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Summer 2023 Newsletter

Summer is finally upon us, NW linguists, and we've got some truly exciting stuff planned for the coming months, including — but not limited to — the following in-person events: 

  • NOTIS's Annual Summer Picnic & Potluck will take place on August 13 at Five Mile Lake Park in Auburn, WA. Join us for an afternoon/evening of lake-side fun & games! Details and registration on our calendar
  • NOTIS's Annual Conference in celebration of International Translators Day will take off on September 30 at the Museum of Flight. With some 17 conference sessions and discussion panels (covering all areas of T&I), this conference has got something for everyone! Read more about #NOTIS2023 on our web page. Registration will open in mid-late July.

Speakers and sessions are now confirmed for #NOTIS2023, and we are working on three important discussion panels surrounding: 1) Certification and Education for Legal and Medical Interpreters, 2) Getting Started, for Students and Newbies, and 3) Publishing Translations: Behind the Scenes.

We hope to see you out and about at some point in the next few months!

As for the PRESENT NEWSLETTER, here's what's in store: 

  • Photos from our German Translation Slam 
  • Fun Language Facts: Turkish 
  • Upcoming (and on-demand) NOTIS events
  • Your & Other News 
  • And more... 

Give it a scroll, won't you?

Snapshots 📷 from our Fourth 
Annual (German) Translation Slam!

Snapshots from NOTIS’s 4th Annual Translation Slam at Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum. This year’s featured language was German, and contenders (L to R in top pic) were local translators Melody Winkle, Aaron Carpenter, and Mandy Olson. Jost Zetzsche (pink shirt, between Melody & Aaron) joined as this year's celebrity referee!

Welcome to Fun Language Facts — a new, recurring feature in our newsletters. Each installment will highlight a different world language. NOTIS Board Member Yasemin Alptekin is starting us off with, in her words, the "fun facts and funny letters" that abound in Turkish, her native tongue. 


urkish is the official language of Turkey (a country with more than 85 million people) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is also spoken by small groups of ethnic Turks in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, other regions of Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Thus, there are multiple dialects:  Cypriot Turkish, Iraqi Turkmen, Karamanli Turkish, Meskhetian Turkish, Rumelian Turkish, and Syrian Turkish.

There are quite a few borrowed words in Turkish, such as telephone (telefon), train (tren), television (televizyon), radio (radyo), doctor (doktor), etc.— all with more of a French pronunciation! However, Turkish coined its own words for ‘computer’ (= information counter) and ‘cell phone’ (= pocket telephone).  

After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Ottoman Turkish script (a combination of the Arabic and Persian alphabets) was replaced by a new Latin-based alphabet in  1928. In 1929, its use became compulsory in all public communications. 

There are 29 letters in the Turkish alphabet and some belong exclusively to Turkish, such as the soft g (ğ). Others are ç, ş, ü, ö.  Using them or not using them makes a big difference! For instance, ‘on’ means ‘ten’, however, ‘ön’ means ‘front’; ‘un’ means ‘flour’ whereas ‘ün’ means ‘fame’! So don’t underestimate the power of diacritical marks. They are truly critical in Turkish. 

Apart from these crucial dots, there is the case of the essential  ‘undotted ı’. Adding or omitting a dot can cause some truly embarrassing situations. The word ‘sık’ means ‘squeeze’ or ‘tight’ depending on the context; but if you dot the ‘i’, it becomes the f -word! So be careful!  

Cliches like maşallah (God bless you), inşallah (God willing), evelallah (sure, with God’s permission), Allah Allah (Oh my God), and many more are sometimes enough to carry out a conversation. Once you learn some of them, you can claim to speak Turkish like a local. 

Well, since this is no Linguistics 101 lecture, let me list some other facts about the language — you can decide if they’re fun or not!  

  1. Turkish has a word order of Object + Verb (the subject is embedded in the verb). Just the opposite of the S+V+O order in English. Ex:  I go to school 
    = Okula gidiyorum  (I to school go)

  2. Turkish is one of the agglutinative languages, like Finnish, Estonian, and HungarianThey are all in the Uralic language family. This means you can have a very long word expressing what you need, whereas in English you’ll need a whole sentence to convey the same thing. Here’s an example:  
    =  They are those that we were not able to Americanize!

  3. Turkish is a gender-free language! Yes, it is. That means you don’t have to categorize people as ‘he’ or ‘she’! Everybody and everything is referred to with one pronoun: “O”. Even God is “O”.  That’s why there’s no argument about whether God is a he or she in Turkish. No problem with LGBTQ+ groups to define themselves one way or another, either! They are all “O”. Case closed!
  4. Plurals: In Turkish, you don’t need two plurals to make your point! If you want to say “I have three books,” the number 3 is enough to indicate that you have more than one. Ex:  “Üç kitabım var”  
    =  Three book I have.

  5. Articles: In Turkish, you don’t need to struggle if a word, a country, or a river takes an article or not! There’s none to use anyway! Ex:
    Akdeniz = The Mediterranean
    Filipinler =
    The Philippines

In a nutshell, Turkish is fairly straightforward, very systematic, and quite consistent. And since Turkish is almost entirely phonetic, reading and pronouncing Turkish will be easy for those who want to learn a new language. Good luck to the beginners! 

    NOTIS also offers a variety of on-demand webshops. Watch them on your own time and in your own space, and earn continuing education credits while so doing! To learn more about our in-person, online, and on-demand events, click the button below:

    Visit our full events calendar

    Call for submissions ✏️

    Want to be published in a NOTIS blog or newsletter? We accept a wide variety of content on a rolling basis, including:  articles, anecdotes, comics, translations (prose, poetry), recipes, miscellaneous industry updates, etc...

    We've also got two new recurring features planned: 

    • The above-launched Fun Language Facts ~ Write a brief article including hilarious, head-scratching, or otherwise exceptional facts about your language; and 
    • T&I Bloopers ~ They happen to us all... it's the nature of the business! Tell us about your funny — or downright awkward — "lost in translation" moments. Submit one blooper or a few, a paragraph or half a page! They're your stories. You choose :) 

    For more information about submissions, check out this blog post
    Have a question? Ready to submit? Email

    Also of Note  🗒️

    This is where we publish your news or news you think will be of interest to your peers. Send your calls for submissions/proposals;  your latest  publications and/or translations;  your exciting news or your upcoming events  ➡️   social@notisnet.org

    • NOTIS is seeking sponsors for our 2023 Annual Conference! Attend the conference, share your brand, and network with your peers and/or potential employees. Info and registration available here
    • #ATA64, the American Translators Association's 64th Annual Conference, will take place October 25-28 in Miami, Florida. Click here for details.
    • The Ethics Panel at NOTIS is up and running! The Ethics Panel provides expert opinions to interpreters and those working with interpreters on the ethical quandaries they occasionaly encounter in their work. Send your questions to ethics@notisnet.org. Responses will be posted anonymously to our knowledge base at notisnet.org/Ethics-Panel.
    • We are excited to announce that the UW Translation Studies Hub has been awarded another year of funding — by the Simpson Center for the Humanities — for their continued efforts to institutionalize multidisciplinary translation studies at UW. During the 2023-2024 Academic Year, the Hub is planning a series of activities on "Solidifying Translation Studies Curriculum and Laying the Groundwork for a Certificate in Translation Studies." View the announcement here
    • Congratulations to Mia Spangenberg, who has TWO picture books coming out in her translation this August: Rosie Runs and Owl and the Mystery of Tomorrow.
    • Congrats to Lola Rogers on her translation of Fishing for Little Pike, by Juhani Karila, which will be released on August 15 by Restless Books. 
    • Summer is a great time to take advantage of a little-known NOTIS Member Benefit: Plan a social event for T&I professionals in your area (at least 30 miles outside of Seattle); NOTIS will help to advertise your event and will reimburse up to $50 of the cost! Details here (this page is only visible to members). 
    • The British Centre for Literary Translation is hosting an Advanced Scandinavian–English Translation Workshop (online), open to translators the world around, in November 2023. Learn more and apply — by Sept. 4 — on their website


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