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Government Affairs April 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

 

As spring slowly appears in the DC area—it was 35 °F the morning of April 10—we have a big development to report. Thanks to the tireless work of ALC's members who have attended Language Advocacy Days in 2017 and 2018, as well as the many companies that supported the work of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies through membership, contributions, and messages to Congress, we now have a robust bill in the House of Representatives; HR 3019, the “Promoting Value Based Procurement Act.” Sponsored by Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Don Beyer (D-VA), this bill would significantly restrict the federal government’s ability to use methods other than best value for the procurement of professional services. We’ve had success in the past two years with regard to the Congress requiring the Department of Defense to use Best Value procurement procedures for the acquisition of professional services; this bill would extend this to the entire government. Reverse auctions, lowest price technically acceptable, and other procurement approaches that we find wholly inappropriate would be banned under most circumstances. A special thanks goes to our Virginia delegates, including Barry Slaughter Olsen of Interpret America, Kathleen Diamond, and Giovanni Donatelli, for their engagement with Rep. Boyer’s office. The bill has passed the Government Affairs and Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives, and we are actively working with the offices of the Republican leadership to move this bill to the floor of the House.

We only have two weeks before ALC's Annual Conference in Scottsdale! I’m looking forward to talking with many of you at the conference as well as welcoming warmer climates!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers

 

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ASTM April 2018 Update

Posted By Victor Hertz, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

As I mentioned in last month’s ALC Update, the Language Service Company (LSC) standard has officially passed, and we must now look to the future.

In particular, our next round of standards will deal with the specific requirements for different deliverables, including, but not limited to translation, interpreting, transcription, voice overs, subtitles, language assessment and training.

To that end, there will be an ASTM meeting during the upcoming ALC Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. That meeting will take place on April 25, 2018, from 1:00 pm–5:00 pm in the Alhambra 2 room.

Meanwhile, I want to take this opportunity to share my personal view on what we're trying to accomplish, both with this standard and the ones that are forthcoming.

For far too long, clients both in private industry and government (both within the United States and abroad) have stipulated that quality begins and ends with the certification of individual linguists. This trend shows no sign of abating, and has significant consequences for our industry and for LSCs in particular. We need to put forward the proposition that LSCs, which are held responsible and even liable for the services that are delivered, occupy the central role as the gatekeepers of quality among our clients.

To accomplish this, it’s imperative that LSCs be able to “prove” their competence and value-added expertise.

The standard recently passed, and the new standards yet to be written will provide the underpinnings for us to prove to our current and prospective clients that the quality they seek begins and ends with certified LSCs.

We've successfully put in place what I’ve dubbed “The Foundation Document” for this return to sanity, but much more still needs to be done. In particular, I'm looking for one or two volunteers to help me prepare an industrywide survey to aggregate information that would assist us in the next phase of creating and promulgating recognized standards for LSCs. If you're interested, please contact me at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Respectfully submitted,
 
Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

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ASTM March 2018 Update

Posted By Victor Hertz, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

At long last, the Language Service Companies standard has officially passed!

This document will be the foundation for our subsequent work in the realm of standards for the language services industry. And, while we certainly have plenty to celebrate in the passing of this industry standard, we must not rest on our laurels.

The next phase will focus on additional standards for the specific language services that make up our industry: Translation, Interpreting, Transcription, Voice Overs, Subtitles, Language Assessment & Training, among others.

These individual standards will help to professionalize our industry by providing specific guidance unique to each service. In addition, these standards will allow us to address some of the feedback received during the drafting of the foundation document.

With that in mind, I want to issue a call for volunteers to help build the “walls” upon our “foundation” document.

If you would like to be involved with the drafting of a standard that coincides with your expertise, please email me at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Respectfully submitted,
 

Victor Hertz

President

Accredited Language Services

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Government Affairs March 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Monday, March 19, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Go ALC! It’s almost spring here in Washington, D.C., and as I write, we expect snow tonight. In other words, it’s time to think about ALC's Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May!

As we continue to follow up from Language Advocacy Days 2018 last month, we continue to emphasize the need to reform contracting for language services, and to address the data collection methods of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We will update on these issues as new developments arise, but our message is positively received and well understood on Capitol Hill.

Unfortunately, the larger political dramas in Washington, D.C., have stalled the nomination of Cheryl Stanton as head of the Wage and Hour Division, and have limited the bandwidth of our colleagues on Capitol Hill. Once Ms. Stanton is in place, we will continue our efforts to develop a clear path to compliance on employee classification under the Unemployment Act.

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers

 

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ASTM February 2018 Update

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Another UNConference is officially “un-done,” and I’m glad I got the chance to meet with some of you to discuss the state of our industry. And for those I missed, I hope to see you in the future!

In related news, the ASTM ballot for the “foundation” standard for the language service industry has passed the second vote in the F-45 Committee. At this time, the standard is undergoing formal review by ASTM to ensure compliance with rules and procedures prior to official adoption. As this final stage is somewhat pro forma, it’s not too soon for us to consider next steps.

I would also like to once again offer my sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the voting process, and I hope you continue to support our efforts as we move forward.

I anticipate the next phase of the process will be to build on our foundation by adopting particular standards pertinent to specialized language services, including, but not limited to, Translation, Interpreting, Transcription, Voice-overs, Subtitles, Language Assessment, and Training.

Each of these service areas would benefit from a standard addressing the factors that make them unique.

To that end, I’d like to wrap up this month’s missive by conducting an informal survey to help focus our efforts going forward. I invite you to email me with responses to the following questions:

  1. Which of these seven service areas are you most interested in? (Translation, Interpreting, Transcription, Voice Overs, Subtitles, Language Assessment, Training)
  2. Are there other service areas that warrant their own standard? Please list them, along with a brief rationale for their inclusion.
  3. Are you interested in contributing to the drafting committee(s)? If so, in which service area(s) do you have expertise?

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

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Government Affairs February 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Go ALC! The UNConference at Amelia Island was amazing, especially given that we had to move the meeting from Puerto Rico to Florida. Despite the windy and chilly weather, great learning and networking occurred. Having been to every UNConference, and having talked with many of you at these events, I can attest to the value of learning from each other. The ALC UNConference is truly extraordinary.

Whenever called upon at Amelia Island, I talked about Language Advocacy Day—the annual meeting and “fly-in” for the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Language Council. Well, we’ve just completed Language Advocacy Day, with more than 125 delegates representing 33 states and the District of Columbia, and attending more than 180 meetings on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch.

We focused on the priorities linked below:

With regard to the issue of lowest-price technically acceptable bids on federal contracts for language services, our foundational message to Congress was, is, and ever will be that language services are fundamentally a professional service, not a commodity. Last week, our 125+ advocates, representing the language industry, K–12 education, higher education, and practitioners, took this message to Congress, pressing that language services be procured as professional services by the federal government through use of the tradeoff (i.e., best value) model. Reports from the meetings on Capitol Hill were uniformly positive—this issue resonates on the Hill. The National Language Council will continue raising this issue with the General Services Administration and Congress as we push to extend the requirement to use the tradeoff model beyond the Department of Defense.

Of course, we continue to work on employee classification, fair audits of the Service Contracting Act, and the errant methodology of the Bureau of Labor Statistics—key issues in federal contracting and regulation that impinge on our industry. The work done this week by our delegates in talking about our industry and its importance to national security, economic growth, and social justice—and in linking the “work” side of language to the “learn” side—bolsters our case and strengthens the relations our industry needs on Capitol Hill. So, a huge thank you to all who participated last week!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers

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Government Affairs January 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Colleagues,

The closing days of 2017 saw the passage of a monumental tax reform law. Predictions of the law’s impact on the overall economy are mixed. With respect to conditions specific to our industry, the bill repeals the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. However, the remainder of the ACA, including the regulations requiring equal access to health care (45 CFR 92), remain intact. We will monitor this closely.

And a final reminder —Language Advocacy Days, will be held February 15-16, at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill. We will continue to press our case for improvements in the following areas:

  • Inaccuracies in Prevailing Wages Rate Determinations for Translators and Interpreters
  • Machine Translation vs. Human Translation
  • Language Services Procurement: The Need for the Best Value Approach

As always, let us know what issues you face and how we might help!

Bill Rivers
Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS

 

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ASTM--January 2018 Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that 2017 has already come to a close. With that said, and in the spirit of the holiday, I look forward to a happy and prosperous 2018 for all of us.

Before we focus on the new year, however, I want to remind everyone of some “old business:” the ASTM ballot for the language service industry’s foundation document is currently up for a vote.

As you may recall, the aim of this ballot is to find the remaining negative comments to be Non-Persuasive. If you are a member of ASTM, please be sure to cast your vote. Keep in mind that if you do find the comments Non-Persuasive, you should cast an Affirmative vote. In other words, Affirmative votes will move the standard toward final adoption. (Hint: I voted in the affirmative.)

It is my sincere hope that we will pass our new standard (7 years and counting!) as a kick-off to the new year. Let’s start 2018 on an uplifting vote.

And, speaking of the new year, January is the month where we gather for the justifiably celebrated ALC UNConference. This year, we'll be rallying at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Florida, with an ASTM meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 25 at 1:00 pm. I look forward to seeing you in person, and reviewing our progress on standards to date. I also hope we can discuss what new standards we want to promulgate in order to build upon our foundation document.

As always, I thank you all for your support throughout this ballot process.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year, and, most especially, good health.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services





 

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ALC is a signatory to the Bridging America's Language Gap Call to Action letter

Posted By Kathleen Diamond, Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I am proud to announce that ALC is a signatory to the Bridging America's Language Gap Call to Action letter. This document will be signed by hundreds of organizations across the country and presented to Congress. More information will follow. For this update I just want our members to know that ALC and some of our companies will be represented.

Read the letter.

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Government Affairs December Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Friday, December 8, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As the holiday season approaches, we await final confirmation of Cheryl Stanton as the Director of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. We are also tracking the tax reform bill, although its impact on our industry is at present unclear; the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

We’re also getting ready for Language Advocacy Days, February 15-16 at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill: https://languagepolicy.org/language-advocacy-day-2018/. Join more than 150 language advocates as we make the case for the Language Enterprise! In February, we will continue to press our case for improvements in the following areas:

As always, let us know what issues you face, and how we might help!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
 

William P. Rivers, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Language and International Studies

 

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