From the President: Looking Back with an Eye on the Future

From the President
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
Twitter: @mszampaulo

At the start of every new year, I find myself reflecting on the past year and focusing on what lies ahead. During the last months of 2021, after coming together (both in person and virtually) in Minneapolis for our Annual Conference, there were a few events that felt significant for us all as translation and interpreting professionals and ATA members.

Advocacy for Pennsylvania Court Interpreters: One of these events represented an important win for advocacy. Earlier in 2021, under President Ted Wozniak, ATA joined the Tri-State Language Access Coalition (TSLAC) to advocate for interpreters, as the Administrative Offices of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) announced a 50% reduction in pay for remote interpreters. ATA sent a letter to AOPC supporting TSLAC, stating that the pay cut was unacceptable and noting that remote interpreting is neither cheaper nor easier to perform than on-site interpreting. On November 22, TSLAC announced that the Pennsylvania courts had reversed their decision and would adopt new compensation standards to improve the “quality and professionalism of language services in the justice system.” To find out more information, see the links in the sidebar.

Advocacy for Translators in the Entertainment Industry: You may have also heard about ATA’s open letter calling for fair working conditions for translators in the entertainment industry. Our letter was picked up by dozens of media outlets, including Apple News, The Boston Herald, Google News, Yahoo! Finance, The Associated Press, and many more. ATA also sent the letter directly to executives at various networks and studios like Apple+, BBC, Disney, HBO, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Sony, ViacomCBS, and others. We’ll continue to follow this issue and advocate on behalf of professionals who work in this area of translation and subtitling.

Mourning the Loss of ATA’s Certification Committee Chair: We received some very sad news at the end of 2021. Our esteemed colleague and dear friend, Michèle Hansen, chair of ATA’s Certification Committee, passed away after a sudden cancer diagnosis. We’re all mourning this significant loss. Michèle was such a bright light and a true example of selflessness, volunteering without hesitation and contributing to several areas of ATA. We’ll miss her dearly and send our deepest condolences to her family. Please look for the tribute to Michèle in this issue on and pass on your memories and condolences to her family on her tribute page (see sidebar).

Looking Ahead

Here are a few things to watch for in 2022:

Professional Development and Membership Benefits: This year, you can expect to see more professional development offerings from our Professional Development Committee, so watch for upcoming webinars, workshops, and courses to help you in various areas of your professional work. In addition, our Membership Committee will be sharing a new membership survey, so please be sure to fill it out and let us know what benefits you enjoy and what improvements we can make to our programs.

Advocacy: Our Advocacy Committee continues to find ways to support professional translators and interpreters, working diligently behind the scenes. You can expect to see more from this group to help you effectively communicate with your local legislators and advocate for professional translators and interpreters at both local and national levels.

ATA Annual Conference: We’re already in full conference-planning mode for ATA’s 63rd Annual Conference in Los Angeles, October 12-15, 2022! We’ll hold a conference site visit immediately before the winter Board meeting in Los Angeles in February. Please see President-Elect Veronika Demichelis’ column on page 6 for more information about the call for session proposals and a new video on how to submit a winning proposal. I’m already looking forward to welcoming you to my sunny Southern California this year!

Finally, as we all look forward to what’s to come in 2022, I would like to personally thank every volunteer who contributes time and expertise to our many valued programs. Without your help, we would not be able to enjoy so many benefits as ATA members. I would also like to thank our staff at ATA Headquarters for implementing the many ideas and projects we come up with as ambitious volunteers! It truly is a team effort.

Useful Links

Advocacy in Pennsylvania: Court Interpreters Win Fair Compensation

ATA Calls for Fair Working Conditions for Translators in the Entertainment Industry

ATA63 Conference Proposal Form

How to Write a Winning ATA Conference Proposal

Michèle Hansen Tribute Page

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