Raised in suburban Philadelphia, Joe Mazza began his language training at the knees of family members from Italy and Poland who had passed through Ellis Island in the early 20th Century.  He graduated from Central Bucks High School East (1979), where he studied French, Spanish, and Russian.  He earned a BA in International Relations from George Washington University (1984), completing studies in Chinese.  He joined the US Navy’s Translation Unit (1984), working in Slavic and Romance languages, including Italian and Portuguese.  Mr. Mazza joined the State Department’s Office of Language Services (LS) in 1989 as a translator of Romance languages.  During the 1990s, he studied Arabic at night school.  Key assignments at the State Department included work in Geneva on the 6-language Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and onsite translation support at Summits of the Americas in Miami and Santiago, Chile.   In 2006 he became Chief of LS’s Translating Division, with responsibility for most State Department translations.  Mr. Mazza has worked to build a top-notch corps of translation project managers at LS, including teams versed in Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools and multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP).  He also streamlined efforts to translate annual State Department publications, such as the Human Rights Reports.  He has worked with the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) to develop the ASTM Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation and the ILR Skill Level Descriptions for Translation Performance.  He has spoken at every ATA annual conference since 2006, and published articles in the ATA Chronicle and the ATA’s Savvy Newcomer blog.  Mr. Mazza taught ESL at a community school (1993-2003), and returned to teaching (2015) as an instructor of Spanish/English translation with the University of Maryland’s Graduate Studies in Interpretation and Translation (GSIT) program.  Since 2016, Mr. Mazza has served as Administrator of the ATA’s Government Division.


Pitfalls and Perils in Diplomatic Translation:  Who Knew Stodgy Could Be So Much Fun?

The State Department’s Office of Language Services (LS) carries on a tradition of service to the nation in diplomatic translation that dates back to 1781.  This interactive and at times humorous talk by LS’s Chief Translator will examine the document types and terminology encountered in this exciting genre of translation and will explore the history of diplomatic translation from antiquity to the present.  Career paths and recruitment needs will also be focal points.  The talk is designed to appeal to colleagues at all stages in their careers, working in any language pair.