The Human Cost of Bad Translation

My mother is not fluent in English, and that fact counted heavily against her on a call to an insurance company recently.

The call was about an important question relating to my mother’s account, so I joined her to make the call. The person on the other end of the phone said they had to verify my mother’s identity, and so they needed her to speak, not me, her daughter. The operator asked what language my mother speaks, and put us on hold while they found a Farsi interpreter.

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The Importance of ATA Certification

The American Translators Association (ATA), a well known international organization, offers a translator certification—a distinction that puts all translators, regardless of work status, in a better position to market themselves. For Farsi translators and interpreters in particular, the ATA certification is more than just a suffix.

I am very passionate about the mission of the organization and the importance of these certifications for the following reasons:

  1. It distinguishes those who are qualified to translate from those who are not; and
  2. An increase in Farsi translators will support the Farsi-English pairing. As of now, this pair has not been established at ATA, and the ATA is not recognizing Farsi as a language.

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