Here’s a look at how the PR Committee interacts with the media, as well as the efforts of ATA’s Writers Group to publish articles in various outlets for increased exposure for the organization and its members.
The focus of ATA’s Public Relations Committee is to inform and educate the media and public about the roles that translators and interpreters play in society and what it means to be a translator or interpreter. At the most basic level, this can range from simply correcting the common but incorrect use of these two terms interchangeably (e.g., translation = written; interpreting = spoken) to more complex discussions about the ethical responsibilities that translators and interpreters have when providing services to government officials.
The PR Committee is involved in a wide range of activities, including:
- Helping to promote ATA on social media.
- Interacting with the traditional media.
- Placing articles in various media outlets to garner attention for ATA.
- Organizing school outreach presentations to engage the next generation of translators and interpreters.
- Scheduling ATA’s presence at various external events to educate the business public about ATA and the services members provide.
- Developing marketing materials.
- Organizing ATA’s annual activities for International Translation Day.
The committee also promotes the use of ATA’s free online Language Services Directory as the go-to resource for potential buyers of language services to find translators/interpreters for their projects.
The following will provide a more in-depth look at how the PR Committee interacts with the media, as well as the efforts of ATA’s Writers Group to publish articles in various outlets to increase exposure for the Association and its members. These activities are two sides of the same coin: one represents ATA responding to media representatives who reach out to ATA for assistance or information, and the other represents some of ATA’s efforts to reach out to the media.
ATA and Media Inquiries
It’s the PR Committee’s goal for ATA—the largest professional association for translators and interpreters in the world—to serve as the recognized source for information about translating and interpreting. The Association is frequently contacted by local, regional, national, and international media outlets to comment on various news that involves translators, interpreters, and language-related issues. Mirroring the diverse role that translators and interpreters play in all aspects of society, inquires cover a wide range of topics.
Here are some examples of the types of inquiries ATA has received from media outlets in recent years:
- The Kansas City Star requested information about the need for interpreting and translation in educational K-12 settings as related to Title IV language access and confidentiality issues.
- A White House reporter for the Associated Press contacted ATA about issues related to meetings between the U.S. and Russian administrations.
- A reporter from The New York Times covering a drug trafficking trial inquired about interpreter certification.
- U.S. News & World Report contacted ATA for information on translation and interpreting careers.
- A public radio reporter in New York City asked ATA for information on the use of video during immigration hearings.
- An NBC News producer contacted ATA for assistance using ATA’s Language Services Directory.
- A regional California media outlet asked for background information regarding the risks to interpreters working in person during the pandemic.
- A reporter from a large city paper asked for information on the importance of providing interpreting services at city council meetings.
- Several journalists have contacted ATA to request press passes to ATA’s Annual Conferences.
- ATA has been contacted by numerous outlets to comment on legislation affecting freelancers’ ability to work, such as California’s Assembly Bill 5 and the PRO Act being considered by the U.S. Congress.
Upon receiving media inquiries, the PR Committee chair assesses the information requested and where to direct the requester for the most pertinent response. In addition, the chair replies in a timely manner to the individual asking for assistance. The world of media moves quickly and journalists are often on a short deadline, making it important to respond quickly if ATA would like to be able to influence a story or provide information that will be used in published or broadcast form. For this reason, responding rapidly and efficiently to inquiries is a priority.
ATA Writers Group
ATA’s Writers Group dates to 2015, when its members began crafting articles to be placed in national, industry, business, and online media outlets. The purpose is to provide exposure to ATA as an organization as well as its members while simultaneously educating the public about issues related to language, translation, and interpreting. ATA members who are active in the Writers Group work in various language pairs and specialties. Here are some of the dedicated volunteers who have been part of our writing team:
- Matt Baird, an ATA-certified German>English translator specializing in copywriting, content marketing, and corporate communications.
- Gabriella Aldeman, a Spanish<>English translator specializing in nonprofits, educational material, creative translations, and children’s literature.
- Anne Connor, a Spanish>English and Italian>English translator specializing in law, medicine, and business.
- Elena Langdon, an interpreter and ATA-certified Portuguese>English translator specializing in multimedia and health care.
- Kate Deimling, an ATA-certified French>English translator specializing in advertising, marketing, search engine optimization, copywriting, and book translation.
- Marion Rhodes, an ATA-certified English>German translator specializing in search engine optimization, marketing, tourism, and equestrian sports.
- Emily Safrin, an ATA-certified Spanish>English translator specializing in editing, medical, and culinary translations.
- Molly Yurick, a Spanish>English translator specializing in subtitling, tourism, hospitality, and airline industry translations.
These volunteers work with the PR Committee chair and an outside PR professional who pitches articles to media outlets covering a wide range of industries. Articles are written by both members of ATA’s Writers Group and ATA leadership. Members of ATA’s Writers Group are assigned deadlines for their articles throughout the year. They work with ATA’s PR professional to prepare and adapt their pieces for various media outlets as needed. The team also meets with the PR professional bimonthly and holds a yearly brainstorming session to discuss article topics and set the annual calendar.
ATA pitches to national outlets and to others that are more specialized. When choosing who to approach, the PR team considers various factors. These include statistics such as online readership, likely article coverage views, social media shares, link coverage, domain authority, as well as reputation and industries covered. While it was challenging during the past year to garner attention for articles that didn’t focus on the pandemic, the team’s articles were successfully published in language and other industry outlets. Examples of past articles that have been published by the team are included in the section below. (Note that ATA’s Writers Group is currently recruiting. If you’re interested in submitting an application to this volunteer group, please contact the PR Committee chair at email@example.com for more information.)
Increasing Awareness of the Profession, One Publication at a Time
The goal of ATA’s Public Relations Committee is to share information with the general and business public to educate them about who translators and interpreters are and what they do. Doing so increases awareness about the role our members play in society and the importance of both translation and interpreting.
We’re confident that our efforts in PR, both now and going forward, will bring positive attention to the translation and interpreting professions while serving the interests of all ATA members. As chair of ATA’s PR Committee, I welcome any questions regarding the progress of our efforts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s just a small sample of where articles by ATA’s Writers Group have been placed!
Baird, Matt. “How to Avoid Misinformation: Cross-Border Strategies PR Pros Should be Thinking About,” Prowly Magazine, http://bit.ly/Matt-Baird.
Deimling, Kate. “6 Ways to Celebrate Language Diversity on World Day for Cultural Diversity,” Diversity News Magazine, http://bit.ly/Kate-Deimling.
Gabriella Aldeman. “The Case for Bilingual Books: 4 Ways Dual-Language Books Can Boost Biliteracy in Young Children,” Imagination Soup, http://bit.ly/Gabriella-Aldeman.
Langdon, Elena. “7 Tips for Crushing an International Meeting Remotely, According to an Interpreter,” Newcase, http://bit.ly/Elena-Langdon.
Safrin, Emily. “4 Ways to Make Money from a Skill You Already Have: Language,” OceanUp, http://bit.ly/Emily-Safrin.
Walsh, Caitilin. “Getting Real with Translation and Interpreting: 11 Resources to Bring Translation and Interpreting to Life in Your Online Classroom,” Language Magazine, http://bit.ly/Caitilin-Walsh.
Yurick, Molly. “Top Six Reasons You Should Caption Your Social Media Video Content,” Search Engine Watch, http://bit.ly/Molly-Yurick.
Eve Lindemuth Bodeux, CT is chair of ATA’s Public Relations Committee and an ATA director. She is an ATA-certified French>English translator and a localization project manager with over 20 years of experience in the language industry. email@example.com