ATA 2022 Elections: Candidate Statements

ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at the upcoming ATA 63rd Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California (October 12-15, 2022) to elect four directors (three vacancies, each for a three-year term, and one director for a one-year term). The Annual Meeting of Voting Members and Election will be held October 13, 2022.


 

Director | Three-Year Term
Yasmin Alkashef, CT
Yasmin_alkashef@thelanguagesmith.com

It’s an honor to be nominated to run for ATA’s Board of Directors. It would be a privilege to serve ATA members in this capacity.

I’m an ATA-certified Arabic>English translator, a certified court interpreter, and a conference interpreter. Originally from Cairo, Egypt, I have an MA and PhD in translation and interpreting studies from Ain Shams University. I worked in academia and as a conference interpreter for over 10 years in the Middle East until my family moved to the U.S. in 2015.

Faced with the challenge of market access, I thought the gateway to the U.S. market started with ATA, and I was right. Upon passing ATA’s certification exam, clients started finding me through ATA’s Directory. I’m grateful for all the opportunities and support ATA has offered me as a freelance translator and interpreter.

Over the past few years, I’ve volunteered for ATA in several capacities. I’m a member of the Interpreters Division (ID) Leadership Council, where I help organize Interpreter Connections—a bimonthly casual meetup in which ID members discuss topics of interest to interpreters in all specialties.

I serve as assistant administrator of the Arabic Language Division (2021-2023), where I actively engage with ALD colleagues to offer support and resources to members. I helped organize online events for members and started an ATA certification exam study group. I also proposed and helped organize the first ALD Arabic interpreting scenarios contest, an initiative aimed at addressing the scarcity of training material for Arabic interpreters.

This year I became a member of ATA’s Professional Development Committee, where I help co-host ATA webinars and other continuing professional development opportunities. In all these capacities, I’ve enjoyed learning from working with excellent colleagues. I’ve also leveraged my background and experience in the U.S. and abroad to add value to discussions and initiatives. I would love to bring this perspective to ATA’s Board.

As an adjunct faculty at New York University and the University of Massachusetts, I know that high-quality training is crucial for professionals—experts and beginners alike. That’s why in 2020 I started the Arabic court interpreter practice group—a safe space in which interpreters meet to practice and exchange feedback. It has been a successful initiative that has attracted many interpreters. If elected, I would like to work on increasing similar meaningful opportunities for training and professional development.

If I become a member of the Board and a representative for ATA members, I would like to see our organization forge ahead building on our passion for the profession, eagerness to volunteer, and current ATA strengths. I would like to work on increasing awareness of the profession via targeted outreach activities and advocacy, growing the membership through public relations initiatives, and offering members a real return on their investment through the visibility, networking, and professional development opportunities ATA provides as a community of practice. I would be honored to get your vote and represent you on ATA’s Board.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Andy Benzo, CT
andy@andybenzo.com

I’m honored to accept the nomination of my colleagues as a candidate for ATA’s Board.

I’ve been working as a freelance translator specializing in legal and commercial translation for over 30 years. I’ve been an ATA member for the past 23 years and became ATA-certified (English>Spanish) in 2011.

In my native Argentina, I earned a translation degree and became licensed as a technical-scientific and literary translator. I also earned a law degree and was a practicing attorney there. Working in both professions provided a unique perspective on international recognition in these fields. In Argentina, as in many other countries, translators are licensed specialists who enjoy the same respect accorded to other licensed professionals.

At the University of California, San Diego Extension, I taught legal and business translation, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, and an introduction to translation and interpreting course for six years. I continue to fulfill my passion for teaching as a frequent presenter at ATA Annual Conferences and other national and international conferences.

My leadership experience includes being one of the founders of the Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area (ATISDA), an ATA affiliate, and serving as its first president (2008-2013). At the time it was founded, ATISDA became the only translators’ association in Southern California. We collaborated on the 2010 ATA Spanish Language Division (SPD) San Diego mid-year conference and volunteered as the 2012 local hospitality group for ATA53 in San Diego. I’ve served as chair of the Bylaws Committee for the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and currently serve as Spanish legal advisor to the Research Institute of U.S. Spanish.

I was elected assistant administrator of the SPD in 2020. I also chair the SPD Podcast Committee, host our popular Charlas de café podcast, and am a member of SPD’s Professional Development Committee.

I’ll bring my leadership and teaching experience to ATA’s Board and look forward to collaborating with the other Board members. If elected, I’ll focus on these priorities:

  1. Providing more content-based training in specialized language issues to improve the knowledge and expertise of translators and interpreters. This will enhance the value of ATA membership and attract new members. To remain relevant, we must be experts.
  1. Continuing efforts to actively educate our members on professional standards promulgated by international organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization and ASTM International, to enhance our position and relevance against global and non-human competition.
  1. Increasing collaboration and communication among divisions, their administrators, and assistant administrators. Fostering relationships and networking will improve our ability to address many common concerns.
  1. Offering more opportunities for members to serve in ATA leadership roles to facilitate the inclusion of diverse perspectives and experiences.

I’ll continue to engage with and learn from colleagues, and I welcome hearing from you about your vision for ATA and any concerns. Thank you for your consideration. I would be honored to have your support and vote.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Robin Bonthrone, CT
rb@robinbonthrone.com

I very much appreciate this opportunity to continue serving on ATA’s Board of Directors, which I joined in 2021. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with an outstanding group of hardworking colleagues. Serving as a Board member gives you the chance to be involved in shaping future short- and long-term policy, and this is surely one of the most rewarding aspects of being an ATA director. I very much look forward to continuing this work if you re-elect me.

My first contact with ATA was in 1997, when I attended the Annual Conference in San Francisco. I gave my first ATA conference presentation (on the language of German accounting) at the 1999 conference in St. Louis. Since then, I’ve presented 11 regular sessions and 10 pre-conference/Advanced Skills and Training Day seminars.

I joined ATA in 2004, and have played an increasingly active role in the Association since I moved to the U.S. five years ago. It’s particularly rewarding to serve as a member of the Professional Development Committee, and I’m extremely proud to be part of the team that has been responsible for making ATA a global leader in online continuing education for translators and interpreters. Our vastly expanded offering of webinars and workshops is supporting ATA members and nonmembers alike across all stages of their professional journey—from new entrants to the profession down to the most experienced translators and interpreters. And I’m leading the team responsible for our next project, which promises to be our most exciting and ambitious online offering to date—I hope that details will be announced at this year’s conference!

I’m proud to have served as chair of the Ethics Committee since October 2021, and have been actively steering the final phases of a multi-year project to revise and update ATA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practice and related documents. The project is completed, and you will be able to read the amended code (now with a new title) and accompanying commentary at the latest when you next renew your ATA membership. Many thanks to the past and current members of the Ethics Committee for their hard work and dedication.

I also serve on ATA’s Finance and Audit Committee, where my knowledge of accounting as a specialized financial translator is invaluable, and on the Honors and Awards Committee, where this year I’m heading the team responsible for ATA’s Innovation Award. In the past, I also served on the Business Practices Education and Standards Committees.

I’m currently serving my second term as president of the Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association (AATIA), an ATA affiliate, which has given me frontline knowledge of nonprofit governance and valuable experience in steering AATIA through the challenges imposed by the pandemic. I also attended a very instructive training webinar for nonprofit directors last year.

I’m asking for your vote so I can continue shaping the future of ATA in this challenging and fast-changing world, working with fellow Board members to safeguard and advance the interests of all our members.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Céline Browning
celinebrowning@gmail.com

This past year has taken quite the turn from what I expected it to be. First, while I was deeply honored to be nominated to run for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors at ATA62, I wasn’t elected. While election to the Board didn’t occur for me, it was an honor to have been nominated to serve such a worthy organization.

Following ATA62, I signed up for multiple ATA committees and was on my way to doing what I had pledged to do when I ran last year. But life had other plans in store for me. Sadly, at the start of the year I lost my mother to a sudden fall. At the time, I was taking a sabbatical in Paris at the Cordon Bleu, enjoying some time away from the blue light of the computer and honing some other senses that might have dulled over the years of remote simultaneous interpreting. Of course, that endeavor was abruptly terminated. Needless to say, with my personal loss, I was emotionally and physically unable to keep my promises to be a participatory member of the committees I had signed up for. So, I resigned from most of these committees, but I’ve been able to keep abreast on what some committees are doing so that I might participate again following ATA63.

As I stated in my statement last year, if elected, I’ll continue to advocate for diversity and visibility of all divisions and languages in our Association. However, one large difference from last year is that I’m no longer a freelancer. Nevertheless, I’ll now be able to provide insight to the Board on matters as a federal employee, from a specific, more structured perspective. This new position will also bring me closer to interpreters and translators of other languages with whom I’ll interact.

As I’ll be relocating to the Washington, DC metropolitan area, I’ll be closer to ATA Headquarters. It’s my hope to use my new geographical proximity to Headquarters wisely and fully to better learn, serve, and be available for ATA as an association.

If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. I never expected loss, nor did I foresee my career taking this turn. However, one event led to another and now I’m eager to learn as I move forward in this new chapter. I’ll not claim to come in as a director who knows all the answers. I believe the most powerful learning comes through questions. If elected, you can be certain that I’ll welcome and encourage your questions and will seek advice and input from my fellow directors and the ATA community to provide the most comprehensive response I am able.

It would be my pleasure to receive your vote. If elected, I hope to continue to strive to bring equality, visibility, and appreciation to the mighty, yet often underappreciated fields of translation and interpreting.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Amine El Fajri
fajri2000@hotmail.com

What an amazing surprise and honor it was to learn I was nominated to be a part of ATA’s Board of Directors. Being nominated really made me reflect on my journey with ATA, which has been amazing. I’ve been a member since 2014, attending every Annual Conference since then. I also had the great pleasure of presenting at the following conferences: ATA56 in Miami, ATA57 in Washington, DC, and ATA62 in Minneapolis. Speaking at these conferences was such a great way to challenge myself, and I really learned so much to help me in my career.

I began my career as an Arabic and French interpreter in 2008. My freelance services include mainly interpreting for the U.S. court system, medical interpreting, and document translation. I became a court certified Arabic interpreter in 2018, and I’m currently in the process of becoming a court certified French interpreter. My educational background includes two master’s degrees in business administration. I’ve also had the honor of serving as a member of the Language Access Committee for the Utah State Courts and as a board member of the Utah Translators and Interpreters Association, an ATA affiliate and the local T&I association in my home state of Utah.

I’m asking for your vote so I can focus firmly on the future of ATA in this constantly changing world. The pandemic has changed everything, including our profession and also ATA. Working with fellow Board members in the interest of all ATA translators and interpreters, I’ll be a strong advocate for encouraging solidarity and the development of outreach endeavors that involve mentoring as well as client education and fostering relationships. ATA is strong because of its members, who volunteer their time to advance the profession.

In closing, I thank you for your consideration and sincerely hope you’ll give me the opportunity to serve on ATA’s Board of Directors.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Christina Green, CT
christina@greenlinguistics.com

It’s truly a great honor to have been nominated to run for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors.

I began my career over 25 years ago, after graduating from the Universidad Central de Venezuela with a degree in translation and interpreting in English and French. Since then, I’ve been a full-time translator and interpreter.

My first ATA Annual Conference was in 2000, in Los Angeles, the year I moved to the United States. I had worked in Venezuela, Italy, and France, where I gained valuable experience as a language professional.

To the Board, I bring my experience from having served one prior term on the Board, and as the former chair of the Membership Committee, assistant administrator of the Educators Division, and assistant administrator of the Interpreters Division. I’m also on the Honors and Awards Committee and serve as the president of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters, an ATA chapter.

Throughout my professional career, I’ve focused on providing language services in different sectors, mainly in the education, legal, medical, and entertainment fields.

I’ve also provided services to the most marginalized populations with dignity and respect. My work as a volunteer interpreter for nonprofit organizations has shown me what the world looks like for those who don’t speak English.

If elected to the Board, these are the specific areas in which I want to contribute:

  1. Increase exposure and visibility of our members: This has always been at the forefront of my agenda. We often forget that the most important people in our association are our members. And we can do more for them. Many customers don’t know what ATA is, what our contributions are, how we help shape language policies, or even what we stand for. As a professional association, we must have a more effective outreach with our external customers.
  1. Student outreach, specifically at colleges and universities: We need to attract younger generations to our profession and to our association. During my tenure as chair of the Membership Committee, we created an e-book for translation students that remains unpublished. By creating tools for students to understand what our profession entails and what skills are needed to succeed, we can steer more people toward studies in translation and interpreting, while paving the way for future generations and increasing our dwindling numbers.
  1. More active social media presence: Undeniably, social media plays a key role in today’s communication. During my tenure as assistant administrator for the Interpreters Division, I’ve led the social media team where we have used all platforms not so much to send messages, but to have meaningful conversations with our members. This could attract new members to our association and could result in greater membership numbers.

There is so much we can do, and this is just a brief description of my ideas. I’m available to expand on these subjects with anyone interested. I would be honored to become your director and your voice.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Ben Karl, CT
ben@bktranslation.com

I’m honored to have been nominated for the position of ATA director. I’ve been serving on the Board for the past year after being co-opted following the last election, and it would be my privilege to be elected by my peers to my first full term this year. I would like to continue my work as director and help ATA keep moving forward.

I’ve been an ATA member since 2016 and owe my professional success in large part to this community, which works tirelessly to support, professionalize, and advance the careers of language professionals

I’m a Mandarin>English and ATA-certified French>English translator and copywriter based in Long Beach, California. I specialize in corporate and marketing communications and user experience.

In addition to currently serving as director, I also serve ATA in other ways. I’ve chaired ATA’s Advocacy Committee since fall 2021, leading a team of dedicated members who are working to monitor and respond to issues important to ATA members and empower us all to be better advocates. We’ve issued calls to action to members, drafted official ATA position statements, contacted legislators and policymakers, signed letters on behalf of the Association, and participated in legislative action days on Capitol Hill. I’ve also served on ATA’s Membership Committee since 2018 and as the Membership Committee representative to ATA’s Government Linguistic Outreach Task Force. During my time on the Membership Committee, I’ve helped roll out new member orientation sessions, a guide to help new translators get started in our industry, and an upcoming member survey to ensure we know more about who our members are and how we can serve them better.

Apart from ATA, I’ve chaired the Translatio Standing Committee of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) since 2018.

If re-elected, I’m eager to continue the meaningful work I’m already doing. I’m a professional association evangelist, and I’m passionate about promoting the benefits of ATA more broadly so we can start growing ATA’s membership again and thus our dues income, one of our main revenue streams. It’s important for us to know who we’re serving and what our members need, which is why I’m excited about the upcoming member survey, which I encourage everyone to take. I’m very proud of the Advocacy Committee’s work and excited to share everything we’ve been working on, including a free resource library to help every linguist advocate for themselves and our profession more effectively. We are fortunate to have an Association that can put its full weight behind issues that matter to us. When we work together, we are stronger.

Finally, I believe very strongly in taking additional steps to embody and fulfill ATA’s 2017 Resolution Supporting Diversity. I would continue to advocate for the Board to allocate more resources to initiatives that support our underrepresented members and the communities they serve.

I’m grateful to be considered for this position and hope to be able to serve you all as director.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Hana Kawashima Ransom, CT
hana@rannohana.net

I’m very honored to have been nominated for an ATA director position.

I’m an ATA-certified English>Japanese translator, published author, English as a second language (ESL)/Japanese language instructor, founder/teacher of an online translation course, interpreter, and YouTuber. I’ve been involved in many activities as a linguist for the past seven years promoting the translation industry. I’ve done so using social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and blogging. We need to let the public know how important translators are, especially because many people in the world have the false idea that artificial intelligence has advanced to the level where translators and translations are no longer necessary.

After receiving an MEd in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin and working as an ESL/Japanese teacher for several years, both in the U.S. and Japan, I became a translator. I’ve lived in various parts of the U.S. (e.g., Texas, California, and Alaska) and around the world, including the U.K. and several cities in Japan. I’ve also been an in-house translator for several years in the U.K. and Texas. Being ATA-certified for 25 years has served as an extremely important credential during my career, regardless of how the economy has done. I’ve very much appreciated the freedom that being a freelancer has afforded me, personally and professionally.

I used to think that being anonymous and invisible as a translator was good enough, but the recent advancement in artificial intelligence has minimized our visibility in the world. This made me decide that it’s no longer appropriate to be a bystander and see the world so unaware of the translation industry, so I’ve become an enthusiastic advocate for linguistic professionals.

In order to carry out this advocacy, I’ve been working as an educator, published two ESL books demonstrating the importance of learning foreign languages and their associated cultures, taught translation online, and, with help from colleagues in ATA’s Japanese Language Division, given seminars for prospective translators. Through these activities I’ve helped recruit new members to ATA and to the Japanese Language Division. I also have a YouTube channel where I share information on how to become a successful translator. (As of August 2022, the channel has 3,750 subscribers.) In 2020, in order to continue to grow and evolve as a linguist, I began offering interpreting services as well.

I believe there are many more things we can do to ensure that our industry thrives and also attracts more people from younger generations to our community.

If elected, I would leverage the skills I’ve acquired as an influencer to spread the news of how valuable linguists are, how much we count in all aspects of society, and encourage those of the younger generation to become translators and interpreters so that our community of professionals can continue to grow and flourish.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Caroline Kyung Ha Kim
Caroline_kim@sbcglobal.net

I sincerely appreciate you considering me for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors and trust your judgment to make the right decision.

If elected, I’ll work to promote the value and reputation of translators and interpreters to ensure that the work of language professionals is appreciated by the public. I’ll reimagine the referral program so that ATA will be the go-to source for anyone in the U.S. who needs a translator or interpreter. I’ll keep you updated on language access, professional standards, working conditions, and advocate so your voice will be heard by ATA.

To increase ATA membership, I’ll reach out to former ATA members, listening and encouraging them to become lifelong members. I’ll enhance support systems, such as ATA’s Mentoring Program, the Buddies Welcome Newbies session at ATA’s Annual Conference, and expand networking opportunities in person and virtually. One of the reasons I especially enjoy ATA is because it gives me the opportunity to experience the diversity of our profession. I’ve learned from dialogues, mentoring, colleagues, friendships gained from membership in divisions, listservs, webinars, meetings, and conferences. My career has benefited tremendously from ATA membership and I’m looking forward to helping other people get the same benefits.

Since 2002, I’ve been a conscientious ATA member, attending 11 in-person Annual Conferences across the U.S. and two virtual ATA Annual Conferences. I presented a session on interpreting the nuances of idioms and proverbs at the 2012 ATA Annual Conference. I’ve enjoyed being the assistant administrator of ATA’s Korean Language Division (KLD) for three years, where recently we’ve been working hard to increase membership by sending notifications and encouraging participation in our listserv and meetings. I’ve encouraged collaboration with other ATA divisions and ATA Headquarters. I’ve also served on KLD’s Leadership Council and Conference Committee.

I’m an official federal court interpreter, state certified court interpreter (California), and translator in Korean and English. I have 20 years of experience in Korean simultaneous conference interpreting and interpreting and translating in the areas of information technology, law, medicine, and business. I’m also a voice-over talent, translator, and dialect coach for film and television.

I have a legal interpreting and translation Korean/English certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles. I have a secondary Korean foreign language credential, a California secondary single subject English teaching credential, and a cross-cultural language and academic development certificate from Point Loma Nazarene University in California. As an approved instructor for court interpreter minimum continuing education credit (CIMCE), I’ve presented CIMCE courses on interpreting Korean and English cultural expressions, colloquialism, slang, and grammatical structures. I volunteered as vice president for the Korean Professional Interpreters Association (2011, 2012, 2015–2018) and as a CIMCE advisor. Currently, I serve on the Leadership Council of ATA’s Law Division.

I look forward to working together with the members of ATA to further ATA’s mission and promote our industry.

 

Director | Three-Year Term
Edna Santizo, CI
lsantizo.es@gmail.com

I’m honored to be nominated for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors.

In 2010, after earning a certificate in professional translation and legal interpreting, I was advised by my mentors to join a professional association to build my network and find professional development opportunities. I joined ATA that same year and found my tribe.

In 2016, I was invited to join the Digital and Social Media Committee (DSMC) of ATA’s Spanish Language Division (SPD). The following year, I was appointed chair of the same committee. That opportunity offered me a platform to learn about the inner workings of one of ATA’s largest divisions. In my role as a member of SPD’s Leadership Council, I had the opportunity to support SPD’s administration with several division-related tasks, including: organizing committees for SPD annual dinners and activities, serving as a member of SPD’s Hospitality and Podcast Committees, and contributing to the Student Involvement Committee.

In 2019, I co-chaired the DSMC. During my tenure on this committee, I helped maintain and support an active and growing SPD presence on all the division’s social media channels. I also added our presence on Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn with a profile page.

In addition, I volunteered as chair of the Translation Company Division’s Nominating Committee (2019) and as a member of the Language Technology Division’s Nominating Committee (2021).

I currently serve as SPD administrator (2020-2022). As administrator, I’ve successfully collaborated with SPD’s Leadership Council to organize, promote, and deliver the core services prescribed by ATA’s Divisions Handbook. With the assistance of other SPD leaders, the division has been able to offer quality professional development and networking opportunities to our members. Some examples include:

  • Offered, for the first time, two free webinars and a networking session exclusively to SPD members via Zoom.
  • Organized two Instagram Live conversations about T&I topics.
  • In 2021, SPD’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) collaborated closely with ATA’s PDC to offer six successful and well-attended webinars tailored to SPD’s membership through ATA’s webinar series.
  • In 2022, ATA’s PDC, in collaboration with the SPD PDC, offered the first two-day workshop on Spanish grammar and punctuation. Both the first workshop and a second iteration sold out within weeks.
  • Encouraged ongoing collaboration with the Organización Mexicana de Traductores.
  • Published an interview with the renowned author Isabel Allende in SPD’s newsletter, Intercambios.

As a freelance conference and community interpreter and small-business owner, I have witnessed and lived the challenges of our profession. My past experience as an office manager has provided me with a solid background in project management, communication, and multitasking. I believe my skill set and background will prove to be beneficial to ATA.

If elected, I’ll prioritize the following:

  • Address the needs of ATA members
  • Foster and promote leadership and professional development
  • Seek and ensure cooperation with ATA divisions and ATA committees.

I offer my gratitude for your kind consideration and vote.

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