Member Login Area
  • Home
  • inforMATIon Blog

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.
  • 10/28/2015 10:03 PM | Alaina Brantner

    Cris Silva on “Educating the Next Generation of

    Translators and Interpreters”


    By Katalin Young


    At MATI’s 12th Annual Conference, held in Merrillville, Indiana on September 26, Cris Silva discussed different methods for teaching translation and interpreting in the presentation, “Online Education for the Next Generation of Translators and Interpreters.” During her presentation, Silva explored concerns and issues associated with the teaching of such fields online, a format with its own challenges and advantages.


    Silva first briefly presented the worldwide history of T&I (translation & interpreting) education, which has its roots in the Université de Genève, Switzerland, one of the oldest T&I schools in the world. Through the technological developments of the ages, we have now progressed to our current ability to carry out education in an online format. Moreover, thanks to the advantages posed by globalization and virtual connectivity, we have access to countless resources that can be used in the teaching of T&I, including Skype, FB and online forums, just to name a few. This is the context in which distance learning now takes place, an educational “environment” in which teachers and students are in different physical locations while participating in the same educational events. The concept of distance education is actually not new though, according to Silva, beginning as early as the 1700’s. E-learning, on the other hand, began around the 1960’s in Stanford, where they used computers in elementary schools for teaching both math and reading.


    Silva next highlighted the two possible modes of e-learning: synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning, she noted, is most often associated with the traditional classroom setting: students learning together in the same place at the same time from a lecture or lesson being presented by an instructor. However, Silva pointed out that e learning can also take place within a synchronous format. For example, webinars bring trainers and students together and have the added bonus of being recordable to be consumed later. Alternatively, asynchronous learning does not require all parties to be in the same location at the same time; for example, for online classes, the instructor can post something on the web for students to view later at a time convenient for them.


    As you might imagine, there are advantages and disadvantages for both modes and settings, and for online classes versus face-to-face instruction as well. However, Silva emphasized the biggest concern for the online environment, saying, “Bandwidth is everything.” Although online instruction involves several technical requirements for both students and instructors, Silva noted that this was the most important requirement to keep in mind. Beyond the challenges associated with technology, Silva noted that teaching students’ with multiple individual language pairs is much more challenging for instructors than teaching to a single language pair. In addition, the format of classes needs to be considered. According to Silva, the most typical format consists of core classes, electives or specialty classes, and a capstone project at the end of the program. Courses may include activities that Silva carries out in her own classes, like screen sharing, the use and discussion of translators’ logs, and peer-editing.


    Overall, Silva framed the above discussion around the teachability of the fields of translation and interpreting (T&I) as a whole. She posed questions to the audience, like are these tasks skills? If so, then, can they be taught to others? Audience members seemed to agree that T&I are skills, and the next question considered was how one then teaches the art of translation and interpreting, and if that art can even be taught? Further questions considered included what the minimum curriculum for teaching the skill and/or art of T&I should look like? And for those with a natural talent, is training even necessary? Audience members seemed to reach the consensus that although T&I requires at least a bit of natural talent, training is also necessary. On the flip side, for teachers of the art and skill of T&I, Silva aligned herself with Max Troyer, who once said, “We’re not teachers of translation and interpretation, just translators and interpreters who like to teach.”

    Cris Silva graduated from Kent State University, where she obtained an MA in translation. She currently lives in Colorado, where she has continued her work as a project and terminology manager, freelance translator, conference interpreter, and voice-over talent. She also teaches translation at institutions such as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey’s Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education, New York University, and the University of Denver. Before becoming a full-time linguist and project manager, she worked in radio broadcasting. She is also an ATA-certified English>Portuguese translator.

    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.

  • 10/23/2015 2:00 PM | Alaina Brantner

    12th Annual MATI Conference:

    Olga Shostachuk, “Immigration in the Eye of the Beholder”


    By Abigail Wright


    At the 12th Annual MATI Conference in Merrillville, Indiana on September 26, 2015, Olga Shostachuk treated her audience to “Immigration in the Eye of the Beholder,” lending insight into immigration law and specifically the asylum system and the role interpreters play within it. Shostachuk, a PhD candidate in Translation Studies at Kent State University, is an active translator and interpreter working in Ukrainian, Russian, and English, specializing in legal and medical translation and interpreting. She also teaches translation and Russian.

    Shostachuk began her presentation with an overview of the complexities surrounding immigration law. She also discussed the immigration court system. With 260 judges, 58 courts, and a plethora of acronyms to remember, it creates a challenge for translators and interpreters. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), for example, includes the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ), the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and the Office of the Chief Immigration Hearing Officer (OCAHO). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) includes Customs and Border Protection (CBP), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The CBP and ICE function as law enforcement agencies, while USCIS handles queries from immigrants and immigration benefits. These terms and many more are included in an immigration law glossary Shostachuk provided as a handout, a resource of great value, especially to those seeking to enter the field.

    Shostachuk went on to give an overview of the asylum system and the ways in which it can be abused. She stressed the fact that fabricated asylum stories are often tighter than true ones, which can be muddled by trauma and its aftereffects. Further, working as an interpreter for asylum seekers requires a strong stomach, as it involves retelling horrific stories and abuse. Applicants’ physiological and emotional states may be compromised, and so might the independence and invisibility of the interpreter. Additionally, interpreters must be prepared for all measure of seeming non-sequiturs, as what initially sounds like a rambling tangent may turn out to be critical to the applicant’s claim. Recognizing that showing can be more effective than telling, Shostachuk enlisted three volunteers from the audience to demonstrate the pitfalls of interpreting for an asylum seeker.

    Shostachuk’s demonstration took the form of role-play, with volunteers playing the parts of an asylum applicant, a consecutive interpreter, and an immigration officer. The volunteers read from a script, in which the applicant described how a man she had thought was a friend had turned around and done something horrible, before suddenly saying, in answer to the officer’s question about what happened that night, that she had always liked bananas, that the man used to bring her a banana to class every day. In the first version of the script, the interpreter interrupts and interprets this right away, rather than waiting to see if the connection between bananas and that horrible night would be revealed. This, Shostachuk explained, could be dangerous for both the applicant and the interpreter: to the officer’s ears, the applicant may seem to be talking nonsense, or she may believe the interpreter to be interpreting incorrectly. In another version, the interpreter waits for the applicant to return to the topic at hand before beginning her interpretation, making the connection between bananas and the applicant’s claim clear to the officer, and the importance of the interpreter allowing asylum seekers to tell their stories in their own way clear to the audience.

    Overall, Shostachuk gave a thorough demonstration of the challenges immigration court interpreters face, from the broad knowledge base required to navigate the system to the sensitivity and human awareness needed to interpret effectively for asylum seekers.  Her fascinating presentation brought the conference to a thoughtful close, leaving attendees with much to consider in future court and legal translation and interpreting endeavors.
       
    Abigail Wright is a second-year student in the Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in Spanish into English translation. She holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and joined MATI in 2015.

  • 10/01/2015 5:10 PM | Joseph Wojowski (Administrator)

    The Kentucky Institute for Court Interpreting is offering a 5-day training for Court Interpreters from November 14th to the 18th in Frankfort. For more information, contact ncitrp@email.arizona.edu or call (520)621-3615. Register at nci.arizona.edu/kici

    Register by October 24th and get a 10% Early Bird discount!


  • 09/29/2015 12:08 PM | Joseph Wojowski (Administrator)


    In case you missed the big announcement at the 12th Annual MATI Conference on Saturday, MATI is starting a video podcast!

    The podcast will feature the latest news and events from around the industry, board member interviews, industry leader interviews, and more.

    Why are we doing a podcast? Mainly because the VP thinks there are many other translators out there who, like him, do not feel like reading when they are done with work for the day. Moreover, it is something no other chapter is doing and it will set us apart from the others.


    But the new podcast needs a name. Submit name suggestions to matiemail@gmail.com


  • 09/01/2015 3:55 PM | Alaina Brantner

    MATI President Christina Green Running in ATA Election




    MATI President Christina Green is a candidate running for a position as ATA Director in the 2015 ATA election, to be held at ATA’s 56th Annual Conference in Miami, Florida November 4-7. We wish Christina the best of luck in the election and hope that MATI members will join us in supporting her!

    To vote in the ATA election, you must be a Voting Member of the ATA. If you are not attending the conference but are a Voting Member, you may vote via proxy. Becoming a Voting Member is a free, fully online process. Become an ATA Voting Member here.

  • 08/17/2015 5:18 PM | Alaina Brantner

    How to Build Healthy, Long-Lasting Relationships with Project Managers – Part 2: Quality


    By Alaina Brantner, MATI Board Member


    As stated in the first installment of our series focusing on the translator/agency relationship, translators’ main goal is to deliver high quality texts that are accurate, error free, and stylistically consistent. But if your Project Managers are not able to read the target language of your translation, how do they check your work for quality? Read on for some tips on features of language deliverables that agencies look to as indicators of the overall quality of a text.


    Focus on Packaging. If consumerism has taught us anything, it’s that packaging can be just as important as the product it contains. As freelancers, we must therefore be aware of the message we send through our product’s appearance.

    • File names. As translation technology shifts toward more streamlined file passing, file names are often generated to tell technology what to do with that file. For this reason, make a habit of not changing file names. If you must alter file names, use a simple and consistent system. For example, you may simply add the ISO language code for your language to the end of the file name (e.g., “My File.doc” becomes “My File_ES.doc”).

    Stylistics. Any guidelines provided by the agency/client should be considered a set of instructions that must be followed for the project. When reviewing your deliverables, PMs and internal review teams will ask themselves questions like: Were instructions followed for the treatment of proper nouns? Were acronyms treated correctly in the target? Make sure the answer to those questions is YES!

    • If you are not provided with any guidelines on stylistics with your project package, make a list of questions about how certain textual features should be treated in the target during your initial review of the file. You may be able to answer many of these questions yourself, thereby creating your own guidelines on style that you can follow consistently throughout the translation. For any questions that you cannot answer yourself, ask the PM early on in the project life cycle. Early is the operative word here; don’t wait until moments before a deadline to ask if all measurements should be converted, which will cause concern about your ability to deliver on time. For any questions the PM cannot answer, she will ask the client, ensuring said client gets exactly what they want in their product, which will likely equal more future work for everyone!
    • Want to really wow the PM/agency? Be even more proactive, and develop your own checklist of textual features that you often need further instruction on for your translation projects, and for each new client, go through this checklist and provide them with a style guide.

    Glossaries. Even if PMs and in-house reviewers cannot read your target language, they have likely been trained to spot terminology inconsistencies within files. Do the section titles listed in the Table of Contents match the section titles used in the file? Is a particular tagline translated consistently throughout a translation? Using consistent language throughout a file demonstrates your attention to detail to an agency.

    • If you are provided a client-approved glossary, follow the terminology within even if you think there’s a better translation. Client glossaries have likely gone through several stages of approvals to ensure that the terminology corresponds to their stylistic needs. However, if you strongly feel that the glossary contains an error, such as a typo, communicate this to your PM to improve the glossary moving forward.
    • If you are not provided a glossary, take some time during your initial viewing of the file to jot down repetitious content from which to create your own glossary. Many CAT tools have easy-to-use glossary creation features. With memoQ and Wordfast, for example, you can import Excel glossaries. Even if you are not using a CAT tool, creating and following a glossary is still a good practice. And you can still manually check that glossary terms are followed in your final deliverable using the “Find” or “Find and Replace” features of Microsoft Office products such as Word.

    Quality Technology. Most CAT programs have built-in quality check tools, including spell check. These tools can be used to generate alerts about potential issues within a file, such as mismatched numbers between source and target, glossary terms not being followed, and even extra spaces within a segment.

    • Use QA programs and tools to check your translation before delivery. Really impress your PM by delivering a “clean” quality report along with your deliverable.
    • Run a spell check before delivery. When you’re in a hurry to meet that rush deadline, it may be tempting to forego this step to save yourself some time. But the extra five minutes is worth the extra assurance that there are no spelling errors in your final deliverables.
    • Proofread your files for objective errors like incorrect numbers or the misspelling of company and product names. These are the areas of a foreign language document that your PMs and clients can check, so if they find errors here, they’ll wonder how many errors there are that they can’t see.

    Formatting. When translating in MS Word because you are working with a source PDF or because you don’t have CAT tools, basic formatting skills can go a long way toward demonstrating your commitment to the overall quality of a file.

    • Beware of OCR! Do not OCR PDF files in lieu of manually creating the formatting structure. There are many programs out there to perform OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and recreate an MS Word copy of a file, a process by which text and formatting within a PDF file is made editable and then converted into MS Word format. While this may seem like a good solution for avoiding the time necessary to build the format structure of a file, translating in an OCRed file can cause problems with textual features like font types, kerning (the space between characters), incorrect character recognition, and line breaks that cannot be fixed/altered. OCR programs should ideally only be used to obtain estimates for word counts in PDF files.
    • When recreating a file, use tables and other formatting features like adjustments to margins, rather than spaces and/or tabs/hard returns to replicate tables and textual flow. Using tabs and hard returns when replicating a table is problematic because if a PM or internal reviewer needs to change the font size of a document, for example, line breaks may shift, and she will need to manually adjust all tabs in order to re-match the line items to the formatting of the source. Use tables instead! And if you really want to produce a file that exceeds the agency’s expectations, take the time to adjust items like the borders and fill of the table cells to better match the source.
    • When completing a translation in MS Word, turn on the “Show/Hide Paragraph Marks” button (the ¶ button on the “Home” tab). This will show you all of the normally hidden formatting features of a text, and allow you to clean up spacing before delivery to the client.

    The take-away: consistency, following instructions and providing good-looking deliverables are key when striving to convey the overall quality of your translation product to those looking at your translated files—whether they are able to read your target language or not!


    Alaina Brantner has worked as a Project Manager for two language services providers and is a Spanish to English translator. She holds an MA in translation from UWM and has served on MATI’s board since 2012.

  • 08/06/2015 11:00 AM | Alaina Brantner

    MATI Annual Business Meeting Recap & Election Results


    MATI directors and members gathered on Saturday, July 25 for the Annual Business meeting at the Bayshore Bar Louie in Milwaukee. MATI President Christina Green started off the meeting by swearing in two new board members: Vice President Joseph Wojowski and Director Tyann Zehms. Amy Polenske and Katarzyna Jankowski were re-elected to MATI’s Executive Committee as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, and Sasha F Carrillo and Meghan McCallum were re-elected to MATI’s Board. Annual reports were then presented, including the Financial Report, prepared by Treasurer Jankowski, the Webinar Series and Membership Reports, presented by Susan Schweigert, the Communications Report, delivered by Alaina Brantner, and the Programs Report, presented by President Green. As MATI’s board continues to incorporate new programs and features that benefit and are of interest to our growing membership, all committees are seeking volunteers to support in the delivery of new and ongoing services. Please see visit the page Committees and Chairs for a description of MATI’s Committees and the responsibilities and tasks that fall under the purview of each.

     

    President Green closed the meeting expressing pleasure and optimism at the successes and overall trajectory of the organization, thanking all members for their support and contributions, and inviting any members who’d like to get involved to reach out for more information. Please contact us at matiemail@gmail.com for more information or to volunteer.


    MATI’s 2015-2016 Board of Directors


    Executive Committee

    Christina Green (WI), President, 2014-2016*

    Joseph Wojowski (IL), Vice President, 2015-2017

    Amy Polenske (WI), Secretary, 2015-2017*

    Katarzyna Jankowski (IL), Treasurer, 2015-2017*


    Board of Directors

    Alaina Brantner (WI), 2014-2016*

    Sasha F Carrillo (IL), 2015-2017*

    Meghan McCallum (WI), 2015-2017*

    Susan Schweigert (IL), 2014-2016*

    Tyann Zehms (WI), 2015-2017


    *Denotes second consecutive term. Per Article 5, Section 5.2 of MATI’s bylaws, “Officers may be re-elected and serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms, but may run for office again after a full two-year term out of office.” MATI’s Bylaws can be found on our website here. For a complete list of all present and past directors of MATI’s Board, please visit Board of Directors.

  • 08/03/2015 11:00 AM | Alaina Brantner

    The Personal Cloud: 

    your own asteroid in cyberspace


    By Joseph Wojowski


    Article reprinted with permission from Wojowski’s Translation Technology Blog.


    Back in January, I wrote about Data Storage and Security, and in that article and anytime I talk about internet technology, I talk about the inherent risks involved and how buying cloud server space through Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, et cetera is not the safest means of cloud-based data storage. Again, the only way to be 100% secure is to take your information and devices offline – a feat that is almost unattainable in today’s world if you want to stay in business.


    So, is there anything that exists to resolve this issue? If it is inadvisable to buying shared cloud server space, and uneconomical for an individual to purchase dedicated cloud server space, how can someone have access to their files with the same accessibility and convenience as other cloud solutions?


    With the desire for increased data security, many people who are cognizant of the issues have turned to personal clouds to have the same accessibility but with increased security. Personal clouds come in two forms: a personal cloud based on Public Clouds, like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.; and a self-hosted personal cloud solution. Personal Clouds based on Public ones are not viable options because they are personal allotments of public cloud servers that promote synchronization among devices (PC, OS X, iOS, Android, etc.) and have a monthly subscription if you want more than the allotted space (allotted free space is 2GB for DropBox and 15GB for both Google Drive and OneDrive).


    The self-hosted personal cloud solution I have been using for the past few months is Tonido (though there are other personal cloud services – arkOS [still in development], and ownCloud being other great examples) and I have been quite pleased with it. Here are specifications on self-hosted personal clouds:


    Remote Access


    Self-hosted clouds allow you to have complete control of your files. You can select certain folders to make available over the cloud instead of an entire drive. You have access to your files; the only thing limiting you is your own bandwidth connection. There are no file size limits, the minimum you need to access your files is internet access and a browser, and anytime you access your cloud portal, you are accessing it using secure https (SSL). If you have audio, video or photos in the folder, you can even live stream them and play them on your device.


    File Sharing


    File sharing ability is necessary in our industry because you cannot send larger files via e-mail. Historically and perhaps more commonly, companies would set up an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site and instruct providers on how to log in and access the files they need. A lot of smaller companies use DropBox as an FTP site alternative because it is easier to set up and easier to instruct providers on how to retrieve files than a traditional FTP. Self-hosted clouds give you the same file sharing ability as DropBox, all you have to do is select the file you want to share and you will get a link you can send someone, they click the link and the download starts from their browser. More importantly, you can add them as a guest account (the number of guest accounts are unlimited) so they need to log in with a user name and password to begin the download, and you can also choose the duration of the file’s availability to the guest user.


    Other Notable Features


    Other notable features include the ability to mount your personal cloud as a drive in Windows, synchronization among devices, synchronization permissions with guest accounts, custom branding, and you can even use it for automatic backup of photos and videos from mobile devices. The only thing limiting you is the amount of storage space you have or make available for storage on your own hardware – but do not forget, you own it. You have complete control over your files and they are not saved in an undisclosed location and managed by a tech giant.



    So, in all honesty, I felt guilty about the Data Storage and Security post because I did not really give a solution to the cloud situation. I wrote that we should be aware of what information is put on clouds and be aware of the risks associated with cloud storage, but I never really resolved the issue. Please do not misunderstand me, even with a self-hosted cloud, there are still risks associated with keeping computer hardware connected to the internet, but a personal self-hosted cloud is less of an object of desire for hackers than a tech giant cloud.


    You can visit Tonido.com right now, download the program and set up your own personal cloud for free. The same applies to owncloud.org. arkOS is currently under development and at the time this article was posted, is only recommended for testing purposes. The thing I look forward to writing about in the future is arkOS’s claim that you can host your websites and e-mail with it, not just files. You can be sure that when this is no longer in development, I will be writing about it as a solution to webhosting.


    Hardware Setup


    When it comes to necessary hardware requirements, PCs with Windows XP or later, Macs with OS X 10.8 or later, 32-bit Linux computers with Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu 8.04 or above, or 64-bit Linux Computers with Ubuntu 12.04 will be able to support Tonido without a problem. Aside from that, you are only limited by the hard drive associated with your Tonido server (be it internal or external).


    Now here is where this article gets cool.


    Let me introduce you to the Raspberry Pi.



    A credit card-sized computer for $35 – Windows 10 coming late 2015.


    I have both the first generation 256 MB RAM model and the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B; the Raspberry Pi 2 is the one that hosts my Cloud. This little computer has a footprint with the same dimensions as a credit card (85.60 × 53.98 mm) and is about 21 mm high. Raspberry Pi 2 technical specifications of importance to our uses are: 4 USB Ports, full HDMI port, Ethernet port, MicroSD slot, Micro USB port, 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, and 1 GB of RAM. Now, if this is the first time you have heard about the Raspberry Pi and it sounds intriguing to you, I encourage you to look up videos and photos related to Raspberry Pi and check out what people have been making out of the Raspberry Pi – everything from media centers and retro video game emulators to car computers, robotics controllers, and security system controllers. The Micro USB port is for the power supply, the MicroSD slot is for the MicroSD card (like the one in your smartphone) upon which is mounted the Operating System, the HDMI port is for display and audio, the Ethernet port is for network connectivity, and the 4 USB ports are for peripherals and external storage. And here is the best specification of all: the Raspberry Pi is USD $35.


    So, a real-life implementation of Tonido and the Raspberry Pi would be to set up the Raspberry Pi to run Tonido and then simply plug in a USB External Hard Drive with a separate power source that you already have and make it available on Tonido. It is not entirely as easy as that when starting from scratch, but the result is still attainable by someone with limited or even no knowledge of Unix-based operating systems. So, I will have a second part to this post next week with an instructable: Setting up Tonido Cloud Server on Raspberry Pi and mounting your Tonido Cloud server as a drive in Windows.


    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. 

  • 07/31/2015 4:00 PM | Alaina Brantner

    Alverno College Interpreter Institute

    By Yesica Camacho


    Since its launch in fall 2007, the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation minor at Alverno College has strengthened the language skills of bilingual students fluent in English and Spanish to prepare them for a career in healthcare interpretation. Through five courses and an intensive, semester-long internship, the program prepares students to work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. Students are also well-trained to engage in telephonic or video remote interpreting, which are two platforms that are becoming increasingly popular across the country.


    Given the healthcare focus, this minor naturally attracts many students who are pursuing a major in nursing; however, the program is not an option open exclusively to nursing students. Instead, it complements a number of other areas of study, such as psychology, education, communication, business, and community leadership. Many students use these courses as a springboard for applying their interpreting skills in their own respective field. That said, having a four-year degree, in addition to specialized studies in healthcare interpreting, makes Alverno graduates attractive prospects for employers. Alverno’s world-renowned curriculum focuses on 8 abilities and includes ample experiential learning opportunities to ensure the learning is student-focused, engaging and interactive.


    Program admissions, courses and educational opportunities


    Although the majority of the students enrolled are degree-seeking students at Alverno, individuals not enrolled in a degree program at Alverno can also take coursework toward program completion as special students. Individuals who already have a Bachelor’s degree can enroll in courses. The Admissions Office can provide more details on enrolling and financing your coursework.


    Prior to admission into the program, students must demonstrate oral and written proficiency in Spanish and English through the bilingual proficiency assessment. In order to successfully complete the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation minor, students must satisfactorily finish all of the required coursework and an intensive internship. Required courses are as follows:


    SPI 210: Bilingual Medical Terminology

    This course introduces students to medical terminology of major body systems in Spanish and English. Terminology includes body parts, diseases, tests, and treatments. 


    SPI 310: Cultural Competence in Healthcare: The Latino Perspective  

    This course focuses on theoretical frameworks that define culture, cultural competence, and cultural proficiency to increase student’s understanding of multicultural aspects of healthcare regarding the Latino culture.


    SPI 320: Advanced Interpreting Practice

    This course exposes the student to challenges in a variety of healthcare settings through the use of practice drills and simulations including sight translation and consecutive and simultaneous interpretation.


    SPI 350: Ethics for Healthcare Interpreters

    This course is designed to prepare the student for ethical challenges she will meet in her profession. Students examine the professional ethical issues most commonly encountered in the field of interpreting, and include in its outcomes objectives of impartiality, respect, confidentiality, role boundaries, professionalism, and advocacy.


    SPI 360: Translation Skills for Healthcare Interpreters

    The course focuses on the language skills necessary for translation. This course reviews current grammar rules in English and Spanish and present students with an opportunity to develop the ability to identify audience, style, tone and register, and the role each of these has in written communication. Through practice and an introduction to the challenges that translators face, students problem-solve difficult linguistic constructions while refining their writing skills as they work to translate and edit medical texts from Spanish to English and English to Spanish within the framework of their role as a medical interpreter.


    SPI 483: Healthcare Interpreter Internship

    In this course, the student participates in a field experience that allows her to further develop the skills that she has learned in the coursework completed as part of the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation minor. She works under the direction of mentoring professionals in a health care setting to shadow and later interpret for patients during an individual field placement at a local health care organization. Students must complete a total of 120 hours on-site. 


    Consistent with national trends in the popularity of interpreting jobs in the coming years, (as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that job growth between 2012 and 2022 will grow much faster than average at 46%), the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation program has seen a marked increase in interest and graduates in the past eight years. In the fall, for example, nine students will require internship placement among the five Milwaukee-area partnering healthcare organizations who host them – the largest group in the program’s history. (Alverno currently partners with Aurora Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital, Froedtert Hospital, Waukesha Memorial Hospital, Wheaton Franciscan – Milwaukee, and Wheaton Franciscan – Racine.)


    As noted earlier, experiential learning is abundant in this program. In addition to the projects woven into the required courses and the semester-long internship, students have an opportunity to participate in a short-term study abroad trip to Ecuador, allowing them to increase their cultural awareness and enhance their language skills with language instruction, home stays, and cultural excursions in the Andean mountains and the Amazon Rainforest. The trip is an optional part of the cultural competence course offered to students of any language ability on rotation.


    Furthermore, as the profession evolves and national certification becomes the norm, having studied interpreting simply will not be enough to obtain nor maintain employment. “We are enhancing the opportunities for continuing education,” said Jennifer Flamboe, M.A., CHI, Associate Professor of Spanish, Director of the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation program, and Chair of the World Languages department at Alverno College. Flamboe worked in partnership with Daniel Dickover, adjunct instructor, to establish the Alverno Interpreter Institute (AII), founded in 2013, as a forum to spread information on medical interpreting through workshops, and enrichment sessions as a means for professional development to meet the growing demand for Continuing Education Units (CEUs). As an entity associated with the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation program at Alverno College, the Institute resembles program courses in its interactive, participant-focused design. Medical interpreters across all language pairs can gain knowledge and learn from one another in this venue, no matter what their skill level may be. In fact, many students attend Institute sessions and rave about the interaction they have had with working interpreters because the nature of the layout of the room and the activities facilitate an organic networking and learning experience. For information on upcoming AII workshops, visit the Alverno Interpreter Institute website.


    Conclusion


    Being an Alverno alumna and a graduate of the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation Program, I am honored to say that I was well prepared for my career as a Spanish healthcare interpreter thanks to that program. Being a heritage Spanish speaker and an interpreter for my parents all of my life, Alverno’s interpreting program drew me in through its ethics course, translation course, and the internship. I had the opportunity to intern at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as a Spanish Healthcare Interpreter for the duration of one semester. During my internship at Children’s, I observed other interpreters for approximately five weeks and then interpreted on my own after successful completion of the organization’s language assessment. This internship experience allowed me to get a better understanding of the day-to-day operations as an interpreter, including its challenges and complications. Most importantly, my internship experience gave me a network of professional interpreters to whom I can turn for advice and work opportunities.


    The AII and the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation curricula went beyond my expectations, playing a large role in my career goals. One of my future goals is to own a healthcare interpreter agency, and having received well-rounded training through Alverno’s interpreting minor, I am prepared to succeed as a healthcare interpreter, and I know that I will continue to expand my skills as an interpreter through AII workshops. As I continue to volunteer with the American Cancer Society as a Spanish healthcare interpreter, I am able to reflect on my education and make good use of the skills i learned through this program.


    For more information on the Spanish/English Healthcare Interpretation minor at Alverno, the Alverno Interpreter Institute, future continuing education opportunities or to collaborate on experiential opportunities for students, e-mail Jennifer Flamboe, Chair of World Languages, at jennifer.flamboe@alverno.edu or stay updated on related news, events, and opportunities via the program’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/alvernointerpreting


    Yesica Comacho is a Spanish <> English interpreter. She holds a BA in Communications with Minors in Psychology and Spanish-Healthcare Interpretation.

  • 07/24/2015 4:00 PM | Alaina Brantner

    Member Spotlight: Meet MATI Secretary Amy Polenske


    Amy Polenske serves on MATI’s Executive Committee as Secretary, a role in which she has contributed to our organization since 2013. She holds a Master’s Degree in Translation and her language pair is Spanish to English.

     

    Where do you live and/or work? Milwaukee


    How long have you worked in your field? How did you get started in the field of translation and/or interpretation? 


    I’ve been working professionally in the field for around two and a half years. My first experience came from the graduate program at UWM where I had the opportunity to translate for UWM Language Services. I then completed an internship at a translation and interpreting agency, which turned into employment after graduation. I currently work at Iverson Language Associates as the Quality Team Lead.


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


    The translation and interpreting industry is rapidly growing. With this in mind, an important issue that should remain a focus of our profession is education in language, translation, and interpreting. I believe it is important that the individuals newly entering this field come with the proper education and understanding of what it takes to be a professional translator, interpreter, or project manager. MATI is a great place for professionals at all levels to connect and promote education and awareness of our field.

     

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


    Get involved! The people I’ve met through school, work, and organizations like MATI and ATA have opened up opportunities to me that I wouldn’t have had working just on my own. It’s also fun to collaborate with others who have the same passion for language as I do. 

     

    What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your profession? 


    Expect the unexpected. While it’s smart to be prepared and anticipate potential project issues, unexpected problems do happen. In these situations, it’s important to manage these problems with a level head by taking the time to think through possible solutions before jumping to action.

     

    Why did you decide to join MATI? 


    I was interested in meeting other professionals in my field to see how others were using their skills and learn what different career options were possible.

Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters
A chapter of the American Translators Association

28 West Lake Street, Unit #8

Addison, IL 60101


MATIemail@gmail.com
American Translators Association
225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 590
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.683.6100 phone
703.683.6122 fax
office hours 9am to 5pm e.s.t.
atanet.org