calls attention to the problematics of diversity in translation and suggests some avenues toward personal empowerment and social leveling for the language profession.


Julie H. Tay is a New York-based Chinese-to-English translator/transeditor. She is also currently a clinical assistant professor with the NYU School of Professional Studies teaching commercial translation, editing, and market perspectives for translators. In April 2016, she spoke on “Return to Subjectivity,” both at the CTA and the NETA annual conferences. In November 2017, Tay served as a judge at China’s national Young Interpreters’ Cup and spoke on “Alternative Work Models” at the BFSU Graduate School of Translation and Interpreting. Tay recently cotranslated and edited a 450-page English translation of Dr. Liping Liao’s How Not to Get Sick, a compendium on traditional Chinese medicine. In February 2018, she will launch Translating Silk and Bamboo Music, an interpretive translation of oral histories with grant support of the NYS Council on the Arts.


3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

Record-Keeping and Taxes for Translators and Interpreters

Translators and interpreters often are freelancers, so sole or small business owners, and as such, must keep track of their own professional finances. Some key questions arise: How might we best handle finances when working for agencies versus for direct clients? How can one take into account different contexts and different settings (for interpreters: legal, medical, community, conference)? What options exist for creating and managing invoices? And most importantly, how should freelancers deal with taxes most efficiently and accurately?


Irene Wachsler, CPA, is a graduate of the University of Lowell and earned a master of science in business administration from Babson College. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs. She has particular interest in film and video.

Integrating Interpretation to Redefine World Languages in Higher Education

The restructure of the higher education curriculum poses opportunities and obstacles as we approach the end of another 21st-century decade. University programs are being held accountable for producing graduates who are more culturally and globally competent, professionally skilled, and proficient in their fields. The study of languages is becoming more focused on professions that rely on knowledge of variants within a language to be able to effectively manage linguistic and sociocultural codes. World languages are being integrated into professional preparation programs in higher academia to fulfill the growing needs of linguistically diverse populations. The creation of interdisciplinary clusters will promote programs such as interpretation and translation of multiple languages to integrate with health, nursing, social work, tourism, education, business, and criminal justice programs to graduate students who are linguistically and culturally proficient with real-world experiences.


Barbara Lopez-Mayhew, PhD, is a professor at Plymouth State University, NH. She teaches all levels of Spanish and specializes in literature, with several related publications. She served as chair of the Department of Languages and Linguistics for nine and a half years and has traveled extensively for the university's study abroad office and as a member of USNH and PSU delegations. She recently completed community health interpretation and legal interpretation training through the Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center.                      .

Wilson A. García, EdD, is a professor of Spanish at Plymouth State University. He received his legal interpretation training from the Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center in Manchester, NH.

Video Remote Interpretation—The Real Effect on Interpretation Services

VRI usage has been increasing within the past few years. During this workshop we will cover the good, the bad, the mediocre, and some solutions that must be considered when VRI is upon us. We will cover questions such as these: How is the industry being affected? How are LEPs affected? What do providers need to know? How do we train providers in working with it? What can language service providers do to ensure video remote interpreters are providing top quality services? How can we, as interpreters, take care of ourselves (emotionally and physically) when working VRI?


Cynthia Peinado’s healthcare career began more than 25 years ago after she enrolled as a community volunteer in Moon City, Texas, in a public health clinic. She then worked in nursing serving NICU, pediatrics, ICU, ER, and mental health patients. Her mission for integrating provider services and patient care quality have led her to other roles within risk management, patient advocacy, provider and staff training, and development. Ms. Peinado now works as a telephonic, video, and onsite interpreter at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She also provides training and consultation services for healthcare providers in regulatory compliance and quality improvement.


Endnote Speaker: Chris Durban
Filthy Lucre: Translators and Money

Almost all translators seek compensation for their way with words, but few things cause more discord among us than discussions of money. Keyboards clatter. Anxiety, cynicism, and bluster abound. Fingers wag. Garments are rent.

How much should translators charge? What is “fair”—or is that even relevant? When does pricing (up or down) get arrogant or (say some) abusive? And does the mere act of bargaining devalue our status as intellectual service providers? (So tacky! So… capitalist.) All this when most translators are simply looking for a way to make the case for the value they create with ease, grace—and success. Why is that so hard?                                        .

In this presentation, we’ll take a head-on approach to this sensitive topic, examining issues that shape our relationship with money. Using hard data and four decades of observing translation markets across many countries, the presenter will help translators look hard in the mirror, address their profound discomfort, and bring a new confidence to dealings with money.


Chris Durban is a freelance F>E translator based in Paris. She translates every day and enjoys it immensely. She is also the author of “Translation, Getting it Right,” a short guide for translation buyers now available in 19 languages; coauthor of its companion piece “Interpreting, Getting it Right”; and a contributor to The Prosperous Translator and 101 Things a Translator Needs to Know, both available at                                                          

Chris regularly gives lectures and workshops on writing, specialization, and working with direct clients, and has published many articles emphasizing the benefits for clients and translators when linguists take a proactive approach. Every two years, she co-organizes the French translators’ society’s Université d’été de la traduction financière (UETF), and she is the founder of and an instructor on the “Translate in…” series of writing workshops for translators targeting the premium end of the market.


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