Charting Our Progress…

From the President

David Rumsey

In my last column, I made the analogy that running ATA is like steering a very large ship. We are fortunate to be charting a new course forward, with an energetic and enthusiastic crew. I’m pleased to report that we have already been making progress.

At the Board of Directors meeting in Miami last November, one of the first orders of business was to create ataTalk, a listserve where members can discuss ATA policies and activities among themselves. The benefit of this type of forum is that we can bring all of the ideas and opinions into a single location where they can be shared and heard. It allows those of us at the helm to survey the seas and plot a course forward. It allows other listserves, such as the popular Business Practices listserve, to focus on their core mission to provide practical advice and share experiences. You can join the conversation here.

Another key component in helping us map the waters around us is the newly released ATA Translation and Interpreting Services Survey Report. The last ATA compensation survey was completed in 2007. The survey, conducted in conjunction with the survey professionals at Industry Insights and some experienced key volunteers, provides a detailed look at the compensation for translators, interpreters, and company owners, including pricing information by language, the number of hours worked, and the use of language technology. Both members and non-members can access the easy-to-read Executive Summary for free, but only ATA members receive the full 40-page report for free. Information like this can be helpful when we plan member benefits and determine other financial planning.

On a related note, during our recent meeting in Atlanta, the Board reviewed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Antitrust Compliance policy, formerly known as the ATA Policy on Rates, which dates back to the days when ATA fell under the watchful eyes of the FTC in 1990. ATA’s current legal counsel reviewed the policy, and although the level of precaution remains largely the same, the Board included a detailed commentary that helps explain when and how the policy should be applied. This will help to clarify the many myths and misunderstandings around the issues of antitrust law.

We are also seeing progress in ATA’s Public Relations Program. After replying to a host of various media inquiries, ATA’s Public Relations Committee is taking a more proactive approach by having articles placed through a professional PR firm. Instead of a “shotgun” approach and trying to get our name in a few general papers in passing, the firm is taking a “rifle” approach that focuses on placing articles in trade publications with targeted, receptive readers. (These are the folks who actually purchase translation and interpreting services.) This helps us provide more information with a greater impact. One of their best placements so far has been in Communication World Magazine, published by the International Association of Business Communicators, which includes writers in the fields of marketing, advertising, public relations, employee relations, and more. So, take a few minutes to read “Automation Doesn’t Solve Everything: 5 Things You Should Know about Machine Translation.”

It’s great to see all the progress being made by the Association as we plot our way forward. I’m hoping for smooth sailing and more sunny skies in the future. 

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