United States today carries new responsibilities in many quarters of the globe, and we are at a serious disadvantage because of the difficulty of finding persons who can deal with the foreign language problem.
-U.S Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1953
For the United States to get to where it needs to be will require a national commitment to strengthening America’s foreign language proficiency.
-CIA Director Leon Panetta
Today’s operating environment demands a much greater degree of language and regional expertise requiring years, not weeks, of training and education, as well as a greater understanding of the factors that drive social change.
-Quadrennial Defense Review February 2010
It’s clear to all of us that schools, colleges, and universities need to invest more and smarter in linguistic instruction.
-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
We must support programs that cultivate interest in and scholarship in foreign languages and inter cultural affairs, including international exchange programs. This will allow citizens to build connections with people overseas and develop skills and contacts that will help them thrive in a global economy.
-National Security Strategy May 2010
Our nation’s 21st century needs for Americans with global competence are much broader and deeper than anytime in our history—in many more languages and cultures, and across most professions. Global competence must become part of our education system’s core mission, beginning in the earliest grades through graduate school.
-Miriam A. Kazanjian, Coalition for International Education
FLAP (Foreign Language Assistance Program) is a significant contribution to providing our students with the global language competencies and awareness, they, and our nation, must have to survive and prosper in the 21st Century.
-Dr. J. David Edwards, Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages
The United States is a “linguistically malnourished” country compared with many other nations.
-Senator Paul Simon in the Tongue Tied American, 1980
You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language.
-President Obama, 2008
The Google Translate API has been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011. Due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse, the number of requests the users may make per day will be limited and the API will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011.
More information is available on the Google Translate API site.
Section 601(c)(1) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) requires that the consult with Federal agency heads in order to receive recommendations regarding areas of national need for expertise in foreign languages and world regions. The Secretary may take those recommendations into account when identifying areas of national need for the International Education Programs authorized by Title VI of the HEA and administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). See HEA, Sec. 601(c) (20 U.S.C. 1121 (c)). What follows are the seventy-eight priority languages that are less commonly taught, as identified by the Secretary:
- Akhan (Twi-Fante)
- Arabic (all dialects)
- Azeri (Azerbaijani)
- Bamanakan (Bamana, Bambara, Mandikan, Mandingo, Maninka, Dyula)
- Bengali (Bangla)
- Berber (all languages)
- Cebuano (Visayan)
- Chinese, Cantonese
- Chinese, Gan
- Chinese, Mandarin
- Chinese, Min
- Chinese, Wu
- Hebrew, Modern
- Khmer (Cambodian)
- Kurdish ¡V Kumanji
- Kurdish ¡V Sorani
- Malay (Bahasa Melayu or Malaysian)
- Persian (Farsi)
- Sinhala (Sinhalese)
A recent survey by the EU Eurobarometer, however, has indicated that European web users are frustrated by a lack of native language content. According to the latest research, over half of all European Internet surfers use a language other than their native tongue when online, with 44% of those surveyed stating that this was a barrier to truly understanding the online content.
Thanks to Rina Ne’eman for bringing this gem to my attention. Source: http://mysite.verizon.net/~maeir/WorstTranslatedSign.jpg
Contractor vs. Employee: Introduction to the Contract Interpreter Information Center (CIIC)
Bill Graeper (Certified Languages Internationals), Vic Marcus (Northwest Interpreters, Inc.), Francesco Pagano (Interpreters and Translators, Inc.)
Interpreters as Independent Contractors or Employees – this has been a hot topic for several years as federal, state, and local taxing bodies look to increase their revenue to help balance budgets.
- “Misclassification” is a hot topic, not only in the US, but also in Canada and Europe
- Many industries are targeted; construction industry in particular
- Who is after us? Federal and state government agencies facing budget crises and shortfalls; the primary purpose is tax collection; the primary focus is on Employment and Workers’ Comp
- Translators and interpreters by and large want to be independent contractors
- Bill Graeper has a blog on this issue at www.contractinterpreters.com
Contract Interpreter Information Center
- Includes translators
- Purpose: to promote contractor business model
- It is an informational website; focus: use of contractors in the language services industry, industry advocacy and support; education for all stakeholders
- Founding members: Certified Languages International, Northwest Interpreters, Interpreters and Translators, languagelink, Dynamic Language
- When audited, hire a professional (attorney specializing in labor law), reach out to CIIC members for assistance, be proactive – note reactive
The Connecticut Story
- In 1999, Interpreters and Translators, Inc. (ITI) was audited by the CT Department of Labor
- Audit was successful and the DoL conducted two more audits the next two years; audits were also successful
- In 2008, an interpreter made a claim for unemployment
- The DoL came back and requested records of all independent contractors; ITI hired an attorney
- ITI’s attorney found a similar case: Daws Critical Care Registry vs. State of Connecticut Department of Labor (CT Supreme Court case, cited in other states as well)
- The DoL reclassified the contractor with a claim as ITI’s employee and attempted to reclassify all interpreters used by ITI; the process took several years
- Citing the Daws Critical Care Registry case, ITI’s attorney was able to change the DoL’s attitude
- Keep your records clean by abiding with state and federal requirements for proper classification
- If you sense any heat, contact and retain an attorney right away
- Don’t allow any attorney to tell you “let it go”
- Encourage your contractors to get a business license