Sailing into 2017
From the President
As most of you have noticed by now, I’ve been using the analogy of a ship to describe the Association and its journey. Many people refer to ATA as the “mothership” within the translation/interpreting industry. And with over 10,000 members in all 50 states and over 100 countries, ATA is the largest organization for translators and interpreters in the United States. While many other trade associations have come and gone over the years, ATA is moving full steam ahead.
As we enter 2017 and the halfway mark of my term, the clearest and most prominent change is in the Association’s financial landscape. Much of that change comes through the brave decisions of the Board to take bold action against our deficit.
For example, we restructured the model for The ATA Chronicle and took steps to make the conference more financially self-sufficient. The result is a Chronicle that is more engaging, a conference with record attendance, and a budget surplus with six figures.
Significant progress has also been made by the Public Relations Committee. Along with a larger budget, the committee has a sustainable plan of action. ATA is proactively placing articles in trade journals that target the very people who purchase translation and interpreting services, while simultaneously fielding requests from the general media.
Another milestone that was passed this year was one that was noticed by relatively few people. After many years of trying to find an efficient system for delivering a computerized certification exam in a diverse array of settings, we have found a solution that involves very little technology. Six successful exam sittings have been held over the past year that have allowed members to work on their own laptops with web access. We expect to increase that number in the coming year.
Another change has been the increasingly important role that interpreters play in ATA. A clear signal of merging the cultures of translators and interpreters can be seen in the ability of ATA’s Directory of Translators and Interpreters to now display a selected set of interpreter credentials.
Interpreters have also highlighted the role of advocacy in the translation/interpreting industry. ATA has been active to ensure that the critical role played by professional interpreters is recognized and respected. Be that in federal immigration court, in language access legislation, or in combat zones.
Fortunately, ATA’s diverse membership and its culture of assimilation and adaptation helps the Association speak to the public with a strong voice. And the public is more aware of who we are than ever.
As a result, demand for translators and interpreters is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 29% by 2024. ATA will be there to bring these people aboard.
ATA has also been expanding its presence online by making The ATA Chronicle available on its own website, as well as expanding our efforts on social media with a YouTube channel and a new podcast series.
None of this would be possible without our members. Because we need all of you on this ship. Your energy and enthusiasm is the fuel for ATA. That fuel is what keeps the Association moving forward—through the seas of change and the oceans of opportunity that lie ahead.