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  • 11/26/2023 03:47 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Dear colleagues,

    The challenging question for newcomers to the language profession continues to be: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know? Answering this question takes some reflective thinking. The 5Ws method used in this series offers guidance to new T&I professionals.

    In this, the fourth installment of this series, we explore the “When?” of the 5Ws with the following questions:

    1) When is it a good time to accept a translation or interpreting job? 2) When is it productive to negotiate rates? 3) When should one engage in learning more about the profession? 4) When is a good time to seek certification in any specialty? 5) When do we know we’ve reached the point where mental overload could affect our health and performance?

    Here are some suggested answers to these questions:

    1. When accepting a translation or interpreting job, ensure you are qualified to perform well. Never say yes to a job when it is unrelated to your expertise in the field. It can backfire, and your professionalism may be called into question. You always want to be at the top of your game. I’ll offer an example: Early in my interpreting career, I accepted an offer received via email, but I quickly discovered that I needed more training to prepare to work professionally. Fortunately, during that experience, my booth partner was a seasoned and skilled interpreter. She rescued me multiple times. I felt inadequate. In the end, she encouraged me to work harder at mastering relevant glossaries before accepting the next interpreting assignment — and she was right.
    2. When negotiating rates, ask other professionals if you do not know the going rate for translation or interpreting work, mileage, or lodging expenses for overnight events. You may need to call, email, or text that person. Belonging to a local ATA chapter gives you unlimited opportunities to do this.
    3. When you know you need to improve your skills, you must act accordingly. You don’t want to be unprepared as a language professional. The field is always evolving. Staying current and actively sharpening your skills in your language pair is vital.
    4. When the opportunity arises to join a certification study group, don’t miss it. Do everything within your reach to get certified as you work towards your goal. (In the first installment of this series, you can find tips on discovering “Who” you want to become in the language profession.)
    5. When, in your heart of hearts, you find yourself headed toward a mental overload, seek help. The high calling to interpret or translate demands highly skilled professionals. But this demand for accuracy and professionalism in all areas of the language industry does not come without a cost—your physical and emotional well-being. Make it a top priority to discover how healthy habits in nutrition, exercise and other daily activities that provide balance and peace of mind can keep you on track and fuel your productivity as a new language professional.

    Combining all five steps above will help prepare you to embark, well-equipped, on the great adventure you have chosen toward a career in T&I. 

    This is the fourth installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters.

    Read the first installment, “Who?”, here,  the “What?” here, the “Where?” here, and stay tuned for the final installment: the “Why?” 

    Have a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment here or, if you’d rather remain anonymous, by emailing

    Teodosia Rivera has been working as a professional translator and interpreter since 2018. She is a member of ATA’s Interpreters Division, Spanish Language Division, and Translation Company Division, in addition to two ATA chapters: the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF) and the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Teodosia has established her own business since participating in professional development in the language profession. She brings with her the background of a classroom teacher, having taught for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

  • 10/25/2023 11:15 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Teodosia Rivera 

    Hello, everyone. It’s good to be back with the third segment of the five-part series for T&I newcomers. If you’re reading this blog for the first time, this series is based on my original proposed 5Ws method (who, what, where, when, and why) for emerging translators and interpreters. I want to take you back to the question that prompted this series, a question that might cause the newbie translator's heart to skip a beat: What do I do when I don’t know what I don’t know?

    Becoming a language professional may seem like a daunting task. And that’s because it is. However, we are not alone. As has been my experience, your colleagues are willing to mentor and guide you along the way. The 5Ws method is precisely that, from me to you: a guide to help you navigate the waters of the language industry as newbies in the field.

    The first installment discussed ‘who’ we aim to become when we enter the language arena. Ultimately, we must embody the success we want to achieve.

    In our second post, we focused on the ‘What’ of the 5Ws. There, we delved into some DOs and DON’Ts for new language professionals. For example, do keep a goal in mind, a destination you want to reach. But don’t lose sight of your goal; you’re in the driver’s seat toward your new destination.

    Today, we zero in on the ‘Where.’ So, where do language pros work? Well, the answer is everywhere! ‘How so?,’ you may ask. The answer is in the language profession: language is how we exchange information globally.

    As translators and interpreters, we are the bridges that bring people together. Wherever language communication is broken, language translators and interpreters mend, narrow, or eliminate the gap. So, welcome! Your task as a language professional is truly fundamental. And yes, we really are everywhere. The question for you is this: Where are your skills best suited to be invested? Where will your passion for the profession produce the most satisfaction and the greatest reward in the long run?

    Let’s look at some specialized areas to see where you will be most likely to succeed without regrets:

    1. Do you enjoy working in the medical field? Then, you should consider training to be certified as a medical language professional.
    2. Are you someone who enjoys legal proceedings and facilitating communication in the court setting? Then, take the necessary steps to become a certified legal translator or interpreter.
    3. Perhaps you seek variety and prefer to work in various locations, such as educational settings, social services, or community advocacy. Community interpreter, then, is your path. (Medical and legal are sometimes intertwined in this area.)
    4. A fourth option is to interpret or translate in diplomatic settings.
    5. A fifth—for insatiable readers, lovers of puzzles, and truly creative types—is literary translation. 
    6. Are you always eager to learn more and don’t want to commit to one field? You can do it all from home as a freelance technical translator. 
    7. Does your background include advanced training in biology, engineering, philosophy, linguistics (the list goes on!)? Are you an academic through and through? Then scholarly translation may be your niche.
    8. There are also location-dependent touring opportunities with foreign clients...

    Where can language professionals work? The opportunities are endless, as you can see, and so are the locations. Wherever a language gap is formed—from the local law enforcement agency to the highest court—the language professional becomes the beacon of hope for people on both sides of the bridge.

    So take heart, colleagues. I will tell you a secret: I have heard from those who have been in the industry longer than we have that we are all on a learning journey because the profession is constantly evolving. Know you are not alone. I know I am not alone. We are in this together.

    A few more words of advice:

    • Find a mentor as soon as you feel sidetracked. It will help you. It helped me during my first year in the field.
    • Be honest with yourself. Wherever you are in your professional journey, it is never too late to ask for help. Remember, wherever you find yourself—at a webinar, conference, or another social event hosted by your local ATA chapter or affiliate—we are ubiquitous.
    • Once you have made a connection, let her or him know you are looking for a mentor. My experience has been that they are more than willing to help because they have been there—where you are—themselves. You will be glad you did. They, too, are everywhere, like all of us.

    This is the third installment of a five-part advice column for new (and not-so-new) translators and interpreters. Read the first installment, “Who?”, here and the “What?” here. The final two installments will be released in the coming months. Subscribe to the
     NW Linguist Blog and to NOTIS News Quarterly, our—you guessed it—quarterly newsletter, here.

    Have a question for Teodosia? You can get in touch by leaving a comment or, if you’d rather remain anonymous, by emailing

    Teodosia Rivera has been working as a professional translator and interpreter since 2018. She is a member of ATA’s Interpreters Division, Spanish Language Division, and Translation Company Division, in addition to two ATA chapters: the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF) and the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Teodosia has established her own business since participating in professional development in the language profession. She brings with her the background of a classroom teacher, having taught for more than 20 years in Osceola County, Florida. “I am still growing and learning,” she says.

  • 10/18/2023 09:18 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    ATTENTION: We are currently seeking submissions for our longer annual newsletter, to be released in December. Deadline = 15 November.

    This is an excellent opportunity to put your name and your voice out there, to draw attention to your work, and to be recognized by your peers.

    We are currently accepting submissions in the following areas:

    Articles or essays on: 
    • approaches to translation
    • interpretation skills
    • translation reviews
    • T&I technology
    • local language access developments
    • legislation affecting language professionals 
    • personal/professional anecdotes 

    Translations of: 
    • poems 
    • short prose or excerpts of prose
    • recipes
    • songs 
    • etc... 

    Comics, memes, and other bits of humor!

    Submissions should be written in English and — excepting translations — should fall somewhere between 250 and 800 words (longer pieces will be considered for the blog or the annual newsletter; shorter pieces, for our quarterly newsletters or blog). Relevant images may also be submitted, alongside or independent of the written piece.

    If submitting a translation, please send both the original version and the translation. Copyright notes and source references should be included as well, if applicable.

    Your submissions will be evaluated by NOTIS's Publications Committee and will be edited for content, grammar, and space limitations. 

    Please send submissions and any other queries to our publications editor, Brianna Salinas, at We look forward to publishing your work!

    Best wishes,
    The NOTIS Publications Committee

  • 08/31/2023 03:56 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    At NOTIS, we celebrate women in translation all year round. We are pleased, nonetheless, to reserve for them a month of their own, their own room if you will: a space in which we can all focus our attention on the many marvelous achievements of our members who, by way of translation, are working to foreground the voices of women writers the world around. 

    To this end — to commemorate and celebrate their work on this most felicitous date — we are dedicating this space to share with you some of their latest accomplishments. Featured in this article are texts from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, and Spain.

    Scroll down to learn more about our translators, their authors, and where you can find their work (both in print and online). 

    First, a few words on the initiative itself… 


    Women in Translation Month is an annual, August-wide celebration of women* around the world who publish in languages other than English. Having noted a glaring gender disparity in publishing in the U.S., Meytal Radzinski launched this project in 2014 in an effort to increase the visibility of women in translation and promote the important work they do.

    The initiative has been wildly successful, and Meytal’s efforts are paying off in spades! Throughout the month of August, the #womenintranslation and #WITMonth hashtags dominate on social media. Publishers, booksellers, and other literary organizations (and individuals) spend the month celebrating women authors with readings and roundtables, sales and displays, endless blog posts and reviews, plus top fives and top tens and top twenties! 

    In a recent article for the Three Percent blog, Chad Post details the “visual success” of #WITMonth with a chart that shows the following: between 2014 and 2023, the percentage of published fiction in translation — by women —has nearly doubled (from 26% to 47%), and it is now neck and neck with that of books penned by men. 


    Shelley Fairweather-Vega on Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup, by Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus (translated from Kazakh to English)

    "Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup is the first book in a series of adventure stories for kids, based on Kazakh myths and legends. The co-authors, Zira Nauryzbai and Lilya Kalaus, are both authors I've translated before. But their children's series was one I felt was even more important to translate and share with readers outside of Kazakhstan, because, besides having written smart and exciting stories populated by great characters, the two of them are on a mission to create children’s literature that will make kids proud of (or at least more familiar with!) their own history and heritage. As Zira Nauryzbai tells the story, her pre-teen daughter was once obsessed with Harry Potter, which she and all her friends read in Russian. Zira is an expert in world mythology, and when she finally picked up a copy, she immediately saw how much of J.K. Rowling’s story was based on the myths, monsters, and magic of Northern Europe. “We have stories just as good as this! Shouldn’t our kids be reading those?” she thought, and she recruited Kalaus, also a mother of young readers, to help her craft the Kazakhstani answer to Harry Potter. Batu is the result. I would argue that exploring mythological worlds outside of the Northern European tradition we already know well should be just as fascinating for English-speaking readers. This book is a great opportunity to start that journey!"

    Read more about Shelley’s translation in this interview for #WorldKidLit Month on the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative website, and you can find (and buy!) Batu and the Golden Cup here,on

    Shelley Fairweather-Vega is a translator who works from Russian and Uzbek into English. She has translated for attorneys, academics, authors, and activists around the world. Her translated works have been published in the US and UK, and in the Critical Flame, Translation Review, Words Without Borders, the Brooklyn Rail, and more. Shelley is a past president of the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society and a co-founder of the Northwest Literary Translators. She lives in Seattle, where she also plays the French horn and is helping raise two kids and a cat. Learn more at

    Katie King on small red women, by Marta Sanz (from Spanish to English)

    “Reading Spanish author Marta Sanz is like riding a roller coaster: exhilarating and unsettling, addictive and challenging. Her novels tackle social issues and challenge contemporary thinking with innovative literary styles. She engages readers with insightful treatments of topical themes, such as femicide and right-wing extremism in small red women and entertains them with biting satire, as in the case of her genre defying Arturo Zarco detective series, of which small red women is the third and final installment and which mocks traditional aspects of literary noir. In interviews, Sanz says her style is subversive, social, and political.  Fans and book reviewers also applaud her brutal frankness, wordplay, and dazzling array of genres. ‘The extremely literary style of the book is a systematic appeal to the political conscience,’ Sanz told El País

    “I hope my translations of these two excerpts from small red women inspire English language readers — as a small taste of what awaits. The novel is not yet published in English, but my hope is that these texts spur U.S. publishers to take a look. My translation of the novel’s first chapter was published by Columbia Journal in November 2021. My translation of the second chapter was published by the European Literature Network in April 2023 as part of their brilliant special edition on Spanish authors in translation titled The Spanish Riveter: Writing from Spain. This special edition is available in its entirety for FREE in PDF format. Please click the above links to read, download, and share.”

    Katie King is a journalist and literary translator. Her most recent translation, Someone Speaks Your Name by Luis García Montero, was published by Swan Isle Press in January. She has lived and worked extensively in Spain and Latin America. 

    Aimee Chor on the poetry of Nadja Küchenmeister (German to English) 

    “These two poems, ‘i am light’ and ‘in the train,’ are translations from the German poet Nadja Küchenmeister’s third volume of poetry, In the Glass Mountain (Im Glasberg, 2020). Nadja, born in 1981 in Berlin, is one of the most important younger voices in contemporary German poetry. This volume circles around the speaker’s return to her childhood neighborhood in [the former East] Berlin and her ailing father, with extended meditations on illness and on the end of a love affair. The poems draw deeply from diverse sources including Grimm’s fairy tales, the vocabulary of cardiac disease, the imagery of a solar eclipse, and the medieval Canticle of the Sun of St. Francis of Assisi. Nadja’s language is at once clear, playful, and polyvalent; ambiguities of enjambment and punctuation reveal the poems’ layers, and strong rhythms emerge from sporadic rhyming and incantatory meter. Translating this book has been a joy, and I am currently looking for a publisher in hopes of bringing Nadja’s work to a larger audience.”

    Read Aimee’s translations of “i am light” and “in the train” here, in Sepia. Last week, three more of her translations (from the same volume) were published here, in Four Way Review

    Aimee Chor is a translator and poet currently residing in Seattle. She holds degrees in Religious Studies from Carleton College and the University of Chicago and has spent more than three years living and studying in the German cities of Lübeck, Tübingen, and Munich. Her translations of poems by German poet Nadja Küchenmeister recently appeared in Sepia and Four Way Review and are forthcoming in AzonaL, The Apple Valley Review, MAYDAY, and elsewhere. She is on Twitter @aimeechor.

    Mia Spangenberg on The Red Book of Farewells, by Pirkko Saisio

    “Pirkko Saisio’s
    The Red Book of Farewells (original title: Punainen erokirja) won the Finlandia Prize in 2003 when it was first published and has since become a cult classic. It is the conclusion to her lauded autofictional trilogy and chronicles the life of a fictive young Pirkko Saisio as she discovers her identity as a lesbian and finds her voice as an actor and writer in 1970s Helsinki. Fundamentally it is a universal story of love, loss, and new beginnings, but only Pirkko Saisio, with her background in theater, trademark humor, and bold experimentation in style, could pull off a work that so intimately engages the reader. She is finally gaining the attention she so rightly deserves outside her native country of Finland - and the good news is that Two Lines Press will be publishing the other two novels in the Helsinki trilogy in my translation. These novels are due out in 2024 and 2025, so stay tuned!”

    To read more about The Red Book of Farewells, visit the Two Lines Press bookshop. We're also excited to announce that two more of Mia's translations — also of women — were published this year: Rosie Runs, written and illustrated by Marika Maijala, and Owl and the Mystery of Tomorrow, written and illustrated by Réka Király.

    Mia Spangenberg translates from Finnish, Swedish, and German into English. Her translation of Pirkko Saisio’s The Red Book of Farewells was published this year by Two Lines Press. She holds a Ph.D. in Scandinavian studies from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she resides with her family.

    Dominique Hoffman on her translation of the article “Life in Occupied Ukraine” by Inna Zolotukhina and Iryna Yasroshynska

    “This article about the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by two Ukrainian women journalists, Inna Zolotukhina and Iryna Yasroshynska, was completed primarily through interviews with people still in the city of Energodar. Inna Zolotukhina has been reporting on Russia's war against Ukraine since the very beginning of the 'hot' phase of the war in 2014 in Crimea. She provided some of the original first-hand accounts recognizing the same uniforms and approach in Donbas as in Crimea. She has continued to report the Zaporizhzhia story and published a new interview with one of the engineers this month on her youtube channel. She is also collecting testimony from the survivors of war crimes — a job I can't imagine doing. Journalists in Ukraine are in constant danger from Russian attacks, but these women are determined to get the word out about what is happening.” 

    Read this powerful piece, in Dominique’s translation, here, on The Dial.

    Dominique Hoffman is a translator, researcher, and teacher. Her particular areas of interest include literature, art, and cultural history. She holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures and translates Ukrainian texts from Ukrainian and Russian.


    The Northwest Literary Translators of NOTIS have their own page on Click here to learn more about their recent publications!


    Did you translate something recently that you would like NOTIS to promote? Let us know! Contact the NOTIS Publications Committee at

    Meytal carefully explains on her website that "women," in her view, incorporates and embraces transgender, non-binary, and intersex writers, too.

  • 07/31/2023 06:00 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Tim Gregory, CT (AR>EN) and NOTIS Board Member

    Listen to this article on SoundCloud

    First Contact

    We’ve all heard and seen a great deal of hype about ChatGPT and the ways it may revolutionize how all kinds of business is conducted. A lot of different types of creators are feeling threatened: digital artists, computer programmers, writers, and, of course, translators like us. Using a large language model system, the tool can recreate some incredibly human-sounding texts and respond quickly to questions with some extremely confident-sounding answers.


    I’ll first say that, in my testing, I found some amazing results, but I also found some abject failures. When I asked ChatGPT for quotes from one of my favorite books, it gave me six — but three of them did not come from the book I asked for. I could not find what book or author the spurious quotes came from.

    This is the hazard of large language models: they are prone to “hallucinate.” As incredible as they appear, they cannot tell fact from error. It is the human user’s job to fact check and verify that any information ChatGPT provides is accurate.

    Machine Translation

    The same kinds of issues hold sway when working with one of these tools as a translator. The more comparative bilingual data the model contains, the more accurate the translation will be, because it is more likely that the same terms or structures can be found in human-translated materials on the internet. That means some languages will have much better results than others, which is already the case with the many other machine translation tools that are out there.

    For Arabic, ChatGPT seems neither better nor worse than most — with the one benefit that you can, in your prompt, provide a translation brief. You can, for example, tell the tool that the source is a poem and describe the kind of poem you want the translation to be. When I tried this, the translation was not great, but it did come with meter and rhyme!

    Business Consultant: A better use?

    Leaving translation itself aside, I’d like to address the idea of using ChatGPT as a business consultant. If you have ever searched the internet for business advice or to try to solve a problem you are having, I am certain you ended up with millions of search results. Thousands of articles, some relevant to you, but most designed for generic freelance businesses or sole proprietorships. Imagine a smart computer that can comb all those results and distill answers down to you in understandable human language. Then, stop imagining — because it already exists.

    Getting Started with ChatGPT

    Let us walk through the process of creating a prompt and navigating a simple conversation. I recommend you go to and sign up for an account, and then, to get a feel for how it works, either copy the prompt work below or modify it to your needs.

    General Advice for Interaction

    The first thing you should do any time you work with ChatGPT is provide background information. If you are asking for translation help, this should be a translation brief describing the source, the intended audience, and the tone of the translation. For our consultant, we need to let the system know the role we want it to play. If you do not do this, the results will be less specific and relevant to you.

    Keep in mind that ChatGPT is not Google; it is not doing a keyword search and bringing you results. It is trying to bring you an actual answer to your question. One side note: many people experimenting with ChatGPT say you get better results if you are polite, so you will see me using ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

    Introducing Yourself and Your Topic

    Let’s imagine that you are trying to transition from getting most of your freelance translation work from agencies to finding and working with direct clients. All the best advice suggests that this is the ideal way to earn higher pay and achieve a better work-life balance. Who better to ask than “someone” who has built their business in this way? So our first job is to establish the boundaries for our conversation. Here is an example of how to do so:

    Taking the role of a successful freelance translator with more than twenty years’ experience working with translation agencies and gradually shifting to work solely with direct clients, please answer the following questions:

    You’ll get a response letting you know the program has taken on the persona you asked for and is ready to answer your questions. Here is an example of a question I asked:

    Is it worthwhile to specialize in a certain topic or field, or would I be limiting my income by doing this?

    ChatGPT provided me with a very lengthy answer, but the first paragraph read:

    Specializing in a certain topic or field can be highly beneficial as a freelance translator. While it may seem like you are narrowing your potential client base, in reality, becoming an expert in a specific area can open up numerous opportunities and boost your earning potential. Here are some reasons why specializing is worthwhile:

    It then listed six advantages to specialization along with details for each.

    Drilling Down

    Another question you might have would be about finding direct clients. Most translation consumers do not post job ads on LinkedIn, after all. Your next prompt might be something like this:

    Thank you! I have decided to specialize in translating medical technology from German to English. Can you give me some advice for finding direct clients in my field?

    The response I received gave me ten actionable pieces of advice from setting up a professional online presence, to cold email versus direct mail, to joining professional associations like ATA (or NOTIS). Finally, we can delve further into another answer to our question and ask for more help.

    I have decided to try a direct mail campaign. Can you help me determine what I should include on a postcard mailer to advertise my translation services as described above and provide me with a few lines of marketing copy that I might adapt for my own use?

    Along with the following general guidelines and suggested copy, ChatGPT gave a text-only plan for how to do the layout for the postcard.

    • A compelling headline. 

      • Expert Medical Technology Translations: Bridging the Language Gap for Your Innovations!

    • A brief introduction.

      • As a seasoned freelance translator with over 20 years of experience, I specialize in providing precise and reliable translations for the medical technology industry. From software interfaces to technical manuals, I ensure your message remains clear and impactful in every language.

    • A value proposition.

      • Partner with me to unlock your global potential. Seamlessly communicate with international markets, comply with regulatory requirements, and empower your medical technology solutions to reach broader audiences.

    • A call to action.

      • Take the first step toward expanding your global presence. Contact me today to discuss your translation needs and receive a customized quote.

    • Contact information.

    • Optional testimonials.


    Running a small business is a complicated affair, particularly for sole proprietors who really just want to do the work they love. ChatGPT’s access to vast amounts of business advice across many different fields makes it a very powerful potential partner in developing your business in ways you may not have considered before.

    In ChatGPT’s own words, “By harnessing the power of AI-driven tools, we can focus on our expertise, specialize in niche areas, and deliver translations that exceed expectations. As we ride this wave of innovation, let us embrace these tools as valuable allies in our profession, propelling us towards even greater success in an ever-evolving global landscape.”

  • 07/12/2023 13:45 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As you may have noticed, scammers seem to be as busy as ever these days! NOTIS would like to remind all members to remain extremely vigilant when reading and responding to emails — even to messages sent to you through your NOTIS directory page.

    While we've taken measures to shield our directory from casual scammers, your directory information is public by default (so that colleagues and legitimate potential clients can reach you). Unfortunately, this means that people with wrongful intentions can email you too.

    To further protect yourself, you can easily edit your member profile to set "Send message form" to "Anybody," "Members" (only), or "No access." You can do this by clicking on your name at the top right corner of our home page (you must first log in) and selecting "Edit profile" while on the "Privacy" section of your profile. The difference can be seen in the two attached screenshots (see below). 

    Please exercise caution when responding to emails from people you don’t know or when something about the message strikes you as odd, for example:

    • if the person claims to be from a large company but is using a free email domain (such as or 
    • if the offer seems too good to be true, or 
    • if the person asks you to send them money or share personal information. 

    To get an idea of what some of these scams looks like, check out this post from NOTIS’s Twitter page about a recent scam targeting NOTIS members. And here’s a 2020 post from CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters) regarding a scam that targeted language professionals nationwide.

    If anything seems suspicious, the best strategy is not to respond. It can also help to do an online search to see if others have received the same scam email. 

    Additionally, you can check on the legitimacy of a potentially suspicious offer by asking your colleagues, for example, on one of the following Facebook Groups:

    Finally, here are a couple more easy steps you can take to recognize and avoid scammers:

    • Make some or all of your directory information private or visible only to other NOTIS members. You can adjust these privacy settings in your profile (click on your name on the top right corner of the page)
    • Read our guidance for members about known scams and frauds: Scams targeting freelancers

    Check out these additional resources for guidance: 

    If you receive an email through the NOTIS directory and you're not sure it's legitimate, NOTIS will be happy to review it with you and offer our opinion. Please send your inquiries to

  • 06/22/2023 14:29 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    Attention NOTIS members: We are currently recruiting volunteers to run for our Board of Directors!

    The Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society is growing, and so too must our leadership team. As a NOTIS Board member, you will enjoy professional prestige and camaraderie while helping to shape the future of our society. 

    Board Members serve two-year terms (for a maximum of six consecutive years).

    To apply, please submit your CV as well as a brief statement explaining why you would like to volunteer to

    If you know someone who may be interested, please pass this along!

    Thank you for your ongoing support and for all the good work you do for our thriving T&I community.

  • 05/07/2023 11:38 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    As of April 30, 2023, UniversalLanguage Service, Inc. (ULS) is no longer providing third-party language testing for DSHS. 

    This decision has been made in compliance with Substitute Senate Bill 5304, recently passed by the Washington State Legislature, which determined the previous arrangement to be a conflict of interest and opted to prevent any "private entity with a financial interest in the direct provision of interpreter services" from developing and administering certification exams [Senate Bill 5304; Section 2.8, pg. 3].

    The legislature has also affirmed that there is nothing preventing DSHS from developing and administering a testing program. At present, however, there is no clear indication as to future modalities for testing, and it is unknown how DSHS will operationalize the new law. 

    To quote the email announcement distributed by ULS: "Interpreters that have completed one exam and need the other for credentialing [should] direct all questions directly to DSHS LTC at on how to finalize their credentialing process."

    We understand that these are uncertain and frustrating times. This as all that we know as of now, but we will be sure to "keep our ears to the ground" and update you as soon as more information is made available.

    Read the entire bill 
    here, and stay tuned for more announcements. 

  • 04/09/2023 09:39 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    by Laura Hurley 

    I recently interpreted for the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) and learned that the city of Seattle has a new ordinance that protects independent contractors. I didn't know it existed until I found out through that interpreting job, so I figured other interpreters might not know about it either. Here's some information about the new labor protections for independent contractors so you can know your rights and pass the word to other colleagues who work in Seattle!

    This is my own summary of the ordinance and the webinar I interpreted, but I'll also include links to more official and detailed information on the Office of Labor Standards website.

    The Independent Contractor Protection Ordinance (ICPO) went into effect in September 2022 to provide labor protections for independent contractors. We aren't employees so we aren't covered by regular employer/employee labor laws, and this ordinance is designed to close that gap in worker protections.

    The ordinance creates some requirements that commercial hiring entities in Seattle must comply with when they hire independent contractors, such as: a notification of rights, a written notice of the terms of work and payment, timely payment, and itemized payment information. It doesn't impose new requirements on us as independent contractors, but it's useful for us to know what information our clients are required to provide when they hire us.

    The ICPO protects self-employed independent contractors who:

    • work as a "one-person shop" (i.e., don't have employees),
    • do at least part of a job in Seattle[1], and
    • expect to receive at least $600 from the hiring entity during a calendar year.

    "Independent contractors” under this ordinance doesn't include Uber or Lyft drivers (gig workers have their own ordinance), companies with employees, or lawyers (apparently attorneys can fend for themselves in contract disputes).

    The ICPO applies to any commercial hiring entity that hires an independent contractor in Seattle. This means a business or nonprofit that hires an interpreter to help them do business would count, but a person hiring you to provide language tutoring for their child probably wouldn’t (unless they run a tutoring business and hire you to help them conduct that business). Note that an interpreter or translator could be both a contractor and a hiring entity under the ordinance if they subcontract a colleague to work on a project.

    The requirements of the ICPO are:

    • The hiring entity must provide the contractor with a written notification of the contractor's rights under this ordinance. They're allowed to use either the document OLS created or a different one, as long as it includes all the information the ICPO requires them to provide.
    • The hiring entity must provide a written notice to the contractor before any work begins with all the details about the job and pay. As with the notification of rights, they may use the model notice OLS created or their own form, as long as it contains all the required information. The model notice is impressively detailed, which will allow us to negotiate very clear agreements with clients.
    • The hiring entity must pay on time—according to the terms of the pre-work notice if it specifies payment terms, or within 30 days if it doesn't—and they must provide itemized payment information with each payment.

    Once the work has started, the hiring entity can't require the contractor to accept less than the pay in the agreement as a condition of being paid on time. The agreement can include terms and conditions for payment (such as partial payments after completing certain stages of a job, or the right to inspect or approve the work), and of course it's possible to negotiate changes and amend the pre-work notice. However, once work starts, the agreement is what it is.

    For instance, if you're hired to translate a 5,000-word document for a particular price by a particular date, they can't come back after you've begun the project and say, "Oops, it's actually 10,000 words and we still need it by the same time. We'll pay you 1.5 times what we originally agreed to because a lot of the words repeat, so it won't be that much extra work!"

    The ICPO gives us some negotiating power in these situations by holding contracting entities to the terms of their agreements. My understanding is that if a hiring entity does not provide pre-work notifications with all the required details of work and pay, then if the contractor later makes a complaint, it will be presumed that the terms of the agreement were whatever the contractor (us!) says they were unless the hiring entity can produce some evidence to the contrary.

    I know many of us write our own client agreements to protect our interests, so I appreciate that this ordinance relieves us of some of that burden. It puts the responsibility and penalties on the hiring entity and gives us an enforcement mechanism and the benefit of the doubt in payment disputes. If you want all the details, The OLS website has the full text of the ordinance, the model notifications, fact sheets, and Frequently Asked Questions. They also have personnel available to answer questions and receive complaints, if you have any.

    I hope this is useful info, and please feel free to share it with colleagues.

    [1] In the webinar, they said that it counts if the job is physically located in Seattle, if you must attend a meeting at the hiring entity's office in Seattle as part of the job, or if you live in Seattle and perform the work remotely from your home. It doesn't count if, for instance, you have to drive from your home in Everett to do a job in Kent and happen to stop in Seattle for a sandwich on your way there. Some of the actual work must happen in Seattle city limits for the city to have jurisdiction.

  • 02/19/2023 02:06 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

    In January of 2023, NOTIS bid a fond farewell —or, more accurately, a “see you later”— to three members of our Board of Directors (see their farewell notes below!): 

    Since joining the Board in 2021, Zakiya Hanafi (an Italian and French to English translator and interpreter) has served as a member of the Scholarship and Publications Committees and as chair of the Marketing & Communications team. With a passionate, can-do attitude, Zakiya has promoted and organized a number of new initiatives at NOTIS, the effects of which we will celebrate for years to come.

    Tarja Sahlstén (a localization specialist and audiovisual and literary translator from German, English, and Italian to Finnish) joined the board in 2021 and has served on the Translation Division and Social Events Committee. Tarja brought subtitling to our events calendar and good-humored levity to all of our gatherings.

    Pinar Mertan (a Turkish <> English medical and court interpreter) has been an active member of the Board of Directors since 2019; she has served as chair of both the Scholarship and Social Events Committees and co-chair of the Legal Division. With her characteristic kindness and constant concern for others, Pinar has certainly left her mark on our society. 

    While we are sad to see Pinar, Tarja, and Zakiya leave the board, we’re grateful for the good work they’ve done for our NOTIS and our community. We look forward to seeing what they do next, and we expect to cross paths again soon!

    In their own words 

    Zakiya Hanafi: 

    It’s been a thrilling two years for me on the NOTIS Board of Directors. It all began with me sticking up my hand at the first meeting I attended as a new member in January 2021. “Why don’t we hire a marketing consultant to help us define our needs and conduct a job search for someone to stay on as our social media specialist?” 

    Little did I know that my suggestion would be welcomed and supported by my fellow members, leading to heaps of professional satisfaction and development as the Chair of the NOTIS Marketing Committee. 

    It’s been a wonderful experience, filled with learning opportunities and teamwork that I could never have had as an inveterate solo freelancer. (I’d like to encourage any of our NOTIS members with good ideas to bring them forward to the Board: you never know what will come of them!)

    My other greatest satisfaction: working with Pinar Mertan on the Scholarship Committee. It is a rare privilege to be able to give away money to deserving professionals while enjoying the company of a remarkable colleague.

    By the way, this may be goodbye to the Board, but I don’t plan on disappearing! I will continue to serve as a volunteer on the NOTIS Marketing and Publications Committees.

    Tarja Sahlsten:

    I’m one of those lucky people who are doing what they really love: translation. Every day I get to learn new things and words, tackle challenges and enjoy successes, talk to amazing colleagues, and bug my husband about Americanisms

    I’ve been lucky enough to have translated everything from classic Italian movies about big family dinners, a film about Snow White and the seven dwarfs, a German series about a Gasthaus up in the mountains, famous American sitcoms about Friends ;), a guide to making the best tea in the world, a wild story about hitchhiking across the U.S, comic books about amazing women, and everything in between. If I had to pick what I have most enjoyed, I would have to say: the mix! Every day is different, every job is different.

    “The mix” is something I have found in NOTIS as well: people from different backgrounds and countries working with different languages in different fields. Court and medical interpreters, localizers, subtitlers, literary translators and more — all working together for a common goal. I genuinely enjoyed my 2 years on the board. I got to know amazing people and learnt so much about all the different jobs language professionals can have in such a big country. (It is different in a small country like Finland.)

    I encourage everyone to join NOTIS  — for the mix, comradery, and common goal. All the wonderful meetings and workshops (etc.) are a priceless way to get out of your translator’s cave and meet people face-to-face. Over time, it might just creep on you that you’d like to make a bigger difference and join the board. I highly recommend it!

    What is next for me? More travel and hitting the road — literally. We bought an RV, and I am getting to know my new home country better — and translating as we go! See you somewhere some time, dear colleagues. FAREWELL AND THANK YOU, NOTIS!

    Pinar Mertan

    While working in Turkey as an attorney, I registered as a sworn translator too and quickly realized that I loved translating documents as well as preparing them. After moving to Washington and seeing that there were very few Turkish interpreters in the area, I decided to become a credentialed interpreter. Then, I joined the NOTIS Board! This was one of the best decisions of my life. 

    As an interpreter, I love the fulfillment I feel after each assignment. Being able to connect individuals with my language skills and the appreciation I receive from my clients are my biggest rewards. There is no other profession where a person can work in such a diverse range of fields. An interpreter can work for a court, a clinic, a school, a company, or an institution—fulfilling all sorts of communication needs. This may be an attorney-client meeting, a medical operation, a diplomatic summit, a parent-teacher conference, a seminar, or a book translation; the possibilities are endless. I love this surprise aspect of the job. It enables us to improve our skills and learn many things. We create our unique style in time. It is like writing a book; it carries our signature. We all leave our own marks in people's lives, however small they may be.

    I take pride in having served the translation and interpreting community alongside NOTIS’s  wonderful board members for two terms, as chair, co-chair, and member of different committees. I am honored to be a colleague of such dedicated professionals. I thank each one of them, but I have to name a few: Shelley Fairweather-Vega and Laura Friend for being excellent presidents, Luisa Gracia Camon and Maria Farmer for their warm friendship, and Yasemin Alptekin, for being my big sister and mentor.

    With much gratitude and respect, 
    Pinar Mertan

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