Marybeth Timmermann Wins 2016–2017 ATA School Outreach Contest


Marybeth Timmermann, an ATA-certified French>English translator based in Greenville, Illinois, won a free registration to ATA’s 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC (October 25–28) through ATA’s School Outreach Contest.

Marybeth won the contest for the photo taken during her visit to Greenville High School, where she spoke to juniors and seniors in the advanced Spanish class. In the Midwestern community where she lives, knowing a foreign language is not always valued. “It’s simply not seen as a necessary or very useful skill,” Marybeth says. She wanted to show students that languages offer viable career options and point out how important languages are in today’s professional world all over the globe.

Marybeth’s winning photo was taken after a hands-on activity with students. After an introduction to the concept of translation and the singularities of the English and Spanish languages, she asked students to think of examples of non-literal translations and write them down on index cards. Marybeth says that “many of the students came up with excellent examples.” From the smiling faces in the photo, we can tell that the students were very pleased with their results.

Marybeth was very excited to attend the conference in Washington, DC, her first ATA conference in many years.

“We’re thrilled to give this award to Ms. Timmermann to honor her effort in reaching out to students to educate them about promising careers in translation and interpreting,” says ATA President David Rumsey. “Her winning entry is a fitting testament to the lasting success of ATA’s School Outreach Program.”

For more than 12 years, the program has been raising awareness of the role that translators and interpreters play in business, government, and society at large. With several sources predicting major growth in the demand for professional translators and interpreters, this program continues to build awareness of careers in the language industry. As our world becomes more integrated globally, businesses and governments are realizing the importance of using skilled professional translators or interpreters to communicate their message effectively and successfully to global audiences, avoiding potentially costly and embarrassing mistakes.

ATA launched the School Outreach Program in 2004 to educate students about translation and interpreting and to interest them in these rewarding career fields. Through the program, professional linguists speak to students at all levels, highlighting the career benefits of learning another language and the increasing potential for exciting work with foreign-language skills. Using a variety of model presentations and activities available on ATA’s website, presenters outline the requirements for becoming a professional translator or interpreter, emphasizing that these careers demand far more than simply being bilingual.

“By visiting classrooms through the School Outreach Program, translators and interpreters share valuable information not only with the next generation of linguists, but also the next generation of language services clients,” says Meghan McCallum, coordinator of the School Outreach Program. “Our program focuses on educating the public about these exciting career paths and their wide range of applications around the world.”

To receive this award, participants must belong to ATA or an ATA chapter or an ATA-affiliated organization and must deliver a presentation at a school of their choice. Entrants must also submit photos of themselves presenting in the classroom. To learn more about the ATA’s School Outreach Program, visit

The 2017–2018 School Outreach Contest is now open! The winner will receive a free registration to
ATA’s 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana October 24–27, 2018. For more information, visit


Birgit Vosseler-Brehmer is an ATA-certified English<>German freelance translator based in Andernach, Germany, specializing in technical and business management translations. She is a member of ATA’s School Outreach team. Contact:

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