From the President
One of ATA’s strengths is, undoubtedly, stability. While many professional associations have struggled to remain relevant in the 21st century, we’re thrilled that ATA is on solid financial footing. This stability has allowed us to pursue several “capital improvement” projects, such as a fully redesigned website—hopefully to go live before our Palm Springs conference—and an association management system—a piece of backend software that will streamline our membership management and accounting processes.
At the same time, we must evolve to remain relevant. This doesn’t mean changing for the sake of changing. It means we need to change in ways that allow us to better serve you, our members, and to better serve the language professions as a whole. ATA will take a major step forward when, on January 1, 2020, we open ATA’s certification exam to nonmembers, meaning that anyone who wants to earn the ATA-Certified Translator (CT) designation can take our exam, regardless of whether they are an ATA member. Likewise, our members who are currently certified will have the option of letting their ATA membership lapse while still retaining their CT designation.
The ATA Board feels that this change will be a positive one, for several reasons:
- The CT designation will gain recognition and prestige when it is open to anyone, rather than being seen as an ATA membership credential.
- Opening the exam to nonmembers will allow us to promote the benefits of ATA membership to nonmembers who take the exam, hopefully bringing them into the ATA fold.
- Planning for this change has forced those of us on ATA’s Board to really think through the benefits of ATA membership and how to promote them. We think that every ATA member should be a member because they choose to be, not because they are required to be.
I’m very grateful to the team that is helping to prepare for this major shift: our highly capable Treasurer John Milan has run various financial projections; Certification Committee Chair David Stephenson and his committee are preparing our exam graders for what we hope will be an increased volume of certification exams; Membership Committee Chair Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo and her committee are working on boosting our membership recruitment and retention efforts; Public Relations Chair Eve Lindemuth Bodeux and her committee are continuing their work to spread the word about the value of professional translators and interpreters in the business world; and our tireless staff at ATA Headquarters are putting various plans in place, including working with a membership marketing firm to recruit new members and reach out to lapsed members.
I’m excited about this new direction for ATA, and we eagerly await the first exam sittings at which nonmembers will be welcomed!