THE NORTHWEST LINGUIST Blog

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  • 10/29/2022 13:02 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    It’s that time again! NOTIS is now accepting content submissions for our winter newsletter, The Northwest Linguist. The deadline for our December issue is Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

    This is an excellent opportunity to put your name and your voice out there, to draw attention to your work, and to be recognized by your peers.

    The Northwest Linguist is the official printed publication of the Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society, designed to share organization and industry news, useful tips and educational pieces with our members. We are currently accepting submissions in the following areas:

    • Articles or essays concerning: 
      • approaches to translation 
      • translation reviews
      • interpretation skills
      • local language access developments
      • legislation affecting language professionals
      • T&I technology 
      • personal/professional anecdotes 
    • Comics, memes, and other bits of humor
    • Translations of:
      • poem/s 
      • short prose or fragments of prose
      • recipes
      • songs 


    Submissions should be written in English and should not exceed 850 words. Relevant images may also be submitted, alongside or independent of a written piece.

    If submitting a translation, please send both the original version and the translation. Copyright notes and source references should be included as well, if applicable.

    Your submissions will be evaluated by NOTIS's Northwest Linguist Committee and will be edited for content, grammar, and space limitations. 

    Please send submissions and any other queries to Brianna Salinas at social@notisnet.org. We look forward to publishing your work!

    Best wishes,
    The NW Linguist Committee at NOTIS

  • 10/24/2022 13:37 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    New or not-so-new to translation or interpreting? Whatever your answer, don’t be surprised if every now and then you find yourself overwhelmed by the same question I struggled with when I first joined the profession in 2018: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know?

    Even after four years of taking training courses to stay educated about the profession, I continue to find myself not completely sure of what to do if I don’t know what I don’t know. How could that be? You may ask. The answer is simple: The translation and interpreting landscape is constantly changing. The changes come as human innovation continues to advance, terminology management becomes more complex, communication with direct clients and agencies evolves, and we try to find our niche in the surrounding market culture. In my humble opinion, this ever-evolving market keeps us language professionals aspiring to stay engaged in what we love: being a bridge that connects language communities.

    How can we stay engaged in the translation and interpreting landscape? I would like to offer some advice based on the “Five-Ws” approach and the knowledge I have acquired since joining the profession four years ago.

    The “Five-Ws” approach utilizes the words Who, What, When, Where, and Why as a guide to create a schema of the key elements of a story. Remember back in the day when our teachers were trying to show us how to write a book report? (I know—I taught this when I was a classroom teacher beginning in the 1990s!) Those five words would serve as the primary components in our summaries of a given story or passage. In the same way, I would like to repurpose the “Five Ws” to help you summarize yourself and, in so doing, find your own answer to a question we all sooner or later face in this field: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know?

    For starters, let’s take out a piece of paper and something to write with and begin with the first guiding word in our series of five: ‘Who.’

    1. Start with a sentence describing ‘Who’ you are using two to three adjectives that summarize the uncompromising you!
    2. Now, write a second sentence sharing how you envision yourself as a translator or interpreter at this juncture in your life—regardless of your present age. If you are working as a translator or interpreter, for instance, you are probably a person who enjoys languages and likes to be a bridge of communication for others.
    3. Write yet a third sentence to mention who you have around you that could potentially hold you back from becoming exactly who you want to be as you plow the ground for your professional success.
    4. Direct a fourth sentence to that person—in a positive and confident tone—expressing how determined you are in your pursuit of this new career.
    5. Before you write the fifth sentence, think about who you have contacted (including professional associations or colleagues) as key components of the T&I landscape you are now exploring. Write the names of the associations or chapters you have joined to educate yourself about the industry on your way to becoming a serious translator or interpreter.
    6. Finally, combine the above five sentences into a single paragraph, editing anything you would like. Once you’ve finished, read the paragraph out loud and listen to who you have become in this new venture. You embody the success for which you are willing to work hard. You just discovered who is in charge of making the inevitable decisions that come your way in your translating and interpreting business: You, that’s who!

    To summarize, when you are just beginning to establish yourself as a translator or interpreter, everything begins and ends with who you are and who you choose to keep around you. It is of great importance that we all begin this journey knowing who we are and how that has led us to where we are. This foundational knowledge must remain firm and ever-present, even as we continue to discover along the way that we may not know exactly what to do when we do not know what we don’t know.

    This piece is the first installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters. The next four installments will be released periodically over the coming months. Subscribe to the NW Linguist Blog and to NOTIS News Quarterly, our—you guessed it—quarterly newsletter, here.

    Have you got a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, by emailing social@notisnet.org

    Teodosia Rivera has been working as a professional translator and interpreter since 2018. She is a member of ATA’s Interpreters Division, Spanish Language Division, and Translation Company Division, in addition to two ATA chapters: the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF) and the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Teodosia has established her own business since participating in professional development in the language profession. She brings with her the background of a classroom teacher after teaching for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.


  • 09/23/2022 02:56 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    For this issue of the Northwest Linguist Blog, Laura Friend, our current NOTIS president, interviewed Caitilin Walsh, who held the same role more than 20 years ago—from 1998 to 2000! 

    You can catch both Laura and Caitilin at our Annual ITD Event on October 1st as well as at #ATA63. Now, without further ado... 



    Laura Friend (LF):  Caitilin, thank you so much for joining us. It is a pleasure to “sit down” with you for this virtual chat. You have done so much for our profession over the years, through NOTIS, ATA and Bellevue College, to name just a few organizations, that I think our members would benefit by hearing from you again in the
    Northwest Linguist.

    Caitilin Walsh (CW):  Thanks, Laura, it's always a pleasure to talk with people who have picked up the baton, especially for NOTIS, which will always have a special place in my heart. 

    LF:  You started translating professionally in the late 1980s, after completing degrees in Theatre (Willamette University, 1984) and French Language and Literature (University of Strasbourg, 1989), is that right? What was it about translation that attracted you? How did your earliest projects come to you? 

    CW:  I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but was discouraged when I returned to the U.S. with my shiny French diplomas; in order to teach, I would have had to complete yet another degree, and I needed to generate income (and we won't even mention how low the starting salary for a teacher was). My résumé opened doors to private schools, one of which had a translation department. Since I knew something about it—I had made the acquaintance of a conference interpreter in Germany—they put me on the desk managing T&I, and asked me to do some translation. It turns out that I had a knack for it, and projects started flowing in.

    One of my first lessons was that smart project managers (who also do double duty as mentors) like married couples. My husband and I tried really hard to make our resumés different, but of course, our address was the same—and the reason we were first hired! Our first project was a simple one-page invoice, and we spent hours on it. We got hung up on a reference to "16 chains”—we just couldn't make sense of it (how do you count chains?), until my long-haul trucker brother showed up (it was close to dinner time), looked over our shoulders, and said, “Oh, yeah, that's the company that makes these neat new cable chains—so much easier to put on than old chains!” That's when I learned lesson #2: know what you are writing about.

    LF:  You translate primarily for the software and culinary industries. Did one come before the other? Do you approach software translation projects and culinary translation projects differently?

    CW:  Software definitely came first. I saw an ad in the newspaper for a localization intern and applied (theatre people will try their hand at anything). I was the only applicant who actually had any real language skills—all the other applicants just "loved travel.” I learned localization from the ground floor—this was just about the time Windows 3.1 came out and changed the game. From there, demand for freelance localization kept me very busy for years, and padded my bank account nicely. Software has many technical demands, but the hardest part is working with developers (and some managers) who never studied language and could not grasp things like gender or accented characters, or different syntax. The sector has matured immensely. 

    I've always "studied” foods and am accomplished in pastry work and classical French techniques. So, I worked my connections and landed translating recipes in glossy magazines and several cookbooks. It really is a highly technical exercise in knowing how foods and ingredients work: if I add a little more butter to a pastry recipe to round a converted measurement, it won't make a difference; but if I change the amount or type of sugar in a frozen dessert by even one gram, it won't have the right texture. You really need to have a depth of understanding that most home cooks don't. 

    In the end, both types of translation really have to be user-focused: will they understand a new program or recipe?

    LF:  I see you have volunteered for Translators without Borders for the past 11 years.  What inspired you to get involved with that organization, and what is the nature of the work you do for them? Are there ever legitimate grounds for concern about potential exploitation of volunteers in arrangements of this sort?

    CW:  If you look at long standing traditions in the "liberal professions” ("professions libérales"), one important piece is pro bono work. Everyone from lawyers to architects to doctors is expected to volunteer their services for the good of society. Translators without Borders is one way I found to give back to those finding themselves in a situation where they need help. 

    One of the most powerful lessons we can learn both professionally and personally is to set boundaries—that's a lesson from my years in the theatre: you can only be exploited if you allow it; you always have the opportunity to say ‘no.’ (And this applies to more than volunteering professional services!) The folks at TWB have always sought feedback from volunteers to make our experience meet our capacities and abilities. 

    LF:  You served as president of both NOTIS (1998-2000) and the American Translators Association (2013-2015). In your opinion, what are some of the main benefits of organizations like these?  

    CW:  In an industry dominated by self-employed people (and mostly women), professional associations provide us with a "home” to be with others like us. I've seen a wonderful evolution over the years from where we went to meetings to be able to gripe about demanding clients to a place where professionalism is something we learn from each other, and support is just a quick message away. It also allows us to amplify our voices both for our profession and the people we serve, both locally and beyond. I personally enjoy being able to spend this phase of my career focusing on projects that will strengthen our profession for future generations.

    LF:  You also teach translation and have been working as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Bellevue College for 30 years now. What are some tips you can share with student translators and interpreters who are just starting out in the industry?

    CW:  Because the “product” we sell as independent contractors is ourself, students need to not only work on the “externals” of gaining and honing the skills to work; they also need to spend some time introspectively. Do their life experiences (past jobs, hobbies, curiosity) lead them to certain areas of practice? Do they have the self-discipline to work for themselves, or should they be seeking an in-house position? Knowing yourself is key to marketing your services, setting your rates, and creating a business structure that works for you

    There's no single piece of advice for newcomers, since so much depends on what their own strengths and weaknesses are: if you're gregarious, networking will come naturally; an introvert may abhor the networking but excel at terminology research. If they know and understand their own value, they shouldn't get trapped by unreasonable demands or usurious practices. Learning to say "no” is an important life and business skill. And of course, I am a huge proponent of joining the local and national group(s), both for T&I and for your particular focus area. 


    LF:  Can you tell us a bit about the T&I certificate programs at Bellevue College’s Tombolo Institute? Who are they designed for? How do they prepare aspiring language professionals for careers in translation and/or interpreting? 

    CW:  We were given the brief to revamp the successful, decades-old program at Bellevue College by splitting it into two comprehensive certificates: a language-neutral core certificate, and language-specific skills-building certificate. Additionally, we integrated technology and ethics into each unit of the program, since they touch on all areas of what we do. Our target audience is people with advanced language skills—either learned or heritage language—who want to enter this broad field. By providing them with the tools they need to work (everything from how to work with CAT tools to how to market themselves to working through ethical dilemmas), and the time to really reflect on what they bring to the equation in terms of specialized knowledge and ability, students should leave the program ready to launch their careers. 




    Caitilin Walsh is an ATA-Certified French-English translator specializing in software and gastronomy, and a translation educator. A past president of the American Translators Association and the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society, she chairs the ATA Education and Pedagogy Committee and works on a local and national scale to bring organizations and institutions together to create and illuminate educational pathways for Heritage speakers and World Language students seeking to use their skills in rewarding careers. She brings her strong opinions on professionalism to bear as an instructor in the Translation and Interpreting Certificate Program at Bellevue College’s Tombolo Institute. When not at her computer, she can be found pursuing creative endeavors, from orchestral music to food preparation. You can follow her on Twitter @caitilinwalsh.

    Laura Friend is a certified Russian and French to English translator specializing in legal translation. She is currently the President of NOTIS. View her bio here, and read more about her journey as a translator in last month’s issue of the Northwest Linguist Blog



  • 09/18/2022 01:10 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    We would like to share with you some more words in remembrance of Angela Torres Henrick, a beloved mentor and trailblazing member of the interpreter community who passed away last week. 

    Angela's obituary, which includes a link to her live-streamed service (Monday, 19 September), can be found here


    "I met 'Angelita' in Seattle when we were assigned to interpret together for a trial.  The first of many we shared together as a team. She taught me to advocate for my needs as an Interpreter. She helped me to be assertive as a professional and to get acquainted with the way things worked in the King County Courts. 

    "Outside of the courts, What was fun and remarkable was how she would also guide me through the different restaurants and shops in Seattle, the city she knew so well. 

    "All you had to do was to ask Angela: where can I find a broach for a dinner gown that is antique and green. And she’d say: I know just the place. And she would!!

    "No matter how specific the request, she’d always know where to go. At one point not only me but others were urging her to write a guide book for tourists and newcomers. 

    "Having Angela come visit me in Skagit was always a treat; she made friends everywhere and when we visited Chiapas with our Spanish Conversation group, she was the one walking in the front of the group. The first one to find music so she could start dancing and the last one to complain about anything that might’ve gone wrong. 

    "She had an inner joy that was reflected in her 'gusto' for food, travel and the arts. 

    "I was lucky and blessed to have had her as a friend and more than a friend. A sister, an aunt, a sweet soul to confide in and share fun things with. Angelita, you will be deeply missed!!"

    —María de Lourdes Benet


    "Angela was a friend and a role model to me. It would be hard to overstate how much she did for our profession, not only here in Washington but nationwide, for Washington was on the forefront of court interpreting and certification back in the 80s, and Angela was a central figure in that effort. I had the honor of serving as WITS president at one point, and I looked to her for guidance, and I knew I had big shoes to fill. A lovely, lovely person. We all really loved her a lot."

    —Kenneth Barger


    "A very important part of 
    Angela's life was devoted to yet another endeavor: court interpreting as a recognized profession.

    "In the dismal old times, anybody who said that he or she was able to speak another language, was called to act as an ad-hoc interpreter in courts, hospitals, or any other venue where they had this 'problem': a non-English speaker. And Angela responded to the call, as well as many other bilingual speakers who understood the dire need.

    "In 1986 or so, there was a translators and interpreters conference in Vancouver, Canada. A small contingent of friends and colleagues in this 'ad-hoc' category (which included Angela and this writer) from the Seattle area took the opportunity to listen eagerly to professionals at this Conference. During the free times between presentations, these attendees came up with the idea of organizing a group -even a professional association!- to train interpreters, advocate for them, educate the public.

    "Upon their return home the meetings continued for well over a year (the main blocking point being the by-laws), and finally the association was born, thanks to The Founding Mothers: Washington State Interpreters and Translators Society, for short, WITS (as John Henrick managed to christen it). Angela was its first president; Susana Sawrey, the VP; the next year, we reversed our roles. WITS offered some training and many opportunities for exchanging ideas. Angela and Susana wore several hats: publishers of the Society’s newsletter for a while, and advocacy, to name a few.

    "At about this time, there was a strong push for professionalizing Court Interpreting by means of state sponsored training and certification. This had the support of a Supreme Court judge. WITS was invited to be represented on the board which finally approved what was the first such program in the US: State sponsored training and testing for Certification in Court Interpreting, in Spanish to begin with.

    "The first test was offered in 1990, and Angela, of course, was one of the first proud Court Certified Spanish interpreters –as we all must identify ourselves before a judge.

    "WITS eventually merged with NOTIS (Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society), which continues the good work.

    "Angela interpreted in hundreds of trials and hearings, always supporting her colleagues and keeping in mind the needs of the many litigants in criminal and civil cases, helping them in the only way an interpreter can help: with the best interpretation possible, so that the person can hear everything and be heard in Court, as any English-speaker."

    —Susana Sawrey 


    "I was saddened to hear about Angela. The memories came back in waves. I remember her being at all the workshops and events that helped prepare us for the very first test, as well as her dedication to WITS. I fondly remember Angela asking me to serve on the board of directors for WITS, during a lunch break at one of our workshops at the University of Washington. My circumstances didn’t allow me to accept, and she just smiled with the grace that was integral to her 'SER', and something to the effect of 'thank you anyway, Pete, for considering it, and please let us know if you change your mind.'

    "We will all miss her very much, especially those of us who were present for our swearing-in ceremony at the Washington State Supreme Court, in front of all 9 justices, on March 7, 1991. She contributed greatly to the pride we all felt as a new profession was born in Washington. Thank you Angela! 'Hasta luego.'"

    —Pete Hinton


    If you too would like to share a few words about Angela, please add them to the comments or send them via email to social@notisnet.org. 


  • 09/13/2022 05:34 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)


    We are saddened to announce the passing of our colleague and friend, Angela Torres Henrick. 

    Angela was much loved and respected by those around her, who recall her joie de vivre and sense of style — she is well known for her wonderful accessories. As one colleague noted, "She was such an elegant lady, who truly enjoyed going to the SIFF festival, always with friends, always in a great mood. Such an example!"

    Our deepest condolences.


    The following obituary was previously posted in the Seattle Times.

    Read more, multi-voiced words of rememberance here.


    Angela Torres Henrick

    (February 17, 1935—September 2, 2022)

    Angela Torres Henrick, 87, died peacefully September 2, 2022 at UW Medical Center in Seattle. Predeceased by her dear spouse John J. Henrick (2017) and survived by her loving daughter Karla Henrick.

    A funeral mass will be held Monday, September 19th at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US), Blessed Sacrament Church, 5050 8th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105. The mass will be livestreamed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ7JB2Lp9yQ. Inurnment at Calvary Cemetery.

    Angela was born in Yungay, a town in the highlands of Callejón de Huaylas, Peru. In her early 20s she worked with the Peruvian-American Cultural Institute in Lima, forming friendships with people of varying backgrounds and interests, and inspiring her move to the United States.

    An accomplished radio personality for NPR, she contributed to the news program Enfoque Nacional (KCMU). Her bilingual program Revista Latina aired for seven years on KUOW-FM and featured both a rich mixture of folk and contemporary music and interviews with prominent artists and musicians from many countries. She provided narration for Women’s Health Initiative (KCTS), and assisted on Celebrate the Differences (KING-TV5).

    She was a professional, court certified Spanish interpreter until her retirement in December of 2021, and was a founding member and the first president of the Washington State Court Interpreters and Translators Society (WITS). Angela interpreted in hundreds of trials and hearings, always supporting her colleagues, keeping in mind the needs of the many litigants in criminal and civil cases—helping them in the best way an interpreter can—enabling everyone in the court to hear and understand. Angela was honored to be profiled in the book “100 Women of Washington State.”

    Angela was truly a great person; optimistic and caring, generous with her love and warm smile, filled with a youthful spirit and zest for life. She was a natural mentor, sharing her knowledge and experience with friends and colleagues who knew and loved her immensely. Her legacy is one of compassion, encouragement, and joy. Her friendship was valuable, kind, accepting, and welcoming to all.

    “Nadie te quita lo bailado.”

    In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to the UN World Food Programme: wfp.org. Guestbook at harveyfuneral.com.


  • 08/24/2022 13:12 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    We’re thrilled to be sitting down with our friend and colleague, Laura. An ATA-certified Russian and French to English translator specializing in legal translation, Laura began her tenure as NOTIS President in January 2022 after serving a two-year term as Vice President.

    Below is our conversation with Laura Friend, in which she tells us how she came to be where she is today and shares some sage advice for her fellow freelancers.

    ...

    Brianna Salinas (BS):  Welcome Laura, and congratulations on your new-ish gig! How did you first get involved with NOTIS? What drew you to the organization?

    Laura Friend (LF):  I first learned about NOTIS while studying Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington. NOTIS held an informational workshop for linguists wishing to take the ATA certification exam. I was impressed to see accomplished language professionals sharing their time and giving fellow translators a hand. After that I attended many worthwhile NOTIS trainings and gatherings and learned that this is what it’s all about. I have enjoyed some of the Literary Translation Feedback Forums, to name just one series.

    BS:  Those feedback forums are so much fun. Who knew how thrilling it could be to mull over punctuation marks and onomatopoeia with fellow language nerds! 

    Judging from your bio, you've got an impressive talent for language. In addition to English, your working languages are French and Russian, and you also know Czech, Spanish, and German. Can you trace your interest in language study to any particular source? What was your first foreign language? What led you to continue expanding your repertoire?

    LF:  I have been fortunate to live in several different countries, and I was always motivated to learn well the language of whatever country I lived in. I owe this largely to my parents, who, as scholars and teachers, were fluent in French, as well as many teachers and friends. I first experienced foreign language immersion at age five in a French grade school. Back in the U.S. I progressed through advanced French language, literature and drama in high school.

    My interest in Russian began with high school history and literature classes, for which we read some of the great Russian novels. I took up Russian in college and ended up completing two intensive language study programs in the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War.

    BS:  A fascinating trajectory! I'm always happy to meet another language lover whose curiosity was piqued by great books. 

    Will you talk to us about how you got started as a translator? What drew you to the field and, more specifically, to legal translation—your specialty?

    LF:  Growing up near the nation’s capital, I developed an interest in politics, thanks partly to the Washington Post and its reporting on the Watergate scandal. In college I minored in Political Science/International Relations, which proved good preparation for legal translation. Over time, friends and colleagues asked me to translate various things for them, and I enjoyed doing so. My first paid job was translating military history texts for a historian.

    For several years I worked for a law firm in D.C. and Moscow. There I sometimes translated Russian laws for partners, and before long they invited me to work in their growing Moscow office, where I experienced the exciting Post-Soviet Transitional Period. At the time Russia and the United States had what seemed like a fairly friendly relationship. Working in a bilingual, binational setting was rewarding: nearly all the lawyers and staff, American and Russian alike, were fluent in Russian and English. I had the privilege of helping to supervise a cadre of impressive translators and interpreters from both countries.

    BS:  That must have been a surreal experience, especially taking into account the affairs of today. It sounds like a joy and a challenge—which brings me to my next question:  What do you find most rewarding about the work you do today? Most challenging? 

    LF:  I enjoy the process and craft of translation itself. I don’t tend to promote myself, so finding new clients can be a challenge. Clients find me through the ATA and NOTIS online directories, and through colleagues.

    BS:  So your work is mostly freelance. With that in mind, what does an average workday look like for you? 

    LF:  For freelance translators, it can be feast or famine. You may have no work for a few days, and then be “slammed” for weeks. It’s up to you to decide what kind of a schedule you want to have. If you work for agencies, you are likely to be at the mercy of their deadlines, which are typically short. If you want to be able to set regular hours, you may need to cultivate your own, private clients or even create your own projects, such as finding a book to translate.

    BS:  Speaking of books in translation, are there a couple—or a few—that you might recommend? 

    LF:  Lately I have been enjoying Japanese literature in translation, including classics such as Snow Country and Botchan, and current fiction such as Killing Commendatore and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Murakami works with some phenomenal translators, such as Philip Gabriel, Jay Rubin and Ted Goossen. For a taste of Murakami, I recommend the short story “The Year of Spaghetti.”

    BS:  Excellent, thank you! We can't let you go without asking this one last question:  Any advice for emerging translators? 

    LF:  Yes. Take full advantage of the rich and varied opportunities for continuing education and professional networking offered by NOTIS and ATA. Attend webinars, workshops and conferences. Our next event, on October 1, will be an all-day, in-person conference in honor of International Translation Day

    [Stay tuned!]

    ______________________________________________

    Laura Friend is an ATA-certified Russian and French to English translator specializing in legal translation. She is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and has traveled widely. She attended elementary school in St. Cloud, France for two years and has studied, worked and lived in Russia, Spain and Germany. Later she taught Russian at Georgetown University and the University of Washington while earning a second M.A. in Slavic Languages and Linguistics. Her other languages include German, Spanish and Czech. Laura holds degrees in Russian language and area studies from Yale University, UW and Middlebury College. She has lived in the Puget Sound area for over twenty years, in Seattle, Newcastle and the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2017 Laura chaired the ATA Slavic Languages Division Nominating Committee. She loves nature, music, film and literature. She works hard to create and nurture a backyard wildlife sanctuary and native pollinator garden.


  • 07/29/2022 16:32 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    A Conference Preview 
    b
    y Shelley Fairweather-Vega

    Sometimes, you have to go to California to meet your neighbors. Sure, one of the perks of attending a big national conference like ATA is meeting colleagues from all over the country, and the world. But it’s extra thrilling to meet a fellow NOTIS member when networking far from home. Conference veterans recommend that you go to all the conference networking and social events, and count the NOTIS members you run into at your division dinner, "Buddies Welcome Newbies," or the job fair. The Northwest Literary Translators will be well represented at the Book Fair and After Hours Café, and you’ll meet plenty of Washingtonians, Oregonians, and (we hope) even Idahoans, Alaskans and Montanans you can boogie down with at the Saturday night dance party, or break a sweat with at Zumba every morning. And if you meet someone from our five-state area who isn’t a NOTIS member, turn on the charm, and recruit them to join!

    For those of you who prefer to treat conferences as more serious educational opportunities, we’ve compiled the following list of NOTIS members and friends who will be presenting at ATA63, arranged in program order. Stop by and say hello!

    Stacey Brown-Sommers, the owner of Mindlink Resources, LLC (Oregon) and member of the WASCLA board of directors
    Be an Ally: Using Inclusive Language in a Divided World (007)
    Thursday, October 13, 2022 11:00 a.m.

    Caitilin Walsh, past NOTIS president, Bellevue College instructor
    LSP vs. LSP, or What's Happening in World Language Education and Why Should We Care? (031)
    Thursday, October 13, 2022 3:30 p.m  

    Javier Castillo, frequent NOTIS instructor and member of the board of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators
    Language and Culture: American English Profanity (082)
    Friday, October 14, 2022 3:30 p.m.

    Caitilin Walsh, past NOTIS president, Bellevue College instructor
    ATA Advocacy: Stand Up and Speak Up for Translators and Interpreters! (112)
    Friday, October 14, 2022 4:45 p.m.

    Svetlana Ruth, NOTIS and OSTI trainer
    Americanisms: To Use or Not to Use? (111)
    Saturday, October 15, 2022 8:30 a.m.

    Shelley Fairweather-Vega, past NOTIS president and member of the advisory board of the University of Washington Translation Studies Hub
    Translating for Authors: Risks and Rewards (101)
    Saturday, October 15, 2022 8:30 a.m

    Sameh Ragab, past NOTIS workshop presenter
    All a Translator Needs to Know about PDF Files (122)
    Saturday, October 15, 2022 10:00 a.m

    Tim Gregory, member of the Northwest Literary Translators
    A Literary Translator's Second Brain: Note-Taking and Recordkeeping for Book Translation (161)
    Saturday, October 15, 2022 3:45 p.m.

    The 63rd Annual Conference of the American Translators and Interpreters Society (ATA63) will be held October 12-15, 2022 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles, California. The complete schedule and all other info, plus conference registration, is available now at a click of the button below! 


  • 07/19/2022 15:41 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    On July 1, the Northwest Linguist Committee published our second (ever!) issue of NOTIS News Quarterly. Our summer newsletter includes:

    • snapshots from our Finnish Translation Slam ⚡
    • a poem about leaving home
    • a Turkish recipe for Red Lentil Cake
    • telephonic interpreting blunders (true tales!)
    • and more!

    If you missed the latest issue, you can read it here

    Want to subscribe? Follow the link above and click the "Subscribe" button in the top left corner of your browser. 

    Want to contribute? Email social@notisnet.org.
    We look forward to publishing your work! 

  • 05/04/2022 08:54 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Since 2017, Yvonne Simpson has been actively participating as a trainer and events organizer for the Community Interpreter Division at NOTIS, promoting professionalism and excellence in interpreting in service of our region’s diverse language communities. She officially joined the NOTIS Board of Directors in March of 2022, and we couldn’t be happier to have her! 

    Below is our conversation with Yvonne—NOTIS board member, Director of Interpreter Services at Harborview, hammock enthusiast, and interpreter extraordinaire. 

    Hello, Yvonne! When did you begin studying the Spanish language? What drew you to it?

    My original intended course of study in college was journalism, a major that required a few semesters of a foreign language. I chose Spanish because I had brief exposure to the language in high school, although I needed to start with Spanish 1. My first instructor, a non-native Spanish speaker, was very engaging and encouraging. She made me think, “If she can learn the language, so can I!” Finding I enjoyed it so much, I ultimately changed my major and looked for every opportunity to learn and improve.

    I've spoken to a lot of emerging translators and interpreters about the difficulty of breaking into their fields. After completing your degree in Spanish Sociolinguistics, how did you decide to get started as a medical interpreter?

    When I lived in Arizona, a friend of mine was the director at a local community center and invited me to interpret at their weekend volunteer health events. At the time I had no formal training in medical interpreting, but when there was a job opening at a hospital in Phoenix, I decided to apply. I never thought they would offer me the position! Arizona does not have a medical certification credential, and I started in the field before the creation of national certifications, so I had weeks of on-the-job training and received a ton of collegial support from my coworkers.

    What do you find most exciting about your work? Most challenging?

    For me, working at a Level 1 Trauma Center is a great fit. I’m honored that we get to participate in such intimate moments of patients’ lives. It’s also really fun to meet colleagues from around the world (prior to COVID we had the best potlucks!). At our facility we share a common goal of putting the patients first and we use that objective to bring us together when there are differing views about how to manage issues. Certainly, the last two years have brought specific challenges: figuring out how to keep staff safe while caring for vulnerable populations, responding to community concerns about the pandemic response, as well as individual burnout. Many facilities are also currently challenged to provide in-person interpreting services, as it appears that many medical interpreters have moved to work in remote modalities or have left the field.

    You’re currently working as Director of Interpreter Services at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and you state in your bio that your work consists of “providing language access and culturally humble healthcare.” Can you explain what this means to you—both in theory and practice? 

    It’s important to me that the work that I do align with my values. I love that my work helps to assure that everyone in our community can meaningfully communicate with their healthcare providers. “Language access” refers to the tools or resources for meaningful communication. “Culturally humble” refers to the mindset that none of us can be culturally competent in any culture but our own; however, we sincerely open ourselves to learn about the cultural views, values, and practices of others. As medical interpreters, we serve as a bridge between the patient/community and the healthcare team. Our role is not limited to just transmitting individual words, rather we support clinicians to build trusting rapport with their patients and help patients successfully maneuver through the American medical system.

    When and how did you first get involved with NOTIS? And what went into your decision to join the Board of Directors?

    In 2017 I was invited by the Community Interpreter Division (CID) to facilitate a continuing education training. From there, I joined the CID and became Chair of the committee in late 2020. I’m grateful to be on the NOTIS Board of Directors to provide representation for the great work that the CID is doing for our members and our colleagues throughout the region.

    Any words of advice for those interested in becoming medical interpreters? 

    A solid understanding of the American medical system is crucial, so read, learn, and ask as many questions as you can. Reach out to professionals already in the field to share their experiences with you - there are loads of us who would be happy to talk! For in-person interpreting jobs, certification will help open doors to opportunities. When you are on assignment, never feel ashamed to ask for clarification or explanation - you can’t interpret if you don’t understand the concept yourself. Practice makes progress.

    ______________________________________________________

    Yvonne Simpson is certified as a Spanish Medical interpreter by the National Board (NBCMI) and Washington DSHS. She holds an MA in Spanish Sociolinguistics from Arizona State University. She taught Spanish at ASU and Phoenix College and was Lead Interpreter at a level 1 trauma center in Phoenix. Returning to her native Washington, she knew she wanted to work at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and she is now Director of Interpreter Services at that facility. There, she supports a team of interpreters, translators, and cultural mediators providing language access and culturally humble healthcare. Yvonne began participating with NOTIS in 2017 as a trainer for Community Interpreter Division workshops. Her favorite time of year is the summer when you can find her gardening, hiking, traveling, and swinging in her hammock. 


  • 04/17/2022 04:18 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Dear NOTIS members, 

    The NOTIS Board of Directors would like to thank you for taking the time to fill out our recent survey and, in so doing, helping us gauge your willingness to begin attending in-person events. 

    Of the 334 survey respondents, 32% said they were ready to attend in-person events now; 26% preferred to remain online “until the situation is clearer”; and 23% asked that we continue to host online events indefinitely.

    Some of you also asked about hybrid events. We are looking into this, and it would certainly be ideal, but hybrid events are complicated and very expensive to produce; they would require a significant increase in our attendance fees.

    With your responses in mind—and in accordance with local and CDC guidelines—we have recently added some in-person events to our schedule (such as our April 11 Feedback Forum) while continuing to offer a wide range of online meetings and webshops to support our members throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

    Thank you again for your feedback, and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. You can reach us directly at info@notisnet.org. It is important to all of us at NOTIS that you feel supported and heard. 

    Very best wishes,
    The NOTIS Board of Directors

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