What the Business Practices Education Committee Is Doing for ATA Members

To succeed in today’s competitive economy, you need specialized knowledge and an inside track. As an ATA member, we’ve got you covered with ATA’s Business Practices Education Committee.

ATA’s Business Practices Education Committee was established in 2005 to provide ATA members with information about sound business practices for the translation and interpreting industry. Fine, you say, but what has it done for me lately? That’s a good question, so let’s elaborate.

Business Practices Listserv: To begin with, the committee’s core project remains the Business Practices listserv, which can be found at https://groups.io under the name ATA-Business-Practices. At the beginning of June 2021, the group had 763 members, who typically submit anywhere from several dozen to several hundred posts per month. Discussions are moderated with a light touch by Paul Merriam, and the archives contain nearly 3,700 topics dating back to 2005. To join the group, go to https://bit.ly/groups-ATA-BP. The moderator will contact you with further instructions to complete your subscription.

Brainstorm Networking: In addition, the Business Practices Education Committee has hosted a Brainstorm Networking Event at every ATA Annual Conference since 2014, when David Rumsey, who was ATA President-Elect at the time, first came up with the idea. Participants join a group of typically between four and six people around a table and have a few minutes to introduce themselves, after which they discuss a pre-written scenario involving an ethical issue or other business-related problem. When time is called, everyone moves to a different table and starts over with a new group and a new scenario. Since the pandemic prevented in-person meetings, this event was held virtually for the first time at ATA’s 61st Annual Conference with over 300 people in attendance. Owing to the success of that event, the committee decided to begin holding it virtually on a quarterly basis. (The announcements are sent out by ATA Headquarters, so keep an eye out for the next one.) We’re happy to report that this event will be back (both in person and virtually) at ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference (October 27-30, 2021), so keep checking the conference site (https://ata62.org) for more information!

ATA Mentoring Program: The Mentoring Program was originally conceived and administered by former ATA Secretary Courtney Searls-Ridge, and later by Susanne van Eyl, before being brought under the umbrella of the Business Practices Education Committee. The idea is to pair translators and interpreters seeking to learn a new skill with ATA members possessing more experience in the relevant area. Mentees are typically industry newcomers, but even longtime ATA members can benefit from the experience if they would like to learn something new (e.g., adding a new specialty, marketing to direct clients, becoming a better proofreader, fine-tuning their business skills, etc.). Key to the mentee’s success over the course of the program is the articulation of clear and actionable goals at the outset. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/ATA-mentoring.

The program begins each year on April 1 with an application deadline in early March. It runs for six months, but the mentor-mentee pair have the option of extending this period for an additional six months. The application process is more streamlined if you’ve already paired up with a mentor and agreed on your objectives, but the Mentoring Committee can pair you with a suitable mentor if necessary. Mentees and mentors generally meet about once per month, typically via Skype or Zoom, for Q&A or other discussions. It’s also worth noting that certified translators earn continuing education (CE) points for participating in the program. If this sounds intriguing and you think you would like to be a mentor or a mentee, please contact the Mentoring Committee at mentoring@atanet.org and mark your calendar for the 2022 program year!

Mastermind Program: The Business Practices Education Committee has also set up a Mastermind program. The idea is to bring together independent groups of around a half-dozen self-guided professional peers of approximately the same level of experience to discuss opportunities and things they’ve struggled with in their business. These peer groups will meet initially for six months in a venue of their choosing to brainstorm solutions and set goals as well as to encourage and hold each other accountable for attaining their goals. (Business Practices Education Committee Chair Tess Whitty and Dorothee Racette gave a presentation to explain the program that’s available online as a free webinar at: http://bit.ly/ATA-Mastermind.) ATA members can express their interest in the program and volunteer as facilitators each January. Participants will be eligible to earn CE points. An article with more information about the Mastermind Program was posted to The Savvy Newcomer blog earlier this year under http://bit.ly/Savvy-Mastermind.

Blog: Our blog, Next Level: The ATA Business Practices Blog, is geared toward experienced translators and interpreters and is expected to go live later this summer. If you have expertise you would like to share with fellow translators and interpreters, writing an article for Next Level would be a great way to elevate your professional profile. If you’re interested, please contact the committee at atabizpractices@gmail.com.

And speaking of blogs, don’t forget the popular The Savvy Newcomer blog, which was founded by Spanish Language Division members Helen Eby, Jamie Hartz, and Daniela Guanipa in 2013. They’re part of a whole team of volunteers working to provide both fresh and reposted high-quality, peer-reviewed content on a weekly basis that’s directed at newcomers to the industry.

Model Résumé: Last but not least, a questionnaire has been drafted for members of ATA’s Translation Company Division with the goal of developing a model résumé—possibly in a dedicated file format—based on input from agency owners regarding the sort of information they consider to be important and/or irrelevant. This project is still in an early stage but look for the model résumé to be available possibly later this year.

Want to Get Involved?

As you can see, ATA’s Business Practices Education Committee provides numerous ways for ATA members to improve their business practices and hone their professional skills regardless of their level of experience, as well as the opportunity to give back to the community by contributing blog articles or serving as a mentor. And now that you know what the Business Practices Education Committee is doing for you, please consider taking advantage of these great ATA member benefits and/or volunteering with one of our initiatives. For more information, be sure to check out https://bit.ly/ATA-BPECommittee.

ATA Annual Conference Networking Events (including Brainstorm Networking)

ATA Mastermind Program
For the free (for ATA members) webinar by Business Practices Education Committee Chair Tess Whitty and Dorothee Racette, go to http://bit.ly/ATA-Mastermind. You can also read about the program on The ATA Savvy Newcomer blog, http://bit.ly/Savvy-Mastermind.

ATA Mentoring Program

The ATA Savvy Newcomer Blog

Business Practices Listserv
To join, go to https://bit.ly/groups-ATA-BP

Michael Engley, CT is a member of ATA’s Business Practices Education Committee. Previously, he served as administrator and assistant administrator of the German Language Division (GLD), as well as the dictionary review coordinator for the GLD’s newsletter interaktiv. He is an ATA-certified German>English translator specializing in corporate communications and financial translation. michael@bullishtranslations.com.

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