From the President: Looking Back while Moving Forward

From the President
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Twitter: @mszampaulo

The end of the year is always a time for reflection. And if we reflect on the past year in ATA, I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a year of big wins and growth in several areas of our Association.

Advocacy: Our Advocacy Committee has had quite a year. Under the leadership of Ben Karl, the committee has responded to multiple calls for action and stepped up in ways that make us all proud to be ATA members. The committee has drafted letters to various organizations, including the City of Santa Maria, the Oregon Health Authority, the Court Administration Office of the Eighth Judicial District Court in Nevada, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Labor, and several others. The committee also shared a presentation at ATA63 on how members can become more involved as advocates in the T&I professions. I know we’ll continue to see our ATA Advocacy team stepping up in the coming year. (Read about ATA’s most recent advocacy effort involving the U.S. Department of Labor in this issue!)

Professional Development: The Professional Development Committee, chaired by Nora Díaz, has been dedicated to bringing ATA members the highest level of continuing education opportunities on a variety of subject-specific and language-specific topics. The committee has expanded its offerings to include workshops, webinars, and even a professional development podcast series on specialization. Committee members have also been working to organize a virtual conference that we hope will take place in the spring of next year. So, watch your inbox for more information on this as plans unfold.

Ethics and Professional Responsibility: The Ethics Committee, chaired by Robin Bonthrone, has been working diligently to revise the ATA Code of Ethics. This revision, which started under the previous Ethics Committee Chair, Jill Sommer, is now complete, and the Board recently approved the revised code, which will take effect January 1, 2023. You’ll find information about it on ATA’s website soon, and you’ll be asked to agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility when you renew your membership for 2023.

Certification: Our Certification Committee, under the leadership of David Stephenson, took our new online testing platform to the next level this year. Not only can you now take the certification exam online, but you can take it on demand. This is a huge accomplishment and one that began under the leadership of the late Michèle Hansen. I’m grateful to this group who picked up this project and made the on-demand option a reality, making the exam available to more members anywhere in the world.

ATA Website: As you know, ATA’s website has come a long way over the past few years! In fact, not only did we completely revamp the website, but Website Manager and Graphic Designer Teresa Kelly at ATA Headquarters took it to a whole new level. And, because of this hard work, ATA was recognized this past summer at the International Federation of Translators (FIT) World Congress in Cuba, where we were awarded the FIT Prize for Best Website. Thanks to Teresa and to ad hoc website committee chair, Karen Tkaczyk, for leading this effort!

Honorary Members: Perhaps one of the most significant changes in ATA in 2022 was the decision by ATA Executive Director Walter “Mooch” Bacak to wrap up his time with us. Mooch served our Association for 28 years. He has been, in many ways, the institutional memory of our Association, and we’ll miss him dearly. Mooch was awarded Honorary Membership unanimously by ATA’s Board of Directors, and it was my privilege to present him with this honor in recognition for his dedication to our Association during the Annual Conference.

Our other Honorary Member in 2022 is Corinne McKay, a long-time member, past ATA President, and a dear friend and colleague to so many of us. Corinne’s work has touched the lives of translators and interpreters all over the world. She literally wrote the book on how to succeed as a freelance translator. No really… she wrote that book! Her books, in addition to courses and more than 15 years’ worth of blog posts and podcast episodes, have been in the hands and earbuds of thousands of translators and interpreters. If there ever was an individual who has distinguished herself in the translation and interpreting world, I think we can all agree that Corinne is at the top of the list.

Looking Ahead to 2023

I’m thankful to say that while we’ve had tremendous growth in our programs, we’re also making a smooth transition in ATA with a vibrant professional in our new executive director, Kelli Baxter. During this past year, I was joined by the rest of ATA’s Executive Committee, ATA Past President Corinne McKay, Mooch, and ATA’s Assistant Executive Director of Membership and Communications, Mary David, to lead the search for our next executive director. We had over 40 applicants for the position, and we met many times over a period of six months to create the job ad, review applications, conduct interviews, and select our top candidate.

Kelli comes to our Association with a wide range of experience in the association world, including a background in data and IT, event planning, management, and more.Kelli stood out to the search team from the start, and she was our front-runner right up to the end. We’re confident she’ll continue the good work Mooch has done over the past many years. You can learn more about Kelli in her column in this issue!

Overall, ATA remains strong and vital. We’re a resilient association that has made it through a pretty tough couple of years with a lot to show for it. I’m looking forward to seeing what ATA accomplishes over the next year, but for now I’ll leave it at that and thank everyone again who volunteers for ATA. Without you, we wouldn’t have the great Association we’re all able to call our professional home. While our membership numbers are not exactly growing as much as we would like, we did see at least 200 new members join ATA around the time of the Annual Conference, and our retention numbers remain steady at 83.6%. (For reference, anything over 80% is considered positive in the association world.) With that, as of a month ago, we had 8,374 ATA members. I encourage you to renew your membership for 2023, do an end-of-year assessment of your ATA Directory profile listing, get involved in your divisions, and consider joining an ATA committee. We have much more in store for you in the coming year!

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