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ALC Announces 2018–2019 Board of Directors

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 10, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rockville, MD (May 10, 2018) — The Association of Language Companies (ALC) appointed its new president, officers, and directors at the 2018 ALC Annual Conference, held in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 25–28, 2018.

ALC’s new president is Rick Antezana, partner, Dynamic Language. “It’s a huge honor to be part of the group setting the direction for a great association like the ALC over the next year,” Antezana said. 

“Having gotten to know the community since becoming a charter member 16 years ago, I am excited to team with this board to drive forward the initiatives we have planned. In particular, we’re looking for ways to bring more value to our members through educational programs that will help not only language company executives, but their staff members as well. We also want to establish deeper connections across the entire range of the industry, including with other organizations, vendors, and partners. Finally, we will be a leading force in helping to protect members of the entire U.S.-based language industry by helping to organize the effort to create clarity in the law and drive forward sensible legislation as it relates to Language Service Companies (LSCs) and Language Workers.”

The members of the 2018–2019 board of directors are as follows:

Rick Antezana, Dynamic Language – President
Susan Amarino, Liaison Multilingual Services, Inc. – Vice President
Gabriela Lemoine, Hispano Language Advisory – Secretary
Kathleen Diamond, Kathleen Diamond & Co. – Treasurer
Chris Carter, aLanguageBank – Immediate Past President
Lelani Craig, CommGap International Language Services – Director
Kevin McQuire, Atlas Language Services, Inc. – Director
Melissa Meyer, Barbier International, Inc. – Director
Bryan Montpetit, MontLingo Language Services, Inc. – Director
Shamus Sayed, Interpreters Unlimited – Director
Paul Tracy, Partners Interpreting – Director


ABOUT ALC
The Association of Language Companies (ALC) is a national trade association representing businesses that provide translation, interpretation, localization, language testing, and language training services in the United States. ALC promotes the professional stature and economic position of the language service industry in the United States through industry advocacy and professional development.

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Government Affairs May 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Monday, May 7, 2018

The 2018 ALC Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, was amazing, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to 2019 in Washington, D.C.! The Annual Conference and the UNConference present excellent opportunities to recharge, connect with peers in the industry, share best practices, and learn about how everyone is facing the latest challenges. Many thanks to all who attended the “Futureproofing” plenary and took the time to chat at the conference!

One of the perennial challenges facing our industry is the uneven and capricious auditing of independent contractors. While we are making progress at the national level to reduce the incentives provided by the Department of Labor to pursue misclassification issues and to establish consistent guidelines for compliance under the Unemployment Act, state governments continue to look at employee classification. In California, where many ALC members have prevailed in their appeals of misclassification audits, a recent court ruling threatens all of our progress. We’ve just started monitoring this development.

In Washington, D.C., we’ve had very productive meetings with the Department of Labor on a wide range of issues, including the methodology of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its prevailing wage determinations for our industry, the enforcement of the Service Contracting Act, and transitioning veterans into the language industry. We will provide updates as these initiatives move forward. We are still in the early days of the Trump administration, but as I said in Scottsdale, there’s a great deal of substantive support for the business world in D.C., and we will take every advantage of it.

Submitted by Bill Rivers, Ph.D., Executive Director Joint National Committee for Languages - National Council for Languages and International Studies

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ASTM May 2018 Update

Posted By Victor Hertz, Monday, May 7, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Now that my compatriots Kathleen Diamond, Bill Rivers, Susan Amarino et al have raised their glasses and toasted the official promulgation of our Standard Practice, we can take a moment to ask: What’s next?

Within ASTM I expect our subcommittee will focus on two of the largest verticals in the Language Service universe: Translation and Interpreting. Each of these will require a new Standard Practice.

“What is a Standard Practice?” you may be asking yourself. Briefly, a Standard Practice, as opposed to a Standard Guide, stipulates requirements that must be met in order to conform to the standard. A Guide, such as the extant translation Standard Guide F2575-14, is a less stringent protocol suggesting best practices. Only a Standard Practice can become the basis for certification by a third party.

Interestingly enough, this issue of Practice vs. Guide is arising in other subcommittees of the ASTM, such as F43.03. F43.03 is designated as the subcommittee for “Language Translation.” Our own subcommittee is F3.05, designated as the subcommittee for “Language Service Companies.” There is some sentiment within F43.03 that they should create a Standard Practice, which (in my opinion) would undercut our own efforts in F43.05. A similar rationale applies to the interpreting subcommittee, F43.01.

Without delving too deeply into the internal processes of the subcommittees, suffice it to say that there is some ambiguity in the responsibilities of the respective subcommittees.

Ideally (again, in my opinion), the other subcommittees should be focused on creating Standard Guides which describe best practices for their areas of expertise. The F43.05 subcommittee, by contrast, needs to create Standard Practice documents that will establish certification criteria.

Having laid out the rationale in the somewhat arcane language of the ASTM, what should go into a Standard Practice for, say, translation? That is the question. And in my next note I’ll address some of our current thinking.

Respectfully submitted,

Victor Hertz
President
Accredited Language Services

 

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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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