ATA 2021 Elections: Candidate Statements

ATA will hold its regularly scheduled elections (in person and virtually) at the upcoming ATA 62nd Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to elect a president-elect, secretary, and treasurer for a two-year term, as well as three directors for a three-year term. In addition, members will vote on five proposed amendments to ATA’s Bylaws. The Annual Meeting of Voting Members will be held October 28, 2021.

President-Elect

Two-Year Term

Veronika Demichelis, CT
veronika@veronikademichelis.com

I’m honored to be nominated for ATA president-elect.

I joined ATA in 2016 and realized that I found my professional home and community.

Since then, I’ve been active in shaping our Association: as a volunteer in the Slavic Languages Division, as a member of the Membership Committee and Honors and Awards Committee, as chair of ATA’s Professional Development Committee, and as a director on ATA’s Board. I’ve gained many valuable insights and great appreciation of how our Association works and what goals and challenges lie ahead. In addition to my role in ATA, I supported my local affiliate, the Houston Interpreters and Translators Association, as professional development director from 2018 until 2020.

In my role as chair of ATA’s Professional Development Committee, I lead a team of volunteers who revamped and re-energized ATA’s professional development program. Since 2020, we pivoted to grow our virtual programs and tripled the number of ATA webinars, providing high-quality continued learning opportunities to translators and interpreters working in various fields. We introduced the Back to Business Basics series: free monthly webinars for ATA members focusing on business-related topics. We piloted virtual workshops and are working on a concept for online courses. We made significant strides in ensuring the quality and financial sustainability of ATA’s professional development program. I’m proud to see that continuing professional development opportunities offered by our Association have become a significant member benefit.

My volunteer experience in ATA has given me a solid understanding of what’s important to members, how to communicate and work together with fellow volunteers and staff, and how to put in the time and effort to achieve tangible results. Those who have worked with me know that I value integrity and openness, and that I like to roll up my sleeves, get to work, and create something that members will appreciate. I enjoy dialogue and collaboration and thrive when working on tasks that help improve the future of our profession.

As a freelance ATA-certified English>Russian translator, I understand the joys and challenges of our profession. And thanks to my previous corporate career, I have a strong background in administration, human resources, communications, and social responsibility. I believe that my skills in these areas will be useful in taking ATA to the next level.

If elected, I will continue to work tirelessly to strengthen ATA. To this effect, I would focus on:

  • Ensuring the high quality of educational and networking sessions and the financial success of ATA’s Annual Conference.
  • Growing member services and programs to satisfy the needs of our members and position ATA as a place to be for translators, interpreters, and other language professionals.
  • Providing a variety of avenues for members to network and support each other.
  • Promoting ATA’s mission and raising the profile of professional translators and interpreters and our commitment to high standards of practice, ethics, and professional development.

I would be honored to get your vote and use my expertise and skills for the benefit of ATA.

President-Elect

Two-Year Term

Geoff Koby, CT
Geoff@KobyTranslation.com

I’m honored to be nominated for president-elect. More than a livelihood, translation is my passion, which is why I’ve served ATA in a number of different roles. In 1995, while teaching translation at Kent State University, I started working as a part-time translator to keep my knowledge and skills current. Over the past 25 years, I’ve focused on business, legal, and financial translation while researching translation quality and training translators.

If elected, I will focus on member needs, specifically on advocacy. Advocating for our individual members is a fundamental task of our Association to raise the profile of professional translation and interpreting. Advocacy also means using the combined voice of over 9,000 ATA members to work toward improving the larger translation and interpreting professions. Since finishing two terms on the Board in 2020, I’ve continued to work for the Association.

This January, the Board appointed two ad hoc committees to consider aspects of our professional lives. As chair of both, I nominated members with a wide variety of viewpoints. One committee explored a National Registry of Individual Translators and Interpreters to respond to legislation classifying freelancers as employees, such as California’s AB5. The thought is to register all independent professionals so that we can keep our freedom as independent contractors. The other committee is studying a basic ATA credential for translators to possibly create ways for translators to be recognized for competence in languages not available for certification. On both of these committees, I’m working for our individual members.

Another area where I’ve been working for members is on the Governance and Communication Committee, helping to draft new Bylaws proposals to update the membership structure. Our membership structure has not kept up with changing times and no longer reflects the founders’ idea of an association where all translation and interpreting professionals have a voice. I believe changing the structure is necessary to give all translation and interpreting professionals equal standing in the Association.

And now a little about me. An ATA-certified translator (Dutch>English, German>English), I became a German>English grader in 2006, then served the Certification Committee as secretary and chair (six years), and still work on the committee and serve as a grader. I served two terms on the Board and chaired the Compensation Survey Committee, addressing previous surveys’ shortcomings. I hope the new survey will fit the Association’s needs for many years. I served on the Education and Pedagogy Committee and as chair of The ATA Chronicle Editorial Board, and currently serve on ASTM standards committees and the Finance and Audit Committee, dealing financially with the pandemic and carefully stewarding member assets. I’m president of the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI), ATA’s foundation for charitable activities, education, and research. Since 2018, I’ve led AFTI to co-sponsor a summer school for translation graduate students and award 10 student scholarships for conference attendance.

I promise to work for all ATA members across all languages. I ask for your vote, and, as I’ve done since first volunteering with ATA in 2006, I promise to serve energetically and faithfully in the future.

Secretary

Two-Year Term

Alaina Brandt
abrandt@miis.edu

I’ve been an ATA member for eight years. When I first joined, the need for professionalization of translation and localization project management was a gap I felt passionate about filling. I continue to feel passion for professionalizing the fields of translation/localization, and over the years I’ve directed my passion toward stakeholder education. These efforts have included co-editing the newsletter of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters—the ATA chapter for which I served as a director from 2013-2016—presenting at ATA conferences, contributing to industry standards through ASTM Technical Committee F43 on Language Services and Products, and teaching about translation and localization management as an assistant professor of professional practice in the translation and localization management program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

As membership secretary of the standards organization ASTM F43, I prepare reports on the state of our membership for our monthly executive committee meetings. In the reports, I identify our strengths, which include slowly increasing membership to expand the subject areas our standards cover, and our areas for improvement. I’m also working to disseminate information about translation/localization standards within the U.S. government. To that end, I helped plan an ASTM F43 Membership Orientation held in August 2021. This was the first webinar of its kind to be held within F43.

My work in ASTM F43 is reported to ATA through my membership in ATA’s Standards Committee. I also share my research in localization with ATA and the broader translation and localization industries with the hope that these contributions will help members and practitioners to continue developing their skills. Within ATA, I shared research on processes, best practices, and contemporary theory, most recently in a webinar (“Introduction to Localization”) to help members meet their clients’ changing localization needs.

As a member of the Leadership Council of the Translation Company Division, I have co-edited and written for the newsletter that we collectively launched. I’m also collaborating with esteemed colleagues in the ad hoc Basic Credential Committee to see if we can build a model that ATA could follow to recognize the professionalism of members for whom ATA certification is not available. My contributions there are based on my experience and research in localization vendor management. I serve as an expert for Technical Committee 37 on Language and Terminology of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), on the Leadership Council of ATA’s Government Division, and as a member of the steering committee of the Coalition of Practicing Translators and Interpreters of America. In each of these roles, I connect the advocacy campaigns under way for increasing awareness of the professionalism of translators, interpreters, and localizers.

I understand the responsibility that the secretary of ATA holds to accurately document the decision making of the Board so that communication of our activity remains transparent. Over the years, I’ve developed the ability to actively listen and take actionable notes while contributing my perspective to discussions. Thanks to my work on standards, I seek out conflicting perspectives when trying to contribute to the consensus that balances the needs of the stakeholders materially affected by decision-making processes.

Secretary

Two-Year Term

Cristina Helmerichs
cristina@cristinahelmerichsd.com

It’s an honor to be nominated to run for the position of secretary of ATA. I welcome this opportunity to expand my contributions to ATA and our professions.

Since the 1990s, when I established myself as a full-time freelance interpreter and translator, I’ve worked as a volunteer at the local, state, and national level to advance this beautiful profession. In addition to my long work for ATA, I’m past president of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and I helped found and continue to be active in the Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. I’m also a member of my local association, the Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association.

My volunteer efforts with ATA began many years ago (before and during) the Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, in 1994. It was my pleasure to be a part of the local organizational committee that helped make that a very successful conference. I’ve served two full terms on ATA’s Board, and it has been my pleasure and privilege to serve the Association on a number of different committees. I currently serve as chair of the Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee.

One of the most satisfying achievements of my work on the Board has been the establishment of ATA’s Advocacy Committee, which today plays an important role representing the interests of interpreters and translators. I’m also proud of having helped develop and implement the credentialed interpreter identification program. As a result of my experience as a member of the Board of Directors, I’m confident I can work well with both incoming and continuing members of the Board in a productive and transparent way.

If elected secretary, my goal will be to continue to build upon the professionalism, transparency, and effectiveness of my predecessors. As a member of the Executive Committee, I will strive to be the voice of and defend the interests of all ATA members while also continuing to speak out on behalf of all freelance members of our Association.

I look forward to serving you and ATA as secretary as well as a member of the Board. Thank you for your consideration and I ask for your vote.

Treasurer

Two-Year Term

Ben Karl, CT
ben@bktranslation.com

I’m honored to have been nominated for the position of ATA treasurer. I’ve been an ATA member since 2016 and am grateful to be a part of a community that works tirelessly to support, professionalize, and advance the careers of language professionals in the U.S. and around the world. This past year and a half was especially difficult for so many, and ATA was there to lend support, guidance, and hope.

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

I started my freelance career in 2013 after several years at a major language services provider. I promptly joined the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association (NITA) and quickly learned the value of association membership. In 2015, I was elected to NITA’s board of directors and named public relations chair, a position I held until moving to California in 2019.

I currently volunteer for ATA in a variety of ways. I serve as the editor of the French Language Division’s blog and as a member of The ATA Chronicle Editorial Board, supporting efforts to make sure ATA’s magazine features relevant, quality content. Since 2018, I’ve served on ATA’s Membership Committee and as the Membership Committee representative to the Government Linguistic Outreach Task Force. During my time on the Membership Committee, I’ve contributed to the rollout of new member orientations, military linguist outreach, countless new member benefit initiatives to ensure members are taking full advantage of their memberships, and most recently, a guide to help new translators get their initial foothold in our exciting industry.

In addition to my work for ATA, in 2018 I was nominated by ATA to serve on the Translatio Standing Committee of the International Federation of Translators (FIT), which I also currently chair. I coordinate a team of a dozen volunteers and suppliers to publish FIT’s quarterly newsletter, Translatio, which features articles from FIT member associations around the world, including ATA.

If elected treasurer, I would work closely with the Finance and Audit Committee and ATA’s in-house accountant, financial advisor, and auditors to ensure the solid financial foundation laid by my predecessors is made even stronger, in full transparency, without passing an undue financial burden onto ATA members. My MBA and experience as a financial translator give me a solid background in finance to convey ATA’s financial information to all ATA members effectively, so they know their dues are being put to good use. Wherever possible, I would seek to optimize ATA’s resources to benefit members and work to ensure ATA’s financial statements are accurate and clear.

Finally, I believe strongly in taking steps to embody and fulfill ATA’s 2017 Resolution Supporting Diversity and 2020 Statement on Racism and Inequality, and would advocate for the Board to allocate financial 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 treasurer.

Treasurer

Two-Year Term

John Milan, CT
john@milanlanguageservices.com

ATA membership has been slowly declining for over a decade, while conference attendance (even before the pandemic) has trended smaller. These two items—membership dues and the Annual Conference—account for more than 80% of our revenue. Since neither is growing, we need to continue to manage our finances prudently, making sure that funds are optimally allocated to serve members’ interests and objectives.

Fortunately, the Association is financially sound in terms of its balance sheet, investments, and strategic reserves. Good governance and forward-thinking actions have prepared us for this reality. I’ve been committed to both since being elected treasurer in 2017, and prudent financial management will continue to guide my decisions if I’m re-elected to this post for a final two-year term.

For those who don’t know me, I’m an ATA-certified Portuguese>English translator, economist, consultant, and former adjunct professor of economics, with 25+ years of professional experience in multiple countries. I’ve served on ATA’s Finance and Audit Committee (FAC) since 2015, chairing it since I became treasurer. The FAC oversees our finances and ensures accurate financial reporting. I’m also the chair of ATA’s Strategy Committee, which takes a step back from day-to-day operations to examine longer-term trends in our profession and help the Board of Directors make decisions about the Association’s future.

My background includes a Master of Science in applied microeconomics from Ohio State University, where I was a foreign-language fellow specializing in Portuguese translation and linguistics. I also hold degrees in Spanish and international political economy from Indiana University, and I finished up my undergraduate studies in Madrid, Spain, at the Institute of European Studies.

For 11 years, I lived in Brazil, where I was on the faculty of a university in São Paulo, concomitantly working as a freelance translator, interpreter, editor, and consultant. Among other experience, I was the financial administrator of a nonprofit organization that employed eight people with a $1 million budget, and I’ve run three businesses, one of which employed
45 people and had a $3 million budget.

From 2009-2016, I served on the board of the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters, ATA’s local chapter in the Carolinas, as director, vice president, and president. During that time, we developed a local mentoring program, expanded outreach efforts to universities, held quarterly meetups for translators and interpreters, updated and digitized operating procedures, took the chapter paperless, and, most significantly, organized well-attended annual conferences in partnership with foreign-language and interpreter-training programs in the region.

I’ve drawn on this experience to make sure that ATA has a solid budget, sufficient funding, accurate financial statements, and an open channel of communication with the membership. If re-elected treasurer, I shall continue to seek out areas to improve the stewardship of ATA’s resources, ensuring that our Association remains financially sound, transparent, and duly audited.

I look forward to this opportunity and am honored to be considered once again for this position.

Director

Three-Year Term

Eve Bodeux, CT
eve@bodeuxinternational.com

Actively involved with ATA for over 20 years, I’m proud to have served as an ATA director for the past three. It would be a privilege to serve a second term and help lead ATA as we face the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing conditions in our world and our profession. I thank the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee for allowing me this opportunity.

I’m an ATA-certified French>English translator specializing in international development, corporate communications, and tech marketing. Throughout my career, I’ve been committed to professional associations and the value that they bring.

As a Board member, I’ve served as chair of ATA’s Public Relations Committee (2018–2021). My overarching goal has been to inform the public and media about the importance of translators and interpreters in society. I’ve focused on educating potential buyers about the importance of using professional providers and specifically about the value of using services provided by ATA members.

I’ve been fortunate to work with devoted committee members whose efforts benefit all of ATA. I’ve interfaced with the national and regional media to spotlight ATA and its members, worked with the ATA Writers Group to publish articles in a wide range of media outlets, developed marketing pieces for buyers of translation and interpreting (T&I) services provided by ATA members, and organized external events for ATA to promote its members. I’ve also participated in advocacy efforts aimed at informing Congress and state and local officials about issues that matter to our members and affect their livelihoods. Successful advocacy takes action at all levels.

I’ve been active in the Divisions Committee (2015–2019) and in the Governance and Communications Committee (2018–2021), helping to evaluate ATA policies and procedures and ensure efficient governance.

Past volunteer positions include having served as newsletter editor and two terms as administrator of the French Language Division in addition to two terms as vice president (and numerous other positions) with the Colorado Translators Association, an ATA chapter. The author of Maintaining Your Second Language, a book for language professionals, I also co-founded and co-hosted the podcast Speaking of Translation from 2008 to 2021.

As an ATA director, in addition to helping to execute the governing responsibilities of the Board, I plan to:

  • Assist the new Public Relations Committee chair and maintain a presence on the committee, providing continuity and working on special projects. Public relations activities are important to promoting T&I in general, ATA as an organization, and the services that members provide.
  • Work actively in ATA’s Advocacy Committee to help monitor laws, regulations, and policies that affect translators and interpreters in the U.S. and abroad and help translators and interpreters make their voices heard.
  • Continue to actively engage with members to be able to understand their needs and execute programs that will help them be successful translators and interpreters.

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

Director

Three-Year Term

Robin Bonthrone, CT
rb@robinbonthrone.com

Being invited to run for a position on ATA’s Board of Directors is a singular honor that not only acknowledges what you’ve already accomplished as an active ATA member, but also underscores that your peers think you’ve a lot more to give. That’s why I’m delighted to be asked to be a candidate in this year’s elections.

Despite the excitement about opening up again this year, I think it’s important to consider that our professions, and ATA itself, are moving into uncharted waters. The challenges we face—for example, neural machine translation, remote interpreting, the PRO Act and similar state legislation, and the pandemic-related economic disruption to target markets—are matched by concerns affecting ATA. These concerns include the steady shrinkage of our member numbers, questions about the profitability of future in-person events, and the need to realign the Association and its support structures to safeguard ATA’s long-term future as the national home for translators and interpreters.

I believe the wealth of experience I’ve accumulated not only as a professional German>English financial-legal translator for over 32 years, but also as an active member of ATA’s Professional Development and Business Practices Education Committees—and what I have learned as a member of the Finance and Audit Committee—will make me a valuable team player on ATA’s Board of Directors.

I’m particularly proud of the collective achievements of the Professional Development Committee in 2020 and 2021, proving how much a well-balanced, diverse team of professionals can accomplish when they share the same objectives, enthusiasm, and motivation. We’ve helped make ATA a global leader when it comes to high-value, affordable, online continuing education, and I firmly believe that encouraging ATA members to be subject area specialists with wide-ranging business knowledge and “soft” skills—and supporting them across all stages of their professional journey—is probably ATA’s most critical mission in the coming years.

My commitment to ATA and its members is also reflected by my work to educate ATA members about federal funding programs available to them during the pandemic, in particular the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As well as regular updates on the Business Practices listserv, I authored several versions of a Guide to PPP, which were published in The ATA Chronicle Online section of ATA’s website. I’m proud to have helped many ATA members secure financial assistance when they needed it most.

Finally, my position since January 2021 as president of the Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association has given me a ringside view of nonprofit governance. I’ve gained an excellent insight into what it means to guide and support a diverse team of volunteers, and my awareness of nonprofit challenges and opportunities was broadened and deepened by a virtual training event for nonprofit board members I attended.

I’m asking you to vote for me so I can help shape the future of ATA in a fast-changing world and work with fellow Board members to advance the interests of all of our members.

Director

Three-Year Term

Céline Browning
celine@fitincservices.com

I remember vividly the pure passion and excitement emanating from the attendees at my first ATA Annual Conference in 2012. Soon after becoming an ATA member, I became involved in the conference planning committee of the Japanese Language Division (JLD) in 2014. I served as division secretary in 2016, and I became the JLD administrator in 2019. Much has changed in the JLD since that first introduction.

Despite COVID heavily impacting my first year as administrator, ATA61 served as a catalyst for our current offering of division events. An online meetup during ATA61 has grown into a webinar series, roundtable discussion, and coffee hour, with our division hosting more than 22 events. The JLD has also collaborated with the Chinese and Korean Language Divisions to jointly host future conference sessions, webinars, or get-togethers.

As the outgoing JLD administrator, it’s an honor to be nominated to run for a position as an ATA Board director. I’ve lived in Japan from a young age as a non-native bicultural resident. I’ve made a living as an adult as a minority interpreting in a minority language. Thus, I’ve had first-hand experience on the impact of diversity and bicultural experiences, while gaining proficiency in my heritage culture, as well as of the culture of Japan, where I settled. It’s my deepest hope to bring more awareness and appreciation to the diversity within the various divisions of ATA.

Goals
  • Outreach to educate clients on our professional standards and values, especially in the new post-pandemic normal, by serving on the Advocacy or Standards Committee.
  • Creating more cross-collaboration within ATA’s divisions by serving on the Divisions Committee.
  • Serving on the Interpretation Policy Advisory Committee to work to prevent the exploitation of interpreters in the new-normal of the post-pandemic world. Some of the impacts have included price cuts of normal fees and unrealistic expectations on working hours and conditions.

Education: I attended the Japanese obligatory education system from elementary through middle school as the only non-native Japanese in my school. I returned to Japan for university studies in international relations with an emphasis on human rights. I then obtained a master’s degree in intercultural conflict management in Germany. I next attended the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where I received a master’s degree in conference interpreting.

Professional Experience: I’ve worked primarily in the private sector, including interpreting for the tidying-queen Marie Kondo. I’m also a contract conference interpreter with the U.S. Department of State. I have experience with remote simultaneous interpreting, working in that mode since 2018 and presenting at conferences on the topic. As a member of the leadership council of the National Small Business Association, I’ll use my seat to advocate for opportunities for translators and interpreters within the U.S. small-business community, bringing recognition where linguists are underrepresent.

If elected, I hope to bring more equality, visibility, and appreciation to language professionals. I believe my background is ideally suited to maintaining and fostering organizational resilience through nurturing collaboration and in-depth communication.

Director

Three-Year Term

Manako Ihaya, CT
manako@ihaya.org

This is my second year running for ATA’s Board of Directors. While I’m honored once again to be nominated, I also know that it’s a tough election, with half of us guaranteed to lose. So why am I taking the risk again? Simple: because I want to help make the Association that helped me make it here in the U.S. even better.

I joined ATA in 1999 as a mother of four, soon-to-be divorced, four years after immigrating to the U.S. I was determined to make a living for myself and my children, and it was ATA’s Certification Program and network of fellow freelancers that provided me with the confidence, legitimacy, and reassurance to forge ahead, building my business as a professional translator, and later, interpreter.

I grew up uniquely bilingual, moving around in Japan and the U.S. attending a total of five elementary schools, three junior high schools, and two high schools before graduating from Tokyo’s Sophia University with a BA in English literature. I learned to make friends everywhere I went to school, a trait that became invaluable for networking later in life. After working as an English-language journalist in Tokyo, I transitioned to being a Japanese>English translator in the U.S., being ATA-certified in that direction as soon as I joined the Association. Now that my children are grown, I’ve been working primarily as an interpreter, traveling wherever my assignments take me. I also act as an agency when I have large projects that require multiple translators and interpreters.

At ATA, I made use of my experience as a staff editor and writer at The Japan Times Weekly to serve as the editor of the JLD Times, the newsletter of ATA’s Japanese Language Division, when it was still in print form. I’ve also been involved in the Certification Program, serving as a grader for the Japanese>English certification exam since 2008 and as language chair since 2019. In addition to ATA, I became a member of the Japan Association of Translators and was on the board of directors from 2006-2010, serving as president for two years.

If elected, I hope to help lead ATA to be not only the reassuring presence it was for me when I joined, but also a powerful advocate and a provider of tools for our profession to deal with these changing and challenging times. As an association professionally representing global languages and cultures, we are in a unique position to help the U.S. understand and appreciate the diversity that makes our country strong. I hope to help ATA in that role, both within and beyond the Association.

Director

Three-Year Term

Meghan Konkol, CT
meghan@fr-en.com

I appreciate the opportunity to continue serving on ATA’s Board of Directors. Since joining the Board in 2018, I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside truly remarkable hard-working colleagues, and I look forward to continuing this work if re-elected.

Over the past three years, the issues we’ve addressed on the Board have covered a number of big-picture items for the Association, including membership structure and benefits, certification, and advocacy efforts. Serving on the Board has allowed me to directly impact how ATA supports professional translators and interpreters and educates the public about our skills and services.

Now more than ever, it’s essential that we keep our eyes and minds open so we can respond swiftly and effectively to change—whether it’s learning new skills, adapting to emerging technologies, or advocating for recognition of our professions. If re-elected, I’ll continue to actively listen to members’ concerns and address them through my work on the Board and various committees. I’ll maintain my focus on optimizing the Association’s offerings to ensure ATA remains the go-to support system for all language professionals.

I’ve served on ATA’s Membership Committee since 2018 and became chair in 2020. This committee works to provide a wide range of programs and benefits to encourage member participation and retention and to recruit new members to join ATA. I welcome open discussions with and comments from colleagues, no matter what languages they work in or what stage they’re at in their career. I strive to consider the needs and concerns of ATA’s diverse membership so the Association can adapt to our ever-changing landscape and provide the support that translators and interpreters need most. My work on the Membership Committee includes our recently published e-book, The ATA Guide to Starting Out as a Translator, member orientation sessions, a member benefits video, and an upcoming membership survey to obtain diversity information that will allow ATA to better serve all members.

Since 2011, I’ve served as coordinator of ATA’s School Outreach Program under ATA’s Public Relations Committee. Our recent work includes support for virtual classroom visits, improved resources for presenters, video and podcast promotions, and a livestreamed School Outreach event.

I also serve on ATA’s Governance and Communications Committee. This committee focuses on reviewing ATA policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the realities of the Association and our members. We also work to make sure these policies are communicated clearly to keep members informed.

My strong organizational, communication, and leadership skills are a crucial part of my work serving on ATA’s Board and various committees. I approach decisions and projects with an aim to consider the concerns of all members so ATA can continuously improve its offerings.

It would be an honor to continue serving on the Board. As always, I encourage all ATA members to reach out with any comments or questions about how I can continue addressing your needs as language professionals. Thank you for your consideration.

Director

Three-Year Term

Carol Shaw, CT
carol@carolshaw.net

The daughter of linguists, I was raised in Ecuador from the age of one, returning to live in the U.S. in my early 20s. After a detour into the corporate world of international sales, marketing, and logistics, I returned to my roots and training in 2000 as a full-time freelance translator and interpreter. A few months later, I stumbled onto a listserv for translators. Instantly, I had a host of mentors and a wealth of advice at my fingertips to help me do my best. It was my first taste of what a professional community can be.

I joined ATA in 2001 and was certified (Spanish>English) in 2006, but never really explored the benefits of getting involved with a national organization. To be honest, as a member of the board of the Metroplex Interpreters and Translators Association and a founding member of the Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, I wasn’t convinced that greater participation in ATA was worth the time and money.

So, in 2010, I went to Denver to find out whether it was or not. I’ve only missed one ATA Annual Conference since. I’ve also joined divisions, watched webinars, and presented at ATA59 in New Orleans. It’s my honor to serve as the blog editor for ATA’s Interpreters Division. And it’s an enormous honor to be nominated this year for a director position on the ATA Board.

My Perspective

The individual components of ATA are valuable ones. The professional development, publications, advocacy, certification, policy—even the chance to gather with others of our “tribe” and revel in being with people who understand the art and science of what we do—are all important.

By incorporating all these activities (and more) cohesively, such that one area informs another, ATA creates a space that both serves and strengthens the whole professional. That, in turn, helps the rest of the world understand just what we do. And helping the rest of the world better understand what we do is invaluable.

My Passion

Educational translation and interpreting is increasingly recognized for the specialized field that it is. As the district translator for several school districts for over 20 years, I also train their staff translators and interpreters.

I believe strongly in peer-to-peer education. For nearly 10 years, I taught continuing education classes for my fellow licensed court interpreters in Texas. I’ve taught seminars and classes, and I’ve appreciated what so many of you have taught me.

And I believe in coming alongside our clients through consultancy and advocacy. The more the rest of the world understands our role and function, the more effective our partnership will be.

My Promise

All these years later, I’m still a little in awe of what a community of professionals can be. It would be an honor to put my experience and expertise at the service of ATA and our community. I promise to do my best.

Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws to be Presented to the Membership for Voting in October 2021

In addition to electing Board officers and directors, Voting members will also vote on five proposed Bylaws amendments. The proposed changes appear below and are posted online at www.atanet.org/elections. 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.

Amendment 1: Ex Officio Membership of Ethics Committee

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws

ARTICLE V
Officers
Section 2—Duties

a. The President shall be the principal executive officer of the Association and shall in general supervise all of the affairs of the Association and be responsible for the operation of the Association Headquarters. The President shall be the Chairman of the Board and shall preside at all meetings of the Association, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee and shall be a member ex officio of all committees, except the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee and the Ethics Committee, without the right to vote unless otherwise provided by these Bylaws. The President shall share with the Treasurer the right to sign checks and warrants for the withdrawal of Association funds. The President shall execute on behalf of the Association all documents, obligations, contracts, or other instruments which the Board of Directors have authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board of Directors, or these Bylaws or by statute to some other officer or agent of the Association. The President shall perform such other duties applicable to the office of President as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association. The President shall be responsible for carrying out the policies and directives adopted or approved by the Board
of Directors.

b. The President-Elect shall automatically become President at the end of the current term of office. The President-Elect shall perform all duties applicable to the office of vice-president as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association or as may be presented by the Board of Directors from time to time and shall be a member ex officio of all committees, except the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee and the Ethics Committee, without the right to vote unless otherwise provided by these Bylaws.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to add the Ethics Committee to the list of committees of which the President and President-Elect shall not be ex officio members. They are already excluded from being ex officio members of the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. Robert’s Rules of Order recommends exclusion from these committees to avoid any undue influence by these officers over nominees for elected office or the investigations of members.

Amendment 2: Expanding Eligibility to Chair and Serve on Committees

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws

ARTICLE III
Membership
Section 3—Rights and Privileges

b. Corresponding members have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to hold Association office and to serve on the Board of Directors or standing committees.

c. Associate members have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to vote, to hold Association office, and to serve on the Board of Directors or standing committees.

ARTICLE VII
Other Committees

Section 1—Appointment of Committee Heads and Members
Unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws, and subject to approval by the Board of Directors, the President shall appoint or reappoint all committee heads, all of whom must be voting members of the Association. Members of any committee shall be appointed by the President in the same manner or selected by the head of the committee, subject to approval by the Board of Directors.
Only Active members of the Association may serve on, or be committee heads of, the standing committees. Only voting members of the Association may chair committees. Vacancies in the membership of any committee may be filled on an interim basis by appointments made by the President.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

The purpose of the proposed amendments is to allow fuller participation on ATA committees by Active, Corresponding, Associate, and Student members. The amendment in Article VII, Section 1 also extends the right to serve as committee chairs to include Corresponding members.

Amendment 3: References to Committee Chairs

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws

ARTICLE V
Officers
Section 2—Duties

a. The President shall be the principal executive officer of the Association and shall in general supervise all of the affairs of the Association and be responsible for the operation of the Association Headquarters. The President shall be the Chairman of chair the Board and shall preside at all meetings of the Association, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee and shall be a member ex officio of all committees, except the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee, without the right to vote unless otherwise provided by these Bylaws. The President shall share with the Treasurer the right to sign checks and warrants for the withdrawal of Association funds. The President shall execute on behalf of the Association all documents, obligations, contracts, or other instruments which the Board of Directors have authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board of Directors, or these Bylaws or by statute to some other officer or agent of the Association. The President shall perform such other duties applicable to the office of President as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association. The President shall be responsible for carrying out the policies and directives adopted or approved by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VII
Other Committees
Section 1—Appointment of Committee HeadsChairs and Members

Unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws, and subject to approval by the Board of Directors, the President shall appoint or reappoint all committee headschairs, all of whom must be voting members of the Association. Members of any committee shall be appointed by the President in the same manner or selected by the headchair of the committee, subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VIII
Compensation and Administrative Secretariat
Section 1—Compensation

Officers, Directors, chairmenchairs and members of committees of the Association or any of its Chapters or Divisions shall receive no salary or other compensation with the exception that editors of ATA Division and Chapter publications may receive a modest honorarium, as authorized by the Board. Duly authorized expenses incurred on behalf of the Association shall be reimbursed.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

These proposed amendments do not represent a change in procedure or policy. Rather, their purpose is to create consistency in wording throughout ATA’s Bylaws when referring to Board and committee chairs in addition to using a gender-neutral term.

Amendment 4: Removal of Membership Facilities

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws

ARTICLE III
Membership
Section 3—Rights and Privileges

a. Active members have the right to attend any of the Association’s membership meetings, use all of its membership facilities, and receive all of its regular publications free or at special membership rates. They also have the right to take certification examinations, to vote, to hold Association office, and to serve on the Board of Directors and all committees of the Association.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to clarify that the Association does not have, nor has it had, “membership facilities” such as physical buildings for members to use (ATA Headquarters is an administrative office and not a membership facility). In ATA’s early days, some founding members considered establishing a physical library of materials related to translation and interpreting. As such a “facility” was never built, and technology has now made it highly unlikely that any such physical facility for members will ever exist, this wording in ATA’s Bylaws has become obsolete.

Amendment 5: Two-Thirds of Board Votes

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws

ARTICLE III
Membership
Section 2—Eligibility

h Honorary: Honorary membership may be conferred upon individuals who have distinguished themselves in the translation or interpreting professions by a vote of two-thirds of the entire Board of Directors. The total number of living Honorary members shall not exceed twenty at any one time, and not more than two may be elected in any one year.

Section 6—Disciplinary Actions
b All disciplinary actions are taken pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board from time to time, which procedures may be amended only by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors.

ARTICLE IV
Board of Directors
Section 5—Removal

Any Director or officer may be removed from office by vote of the voting members at any annual or special meeting of such members. Any motion to remove a Director or officer may be presented to the voting members for vote only upon by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors, or upon submission to the President of a petition for removal signed by at least 100 voting members of the Association.

ARTICLE XII
Chapters
Section 6—Termination of Agreement

When the activities of a Chapter are deemed to run counter to the established policies and objectives of the Association, the Board of Directors, by a two-thirds vote, may terminate the agreement between the Chapter and the Association may be terminated by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors.

ARTICLE XIII
Divisions
Section 6—Dissolution and Suspension

When the activities of a Division are deemed to run counter to the established policies and objectives of the Association, the Board of Directors, by a two-thirds vote, may dissolve that Division or declare its activities suspended may be dissolved or have its activities suspended by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

These proposed amendments do not represent a change in procedure or policy. As currently written, there is potential ambiguity as to whether the two-thirds vote applies to the entire Board or to those voting. The purpose of these amendments is to create consistency and resolve this ambiguity. A two-thirds vote of the entire Board means that when there is a motion related to any of the above, at least 9 of the 13 members of the Board must vote affirmatively for the motion to pass.

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