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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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ASTM--December Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

It’s the time of year for gift-giving, and so I present, in the spirit of the holidays, a gift which will keep on giving: the next (and I hope final) ASTM ballot on our language company foundation standard.

The voting on this last ballot of 2017 begins on December 13, so please be sure to participate.

This ballot, as I mentioned in my November note, focuses on outstanding negative votes. The F43 drafting committee has reviewed and responded to the feedback provided by voting members. Now, per ASTM procedure, those responses must be ratified by voting members via ballot.

In effect the three remaining negatives need to be found Non-Persuasive.

Read the ballot carefully and the well-reasoned responses of the drafting committee and then cast your vote (if you agree with me) to find the negative comments Non-Persuasive.

A brief note on voting, since some of the terminology in use can be confusing: Please be aware that if you do find the comments Non-Persuasive, you should cast an Affirmative vote. A Negative vote denotes agreement with the dissenting arguments. In other words, Affirmative votes will move the standard toward publication, whereas Negative votes will not.

Once we pass this stage of voting, the standard can be adopted in full, just in time for 2018. I am excited by the prospect of officially publishing the standard (at long last!), and encouraged by the thoughtful discourse and suggestions offered by many of you.

Your contributions have been invaluable throughout this process.

I appreciate your continued support.

On a related note, I’d like to invite you to attend the ALC UnConference in Amelia Island, Florida! We will be holding an ASTM meeting on January 25, 2018 from 1pm to 5pm (Eastern time).

If you can’t make the meeting in person you can access the proceedings remotely via WebEx or Zoom.

Of course, if you have any questions regarding your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, I encourage you to get in touch with me by email at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and a Happy New Year!

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

 

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Government Affairs November Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

With fall in the air in Washington, D.C., our thoughts turn (naturally) to lobbying. On October 25, the American Translators Association (ATA) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) held the first-ever Translation Advocacy Day. Fifty delegates went to more than 75 meetings on Capitol Hill, to argue for better federal contracting policies, improvements to the prevailing wage calculations made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and clear federal guidance on the use of raw machine translation in language access. The position papers prepared by JNCL-NCLIS are posted to the ATA website:

With regard to federal contracting, we are supporting efforts to restrict the Department of Defense's use of lowest-price, technically acceptable, and reverse auctions in the procurement of professional services, including language services. A section was added to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to that effect (read about it here), and it will be strengthened in 2018.

On the employee classification front, we still await Senate confirmation of Cheryl Stanton as the director of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Our collective state-level messaging and the hard grassroots work being done by a great many ALC member companies across the country will feed into this effort.

Finally, as always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. I look forward to seeing you at the UNConference in Amelia Island!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS

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ASTM--November Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that 2017 has simply flown by. And, though it may seem hard to believe, November is well underway, with the holiday season just around the corner.

But, before we can break out the turkey (to say nothing of the holly and mistletoe), ALC must take part in observing another November rite of passage: heading to the polls.

And what an election season it’s been! I’m of course referring to the ASTM ballot on new standards for language companies. As of today, we have passed the second of our three hurdles to adopting the new standard, but we have one more ballot to go.

First, the very good news: on the recent ballot, we received more than 60% participation of all eligible voters—in fact, we hit a high water mark of 84.62% participation in our subcommittee and 75.51% in the full committee. More importantly, we achieved the required 90% affirmative voting totals for both groups, with 95.23% affirmative in the subcommittee and 93.75% in the main committee. Congratulations to all my friends in ALC for a job well done!

Now we face a new (and no less important) third ballot regarding four outstanding negative votes. As you may know, ASTM’s procedures require these negative responses be found Non-Persuasive or to be withdrawn for us to adopt the standard. Once this vote succeeds, the standard may—after six years and counting—become a vehicle for enhancing professionalism in our industry.

If and when you receive notification of the new ballot, please consider voting to find the negative comments Non-Persuasive.

Meanwhile, I draw your attention to a second ballot and ask you to support three of our very own ALC members, Kathleen Diamond, Steve Lank, and Bryan Montpetit, for the Executive Committee of ASTM F43.  

The ballot will be open and accepting votes on the web until Tuesday  November 22, 2017. Please review the ballot sent directly to you and submit your vote before the closing date. We are not able to provide a link for this ballot because each link is personalized to your account.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, please feel free to reach out to me by email at vhertz@legallanguage.com.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m looking forward to joining you all in taking major steps forward as we move into 2018.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor

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Government Affairs October Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

JNCL-NCLIS extends its sympathy and concern to all of the people of Puerto Rico, and to those in Northern California affected by the wildfires there.

In news of the Department of Labor, the President’s nominee to lead the Wage and Hour Division, Cheryl Stanton, had a brief nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on October 4. View her prepared testimony. In her short remarks, she notes the role that the recession played in sending many state unemployment programs into debt. In conversations with colleagues in partner organizations in the business advocacy community, Ms. Stanton’s nomination is viewed favorably; she is seen as knowledgeable, experienced, and fair towards businesses and workers. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, to lead the Wage and Hour Division at the US Department of Labor.

As you’ve a seen in the media, the Congress and the White House must pass a number of critical bills before the end of the year. Funding for the remainder of 2018, an extension to the debt limit, among other items, will occupy Congress’ attention for the coming months. We will be advocating for our programs in the appropriations process, as well as pushing national solutions to the 1099-W2 issue. I expect that effort will gain momentum once Ms. Stanton is confirmed.

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers
Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS

 

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ASTM--October Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

A funny thing happened on the way to the standard.

Granted, that title would never make it on Broadway. It does, however, illustrate the sometimes-circuitous nature of ushering a standard through the approval process. Frustrating though the process can be, it is amusing (in hindsight) to note that the re-balloting was necessary for several reasons. Chief among these is the discovery that the ballot published had as its base a draft written almost three years ago--a draft which did not incorporate many of the changes made as a result of stakeholder feedback. I have no idea how this happened, but such are the mysteries of bureaucracy.
 
The new ballot (Draft 32, if you are keeping score at home) has been updated to incorporate a number of critical changes that, I hope you'll agree, are major improvements compared to the previously-balloted measure.

The ballot will make its debut on the ASTM website October 12, and I urge all members of ALC to vote in favor of adoption. If you have any questions as to your eligibility and/or details of the ballot, please feel free to reach out to me by email at vhertz@accreditedlanguage.com.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

 

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ASTM--September Missive

Posted By Victor Hertz, Thursday, August 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To my esteemed colleagues:

As Labor Day approaches here in the United States, our labors in bringing professional standards to our industry are still not complete. After considerable time and effort, it is the conclusion of the ASTM drafting committee that the Standard for companies will be slightly revised and will again be going to ballot after this Monday’s holiday.

As the ASTM editorial board has not accepted the changes that we previously attempted to make as acceptable within the parameters of a second ballot, we must return to a first-ballot standard. This means, in effect, that we require a 90% vote in favor or abstaining in order to pass the Standard to the next stage. Although the changes that we’ve instituted are relatively small, they do satisfy the concerns of a number of key players in the process, and in my personal opinion do represent improvements in the language of the document. I would urge you to respond positively to the upcoming ballot if you are a voting member of the ASTM. Proximate to the date when this ballot is launched I will, as a matter of courtesy, ask ALC to send an alert to each of you as a further reminder.

Meanwhile, wishing all our colleagues in Texas and Louisiana a speedy recovery from the catastrophic flooding that has inundated that part of the country, and hoping that everyone has a festive and safe Labor Day holiday.

Regards,

Victor Hertz

President

Accredited Language Services

 

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