Friday, July 29, 2011

Administrative Updates - 2011 Summer Issue

Dear CLD members:

Summer greetings to you all.  I understand all our members are busy making a living, but I want to provide you with some important updates on the activities in the Division since the last publication of the CLD Newsletter.

Our renewed newsletter was very well received by our members as well as other ATA members.  Ms. Thelma Ferry, the Administrator of the ATA Interpreters Division, emailed her congratulations and expressed her pleasure at reading the newsletter.  Mr. Jim Walker, a veteran ATA Certification Committee grader found our newsletter through a link on Facebook and complimented us on our "good work".  Our thanks again goes to the Editor, Katie Spillane, Layout Editor, Evelyn Yang Garland and all the contributors. 

Looking Forward to Boston

On March 14, 2011, our members successfully submitted their presentation proposals for the upcoming Annual Conference in Boston.  I am very pleased with the renewed interest in conference participation and presentation.  Kudos to Di Wu who coordinated this effort - he did a splendid job in soliciting exciting topics. 

We have invited a Division Distinguished Speaker who proposed to offer two sessions at the Annual Conference.  His name is Mr. Bok Kow Tsim.  His presentation subjects will be: “Chinese Translation of United Nations Documents, Part I: Organization and Operation;” and “Chinese Translation of United Nations Documents, Part II: Challenges and Solutions.”  Mr. Tsim’s work is informed by 30-years of professional translation and by his work as a former training officer at the UN's Chinese Language Service.  We want to extend our heartfelt thanks and warm welcome to Mr. Tsim, who kindly agreed to take the time to speak to us about our profession.

We anticipate a high turnout of presenters and attendees at this year's Annual Conference.  For those who will not be presenting in Boston, we hope you will consider contributing your ideas and expertise in other ways, by submitting written articles to our newsletter and/or to The ATA Chronicle, for example. 

ATA Division Administrators Summit & Formation of the Leadership Council

On April 29, 2011, I attended the Administrators Summit in Alexandria, Virginia.  ATA officers Nicholas Hartmann (President), Dorothee Racette (President-Elect), Boris Silversteyn (Divisions Committee Chair), Walter Bacak (Executive Director), and Jamie Padula (Chapter and Divison Relations Manager) met with Administrators of the 16 ATA divisions to share some best practices and to discuss the ATA's Governing Policy for Divisions.

In prior consultation with our Assistant Administrator Todd Cornell, I drove down south to attend the Administrators Summit on behalf of the CLD. 

At the Summit attendees first did a quick review of the ATA bylaws, especially Article XIII, which specifically relates to the Divisions.  We then re-visited the purpose of the Divisions.  In an effort to better serve that purpose, the ATA Board of Directors had discussed and approved the Governing Policy for Divisions that will supersede the current bylaws of the individual divisions. 

The new Governing Policy calls for the establishment of a Leadership Council within each Division.  Under this policy, the Division Administrator invites to experienced long-term Division members and talented newcomers to be members of the Leadership Council on an annual basis.  "The members of the Leadership Council, including the Assistant Administrator, shall be assigned specific tasks associated with the core services of the Division, such as the newsletter, blog, webpage, listserv, professional education offerings, hospitality planning and special projects."  

The new Governing Policy also stipulates that the Administrator should call for volunteers to form a Nominating Committee for the selection of Division Administrators.  "The Division Nominating Committee shall consist of at least two Division members, who must be voting members of the Association.  The Members of the Nominating Committee shall not be current members of the Leadership Council."  For CLD, this procedure will begin at the ATA 2011Annual Conference. 

The new Governing Policy reflects the reality of the CLD in a true light.  Ever since the Denver conference, a number of important CLD workgroups have been functioning.  These include the Conference Presentation and Participation Workgroup, the Newsletter Editorial Workgroup, the Chinese-to-English Certification Exam Workgroup, and so on.  The members who head these workgroups are our Division's de facto Leaders.  Consequently, they have been formally invited to serve as members of the CLD Leadership Council.  Their names and responsibilities are as follows:

Todd Cornell
Assistant Administrator
As the elected Assistant Administrator, Todd is a member of the Leadership Council.  ATA's new Governing Policy for Divisions stipulates: "The Assistant Administrator assists the Administrator and assumes the duties of the Administrator in his or her absence."  As a Council member, the Assistant Administrator will also be responsible for initiating and maintaining discussion topics on our Listserv.

Katie Spillane
CLD Newsletter Editor
Katie is responsible for the editorial duties associated with our newsletter and/or other public information when necessary.

Evelyn Yang Garland
CLD Newsletter Layout Editor
Evelyn is responsible for the format and design of our Newsletter and/or Division image projection.

Di Wu
Chairperson, Chinese to English Certification Committee
Di is responsible for coordinating key volunteers in our effort to establish the certification exam for Chinese to English translators.

Liping Zhao
Administrative Coordinator
Liping is responsible for our Division's clerical work as well as activity planning. 

The CLD is also seeking additional volunteers who can help with our planned website creation and maintenance.  Ideally we will need both a web master and a content manager.  We welcome any qualified individual to contact the Administrator for further information regarding these positions by emailing:

Chinese to English Certification Committee

After the Administrators Summit, a new Chinese to English Certification Committee was formed.  Mr. Di Wu became the chairperson of the new committee.  Working with Mr. Jim Walker, the ATA Certification Committee liaison for the CLD, Di successfully identified four other members who are willing to be the first crop of graders for the Certification Exam.  As of July 1st, the following individuals are approved members of the Chinese to English Certification Committee:

            Di Wu, Chair 
            Anne Henochowicz 
            Darren Wright 
            Doug McNeal 
            Laura Truncellito 

Congratulations to all the new committee members.  The CLD appreciates your time, effort and all you will do for our organization. 

FIT Congress

August 1-4, 2011, the International Federation of Translators/Fédération International des Traducteurs (FIT) will hold its first Congress in the U.S.  Several of our Division members are planning to attend the FIT Congress in San Francisco.  Ms. Evelyn Yang Garland from our Leadership Council together with Prof. Yuanxi Ma, Di Wu and Xiaolei Kerr are organizing a networking event in a restaurant with representatives of the Translators Association of China (TAC).  We encourage all interested CLD members to join this event and help promote our increasingly collegial relationship with TAC and translators from China. We thank Evelyn for her enthusiasm and for taking the initiative to organize such an outreach activity on behalf of CLD.  We encourage all other members to follow her good example and step forward to expand the visibility of our Division.

Bin Liu, ATA Chinese Language Division Administrator (2010-2012)
English to Chinese Translator

The Chinese to English Certification Exam:

An Interview with Chairperson Di Wu and Committee Member Darren Wright

* Basics *

What has been your role in the CLD certification workgroup?
Di Wu:
I am currently leading the committee.

Darren Wright:
At present, our most pressing work involves the selection and approval of exam passages, so I will be assisting with this effort.  After this has been accomplished, I will work on whatever is needed at the time.  I also expect to work in the future as a grader. 

What benefit do you see in the establishment of a Chinese to English certification exam?

Di Wu:
I definitely see benefits.  The demand for Chinese to English translation work is increasing by the day.  Due to the lack of certification, there is no way to gauge the skill level of a translator.  Right now, more and more young people are majoring Chinese in universities, and a “critical mass” of Chinese to English translators (who are native English speakers) has already been reached.  Chinese to English certification would be highly beneficial to those who want to pursue careers as Chinese to English translators.  It will also help LSPs in identifying competent translators capable of delivering high quality projects. 

Darren Wright:
I do have strong feelings about the significance of the establishment of a Chinese to English certification exam.  This accomplishment would be, for lack of a better term, huge for the following reasons:

  • It would provide companies in need of Chinese linguists with a standardized method for gauging a translator’s abilities in a highly sought-after language combination;
  •  It would provide translators with a way to advertise their abilities;
  •  The exam would provide new translators with a standard, which would help them know what is expected of them as professional translators;
  • Due to the international recognition that the ATA has received, this certification could provide Chinese-English translators with a means to establish themselves as professional translators on a national and international level. 
I also asked Gretchen Anderson, a project manager at The Language Exchange, what she thought about the importance of having an exam established for the Chinese-English combination.  Here is what she said:

"As an agency, it is most helpful when linguists posses a certification that is internationally recognized. ATA certification is held in high regard in the language industry and is internationally recognized.  When a linguist with interest in working with our agency contacts us, and they are ATA certified, we immediately recognize them as a professional linguist, versus a new “fly by night” entrepreneur.  This means that they are given more serious consideration and are automatically assumed to provide high quality translation work.  The chances of our agency working with ATA certified linguists versus non certified is much higher and also a preference in many cases."

To what degree has a lack of Chinese to English certification affected your career? 

Darren Wright:
At the present, there are only two widely accepted testing formats that I am aware of for written Chinese: the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK).  Unfortunately, both of these exams are not very useful to the majority of Chinese translators.  The DLPT is only offered to linguists who have been involved with the U.S. federal government or military.  The HSK, administered by the Office of Chinese Language Council International under the PRC Ministry of Education, is offered throughout mainland China and is used to gauge the Chinese proficiency of Chinese national minorities and foreign students.  Unfortunately, the exam is not generally understood or accepted in the U.S., and sittings for the exam are offered sporadically.  It is also mainly used for determining scholarship recipients in mainland China.  The ATA Chinese-English certification would most likely become the first widely acknowledged and accepted method for measuring a Chinese-English translator’s ability. 

* Previous Efforts *

The CLD’s certification efforts have been ongoing for at least a decade.  When and how did you become involved with the process?

Di Wu:
I am very passionate about working toward establishing the Chinese to English certification exam.  To be honest, I find it strange that there are certification exams for languages of smaller European countries into English, yet there is no certification exam from Chinese into English.   

Darren Wright:
Ever since joining the ATA in 2007, I wondered why there was an English-Chinese certification exam and not one for the Chinese-English language combination.  Starting late 2009/early 2010, I began emailing various individuals within the ATA hierarchy to inquire why this exam had not yet been created.  I eventually touched base with Terry Hanlen, the Certification Program Manager, who informed me that there had been multiple task forces in the past created to establish this exam, but that each group had stopped before finishing the job.   I provided him with my resume and told him that if there was anything I could do to help these efforts, I would be more than happy to pitch in.  From that, he forwarded my information to the CLD Administrator, after which I officially became involved in the development of the exam in mid-2010.

The process of establishing a certification exam takes four years.   Key steps include convincing the ATA that certification in a given pair is important, grader training, passage selection and preparation of grading guidelines.  Which steps have proven to be stumbling blocks for the CLD?

Di Wu:
It is my understanding that we were not able to select the appropriate passages for the ATA exam.

Darren Wright:
Since I am still quite new to the efforts to establish this exam, I am not certain what has prevented the exam from being established in the past, though in the time I have been involved, it has been finishing up passage selection before the deadline.  Being a part of the workgroup is a commitment that requires consistent effort.  I am confident that the current workgroup will be able to build on past efforts to establish the exam. 

* Looking Forward *

What is the next step for the CLD certification workgroup?

Di Wu:
We hope to have the test in place by next year.

Darren Wright:
Each of the members in the CLD workgroup is very dedicated to realizing a goal that has been in the works for a very long time.  At this point in time, we are in the middle of selecting and approving passages for the exam.  Our goal is to establish the exam as quickly as possible so that it can be offered in 2012. 

What can CLD members do to help?

Di Wu:
Be aware of our efforts and indicate their interest in taking the exam.  Currently the committee is already in place.  However, we will be needing more graders in the future.

Darren Wright:
To better answer this question, I consulted with Jim Walker, an experienced member of the ATA Certification Committee who has been working closely with the CLD to establish the Chinese-English certification exam as our liaison to the workgroup.  He suggested the following: 

  • CLD members can support the effort by knowing that the group is working to establish the exam.  It is important to understand the benefits of being ATA certified so that those who translate from Chinese into English can be ready to take the exam as soon as possible when it is offered;
  • CLD members should be ready to indicate interest in taking the exam when the CLD administrator, Bin Liu, asks.  This list "must include at least 50 names, 25 of whom are ATA members who list the new language combination in their profile in ATA's Directory of Translation and Interpreting Services."

* On a Personal Note *

How have you balanced your career as a linguist and an educator?  Does this play a role in your participation in the CLD certification efforts?

Di Wu:
Most of us translators are big time multi-taskers anyway.  I started teaching evening Chinese classes and launched my freelance translation business when I had a day job as an electrical engineer.  Now I am working as an in-house linguist at an LSP while still keeping my freelance business alive.  It has been continuous juggling act.  I believe the CLD certification effort is closely aligned with what I am already doing.

Darren Wright:
Each time I have been hired for a new position within the education industry, I recall something that my high school physics teacher told me after pulling me aside following one class where I was quite transparent in my dislike for high school.  She told me she bet one day that I would be an educator, to which I replied “I seriously doubt it.”  However, my love for everything Chinese inspired me to share with others the things that I have learned and enjoyed.  My careers as a linguist and an educator have always been intertwined, though at times I have focused on one more than the other.  

My role in the CLD’s current efforts to establish this exam is related to both my personal and professional interests.  I always like new challenges and the opportunity to work on interesting projects that require knowledge of Chinese.   The establishment of the exam gives me another goal to shoot for because I myself will be taking the exam in the future.  I also believe that being able to be certified by the ATA in my language combination will provide me with additional opportunities in the future.

Last but not least, what first got you interested in learning the Chinese/English language?

Di Wu:
I am a native Chinese speaker.  I was born and raised in Beijing China and came to the United States when I was 15 years old.  I have kept up my Chinese skills by conversing with family and friends, watching Chinese TV, movies, and reading Chinese material whenever I can.

Darren Wright:        
As I was preparing to graduate high school, Chinese was often discussed in the news as an up-and-coming language to learn, so I decided to attend Brigham Young University, an institution known for its foreign language programs.  After my first semester, I served a 2-year Chinese-speaking mission in Taiwan.  During this time, I had to study the language diligently, mainly so I didn’t feel like an imbecile while trying to communicate on a daily basis.  I became enamored with the culture and the language, so I decided to major in Chinese studies upon my return. 

Di Wu
Chinese <> English Translator and Interpreter

Darren Wright
Chinese <> English Translator and Interpreter

Katie Spillane (Interviewer)
Chinese > English Translator

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Looking forward to Boston - 2011 Summer Issue

Looking Forward to Boston: CLD Offerings*

Distinguished Speaker:

Bok Kow Tsim          Translating United Nations Documents into Chinese, Part I:
Organization and Operation

The presentation will focus on the organization and operation of the Chinese translation service provided by the United Nations.  Special attention will be given to technical issues specific to the Chinese translation of United Nations documents and the range of tools available to translators.  Related background information on documents of the United Nations and the in-house translation organization structure will be given.  The presentation will also discuss the training and preparation necessary for Chinese translators to excel in handling United Nations documents.

Translating United Nations Documents into Chinese, Part II: Challenges and Solutions

The presentation will focus on the nature of United Nations documents and some of the attendant challenges, especially those more problematic for Chinese translators.  Using United Nations documents and Chinese translated texts as examples, the presenter will discuss from a practitioner's perspective problems such as those relating to compromise text; historic text; local or regional submissions; institutional language and drafting style of departments or agencies; and the usage of legalese in non-legal text.  The goal is to heighten the sensitivity of translators in analyzing and translating documents of the United Nations and other international organizations.

Zhengsheng Cheng   The Issue of Collocation When Translating Official Chinese
Documents into English

Semantic ambiguities or inaccuracies in English translation often derive from our propensity for using English merely as an instrument to express ideas in the source texts. We tend to focus on finding linguistic elements in English that ostensibly correspond to their counterparts in the Chinese text, resulting in English translations marred by obscurity and elusiveness. The “expressive” approach to translation should be replaced by a “communicative” approach that emphasizes the linguistic bonds between the writer (translator) and the English reader. This paper presents both a theoretic elaboration on the distinction between the two approaches to translation -- “expressive” and “communicative,” and an analysis of specific examples relating to various types of collocations in the English translation of official Chinese documents to illustrate the practical significance of this distinction.

Huilin Gao                 Introduction to Gaming Translation

An introduction to the increasingly popular area of translation: the gaming industry. The session is primarily for Chinese <-> English translators and will review different modes and purposes of gaming and how these can vary the translation outcome as gaming language often contain a lot of slang, clichés and dialect as well as be intended for different audiences. Participants will be introduced to and practice gaming translation methods that are often unique from traditional translation methods, such as recognizing a picture associated with a word to translate which is more accurate than simple word-to-word translation.

Anne Henochowicz, Exploring Chinese-English Interpreting Techniques
Yian Yang
& Liping Zhao          

There is a growing demand in Chinese/English interpreting. This has always been one of the most daunting language pairs. We will examine the following, speaking from personal experience: number conversions, tenses, plurals and pronouns, dialect/accent difficulties, different problems faced by native Chinese and native English interpreters, what to do when a word or phrase is unknown, what to do when an interpreting mistake has been made, and interpreter self-assessment and training.

Jeffrey Keller                       Translating Chinese Plants and Animals

While most translators do not specialize in plants and animals, they tend to show up when least expected. Since many plants and animals native to China don't have native equivalents in the West, translation can be tricky. This presentation will provide some strategies and resources for translation and a basic introduction to dealing with the scientific nomenclature. Traditional Chinese medicine will be mentioned, but it will not be the main focus of the presentation.

Yuanxi Ma &             Nuts and Bolts in Chinese<>English Translation II: Dealing
Di Wu                         with the Parts of Speech

We are continuing from our presentation given at the last ATA conference in Denver bearing the title: “Nuts and Bolts in Chinese<>English translation”; this time dealing with some other “nuts and bolts”. The parts of speech are important components of English grammar, which used to be very strict in their application. But nowadays, there seem to be more and more interchangeable' use of them. Adjectives and their attributive forms and functions also seem to have been broadened and more flexible. Then we will go on exploring the world of idioms and proverbs, which have always fascinated us translators. Discussion with the audience as to how we attempt to deal with these challenges (with examples) will be incorporated in our presentation.

Hua (Barbara)
Y. Robinson               Chinese Sensitivities in Language and Visual Choices

When translating English content into Chinese, the speaker often observed customs and taboos related to business and promotional documents including power points presentation, posters and signage. Like every culture, Chinese culture contains certain customs and taboos. Being conscious of its sensitivities can illustrate translator’s respect and understanding of the Chinese community, and help to establish understanding among different cultures. The speaker intends to have an overview of the Chinese sensitivities in language and visual choices and discusses with attendees of their personal experience.

*Please note that all offerings are subject to change

Boston Here We Come!

There is always someone in the delegations from China for whom I interpret asking how Boston ranks among American cities. Well, with a total land area of 48.4 square miles, Boston is the second smallest of the 30 most populous cities in the country.  The city proper has a population of about 617,000, but the daytime population doubles as people come into the city to work, shop, go to school, receive health care, visit cultural and historic sites, or attend cultural or sporting events.

The conference will be held October 26-29, 2011.  The fall color peaks in mid-October in Boston.  If the weather is calm and not too cold before you arrive, you may see the red and orange leaves on the trees.  Otherwise, you may want to go to Connecticut after checking the foliage report or the local news.

Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritans - not Pilgrims (who had established the Colony of Plymouth 40 miles south of Boston 10 years prior) - who named their settlement Boston for the small English town from which most of them had emigrated.  Obviously they knew little about urban design.  Therefore, Boston’s streets are not rigidly patterned like a checkerboard but artistically angled in different ways, and they are not mechanically numbered but affectionately named.  Cars are going in the same direction in two or even three neighboring one-way streets. Two-way streets can become one-way without warning.  One-way streets can suddenly change direction for no obvious reason.  There are streets in which cars go in one direction and buses go in the other.  I have gotten lost numerous times following GPS directions in downtown Boston and Harvard Square.

These twisty streets are great reasons for not driving in Boston or Cambridge.  Boston is a very walkable city - put on your walking shoes and keep the money you would spend on car rentals.  Walking is good for your health but finding a parking space in Boston is not.  Besides, you can walk from the conference hotel, Marriott Copley Place, to many hotspots in minutes.  I find the 5.25 by 3.75” pop-out map of Boston with the subway map on its back (ISBN 1-84139-009-7) very handy when walking around town and in Harvard Square. 

If you love high heels or want to go to places farther than walking distance, you may want to take advantage of North America’s oldest subway known to Bostonians as the T.  The T opened in 1897 and now has five city lines as well as twelve commuter lines to surrounding towns and cities.  To go to the conference, take the Green Line to Copley or Orange Line to Back Bay.  To visit Chinese visitors’ Mecca of higher education, take the Red Line (direction Alewife) to Cambridge and get off at Harvard Square or Kendall/MIT.  The T entrance on the street may be labeled INBOUND or OUTBOUND, which is confusing even for longtime suburbanites of Boston.  If the Downtown Crossing stop is on the way to your destination, take the inbound train; otherwise, outbound. 

For convenience and economics, you may want to buy a Charlie Card to take the T.  You don’t have to take the card out of your wallet.  Just put the whole thing on the sensor and enter the gate.  With the Charlie Card, you pay $1.70 instead of $2 per trip.  Many businesses also offer discounts just for showing your Charlie Card which can be purchased at major T stations.  Buyers beware: there is a scam on the Internet offering huge discount on Charlie Cards - the T authority does not offer any discount on any ticket.

Boston is small but has tons of things for visitors to explore.  There are plenty of things to do, and many sites and activities can be enjoyed free of charge.  Discounts to multiple attractions are available through the purchase of a Boston City Pass or a Boston Card.

In the Neighborhood

The ATA 52nd Annual Conference will be held at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston’s Back Bay, a neighborhood which embraces one of America’s richest collections of art and architecture.  There are plenty of things to see right in the neighborhood:

The Boston Public Library (2 blocks away) is the first free municipal library in the world.  Free tours are available. 
Skywalk Observatory (three blocks away) located at the top of the Prudential Center, provides 360 degree views of Greater Boston and is New England’s only observatory.
The Trinity Church (3 blocks away)
A National Historic Landmark, built in 1877, this is the only church in the U.S. ever honored as one of the "Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States" by the
American Institute of Architects. When you are there, remember to turnaround to see the church’s reflection on the neighboring green glass building, the Hancock Building (tallest in New England.) The Church is open for worship.
Boston Common and Public Garden (20-minute walk or Green Line to Boylston)
Dating from 1634, the Common is the oldest city park in the U.S.  Seperated from the Common by Charles Street, the Garden was established in 1837 as the first public
botanical garden in the U.S.

There are also numerous shopping experiences to be found in the area.  Visit The Prudential Center (three blocks from the Marriott Copley Place) for upscale shopping mall and restaurants.  Newbury Street (four blocks north of the Marriott) offers upscale boutiques, beauty salons, restaurants, etc. housed in eight blocks of historic 19th-century brownstone buildings on each side of the street, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals.  Newbury Street is one of the most expensive streets in the world.  The most expensive boutiques are located near the Boston Public Garden.  The shops gradually become slightly less expensive and more bohemian toward Massachusetts Avenue.  Just a T ride away (take the Green Line to Haymarket), the Haymarket is an open-air fruit and vegetable market near Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  It has been open since the 1830s and offers produce at a price much lower than a normal supermarket does.  Make sure they give you the good ones from the top of the pile!

Exploring Beyond Back Bay
City Tours

Freedom Trail—Boston’s historic walking tour 

The Trail takes you to 16 historical sites in 2-3 hours. A red brick or painted line serves as a guide connecting sites along this self-guided tour.

Boston By Foot, Inc. is a non-profit organization offering a 90-minute walking tour of Boston’s architecture and history.
Boston Duck Tours let you ride like a champ in an amphibious vehicle. The ride is eighty minutes long, twenty minutes of which are spent on the Charles River.  These vehicles also carry Boston’s professional athletes for the rolling rallies in the City after they win a championship. They have been used for that purpose seven times in the last nine years because New England’s football (Patriots), baseball (Red Sox), basketball (Celtics), and hockey (Bruins) teams have won seven championships in total since 2002.
The Beantown Trolley and Old Town Trolley let you hop on and off at designated stops an unlimited number of times all day long.

There are too many museums in Boston to list even just those in the city proper - these are just a few of the most notable.  For a comprehensive list visit the city’s official museum listing site.
Bunker Hill Monument
294 steps lead to a pinnacle where you can enjoy an amazing vista.  Admission is free.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Don’t miss the world famous exhibit of 3,000 glass flowers!
In addition to housing a remarkable fine art collection, this museum is famous for the thirteen works of art which were stolen from its galleries by a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers in the early morning of March 18, 1990.  The estimated value of the stolen artworks is $500 million, making the theft the largest single property theft in recorded history. Empty frames are still hanging in the Dutch Room gallery both in homage to the missing works and as a placeholder for their eventual return. Visitors named Isabella are admitted free, and those wearing Red Sox paraphernalia receive $2 off.
JFK Library
Overlooking the Boston Harbor, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum offers an opportunity to experience firsthand the life and legacy of John and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Museum of Fine Arts
Admission is free on Wednesday night from 4 to 9:45 PM.
Peabody-Essex Museum
Explore the region’s legendary connections to the art and culture of Asia as well as two centuries of New England life, art, and architecture through the museum's National Historic Landmark houses. A 200-year old Chinese house named Yin Yu Tang was moved from China and reassembled piece by piece in this museum.
Reservations are required (617.727.3676) for a free 45-minute tour of this historic building from 1798.
USS Constitution
Nicknamed “Old Ironsides” and first launched in 1797 this is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. 

For the Young
The hands-on learning experience is great for toddlers and elementary school children. I haven’t been there for years but all the little visitors I sent there in the last few months said, “I like Boston” when they exited the Museum.
Museum of Science
This museum offers 700 interactive exhibits, all hands-on and minds-on.  Its Discovery Center is designed for children from birth to age eight and their accompanying grownups.  Pay extra for Omni Theatre (five-story high domed screen), Butterfly Garden, Planetarium, and 3D Digital Cinema
New England Aquarium
Besides a four-story Giant Ocean Tank, the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX Theatre offers 3D film on New England’s largest screen. Admission is only $1 on Friday Nights, 5-9 PM.

Concerts and Theaters
Symphony Hall
Built in 1900, the Symphony Hall is a National Historic Landmark and the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Handel and Haydn Society.  Acoustically, it is among the top three concert halls in the world and the finest in the U.S.
Opera House
Take the Green Line to Boylston, the nation’s oldest subway station, to visit the Opera House which opened in 1928.  With Broadway Across America and Boston Ballet as primary tenants, and a host of other presenters lining up dates between those runs, the Opera House has the busiest theatre schedule in New England.  Its interior is magnificent.
Colonial Theater
Opened in 1900, this is the oldest continuously operating theatre in New England and continues to present the best Broadway shows and world premieres - enjoy 21st Century technology surrounded by 19th Century elegance.
Blue Man Group at Charles Playhouse
The playhouse provides a unique form of entertainment combining comedy, music, and multimedia theatrics.
Joe is a standup comedian emigrated from China and is still based out of Boston.  Besides appearing in major TV talk shows, he was invited by VP Joe Biden to perform at the Correspondents Dinner in the White House last year. 

For Sports Fans
Whether you like or hate the Boston/New England teams, tickets to watch them play are hard to get.  You can buy them online if you are lucky.  The Celtics and the Bruins  will be playing in October at TD garden (Green/Orange Line to North Station).  The Red Sox will play in the 100-year old Fenway Park (Green Line C/C/D train to Fenway) if they make the playoffs, which is very likely.  The Park is small, the games are always sold out, and the fans are very loyal and expressive creating a playoff atmosphere for every regular season game.  The resonance you experience here is unmatchable in any other ballpark or stadium.  Fenway Park Tours and you can also visit the sports museum found on levels 5 and 6 inside the TD Garden.

Campus Visits
Boston is an intellectual center and a college town with more than 250,000 students attending college in Boston and Cambridge alone.  If you have college-bound kids, you may want to visit some of the more than 100 colleges/universities in Greater Boston.  Green Line B trains take you to Boston University and Boston College.  Take Green Line E trains to Northeastern University and the New England Conservatory (the only music school in the U.S. designated as a National Historic Landmark).  All Green lines will take you to Simmons College in Fenway while the Red Line will get you to the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Harvard and MIT.

Manyee Tang
Chinese <> English Translator and Interpreter

Professional Perspectives - 2011 Summer Issue

Translators' Prison of Words

As translators, there are times when we face problems that we can’t resolve at the moment.  Either we can’t make our sentence sound adequately accurate, or the whole piece that we’re trying to translate looks insurmountably difficult, because there’s too much to explain before we can even start.  This situation isn’t necessarily due to a lack of adequate knowledge of translation or because we haven’t read enough books about translation.  Actually, these problems are a bit like cultural handcuffs, because their source is the contradiction between two divergent - almost opposing - worldviews of two peoples.  What is the worldview of a people?  We can view it as the way a people sees the relation between man and matter, or between ‘me’ and ‘not-me’.  Let’s read a couple of sentences at the beginning of 三國演義 (The Romance of the Three Kingdoms): “滾滾長江東逝水,浪花淘盡英雄。是非成敗轉頭空,青山依舊在,幾度夕陽紅。” [Translation: The surging Yangtze runs ever east, washing up heroes as it goes.  Right and wrong, failure and fortune change position in the blink of an eye.  The green mountain stand as ever before, witness to countless sunsets]  Even though what these thirty characters strive to express is the state of a man, there are only three characters regarding “man”: 英雄 (hero), (head).  (‘eye’ appears only in the English translation.)  If we take these few sentences, written by Luo Guanzhong, to represent the Chinese worldview, then we may say that the Chinese think that mankind aspires to matter, and that the ultimate ideal is for mankind to merge with matter in a harmonious whole.  People of the West take the opposite view: man is not matter, man masters matter and man observes matter - the more closely the better.  One wants to climb up, the other wants to dig down.  I’d like to give some examples of what effects differing views about the relation between man and matter can have on the realm of translation. 

1.         Attachment/執著
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Buddhism affected China no less profoundly than Christianity affected the West.  I have no knowledge of the history of the translation of Buddhist texts, but apparently a long time ago, a Chinese translator looked at a Sanskrit word and translated it as ‘執著’; another English translator looked at the same Sanskrit word and translated it as ‘attachment’.  To me, attachment sounds calm, as if someone is patiently explaining while 執著 sounds harsher, as if someone wants to give a warning.  We can also look at the difference between the two from the ‘man and matter’ angle.  The word “attachment” places emphasis on matter - it points to something that is not me, or to a relationship between me and “not me” (matter).  執著 unmistakably emphasizes man, because only man can 執著, matter can’t.  You may object, “But 執著 can be the thing to which man is 執著.”  Yes, but this doesn’t change the fact that in Chinese, the emphasis of this word is placed on man, not on matter.

2.         太超過了
This example doesn’t have to do with translation actually.  Some years ago, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of Taiwan allowed Chen Zhizhong and his wife Huang Ruijing come to the U.S. to study because there was no evidence implicating him in his father Chen Shuibian’s corruption case.  Later, when Chen and Huang came back to face charges, Huang said calmly and thoughtfully at the airport, “What the SIU did was太超過了!”  These four words became a hit overnight, and were the butt of many jokes.  Why did Huang say, “太超過了!” when she could have said, “太過分了”?  The answer is that she didn’t want to antagonize the SIU.  Had she said “太過分了”, she would have been criticizing the people of the SIU.  To say “太超過了” would only be criticizing their conduct, i.e. matter.   She had obviously thought long and hard before uttering those words at the airport.  I don’t know if Huang Ruijing has contributed anything else to Taiwanese society, but her thoughtful, love-the-criminal-hate-the-crime kind of Christian charity was truly commendable.

3.         Irony/諷刺
Translating ‘irony’ as ‘諷刺’ is a widely accepted practice, but is it appropriate?  Among other definitions, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines irony as follows: incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.  But 諷刺 has no such meaning in Chinese.  This is another example of a word whose emphasis is placed on man rather than on matter.  If a man wants to be sarcastic, we may say that his words are sarcastic.  But if we hear or read sarcastic words, we can’t say for certain that the man who said those words wanted to be sarcastic; we can only say, “these words fall outside of my expectations.”  This is, in fact, the most logical thing to say.


    我们做翻译的在工作上会碰到一些一时不知该如何处理的难题。要不然译出来的句子总不能完全达意,或者整篇文章非常难翻译,因为要预先解释的事情太多了。这并不一定是因为我们对翻译的了解不够深,或者翻译书籍读得不够多。这些难题其实是一种来自人文的手铐,因为它们的根源是出于两种回然不同,甚至背道而驰的民族宇宙观间的矛盾。什么是一个民族的宇宙观呢? 说穿了,它是一个族群对人与物间,或我与非我间的关系的看法。让我们看一下<三国演义> 开头的几句话: <滚滚长江东逝水,浪花淘尽英雄。是非成败转头空,青山依旧在,几度夕阳红。 > 尽管这整整三十个字要描述的是一个人的境界,有关人的字眼却只有三个:英雄,头。假使我们把罗贯中的这几句话看成是代表中国人的宇宙观的话,那么我们可以说中国人认为渺小的人总向往着伟大的物,而其最终最完美的境界是人与物溶融为一体西方人的看法恰好相反:人绝对不是物,人主宰物,人观察物,而且观察得越仔细越好。一个想向上爬,另一个要往下凿。我想举几个在翻译领域因为对人与物间关系的看法不同而衍生出不同后果的例子。

1.         Attachment是执着

    佛教对中国的影响,比起基督教对西方的影响,应该是有过之而无不及的。我对翻译佛经的历史毫无研究,可是看样子许久以前,一个中文翻译看到经里的一个梵文字而把它译成<执着> 另一个英文翻译看到同样的梵文字则把它说<attachment> Attachment听起来比较温和,好像在心平气和地解释; 执着听起来比较严厉,好像在苦口婆心地警告。我们也可以从人与物的角度来看两者间的不同:attachment 重物;它指的是一个非我之物,或是我与物间的一种关系。执着则完全重人,因为只有人能执着,物不能执着。你可以反驳:<<其实执着指的是那个被人执着的非我之物。 >> 没错,可是这种说法并没有改变在中文里,此词的重点在人,不在物。

2.         太超过了
    这个例子其实跟翻译无关。几年前,台湾的特侦组由于没有证据证明陈致中与父亲陈水扁的贪污案有关而放行他与妻子黄睿靖到美国来念书。后来陈黄两人回台面对指控,在机场里黄睿靖语重心长地说: <<特侦组的做法太超过了!>> 一夜间<太超过了> 这四个字大红起来,变成许多人笑闹的口头禅。为什么黄睿靖要说<太超过了> 当她可以说<太过分了> ? 因为她不愿得罪特侦组。要是她说<太过分了>,她是在批评特侦组的人;<太超过了> 仅仅批评特侦组的行为----而已。她显然是在仔细地考虑后才说出机场的那些话。我不知道黄睿靖有没有对台湾社会做出其它的贡献,至少她三思后行,爱罪犯恨罪犯犯的罪的那番基督徒苦心是可圈可点的。

3.         Irony 是讽刺
    把irony 广泛地译成讽刺应该是一个无争议的事实,可是这种做法是否正确?在Merriam-Webster 字典里,irony 有这样的意思:incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result,可是在中文里讽刺没有这种清描淡写<此事在人意料之外> 的意思。这又是一个中文重人不重物的例子。我们可以说假如一个人要讽刺的话,他的语言文字会有讽刺性的;可是当我们看到或听到好像带有讽刺性的语言文字时,我们不能一口咬定这人一定在讽刺;我们只能说:<<此人的语言文字跟我意料中的有出入。其实这也是最合逻辑的说法

Eric Chiang
Chinese <> English Translator and Interpreter

The Xiada Model for Interpreter Training

[Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Translation Journal.  It is reprinted here with permission]
With no pretense to exhaustivity, this brief article aims at introducing a model which is quite renowned in China, namely the Xiada model for interpreter training, and which may be combined with the already existing models in the Western world by interpreting trainees and trainers alike.

Training interpreters requires a broad training approach that includes all the elements involved in the task.  Since interpreting is a multi-task and complex activity (Pöchhacker 2004), several authors have felt the need to develop models which reflect the reality of interpreting and can serve as a theoretical underpinning to a course in interpreting skills.  The best-known model is Gile's “Effort Model” (Gile 1985; 1988; 1997; 1999).  Daniel Gile (1992; 1995) emphasizes the difficulties and efforts involved in interpreting tasks and the strategies needed to overcome them, observing that many failures occur even in the absence of any visible difficulty.  He then proposes his Effort Models for interpreting which are "designed to help [interpreters] understand these difficulties [of interpreting] and select appropriate strategies and tactics.  They are based on the concept of Processing Capacity and on the fact that some mental operations in interpreting require much Processing Capacity," (1992:191). Without delving any further into the study of Gile's Effort Model, which the reader may find in the relevant literature, in this brief article I will present another model, quite renowned in Asia, namely the Xiada model for Interpreter Training (Xiada stands for 厦门大学/Xiàmén dàxué or Xiamen University).

The Xiada model for Interpreter Training
The Xiada model for Interpreter Training follows a non-linear approach.  Its main aim is to show that interpreting requires comprehension of the source language (SL) and reconstruction of the message in the target language (TL).  This is made possible by an analysis of the discourse and cultural factors involved in the scenario.  The model therefore shows the interaction of analyses of both the SL and the TL which, when combined with bringing to the fore the skills and techniques required of an interpreter, leads to successful interpreting.
These factors are represented in the following diagram:

This model was first proposed in Lin & Lei (2006). The authors provide the key to the model itself and illustrate how each component is essential in training future interpreters.  Hereafter, I will report the explanation of this model as illustrated in Lin & Lei (2006). 
C (SL+K) represents comprehension (C) of the SL which is facilitated by extra-linguistic or encyclopedic knowledge (K).  This circle lies behind the others because the SL message initiates the whole interpreting act.  The message moves in the direction of the horizontal arrow.  Comprehension is the first and most important step towards a correct interpretation.  Trainee interpreters should be aware of what comprehension entails.  Language honing and enhancement is a life-long commitment.  Beginners should dedicate a considerable amount of time and attention to developing their linguistic systems.  Along with enhancing their language knowledge, from the very beginning students should be interested in, and deepen their cultural awareness of, a wide range of topics from politics to medicine.  Indeed, "the topics and subject matter covered by professional interpreters are both wide ranging in variety and frequently detailed in content.  It is, therefore, the job of those training new interpreters to expose them to a wide range of subject matters so as to enable them to embark on a programme of lifelong accumulation of knowledge," (Lin & Lei 2006: 5). 
R (TL+K) represents reformulation (R) in the TL which is also informed by extra-linguistic or encyclopedic knowledge (K).  This circle overlies the SL circle because the TL message must follow from the SL message.  Reformulation may be regarded as both the second step towards interpretation and the ultimate achievement.  It must be swift, if not immediate, especially in the simultaneous mode.  Furthermore, the more accurate the rendering, clear the tone, appropriate the pace, style and volume, pleasant the voice, the more successful the reformulation will turn out to be.
A (D+CC) represents the analysis (A) which the interpreter uses both in the comprehension and reconstruction of the message.  The analysis has two main components: discourse analysis (D) and cross-cultural understanding (CC).  The two downward arrows show that A (D+CC) applies to both the other circles.  Every trainee interpreter knows that meaning is more important than words per se (Danica Seleskovitch's «théorie interprétative de la traduction» (or «théorie du sens»)).  In primis, students learn that their interpretation must match the original message at least in vocabulary, register and genre, and perhaps also with regard to tone and emotion.  In time, trainee interpreters understand that effective communication occurs at the level of discourse, above the level of the phrase and sentences.  Hence, the analysis ought to include cross-cultural references as well.
S represents the skills and techniques which interpreters resort to when performing their tasks in a professional manner.  The triangle is superimposed upon all three circles because the special skills involved differentiate what an interpreter achieves from other types of bi-lingual activity.  Some of the most important skills in simultaneous interpreting are multi-tasking, linearity, anticipation and information retention, sight interpreting, simultaneous interpretation with PowerPoint slides and coping tactics.

Prerequisites to become a qualified interpreter
Interpreting is a highly demanding linguistic activity from a cognitive and sociolinguistic point of view, an arduous and challenging task in which clients have high expectations of interpreters.  To become a fully qualified interpreter and provide the client with efficient service eliciting positive feedback, an interpreter must have an impeccable degree of proficiency, seriousness and deontological professionalism.  Anyone aspiring to become a professional interpreter must undergo an intense period of training and, according to Lin & Lei (2006), ought to have the following seven prerequisites:

  1. Proficiency in (at least) two languages.  
Any aspiring interpreter should have a solid competence in both (all of) his working languages.  For instance, a Chinese-Italian interpreter should perfectly master both languages, be able to grasp all the different linguistic nuances, have an acute linguistic sensitivity and a quick wording and phrasing system, let alone a wide vocabulary representing a vast array of semantic possibilities to choose from during the output.

  1. Broad knowledge.
A professional, highly qualified interpreter cannot merely rely on his linguistic competence; otherwise every bilingual could automatically be considered an interpreter, which is not the case.  Interpreters should have an extensive encyclopedic knowledge, a keen interest in current affairs and a general interest in topics ranging from political affairs to scientific discoveries, constitutional matters, habits and customs of peoples, cosmology, cosmogony, astrology, geography, history and so forth. In short, an interpreter should know a little bit about everything without being an expert in any particular field (unless one decides to specialize in a given field).  Interpreters always study throughout their whole career and have an intrinsic passion for learning and discovering new things, thus pursuing a commitment to life-long learning. They can find new things to learn everywhere and at all times, constantly increasing their knowledge. For efficient communication an interpreter should also be a cross-cultural expert.

  1. Mastery of interpreting techniques.  
This is the essential key factor for any successful interpreter, because linguistic competence with vast knowledge alone is not enough, otherwise any highly-educated bilingual could end up becoming an interpreter.

  1. Outstanding memory.  
Memory is another key factor in interpreting.  During a conference or any other communicative event characterized by time constraints, interpreters de facto have no time to look words up in a dictionary.  Hence, the stronger the memory, the more expressions the interpreter will be able to retrieve.  Expressions include technical vocabulary, 成语/chéngyŭ (four-character classical Chinese proverbs or sayings), literary quotations and acronyms.  Memory is an essential element for consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, especially if the interpreter has a long ear-voice span (also known as décalage).

  1. Ability to quickly acquire and apply knowledge.
An interpreter may have to accept tasks requiring a highly technical vocabulary.  Before a conference or any other communicative event, any interpreter regardless of how good or qualified s/he might be should always thoroughly study the topic of the event to make sure that the content of the speaker's message will be fully and appropriately conveyed.  For the service to be successful, interpreters should use as efficiently as possible the time they spend in preparing for the event and should also have the ability to retrieve previously memorized information si opus sit during the interpreting task.

  1. Good physical and psychological conditions.
Interpreting, especially simultaneous interpreting, is an arduous and physically exhausting task.  It puts quite a strain on cognitive skills.  An interpreter must enjoy good physical health to endure long hours of working and continuously traveling from one place to another.  The interpreter's psyche should also be very solid to put up with all the different types of pressure: performance anxiety, stage fright, nervousness and so forth.  Interpreters should not be affected by any of these feelings in order to preserve a good quality service.

  1. Flexibility, quick reflexes and responsiveness.
These are the three ultimate characteristics of a good interpreter.  Interpreters are like talking chameleons they should be able to adapt to every different situation, be flexible enough to understand all types of accents and be quick enough to correct any faulty statement uttered by the speaker or, in times of particular distress, by interpreters themselves.

This brief article has attempted to present the reader with a model for interpreter training, i.e. the Xiada model.  This short introduction has by no means any pretense to exhaustivity, it merely aims at introducing a model for interpreter training (as illustrated by Lin & Lei 2006) to possibly generate a more complete picture of the characteristics or prerequisites required for becoming or performing the task of an interpreter.

Gile, Daniel. (1985). "Le modèle d'efforts et d'équilibre d'interprétation en interprétation simultanée", Meta, Vol. 30, Num. 1, pp. 44-8.
Gile, Daniel. (1988). "Le partage de l'attention et le 'modèle d'effort' en interprétation simultanée", The lnterpreters' Newsletter, Trieste, Università degli studi di Trieste, Num. 1, pp. 4-22.
Gile, Daniel. (1995). "Fidelity assessment in consecutive interpretation: an experiment",   Target, 7: 1. 151-164  
Gile, Daniel. (1997). "Conference interpreting as a cognitive management problem", in J. H. Danks, G.M. Shreve, S.B. Fountain, & M. K. McBeath (Eds.), Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting, (pp. 196-214). London: Sage Publications.
Gile, Daniel. (1999). "Testing the Effort Models' tightrope hypothesis in simultaneous interpreting - a contribution", Journal of Linguistics, 23, 153-172.
Lin, Yuru and Lei, Tianfang. (2006). Interpreting Coursebook, Shanghai Foreign Language University Press.
Pöchhacker, Franz. (2004). Introducing Interpreting Studies, New York: Routledge.

Riccardo Moratto
Chinese <> English Translator and Interpreter