ATA and others advocating for fair and ethical AI in interpreting

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting
SAFE AI Meeting

The American Translators Association (ATA) is among a diverse group of members of the independent group Stakeholders Advocating for Fair and Ethical AI in Interpreting Task Force (SAFE-AI TF), which was created in June 2023. The SAFE-AI Task Force counts as members more than 50 representatives from groups such as interpreter and translator associations and certifying bodies for both spoken and signed languages, language services companies, technology vendors, health care and education organisations, regulatory and standards bodies, and academic researchers. This level of collaboration between language advocates in the hearing and Deaf communities and practitioners and industry representatives is a historic first and hopefully the first of many more such collaborations.

Dr Bill Rivers, past chair of FIT NA, chairs the task force, which includes advocates like Star Grieser, CEO of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID); Ludmila Golovine, CEO of language services company Masterword; and Andy Schwieter, Director of Language Access Services at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who points out that, “Eight percent of Americans use languages other than English when seeking health care. AI could improve their access to that care, but we must ensure it is used safely. Communication mistakes in health care can harm patients.”

The task force’s first major project, a two-part perception survey, has now been completed. The first part focused on AI-based spoken language and subtitle interpreting, while the second focused on AI-based signed language interpreting. At the stakeholder assembly meeting on 21 February 2024, attendees heard a preliminary summary of the results. The task force will publish a detailed, 350-page report covering over 9,400 data points on end-users, requesters, and providers of interpreting services and technology in the coming weeks.

For the most up-to-date information, visit

Alan Melby, Chair, FIT North America

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