Governance at a Glance: How ATA Works

Find a Translator or Interpreter
Search for:

Governance at a Glance: How ATA Works

How ATA Works

The American Translators Association is a not-for-profit membership organization with the primary goals of encouraging the professional development of translators and interpreters and promoting the translation and interpreting professions. It is governed by its Bylaws, which define the scope and nature of its activities, and an elected Board of Directors, which conducts the business of the group. ATA is incorporated as a 501(c)(6) association in the State of New York.

Board of Directors and Officers

The elected Board of nine directors and four officers is responsible for managing the Association and guiding its development. Each director serves a three-year term; each officer a two-year term. Board members are unsalaried and receive no compensation for their services.

Policies and Procedures

The Board is also responsible for defining policies and procedures to ensure that ATA governance is ethical, transparent, and in accordance with the laws of the State of New York and the United States of America.


The Bylaws establish a number of Standing Committees to oversee and administer many of ATA's activities and programs. Ad Hoc Committees are appointed, as needed, to address specific, current issues that affect the organization as a whole or individual members as a group. As a volunteer-driven organization, member participation at the committee level is the strength behind many of the Association’s activities.

Voting Members

Elections for the ATA Board of Directors are conducted annually. Voting members may cast their ballots by mail, by proxy, or in person at the Annual Meeting of All Voting Members. The ATA Bylaws can also be amended by a two-thirds majority of voting members. Other matters submitted to membership vote are decided by a simple majority of those voting at any regular or special meeting at which a quorum is present.

Headquarters Staff

The ATA Staff are management professionals who provide administrative and organizational support for everything ATA does, and ensure continuity through changes in volunteer leadership. The Association's Headquarters is located outside of Washington, D.C., in Alexandria, Virginia.

There are many ways to participate in the life of your Association:
  • LISTEN to your colleagues: at the conference, in The Chronicle, on mailing lists and in Division newsletters. Be informed about your languages and subject areas, your profession, and your Association.

  • TALK to other members and to the Board: the Directors and Officers volunteer their time and energy to help make ATA better for everyone, and they need to hear from you.

  • VOTE for the Directors and Officers you think will make ATA what you want it to be.

  • SHARE your knowledge and expertise with other members by writing an article for an ATA publication or giving a conference presentation.

  • HELP build your profession and your Association by serving on a Committee and participating in Division and Chapter activities.

  • LEARN from your fellow members and from the experience you gain as an active participant in ATA and in your profession.

  • GROW as a translator and interpreter, as a member of a vital and demanding profession, and as a human being.