The world of American Sign Language

Dating back to the 1800s, American Sign Language (ASL) has been the main communication system for Deaf communities in the USA.

Historically connected with French Sign Language, ASL is used by hundreds of thousands of Americans. But although it is not universal, it is also present in different parts of the world : in addition to the US and Canada, ASL is used in some South American countries, a major part of Africa and a few Asian countries.

As in every other language, ASL users sometimes need interpreters when communicating with spoken language users, which is why Accent on Languages (AoL) has been offering ASL interpreting services for many years and has developed a solid relationship with the Deaf community.

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, or RID, is the professional organization which certifies ASL interpreters and transliterators. RID’s certification system and Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) ensure that certified ASL interpreters have and maintain skills and adhere to  professional ethics. Certified interpreters are required to earn continuing educations units as part of RID’s “Certification Maintenance Program” to continually maintain and improve their skills. Additionally, customers can file grievances with RID if there are any breaches of the Code of Professional Conduct.

Because we want to give the best service possible to the Deaf community, Accent on Languages provides RID-certified interpreters and transliterators and supports RID and interpreters for the Deaf by being an RID member.

 Sign language

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Accent on Languages regularly collaborates with the Department of Rehabilitation, a California state department that promotes equality, employment, and independent living for everyone through services and advocacy.

AoL stays involved in the Deaf community and has recently attended events organized by ASL interpreters. We have developed thorough business practices to give as much information as possible to interpreters in order to guarantee that all put client’s needs are met and to make their experience utmost comfortable.

The International Medical Interpreters Association Boot Camps are coming to Portland, OR.

You will find the dates, links, rates and descriptions communicated by IMIA web below.

Note: register by April 19, 2013 for Best Rates

May 4, 2013
8 Hour Exploring Complex Ethical Dilemmas Boot Camp

May 5, 2013
8 Hour Medical Terminology Boot Camp

IMIA Boot Camp Series Information:

IMIA Boot Camps in Portland, OR (flyer)
Please feel free post this flyer at your hospital or organization!

Register at:

Special IMIA Membership Promotion:

Discounted Membership/Renewal fee for those who opt to pay for an IMIA
membership (new or renewing) while also registering (and paying, if a
registration fee applies) for an IMIA event registration. Payment for
membership and registration must be made concurrently, while registering for the event, or up to a week after the event. Discounted fees are as

* $45 for 1 year (regularly $60) – a $15 savings
* $80 for 2 years (regularly $100) – a $20 savings
* $115 for 3 years (regularly $140) – a $25 savings

Also coming up in Portland, OR!
7th Annual National Medical Interpreter Certification Forum

May 3, 2013

How to avoid translation slips

What is the purpose of a translation?

Every company that evolves in a multilingual environment has to communicate in a foreign language. Whether you want to expand into new markets, reach other language populations, cultivate internal communication with your non-native English-speaker employees, or simply travel for business in a country with a language with which you’re not familiar, you will eventually need translation services. But it has to be done properly! Are you sending the right message to your target audience? Is your ad linguistically and culturally accurate? How do you make sure it sounds as good in other languages as it does in your own? To whom should you give the responsibility of translating your documents?

What’s the worst that can happen?

When you need to translate a name, a title, aSauted Vegetarians (blog) press release, a contract, a website or any other important document, remember your  company’s brand image is at stake and its future revenues depend on it. In a nutshell, you don’t want to make an error.

Translation mistakes are not only known to have happened, they’re so common that a number of websites, Facebook pages and even bloggers poke fun at them on a regular basis.

Some of these faux pas have even proved costly. Among the most famous embarrassing translation inaccuracies are a handful of slogans translated by large companies.

In 1987, American fast-food company KFC opened their first restaurant in Beijing translating their famous and, until then, successful slogan “Finger-lickin’ good” into “Eat your fingers off, creating an awkward reaction among its curious prospective customers.

When Parker Pens tried to translate its slogan from English to Spanish, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” became “No te embarazará chorreándose en tu bolsillo“, which literally means “It won’t leak in your pocket“.


Taihu Pearl (blog)


How do you avoid these pricey errors?

To ensure that your translations are accurate and flawless, entrust them to a professional language company. Language professionals are bilingual trained experts and, for the most part, specialize in one or several fields in which they are recognized for their skills.

Trusting a translation agency is the best way to get impeccable service. Better yet, you can discuss your ideas with a project manager and benefit from their experience.

Who do you approach for your language services?

What you really want is a company that can supply a good service in a timely manner. But there are other important attributes to keep in mind. Certifications are essential because they guarantee quality of service. Some organizations, such as ATA, give these certifications to companies that meet their quality requirements.

It is also important to consider your future needs. Your language service provider must be able to offer a variety of services to facilitate possible requests for different language-related business down the road.

The company’s former or current clients are a good indicator of what kind of firms decided to trust your potential supplier.

Remember: a translation service is also here to help you adapt your message to a foreign culture, which is why you should consider hiring a company which has a strong sense of ethics and with professional linguists on staff.


___ ___ ___


Accent on Languages, Inc. (AoL) provides translation, localization, interpretation, transcription, desktop publishing and many other services in over 120 languages. AoL is a member of several recognized organizations including the American Translators Association and California Healthcare Interpreting Association, and holds a GSA contract with the federal government.

The AoL team has over 25 years of experience in providing outstanding quality language services to national and international corporations, California local businesses, as well as federal agencies.

Take a look at testimonials from Accent on Languages’ clients.

IMIA Lifelong Learning Webinar: Medical Interpretation in the Emergency Room, 1/25/2013 at 12pmEST

 IMIA Lifelong Learning Webinar Series Presents:

Medical Interpretation in the Emergency Room
Friday, January 25, 2013
(9:00am Pacific / 11:00am Central / 12:00pm EST / 5:00pm GMT – Duration: 1.5 hours)

Medical Interpretation in the Emergency Room
You’ve seen the ER shows, and now you wonder if you could be a medical interpreter in the Emergency Room. How similar is it to the television drama? And how different can it be to other types of interpretations?

This presentation will review the basic culture of the emergency department, the rules that govern it, and how medical interpreters can their best in the ER environment. Topics such as, ethics in the ER, exposure and emotional resiliency will be discussed in hopes of preparing medical interpreters for the challenges and joys of this unique, fast-moving, sometimes stressful, but always fulfilling, branch of medicine.

Maria M. Rivera is a Certified Healthcare Interpreter with 10 years of experience in as a dedicated Emergency Medicine interpreter. She has also worked as a translator and translation project manager Previously María worked as a software translator and Mathematics teacher. She currently works for Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. Her articles in medical interpretation appear in; her most recent is titled “Invisibility vs. Transparency.” In her free time she cheers for the Green Bay Packers, likes to crochet, and writes medical thrillers. She hopes her most recent manuscript: Hospital Ghosts, Angels and Other Twisted Tales, will make it to publication within the next year.

View the flyer for this webinar:

How To Join This Webinar
IMIA Members: Free
Non Members: $50

IMIA Members will automatically receive log in information via email within the week prior to the event – pre-registration is not necessary.

Non-members must register (be sure to note the Webinar name/date in the payment description field; email address is required) and pay the $50 fee at:

An IMIA 1 year individual membership is just $60 and includes free attendance to all IMIA Lifelong Learning Webinars… Join now at:

For each 1.5 hour program in our IMIA Lifelong Learning Webinar Series, IMIA will credit 0.15 IMIA Interpreter CEUs to those who attend for the entire webinar session.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to be eligible to receive the Certificate of Attendance for 0.15 CEUs, you must:
1) Sign on to the webinar within 15 minutes after the beginning of the webinar and remain until the end of the presentation.
2) Register with your first and last name.
3) Attend the webinar by viewing the presentation while also connecting to the teleconference call (attending by teleconference only does not count as full attendance.)

Electronic certificates are not sent automatically – attendees must request one after the conclusion of the webinar at Please note it may take several days for you to receive your certificate after submitting your request.

For more information about the IMIA Lifelong Learning Webinar Series, please visit:

Questions may be directed to

Legal and Community Interpreting Program at Laney College-Open Enrollment for Spring Semester

Laney College in Oakland is now enrolling students in the Legal and Community Interpretation Program for Spring 2013. This program is designed for:

1) Spanish interpreters with limited experience, who are not certified and are interested in taking the California Court Certification Exam;
2) Highly-proficient bilingual (English-Spanish) professionals interested in furthering their professional language skills and seeking opportunities in the field of interpretation.

The six 3-unit courses in the program cover all the essential skills, knowledge and training that interpreters need in order to pass the California (Consortium) Exam for Court Interpreters:

1) Overview of the California Court System and State Law (POSCI 021)
2) Introduction to Spanish-Language Legal Interpretation (LCI 201)
3) Sight Translation (LCI 202)
4) Consecutive Interpretation (LCI 203)
5) Simultaneous Interpretation (LCI 204)
6) Preparation for the Legal Interpretation California State Exam (LCI 205)

Please see the attached flyer with a synopsis of each course. The following courses are being offered this Spring semester, which starts January 22nd, 2013:

  • Introduction to Spanish-Language Legal Interpretation
  • Sight Translation
  • Consecutive Interpretation.

All instructors in the Program have over 15 years of court-interpreting experience and are well established in the field of court interpretation.
To enroll in the program:

Go to or

Call (510) 466-7368 (admissions)

For more information about the program, interested individuals can also contact David Sweet-Cordero ( and Angela Zawadzki ( directly.

On behalf of Laney College, I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to distribute this information among interpreters or bilingual individuals who may be interested in furthering their professional training and development in the field of interpretation.

Many thanks for your consideration.

David Sweet Cordero
Legal and Community Interpreting Program

Laney College, Oakland