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  • February 27, 2020 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    By: Sarah Symons Glegorio

    If you’d like to partner with someone for accountability and motivation to prepare for the ATA certification exam, OSTI is organizing study groups to help people keep on track with your exam preparation.  

    The study groups will function as they did last year; after signing up, you will be partnered with another person in your language pair as available.

    If you’re in the Portland area, join us on Thursday March 5 at the Cardinal Club from 7:00 – 8:30pm for a live Q&A session on exam prep. The address is 18 NE 28th Ave, Portland, Oregon. Please RSVP at https://osti.wildapricot.org/event-3770189/Registration.

    The basic info for the study groups is the same as in the post below: https://ostiweb.org/ata-exam-study-groups-organized-by-osti/

    Here is the link to sign up for the study groups: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQaLnmGUUnwVkGSrG9Jb_haTfTQEfmPYk-psywozNVXStQQw/viewform

    Good luck!

  • June 05, 2019 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    By: Sarah Symons Glegorio

    Are you interested in becoming an ATA Certified Translator? Would you like some guidance and motivation to prepare for the exam? OSTI is organizing groups to practice, study and prepare for the ATA exam, which is offered in the following languages:

    Arabic to English
    English to Arabic
    Chinese to English
    English to Chinese
    Croatian to English
    English to Croatian
    Dutch to English
    English to Dutch
    English to Finnish
    French to English
    English to French
    German to English
    English to German
    English to Hungarian
    Italian to English
    English to Italian
    Japanese to English
    English to Japanese
    Polish to English
    English to Polish
    Portuguese to English
    English to Portuguese
    Russian to English
    English to Russian
    Spanish to English
    English to Spanish
    Swedish to English
    English to Swedish
    Ukrainian to English
    English to Ukrainian

    Intrigued? Read on…

    These study and practice groups are intended to be self-directed exam preparation groups. OSTI will provide tips and match group members, but you reap what you sow. There are no guarantees of passing, just meeting great colleagues, learning the ins and outs of the ATA exam, and honing your skills. Success depends on a number of factors, including translation and language skills, and effort exerted.

    We’ll kick off the groups on May 22nd with a social gathering to meet local colleagues. The goal of the groups is to complete 7-10 practice “mini exams” (even if they aren’t all bona fide ATA practice passages) before the OSTI exam sitting in September 2019. Of course groups can continue or take breaks as they see fit. You don’t need to test at the OSTI sitting (or even have plans to sit for the exam) to participate.

    The basic steps are as follows:

    1. Translate. Each week, members of each group will translate the same practice passage or article under exam conditions. We highly recommend starting off with actual ATA practice passages, which are available here ($80 for ATA members and $120 for nonmembers), in order to get feedback from actual ATA graders.
    2. Review. Submit the translations for feedback (if they are the official ATA practice passages) and exchange them for review amongst your group members. Groups can decide what works best for review, but we’d recommend pasting the text into a Word document and marking them up using Track Changes. Then send them back to the author for follow up as a group.
    3. Discuss. Go over the different choices and results amongst the group, either via email or in a live online session via Zoom or Google Hangouts. If group members completed an actual ATA practice passage, it may take a month or so to get your results back, though it would be interesting to have a before-and-after discussion of those passages.
    4. Repeat. Once the official ATA practice passages have been completed, groups are responsible for sourcing their own articles to practice on. It may be possible to determine where the ATA practice passages are from and use other articles from the same publication.

    Groups will decide their own frequency and availability, but we recommend 1 practice run every 1-2 weeks, which would be a time commitment of about 1-3 hours per week.

    The key is getting used to translating under the exam conditions. For example:

    • 1.5 hour time limit per 250-word passage (on the actual exam, candidates have 3 hours total to translate 2 passages)
    • Restricting yourself to paper and PDF dictionaries for handwritten exams
    • If internet is available at the computerized exam, restricting yourself to the accepted online dictionaries (i.e., no ProZ, no forums or anything considered as interactive, or machine translation; see the full list here), or to paper and PDF dictionaries in the case of the handwritten exam or if internet is unavailable
    • No spell check or grammar check
    • Translating in WordPad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac)
    • Using a source text that’s printed on paper and cannot be copied onto the computer
    • More details from the ATA

    OSTI will provide some guidance and recommendations on how to prepare for the ATA exam and will be hosting an exam sitting on September 15, 2019 in Milwaukie, Oregon. Group members are strongly encouraged to read the ATA’s published information on the exam.

    Groups are also invited to share resources for their given language pairs. If there are enough people interested, we could see about arranging for a workshop-type class where you can practice your skills and receive bona-fide feedback. (Here’s an example of a similar ATA workshop in Houston.)

    The time commitment is estimated at about 1-3 hours per week. The study groups themselves are free and open to all translators seeking certification in one of the aforementioned language pairs. The ATA practice passages cost $80 each and are available here. The ATA exam itself costs $525 and sign-up information is available here.

    So, are you in? YES! Sign up here.

    Not sure? Leave a comment or email us any questions you have and we’ll compile a list of FAQs for a follow-up email and future blog post.

    Additional Resources
    “Death by a Thousand Cuts” by Juan Lizama:

    “Ergonomics for ATA’s Certification Exam: Unspoken Advice with Untold Benefits” by Emily Safrin:

    “Am I Ready for the Exam?” by Nora Favorov:

    “How I Passed the ATA Certification Exam on the 1st Attempt” by Sarah Symons Glegorio:

    “How I Became a Certified Translator in 10 Hours, from Scratch” by Rony Gao:

    “Translation Certification Study Resources” by Helen Eby:

  • October 03, 2018 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    Dear OSTI Interpreter,

    The Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OHA-OEI) invites you to respond to this survey because it is interested in your perspective on the working conditions for interpreters. Survey responses will be analyzed for insights on how to improve program services, laws, and policies, and the working conditions for health care interpreters in Oregon. It is necessary to complete the survey during your first attempt, in order to ensure that  your responses are  recorded. Be sure to include your name and contact information so that OHA can send you your CEUs. 

    What you get for completing this survey:

    You will receive 2 Continuing Education Units (CEU). Your CEU certificate will be emailed to you separately and will count toward the 24 hours of required CEU’s for renewing OHA issued HCI letters. The CEU credits will not count toward the requirements for other national or states programs.


    To ensure that your personal information is kept separate from your survey responses, a separate window will open about a minute after you complete the main survey. Please note that your personal information will only be used for emailing your CEU certificate after the survey closes and will not be shared.

    The survey closing date has been extended and will now close on October 15th, 2018 and the results will be published on the OHA/OEI website two months after the survey ends.


    Here is a link to the survey (http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3643875/Health-Care-Interpreter-Satisfaction-Survey).

    If you have questions, please contact:

    Kweku Wilson, HCI program coordinator
    (971) 673-3328

    Please click this link to begin the survey

  • August 23, 2018 5:21 PM | Anonymous

    By: Loie Feuerle, OSTI President

    Dear All OSTI Members,

    As you know, we have an election coming up where we will be electing a President, a Director and a Secretary for a term of 2 years each. Candidate materials have already been distributed by the Chair of the Nominating Committee.

    However, in addition to the election, we will be voting on 2 other issues:

    (1) A bylaws amendment addressing a very practical issue, i.e., when new officers and directors will assume their duties after having been elected.

    The Board urges OSTI members to vote in favor of changing the date on which new officers and directors officially take office from January 1 of the year following the election to immediately after the election.

    This change is not radical; it simply permits new officers to assume their responsibilities immediately after the election rather than waiting almost 4 months to start their new duties.,

    (2) A Referendum on whether OSTI should become an ATA affiliated group.

    Once again, the Board urges OSTI members to vote in favor of OSTI becoming an ATA affiliated group.

    The ATA, a professional membership organization, is 10,000 members strong and represents both translators & interpreters. The ATA recognizes both translator and interpreter certifications – In the case of interpreter certifications the ATA recognizes both the state and federal court interpreter certification credentials as well as the medical interpreter certifications offered by CCHI and the National Board.

    Although the Interpreters Division and Spanish Division represent a huge portion of the ATA’s membership, the ATA also has a number of divisions focussing on supporting other languages groups and different subject matter areas.

    There are benefits from being associated with an organization of this size and with such a high national and international profile

    Below is the detail. It is also available in this PDF file. Proposed Bylaws (Final)

    Thank you for your attention!



    Loie Feuerle

    OSTI President





    Regular OSTI Bylaw reviews ensure that our Bylaws smoothly facilitate rather than impede our operations. Experience has shown that with the passage of time, modifications may be not only desirable, but also necessary.


    After almost five years of OSTI’s existence, the Board has observed that one provision with regard to our elections is not working in practice as OSTI’s founders had originally hoped.

    The long period of almost four months between September election and the January 1 commencement of new Directors’ terms has presented challenges and proven to be awkward for both incoming and outgoing Board members.

    Although originally envisioned as an opportunity for the new Board members to familiarize themselves with their duties, in practice it has not been effective. Newly elected Directors have not felt comfortable fully engaging while their predecessors are still in their positions, and the holdovers have felt uncomfortable with imposing duties and creating obligations for their successors.

    In addition, the same paragraph of the Bylaws provides for the initial allocation of Directors’ terms at the launch of the organization, a provision that is no longer necessary or relevant.

    Accordingly, the Board proposes the following change to the Bylaws:

    The Current Bylaws Provision that the Board of Directors recommends amending:

    The first sentence of Article IV, ¶8, now reads as follows:

    1. Directors shall be elected for a two (2)-year term, commencing on January 1, except that, at the meeting at which these By-Laws are adopted and ratified, two of the five original Directors, to be chosen from the five original Directors either by lot or by volunteering to serve a shorter term, shall be designated to serve for a term of one (1) year.

    The Recommended Amendment to the Bylaws:


    The Board recommends that that first sentence of Article IV, ¶8, be deleted and replaced by the following new Article IV, ¶8:

    1. Directors shall be elected for a two (2)-year term, commencing immediately after all votes have been counted and the election results certified by the Secretary on the date of the election.

    The OSTI Board of Directors recommends the membership vote in favor of amending the Bylaws as aforesaid to enable newly elected Board members to be able to assume their new roles and responsibilities forthwith, relieving their predecessors of further responsibility.

    The OSTI Bylaws state that the Board of Directors may propose amendments to the Bylaws, which must be proposed at least 15 days prior to the date of the meeting at which the vote on the proposed amendment will be taken (OSTI Bylaws, Article IX, 1).  The adoption of an amendment requires approval by a two-thirds (2/3) majority. (OSTI Bylaws, Article IX, ¶ 2).


    The OSTI Board hereby requests that OSTI members approve that OSTI apply for group affiliation with the American Translators Association (ATA).

    The ATA is a professional association founded to advance the translation and interpreting professions and foster the professional development of individual translators and interpreters. Its over 10,000 members in more than 100 countries include translators, interpreters, teachers, project managers, web and software developers, language company owners, hospitals, universities, and government agencies. Many OSTI members are members of the ATA.

    The ATA has both chapters and affiliated groups. At this time the Board would like OSTI to apply to become an ATA affiliated group.

    Benefits to becoming an ATA affiliated group:

    • ATA advertises affiliates’ events free of charge in the ATA periodical publication, The Chronicle, on a space-available basis;
    • ATA advertises affiliates’ events free of charge online
    • ATA provides affiliates with a free table at the ATA Annual Conference; and
    • ATA works with affiliates on issues of mutual concern.

    In exchange, ATA affiliates have responsibilities:

    • Affiliates are asked to submit an annual report and a yearly financial report (optional);
    • Affiliates are asked to keep the ATA informed of local issues of interest to the national organization;
    • Affiliates are asked to provide support if an ATA Annual Conference is held in their state; and
    • Affiliates are asked to promote ATA regional activities and ATA Annual Conferences in affiliate publications and online on a space available basis.

    The ATA requires affiliates to opt for ATA affiliation by referendum. A referendum is a direct vote in which a legislative body refers a proposal to a vote by the entire electorate. In short, the ATA wants affiliates to opt for affiliation not just because the group’s board wishes to do so, but because the group’s general membership also wishes to do so.

    The OSTI Board has already approved applying for ATA affiliation. Accordingly, the Board recommends that the membership also vote in favor of ATA affiliation.

  • March 13, 2018 5:23 PM | Anonymous

    By Emily Safrin



    I’ll admit it: despite my enthusiasm to accept an invitation to copresent on translation and interpreting (T&I) at a local high school, I was nervous. If my own high-school experience was any indication, surely the students could laugh us right off the figurative stage. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

    At the invitation of a teacher at iTech Preparatory in Vancouver, Washington, fellow OSTI member and Membership Committee Chair John Wan and I prepared a presentation on T&I careers this past February. Our different paths complement one another well: John works as a Mandarin-language court interpreter, whereas I focus on Spanish-English medical translation and have also interpreted in health-care settings.

    On the morning of February 8th, 2018, we drove to Vancouver to present. We were impressed to learn shortly beforehand that the class was completely focused on T&I. Nonetheless, we planned to open with a comparison of translation and interpreting—surely the natural place to begin for most audiences. But the students’ knowledge quickly exceeded our expectations: they had no trouble uniformly explaining the difference between the two professions. With that out of the way, we turned to a discussion of what it takes to be a translator or interpreter, centered around the question, “Is being bilingual enough?”

    With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games having commenced just the day before, we used an Olympics-themed analogy to make our point, asking students, “What would it take for you to compete against Usain Bolt?” (These bright students needed no introduction, but for anyone unfamiliar: Bolt, who made his Olympic debut in 2004, is widely recognized as the greatest sprinter of all time.) It took no more than one response to cut to the chase: “Legs!”

    Our point was that many things make Bolt the best in his sport, but without one vital “tool” in particular—his legs—none of those traits or skills would matter, because he wouldn’t even be able to set foot on the track. The same goes for T&I: to even attempt to perform the task, being bilingual is a prerequisite, but it hardly makes you the Usain Bolt of T&I. All it does is allow you to “compete”—that is, perform the task, however spectacularly or poorly you may perform. Put another way, without knowing at least two languages, you wouldn’t be able to even make an attempt at translating or interpreting, but just because you’re bilingual (or have legs) doesn’t mean you’re any good at the undertaking; it takes a natural adeptness and plenty of practice.

    Having gotten this ubiquitous question out of the way, we talked about what it really takes to be a translator or interpreter and what the two different careers look like. We shared photos of the many settings where interpreters work: hospitals, court rooms, law firms, conferences, the United Nations, and via video remote interpreting. The photos of translation settings were somewhat less glamorous, mostly involving computers and dictionaries—but I assured them the task was no less enthralling, and I think by the end of the morning they were convinced!

    With the necessary skills in mind, we asked students to try their hand at translating. To do this, we tied in the inevitable topic of machine translation (MT) by presenting students with a Spanish proverb and asking them to best suggestions by Google Translate and DeepL. The slide looked something like this:

    Spanish proverbA caballo regalado, no le mires el dentado.

    Google Translate’s attempt: On a gift horse, do not look at the teeth.

    DeepL’s attempt: On a gift horse, don’t look at the toothed horse.

    In no time, a student provided the equivalent phrase in English: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” His classmates seemed duly impressed by their peer’s ability to easily one-up the highly touted MT engines, proving, albeit in a simplified sense, that human translators continue to serve an essential and as-of-yet irreplaceable role in intercultural and interlinguistic communication. (We were sure to address the usefulness of MT in given scenarios, but we also wanted students to recognize how their humanity sets them apart from the growing machine workforce.)

    Following the translation activity, John described a typical day on the job as a court interpreter, and I explained my work as a self-employed translator, complete with commute from bed to desk. We also showed a clip from a Ted Talk on consecutive note-taking, with hopes to do an interpreting role play, but thanks to a flood of thoughtful questions throughout the presentation, we had to cut the agenda short.

    Here are just a couple of the students’ questions:

    • (After I showed them a photo of a frazzled woman at a computer representing the translator’s work environment): “What are some of the challenges you face when translating?”
    • “How long are you given to complete a translation project?”
    • “What do you charge for a translation?”
    • “What dictionaries do you use? Have you heard of Context Reverso?” (I had not, but I’ve since compared it to Linguee, with interesting results.)

    Finally, we quickly touched on certification, education, and training opportunities in T&I, as well as professional organizations (including OSTI, of course!).

    When it came time for photos, we asked students to choose a prop that represented the profession they were most interested in from items we had brought (dictionaries and laptops were to symbolize translation and microphones and headsets symbolized interpretation). There were more budding translators than interpreters, but the interpreters made up for this in their delight with the interpreting equipment.

    By the time we left, I forgot that I had even been nervous beforehand. I felt exhilarated—not to mention enthusiastic about the future of T&I. Seeing students so engaged with our work reminded me of how lucky I am to love what I do, and I returned to work that afternoon with a renewed sense of pride and satisfaction.

    The following day, I shared our materials with the teacher via email. She sent thanks and a reflection on the impact of our talk, which meant as much to me as I’m sure it did to her: “When I saw my least motivated heritage student pick up the biggest dictionary, I knew she was inspired to be a translator because of you.”

    Needless to say, we’re grateful to have had the chance to spend time speaking with the translators and interpreters of tomorrow, and we look forward to seeing other OSTI members do the same. If you’re interested in participating in school outreach, drop us a line!


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