News

Notice of OSTI Board Meeting

Following is the Notice of the next OSTI Board Meeting

Date: October 25, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Place: Sylvan Heights Community Center
7600 SW Barnes Rd.
Portland, OR 97225

Please find the agenda below.   This will be an in-person only meeting.  OSTI Board meetings are open to OSTI members in good standing.

Agenda October 2016

 

 

News

Reflections on the 2016 OSTI Annual Conference

-by Jazmin Manjarrez

On a beautiful sunny weekend in Bend, Oregon, a group of translators and interpreters came together to celebrate the Third Annual Conference of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters.

Friends and colleagues gathered to share coffee and pastries, in anticipation of a promise of an exciting day of learning.

First up was Detective Pat Hartley.  He was very knowledgeable and forthcoming as he took us behind closed doors to a place most of us have never been: the process of polygraphs while working with interpreters.  What truly happens as the process of a polygraph begins, adding to the mix an interpreter?  He walked us through the initial interviews; deciding if the subject is fit for a polygraph, and how the detectives work closely with an interpreter to ask the crucial questions.  It was all so very interesting.

Up next was Cindy Roat, who spoke to us about technology and how it can be incorporated into language access in healthcare.  Who knew there were so many technologies being developed specifically for language, some more effective than others. What does the future have in store?  Will interpreters and translators eventually be replaced?  Interpreters and translators have a keen sense that observes and detects little nuances that machines could never do.  Not to mention machines could never understand culture in healthcare.  As a colleague once said, “machines do words, people do languages.”

After a well-deserved lunch break, we quickly got back to business.  The Annual Board meeting got on the way.  Various reports were presented to the members, including the treasurer, membership, Facebook progress, etc.  Then the time came to elect a new OSTI president, director and secretary.  Each candidate spoke eloquently as to why they were running for the respective posts.  Our members asked candidates about their vision for OSTI, and how OSTI will advocate for the profession, among other things.  The votes were in, members had spoken, and a new board emerges.  Congratulations to Lois Feuerle, president, Susanne Kraetschmer, director, and Svetlana Ruth, secretary.

Time for the learning to continue.  Jacquie Hinds and Sierra Groenewold, LPC  delivered the challenges of interpreting in behavioral health.

The group is hungry for more knowledge, some eagerly awaiting our presenter Martin Cross, none more interested than our translators as to what this knowledgeable man would reveal.   Translation is tricky, but we already knew that, yet Martin brought up some excellent points keeping our audience engaged.

As we near the end, we discuss the ATA exams.  Susanne and Denise share their experiences preparing and taking the ever so challenging exam.  The participants were quickly engaged and enthralled by the complexity.  We learned that the best resources are paper dictionaries, technology not so much.  We found out that soon the ATA would be rolling out a keyboarded exam, a relief for many hoping to take the exam next year.  This year there were seven individuals who signed up to take the ATA exam the day after the conference, and we wished them the best of luck!

Also, this year OSTI organized an ATA exam study group, the brainchild of Helen Eby.  She and the study group briefly shared what it was like to study as a group and how they supported each other in this grand adventure.

As the conference ends, we thank the organizers, presenters, table guests for making this year’s conference a success.  Moreover, a very special thank you and a well-deserved standing ovation is given to our departing President, Helen Eby.

A great day of learning and networking was had by all.  Many head out for some food and libations, while others begin their journey back to Portland. We say goodbye to our colleagues; good luck and good night, see you next year at OSTI’s Fourth Annual Conference.

News

Updates to the OHA Health Care Interpreting Certification Program

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has updated its application form to match the requirements of the latest Health Care interpreting law.

There have been changes to the following items:

  • Language proficiency level required
  • Certification exams accepted
  • Background checks are now required
  • Hours of interpreting experience required
  • Continuing education requirements

This document explains the rationale for the changes.

This document lists the requirements for Qualified and Certified Health Care Interpreters in Oregon.

This page has the links to the current application forms.
 

These links were verified on September 21, 2016

News

photo used by permission of Boyle Education Center

Show All Your Cards in Bend, Oregon

Show All Your Cards in Bend, Oregon

At last year’s conference in Portland, attendees had fun picking their top three location choices for OSTI’s 2016 event. Bend was the clear favorite. With its sunny, dry climate, infinite outdoor activities, friendly people, blue skies, and gorgeous mountains surrounding the town, what’s not to love? Come make a long weekend out of it and join us for OSTI’s 2016 conference, “Showing All Your Cards” the weekend of Sept 23-25 at Central Oregon Community College’s Boyle Education Center. Check out our special student and member rates and lock in your early bird ticket pricing today.

Why Should I Attend OSTI’s 2016 Conference?

Ask any OSTI conference goer who’s attended previous events and they will tell you how thoroughly they enjoyed meeting other translator and interpreter colleagues and learning from the diverse group of presenters. The sense of community from being amongst one’s peers is energizing and invigorating. If you’re a court interpreter, you will be happy to learn that the conference will earn you 4.5 general credits from the Oregon Judicial Department. The ATA is offering 7 CEUs for attending the conference and credits have been approved by the Washington DSHS as well. CEUs from the Washington AOC are pending.

Pre-conference Activities

There never seems to be enough time to network and talk to everyone you’d like to during a packed weekend, so this year we built in some additional time for just that. Friday night, September 23, we’ll kick off the weekend with a picnic in Drake Park.

Conference Day, Morning

Saturday, September 24, we have a full day planned starting with a continental breakfast at 7:00am. Morning presenters are Pat Hartley, Bend police detective, who will enlighten us on the ins and outs of the polygraph machine, and Juan Gutiérrez Sanín, MD, sharing with us his in- depth knowledge about genetics, in a presentation that has been approved for 2.0 CEUs through CCHI.

Lunch

We’re splitting up the day with a long lunch off site. You get to explore the gastronomic delicacies Bend has to offer and either return for OSTI’s annual Board meeting or continue to relax and network over coffee and dessert until the afternoon sessions begin.

Annual Board Meeting

OSTI’s annual Board meeting is open to all who are interested in hearing about the accomplishments and future plans of our growing organization. OSTI members will have the opportunity to hear from and vote on candidates running for three open positions: Treasurer, Director, and President. If you haven’t yet become an OSTI member, the time to do it is now! Only OSTI members can vote on who will hold these important positions on the Board. You must be registered as a member no less than 30 days prior to the conference to be eligible to vote. Apply to become an OSTI member here and get a discount on this year’s conference.

Conference Day, Afternoon

During the second half of the conference, we will hear from local experts Sierra Groenewold and Jacquie Hinds on Behavioral Health and medical interpreting. Martin Cross follows to reveal the secrets of translation for the courts. We’ll wrap up the day hearing from OSTI President Helen Eby, who will speak about the ATA study group, and OSTI members Denise Fainberg and Susanne Kraetschmer, who will share their experiences preparing for, taking, and passing the ATA exam. Not an easy feat but a very timely topic since OSTI will be hosting the ATA certification exam for the second time on Sunday, September 25th from 10 to 1.

Curious Title

Why the title “Showing All Your Cards”? You’ll have to read more on our EventBrite site to get a teaser as to what this title means; the deeper truth behind the selection will be revealed to conference attendees only.  So, get your early bird tickets now before prices go up August 9th and plan some fun activities before and after the event with ideas from Discover Bend.  See you there!

News

OSTI: Supporting All, Including a Vietnamese Interpreter in Eugene

By Bradley Owen

My name is Bradley Owen and I am a new interpreter working in the Eugene/Springfield sister-city area in the lower Willamette Valley.  I moved to this beautiful multicultural community from the East Coast in 2014. I’ve been doing Vietnamese medical interpreting here for about a year, and on a voluntary basis for the last nine years in Vermont and Oklahoma.

After breaking into the professional interpreting field in 2015, I was introduced to OSTI after reaching out to the Oregon Healthcare Interpreter Association (OHCIA) for advice on how to launch as a full-time professional. Then, several members of OSTI, including the President, were kind enough to visit my home for an informational interview a few weeks later in the fall of 2015.

Beginning with our first meeting that evening in September 2015, OSTI has been my main source of information that I trust and rely on for my interpreting work in Oregon. OSTI members form a large professional network throughout the state of Oregon and neighboring states, and they have even helped me make professional connections in other states far and wide around the Pacific Northwest. OSTI is a professional network resource utilized by nationally certified court and medical interpreters, ATA-certified translators, and other professionals who have decades of experience at the leading edge of the industry.

But more importantly, OSTI is a group of professionals seeking to scale up the impact of the work we do for our stakeholders. OSTI works to raise professional standards for the industry, help interpreters and translators be in a position to negotiate appropriate compensation, and provide education and training as well. Without the support of OSTI, I would have had a very hard time climbing the ladder in this extremely dynamic and diverse profession.

Bradley Owen, Vietnamese Interpreter

Bradley Owen, Vietnamese Interpreter

 

 

News

“Death by a Thousand Cuts”

By Juan Lizama

It is not the complex syntax, long sentences or technical passages that dash the hopes of most candidates seeking to pass the American Translators Association (ATA) certification exam.

According to ATA exam graders Holly Mikkelson and Paul Coltrin, it is the many one- and two-point errors throughout the exam that add up to a failing grade.

“One of my colleagues calls it ‘death by a thousand cuts’,” Mikkelson said.

Mikkelson and Coltrin recently agreed to review translations into English and Spanish of past ATA exams done by a group of Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters members studying for the exam. The group of about a dozen members meets online on a weekly basis to discuss translation assignments, different resources and strategies for translation. They also correct each other’s work using the ATA list of mistakes and the ATA grading scale. Mikkelson reviewed the Spanish to English translations and their corresponding peer reviews, and Coltrin reviewed the English to Spanish ones. Each of them presented their findings to the group in separate online sessions.

The ATA currently offers exams in 29 language pairs. According to the recent March-April issue of the ATA Chronicle magazine, the overall passing rate for foreign languages into English was 15.81% between 2004 and 2014.  Meanwhile, the overall passing rate for English into foreign languages was 14.11% for the same period.

The vast majority of translations that are out there in the real world, which in some cases are mediocre, fall short in the sense that they are “a word by word rendering of the source text, slavish of the patterns of the source text,” Coltrin said.

“People often say that [a document] ‘smells like a translation’,” Coltrin said in Spanish, quickly switching to English. “And that’s not a compliment when they say that. If it has a strong feel of a translation, it’s probably not a good translation.”

“It’s perfectly fine for the translator to take freedoms in a translation as long as it preserves the meaning and flows nicely,” Coltrin said.

“It’s not just desirable to make the translation smooth and functional,” he said. “It is our obligation.”

Mikkelson echoed Coltrin’s comments, adding that not using common sense and not reading the whole passage before starting the translation has led exam takers to mistranslate parts of the source text.

“They can be prepositions, grammatical mistakes, misspellings that in and of themselves are not serious, but they add up,” Mikkelson said. “Those [errors] may be from carelessness, failure to proofread. They have a ‘yes’ instead of a ‘no’, ‘black’ instead of ‘white’.”

ATA graders use guidelines in the form of a flowchart with a scale of zero to 16 points per error. A score of 17 and under is a passing grade. The mechanical errors, those having to do with the misuse of the target language have a maximum of four points per error. On the second column are errors that can impact content, language use and understanding of a sentence, paragraph, and even the entire text. These errors can be zero to sixteen points.

“I’ve never seen a sixteen-point error,” Mikkelson said. “Even eight-point errors are rare.”

One of the many concrete examples Mikkelson highlighted from the group’s Spanish to English translations was the use of “earth” in a passage about agriculture, instead of using “land” or “soil”. This type of error distorts the meaning because the reader might think the sentence is referring to the planet as a whole.

“This would be a two-point error because it would cause confusion,” she said. “But it doesn’t take out a whole paragraph and the text is still useful.”

Mikkelson advised the group to be careful with the little quirks of English in adverbs such as either…or and neither…nor. Using them with “without” or “not” would make them a double negative. There’s also a reversal of the subject and the verb with the use of these adverbs.

“So you say, ‘neither did he do this’, instead of, ‘neither he did this’; or, ‘only then did I realize, rather than, ‘only then I did realize’,” she said.

Coltrin warned about falling for the traps within the passages, such as punctuation marks. He referred specifically to how the use of the dash in English is so different from its use in Spanish.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “when we choose passages, we like putting that type of challenge in there because it definitely helps us to differentiate between people that really have a strong awareness of Spanish writing conventions and how they are different from English and test takers who don’t have that awareness.”

Coltrin advises to take advantage of the practice tests ATA offers for a fee.

“Sometimes, people waltz in to take the exam, unprepared, and then they are surprised that they didn’t pass,” he said. “Later, they ask for a review of the exam, which is much more expensive.”

They could have gotten that feedback beforehand with the much less expensive practice test, which can be a good tool to prepare.

Coltrin commended the OSTI study group for their approach to preparing not only for taking the exam, but also as a way to become better translators. Mikkelson said that translation is also a great way for interpreters to improve their delivery in the target language.

And the response to the burning question from group of whether they have a chance of passing the exam—which only one member dared to ask Mikkelson—was:

“I did see some good translations there,” she said. “There were definitely some passing translations among the batch. Good luck to everybody.”

About the Author:
Juan Lizama is a native of El Salvador and currently works as a full-time interpreter and translator at OHSU Hospital in Portland, Oregon. He is a participant of the OSTI study group preparing to take the ATA certification exam.

News

News flash! Court interpreting raise!

OSTI thanks the Oregon Courts for a rate increase for Court Interpreters!

Kelly Mills, Program Manager for Court Language Access Services (CLAS), recently announced that, “Based on the State of Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast (released on June 3, 2016), OJD court interpreters holding OJD Certification or OJD Registered credentials will receive an hourly rate increase of $3.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.”

Click here to see the letter sent by CLAS to Court Interpreters on June 13, 2016.

On June 23, Kelly Mills followed up with this clarification:
“Because there were no increases in 2014, 2015, or 2016, the $3.50 dollar amount is based on the application of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during those years. The implementation date is based on the state budget cycle and economic forecast. The OJD is committed to periodically reviewing rates and making regular adjustments based upon inflation, market competitiveness, and availability of state funds and resources.

OSTI thanks CLAS for acting on this issue in a timely fashion. Our first OSTI blog post, on July 13, 2013, was about the last rate increase, which had been the first one since 1995. We appreciate this commitment to a periodic review of rates paid to court interpreters. This commitment supports the sustainability of court interpreting as a profession.