ATA 2018 Elections: Candidate Statements

ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections at the upcoming 2018 ATA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, to elect three directors for a three-year term. There will also be an election for a director for a one-year term. (The vacancy occurred with the election of Director Karen Tkaczyk to secretary.) In addition, members will vote on two proposed revisions to ATA’s bylaws (see below).

Eve BodeuxDirector (Three-year term)
Eve Lindemuth Bodeux

An ATA member for nearly 20 years, I have witnessed the many changes that have affected the language professions over the past two decades. It would be a privilege to help guide ATA into the future as a member of the Board of Directors. I am honored to be a candidate and thank the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee for their confidence.

Alongside my work as a freelance French>English translator specializing in international development, corporate communications, and tech marketing, I am a passionate proponent of professional associations and of the idea that we are stronger together. Starting out as editor of the newsletter for ATA’s French Language Division (FLD) when it was still produced in hard copy, I am now, quite a few years later, finishing my second term as FLD administrator. In this role, I have overseen the founding of the division’s social media presence, its continuing education podcast, and the rebirth of the FLD newsletter. I have successfully increased volunteer participation from members and fostered a strong sense of community within the division. I am currently serving my second term on ATA’s Divisions Committee, and have served on several division nominating committees.

In addition to my involvement in ATA, I have filled multiple roles in my local chapter, the Colorado Translators Association: two terms as vice president, e-mail list manager, Elections Committee member, and mentor. Other ATA chapters (Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters, National Capital Area Translators Association, Northeast Ohio Translators Association, and Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society), ­in addition to the Société française des traducteurs and European Language Industry Association, have called on me to present on various topics. I have also been privileged to present at ATA’s Annual Conference.

I recently combined my expertise into a book for language professionals, Maintaining Your Second Language. And anyone who knows me knows I love to talk! I am co-host of the podcast Speaking of Translation, which has been a lively forum for the language professions since 2008.

This information should give you some context as to who I am and what is important to me. Since my earliest days in the language industry, I have been committed to bringing translators and interpreters together, sharing my knowledge, and helping translation and interpreting clients understand the importance of our work.

As a Board member, I would like to focus on:

  • Strengthening all divisions and local chapters—they are key to promoting member satisfaction and involvement.
  • Supporting ATA’s Government Relations Committee in monitoring laws, regulations, and policies that affect translators and interpreters in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Expanding ATA’s lobbying role. It is important to make our voices heard, not only at the very successful Advocacy Day during the 2017 conference, but every day, at the international, national, state, and local levels.

It would be my honor to serve you, and I thank you for your support.

Melinda_Gonzalez_HibnerDirector (Three-year term)
Melinda Gonzalez-Hibner

It has been my honor and great pleasure to serve on ATA’s Board of Directors during the past three years, and I am excited to have the opportunity to do it again! I welcome the chance to continue serving interpreters and translators on such a large stage. If elected, I will continue my work as chair of ATA’s Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) and as a member of the Governance and Communications Committee.

For those of you who do not know me, I bring a unique set of experiences to the table. My personal focus and interest is to strengthen ATA’s role as a voice for individual practitioners and to advocate for the highest standards of professional practice. That focus drove IPAC’s successful initiative to identify credentialed interpreters more prominently in ATA’s Directory of Translators and Interpreters, which is a great program for interpreter members of ATA. It also propelled my participation in the upcoming ATA position paper on remote interpreting.

One of my goals is to continue working to improve the definition of our professions in the General Services Administration Schedule, which is used for the procurement of translation and interpreting services by the U.S. government. I will also continue to support a variety of continuing education options and the many projects of ATA’s Public Relations Committee.

I have worn many hats during my career, and I think this has allowed me to serve the members of ATA well. My experience includes heading the Court Interpreter Program for the Colorado State Courts, being an individual practitioner for over 15 years, and currently serving as a staff interpreter for a U.S. district court. I am a state and federally certified court interpreter and qualified as a seminar level interpreter by the U.S. Department of State. I am also an ATA-certified Spanish>English translator. I train court interpreters across the country and participate in certification testing and standards-setting programs for interpreters.

My service to the profession is long-standing at both the local and national levels. During my time on the Board, I have served as chair of ATA’s Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee, on the Government Relations Committee, on the Governance and Communications Committee, and as a spokesperson for the Public Relations Committee.

As our fields continue to experience fast transformation and growth, ATA must remain at the forefront of issues of importance to practitioners, the industry, and the profession. As a Board member, I promise to work on behalf of practitioner members, actively promoting professional standards and public awareness of our fields of practice.

I hope you will consider voting for me. It would be my honor and great privilege to continue to serve.

Diego-MansillaDirector (Three-year term)
Diego Mansilla

It is an honor to be nominated for the prestigious position of director on ATA’s Board of Directors.

I have been a grader of English>Spanish certification exams for several years, so ATA’s Certification Program is one of my main areas of focus. I participated in the process of putting the new computerized exam in place. This undertaking, implemented by ATA Certification Committee Chair David Stephenson and the rest of the Certification Committee, was undoubtedly one of the most significant steps forward for ATA, and one that will require constant attention and adjustments given the rapid changes in technology. Together with fellow graders, I have offered many workshops for ATA certification candidates, including three-hour exam preparation workshops during the Advanced Skills and Training Day at ATA’s Annual Conference. I was also one of four graders who offered the first ATA Certification Exam Preparation Workshop this past January at the University of Massachusetts Boston. My expertise as an online professor of translation and my work as a proctor for the certification exam help me understand the challenges ATA’s Certification Program is facing and the type of support exam-takers need.

ATA certification is a highly treasured achievement for most professional translators. I would like to ensure that we offer candidates plenty of opportunities to improve their skills and be better translators so that they can eventually obtain certification. For instance, I am part of the group that is developing “study packets” for candidate preparation, which is a new initiative from the Certification Committee. If these offerings are well organized and executed, candidates will gain expertise, the Certification Program will enhance its visibility and reputation, and ATA will have many more certified members. I would love every member of ATA to be certified even as the same high certification standards are maintained.

One major accomplishment we achieved during my tenure as a board member of the New England Translators Association (NETA) was a close collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Boston for NETA’s annual conference. I wrote an article, which was published in The ATA Chronicle, after the first conference under this arrangement. NETA’s annual conferences have been held in collaboration with UMass Boston ever since, with increasing success: more attendees, new members attracted, a wider variety of sessions offered, and more sponsors. I was also directly responsible for the creation of NETA’s new Academic Division, which offers a unique opportunity for students, faculty, and professional translators and interpreters to share knowledge, experience, mentoring, and work opportunities. There are multiple collaboration opportunities such as these for ATA. I think we should identify and promote these types of initiatives in which everybody wins.

Finally, as a certified translator, grader, professor of translation, and former member of ATA’s Ethics Committee, I recognize the importance of following our code of ethics to guide our professional lives. I would be honored to receive your vote so that I can act in a leadership role for ATA and contribute my years of experience to serving you, our Association, and our profession.

Meghan_McCallumDirector (Three-year term)
Meghan McCallum

I am honored to be nominated for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors. Having served in various capacities over the years for ATA and the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters (MATI), my local ATA chapter, I look forward to the opportunity to take my volunteer efforts a step further by serving on ATA’s Board.

I have been actively involved in ATA’s School Outreach Program, under the umbrella of the Public Relations Committee, since 2010. I was appointed to the position of School Outreach Program coordinator in 2011, and continue to serve in this capacity. In this role, I lead a team of fellow volunteers in promoting school visits to speak about the professions of translation and interpreting in classrooms around the world. Over the years our team has expanded and updated various aspects of the School Outreach Program, using our webpage to provide tips on videoconferencing and up-to-date resources to spark interest within today’s classrooms. Through the School Outreach Program, we spread our passion for translation and interpreting to thousands of tomorrow’s translators and interpreters and their future clients every year.

I served on MATI’s Board of Directors for two consecutive two-year terms from 2013 to 2017, both as director and acting vice president. In these positions, I participated in and led a wide variety of initiatives, including planning four annual chapter conferences, serving as the host chapter for ATA’s 55th Annual Conference in Chicago, moderating webinars, maintaining the organization’s website, blog, and social media pages, writing articles for and serving as co-editor and editor of the quarterly newsletter, and participating in MATI’s video podcast. The leadership, organizational, and technology skills I developed serving on MATI’s Board will serve me well as an ATA director should I be elected.

I am passionate about fostering a sense of community among translators and interpreters and advocating for our profession to the general public. I often speak to others about translation and interpreting, whether it is in a classroom, over Skype, at a trade fair, or in one-on-one meetups with people new to the field. When someone asks me how to start a career in translation, one of the first resources I point to is ATA. I encourage people to not only take advantage of the Association’s many resources, but also to get involved. If elected to serve as an ATA director, I will extend my enthusiasm for outreach and education to my new role with a focus on membership relations and recruitment for our Association.

Serving within ATA and MATI has been one of the most valuable and enjoyable parts of my career thus far. I am eager to work together with ATA’s Board to not only attract and build relationships with new members, but also to encourage active participation from current members to ensure long-term retention. I look forward to the opportunity to help carry ATA into the future to provide the best possible support, resources, and professional development for our current and future members. Thank you for your consideration.

Tianlu RedmonDirector (Three-year term)
Tianlu Redmon

I attended my first gathering of translators and interpreters on a winter night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The parking lot was dark and wet, but the coffee shop was filled with warm lights and welcoming faces. I left with a bundle of business cards, thrilled by the possibilities that lay before me. That evening marked the beginning of my career as a freelance translator and interpreter.

I frequented events hosted by the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters (CATI), an ATA chapter. CATI members guided and inspired me, and I wanted to give back. In 2015, I was elected to CATI’s board of directors. During my two years on the board, I ran the association’s mentorship program, initiated a school outreach presentation at Duke University, co-organized a workshop for local attorneys, and helped organize CATI’s conferences.

I attended my first ATA Annual Conference in 2014. The community immediately welcomed me, so when called upon, I volunteered for both the Interpreters Division (ID) and the Chinese Language Division (CLD).

I joined ID’s Leadership Council in 2015, where I quickly learned how to harness the power of social media. From July 2015 to June 2018, ID’s Twitter followers grew from 17 to 688, and Facebook likes from 877 to 2,468.

I have served as CLD’s newsletter layout editor since 2015. Additionally, I set up a group chat for CLD members and other Chinese translators and interpreters. Since 2015, the chat group has had daily activity, including job and training opportunities, ethics discussions, and plenty of translation questions and language jokes. The group has also helped members connect regionally and network offline.

Because so many of you have helped me, I want to help others succeed. I have spoken at two chamber of commerce meetings on why and how to work with language professionals, volunteered as a buddy for the Buddies Welcome Newbies event at ATA’s Annual Conference since 2015, attended leadership training since 2016 to learn how to better serve members, and, in preparing this statement, asked some of you what you cared about most.

If elected, I will focus on three areas:

  • Raising public awareness of our profession. We should continue educating current and potential clients and promoting the value of both ATA certification and interpreters’ credentials.
  • Helping our members adapt to market and technological changes. We are experts in our profession. We must collaborate with the industries that support and use our services to engineer change together.
  • Engaging participation in ATA. I will work to assist ATA divisions and chapters in developing programs and presentations to draw both members and nonmembers to the ATA community.

I am a Mandarin interpreter certified by two state courts and a Chinese translator and teacher. I am also an ATA member like you. Please join me in shaping the changing landscape of our profession. Together, we are stronger.

Please email me to share more of your thoughts on our profession. Thank you for supporting the ATA community.

Kyle_VraaDirector (Three-year term)
Kyle Vraa

I am an ATA-certified Danish>English and German>English translator who has been freelancing full-time since the summer of 2000. I also translate from the Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch languages. I became a mentor in ATA’s Mentoring Program in 2013, and have taken on individual mentees each year since that time. I became a member of ATA’s Mentoring Committee in 2016, and have served as its chair since the summer of 2017.

There are three areas of interest for which I could bring a good perspective to ATA’s Board: 1) languages of limited diffusion, 2) mentoring, and 3) expansion of ATA’s co-sponsorship of seminars and conferences abroad.

My experience working in a major language (German), alongside languages of limited diffusion, the Scandinavian languages, and Dutch, has taught me that the practices of those working in languages of limited diffusion differ somewhat from those who work in major language pairs. For example, pricing, breadth of specialization, the profitability of working with direct clients versus agencies, the usefulness of computer-assisted translation tools, and many other aspects require a different approach for those working in languages of limited diffusion. My perspective working on both sides of this equation would be a valuable resource to ATA’s Board as it strives to represent the interests of all members of the Association, no matter how common or obscure their language pairs.

Being a mentor in ATA’s Mentoring Program for the past six years has reinforced my commitment to helping recent graduates and career changers make the transition into our profession. When I started my career 17 years ago, I did so without the benefit of a mentor. As a dedicated and independent individual, I learned about the profession and built my translation career through trial and error, not really certain that people could actually make a living doing only translation. After nearly two decades as a successful freelancer, it is a pleasure to reassure nervous newcomers to the profession that succeeding in translation is not a pipe dream, but a very realistic professional goal with the correct approach. I would like to continue to advocate for mentoring as a member of ATA’s Board.

Finally, I have had the pleasure of attending conferences abroad that were co-sponsored by ATA (one of the most recent was in Freiburg, Germany), as well as other non-ATA-affiliated conferences, such as the Translation and Localization Conference in Warsaw, Poland. As a regular attendee of ATA’s Annual Conference, I have found earning ATA continuing education points at smaller conferences abroad to be an excellent opportunity to travel to new places and network with translators who do not have the opportunity to attend ATA’s Annual Conference. Attendance of our members at conferences abroad also raises ATA’s global profile and adds to the credibility of American translators and interpreters.

Tony_GuerraDirector (One-year term)
Tony Guerra

During the past year it has been my honor and privilege to be a part of the team of the brilliant and dedicated members of ATA’s Board. Having learned so much, I am delighted to have the opportunity to run for another year and to continue fulfilling promises made during last year’s election, in addition to tackling new challenges and committees.

I am currently a full-time freelance Spanish<>English interpreter specializing in the legal, government, and health care sectors. I previously worked on the corporate side, purchasing language services for many years.

Throughout my freelance and agency phases, I became increasingly involved as a volunteer with ATA and the Delaware Valley Translators Association (DVTA), my local ATA chapter. Within DVTA, I served first as a director and recently completed two terms as its president (2012–2017). I continue to serve on the board as chair of DVTA’s Public Relations and Certification Committees.

My current ATA activities include:
ATA Public Relations Committee, Speakers Bureau (2015–2018)

  • Last year, I presented “Navigating Language Access in Legal Proceedings” to the Philadelphia Bar Association as a representative of ATA’s Speakers Bureau. In 2018, I was asked to present on this topic again to the Philadelphia Office of Language Access.
  • I was selected to take a lead role on ATA’s PR Committee, generating speaking opportunities for members of the Speakers Bureau. By targeting organizations and associations interested in professional language services, we aim to leverage the talent pool of speakers in our bureau nationwide.

ATA Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee (2015–2018)

  • I have been a member of IPAC since it was established, contributing to policy, strategy, and goals.
  • IPAC continues to promote greater equity for interpreters with the ongoing implementation of the Credentialed Interpreter (CI) designation in ATA’s Directory of Translators and Interpreters.

ATA Chapters Committee Chair (2016–2018)

  • As chair of ATA’s Chapters Committee, I serve as the national liaison between ATA Headquarters and all ATA chapters and affiliate groups, helping to solve any issues and answer questions. I have also collaborated with the chair of ATA’s Divisions Committee to organize the leadership training at the past three ATA Annual Conferences.
  • Launched ATA’s Chapters Best Practices Initiative, which is a compilation of national resources, links, forms, and processes available to all ATA chapters to facilitate expedited, efficient, and consistent systems of operation.
  • Formulated and led a study group at the August 2018 ATA Board meeting to examine, evaluate, and consider the current state, structure, and future of ATA chapters and affiliates for continuous improvement.

ATA’s Mentoring Program (2014–2018)

  • I have been inspired to give back to our remarkable community by offering guidance and sharing experiences.

I previously served on ATA’s Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (2012–2016). I remain on the Leadership Council for the Medical Division, following my two terms as assistant administrator (2012–2016). I have also contributed several articles to The ATA Chronicle and presented at ATA conferences in Chicago and Miami.

I consider it a great privilege to represent your interests on the Board. I thank you for your vote and your deliberation of my candidacy.


Proposed Changes to the Bylaws to be Presented to the Membership for Voting in October 2018

In addition to electing four directors, voting members will also vote on proposed bylaws amendments. The Board approved putting forward two proposed bylaws amendments for approval by the membership. The proposed revisions appear below. Please note that material proposed to be deleted is struck through; material proposed to be added is underlined. ATA’s bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the voting members.

Proposed Bylaws Amendments

Proposed: That Article III, Section 2a. of the Bylaws be amended as follows:

“1) Any person who (a) is professionally engaged in translating, interpreting, or closely related work, (b) is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, and (c) meets one of the following criteria: (i) has passed a certification examination administered by the Association, or (ii) has been granted Credentialed Interpreter status by the Association, or (iii) has achieved demonstrable professional status as determined by peer evaluation, is eligible for Active membership.”

Commentary: The intent of this amendment is to provide equal treatment to interpreters who are certified or accredited by an ATA-recognized body and given “Credentialed Interpreter” status by ATA by automatically granting voting rights to such members.

Proposed: That Article XIII, Section 2a. of the Bylaws be amended as follows:

“A petition for the establishment of a Division must be signed by twenty or more voting 150 or more active, corresponding, or associate members of the Association, at least 50 of whom must be active or corresponding members, who shall signify their desire to participate in the activities of the Division.”

Commentary: The requirements regarding the number of signatures necessary to petition for the establishment of a division have not changed since 1983, when total membership was about 2,175 and there was only one division (Sci-Tech), compared to the current approximately 10,000 members and 22 divisions.

The proposed amendment has two purposes:

First, to extend the right to support the establishment of a division to all individual members. The majority of individual members are not active or corresponding (voting) members. Yet associate members comprise the majority of division members. As only the division officers must be voting members, associate members may comprise the majority of volunteers in division activities. It is thus appropriate and just to allow associate members to demonstrate support for a new division.

Second, the number of signatures required is increased to ensure that a new division has sufficient core support to provide the required services. Divisions must have an administrator and assistant administrator. They usually also need a webmaster, newsletter or blog editor, listserv administrators, and other volunteers. The establishment of Leadership Councils for each division has also increased the number of division volunteers needed. Leadership Councils often have 10–15 members. Many divisions also have additional committees such as conference or networking committees that also require volunteers.

The increase in the number of signatures required helps ensure that a new division has the minimum level of support from individual members who will comprise the core volunteers who will make the division viable.

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