ATA Member Orientation: A Bird’s-Eye View of All ATA Has to Offer

Even members who have been involved in various capacities over the years may not be aware of all that’s going on in ATA at any given time!

ATA’s Member Orientation sessions are a new initiative organized by the Membership Committee in 2021 to give members a chance to learn about the Association’s opportunities, programs, and initiatives in a brief, one-hour session. Although it’s geared toward translators and interpreters who are newer ATA members, longtime members have commented that they’ve learned useful information in the orientation as well. Here’s an overview of what these sessions cover.

As an association with members around the globe and a wide variety of interest groups, programs, and events, ATA might seem like somewhat of a puzzle to members. New and veteran ATA members alike often have questions about how to navigate the Association and get the most from their membership. With strong volunteer teams powering our Board of Directors, committees, and divisions, plus support from a dedicated staff at ATA Headquarters, the Association keeps busy rolling out initiatives and activities for its members year-round. Even members who have been involved in various capacities over the years may not be aware of all that’s going on in ATA at any given time!

The sheer magnitude of activity within ATA got those of us on the Membership Committee thinking about how we could support members who aren’t sure what ATA programs best fit their interests, or what benefits to take advantage of. Members may not have time to comb ATA’s website on their own to figure out what membership benefits are best suited for their needs. With this in mind, the committee began to consider how we could provide an easy-to-digest snapshot of everything ATA offers, including how to access benefits and programs, so that members could choose where to get involved and avoid feeling lost. Our answer: the ATA Member Orientation.

Orientation sessions are held every two to three months in webinar format, and presenters cover a number of topics of interest to any member, including ATA’s basic organizational structure, major initiatives and programs, and the many benefits available to members. We provide links to all the resources members may be interested in and demonstrate where to find important information on ATA’s website, as well as basic instructions for updating your profile in the online Language Services Directory.1 The session introduces programs members can get involved with right away, such as the School Outreach Program and Contest. For additional networking opportunities, we also encourage attendees to look up ATA chapters and divisions of interest to them.

From the presenters’ perspective, one of the most enjoyable parts of the sessions we’ve held so far has been seeing members engage with the Association and each other! We reserve time for Q&A at the end of the session and have been encouraged by members’ enthusiasm for what ATA has to offer. Attendees have also enjoyed networking with fellow members via the chat function, as they share where they are tuning in from and make connections with colleagues who have mutual languages and interests. (“This session made me feel less overwhelmed and more informed as a new member,” shared a participant from our March orientation session.) Although the sessions were originally designed with new members in mind, we’ve found that the information and resources we’ve shared have been drawing interest from longtime members as well.

Our hope is that these sessions will serve as an informative and welcoming event for new and veteran members alike, and that members will be encouraged and empowered to take full advantage of their membership through a better understanding of the opportunities they have as members of the ATA community.

Additional ATA Member Orientation sessions are scheduled for July, September, and November 2021. Keep an eye out for the link to register in Newsbriefs and on ATA’s website!

The Membership Committee welcomes all feedback on what you would like to see included in future orientation sessions. And if you’re an experienced ATA member who is familiar with ATA’s range of programs and benefits and would like to volunteer to co-host an upcoming orientation session, please get in touch with Membership Committee Chair Meghan Konkol (meghan@fr-en.com).

Important Member Resource Links

ATA Annual Conference
https://ata62.org

ATA Chapters, Affiliates, and Other Groups
http://bit.ly/ATA-groups

ATA Divisions
http://bit.ly/ATA-divisions-about

ATA Language Services Directory: Creating and Updating Your Profile
http://bit.ly/ATA-Directory-profile

ATA Member Benefits Overview
http://bit.ly/ATA-benefits

ATA Newsbriefs
http://bit.ly/ATA-Newsbriefs

ATA Opportunities for Members to Contribute
http://bit.ly/ATA-involved

ATA School Outreach Program
http://bit.ly/ATA-School

ATA School Outreach Contest
https://bit.ly/ATA-outreach-contest

Note
  1. Bodeux, Eve, and Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo. “Are You Getting the Most from Your ATA Directory Profile?” The ATA Chronicle (September/October 2019), https://bit.ly/ATA-profile.

Jamie Hartz, CT is an ATA director and ATA-certified Spanish>English translator specializing in legal and commercial translation. She completed an MA in Spanish translation at Kent State University in 2015. In 2013, she was one of three ATA volunteers who established The Savvy Newcomer blog, and she is a frequent contributor and editor. She is also a member of the Delaware Valley Translators Association (an ATA chapter). jamie@tildelanguage.com

Meghan Konkol, CT is an ATA director and an ATA-certified French>English freelance translator specializing in international development, marketing and communications, and human resources. She received her MA in French>English translation from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2010. She serves as chair of ATA’s Membership Committee, and also serves as the coordinator of ATA’s School Outreach Program. meghan@fr-en.com

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