The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - 23

individuals. NLSC then contacts eligible
members to verify their interest and
availability. If a member agrees to
participate in a mission, an NLSC mission
support liaison will provide one-on-one
assistance to the member before, during,
and after the assignment. When NLSC
members support government agencies,
they're hired as temporary experts and
consultants in the excepted service.
Members receive a small honorarium.
Assignments typically range from one
day to two weeks but occasionally may
be longer. Members can accept or decline
opportunities based upon their interest
and availability. Declining to participate
in an assignment does not negatively
impact a member's standing or access to
future opportunities.
So, what's it like to be an NLSC
volunteer? To learn more, I interviewed
three ATA members who actively
participate in NLSC. I asked them
how they learned about NLSC, what
motivated them to volunteer, what
services they provided, and what
recommendations they have for
individuals considering contributing
their linguistic and cultural expertise.

SUSAN DIX-BARBOZA
Susan Dix-Barboza, an
ATA member since 1999,
joined NLSC in 2012.
As a certified Portuguese
court interpreter in
Florida, Susan was recruited by NLSC
at a time when she was also approached
for employment by several commercial
language services providers. She attributes
her interest in NLSC as being less about
potential remuneration for her expertise
and more about helping the U.S. fulfill
language-related commitments.
For NLSC, Susan served the DoD's U.S.
Southern Command as an interpreter
during engagements with Latin American
officials. She describes this experience as
an exciting opportunity " to take a step out
of the box " and apply the simultaneous
interpreting skills and professional
etiquette she developed in her 20-year
experience as a court interpreter in
an entirely new venue. Susan says she
was challenged by certain technical
terminology and the intellectual style of
www.atanet.org

The National Language Service
Corps has matured into an
organization of nearly 11,000 highly
skilled civilian volunteers who
may be called upon to support the
federal government by providing
advanced linguistic expertise.

interactions within a military setting. She
prepared for her mission support role by
collaborating with her NLSC counterparts
via video conferences and researching
videos, literature, and instructions before
the assignment.
In a previous assignment, Susan teamed
up with other NLSC members to develop
Portuguese learning materials for highlevel officials on various national security
topics, the content of which involved voice
broadcasts, transcriptions, vocabulary list
development, and translations. She was
able to work from home full-time for the
duration of the project.
Susan recommends NLSC membership
for individuals who enjoy new and
unusual assignments. She adds that NLSC
missions frequently present challenges
that require task research and preparation,
which her NLSC support team helped her
carry out.

HUA (BARBARA)
ROBINSON
Hua (Barbara) Robinson,
an ATA member since
2007, joined NLSC in
2011. As a member of the
Northwest Translators and Interpreters
Society, an ATA chapter, Barbara was
recruited by NLSC based on her
substantial capabilities and experience
as a freelance interpreter and translator
in Chinese. As an immigrant to the
U.S., Barbara says she was attracted to
NLSC by the opportunity to support the
country. She was also interested in the
career-broadening potential and flexibility
to provide varied language services as a
member of NLSC.

For NLSC, Barbara has engaged in
translation projects on behalf of DoD
organizations that often require research
and familiarity with the concepts and
terminology of technical domains. She
also served as a member of the " on-call "
staff supporting the Federal Emergency
Management Agency COVID-19 hotline,
where she provided Chinese interpreting
services for medical screening and testing
related to the pandemic.
Barbara recommends NLSC membership
for individuals who have " the volunteer
spirit. " She adds that potential volunteers
should evaluate if and how active
participation in NLSC can contribute to
their professional development expectations
and career aspirations to determine whether
membership is " a good fit. "

LILI SELDEN
Lili Selden, who became
an ATA member this year,
was recruited by NLSC in
2019 while a member of
the National Association
of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
Lili is a credentialed court interpreter in
Japanese for several jurisdictions in the
eastern U.S. She has also been a translator
for many years. Lili says she was intrigued
by the " unconventional " aspects of
NLSC, including the opportunity to meet
the urgent needs of Japanese-speaking
communities during natural disasters.
As a former contract linguist at the U.S.
Department of Justice who subsequently
taught introductory interpreting courses
to federal employees and military
personnel, she also looks forward to
opportunities to work with dedicated
public servants and security personnel on
critical missions.
For NLSC, Lili traveled to Guam in
February 2020 to provide interpreting,
translation, and cultural services for
trilateral humanitarian assistance/disaster
relief exercises involving military air
forces from the U.S., Australia, and Japan.
While serving alongside deployed forces
in Guam, Lili engaged with both senior
staff members and younger troops as an
integral part of a military exercise team that
featured blended cross-cultural integration.
She provided full translations of exercise
documentation and supported operational
American Translators Association

23


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The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020

Contents
The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - Cover1
The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - 2
The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - Contents
The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - 4
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The ATA Chronicle - November/December 2020 - Cover4
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