Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws to be Presented to the Membership for Voting

In addition to electing Board directors, Voting members will also vote on two proposed Bylaws amendments. The proposed changes appear below and are posted online at www.atanet.org/bylaws_change.php. Please note that material proposed to be deleted is struck through; material proposed to be added is underlined. ATA’s Bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the voting members.

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws: Rights and Privileges

Proposed Amendment to Article III, Section 3—Rights and Privileges

a. Active members have the right to attend any of the Association’s membership meetings, use all of its membership facilities, and receive all of its regular publications free or at special membership rates. They also have the right to take certification examinations, to vote, to hold Association office, and to serve on the Board of Directors and all committees of the Association. They also have the privilege of free or reduced rates for use of the Association’s membership resources, including professional development events, certification examinations, and all of its regular publications.

[…]

d. Institutional and Corporate members have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to vote, to hold Association office, to serve on the Board of Directors or standing committees, and or the privilege to take certification examinations. The rights and privileges shall be exercised through a person appointed by the organization holding the membership. This appointment does not confer individual membership on the designated person.

Amended clause of the Bylaws without markup:

a. Active members have the right to attend any of the Association’s membership meetings, to vote, to hold Association office, and to serve on the Board of Directors and all committees of the Association. They also have the privilege of free or reduced rates for use of the Association’s membership resources, including professional development events, certification examinations, and all of its regular publications.

[…]

d. Institutional and Corporate members have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to vote, to hold Association office, to serve on the Board of Directors or standing committees, or the privilege to take certification examinations. The rights and privileges shall be exercised through a person appointed by the organization holding the membership. This appointment does not confer individual membership on the designated person.

The ATA Board of Directors recommends approval.

Commentary

The ATA Bylaws state that the Association shall support “programs of accreditation and certification for translators and interpreters who meet specific standards of competence.” Best practices among certifying associations allow nonmembers to take certification examinations.

Allowing nonmembers to acquire certifications enhances the recognition of such certifications and eliminates potential perceptions that a certifying association may be controlling the supply of certified individuals. Allowing nonmembers to take the ATA certification exam would also raise awareness of ATA certification in the translation industry, recognize the competence of professional translators regardless of their membership status, generally increase the credibility of the translation profession, and enhance the credibility of the ATA certification examination.

The Board of Directors therefore considers it in the best interest of the Association to open the ATA certification exam to nonmembers of ATA. The wording of the current Bylaws allows differing interpretations regarding the right to take the ATA certification exam and the Board of Directors’ authority to set policy in that regard. Clarity with respect to both issues is desirable and necessary to avoid disputes and to obtain the benefits described above.

This amendment eliminates ambiguity about the right to take the certification exam, clarifying that a reduced rate for the certification exam is a privilege of membership and that the exam may be offered to nonmembers.

Proposed Amendment to the Bylaws: Multiple Candidates for Elective Office

Proposed Amendment to Article VII, Section 2 d. 2):

2) The Nominating and Leadership Development Committee shall propose multiple candidates for each elective position of the Association, including at least two (2) candidates for the position of President-elect when that position is up for election. The names of the candidates proposed, whose written acceptances must have been obtained by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee, shall be presented to the Board of Directors for publication to the members.

Amended clause of the Bylaws without markup:

2) The Nominating and Leadership Development Committee shall propose multiple candidates for each elective position of the Association, including at least two (2) candidates for the position of President-elect when that position is up for election. The names of the candidates proposed, whose written acceptances must have been obtained by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee, shall be presented to the Board of Directors for publication to the members.

Commentary

An uncontested slate is not in the best interests of member participation and involvement. Historically, ATA Nominating Committees regularly offered members a choice of candidates for both officer and director positions. An effective nomination process produces a balanced slate of candidates that is not only representative of the membership but also presents a plurality of candidates for critically important leadership positions. The Association is strengthened when members make meaningful choices in their votes for leadership positions. This proposed Bylaws amendment would remove reliance on the “nomination by petition” process (Article VII, Section 2 d. 4) of the ATA Bylaws) to ensure that choice. While the Elections Policy may be revised from time to time, or even from one Board meeting to the next, it is appropriate for its fundamental aspects, namely the assurance that members will have a choice when voting for officers, to be guaranteed in the Bylaws.

The Board of Directors chose not to take a position on the above amendment, but the Board notes that, if approved, this amendment will require that at least two candidates be proposed for each officer and director position up for election each year. This means at least six candidates for three open director positions and two candidates each for secretary, treasurer, and president-elect when those positions are on the ballot.

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