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College of Liberal and Fine Arts


Translation Day Colloquium Examines Language Policies & Social Justice Issues

September 18, 2015

Six leading experts on translation and interpreting will share their insight and interact with the public at the International Translation Day @UTSA Colloquium on September 30.  

International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the 30th of September in commemoration of the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator considered to be the patron saint of translators.

In observance of this internationally-recognized day for bringing visibility to a profession that is becoming increasingly vital in our era of globalization this public colloquium will provide an opportunity to examine the role of language mediation in our everyday lives, with an emphasis on languages in contact in South Texas and the importance of language access to healthcare and the justice system.

The colloquium, which aims to raise awareness of the crucial role that interpreters and translators play in a global community, will combine presentations by leading researchers in Texas followed by a panel discussion led by experienced Texas translators, interpreters, and policy makers.

Topics of discussion include:

  • How language attitudes shape language use (Dr. Whitney Chappell, University of Texas at San Antonio)

  • Concepts of nationality and language policy (Dr. Gabriel González Núñez, University of Texas –Río Grande Valley)

  • Audiovisual translation as a valuable integration tool for the vision and hearing impaired (Dr. Nazaret Fresno Cañada, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley)

  • How emerging translators and interpreters can continue to build their skills while building a clientele (Marco Hanson, Austin Certified Translation, LLC)

  • Recommended qualifications for Texas healthcare interpreters and translators (Mary Esther Díaz, ATA certified translator and interpreter trainer)

  • The role that advocacy can play in language access policy (Cristina Helmerichs, FCICE & NAJIT certified conference/judicial interpreter and trainer).

The colloquium, which is free and open to everyone, will be held on Wednesday, September 30 at 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room on the 4th floor of the John Peace Library on the UTSA main campus in San Antonio.  Paid parking is available next door in the Bauerle Garage.  Visit the UTSA web site for maps and directions.

International Translation Day @UTSA Colloquium 2015 is sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Texas at San Antonio with the support of Worldwide Languages and a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, contact Melissa Wallace, Assistant Professor of Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA, phone 210-458-5317.


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Complete List of Speakers and Lecture Titles:


Dr. Whitney Chappell, University of Texas at San Antonio

The Tangible Consequences of Invisible Forces: How Language Attitudes Shape Language Use

How does the sociopolitical status of the languages spoken in a bilingual community contribute to the languages' use and structure? This presentation explores the effect both social prestige and legal status have on the Spanish and English spoken in the United States, with a focus on language use and language attitudes in San Antonio.


Dr. Gabriel González Núñez, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley

‘This is America… Speak English!’  A Look at Translation Policy and Language Attitudes

Language issues stir passions. This is so, in part, because the idea of nationality has become integrally linked to language, hence the motto "one state, one nation, one language." This idea is alive and well in the United States. Even so, historic and demographic realities challenge the notion of monolingual states. Faced with a very real multilingual reality, the U.S. approach to linguistic diversity has leaned heavily on very limited, civil rights exceptions to monolingualism on the part of the authorities. Translation and interpreting play a key role in furthering this policy approach.


Dr. Nazaret Fresno Cañada, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley

Accessibility to the Media: Translating Sounds and Images into Words

Audiovisual translation is aimed at making audiovisual products accessible to all receivers. Through interlinguistic translation, audiovisual translators dub or subtitle films, video games or mobile applications so that foreign addressees can understand them. However, these professionals also work for specific audiences: those with hearing or sight impairments. Using specialized translation techniques, they provide the deaf and hard of hearing with subtitles that include the dialogs as well as the relevant sounds that they cannot perceive. In addition, audiovisual translators describe verbally the visual information that the blind and visually impaired cannot see so that they enjoy audiovisual products or events. This presentation will emphasize this little-known social dimension of audiovisual translation, and will highlight its role as a valuable integration tool.


Marco Hanson

I’ve Learned My Second Language. Now What?

This practical presentation offers a snapshot of the job market for bilinguals, especially interpreters and translators. How do you get hired without experience? What’s the difference between working for a company and contracting as a freelancer? Will machine translation programs help or hurt your career? And, how can you build your skills to reach the next level while still earning a living?


Mary Esther Díaz

Recommendations by the Texas Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Healthcare Translators and Interpreters

HB 233 of the 81st Texas Legislature created an Advisory Committee to establish and recommend qualifications for healthcare interpreters and translators in Texas. This Advisory Committee has met for the past six years to develop these recommendations under the auspices of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. This presentation will provide an overview of the recommendations and offer the opportunity for questions and answers.


Cristina Helmerichs

Policy and Advocacy in Language Access

Ms. Helmerichs’ expertise in language access policy and training transcends the borders of Texas as her expertise is often sought at the state, national and international levels. In this presentation, she will share the importance of solidarity, collegiality and activism in a profession that is little understood by both policy makers and the public at large. For citizens who care deeply about fairness and access to healthcare, justice and social services, policy is a realm in which all citizens have a stake and in which we can all participate in order to bring about positive social change.

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