THE NORTHWEST LINGUIST Blog

Want to post on our blog? The NOTIS Publications Committee accepts T&I-relevant content submissions on a rolling basis. Read more about the type of content we're intrested in here, and send any questions (or submissions) directly to our marketing specialist at social@notisnet.org. Thank you! 

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  • 02/02/2024 03:33 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    The 2024 Seattle/King County Clinic is coming up — and they need volunteer interpreters! The clinic will be open all day from Thursday, February 15, through Sunday, February 18, at the Seattle Center.

    There is high demand for ASL, Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese interpreters — but speakers of other languages are encouraged to volunteer as well.

    Volunteers are also needed for set-up, take-down, and post-clinic eyeglasses distribution (end of March).

    For complete details and to sign up for a shift/shifts, visit https://seattlecenter.org/volunteers/



    ABOUT THE CLINIC

    The SKCC is a free annual clinic providing medical, dental, and vision services to those in need. The clinic serves several thousand people annually (3,066 in 2023) without discrimination. In fact, the SKCC is designed to supersede traditional barriers to quality care. Regardless of income, English language proficiency, housing, immigration, or insurance status — anyone can come in for treatment. No ID or appointment required.


    WHY VOLUNTEER?

    To help your neighbors in need, and to ensure all patients receive compassionate and quality care in the language they know best.


    In the words of previous volunteers:

    “What was amazing was the coming together of a community from all walks of life. It didn’t matter what organization you were from, in that moment, that day, we were all there to serve one purpose, help those who were in need. What a singular, powerful opportunity.”
    — Anonymous Clinic Volunteer

    “My wife and I have been participating in the event since 2018, and I have lots of fond memories. It has been very rewarding for us. Plus, we run into a lot of friends that we normally don't see very often and we’ve made a lot of new friends as well. One year, I worked side by side with my baby daughter, (Stephanie is a King County Deputy Sheriff) one time at event, we dealt with domestic violence, human trafficking and mental health (suicidal behavior). There’s never a dull moment.
    Howard Chou, Clinic Volunteer and NOTIS Board Member (pictured above, far left; and to the right with his daughter)

    “I am forever changed as a result of participating in this event.”
    — Anonymous Clinic Volunteer

  • 01/20/2024 10:52 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    It is with both sorrow and gratitude that we inform you of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Jean Marcel Jules Leblon. Jean touched the lives of many during his long and storied time here, and, among his innumerable accomplishments, he played a pivotal role in the establishment of NOTIS in 1988. We thank him for his service, to NOTIS and to the broader translation and interpreting community. While we mourn his departure, we choose today to celebrate the life he lived and the lasting impact he made.

    Please find Jean's obituary below, and feel welcome to leave any comments or memories of him in the comments section below.

    Jean Marcel Jules Leblon
    June 7, 1928 - November 16, 2023

    Jean Leblon of Seattle, Washington, a French professor and translator who worked vigorously and professionally for 62 years for multiple universities and organizations, passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 16, 2023, following a brief hospitalization and stay in a loving adult family care home.

    Jean was the devoted husband to Mary, his wife of 55 years, who passed away in 2007, as well as the devoted father of two daughters, Mitzi and Simone. His storybook life began in the village of St.-Remy near the French-speaking medieval town of Chimay in southern Belgium, where he was born to Marcelle and Alfred Leblon. He came into the world 10 years after the end of the Great War and only 11 years before the start of WWII, resulting in a very grim wartime adolescence. Jean befriended young GIs serving in the fields near his home, and at 18 was invited to visit the US, where in one of the men’s hometowns of Emporia, Kansas, he was offered the opportunity to attend college at the Kansas State Teachers’ College, earning his bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish. Having met his wife Mary there, he then moved to Connecticut and earned his Ph.D. in French Philology and Literature at Yale in 1960. He then began a tireless, energetic teaching career with posts at Connecticut College, CCNY, Hollins College, and Vanderbilt University as French and Italian Department Chair, including the chairmanship of its French program in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1967 and 1968. He retired from this first career in 1987 when he and Mary moved to Seattle, Washington, where he began a second career at Microsoft as Translator, French Terminologist, Copy editor, and Localizer until his second retirement in 1995. After this date, Jean started his own translation business, working with the French Consulate General in San Francisco, teaching in the Bellevue College Translation and Interpretation Institute, and translating documents for the general public referred to him well into his 90’s.

    In addition to all these activities, Jean was involved in research and publication as well as a myriad amount of extra-curricular activities: such as 20 years as examiner at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the College Board, 10 years as trainer of African teachers in the Peace Corps, as a member of the board of the American Translation Association, co-creating in 1988 the Northwest Interpreters and Translators Society, serving as president of the Alliance Française of Seattle and board member of the American Association of Teachers of French as well as of the Seattle Nantes Sister City Association. In 2003, Jean became “Chevalier dans l’Order des Palmes Académiques”, presented by the Consul General of France at the Alliance Française of Seattle.

    And throughout it all, Jean was passionate about the many pleasures in life: travel, the joys of the table, new places and new experiences. He loved participating in community theater productions throughout his adult life. He was considered a “walking encyclopedia” by his many associates, with his extensive teaching expertise and erudition. He was a man committed to his connections with his Belgian family and to deep, lasting friendships that nourished and replenished him at every turn. His friends and colleagues most often cited his kindness, his extensive knowledge, his generosity of spirit, his vigor: as his Seattle-Nantes colleague shared, “I was always in awe of Jean’s adventurous spirit: taking driving trips all over Belgium and France at an advanced age — really being a role model for those of us in our eighties”. Another colleague from Seattle-Nantes shared, that Jean was “one of his most cherished friends, with a 35-year friendship that I would have loved to continue”. And, as his former student at Vanderbilt-in-France who became his lifelong friend, shared: “he was that splendid combination of such a good heart, an incredibly sound mind and deep soul”. His bonhomie and joie de vivre will be sorely missed by all.

    Survivors include his daughters Mitzi Leblon-Ledingham (Gordon) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Simone Leblon of Seattle, Washington; grandchildren Cameron Ledingham of Seattle and Sophie Ledingham of Portland, Oregon; brother Claude Leblon of Chimay, Belgium, and six nieces and nephews and their families.

    Jean will be laid to rest in Emporia, Kansas next to his wife Mary. Another memorial for Jean will be held in Chimay at a later date to be determined, in order for his beloved Belgian family and friends to celebrate him.


  • 01/02/2024 02:44 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As we reflect on 2023, we at NOTIS would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the pillars of our Society: our members, volunteers, employees, sponsors,  speakers, event attendees, and, in general, all of our colleagues in the varied fields of translation and interpreting. Your dedication to our community does not go unnoticed, and we thank you for the vital work you do each day.

    This past year marked a significant chapter for the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS), and we could not have done it, any of it, without you. Together, in 2023, we:

    • Celebrated 35 years  of supporting, educating, connecting, and inspiring language professionals in and around our 5-state territory (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, and Idaho)
    • Surpassed 700, then 800 — then nearly 900 — members: a testament to the growing strength of our community
    • Inaugurated an online Ethics Panel, a platform for interpreters, translators, and those working with language professionals to seek expert advice on their most pressing ethics questions
    • Developed our on-demand webshop program, ensuring easy access to valuable content and CEUs for all
    • Published high-quality content on our blog and in our quarterly newsletters, written by and for NOTIS members and the wider T&I public
    • Elevated the online presence of our literary group, the NW Literary Translators, with a dedicated webpage and a sales page on bookshop.org
    • Awarded 6 Membership Development Grants, affording members the opportunity to attend major national conferences and further their professional development
    • Hosted numerous in-person events, including our German Translation Slam, Summer Picnic, Holiday Party, and — the highlight of them all — our Annual ITD Conference
    • Engaged with some of the best in the literary and publishing worlds at the AWP Book Fair
    • Forged and fortified connections at ALTA46 and ATA64
    • Offered one of the most comprehensive continuing education calendars in recent years.

    Thank you for your support! We look forward to another year of collaboration, learning, advocacy, and community building.

    To a new year filled with peace, harmony, and happiness,
    The NOTIS Board of Directors & Staff

    P.S. A special shout-out — a special thank you — to the American Translators Association (ATA), of which NOTIS is a proud regional chapter. 

    P.P.S. We welcome you to read our full 2023 Annual Report here (clicking this link will prompt an automatic download). 

  • 11/26/2023 03:47 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Dear colleagues,

    The challenging question for newcomers to the language profession continues to be: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know? Answering this question takes some reflective thinking. The 5Ws method used in this series offers guidance to new T&I professionals.

    In this, the fourth installment of this series, we explore the “When?” of the 5Ws with the following questions:

    1) When is it a good time to accept a translation or interpreting job? 2) When is it productive to negotiate rates? 3) When should one engage in learning more about the profession? 4) When is a good time to seek certification in any specialty? 5) When do we know we’ve reached the point where mental overload could affect our health and performance?

    Here are some suggested answers to these questions:

    1. When accepting a translation or interpreting job, ensure you are qualified to perform well. Never say yes to a job when it is unrelated to your expertise in the field. It can backfire, and your professionalism may be called into question. You always want to be at the top of your game. I’ll offer an example: Early in my interpreting career, I accepted an offer received via email, but I quickly discovered that I needed more training to prepare to work professionally. Fortunately, during that experience, my booth partner was a seasoned and skilled interpreter. She rescued me multiple times. I felt inadequate. In the end, she encouraged me to work harder at mastering relevant glossaries before accepting the next interpreting assignment — and she was right.
    2. When negotiating rates, ask other professionals if you do not know the going rate for translation or interpreting work, mileage, or lodging expenses for overnight events. You may need to call, email, or text that person. Belonging to a local ATA chapter gives you unlimited opportunities to do this.
    3. When you know you need to improve your skills, you must act accordingly. You don’t want to be unprepared as a language professional. The field is always evolving. Staying current and actively sharpening your skills in your language pair is vital.
    4. When the opportunity arises to join a certification study group, don’t miss it. Do everything within your reach to get certified as you work towards your goal. (In the first installment of this series, you can find tips on discovering “Who” you want to become in the language profession.)
    5. When, in your heart of hearts, you find yourself headed toward a mental overload, seek help. The high calling to interpret or translate demands highly skilled professionals. But this demand for accuracy and professionalism in all areas of the language industry does not come without a cost—your physical and emotional well-being. Make it a top priority to discover how healthy habits in nutrition, exercise and other daily activities that provide balance and peace of mind can keep you on track and fuel your productivity as a new language professional.

    Combining all five steps above will help prepare you to embark, well-equipped, on the great adventure you have chosen toward a career in T&I. 

    This is the fourth installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters.

    Read the first installment, “Who?”, here,  the “What?” here, the “Where?” here, and stay tuned for the final installment: the “Why?” 

    Have a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment here or, if you’d rather 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, having taught for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

  • 10/25/2023 11:15 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Teodosia Rivera 

    Hello, everyone. It’s good to be back with the third segment of the five-part series for T&I newcomers. If you’re reading this blog for the first time, this series is based on my original proposed 5Ws method (who, what, where, when, and why) for emerging translators and interpreters. I want to take you back to the question that prompted this series, a question that might cause the newbie translator's heart to skip a beat: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know?

    Becoming a language professional may seem like a daunting task. And that’s because it is. However, we are not alone. As has been my experience, your colleagues are willing to mentor and guide you along the way. The 5Ws method is precisely that, from me to you: a guide to help you navigate the waters of the language industry as newbies in the field.

    The first installment discussed ‘who’ we aim to become when we enter the language arena. Ultimately, we must embody the success we want to achieve.

    In our second post, we focused on the ‘What’ of the 5Ws. There, we delved into some DOs and DON’Ts for new language professionals. For example, do keep a goal in mind, a destination you want to reach. But don’t lose sight of your goal; you’re in the driver’s seat toward your new destination.

    Today, we zero in on the ‘Where.’ So, where do language pros work? Well, the answer is everywhere! ‘How so?,’ you may ask. The answer is in the language profession: language is how we exchange information globally.

    As translators and interpreters, we are the bridges that bring people together. Wherever language communication is broken, language translators and interpreters mend, narrow, or eliminate the gap. So, welcome! Your task as a language professional is truly fundamental. And yes, we really are everywhere. The question for you is this: Where are your skills best suited to be invested? Where will your passion for the profession produce the most satisfaction and the greatest reward in the long run?

    Let’s look at some specialized areas to see where you will be most likely to succeed without regrets:

    1. Do you enjoy working in the medical field? Then, you should consider training to be certified as a medical language professional.
    2. Are you someone who enjoys legal proceedings and facilitating communication in the court setting? Then, take the necessary steps to become a certified legal translator or interpreter.
    3. Perhaps you seek variety and prefer to work in various locations, such as educational settings, social services, or community advocacy. Community interpreter, then, is your path. (Medical and legal are sometimes intertwined in this area.)
    4. A fourth option is to interpret or translate in diplomatic settings.
    5. A fifth—for insatiable readers, lovers of puzzles, and truly creative types—is literary translation. 
    6. Are you always eager to learn more and don’t want to commit to one field? You can do it all from home as a freelance technical translator. 
    7. Does your background include advanced training in biology, engineering, philosophy, linguistics (the list goes on!)? Are you an academic through and through? Then scholarly translation may be your niche.
    8. There are also location-dependent touring opportunities with foreign clients...

    Where can language professionals work? The opportunities are endless, as you can see, and so are the locations. Wherever a language gap is formed—from the local law enforcement agency to the highest court—the language professional becomes the beacon of hope for people on both sides of the bridge.

    So take heart, colleagues. I will tell you a secret: I have heard from those who have been in the industry longer than we have that we are all on a learning journey because the profession is constantly evolving. Know you are not alone. I know I am not alone. We are in this together.

    A few more words of advice:

    • Find a mentor as soon as you feel sidetracked. It will help you. It helped me during my first year in the field.
    • Be honest with yourself. Wherever you are in your professional journey, it is never too late to ask for help. Remember, wherever you find yourself—at a webinar, conference, or another social event hosted by your local ATA chapter or affiliate—we are ubiquitous.
    • Once you have made a connection, let her or him know you are looking for a mentor. My experience has been that they are more than willing to help because they have been there—where you are—themselves. You will be glad you did. They, too, are everywhere, like all of us.


    This is the third installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters. Read the first installment, “Who?”, here and the “What?” here. The final two installments will be released in the coming months. Subscribe to the
     NW Linguist Blog and to NOTIS News Quarterly, our—you guessed it—quarterly newsletter, here.

    Have a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment or, if you’d rather 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, having taught for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

  • 10/18/2023 09:18 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    ATTENTION: We are currently seeking submissions for our longer annual newsletter, to be released in December. Deadline = 15 November.

    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.

    We are currently accepting submissions in the following areas:

    Articles or essays on: 
    • approaches to translation
    • interpretation skills
    • translation reviews
    • T&I technology
    • local language access developments
    • legislation affecting language professionals 
    • personal/professional anecdotes 

    Translations of: 
    • poems 
    • short prose or excerpts of prose
    • recipes
    • songs 
    • etc... 

    Comics, memes, and other bits of humor!

    Submissions should be written in English and — excepting translations — should fall somewhere between 250 and 800 words (longer pieces will be considered for the blog or the annual newsletter; shorter pieces, for our quarterly newsletters or blog). Relevant images may also be submitted, alongside or independent of the 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 Publications Committee and will be edited for content, grammar, and space limitations. 

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

    Best wishes,
    The NOTIS Publications Committee

  • 08/31/2023 03:56 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    At NOTIS, we celebrate women in translation all year round. We are pleased, nonetheless, to reserve for them a month of their own, their own room if you will: a space in which we can all focus our attention on the many marvelous achievements of our members who, by way of translation, are working to foreground the voices of women writers the world around. 

    To this end — to commemorate and celebrate their work on this most felicitous date — we are dedicating this space to share with you some of their latest accomplishments. Featured in this article are texts from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, and Spain.

    Scroll down to learn more about our translators, their authors, and where you can find their work (both in print and online). 

    First, a few words on the initiative itself… 

    WOMEN IN TRANSLATION MONTH: HOW IT STARTED, HOW IT’S GOING

    Women in Translation Month is an annual, August-wide celebration of women* around the world who publish in languages other than English. Having noted a glaring gender disparity in publishing in the U.S., Meytal Radzinski launched this project in 2014 in an effort to increase the visibility of women in translation and promote the important work they do.

    The initiative has been wildly successful, and Meytal’s efforts are paying off in spades! Throughout the month of August, the #womenintranslation and #WITMonth hashtags dominate on social media. Publishers, booksellers, and other literary organizations (and individuals) spend the month celebrating women authors with readings and roundtables, sales and displays, endless blog posts and reviews, plus top fives and top tens and top twenties! 

    In a recent article for the Three Percent blog, Chad Post details the “visual success” of #WITMonth with a chart that shows the following: between 2014 and 2023, the percentage of published fiction in translation — by women —has nearly doubled (from 26% to 47%), and it is now neck and neck with that of books penned by men. 

    IN THEIR OWN WORDS: OUR TRANSLATORS ON THEIR TEXTS

    Shelley Fairweather-Vega on Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup, by Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus (translated from Kazakh to English)

    "Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup is the first book in a series of adventure stories for kids, based on Kazakh myths and legends. The co-authors, Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus, are both authors I've translated before. But their children's series was one I felt was even more important to translate and share with readers outside of Kazakhstan, because, besides having written smart and exciting stories populated by great characters, the two of them are on a mission to create children’s literature that will make kids proud of (or at least more familiar with!) their own history and heritage. As Zira Nauryzbai tells the story, her pre-teen daughter was once obsessed with Harry Potter, which she and all her friends read in Russian. Zira is an expert in world mythology, and when she finally picked up a copy, she immediately saw how much of J.K. Rowling’s story was based on the myths, monsters, and magic of Northern Europe. “We have stories just as good as this! Shouldn’t our kids be reading those?” she thought, and she recruited Kalaus, also a mother of young readers, to help her craft the Kazakhstani answer to Harry Potter. Batu is the result. I would argue that exploring mythological worlds outside of the Northern European tradition we already know well should be just as fascinating for English-speaking readers. This book is a great opportunity to start that journey!"

    Read more about Shelley’s translation in this interview for #WorldKidLit Month on the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative website, and you can find (and buy!) Batu and the Golden Cup here,on bookshop.org

    Shelley Fairweather-Vega is a translator who works from Russian and Uzbek into English. She has translated for attorneys, academics, authors, and activists around the world. Her translated works have been published in the US and UK, and in the Critical Flame, Translation Review, Words Without Borders, the Brooklyn Rail, and more. Shelley is a past president of the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society and a co-founder of the Northwest Literary Translators. She lives in Seattle, where she also plays the French horn and is helping raise two kids and a cat. Learn more at www.fairvega.com.



    Katie King on small red women, by Marta Sanz (from Spanish to English)

    “Reading Spanish author Marta Sanz is like riding a roller coaster: exhilarating and unsettling, addictive and challenging. Her novels tackle social issues and challenge contemporary thinking with innovative literary styles. She engages readers with insightful treatments of topical themes, such as femicide and right-wing extremism in small red women and entertains them with biting satire, as in the case of her genre defying Arturo Zarco detective series, of which small red women is the third and final installment and which mocks traditional aspects of literary noir. In interviews, Sanz says her style is subversive, social, and political.  Fans and book reviewers also applaud her brutal frankness, wordplay, and dazzling array of genres. ‘The extremely literary style of the book is a systematic appeal to the political conscience,’ Sanz told El País

    “I hope my translations of these two excerpts from small red women inspire English language readers — as a small taste of what awaits. The novel is not yet published in English, but my hope is that these texts spur U.S. publishers to take a look. My translation of the novel’s first chapter was published by Columbia Journal in November 2021. My translation of the second chapter was published by the European Literature Network in April 2023 as part of their brilliant special edition on Spanish authors in translation titled The Spanish Riveter: Writing from Spain. This special edition is available in its entirety for FREE in PDF format. Please click the above links to read, download, and share.”

    Katie King is a journalist and literary translator. Her most recent translation, Someone Speaks Your Name by Luis García Montero, was published by Swan Isle Press in January. She has lived and worked extensively in Spain and Latin America. 


    Aimee Chor on the poetry of Nadja Küchenmeister (German to English) 

    “These two poems, ‘i am light’ and ‘in the train,’ are translations from the German poet Nadja Küchenmeister’s third volume of poetry, In the Glass Mountain (Im Glasberg, 2020). Nadja, born in 1981 in Berlin, is one of the most important younger voices in contemporary German poetry. This volume circles around the speaker’s return to her childhood neighborhood in [the former East] Berlin and her ailing father, with extended meditations on illness and on the end of a love affair. The poems draw deeply from diverse sources including Grimm’s fairy tales, the vocabulary of cardiac disease, the imagery of a solar eclipse, and the medieval Canticle of the Sun of St. Francis of Assisi. Nadja’s language is at once clear, playful, and polyvalent; ambiguities of enjambment and punctuation reveal the poems’ layers, and strong rhythms emerge from sporadic rhyming and incantatory meter. Translating this book has been a joy, and I am currently looking for a publisher in hopes of bringing Nadja’s work to a larger audience.”

    Read Aimee’s translations of “i am light” and “in the train” here, in Sepia. Last week, three more of her translations (from the same volume) were published here, in Four Way Review

    Aimee Chor is a translator and poet currently residing in Seattle. She holds degrees in Religious Studies from Carleton College and the University of Chicago and has spent more than three years living and studying in the German cities of Lübeck, Tübingen, and Munich. Her translations of poems by German poet Nadja Küchenmeister recently appeared in Sepia and Four Way Review and are forthcoming in AzonaL, The Apple Valley Review, MAYDAY, and elsewhere. She is on Twitter @aimeechor.


    Mia Spangenberg on The Red Book of Farewells, by Pirkko Saisio

    “Pirkko Saisio’s
    The Red Book of Farewells (original title: Punainen erokirja) won the Finlandia Prize in 2003 when it was first published and has since become a cult classic. It is the conclusion to her lauded autofictional trilogy and chronicles the life of a fictive young Pirkko Saisio as she discovers her identity as a lesbian and finds her voice as an actor and writer in 1970s Helsinki. Fundamentally it is a universal story of love, loss, and new beginnings, but only Pirkko Saisio, with her background in theater, trademark humor, and bold experimentation in style, could pull off a work that so intimately engages the reader. She is finally gaining the attention she so rightly deserves outside her native country of Finland - and the good news is that Two Lines Press will be publishing the other two novels in the Helsinki trilogy in my translation. These novels are due out in 2024 and 2025, so stay tuned!”

    To read more about The Red Book of Farewells, visit the Two Lines Press bookshop. We're also excited to announce that two more of Mia's translations — also of women — were published this year: Rosie Runs, written and illustrated by Marika Maijala, and Owl and the Mystery of Tomorrow, written and illustrated by Réka Király.

    Mia Spangenberg translates from Finnish, Swedish, and German into English. Her translation of Pirkko Saisio’s The Red Book of Farewells was published this year by Two Lines Press. She holds a Ph.D. in Scandinavian studies from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she resides with her family.


    Dominique Hoffman on her translation of the article “Life in Occupied Ukraine” by Inna Zolotukhina and Iryna Yasroshynska

    “This article about the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by two Ukrainian women journalists, Inna Zolotukhina and Iryna Yasroshynska, was completed primarily through interviews with people still in the city of Energodar. Inna Zolotukhina has been reporting on Russia's war against Ukraine since the very beginning of the 'hot' phase of the war in 2014 in Crimea. She provided some of the original first-hand accounts recognizing the same uniforms and approach in Donbas as in Crimea. She has continued to report the Zaporizhzhia story and published a new interview with one of the engineers this month on her youtube channel. She is also collecting testimony from the survivors of war crimes — a job I can't imagine doing. Journalists in Ukraine are in constant danger from Russian attacks, but these women are determined to get the word out about what is happening.” 

    Read this powerful piece, in Dominique’s translation, here, on The Dial.

    Dominique Hoffman is a translator, researcher, and teacher. Her particular areas of interest include literature, art, and cultural history. She holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures and translates Ukrainian texts from Ukrainian and Russian.


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    The Northwest Literary Translators of NOTIS have their own page on Bookshop.org. Click here to learn more about their recent publications!

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    Did you translate something recently that you would like NOTIS to promote? Let us know! Contact the NOTIS Publications Committee at social@notisnet.org


    Meytal carefully explains on her website that "women," in her view, incorporates and embraces transgender, non-binary, and intersex writers, too.




  • 07/31/2023 06:00 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Tim Gregory, CT (AR>EN) and NOTIS Board Member

    Listen to this article on SoundCloud

    First Contact

    We’ve all heard and seen a great deal of hype about ChatGPT and the ways it may revolutionize how all kinds of business is conducted. A lot of different types of creators are feeling threatened: digital artists, computer programmers, writers, and, of course, translators like us. Using a large language model system, the tool can recreate some incredibly human-sounding texts and respond quickly to questions with some extremely confident-sounding answers.

    Hazards

    I’ll first say that, in my testing, I found some amazing results, but I also found some abject failures. When I asked ChatGPT for quotes from one of my favorite books, it gave me six — but three of them did not come from the book I asked for. I could not find what book or author the spurious quotes came from.

    This is the hazard of large language models: they are prone to “hallucinate.” As incredible as they appear, they cannot tell fact from error. It is the human user’s job to fact check and verify that any information ChatGPT provides is accurate.

    Machine Translation

    The same kinds of issues hold sway when working with one of these tools as a translator. The more comparative bilingual data the model contains, the more accurate the translation will be, because it is more likely that the same terms or structures can be found in human-translated materials on the internet. That means some languages will have much better results than others, which is already the case with the many other machine translation tools that are out there.

    For Arabic, ChatGPT seems neither better nor worse than most — with the one benefit that you can, in your prompt, provide a translation brief. You can, for example, tell the tool that the source is a poem and describe the kind of poem you want the translation to be. When I tried this, the translation was not great, but it did come with meter and rhyme!

    Business Consultant: A better use?

    Leaving translation itself aside, I’d like to address the idea of using ChatGPT as a business consultant. If you have ever searched the internet for business advice or to try to solve a problem you are having, I am certain you ended up with millions of search results. Thousands of articles, some relevant to you, but most designed for generic freelance businesses or sole proprietorships. Imagine a smart computer that can comb all those results and distill answers down to you in understandable human language. Then, stop imagining — because it already exists.

    Getting Started with ChatGPT

    Let us walk through the process of creating a prompt and navigating a simple conversation. I recommend you go to https://chat.openai.com and sign up for an account, and then, to get a feel for how it works, either copy the prompt work below or modify it to your needs.

    General Advice for Interaction

    The first thing you should do any time you work with ChatGPT is provide background information. If you are asking for translation help, this should be a translation brief describing the source, the intended audience, and the tone of the translation. For our consultant, we need to let the system know the role we want it to play. If you do not do this, the results will be less specific and relevant to you.

    Keep in mind that ChatGPT is not Google; it is not doing a keyword search and bringing you results. It is trying to bring you an actual answer to your question. One side note: many people experimenting with ChatGPT say you get better results if you are polite, so you will see me using ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

    Introducing Yourself and Your Topic

    Let’s imagine that you are trying to transition from getting most of your freelance translation work from agencies to finding and working with direct clients. All the best advice suggests that this is the ideal way to earn higher pay and achieve a better work-life balance. Who better to ask than “someone” who has built their business in this way? So our first job is to establish the boundaries for our conversation. Here is an example of how to do so:

    Taking the role of a successful freelance translator with more than twenty years’ experience working with translation agencies and gradually shifting to work solely with direct clients, please answer the following questions:


    You’ll get a response letting you know the program has taken on the persona you asked for and is ready to answer your questions. Here is an example of a question I asked:

    Is it worthwhile to specialize in a certain topic or field, or would I be limiting my income by doing this?


    ChatGPT provided me with a very lengthy answer, but the first paragraph read:

    Specializing in a certain topic or field can be highly beneficial as a freelance translator. While it may seem like you are narrowing your potential client base, in reality, becoming an expert in a specific area can open up numerous opportunities and boost your earning potential. Here are some reasons why specializing is worthwhile:


    It then listed six advantages to specialization along with details for each.

    Drilling Down

    Another question you might have would be about finding direct clients. Most translation consumers do not post job ads on LinkedIn, after all. Your next prompt might be something like this:

    Thank you! I have decided to specialize in translating medical technology from German to English. Can you give me some advice for finding direct clients in my field?


    The response I received gave me ten actionable pieces of advice from setting up a professional online presence, to cold email versus direct mail, to joining professional associations like ATA (or NOTIS). Finally, we can delve further into another answer to our question and ask for more help.

    I have decided to try a direct mail campaign. Can you help me determine what I should include on a postcard mailer to advertise my translation services as described above and provide me with a few lines of marketing copy that I might adapt for my own use?


    Along with the following general guidelines and suggested copy, ChatGPT gave a text-only plan for how to do the layout for the postcard.

    • A compelling headline. 

      • Expert Medical Technology Translations: Bridging the Language Gap for Your Innovations!

    • A brief introduction.

      • As a seasoned freelance translator with over 20 years of experience, I specialize in providing precise and reliable translations for the medical technology industry. From software interfaces to technical manuals, I ensure your message remains clear and impactful in every language.

    • A value proposition.

      • Partner with me to unlock your global potential. Seamlessly communicate with international markets, comply with regulatory requirements, and empower your medical technology solutions to reach broader audiences.

    • A call to action.

      • Take the first step toward expanding your global presence. Contact me today to discuss your translation needs and receive a customized quote.

    • Contact information.

    • Optional testimonials.


    Conclusion

    Running a small business is a complicated affair, particularly for sole proprietors who really just want to do the work they love. ChatGPT’s access to vast amounts of business advice across many different fields makes it a very powerful potential partner in developing your business in ways you may not have considered before.

    In ChatGPT’s own words, “By harnessing the power of AI-driven tools, we can focus on our expertise, specialize in niche areas, and deliver translations that exceed expectations. As we ride this wave of innovation, let us embrace these tools as valuable allies in our profession, propelling us towards even greater success in an ever-evolving global landscape.”

  • 07/12/2023 13:45 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As you may have noticed, scammers seem to be as busy as ever these days! NOTIS would like to remind all members to remain extremely vigilant when reading and responding to emails — even to messages sent to you through your NOTIS directory page.

    While we've taken measures to shield our directory from casual scammers, your directory information is public by default (so that colleagues and legitimate potential clients can reach you). Unfortunately, this means that people with wrongful intentions can email you too.

    To further protect yourself, you can easily edit your member profile to set "Send message form" to "Anybody," "Members" (only), or "No access." You can do this by clicking on your name at the top right corner of our home page (you must first log in) and selecting "Edit profile" while on the "Privacy" section of your profile. The difference can be seen in the two attached screenshots (see below). 

    Please exercise caution when responding to emails from people you don’t know or when something about the message strikes you as odd, for example:

    • if the person claims to be from a large company but is using a free email domain (such as yahoo.com or gmail.com) 
    • if the offer seems too good to be true, or 
    • if the person asks you to send them money or share personal information. 

    To get an idea of what some of these scams looks like, check out this post from NOTIS’s Twitter page about a recent scam targeting NOTIS members. And here’s a 2020 post from CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters) regarding a scam that targeted language professionals nationwide.

    If anything seems suspicious, the best strategy is not to respond. It can also help to do an online search to see if others have received the same scam email. 

    Additionally, you can check on the legitimacy of a potentially suspicious offer by asking your colleagues, for example, on one of the following Facebook Groups:

    Finally, here are a couple more easy steps you can take to recognize and avoid scammers:

    • Make some or all of your directory information private or visible only to other NOTIS members. You can adjust these privacy settings in your profile (click on your name on the top right corner of the page)
    • Read our guidance for members about known scams and frauds: Scams targeting freelancers

    Check out these additional resources for guidance: 

    If you receive an email through the NOTIS directory and you're not sure it's legitimate, NOTIS will be happy to review it with you and offer our opinion. Please send your inquiries to info@notisnet.org.


  • 06/22/2023 14:29 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Attention NOTIS members: We are currently recruiting volunteers to run for our Board of Directors!

    The Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society is growing, and so too must our leadership team. As a NOTIS Board member, you will enjoy professional prestige and camaraderie while helping to shape the future of our society. 

    Board Members serve two-year terms (for a maximum of six consecutive years).

    To apply, please submit your CV as well as a brief statement explaining why you would like to volunteer to
    treasurer@notisnet.org.

    If you know someone who may be interested, please pass this along!

    Thank you for your ongoing support and for all the good work you do for our thriving T&I community.


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