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ATA Offers Payment Plan to Struggling Members

freelancing, Interpretation, Language Industry News and Events, Translation, Uncategorized

Can’t afford your American Translators Association (ATA) dues? New this year, the organization is allowing members to pay in two installments: 50 percent down now, the remainder in six months. Annual renewal fees cost anywhere from 89 USD to 492 USD, depending on membership type.

This payment plan is a first for ATA and what organization president Ted Wozniak calls “a member benefit [considered] as a token of appreciation for current members who may have financial issues due to the pandemic.” According to a December 30th Tweet, in order to take advantage, members must renew online. ATA currently has more than 10,000 institutional and individual members across more than 103 countries.

“We don’t have hard data on the economic impact of the downturn or the pandemic on our members,” Wozniak emailed MultiLingual. In the United States however — where the ATA finds the bulk of its members — recent Census Bureau surveys reveal self-employed adults were hardest hit by 2020’s economic downturn. In states where at least 25 percent of businesses had to close for temporary quarantines, 13.9 percent of freelancers were forced to rely on food banks, religious or community groups, or friends and family for at least one meal a week. This compares to 8.7 percent of workers who were not freelancers prior to the downturn. The majority of American translators are self-employed.

ATA had planned to conduct a members’ compensation survey in 2020 — a plan Wozniak says was pushed back to this year because of the pandemic. Right now, the association is basing the need for payment plans on “anecdotal stories from members,” he explains, which range from “a near complete loss of business to little or no change to an increase in business — not entirely unexpected given the diversity and dispersion of [translation and interpreting] services around the globe.”

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Want a Vaccine? Better Interpret for a Hospital Direct

freelancing, Interpretation, Uncategorized

To get a vaccine at University of North Carolina (UNC) Health, you need to work for the hospital directly. That’s what Alan Wolf, director of news, had to say when MultiLingual emailed to congratulate the hospital on giving a medical interpreter one of the state’s first covid-19 vaccines. On December 15, Spanish linguist Jorge Gutierrez received UNC Health – Chapel Hill’s second shot of Pfizer’s BNT162b2 — the first of two coronavirus vaccines currently available in the United States.

Gutierrez has been held up as an exemplar by the language services community, as many interpreters — freelancers in particular – have been left to wonder whether US state governments will include medical interpreters in their definition of frontline workers. In the United States, each state determines in which order whom will receive the two-dose vaccinations. The general consensus has been essential medical personnel go first. The broader concern is will hospitals and governments remember interpreters are essential.

Wolf says UNC Health wanted to make sure interpreters were included early “because of their important role in caring for covid patients. Jorge was chosen to represent the [interpreter services] department because of his hard and compassionate work during the pandemic and because he had completed the sign-up process and was available on that first afternoon.” Gutierrez interprets primarily in the hospital’s medical intensive care unit (MICU).

Between the Chapel Hill facility where Gutierrez works and its Raleigh and Hillsborough locations, UNC Health employs 30 Spanish interpreters. It also directly contracts what Wolf calls “a number of per-diem interpreters that we use on an as-needed basis,” as well as with language services providers (LSP’s). Both employee and freelance interpreters will be eligible for the vaccine — if they report directly to the hospital that is. Interpreters who work through a language services provider (LSP) will not. “We would expect their agency/interpreting company to cover their interpreters,” says Wolf. By press, he was yet to respond to a follow-up email from MultiLingual asking if UNC Health plans to provide its LSP’s guidance in how to do this.

Bill Rivers, lobbyist for Association of Language Companies (ALC), says, “It would be a travesty for a health care organization to fob this off on the language service companies.” ALC is currently partnering with the American Translators Association on a letter to send the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 56 US state and territorial health departments to that effect.

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Terena Bell is an independent journalist who writes for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fast Company and others. She is former CEO of In Every Language.

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Will Interpreters Receive Vaccine?

freelancing, Interpretation, Uncategorized

This week, doctors began administering the first of two anticipated coronavirus vaccines in the United States, BNT162b2. Unlike the United Kingdom where initial non-trial recipients were elderly patients, the Americans first in line are health care workers. Will this include interpreters?

Because of the way the US government is structured, each of the country’s 50 states has discretion in determining its own vaccine rollout plan. New York’s first non-trial dose of BNT162b2 went to an intensive care unit nurse in Queens, one of the New York City boroughs hit hardest by covid-19. In Kentucky, the chief medical officer at University of Louisville Health took the first shot. Mara Youdelman, managing attorney for the National Health Law Program, says vaccine availability for interpreters “is also going to play out state-by-state as it’s the states who I believe are ultimately deciding priorities and distribution early on.”

“From my armchair epidemiologist’s perspective, everyone in the building gets the shot,” says Bill Rivers, lobbyist for the Association of Language Companies — “front desk personnel, security, maintenance, etc, would all need to be inoculated. [Interpreters] included.”

Youdelman says, “I agree with Bill that anyone working physically in a hospital, in whatever role, should be a front-line worker and first in line for a vaccine.”

Problem is, there may not be enough. To date, the United States has only purchased 100 million doses; the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses per person to work. As such, reports The New York Times, “A majority of the first injections…are expected to go to high-risk health care workers. In many cases, this first, limited delivery would not supply nearly enough doses to inoculate all of the doctors, nurses, security guards, receptionists and other workers who risk being exposed to the virus every day” — including interpreters.

Then there’s the question of in-house versus freelance. While Youdelman and Rivers agree both classifications would need the vaccine, administering it is another issue. In the past, hospitals have pushed Joint Commission-required inoculations off on the language services provider (LSP) or onto the individual contractor to arrange. Smaller LSPs may not have the first clue in how to go about securing vaccines for their interpreters — not to mention the added administration headache. “It would be a travesty for a health care organization to fob this off on the language service companies,” Rivers says, “You can bet your a** that every doctor on site will get the vaccination, even if a great many are not actually employees of the health care facility.”

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Terena Bell is an independent journalist who writes for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fast Company and others. She is former CEO of In Every Language.

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Creating a workspace for your home-based localization business

freelancing

space for home businessThe localization industry is built on freelancers and small businesses started from home. Sometimes, though, working from home can be challenging. Having a dedicated workspace can help.

However, it can take some planning and patience to create a functional workspace. 

When you need a lot of extra space…

If business is booming for your home-based business, then you may need to up the ante when it comes to creating more workspace. Instead of spending a fortune on leasing that extra space, however, consider these ideas for expanding your home’s potential.

Buy a new home

This is a drastic step for finding some additional workspace, but if you think that you may be ready to buy a new home, you can use home-buying guides to simplify the process. These useful guides will give you all of the tips and tools you need to determine a new home budget, apply for home loans, locate a local realtor, and get started with your home search.

Convert a garage

Do you have extra room in your garage? If so, you can convert it into a dreamy studio or home office space. You can start by clearing out any clutter and then making your garage space more functional, with better lighting and convenient access to the rest of your home. 

Update an attic  

When folks look for ways to create more space for their home-based business, they also tend to look at attic conversions. Turning an attic into a productive home workspace can be a simple project, depending on your business needs. You may still need a contractor for more complex work, like installing outlets or hanging sheetrock, but it will be a worthwhile business investment.

Invest in a shed

If you have some spare space in your yard, you could always buy a shed to serve as your new home office. Sheds can have some serious potential for functioning as living space, so there’s no reason why you can’t convert a shed or outdoor building into a stylish home workspace that helps you continue expanding your home-based business

When you need more affordable options…

If you are a freelancer who is just getting started or who runs a tight budget, you may need more economical ways to create the productive workspace you need to thrive.

Use a spare closet

When you don’t have a lot of money or space to spare for your new home office, you may need to get a little more creative. For instance, you can fit a stylish workspace into an empty closet in your home, with minimum expense or effort involved. Just add a small desk or a low-cost shelf, and you have a workspace that is just as attractive as it is cost-effective for your budget.

Transform a corner

If you have an empty corner in your current home, you can also makeover that small space into an upgraded home workspace. Use the same design tips mentioned above to transform your spare corner into a stylish new office. Of course, you will need a new desk to complete this project as well, but you can snag a fashionable and functional desk for $100 or even less.

Give rooms more purpose

If you are working with limited space, you may need to think about finding ways to use one of your current rooms for both work and downtime. While it may not be optimal, there are effective ways to fit an office into your bedroom and still stay productive during the day and stay relaxed at night. If you want to maximize your living space, you can also look for convertible and compact office furniture, such as fold-up desks or versatile standing desks.

The steps needed to create your perfect new home workspace will depend on your business needs and budgets. But hopefully, the tips and tricks above will help you figure out what you need to do in order to build a new workspace that will help boost your home-based business.

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Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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