• 06/13/2017 13:36 | Shelley Fairweather-Vega (Administrator)

    NOTIS member Katie King talks about organizing a group of literary translators.

    One of Seattle’s best-kept secrets is that is has quietly become the U.S. capital of literary translation. This is great news for me, because I am a literary translator myself. A native of Seattle and a University of Washington graduate, I worked outside the U.S. as a journalist and editor for much of my career, and then lived in London. When I returned home a few years ago, I found that while I wasn’t looking, this always-bookish city had become a translation hub as well.

    At the core of this transition is AmazonCrossing, the world literature imprint of Amazon Publishing, which in the last six years has become the biggest U.S. publisher of literature translated into English. But even more importantly, as I reconnected with my city after so many years of travel, I kept running into other translators. Almost everyone I spoke to knew someone who worked in translation. But it seemed to me that none of these translators knew each other. In London, I enjoyed participating in a large and vibrant translation community with non-stop meetups, translation slams, lectures and book launches. What if, I thought, we could replicate that vibrant community here in Seattle?

    This is where NOTIS comes in. The Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society has long represented working translators, both literary and technical, in this region. However, NOTIS board member Shelley Fairweather-Vega spotted a trend. The number of members who are literary translators has been growing, along with interest in literary translation events. Shelley organized the first-ever NOTIS literary translators’ open mic night in the spring of 2016. The event was wildly successful, with more participants than Shelley had expected—including me! And there, a partnership was born.

    Inspired by each other and the dynamic local translators we’ve been talking to, Shelley and I decided to forge a local community specifically for and with literary translators. We call ourselves the Northwest Literary Translators and we launched in December, 2016 with an event that attracted 75 people. Since then, we’ve had monthly events including the Feedback Forum, Perfect Pitch, Publishers Panel, and Seattle’s first ever Translation Slam. Participants have come from as far away as Eugene, OR and Vancouver, WA. We’ve had the generous support of Seattle innovator David Brewster, who has nurtured our group by allowing us to meet in his beautiful Folio Athenaeum, a private library downtown. The University of Washington has also supported us with participation of some of their top translation scholars. We've hosted editors from AmazonCrossing, as well as other small, Seattle-based translation publishers, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning Wave Books.

    But the biggest success of our efforts so far has been the members. Our group includes award-winning translators and people who are just starting out, top translation scholars and passionate self-taught success-stories. And we feel this is only the beginning. We hope to see you at one of our monthly events soon!

    The Northwest Literary Translators meet on the third Thursday of each month at Folio in downtown Seattle. Check the NOTIS calendar for upcoming events.

  • 05/25/2017 10:03 | Elise Kruidenier

    As a non-profit organization supporting translators and interpreters in the Northwest, NOTIS strives to provide opportunities for people to connect and learn about the industry. As another way to give back to our members, we are awarding two scholarships this year: one scholarship for a first-time ATA Conference attendee (October 25-28 in Washington D.C.), and one for a student studying in a translation or interpretation program. We hope these scholarships will help extend access to educational and networking opportunities.

    For more information, please see our Scholarships page, and send any questions to

  • 04/03/2017 15:25 | Elise Kruidenier

    British Columbia is a beautiful province, but it offers more than just an attractive destination for a quick trip across the border. One advantage to being so close to British Columbia is STIBC, our NOTIS counterpart to the north! In addition to providing a number of great training opportunities, STIBC also offers a certification program, an alternative to other certification programs such as the ATA exam.

    The STIBC program offers translators certification in almost 50 language pairs, which may be of interest to those whose languages are not currently covered by other organizations. The overall pass rate for the exam is around 26%, which is consistent with ATA and other exams. Over 150 candidates sit the exam every year. For more information about this certification program, see the PDF at this address.

    If you’re looking for some new types of training programs or a different route to certification, STIBC could be a great organization to check out. Please direct any questions you have their way!

  • 03/04/2017 19:26 | Lindsay Bentsen

    By NOTIS member Elizabeth Adams

    It’s spring and time to check in on our New Year’s resolutions. My resolution was to be more intentional about finding resources to help me be a better translator. While I’m grateful for the wealth of affordable webinars offered by the ATA and, I realized after listening to a couple of webinars last year that there is an important reason we should also be making time for training that is not aimed at translators.

    If you specialize in one or more fields, you need to look at the subject matter from a specialist’s point of view.

    I’ve spent the past five years focusing on legal translation, but the webinars I’ve purchased on that topic have all been fairly general, covering a lot of ground and geared more toward non-native speakers of English. So I branched out: the Harvard online course on Contract Law was free, but it was also very basic and designed for the general public. Bryan Garner’s video presentation on the misuses of "shall" in drafting is targeted at attorneys. It cost exactly $200 more than the Harvard course, but I can already see improvement in my thought processes and my finished work.

    I bet you see two drawbacks already, don’t you? Continuing education outside our supportive translation community is expensive. And it can be hit or miss finding training that is at the right level of difficulty. My strategy is to look for books, articles and courses that deal with the intersection between law and language – that way I know the material is relevant to me, even if it wasn’t developed specifically for translators.

    But what about those pesky high fees? I think of it this way: I’d rather pay a couple hundred dollars for some really useful information than $35 for a webinar where I’ll end up paying my bills and cleaning off my desk while it runs in the background. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m always looking for high-value, low-cost learning opportunities just like the next person.

    If you have tips for finding continuing education opportunities outside the translation industry I would love to hear them!

    Elizabeth Adams is a Russian to English translator living in Everett, WA. She is a big nerd about continuing education. You can find her online here.

  • 02/15/2017 08:00 | Anonymous

    The 2017 Washington Legislature is in session. Seven (!) different bills affecting the translation and interpretation industry were reported during the last WASCLA update call. You can find a list of them below.

    If you want to know more about how a bill becomes a law and what your role in the process can be, check this infographic by CoSN.

    The Legislature has implemented a system designed to allow the public to send comments about bills to their legislators. More information can be found here.

    Videos of the hearings are available two hours after they close. So take a look!


    • HB 1386 / SB 5233 - Concerning exempting translators and interpreters from the state's Industrial Insurance Act.
    • HB 1186 - Concerning the provision of and reimbursement for certain court interpreter services.
    • HB 1285 - Concerning modifying oath requirements for interpreters in legal proceedings.
    • HB 1303/ SB 5142 - Concerning educational [signed language] interpreters
    • HB 1451 Improving language access for public school students and families with limited English proficiency.
    • HB 1540/ SB 5046 - Providing public notices of public health, safety, and welfare in a language other than English.
    • HB 1022 -  Safety and Access for Immigrant Victims Act.

  • 02/02/2017 11:38 | Elise Kruidenier

    Please find below links to statements made by various translator and interpreter organizations in response to the president's executive order on immigration.

    American Translators Association (ATA)

    Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI)

    National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC)

    American Literary Translators Association (ALTA)

    If you have any others to add, please contact us at

  • 01/13/2017 11:49 | Elise Kruidenier

    On behalf of the NOTIS Board of Directors, I’d like to wish our members a very happy and healthy new year.

    2016 was a good year for NOTIS, with many successful continuing education events and social gatherings, and we’re looking forward to another exciting year.  We have a new group of board members, including a fresh new executive committee: if you’d like to check out our new board member team, click here. Our board is run by volunteer power, so if you’re interested in helping out, please get in touch!

    This year, we will be offering more webinars, continuing education events, and social events, including member-only events. Stay tuned for more information! We also invite our members to take the initiative and put together their own events, so if you have an idea for a social or continuing education event, let us know! For those living outside of the Seattle region (at least 30 miles outside of Seattle), we offer the opportunity to organize your own social event, subsidized by NOTIS, so we hope more people will take advantage of that program this year. We have a robust member base, with a wide variety of languages and specialties, and the more you get involved, the more vibrant our organization will become!

    Thank you for your continued support of NOTIS, and here’s to a successful 2017!

  • 09/19/2016 16:55 | Anonymous

    NOTIS established a new webinar committee this year to expand our continuing education offerings and to better serve our geographically-dispersed member base.

    A webinar is a short audiovisual presentation, offered over the internet. For attendees, this means you can learn new things and get continuing education credits from the comfort of your home and on your own time.

    NOTIS presents each webinar live in the first week of the month. It is recorded at that time, then the recording is made available to registrants until the end of the month. If you can’t attend the live presentation, just wait for the link to the recording to arrive in your inbox!  Then, settle down to watch the recording anytime you have an hour free (or multiple times, if you like) throughout the month.  You may wish to take notes, since the recording will expire on the last day of the month. If you’re attending our next webinar, please consult the FAQ page for answers to any questions you may have.

    The new committee’s goal was to offer two webinars in 2016 to test member interest and logistics.   June’s webinar, aimed at translators, presented certified Turkish translator Bekircan Tahberer’s advice for handling the translation of official documents. The webinar was well-attended: 51 total language professionals joined us, hailing from eastern and western Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and beyond.

    Next up, on October 5, NOTIS is offering a Spanish-specific webinar oriented toward interpreters: CSI Terminology for Court Interpreters. The presenter, Esther M. Navarro-Hall, has worked as an interpreter in the conference, court, medical and community specialties for the past 31 years. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).

    In 2017, NOTIS’s webinar committee plans to expand our series to three or more webinars annually.  Interested in remote learning opportunities, technology, or improving services for NOTIS members throughout our five-state area?  Please consider joining the webinar committee!  Contact Webinar Committee Chair Brooke Cochran for more information. 

  • 08/27/2016 00:00 | Shelley Fairweather-Vega (Administrator)

    NOTIS has a new website this year, and with it, a new online directory that is much easier to maintain than the clunky old database of the past. All corporate and individual members are entitled to one directory entry as a benefit of membership.

    The directory has two purposes: to help NOTIS manage our membership better (send you customized email messages, keep a record of your dues paid and events attended, monitor our numbers, and so on) and to help our members be found by potential local customers for their T&I services.

    Here are some points to remember in considering how the directory currently works.

    • At present the NOTIS directory contains profiles for over 300 individual members and 7 corporate members. If you’re a paid member (other than a student member), you’re in the directory!
    • Directory search results are always listed in a random (rather than alphabetical) order, so every search yields results in a different order. This means that an agency called AAA Translation, for example, will not have an undue advantage in search results, and that YOU will be the top result as often as anyone else when the information in your profile matches a search by a potential customer.
    • Your profile will come up in search results based on the information you’ve entered in it. You can be as precise or as vague as you like, but we advise you to at least make sure your languages and credentials are up to date. As a matter of professional ethics, please be honest.
    • You can customize which information in your profile is visible to other members and to the public, so it’s easy to protect your personal information.
    • Corporate members (mainly agencies) show up differently from individuals in search results, in several ways: They're labeled with their type of membership, and their company names appear in their profiles. This way, potential customers can easily see which of their search results are agencies and which are individuals, and can choose whom to contact based on their own needs and preferences for each particular assignment.

    We’re also working to advertise our directory more actively this year. Look for information about the directory in the next version of the official NOTIS brochure, which we pass out wherever potential T&I buyers gather. Starting in September 2016, we’ll also be running advertisements online, including both Google ads (which appear based on Google search results) and LinkedIn ads (which are shown to targeted categories of professionals when they use LinkedIn).

    Do you have questions or advice about the directory (or anything else NOTIS does)? Please get in touch! We’re working hard to become an even more valuable resource for professionals in translation and interpretation across the Pacific Northwest. Your ideas can help make that happen. And since we are volunteer-run, we’d especially love to hear from members who can donate their time and energy to help with our directory (or any other project). You can email any board member directly from this page.

  • 07/08/2016 22:27 | Anonymous
    NOTIS social events tend to be around Seattle, since that’s where most of our event-organizing board members reside.  To include members from other areas in the fun, the NOTIS Board has approved a new program to reimburse members up to $50 once per calendar year for social events they organize at least 30 miles away from Seattle that are attended by 4 or more NOTIS members
    Here’s how it works:
    • Plan your event, and email the NOTIS board at least two weeks in advance of the planned event so we can help publicize it.
    • Invite other local language professionals, and make sure at least 4 NOTIS members who live at least 30 miles away from Seattle plan to attend. Consider inviting students of translation and interpretation, local businesses engaged in translation and interpretation, and all the translators and interpreters you know.
    • Enjoy your event!
    • Take pictures (with attendees’ permission to post them without names on NOTIS social media), and make a list of attendees’ names and email addresses.
    • Email us your two best pictures, the list of attendees’ names and email addresses, and receipts for your costs.  NOTIS will reimburse you up to $50 for event costs such as venue fees, advertising, and food or drink.

    For future reference, the full policy is also described in the members-only section of our website.
    We hope this new program will spread the benefits of NOTIS membership more widely throughout all five of our states (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho). We can’t wait to hear about the fun you have, wherever you are!

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