ATA wishes to encourage good business practices and to foster a culture of prompt payment among its members. All members of the American Translators Association (ATA), by the act of joining the Association, agree to abide by the All members of the American Translators Association (ATA), by the act of joining the Association, agree to abide by the American Translators Association Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.

In addition to the principles outlined in the Code, ATA encourages all members to follow professional business practices. Such practices include exercising due diligence and good business judgment before accepting or offering work. Members should verify that the prospective client or vendor has a satisfactory business record and qualifications, and that there is a reasonable expectation of satisfactory future performance.

ATA recognizes that, even with due diligence, commercial disputes between members will sometimes arise. It is the policy of ATA not to undertake to resolve or publicize such disputes for the following reasons:

  1. Publicizing alleged cases of non-payment by members would require ATA to review such cases and make a finding of improper action, which is not feasible for lack of expertise and resources. It could also expose ATA to potentially expensive and damaging litigation. ATA does not have the expertise and resources to review such cases and make a finding of improper action. Publicizing alleged cases of non-payment by members could also expose ATA to potentially expensive and damaging litigation.
  2. The Board of Directors is obligated to allocate ATA resources in a way that maximizes the return to members on the investment they make in joining the organization. Pursuing a policy of intervention in commercial disputes would require ATA to set aside financial resources to cover potential legal costs or curtail other programs of established benefit to members.
  3. If ATA were to adjudicate commercial disputes involving claims of non-performance on the part of language service companies, it would also be required to adjudicate disputes involving claims of non-performance by individual members. To do so, ATA would have to determine whether an individual member’s work for compensation meets professional standards, a function ATA is not prepared to undertake.

The ATA Ethics Committee may consider cases in which a member has been convicted of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude in a court of law, cases of alleged impropriety in the conduct of Association business, and other cases properly brought before it under Article III, Section 6 of the ATA Bylaws. The ATA Ethics Committee does not deal with complaints that are exclusively commercial disputes. However, members can submit cases to the Ethics Committee in which a member has been convicted of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude in a court of law, cases of alleged impropriety in the conduct of Association business, and other cases under Article III, Section 6 of the ATA Bylaws. The ATA Ethics Committee will decline to consider disputes of any other type.

ATA Committees, Chapters, and Divisions shall not publicize alleged cases of non-payment by members or non-members in any of their digital or print communications or publications. ATA members may express their individual views on commercial or other matters in private channels but may not do so on any ATA channels covered by this policy.

Approved by the ATA Board of Directors: October 31, 2021

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