Letters to the Editor

Taking a Stand

I found a passage in your excellent article, “Skirting the Juniper Brambles” (April 2015 edition), to be especially pertinent to agency work performed by interpreters and translators. I am referring to the two first sentences that appear under the “Getting to No” section on page 24: “It seems clear that awareness of our rights and a willingness to stand up for them are critical. Our professional organizations speaking out and model contracts are key, but in the end we as individuals need to each speak up and take a stand.”

U.S. conference interpreters currently face a dilemma similar to translators of written works. They are extremely undervalued and often do not receive compensation commensurate with their qualifications and experience level. Many of the large agencies are anxious to lead the race to the bottom, rate-wise, to maximize their own profits.

I hope the quote from the article may serve as a wake-up call to interpreters who can fall into this trap, and who undervalue their own qualifications.

Thank you for enlightening me and other readers on such a fascinating and timely topic.

—Kathleen Morris, Oak Park, IL

Is ATA Certification Worth It?

I am writing this in response to your July–August column regarding ATA’s certification.

Failing ATA’s examination was a disappointing experience. With a passing rate of less than 20% among qualified candidates, I’m still wondering if I wasted my time and money taking that exam.

It’s my overall impression that the entire process of ATA’s certification exam is business-oriented and unfair to independent freelancers like myself. I believe that our translation community will benefit from increasing the transparency of ATA’s certification process.

It would also be beneficial to publish some kind of standardized educational material in The ATA Chronicle on a regular basis for prospective ATA’s exam takers.

—Yuri Yusov, New York, NY

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