ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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What does AB5 hold for the future of our profession?

Photo caption: Translation and interpretation professionals gather at a November 2019 informational session CoPTIC held in San Diego to discuss next steps for those who may be affected by the passage of AB5.

The possible implications of AB5 have been on the minds of many in our profession. ATISDA President Yolanda Secos writes the following on the subject:

On November 23, 2019, the Coalition of Practicing Translators & Interpreters of California (CoPTIC) hosted an informational session about AB5 in San Diego with many of our Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area (ATISDA) members in attendance. If you missed this important event, please read this post to learn how this bill could affect you and what you can do to support CoPTIC in their efforts to win an exemption from AB5 for interpreters and translators.

What is AB5? 

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019. The bill was passed without any sort of exemption for translators and interpreters. Part of the text reads:

“Existing law, as established in the case of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (Dynamex), creates a presumption that a worker who performs services for a hirer is an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits arising under wage orders issued by the Industrial Welfare Commission. Existing law requires a 3-part test, commonly known as the ‘ABC’ test, to establish that a worker is an independent contractor for those purposes.”

The “ABC” test can be found under section 2 of the bill:

2750.3. (a) (1) For purposes of the provisions of this code and the Unemployment Insurance Code, and for the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission, a person providing labor or services for remuneration shall be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

(B) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

(C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

What is CoPTIC?

The Coalition of Practicing Translators & Interpreters of California (CoPTIC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit statewide organization that advocates for the independence, integrity, and equity concerns of language professionals throughout California and the communities they serve. They are a diverse network of hundreds of court, administrative hearing, and medical certified interpreters; conference and community interpreters; translation and interpretation educators; and certified translators. They are all practicing professionals throughout the state.

How does CoPTIC intend to win an exemption from AB5 for interpreters and translators?

The sustained, systematic effort by CoPTIC requires active involvement with the lawmakers who work for everyone. By taking informed, strategic action in each district and in Sacramento, all concerned professionals can make the policy process produce the results needed for the integrity of our professions, the survival of our operations, and benefit of the communities we serve.

How can you support CoPTIC?

1. Join CoPTIC to get involved in constituency-driven advocacy. They can put you in touch with the lawmakers who work for you. The plan to win depends on your involvement and your informed voice influencing our legislators.

2. Spread the word! Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and help keep others informed. If translators and interpreters do not get an exemption, the users of our services will also feel the impact of the new law.

3. Please consider a donation of any amount to support this effort. Because your contribution goes to support their strategic policy advocacy to protect the independence of our profession, it is not charitable or tax-deductible.

4. Take action! Communicate with and visit your lawmakers by following these steps.

Please note that I am writing this post in my capacity of president of the Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area (ATISDA). ATISDA became an affiliated group of the American Translators Association (ATA) in 2016. Since then, we have adhered to their policies and procedures and, as such, we share their ATA Position on AB 5 and Mandatory Employee Classification:

“ATA believes that California AB 5 improperly and unfairly classifies professional translators and interpreters as employees, when in fact, they are truly independent contractors by choice and work on a freelance basis with multiple clients by design. Without an exemption, this bill unduly lumps these independent professionals in with individual workers who have not made a deliberate choice to provide freelance services. The bill will also unintentionally restrict the provision of language services within the state, harming not only translators and interpreters, but the community as well. ATA strongly and urgently requests that a specific exemption be made for professional translators and interpreters.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me (Yolanda Secos) directly at

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Your Guide to Palm Springs for ATA60

Are you planning to attend the 60th annual American Translators Association (ATA) conference this month in Palm Springs? If you’ll be joining language professionals from across the country for ATA60, you’ll want to figure out some transportation and activities ahead of time.

That’s where your connection to ATISDA (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area) comes in handy.

Hoping to drive with other ATISDA members? If you’re interested in carpooling from San Diego to Palm Springs, please contact ATISDA President Yolanda Secos as soon as possible at

Interested in learning more about ATISDA and ATA Affiliated Groups and Chapters? Then check out the convention center lobby, where ATISDA will have its own display space, during the following hours:
Thursday, October 24: 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, October 25: 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, October 26: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Looking for someone to join you at conference offerings and on outings in Palm Springs? Check out the ATISDA WhatsApp group just for those ATISDA members who will be in the Palm Springs area for the conference. Please contact Yolanda Secos at to be added to the WhatsApp group.

Figuring out what to do during your down time at the conference? We’ve got you covered.

Daniel Salinero, our ATISDA member who lives closest to Palm Springs in nearby Indio, tells us all about the best places to check out in Palm Springs.

Daniel writes:

Palm Springs en breve

Originally, Palm Springs went by the name of “Se-Khi,” which means “boiling water” in Cahuilla, the language used by the Native American people of the inland areas of Southern California. The area that is now Palm Springs became a fashionable resort destination in the early 1900s when health tourists came with conditions that required dry heat. Palm Springs became popular with movie stars beginning in the 1930s and estate building expanded into the Movie Colony neighborhoods. Today, tourism is a major factor in the city’s economy with over 1.5 million visitors strolling Palm Canyon Drive and enjoying fabulous restaurants and vibrant night-life each year. In recent decades, the city has experienced a huge influx of Gay residents and Gay businesses. The LGBTQ population is now estimated at more than 50% of the annual resident population.


What to do in the Golf Capital of the World (besides golf)

Palm Springs has something for everyone, whether your thing is to lounge around the pool sipping strawberry-lemon mojitos, dance the night away in one of the city’s clubs or go after the “big one” in one of the 10 Palm Springs area casinos. Many of the city’s visitors make sure to take a stroll down Palm Canyon Drive during the day to visit the many art galleries, spas, salons, restaurants, coffee shops and boutique stores of every stripe.


To help you plan your stay here in the Coachella Valley, I’ve included some helpful links to get you started. I hope to see you all at ATA60!

Daniel Salinero


Art and culture (Music, museums, architecture, art galleries)

Outdoor adventures (Jeep safaris, hiking, biking, off-road rentals, hot-air ballooning)

Spas, beauty and wellness

The Living Desert (in nearby Palm Desert/Indian Wells)



LGBTQ (Clubs, lounges, bars)

Restaurants (18 “essential” restaurants of Palm Springs)

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (Ride comfortably in a rotating tram car from Palm Springs to Mountain Station at an elevation of 8,516 feet)


About Daniel Salinero

I’m a native of California and have happily called the desert my home since 1971 (except when I taught in international schools in Spain for 3 years and Thailand for 6 years.) I’m a public school teacher by day and a professional Spanish-English translator by night. I’m the owner of and a proud long-distance member of ATISDA. My family comes from Macotera, Salamanca, Spain. I’m a single father of two boys who I adopted when they were infants. They are now 17 and 12 years old. My boys and I live in Indio (of Coachella Music Festival fame) … just 23 miles away from Palm Springs. Now that my children are older, I can finally attend my first ATA conference. I hope to see you at the conference!


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Celebrate mothers this weekend!

Happy Mother’s Day from ATISDA! This Sunday, May 12, people all across the United States will celebrate those central woman who helped shaped their lives – their mothers.

This may be one of two special days you spend this year honoring mothers. Depending on your country of origin, you may also celebrate this holiday on another day of the year.

Celebrating mothers has worldwide appeal, and different countries have designated their own days for this. The dates and customs vary by country, but honoring mothers is at the heart of the holiday.

This weekend is doubly special if you celebrate both the Mexican and American Mother’s Day, because both take place within a few days of each other. Mexico celebrates on May 10 (Friday, May 10 this year), while the United States celebrates on the second Sunday of May (Sunday, May 12 this year).

Happy Mother’s Day to you, whether you are a mother with children of your own or have a mother you adore or you just know some pretty amazing mothers.

How will you celebrate Mother’s Day? Will you be reminiscing on fond family memories this weekend? Calling or visiting your mother? Spending time with your children? Enjoying lunch with fellow mothers?

However you celebrate, we at ATISDA wish you a very happy holiday this weekend.

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Happy International Translation Day 2018!

Translators and interpreters know that an exciting day is coming up. International Translation Day is September 30, and ATISDA looks forward to celebrating this weekend. Our president, Yolanda Secos, writes:

On May 24th, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly recognized September 30th as International Translation Day (ITD) to be celebrated every year across the entire UN network (Resolution A/RES/71/288). September 30th is the feast of Saint Jerome, who is best known as the translator of the Bible into Latin and is considered the patron saint of translators.

The Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area (ATISDA) will celebrate this occasion on Saturday, September 29th, 2018. Please find all the details here and visit to register for this event today!

We, translators and interpreters, have to deal with many difficult situations during our daily routine at hospitals, courts, schools, or wherever we are needed to perform our duties. We become the written and oral voice of many humans going through difficult circumstances, and all of it can take a toll on our minds and bodies. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day craziness and forget about taking care of ourselves. During the International Translation Day Celebration 2018, our dear colleague Emily Tell will present “Moving Closer to Wellness.” She will break down the concept of wellness into a few key components, which include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Yoga – Asanas
  • Self-care
  • Essential oils
Emily Surf

Emily Tell will present “Moving Closer to Wellness.” (Photo courtesy of Emily Tell)

In addition, to encourage you to take better care of yourself, we will enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet at The Broken Yolk Cafe in Carmel Mountain and will have the opportunity to win some wonderful prizes.


Celebrate with us at The Broken Yolk in Carmel Mountain! (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

This celebration is an opportunity to show pride in our profession by promoting it to others and educate the general public on the role and importance of translators and interpreters, but let’s also remind ourselves how important self-care is in order to continue thriving in the T&I fields.

We hope to see all of you on Saturday, September 29th, 2018!

Yolanda Secos
ATISDA President

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“Actually, That’s Not What I Do…” Educating the Public on Interpretation Versus Translation

You’re at a gathering with friends and family when the inevitable question comes up – “What do you do?”

If you are a translator, you have already foreseen the rest of this conversation before you even begin to respond. Once you reply that you do translation work, people will then ask if you translate for cases in the courtroom or would like to work as a UN translator someday.

While it is flattering to be grouped together with impressive United Nations language professionals, you know you have some kind of educating to do. You may begin with, “Actually, that’s not what I do…,” and then go into a gentle correction and explanation process of the difference between translation and interpretation.

Just so we are all clear, translation is the written transfer of ideas from one language to another, whereas interpretation is the oral transfer of content. (So if I have a German text and I write what it says in English, I’m translating from German to English. But if someone is speaking English and I report what the person is saying aloud to someone in Spanish, I am interpreting from English to Spanish.)

The abbreviated line I tend to use is something along the lines of “Translation is written and interpretation is spoken.” It’s a bit of an awkward position for both of us in the conversation – I don’t want to make the person feel embarrassed about not understanding the difference since many people do not, but I do want to explain what it is so that people understand.

So where is this confusion coming from? We hear the term “translator” used wrong all the time, in our downtime and in the workplace.

When a key suspect in a police TV show or movie starts speaking a foreign language, the cops inevitably shout to one another, “Will someone get a translator in here?” Then, when the interpreter shows up, they urgently instruct the interpreter to “translate what he’s saying for us.” (Obviously, that’s the plan.) All of this should really have been called “interpretation,” and so the misinformation spreads each time we hear the term misused in our favorite shows and movies.

But it doesn’t end in our free time when we’re watching TV. It’s part of our culture, so naturally, it is in our workplace vernacular, as well.

When you search on job sites using keywords like “translation” or “translator,” many­ – if not most – of the hits you get end up being postings for interpreter jobs incorrectly classified. You won’t necessarily know it until you’ve read through the job description to see what the job poster meant. Posts with phrases like “translate in parent-teacher conferences as needed” let you know this is not likely an assignment with a lot of writing (AKA translating) happening during these meetings, since conferences are spoken interactions.

Interestingly enough, I have never once come upon a translation job posting that was misidentified as being an interpreting job. But there have been plenty of interpreting jobs that were listed as translating positions or projects. Unfortunately, using keywords related to translation will turn up both translation and interpretation jobs.

Some people may say, “Does it really matter what people call what you do? Isn’t it enough for them to understand it in general?”

Some could argue that it doesn’t matter, but consider this: What if people routinely confused the terms “surgeon” and “doctor,” as in “This cold hasn’t gotten better. I should go see the surgeon.” It sounds kind of ridiculous, since we as a culture know that those are similar – and yet very different – jobs. Getting surgery for a bad cold seems like an extreme measure, no matter how sick you are.

The problem is that if people don’t even know what to call your job and are not even entirely sure what you do, how can they understand or respect it in its own right?

All of this simple confusion about the terms sometimes makes me wonder if it would be easier if we were starting from scratch in educating people about the true meanings of the words “interpret” and “translate.” It only takes a sentence to explain the difference, after all. It seems like this partial information and misinformation make our job of educating people on what we really do more difficult – but also more important.

Fellow translators and interpreters, do you have any friendly and brief ways to explain what you do, especially when people don’t quite understand your job? Let us know in the comments.

soldiers wth boxes enhanced cropped

Literal heavy lifting. That’s definitely not in our job descriptions.

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ATISDA: Who We Are and Why You Should Join Us

Maybe you have been considering membership in a professional organization for language professionals. Or maybe you are unsure about continuing your membership in one. Read on for an overview of who we are in ATISDA and why you should join our growing organization.

Who Are We?

ATISDA (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area) is a diverse organization of translation and interpretation professionals who work with a variety of languages. It is the only American Translators Association Affiliate organization in Southern California, and as such, draws members from throughout the region.

While many of our members live and work in San Diego, we also have members from across Southern California and even in different parts of the United States and the world. Whether you live in Riverside County, Ventura County or San Diego County, we’re happy to have you join our regional professional network.

Why Join ATISDA?

Here you can meet and learn from fellow translators and interpreters. Grow your business and make new connections at our networking events. Learn tricks of the trade at our professional development workshops. Reconnect with colleagues and friends at our holiday celebration events. Stay involved with ATISDA even from a distance by following our social media platforms (like this blog!).

Membership in a regional organization like ATISDA is an excellent value for your money and a great way to invest in yourself and your business. Fresh out of school and looking to learn more about the translation and interpretation profession? ATISDA is perfect for meeting established professionals with experience to share. A veteran language professional looking to add new services to your company or make some new contacts? Join us in ATISDA where we have members who specialize in various fields and offer diverse types of service through their companies.

We look forward to meeting you.