For more information access:
Minor corrections September 17, 2004, Oct 26, 2005
WE NEED those issues not summarized here.
1962: Seven signatories to original Incorporation documents (Sept/83 p.
Bierman letter: starting in May 1962, the Translation Inquirer masthead announced in Gode's words: "The Translation Inquirer is not an authority but a forum. The editor is not a censor. The reader is expected to be critical." (Chronicle September 1989 p. 14)
March 28, 1959, 25 bureau leaders set meeting of translators for May 1, 1959. Gode nominated to steering committee, sets meeting for December 14, 1959. There bylaws were presented.
April/1960: Gode elected. 9/83 p. 3; ATA Notes begins publication. (Sept/83 p. 8) Bierman says 1961 (1/89 p. 11)
December/60: first conference. 9/83 p. 3
1961: Bylaws Committee formed. American Translator begins publication (Sept/83, p. 8)
Charles Stern ...has served as Chairman of the first Bylaws Revision Committee (Sept. 1983 p. 4)
1962: Seven signatories to original Incorporation documents, one of them being Charles Stern. (Sept/83 p. 4) Stern, in charge of implementing the accreditation program, also served on the first bylaws revision committee (Sep. 1983, p. 4) ATA affiliated with FIT, 9/83 p. 4
1963: ATA joins FIT, 9/83 p. 4
March/63: 292 members. (Bierman 1987, p. 67)
1964 Licensing War--Pfister and Van Acker endorse coercive licensing. (Bierman 1987, pp. 58 et seq.)
Gode medal instituted. (9/83 p. 3)
FBI investigating ATA Board f/security (Bierman 1987, p. 74)
Bierman named to nominating committee (Bierman 1987, pp. 74-75)
Charles Stern never favorably disposed toward coercive licensing (Bierman 1987, p. 77)
ATA bylaws amended to prohibit or discourage "electioneering" (Bierman 1987, p. 79)
March/64: 405 members. NYMCATA meeting, phony Van Acker poll favors coercive licensing. Gode, Gingold, Fischbach, Mins balk, and Charles Hyman advocates outright totalitarian control. Bierman argues that self pity is the motivation behind the coercive licensing drive, and that it has not made hairdressers or masseuses one whit more professional. (Bierman 1987, pp. 62, 63)
April/64: NYMCATA sends out biased questionnaire currying support for coercive licensing. Agency-freelancer feud kindled, no figures given. (Bierman 1987, p. 65)
May/64: Board censures NY Chapter for circulating propaganda flyer. Pfister campaign against Dale Cunningham, and Fischbach tries to cover everything up as "airing dirty laundry." Electioneering decried, banned in bylaws 2 yrs later. (Bierman 1987, p. 65-66)
June/64: NYMCATAMAG distributes propaganda agitating for coercive licensing. (Bierman 1987, p. 67)
July/64: On the 7th the ATA Board moves to revoke NYMCATA charter. Calls for member ratification and gets 111 votes to NYMCATA's 84, not a 2/3 majority. (Bierman 1987, pp. 67, 68)
Nov/64: 526 members. (Bierman 1987, p. 67)
1965: ASSET requires examination or samples of past translations for membership. (Bierman 1987, p. 84)
1966: The Accreditation Program, instituted in 1966, gives extra cachet to qualified translators and will be supplemented in due course by the ATACERT program (Fellowship Credential) to acknowledge the highest translatorial competence. (Charles Stern, Chronicle, Sept./83 p. 4) ATA Notes publication ceases. (Chronicle 1/89 p. 10)
American Translator, August/66: $15 member dues, Fischbach message claiming the final text of the ATA certification program was soon to be submitted to the membership, as was his code of ethical practices; Source: Chronicle 2/94, p. 32
On March 1, 1967, President Fischbach dispatched a memo to all ATA members... He asked those members willing to take the accreditation exam to apply immediately. (Bierman 1987, p. 158)
"American Translators Association's Accreditation Policy and Procedures" published in BABEL, Vol. XIII, No. 4/1967
1970: ATA Newsletter begins publication. (Sept/83 p. 8)
It was William Bertsche... who, upon becoming President of the American Translators Association in late 1970, took the [accreditation] program out of its comfortable repose and... made it (precisely as formulated by COPSA in 1966, with barely a comma changed) into a reality. [Claim that Dr Eliot Beach contributed with a lot of work] (Bierman 1987, p. 165)
First examinations given in 1971 (Bill Cramer, June/94 p. 10) Muriel claims 1973 (July/98, p. 8)
Aug/1976: "Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators and Translation and the Practical Means to Improve the Status of Translators" adopted by all 143 member states at 19th general UNESCO Conference, Nairobi, August 16, 1976. Cf June/76 Chronicle. Fischbach endorses the document, makes one wonder what's in it. (9/83 p. 5)
1972: ATA Chronicle begins publication (Sept/83 p. 8)
Aug/1976: "Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators and Translation and the Practical Means to Improve the Status of Translators" adopted by all 143 member states at 19th general UNESCO Conference, Nairobi, August 16, 1976. Cf June/76 Chronicle. Fischbach endorses the document, makes one wonder what's in it. (9/83 p. 5)
February/1978: Henry Fischbach publishes "Brief History," ATA Chronicle Vol. VII, No. 2 (9/83 p. 4)
1980: Tom Bauman, freelancer, may have been ATA president at this time -- just before Ben Teague
1981: ATA Ad Hoc Legislative Committee visits congressional offices. (Sept/83 p. 7, Deanna Hammond) To do what?
January-February/81: Maria Brown passes Spanish-English accreditation exam, p. 4. 33 members pass in all.
March/81: 19 members pass accreditation exams, including Ruth Cline S-E, Doris Ganser G-E, Francisco Gutierrez E-S, Ted Morrow G-E. Congressman Leon Panetta (Cal.) on JNCL, GAO and HR 6790, etc. p. 3.
May/81: 19 members pass accreditation exams, including Joyce Baghdadi P-E, Barbara Cohen E-S, p. 3.
Aug/81: Interesting letter exchange, pp. 2-3. 18 pass accreditation exams, including Marian Greenfield S-E, Trudy Peters G-E, p. 4. Attempt to change already idiotic s/he to "they" p. 8. 31 members pass accreditation exams at $25, retakes $15, member dues are $35 for remainder of 1981, p. 12
September-Oct/81: atagram w/conference info.
November/81: Good letter from Curtis Erickson on the "Poor Us" school of translators, p. 3. 1981 ELECTION RESULTS, p. 4: "A total of 330 ballots were used in the tabulation, since 25 out of the 355 received arrived after October 7. The 330 ballots counted represented a response of 33.8% of the 977 members eligible to vote." voter turnout Malia memo to members: ..."Only eligible voters (members in good standing with active status in the ATA) are receiving the ballot and the return envelope"
Dec/81(Year-end): President's Message, Ben Teague, p. 2: "...our growth rate has gone from 10% to 17% per year." [Ben Teague, a freelancer, succeeded Tom Bauman, also a freelance as ATA President]
Kurt Gingold gives ATA membership numbers for 1960-1981, from 100 to 2000
members, pp. 3-4. [now reproduced with graph in atagrow.xls]
ATA's Affiliation with FIT: It was moved and approved that ATA send a letter to the FIT Council strongly protesting the attitude shown towards ATA as a result of ATA's opposition to what it perceives to be the FIT Council's violation of the FIT bylaws and recaling the major contributions the ATA has made to FIT. p. 5
Report of the Bylaws Revision Committee, BYLAWS AND TAX LAWS, by Patricia Newman, pp. 7-8: A clear, concise, objective and evenhanded description of the bylaws amendment process. "Active members have, among others, the rights to vote and hold office. (This is in Article Three, Paragraph IV, if you're still doggedly following along.) No other members have those rights, so if you want to take an active part in the ATA you should know what it takes to be an active member." (...) Suppose every member were required to pass a basic level accreditation test to "earn" the rights to vote and hold office. In other words, the options of endorsement by two active members or evidence of three years' professional experience would no longer be accepted. Exceptions would of course have to be made in those cases where there is no accreditation test in the applicant's language specialty, and currently active members would be exempt from this provision. Accreditation tests can be administered by the Testing Office of any college or university, so in theory they would be available even in remote areas when the applicant cannot attend a convention, workshop or chapter testing session. Requiring certification by ATA as a prequisite to active membership would demonstrate the committment of the Association to those standarda of professional competence that figure so prominently in our purposes. Is this a reasonable way to revise this requirement? (...) My name, address and phone number are given at the end of this article; please write or call to express your opinions on any aspect of the bylaws, and I promise to listen with an open mind." [Includes explanations of the member categories, REASONS for the proposal to require accreditation in languages offered as a means of earning the vote. The test is clearly to be offered to members as opposed to nonmembers, and the suffrage-through-testing became reality along with most everything else in the draft.--FP] (Chronicle Dec/1981)
Accreditation Committee Report, by Ben Teague, pp. 10-11: "...an unprecedented number of examinations--at last count, 386 of them, an increase of 54% over the preceding exam year." Mentions Henry Fischbach's ATACERT proposal. Teague on accreditation orientation, ATACERT, p. 26. Committeemembers William M. Park & Dolly Dearner discuss sample translations. Ethics Panel: Meeri Yule on reading (and amending) contracts before signing them, pp. 31-32.
Feb/82: 21 members pass accreditation exams, Thomas Conlon passing two, S&Fr-E, p. 5 Mario Ferreira passes It-E, Charles Ferguson Fr-E.
March/82: Highlights of Board meeting, NYC, Jan. 23-24, 1982: Charles Stern, new Accreditation Committee Chairman reports 141 tests administered, p. 6.
April/82: ATA budget statement, $11,215 deficit. $750 of that for FIT dues, while the accreditation committee brought in $3304.73. 46 members pass accreditation exams, including María Brown E-S, Carol Dibner Fr-E, Louis Korda G-E,
May-June/82: Collections--Why Should You Wait, by Jo Church, p. 16; reprinted Nov/85. The chairman of the Accreditation Committee (Charles Stern) invites recommendations from active members of the Association regarding the language combinations they consider most vital for accreditation purposes, p. 3. Representatives Leon Panetta and Paul Simon have co-sponsored a bill in Congress (HR 5738) to "improve the quality of translation and interpretation services available to US diplomats"... Cf Congressional Record of March 4, 1982... p. 17
July/82: 166 new members joined between January 1 and March 31. p. 6
January-February/83: Accreditation Committee report, p. 7, "Up to the present moment of my incumbency, graders under the stern eye of their chairman have executed their, shall I say, 'doubly blind duties' with increasingly effective zeal. 1831 passages representing 610 tests over a range of 12 language pairs (of which one factor has so far always been English) produced approximately 37% of successful candidates..." by Charles Stern. Translation Studies Committee session, by William M. Park, p. 17. "Peter W. Krawutschke, Western Michigan University: ...State licensing usually follows accreditation." Seminar on Testing and Measuring, by Ellis Deibler, p. 19, ..."He also queried whether we need to be more specific in grading exams as to just what constitutes a major vs. a minor error, to eliminate subjectivity."
March/83: From the President (Ben Teague) Daly and Arjona resign from Board, replaced by Patricia Newman and Grace Tillinghast... For some years the Bylaws Revision Committee and the Board have worked to get a comprehensive proposal ready for you; the April Board meeting should settle the last few points. I can't stress how vital this work is. Since the last thorough rewrite in the 60s, relations between officers and the Board have changed, chapters have raised questions that the present bylaws can't answer, and controversies have revealed gaps in our governing document. In the new revision, the committee and the Board have taken the wise course of altering only what has proved inadequate, leaving out what was not simply vital, and stating what was left in a brief, clear way. I think you will like the draft the Board submits to you for approval this summer. (...) Errors and Omissions insurance plan in effect... (p. 1) Pat Newman letter, only 50 survey responses received from 2000 members (p. 2) Charles M. Stern submitted a motion to raise accreditation grader's fees from $2.00 per passage to $2.50 per passage, which the Board approved. (...) On the recommendation of Eva Berry, the Board voted to join JNCL for one year in order to keep better abreast of legislative action of concern to the language community and ATA. (p. 4) Bierman tax article (pp. 8-9, 11)
April/83: Gerard Palmer, auditor, complains of Bierman's "simplistic" tax article (p. 2) Membership Memos (Kurt Gingold)... Dues $50/yr... Sci-Tech Division approved by Board, Pat Newman (p. 10)
May-June/83: A special accreditation subcommittee is being formed to deal specifically with the question of Slavic-language tests. We shall shortly be in communication with the Polish Institute, and it is expected that a Polish-English exam will be available for the next convention. Charles Stern, Accred. Chairman (p. 3) Highlights of Board meeting April 23/24, 1983, Rosemary Malia. Accepts Doris Ganser's resignation as Secretary for personal reasons. Gingold fills gap. ATA to submit amendments to FIT bylaws. The Board authorized the President to consult with our attorney with regard to the proposed new Bylaws and, upon approval of same, submit them in a referendum to the entire membership of the ATA at the next election. (...) The Board approved the formation of a committee, headed by Ben Teague, to begin the long-range work of perfecting and implementing the ATA CERT (ATACERT) program. (p. 3) Orrin Hatch speech referenced (p. 7) 85 members pass accreditation exams, Including Ruth Cline P-E, John Batista E-P, Martha S. Daza E-S, P-E; Susanna Greiss E-S, S-E; Bill Keasbey R-E; Leticia Molinero E-S; Yelfim Palchik E-R; Antonio Palomo P-E, S-E; Paul Sadur Fr-E; Laurie Truehaft S-E, Fr-E (p. 9) Pat Newman on resources, NTC (pp. 15-16) American Society of Interpreters announcement (p. 21)
July/83: FIT (Fischbach)...reports... Professional status of the translator (H. Schwarz)... Translator Training and Qualifications (G. Cammaert)... Application of the Nairobi recommendation... (p. 2) Gabe Bokor answers Teacher's Pet theory advanced in Oct. 1982 (p. 8) 11 members pass accreditation exams (p. 8)
Aug/83: Pat Newman on conventions, raises interesting ethical issues, p. 2. The bad interpreter's nightmare: getting caught-Ed., p. 5. News from abroad... ABRATES... working toward regulation and recognition; absurdities and irregularities in the Tradutor Público exams in Rio... Mitteilungsblatt... a German law on independent professions, including translating and interpreting, to equalize taxation, health insurance, and professional ethics and standards... (p. 11)
Sept/83: Ben Teague introduction "ATA believes translators can best be evaluated and recognized through their performance rather than their training and knowledge of principles. Our accreditation program embodies this view, as will the advanced certification program we are developing." (p. 3)
The Accreditation Program, instituted in 1966, gives extra cachet to qualified translators and will be supplemented in due course by the ATACERT program (Fellowship Credential) to acknowledge the highest translatorial competence. (Charles Stern, Chronicle, Sept./83 p. 4)
"ATA Certification Program" article explains the basics of the exam; about 250 words/passage, 15 language pairs offered, practice tests available. "As a general rule, each test packet contains one somewhat literary passage, one of fairly high technical content, and three of general interest, similar to news magazines in style and difficulty." (...) "It is not an easy thing for a translator to lay his work out for the inspection and evaluation of his peers, and the many ATA members who have done so are to be highly commended. The era of linguistic arrogance is passing, and the need for professionalism in translation is becoming more and more obvious. A vigorous accreditation program identifies the professional translators, upgrades the public image of our profession, and demonstrates the unique abilities of our linguistic experts."--Patricia Newman, p. 6. Newman (accredited R-E, G-E, an EE and holder of language degree) also claims the accreditation program began in 1973.
Charles Stern recap of ATA history highlights, p. 3, in which he states the accreditation program began in 1966. [How to resolve the 7-year inconsistency on dates?] ATA publications history, p. 8, 8th edition of the TSD. ATA joins JNCL, (p. 7) provides input in standard-setting for OPM, hearings of Presidential Commission on foreign languages. 32 numbers pass accreditation exams since May 1983, including Bill Keasbey, Sally Robertson, p. 14. ATA Budget balanced at $125,000.
October/83: Board meeting July 16/17 adopted statement summarizing bylaws changes and recommending approval. Sets meeting for Oct. 22, 1983 in Atlanta, p. 5. Polish exams both ways added to accreditation. 13 members passed since August/83, including Paul Sadur, S-E, p. 6. By-laws voting rights
December/83: Accreditation Committee explains double-blind grading policy as freeing graders from undue interference, p. 5. Intimidation of graders
January-February/84: Accreditation Committee, p. 6, by Charles Stern. 400 tests graded during twelvemonth ended Sept. 30, 1983. No fail rate or stats given, but available from HQ. Membership, by Kurt Gingold, p. 7: Dues raised, membership at 2,082, was 2,295 at end of '82. ATACERT, by Ben Teague, p. 8. More glowing predictions...
March/84: Discussion of Rep. Panetta's language bureaucracy bill, HR 3029, pp. 3-4. Eva Berry, p. 3, letter pushing for the political State to "recognize" us, cites Italy as example to emulate. "I am a believer in licensing of translators in much the same way other professionals are licensed by boards of examiners who assess their capability to practice a profession." [Recommends naked coercion?]
August/84: Eva Berry letter, p. 3, invokes "national security" as pretext for government meddling; endorses Sen. Stafford's SB 1795. Lee Wright bio, p. 8.
September/84: Bill Bertsche reminisces, pp. 1, 3. "The political unrest within this country at that time should not go unmentioned. Vietnam was a factor in all our lives, and it did not leave the ATA unaffected. However, two positive factors for the ATA resulted: A confirmation of the tenet that the ATA and translation are and should remain nonpolitical..." Questionnaire from 1961 on translation profession... no data, p. 4.
October/84: CERTIFICATION - ATA's basic accreditation program, initiated in 1973, continues to flourish: 400 candidates were tested in 1983 alone; 14 language combinations offered, confident predictions of ATACERT. Le footing as jogging, p. 2. Nick passes It-E; Korda, S-E, Leon Mindlin, E-Pr; p. 5. Kurt Gingold on rush rates, pp. 8, 10. "Let us keep in mind that ATA accreditation tests, which are intended to establish only basic competence and must be handwritten--without aid of typewriter or word processor--require an edited 'output' of 250 words per hour." Recommends output of at least 2000-2400 words per day.
November/84: Statement of Assets and Liabilities, pp. 6-7: Accreditation shows receipts of $2,746.19. ATACERT budgeted $200. "Highlights" of board meetings instituted, p. 8. Sam Markson letter complaining ATA caters to big agencies, ignores freelancers "just barely keeping their heads above water." Ed. estimates 1807 members in 1983, ~14% in NY. Teague with more glowing ATACERT predictions of exams in 1985!
December/84: Fischbach cover editorial on agency v. bureau, glowing predictions of ATACERT, pp. 1-4. Minafra response to Gingold on rush rates, p. 4. Manouche Ragsdale passes E-Fr, p. 5. Ann Sherwin's rookie article, p. 10, recommends brochure on finding a good translator.
January-February/85: 600 register for 1984 convention; Bierman talk, p. 3. Chadeayne, Hartmann, Mindlin, Ragsdale pass exams, p. 4. Pat Newman defines professionals, p. 8, as 1) college-educated 2) producing quality 3) ethical [no standard given] 4) getting good rates 5) participatory and communicative 6) teaching 7) writing for publication. Karl Kummer, Treasurer's Report. pp. 8-9: Member dues brought $99.300; accreditation fees $10,800, but with $8,000 in expenses. Atlanta convention raised $21,800 with a net loss of $100. Crump on HR 3029, p. 9. Gingold, p. 10: membership stood at 2175 at the end of 1983. Accreditation, Charles Stern: Pass rate was 47% overall. New graders appointed. Japanese, Chinese, Dutch planned; foreign-foreign possible. Stern awarded Gode medal, p. 12.
March/85: ATA: LABOR UNION OR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION? by Kurt Gingold, pp. 1, 3-4. ..."Under our system of government the only way to restrict access to the translating profession would be to institute licensing of translators on a state-by-state basis. In the past, your elected ATA directors have shown little enthusiasm for this notion, since control of our profession would then pass into the hands of bureaucrats. We have opted instead for a voluntary accreditation system (to be supplemented in the future by a higher-level certification program), both controlled by the ATA. In any case, since most translation is done through the mails, it would probably be impossible to enforce a licensing system." Gives G = R * N, where G=gross daily income, R=rate per word, N=number of words per day. "The only way to increase G, once the largest possible R has been negotiated, is to increase N." (...) "Of course, if members look upon the ATA as a labor union, then our performance has been extremely poor. What we should be doing in that case, I assume, is fighting for closed shops, collective bargaining, state licensing, and all the rest. To be sure, these services would not be available for dues of $50 a year (which, some members complain, is already outrageously high). Also, we would then have to forego our claims to professional status." Accreditation News, p. 6: 27 candidates pass, including Muriel, Karen Brovey (2), Inge Hollingsworth and R. Northrup. No fail rate given or number of attempts. Voluntary practice tests offered, sittings announced.
April/85: Ralph Costa bio. Maria Laporte passes P-E. Eight candidates pass, no fail rate given. Accreditation, p. 4: "In addition to the increased revenues noted," 165 out of 405 passed exams. [41% pass rate or 59% fail rate] Membership: "...declined for the second year in a row, with 2158 members at the end of 1984, compared with 2175 at the end of 1983. There is an annual 20-25% dropout rate, but the loss is not quite being made up by new members. Last year at election time there were 1047 active members. The Committee will send out final dues renewal slips in March to active members only. There was a general consensus that many professional translators have not joined ATA and that an effort should be made to bring in new people." Ethics: Board resolution condemns delaying payment by more than 30 days or waiting for primary contractor to pay before paying subs; p. 5. Isabel Leonard productivity poll, p. 7 [most produce 2-4k wds/d; 5% do 4-6k]
May-June/85: 35 signatures for nominations, no later than 30 days from notice of Committee's candidates. Anonymous letter denigrating tests in general, pp. 15-16. Veit, de Raadt letters, p. 18, accusing ATA of catering to agencies, ignoring freelancers. Northrup on lobbying by doctors & lawyers, etc.
July/85: Greiss anecdotes, p. 5.
August/85: West German Translators Seek Protection of Professional Status, p. 8: "...at the close of a meeting of the FIT council in Munich, emphasis was placed on the need for legislation that would establish the formal training and testing required of professional translators. Schwartz stressed the need for proof of translator competence, estimating that of the approximately 13,000 interpreters and translators now working in West Germany, only about a third are truly competent to exercise their profession, with the result that, according to Schwartz, many serious translation errors have caused irreparable harm to the users of those translations. (par.) The BDU has therefore recommended legislation that would require certain minimum qualifications for a practicing freelance translator or interpreter. Those qualifications would specify an academic training program, an official government-approved testing program, or at least some kind of officially recognized certificate attesting that the individual translator/interpreter possesses the necessary credentials." [Here in the US the 2/3 not yet competent simply do not vote to control the association, no coercion needed.] Al Bork passes S-E; Donna Sandin S-E; Pat Thickstun F-E; 56 candidates total. No fail rate given, p. 10.
September/85: Nick Hartmann, Fritz Hensey, Harvie Jordan, Leon Mindlin pass exams; 41 total. Ethics Committee complaints against Eva Berry, p. 4, who resigns p. 5, [replaced by Pat Newman]; citing philosophical differences with regard to ethical behavior/business. [complaint was that she owed about $100,000 to various translators] Celia Bohannon, p. 6, rookie article. Freelancer rates p. 8.
October/85: Pat Newman announces election results with no totals and no eligibility ratio; p. 3. Pat Newman on ATA and JNCL, p. 10. Benefits: 1) government meddling 2) hobnob with politicos 3) educate academia (now THAT'S optimism!)
November/85: Collections--Why Should You Wait, by Jo Church, reprint from 6/82, pp. 6-7. Ann Sherwin on competition, ethics, rates taboo; pp. 7-8. Tickler file alive and well.
December/85: Bierman article on freelancers' rates, pp. 1, 3. Bokor on incompetence, p. 3. Election results, p. 3, show Deanna Hammond with 412 votes, but no total ballot given. Peter K. elected with 164 votes, Willson, 199. No info on eligibility. Statement (not very clear), p. 7, shows accreditation receipts at $3,893.13. $84k surplus.
February/86: Gingold on membership, cover: December, 1985, 2335 members. Previous high was 2293, Dec/82. Letter on federal interpreter exams, p. 2, 11 "Even so, only a handful of the hundreds tested are certified each time the exam is given." Election results with partial vote counts, no mention of eligible ratio, p. 3. Bio of Fischbach, p. 4. Accreditation news reports only sittings, p. 6.
March/86: Teague on revised Atacert, more big plans, to be continued... Accreditation: 21 passed, incl. J. Baghdadi & Mike Stacy.
April/86: More Teague on Atacert, more big plans, to be continued... pp. 4-5. 23 candidates pass exam, incl. Mindlin P-E, Sadur E-S, Sandin S-E.
May/86: Teague on Atacert, Part 3, more of same; pp. 5-6. Accreditation: 6 candidates passed.
June/86: PEN resolutions, pp. 1, 3. Accreditation: 11 candidates pass. James Shipp on freelancers, p. 8. Spate of letters on Bierman, translator-agency relationship.
July/86: State Department schedule of rates, p. 8.
August/86: Betty Howell letter, pp. 9-10, notes that fewer than 1,000 have bothered to pass accreditation; equates coercive licensing of doctors, lawyers with "protects," "persuaded" the public. [No mention of coercing]
September/86: ATA issues very odd policy statement on language specialists, makes demands, but at whose expense? pp. 1, 3. Lee Wright on calculating income, possible rates; p. 8. Accreditation: 20 candidates pass. Ruth Harwood Cline, Chair, gives detailed explanation of exam, reasons people fail, urges practice tests. Approximately 500/yr tested. "The accreditation program is an important service offered by ATA. It is national in scope and has an impact on professional standards by furnishing prospective clients with evidence that accredited translators are sufficiently committed to prove their competence objectively to the dedicated group of professionals who grade the exams. The accreditation exam requires a commitment of time and money and the courage to be vulnerable, but ATA accreditation becomes more valuable with every good translator who offers this credential in his or her professional work." pp. 10.11
October/86: Ruth Harwood Cline, Chair, Accreditation Committee: "The ATA Accreditation program was intended to be a non-profit service to members and to further the profession by providing qualified translators with attestation to their professional competence, so they could obtain work more easily and charge fees commensurate with their abilities." (...) "The $25 testing fee, which has not been raised for many years, barely covers the fees for two or more graders and the postage, proctoring, room rental, and other costs of arranging the accreditation sittings." Board votes fee increase. 12 candidates pass, no fail rate given.
November/86: LDW Editor's Soapbox, p. 2: Only 505 valid ballots cast in election of 3 Directors. Complains of voter apathy. ATA had "vote-by-mail procedures." Spate of letters on unidentified author, suspicion of agencies.
December/86: Patricia Newman presented Alexander Gode medal for 1986, p. 3. Fischbach says: "Her third major contribution -- also sure to leave an indelible imprint on the Association -- is her masterful and extensive revision of the ATA Bylaws, a mundane and -- as she herself has freely admitted -- dull but vitally important task. Few, if any of us, were willing to tackle this thankless yet essential task if the Bylaws were to meet our changing needs, accommodate our tenfold growth, and provide the symbiotic home for more diverse membership. No easy undertaking, indeed. These completely revised Bylaws should serve us well for many, many years to come." [Henry Fischbach is referred to by Gabe Bokor as supporting the attempted gutting of Patricia Newman's revision.] Newman bio. Text of Patricia Newman's Gode Medal Acceptance Speech, pp. 4-5: "An engineering education taught me a pragmatic way to approach a problem, and I would like to summarize it for you. There are three steps: 1) identify the problem, 2) think of a solution, 3) implement the solution." October 1986 Board meeting abstract, by Ted Crump: ..."The decision to require accreditation in one language combination for active ATA membership has placed pressure on the testing program and its administrative support. Because of this expansion, the records have been computerized, and the committee has been reorganized. Chairmen have been appointed for the various language sections to advise the approximately 100 graders on language problems. The chairmen select the new test passages, prepare guidelines for future ATA examinations to ensure consistency in grading, and choose new graders." As of October 1, 1986, the status of the accreditation programs was as follows: Total tests administered to date were 540, at approximately twenty sittings nationwide, including 74 administered at the Miami convention. A sample of 509 tests shows a pass rate of 39%." "The test fee will be increased to $50 on January 1, 1987... The graders fee will be increased by $.50 to $3 per passage."
January/87: 5 candidates pass, p. 4. Statement of Receipts and Disbursements; Accreditation: $1,374.61; p. 6.
February/87: Gingold; we finished the year with 2598 members, an increase of approximately 11 percent... Accreditation, p. 3; 15 passed. Lee Wright on standards for translators, p. 10
March/87: 32 candidates pass, p. 7. Practice tests offered at $7.50. p. 8.
April/87: Board appropriates $150 for Rate Guidelines Committee, p. 4. Word Count questionnaire, p. 7
May/87: Freelancers Beware! article on agencies, pp. 10-11.
June/87: 18 candidates pass; p. 3. Doris Ganser continues Translators Beware, pp. 8-10. Federal Court interpreters letter, p. 11; there were only 292 in 1985.
July/87: Court interpreter letters, p. 11.
Aug/87: Sachs and Bokor gave presentations to board on rate guidelines; p. 5. Board accepts Ruth Cline proposal to increase grader pay to $4/passage. Board authorizes formation of committee for accreditation of translator training programs after hearing recommendations from Peter Krawutschke (Chronicle, p. 5) Candidates for Secretary, statements, Shuckran Kamal: ..."If elected, Shuckran pledges to uphold the bylaws of ATA..." p. 9. Shill letters asking about review of Bierman's "book," Lee is evasive, refers readers to Crump; p. 11. 32 members pass exams (Chronicle, p. 6) Tickler file p. 10
Sept/87: FIT bylaws, cover. 14 members pass accreditation exams (Chronicle, p. 3) Court interpreter exams, p. 10. Paid Addis letter a panegyric on Bierman's screed, asks if Bernie should be sued, p. 11.
October/87: 1987 Election Results; Of 475 ballots, 2 were invalid. Total cast was 473. No info on suffrage. Radical Change Foreseen in West German Translator and Interpreter Labor Market: "...a renewed call is put forth to BDU members to push for the introduction in the Bundestag of the association's draft legislation on regulation of the independent practice of the translation and interpretation professions." p. 8. Patricia Newman places membership at 2500 (Chronicle, p. 9) Helen Reed letter on sweatshops; Paul Maniken on rates (Chronicle, p. 14-15)
Nov/87: Accreditation packets ready; p. 3. Greiss letter recommending blacklist of bad agencies, pp. 12-13. ATA Guidelines for Translation Rates... (Chronicle, p. 2) Susana Greiss blacklist letter (Chronicle, p. 13). 45 pass accreditation exams (Chronicle, p. 14) No membership data.
Dec/87: 8 candidates pass, p. 3. Statement of receipts and disbursements... accreditation: $4,533.49; p. 13. Should ATA Certify Interpreters? by Nancy Sweda Nicholson ...(1) It was agreed by those members present that some kind of interpreter certification should be considered. (...) (2) The Committee on Interpretation is opposed to becoming involved in certification of interpreter training programs. (...) (4) It was felt that more interpreters would be attracted to ATA membership if a certification process were implemented. [Relation between membership and accreditation seen as positive, just like the data show--FP] (Chronicle, pp. 3-4) George Zinnemann letter in defense of JPRS (Chronicle, p. 9). ATA Budget: Accreditation disbursements $4533.99; Member dues $115,000; Net Excess $23,650.43 (Chronicle, pp. 12-13)
Jan/88: Court Interpreters Stand Firm in NM. (wrangling for more of the taxpayer's money) (Chronicle, cover) We're Listening! Pat Newman on survey questionnaire response. (Chronicle, pp. 1-2) State Department Schedule of Rates (Chronicle, p. 4) Terrie Schmidt letter applauding the publication of rates guidelines (Chronicle, p. 13) [Don't see many of those anymore--FP]
Feb/88: Thirty-four members pass accreditation exams, including Albert
Bork E-P, Mario Ferreira E-P, Louis Korda P-E, Richard Northrup P-E, Ilse
Payne G-E, Mary Jane Teague G-E (Chronicle, p. 3) Translation in Texas: Flaps Stir ATA Members to Raise Visibility -- Ted Crump -- In November a prominent feature on the Texas Ballot was
Proposition No. 2 worded in English as "The legalization of pari-mutuel
wagering under the Texas Racing Act on a county-by-county local option
basis." For Hispanic voters the referendum was translated by a freelance
translator for the Office of the Secretary of State as "La Legalizacion
de casetas de apuesta bajo los reglamentos de la Ley de Texas Permitiento
Carreras de Caballo y de darle la opcion local a cada condado." Pari-mutuel
wagering includes both horse and dog racing, but the Spanish version mentions
only horses. Houston Post: "Poor translation could turn racing into
a dog-day court fight" Houston Chronicle: "translation of gambling
referendum stirs controversy"; five days later the Chronicle announced:
"Bad bilingual translations on state forms create furor." The
second flaps concerned State Form 8702A, a third-party billing form sent
out by the Human Services Department. The English version stated that Medicaid
has pay the bill for services performed on a certain date, and asks the
patient if he was involved in an accident. The Spanish version, however,
says that Medicaid has paid a bill that resulted from an accident on a
certain date. A spokesman for the Secretary of State called the ballot
translation "a non issue," while House Speaker pro-tem Hugh Berlanga,
who declared that "this mistake is not an isolated instance among
state agencies. It's happening all the time, and it's unfortunate."
On Dec. 12, ATA members Joyce K. Baghdadi and Patricia S. Cunningham wrote
to Jack Raines, Secretary of State, and to Marlin Johnson, Commissioner
of Human Resources, regretting the bad publicity given to the translation
profession and acquainting the two officials with the American translators
association. The letter urged that staff of the respective translation
units become members of ATA. Copies were also cents to various key legislators
and the two newspapers mentioned. While Rains' offices remained silent,
Baghdadi received a very courteous letter from Johnson and farming her
that the top translator and the office was a member of ATA as well as AATIA.
Can it just be a coincidence that this unit, according to the Houston Chronicle,
"is reputed to the one of the best in state government"? [These
ballot translation errors cost the taxpayer roughly 200,000 to $500,000]
J Edgar Williams letter hairsplitting definitions and nitpicking federal court interpreter exams. ATA Membership at All-Time High, by Kurt Gingold... at the end of 1987 ATA had 2,634 members, up 1.4% from the previous high of 2,958 at the end of 1986. (Chronicle, p. 12)
Mar/88: What's Ethical, by Doris Ganser: When joining ATA, every translator pledges to adhere to ATA's Code of Ethics. During ATA's convention in Albuquerque, it became evident that some translators had never even read those guidelines for our conduct. (...) During a panel discussion on ethics at the convention, it was decided to rephrase and streamline somewhat ATA's present written Code of Ethics. This does not mean that our ethics have changed... it only means that what we print may have to take into consideration situations never anticipated by the venerated founders of ATA, thus serving as a better guideline for "ticklish" situations.... (Chronicle, pp. 3-4) [Evades defining ethics, relating it to good and evil, choosing between deontological and virtue ethics, basing it on intrinsic, subjective or objective foundations and determining whether it will be rational or mystical. Small wonder the Code was so pathetic, yet even more wondrous that it wasn't much worse!--FP]
Letters: Phillip Jerome resigns, Edna Ditaranto new editor of Gotham Translator (Chronicle, p. 13)
Apr/88: CAPITAL COMBINATION [photo] J. David Edwards and Rep. Leon Panetta are the top lobbyist and congressional advocate, respectively, of language legislation. (Chronicle, cover) Down from the Turnip Truck: ATA Appeals Classification of Translator Immigrants. Karl Kummer, ATA President, has written the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to protest classification of immigrant translators and interpreters as non-professional or unskilled workers... (Chronicle, pp. 1-2) Languages and Capitol Hill (Chronicle, p. 1-2) [Heaven forfend!--FP] New TSD Planned. (...) All ATA members are eligible for a free listing. [This is correct, end precisely in accordance with the Bylaws--FP] Members' Priorities: Focus of new PR Committee, by Shuckran Kamal [Compares the free and voluntary ATA with associations of coercively regulated and licensed professions.] Doris Ganser letter clarifying accreditation, corporations and certification. (Chronicle, p. 10) City Hall Annex: List of ATA Committee and Division Heads (22 separate committees!) List of Basic Dictionaries in Portuguese, Compiled by Donna Sandin (Chronicle, p. 20-21)
May/88: JPRS eyes major reductions, by Shuckran Kamal... 40% budget cuts... (Chronicle, pp. 1, 3) Eight pass accreditation exams, including Ilse Payne E-G (Chronicle, p. 3) ATTENTION! The April Chronicle incorrectly [sic] stated that all ATA members are eligible to be listed in the upcoming Translation Services Directory. Actually all active ATA members are eligible, and questionnaires have been sent out to those members. If you are an active member and haven't received a questionnaire, get in touch with ATA HQ immediately. (Chronicle, p. 3) [Two points. 1) This is FALSE. Paragraph III--Rights and Privileges, published in the Sept. 1983 Bylaws: "(c) Associate members have all the rights and privileges of active members with the exception of the right to vote and the right to hold Association office." 2) That the mistake was made at all points up the importance of an accreditation program. The Board justifiably feared that a crew of beginners producing gibberish for clients who sought them out in an ATA publication might undermine the credibility of the association. The manly solution would be to amend Paragraph III (c) by adding "...or the right to a listing in the TSD." This error has damaged ATA credibility in the eyes of earnest new members--the very persons who are likely to pass the exams, acquire the vote and lead the ATA into a new era in which even Boardmembers and newsletter editors are can read and understand the Bylaws. --FP] ATA'S NEW RATE AND QUANTIFICATION GUIDELINES by Steve Sachs, Gabe Bokor and George Kirby. [Reads like a Brazilian SINTRA rate schedule, only with lots of explanations and justifications. Guaranteed to draw the boiling wrath of some of the lower-paying high-volume bureaus.--FP] (Chronicle, pp. 7-9)
Jun/88: ATA Membership Profile As of May 3, 1988, there were a total of 2396 members of the ATA, including
54 corporate, 34 institutional, and 2308 individual members. Of the individual
members, 1202 were active, including 101 life, 14 charter, and 2 honorary
members. There were also 989 associate members and 117 student members.
There were 885 accredited members; 818 into English and 357 into foreign. Spanish into English and French into English shared top billing, with 242 accreditations each, followed by English to Spanish (197), German to English (175), English to French (78), English to German (58), Russian to English (51), Portuguese to English (49), Italian to English (33), Japanese to English (23), English to Portuguese (9), English to Russian (8), English to Italian (5) and Polish to English (3). The distaff persuasion predominates, with 1364 "female titles," 747 "male titles," and 197 "indeterminate titles." [geographical distribution...] (Chronicle, p. 3) The ATA of the 90s, by Gabe Bokor. (...) and 2) our self-imposed barrier to membership in the form of mandatory accreditation... [A lie.--FP] The main factor, in my opinion, contributing to this increased prestige is the requirement, adopted in 1983, for all new active members to pass an accreditation exam. While this requirement has certainly put a brake to the organization's numerical growth, it sent a clear message to translators, translation users and potential employers alike: We are a professional organization, which values quality above quantity. I believe the difficult, and in some quarters unpopular, decision of mandatory accreditation will bear fruit in the form of the recognition by actual and potential translation users of ATA membership as a seal of quality and a virtual precondition for the practice of translation as a profession. (...) It is perfectly conceivable that freelancers (who constitute the majority of the membership)... may form their own groups, which may be followed by a division of interpreters... (discussion of dues, communications, diversity). [Nicely written, but there is no such thing as mandatory accreditation. The ATA is open to translators and nontranslators alike. What is not open to nontranslators is the opportunity to meddle in our business, blindly amend our Bylaws or elect nontranslators to run the association. Even this was circumvented to get Peter Krawutshke and other untested persons elected, and to place ASAE members Bacack on the Executive Committee with ASAE lawyer Glassie telling the Board that crime is legal.--FP]
July/88: Seven members pass accreditation exams. (Chronicle, p. 2) Quality Over Quantity Ben Teague letter on active membership: The ATA Board will soon propose
a change in our membership standards. I hope the members won't approve
the change. To become a voting member you have to pass an accreditation
exam.* [* Of course, the Bylaws we adopted do take account of people who
work in languages not covered by the testing program. Nobody thinks translators
from Turkish or Quechua should be barred from voting.] We adopted this
rule five years ago with the aim of re-creating ATA as a true professional
society. As Gabe Bokor pointed out in last month's Chronicle, the requirement has probably slowed growth, but it's our statement that
we "value quality above quantity." Now the Board wants to retreat
from that position. The Board seems to think accreditation is an imposition
on some classes of translators. It wishes to establish an exam-free route
to active membership.
One argument for the Board's move is that the accreditation tests aren't representative of the work of literary translators and don't test the skills they have striven to develop. If the Board had asked any sci-tech translators, it would have learned that the passages aren't representative of our work either, and the skills they test are fundamental ones--ones we share with our literary colleagues, not ones that set us apart from them.
Accreditation was never viewed as a way of evaluating just one group of translators, or just one group of skills. The program has aimed to separate people with basic skills and knowledge, and thus with the potential to grow in the profession, from people lacking such qualities.
I suspect the Board may also have had some idea that taking exams is an indignity to which accomplished translators should not be subject. Take my opinion for what it's worth.
ATA made a hard decision a few years ago. Our growth in size has reflected it, but I think some gains in quality (of publications, conferences, and services) have followed from it as well. Let's not throw away the positive experience of the past five years. (Chronicle, p. 8) [NOTE: Both Ben and Gabe assume there was a slowdown in growth, possibly due to the loudly-announced exit of a few frauds who knew the jig was up. Actual membership data for all categories shows a surge of steady growth in membership beginning October of 1971, right about the time the first invitations to sit for exams were made by Bill Bertsche. (Cf atagrow.xls) This reversed the declining membership which had obtained from 1965 to 1970 under the previous crony system. With the meritocracy not only was there no significant fall in membership, the rate of increase was in no way diminished following the objective testing requirement for earning the vote. Membership has continued to increase at the same fantastic rate since the exams became available, and the growth rate did not increase dramatically in October of 1988 as the peer review pundits led their dupes to expect. Membership actually fell during the period immediately following the change, and no dramatic deviations from the overall trend are observable until August of 1993, with the Internet widely available through a Windows 3 or 3.1 interface and foreign language fonts suddenly reachable by folks who did not know how to pull them up in DOS.--FP] Juan Morales complaints about the federal court interpreter exams (Chronicle, p. 9) End of year membership figures by Bernard Bierman, but his figure of 2213 for the end of 1985 does not match Gingold's figure of 2335 (Chronicle 7/88, p. 12 v. 2/86, cover) Bierman claims the Board is covering up and censoring the Chronicle to exclude sensitive info from its meetings; that members join, get accredited and then leave. [This is patently false. The retention rate for accredited members is close to 95% in 1995--FP] Bierman further claims the linking of accredited status to active membership has created a dearth of potential leaders. [We should have more leaders like Willson and Krawutschke who can't pass the exams or won't lift a finger to even try?--FP] Bierman quotes Bokor as having said that "...many members who fail the exam feel 'cheated' and walk away." (Chronicle, pp. 12-13) Gabe Bokor, upon receiving a copy of the Bierman article, insisted on responding immediately. The Editor, Ted Crump likewise denies the minutes are secret or sanitized, and denies other allegations. (Chronicle, pp. 13-14)
Aug/88: ATA moving to Washington D.C.; Abstract of July 9-10, 1988 Board meeting. Board now giving "conceptual approval" to move to DC... Kurt Gingold reports that ATA had 2,957 members as of July 7, 1988. Patricia Newman provided additional results from the ATA survey. (Chronicle, pp. 1-2) The Board requested that the Accreditation and Membership Committees review ATA's policy on the status of a member's accreditation if he/she resigns from ATA. (...) The Board decided to look no further into arranging liability insurance for ATA members.
Major Vote Looms on Accreditation Requirements: The active members of the ATA will soon be asked to approve or disapprove an amendment to the ATA Bylaws which would offer a second avenue to active membership in place of passing an accreditation test: peer review. As reported in the March, 1988 Chronicle, the proposed amendment, which will appear on the ballot in the upcoming election, would change Article Three, Paragraph II A.1, Item 3 of the Bylaws to read: "...has passed a basic level certification examination administered by the Association, or has achieved demonstrable professional status as determined by peer evaluation, is eligible for active membership." [The elision makes it appear that a partial reversion to cronyism would replace the examination requirement even in language combinations for which exams exist. Was this the case?--FP] (...) "The old method is too subjective." William Bertsche went on record as opposing the motion. (Chronicle, pp. 1-2) Candidate profiles, including Maier's (later elected), and incumbent Willson's, claiming to have actually translated some pages in an obscure literary rag, plus a few poems; (later rejected by voters) (Chronicle, pp. 3-7 ) Neil Inglis letter takes Bierman to task on alleged competence dichotomy; argues we get exactly what we pay for by way of competence on the Board, and hints that raising dues might enable us to pay for "hiring a professional lobbyist to represent our interests on Capitol Hill (Lord knows, everyone else has one)..." (Chronicle, pp. 12-13) John Siegmund letter on accreditation: "... I support the ATA's accreditation program because it seems to be a fair, effective way for a beginning translator to establish before his colleagues a minimum professional competence. I also believe that the test, which I took in Washington D.C., was fair, reasonable in its expectations, and well administered. (...) Now for the questions: How many candidates for accreditation have taken the test, but failed to pass on the first try? How many have taken the test and never succeeded in passing? Who is opposed to the accreditation program and what are their objections?" Editor's reply: Apparently, no statistics have been kept with regard to reader Siegmund's first and second questions. However, according to Grace Tillinghast, Accreditation Chair, in the period January to June, 1988, of 122 tests given, graded and returned to Headquarters, there were 88 failures (72.1%) and 34 (27.9%) successes. Tillinghast believes that many of those taking the examinations are underqualified to begin with, and should not be taking them.... (Chronicle, p. 14) Leslie Willson letter urging passage of the back door peer review amendment, without once mentioning his wife: (...) "The truth is that ATA active membership is now denied to translators who have proven themselves in the translation marketplace, if they are not ATA accredited."
[Names not a single one, is not himself a commercial translator, and does not argue that Ponzi schemers, mountebanks and even prostitutes have failed to "prove" themselves in the marketplace; nor does he deny there is a sucker born every minute. Willson seems to believe peer review is an alternative or replacement for accreditation, rather than a stopgap improvisation for language pairs in which no exams are offered--FP]
"Should ATA require that they heel, jump over the rope, and prove themselves to us, when they have already proven themselves to their employers, editors and readers?" [You betcha. If it weren't easy to hoodwink the public, looters would be laughed off their soapboxes when screeching for regulation of doctors, meat packers and stockbrokers--FP] (Chronicle, p. 14) 34 members "jump over rope" and EARN active status by passing accreditation exams (Chronicle, p. 15)
October/88 cover: Decisions '88: Referendum Passes, Incumbents Upset --
The referendum to amend the ATA bylaws to allow peer review has an option
to the accreditation examination for granting active membership status
has passed by an almost 3-to-1 majority. Of a total 598 ballots received,
five of which were ruled invalid, 406 approved the referendum, with 171
Other election results were no less dramatic: in the vote for ATA Board of Directors, the incumbents were swept from office in favor of relative newcomers. Newly elected to the board are John Bukacek, who led all candidates with 361 votes, followed by Jane Maier with 332, and Nicolas Hartman with 326. Unsuccessful candidates were incumbents A. Leslie Willson with 273 and Marylin Gaddis Rose with 263. Alba Jones finished last with 137 votes.... The fiscal year 1988-89 ATA Board of Directors will be Bukacek, Maier, and Hartmann, in addition to Gabe Bokor, Kurt Gingold, George Kirby, Steve Sachs, Patricia Newman, and Grace Tillinghast. For the first time in recent years there will be no strongly recognized advocate of literary translators on the board.
Accreditation: Raymond K. Binder F-E, Barbara A Caulk F-E,José G Perez S-E; corrections: Ana L Bishop (August) E-Sp...
Upcoming Accreditation Exams call on Chicago, Saturday, November 19, 1988... Denver, same date; Austin, November 12. The ATA TSD $20 p. 7. Neil English letter to Steven Sachs covering bylaws amendments, bureaucracy, and accreditation, translation agencies, client education, docility, hand-wringing and self-abasement.
Letter from Fred Klein arguing that the Society for Technical Communication at $20 a year has been growing three times as fast as the ATA. Argues that members should vote directly on acquisition of property in D.C.
letter from Gabe Bokor claiming that the membership statistics cited by Bernie Bierman are misleading. "Actually the drop from 2293 in 1982 to 2158 in 1984 can be entirely attributed to the introduction of mandatory accreditation in 1983. [A lie. Accreditation was never mandatory –FP] From 1984 on we see a steady growth to 2634 and 1987 and 2767 members as of October 3, 1988. (More).
Letter from Bill Grimes answering Fred Klein:... I have to agree with Mr. Klein that when it comes to elections, and a lot of arm-twisting goes to get people to run for office. We have been fortunate in recent years to get individuals like Patricia Newman and Karl Kummer as president; the organization has in many respects unfurled its sales and begun to move forward under a new win of enthusiasm... Apart from the dearth of activists, Mr. Klein sees ATA as "deeply divided" into widely diverse, mutually incompatible groups and divisions. He sees the gaps between these groups as incipient splits that will eventually rend the ATA asunder. (...) I dispute Mr. Klein's claim that ATA accreditation is not taken seriously. While the outside world may not know there is such a thing as unaccredited translator (see previous paragraph), we inside ATA know that 50% who take accreditation exams fail. That means something, and when we are looking for a translator to work for us, we look to the accredited translators first, or exclusively. I, for one, take the question of accreditation very seriously, and have been much distressed by recent efforts to relax the requirement of accreditation for active membership. While the arguments for occasional waiver have merit, I do not to want to see them weekend even a small bit.
Mr. Klein warns the translation is "growing global," and that ATA is not prepared for the Brave New World ahead. [Pre-Internet discussion of facts and modem, conclusion that STC is fine for technical writers, ATA better suited to translators].
Tom Snow letter disagreeing with Fred Klein: Patricia Newman in her article says that approximately 60 percent of the ATA members who are primarily translators are self-employed. (...) I have a warm sense of affection for the association, at least to some extent, because of the external controversies about accreditation, ethics, and now the move to Washington. It would be impossible to love such a smooth-running machine as the STC in the same way. [Thanks Pat Newman, other officers and volunteers.]
Lenne Grutsky on Sennheiser systems for court interpreting, p. 12-13.
Dan Chapman article on terminology management, p. 14.
Translator Arrested in Virginia: FBI thinks Andrew Korsakoff is a Soviet spy because he looked at books on plasma physics during Library Awareness week. The ATA Board of Directors response:
"We regret to inform you that the American Translators Association, an organization established to promote translation as a profession, cannot in good conscience involve itself in areas considered by our Board of Directors as politics.... [good humor]
November/88: the ATA Board of Directors meeting October 13-15 discussed plans to move ATA headquarters to Washington. The Board voted to add to accreditation certificates as statement to the effect that the certificates are valid only in combination with membership in good standing in ATA. The Board voted that active members who fail to renew their membership for a period of three or more calendar years will have to meet the requirements for active membership in effect at the time of their application before reinstatement and may be required to retake any accreditation examination (s) previously passed or to submit their credentials for peer review. Austin, Texas was selected as the site of the ATA annual conference for 1994.
Peer Review, Active Membership, and Accreditation -- committee report by
Kurt Gingold -- at its meeting in Seattle on October 15, the ATA Board
of Directors dealt with various matters related to Active membership in
ATA and accreditation. The actions taken by the Board are presented below.
Please read them carefully.
Active Membership p. 2
1. In the recent collection the membership overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the ATA bylaws permitting admission to Active membership by peer review. A special subcommittee of the Membership Committee is currently developing the procedures for implementation of the peer review system and a list of credentials to be submitted by applicants. After the subcommittee's proposals have been approved by the ATA Board of Directors, there will be announced in the Chronicle and the peer review procedure will go into effect. In the meantime, applications for Active membership will continue to be processed in accordance with the previous Bylaws. Applications for active membership by peer review will NOT be processed until the new procedures have been published and should not be submitted until that time.
2. The Board approved the following change in policy: "Active Members who fail to renew their membership for a period of three or more calendar years will have to meet the requirements for active membership in effect at the time of their application before reinstatement and may be required to retake any Accreditation examination(s) previously passed or to resubmit their credentials for peer review."
Members should note that the change in the requirements for Active membership does NOT affect the accreditation program in anyway. The only way to achieve accreditation will continue to be bypassing and accreditation examination.
As it has always been understood that accreditation by ATA is linked to membership in the association, the Board voted to emphasize this relationship in two ways:
1. By including the following statement in the text of all accreditation certificates: "This Certificate is valid only in combination with membership in good standing in the ATA."
2. By requiring members taking accreditation examinations to sign the following statement: "I hereby acknowledged that any Certificates of Accreditation issued to me by ATA are awarded to me personally and only for the language pairs specified thereon. I also acknowledged that Accreditation is valid only as long as I remain a member in good standing of the Association and subscribe to its Code of Ethical Practices. Upon termination of my membership, for whatever reason, I agree to return any Certificates issued to me and to refrain from making any further claim to Accreditation by the Association."
It will NOT be possible to obtain accreditation in another way, such as peer review.
Accreditations p. 4: Marion Cummings G-E; Steven P. Hassman R-E; Helga Hosford G-E; Paul M. Seibold G-E; Jane Morgan Zorilla S-E. The exams scheduled in New York, Dec. 2; Utah January 28, 1989. Same page: schedule of federal court interpreter exams.
Letter to the editor by Susan Jansco of L.A. p. 7: (...) when I joined ATA I did not expect it to provide jobs or go picketing like the Teamsters. More than anything else, I was looking for moral support from kindred spirits with similar experiences, and I was happy with the number of interesting people and new ideas I was exposed to in Seattle. [Bemoans recent complaint letters].
Letter to the editor from Susanna Greiss, NY p. 7: [does not object to move to D.C., but questions wisdom of buying real estate; suggests co-op; mentions workload of elected officials] "therefore, I suggest that we consider hiring an Executive Officer (you can call him/her whatever you want), who would have a salaried executive position -- perhaps working half-time at first -- reporting directly to the Board, who would implement the projects we would like to introduce, but have no time for, such as a credit union, reference library, travel discounts perhaps, training programs, and so on. Of course, it would be great to have more volunteers except some of these projects, but where will we get them? There is a limit to how much time a salaried translators can devote to a program and how long they can do it. Freelance translators are sacrificing income every time they volunteer to do work, since, as every freelance knows, there is no such thing as a regular schedule. (...) As for our publication, please let's not have any glossy magazines; who needs them? What we need is an informative publication with meat in it for beginners and veterans alike. We have made great strides in the right direction and recent years, but could do more and better at a little additional cost by asking more members to contribute material, by reporting goings-on around the country. (...) In this connection, I disagree that ATA membership and accreditation are meaningless. When I joined the ATA (in 1980, I believe), not too many people had heard of it. Now, only a few years later, I hear people say: "Oh, yes, I've heard of ATA!" I also know of specific instances where an employer required ATA accreditation before they would allow an employee to do translation work, even though this employee had a degree in translation! Many translation agencies (or bureaus, if you will) give preference to translators with ATA accreditation. [Suggests more media exposure, PC as productivity enhancer].
Page 9 Gabe Bokor New Head of Ethics Committee -- President Karl, has appointed, effective immediately, Gabe Bokor of Poughkeepsie, NY, as the new chairman of the Ethics Committee. Mr. Bokor succeeds Doris Ganser...
Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators publishes own newsletter, AAIT...
Seattle conference reminiscences p. 14 Photo of party dogs Alzi Platts and Arnoldo (Spanish interpreter from Chicago)…
The Heart Of The Convention, by Isabel Leonard -- Report on ATA's annual business meeting, October 14, 1988, Seattle p. 16
Membershipfirst: (Kurt Gingold) There are now 2730 of us -- another all-time high, 3.6% above the high at year-and 1987 and 9.4% above the total this time last year. This marks the fourth consecutive year of growth, after dips in 1983 and 1984, and clearly does not bear out the suggestion made in an article published in July that "our membership has not grown." (...)
statistics: 1238 members are Active, and 1250 Associate (smaller numbers in other categories). Of the 1238 active members, 978 are accredited in at least one language pair. By gender: 1571 female, 171 male (plus 210 of gender indeterminable from the listing). Geographically: 2562 members live in the USA and 197 live abroad (leading countries, Canada and Mexico). Among the states, NY was in first-place with 383 members, followed by California with 308 and New Jersey with 171. We have no members at all in North Dakota or Wyoming.
Accreditation: the past year was the busiest yet for the accreditation program. There were 17 group settings; a total of 450 tests was given, 260 into and 190 out of English. The past rate was about 30%, a positive indication of the severity of the tests. In the into-foreign direction, the number of tests taken into Spanish was greater than the number into all the other languages offered (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian) combine while the past rate was slightly lower than all except Italian. Into English, Spanish was again far and away the leader with 100 to tests taken; the next two were French and German with 58 each, followed by Russian 15 and very low numbers for Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Polish. Once again the pass rate for Spanish was the lowest although not by a great deal, and the total numbers are not high enough to make the percentage differences very significant. Dutch-English and English-Dutch tests were offered at the convention for the first time a. (Accreditation chair: Grace Tillinghast).
Ethics: (...) Most of the cases involve nonpayment for a translator's work, word-count disputes, and misuse of the association's name in connection with accreditation. The committee is working to revise the ATA Code of Ethics. [Various committee reports]
"Those rates are too low," was the near-universal reaction to the report of the Rate Guidelines Committee p. 17 (published in the Chronicle and discussed at the convention. As its project for the coming year, the committee is beginning to look into standards for quantification that applied to translations from English into foreign languages; this will be far more complex than the into-English direction, reports committee chair Steve Sachs. [More committee reports; David Tornquist article recommends dictating translation to tape and then transcribing it using an 8 MHz 286] end of issue.
Dec/88: The Catechism of a Professional: Definition by Pat Newman... 3. Professional translators know what their skills are worth on the market and neither overcharge their clients nor undercut their colleagues. (...) Professional translators understand ethical conduct and practice it even in the face of extreme temptation. (Chronicle, p. 6) Ontario Translators Seek "Reserved Title" Status, by Lee Wright... The latter has culminated in the drafting of a bill scheduled to be introduced in the Ontario Provincial Parliament within the next month. Entitled the "Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario Act of 1988," this bill seeks to reserve the title of "certified translator, interpreter or terminologist in Ontario to those members of ATIO who have been duly certified by ATIO as fully competent practitioners of the profession. The "reserved title" or "certification" regime established by the Bill differs from a licensing system or the exclusive right to practice... A reserved title regime does not prevent anyone from practicing as a translator, interpreter or terminologist... (Chronicle, p. 11) Letters: AdEx juxtaposes two ATI ads in letter calculated to embarrass. ATI rejoinder (Chronicle, p. 11-12) DECLARATION OF CENSORSHIP: Beginning with the next issue, all letters must be limited to 250 words in length. Those exceeding that will be trimmed. (Chronicle, p. 12) State Department Schedule of Rates (Chronicle, p. 13) Statement of Assets and Liabilities: Statements of receipts and disbursements; Accreditation $9,872.11 (...) Net excess: $29,007.56. (Chronicle, pp. 14-15) Statement on Accreditation from TSD (from TSD before peer review initiative, edited by Karl Kummer); The accreditation program is supervised by an Accreditation Committee made up of experienced professionals [note that it is given no legal existence in the Bylaws--FP]; Kummer lays down the law regarding claims to accreditation; explanation of the system; presumption that members in good standing will automatically subscribe to whatever is presented them under the label of Code of Professional Ethics, reprinted in the TSD; 4. Although participation in the accreditation program is voluntary, members wishing to gain Active status (only Active members are listed in this directory) must currently pass an accreditation examination if they claim competence in a language pair for which such an examination is offered. Since ATA is presently unable to offer examinations in language pairs other than those listed above, it accepts other appropriate evidence of competence from translators working in non-accreditable language pairs. (Chronicle, p. 16) Compare that with the following language from Paragraph III--Rights and Privileges, published in the Sept. 1983 Bylaws: "(c) Associate members have all the rights and privileges of active members with the exception of the right to vote and the right to hold Association office." (From the Sept. 1983 member list, p. 47)
Ethics and Your Business -- Gabe Bokor column, Defining Ethics. The article begins by evading a general philosophical definition of ethics (a code of values to guide our choices and actions) and first substituting a Websters definition which blurs the distinction between deontological and virtue ethics: "discipline that deals with what is good and bad, or right and wrong, or with moral duty and obligations." It then replaces the abridged Websters definition with this "tailored" definition, applicable only to translators: "For the translator, ethics means the evaluation, from the moral, legal and professional point of view, of his/her business practices vis-a-vis his/her customers, colleagues, and subcontractors." Observe that the "definition" Bokor offers is subjective rather than objective, in that it depends on five different points of view, and completely eschews the essential determining characteristic which makes ethics ethics: a standard for distinguishing between good and evil, between right and wrong. Its purpose, according to Bokor, is "...to punish those who engage in "unethical" or practices...". That the approach is entirely deontological is implicit in the preamble: "IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF ALL TRANSLATORS..." and evades any examination of the concept of "duty." Commandment 2 is an endorsement of altruism, "derive no personal profit or advantage..." but which leaves altruism undefined. Commandment 3 presumes the validity of subjective epistemology, "for which they have themselves to be less than well qualified..." and provides no standard or yardstick whatsoever to form the basis of this knowledge. Commandment 4 requires epistemological collectivism, "to share professional knowledge..." Commandment 5 is an exhortation to engage in illegal price-fixing, "to abstain from engaging in unfair competition." Commandment 6 speaks of humiliating "the profession." Commandment 7 requires we refuse work which, in 1864, might have helped slaves escape to freedom in violation of the Fugitive Slave Law, and to also refuse any work labeled by persons unknown as "against the public interest." [THE COMMON GOOD BEFORE THE INDIVIDUAL GOOD] Turning to the "rights" side of the equation, Bokor enumerates but does not define rights: "2. To charge such professional fees as are commensurate with their experience, degree of specialized knowledge and quality of work, taking into account such guidelines as may be laid down by their professional society." [This is the statement which brought on the complaints which gave rise to the FTC investigation of the ATA, which cost the members some $100,000 by 12/92, 18% of all expenses; and ended up costing a half-million dollars. These expenses included disbursements for Bokor, Kirby, Bukacek and Sachs' depositions in the FTC investigation (Chronicle 9/91, p. 15) complete text follows]
CODE OF ETHICAL PRACTICES AND PROFESSIONAL RIGHTS -- IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF ALL TRANSLATORS:
1. To translate with the greatest fidelity and accuracy they can command, endeavoring always to give their readers and audiences the impression they would have if they could read or hear the original.
2. To maintain professional discretion and in particular to respect the rights of their clients or employers by divulge and nothing they may have earned in their professional capacity that is harmful to their interests; and to derive no personal profit or advantage from any confidential information they may have acquired in their professional capacity.
3. To accept no assignment for which they know themselves to be less than well qualified in either language or understanding of the subject, except with prior knowledge of their clients or employers; and to refuse any assignment which they believe they cannot properly complete within the time allowed.
4. To share professional knowledge with their colleagues on a reciprocal basis.
5. To refrain from any action likely to discredit the profession, and in particular to abstain from engaging in unfair competition.
6. To seek or accept no work on terms that are humiliating to them or to the profession.
7. To refuse any assignment that they believe to be intended for illegal or dishonest purposes, or against the public interest.
8. To be loyal to their colleagues and to the profession and to agree to settle professional differences by arbitration whenever possible.
ALL TRANSLATORS SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT:
1. To receive the same consideration and the same status as are generally accorded the members of other professions, including prompt payment for their services.
2. To charge such professional fees as are commensurate with their experience, degree of specialized knowledge and quality of work, taking into account such guidelines as may be laid down by their professional society.
3. To demand working conditions that will enable them to perform their services with efficiency and dignity.
4. To refuse to quote a fee on a competition basis or without having seemed to work to be translated.
5. To seek, by legislation or other means, the same social and fiscal benefits and tax classifications granted to members of other professions.
6. To enjoy in the case of translations intended for publication or performance, equitable publicity of the kind traditionally granted authors of technical, literary, and dramatic works, including mention of their names on the title pages and jackets of published translations, or in theater programs, and in the advertising of their translations by the publishers or producers.
Seven. To share, in the case of commercially published or produced works, in the fortunes of their translations, and in particular to receive a proportional share of the royalties as well as an advance payment.
8. To insist, in the case of translations intended for publication or performance, that no substantial changes be made without the consent or, alternatively, that if their names they removed as translator or adapter, without prejudice to the agreed payment. [To see how this nonsense ended up costing us $500,000, see Capital Translator May 1990 page 4; and Capital Translator for October 1993.]
New members include Hendrik Burgers, John Glenn, Noemi Galvan (Chronicle, pp. 21-23)
Jan/89: Rate Guidelines Delayed: The Rate Guidelines Committee would like to take this opportunity to inform ATA members that it was not possible to update its proposal in time for this issue of the ATA Chronicle. The Board Of Directors has decided that the proposal for 1989 merits further attention and will be discussed at the board meeting to be held on March 11 and 12. The committee regrets any inconvenience to members. Updates will be published in the April issue of the ATA Chronicle. [Capital Translator, May 11, 1990. p. 4; Oct. 1993, 4-9] (Chronicle, p. 4) 16 members pass accreditation exams, including Pat Bobek Fr-E (Chronicle, p. 6) Neil Inglis letter on the poverty cult in translation (Chronicle, p. 10) Whining anonymous letter bemoaning accreditation (Chronicle, p. 11) Ben Teague column, The View from down Here -- ANY KID CAN GROW UP TO THE ATA PRESIDENT -- AND WHY IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT --... I'll begin these opinion pieces, on the association and where it may end up, with the paragraph about myself. I was one of ATA's youngest officers (Secretary, president-elect, president) and maybe one of the longest-serving (8 mortal years). At one time or another I've headed about half the committees. My native idiom is Polemic. I don't want to provoke discussion; I prefer to finish at. If you have served on our nominating committee, you don't believe there are enough leaders. The ATA has members with ideas, Victor, even management skills. (...) Why do we have such trouble finding people to run for national office? Two reasons: penalties and preparation. As I got ready to take office as ATA president, my predecessor Tom Bauman shocked me by saying the office had cost him thousands of dollars: his freelance business had suffered, and it would take time to rebuild it. A loss like that makes a powerful argument against running for office. (...) most of our presidents have been in-houses translators, teachers or bureau heads, and small wonder! The job (and to a lesser extent all our other leadership jobs) costs somebody a lot, and the cushion of steady employment is essential to the victim's peace of mind.Does this mean that ATA will never again have a full-time freelancer as president? That's exactly what it means.
Unless...Our bylaws now provide that no officer gets paid to serve. It's time we considered which principle we hold dearer: any kid can grow up to be president of ATA, or all our officers should be volunteers. (Note: we later acquired Staff, mostly members of an association of professional association-runners with no experience managing noncoercive meritocracies--FP)
Once, officers and directors not only served gratis, but paid their own way to meetings. We changed that rule for better representation of ATA's diverse members; now the association pays certain travel and lodging costs. The board made that change, but can't make the one I suggest: the members must decide whether to amend the bylaws (and how to pay any income replacement awarded to officers). Financial loss is the biggest disincentive to taking an ATA job. What's more, we don't prepare members for such work. If someone has performed well and wants to seek a higher-level job, the people who vote (or the person who appoints) should keep that experience in mind and reward those good services. Years ago, ATA didn't ponder this principle. Only two things were guaranteed to help you get elected: you with the incumbent, or your name came early in the alphabet. I bylaws change has given challengers a better chance, and ballots now list candidates in shuffled order. And today's voters often do recognize length and quality of ATA work. Recent boards have included contributors like Marilyn Gaddis Rose and Leslie Willson, and this year's election put three workers in as directors. (Don't conclude that I think less of the people I don't name; this is supposed to be a one-page essay.)
So what's my problem? It's the haphazard way we involve members in our projects and bring them up through the leadership ranks. People get into top positions and local chapters, and ATA takes no notice. Others do good work in committees but still find themselves passed over when chairs become vacant. Nominations occasionally go to "famous" members instead of those who've actually done something. The result is that folks who could help aren't asked to, ATA loses the benefit of their talents, and they miss out on the pleasures of national office.
Here are eight practices ATA leaders should adopt to reduce the element of chance: -- Keep track of who's in charge and how well they are doing. Don't let a good worker slip through the cracks. -- Do at least an informal search every time you make an appointment. Run lists of ATA activists through your mind. -- Hire the busiest people you can find. It's no accident. -- Promote. If a division administrator is able and energetic, find her and ATA job. -- Stroke. Remember that good performance, anywhere in ATA, makes you look good too. --Tell the nominating committee what you know about the contributors. --Work fast. It's rare that ATA gets four years of useful service from a member. –Think positive. You won't sell many people on running for president if they think it will cost him thousands of dollars. (Chronicle, p. 14)
Buddy Strittmatter on how English already is official, German. (Chronicle, p. 15)
Bokor: What is the Ethics Committee? "...members, who automatically agree to abide by the Code of Ethics when they join the ATA..." "We also encourage you to present your views on the current (over 20-year old) Code and to suggest possible changes/additions to reflect today's more complex business environment." [This Code would have kept me from joining had I seen it before paying dues and taking exams, yet Gabe had no thought of deletions, only additions--JHP] (Chronicle, p. 16) Gross & Wu on global, one-world language bureaucracy. (Chronicle, p. 17-20)
February/89: As of December 31, 1988, ATA had 2924 members, Gingold, p. 1. CITA to become NAJIT, p. 1. 37 candidates pass, p. 7. Bierman threatens to sue for minutes to '87 and '88 Executive Committee, p. 9. J Henry Phillips article, Defining Ethics, p. 14 in an analysis of a draft code of ethics then being circulated by Gabe Bokor warned that: "Within the context of a paragraph devoted to fees, however, the second paragraph's reference to 'guidelines... laid down by a professional society' carries interesting connotations, as does the refusal 'to quote a fee on a competition basis' alluded to in paragraph 4. Unkind and suspicious individuals could take these to be a veiled endorsement of collusion for the sake of keeping up prices, and proceed to contrast them with the sanctimonious eschewing of 'personal profit or advantage' contained in an earlier paragraph. Do we really want to include language which gives the impression that we oppose honest competition for contracts? The very idea lends ominous import to interpretations of paragraph 5, which provides for the procurement 'by legislation or other means,' of 'social and fiscal benefits... granted to members of other professions.' This statement raises the specter of coercive abridgment of contractual rights through the imposition of licensing requirements or other obstacles." [An antitrust investigation followed, which cost the ATA half a million dollars.--FP] Bokor on ethics, p. 17.
March/89: Astrid Johanson RIP (cover+). New members, including Ria Vanderauera (Chronicle, p. 10) Ben Teague column: "... To explore and, if appropriate, advocate the licensing of translators in cooperation with responsible State and Federal authorities." [The FTC hadn't yet hit the fan. J Henry Phillips' misgivings were published the previous month, and here is coercive licensing as how the government might help us!] (Chronicle, p. 13) Bokor column, readers write on isolated ethics cases [hard cases make bad law!] (Chronicle, p. 14) Inge Hollingsworth letter on accreditation: "On the other hand, being accredited indicates some measure of proficiency and professional interest. (...) it has happened more than once that I was sought out for a certain project, because accreditation was a requirement of the job." Thomas Appich letter on "unrealistic discussions of rates" and dictionary reviews. (Chronicle, p. 17) Thomas Conlon rebuttal letter on official German in NJ. Tom Snow railing at Bokor's ad-hoc "ethics" pronouncements. Seems Tom was one of the parties in the dispute! Ted Crump rejoinder. (Chronicle, pp. 18-20) Exploitation by Translation Agents, by Doris Ganser (former chair of Ethics Committee) [recommended!] (Chronicle, pp. 21-23) Cliff Landers reviews Fragomeni, Informática. (Chronicle, p. 27)
April/89: 1989 Elections info (cover). New Requirements f/ Active Membership in ATA, by Kurt Gingold. In a mail ballot last fall, ATA members, by a large majority, approved the proposal by the Board of Directors to modify the requirements for Active membership in the Association. A special Peer Review Subcommittee of the Membership Committee, headed by Past President Ben Teague and including A. Leslie Wilson and Grace Tillinghast, has developed the following specific proposal for implementing the change in requirements. The proposal has been approved by the Board of Directors and will go into effect immediately. Active Membership: The Membership Committee will approve for Active membership any applicant who satisfies the other requirements as set forth in the Bylaws and presents satisfactory evidence of at least one of the following.
1. ATA accreditation in any language combination.
2. (a) At least three credited, published translations of book length, or the substantial equivalent thereof in credited, published translations of smaller scope, such translations brought out by commercial or scholarly presses, and
(b) a letter of reference from the applicant's immediate supervisor or publisher's editor and
(c) a letter of recommendation from one Active member of ATA.
3. For applicants working in a language combination in which ATA accreditation is not currently offered:
(a) At least a year's membership in ATA and
(b) at least three years' continuous employment as a translator of interpreter and
(c) a letter of reference from a client or the applicant or the applicant's supervisor and
(d) a recommendation from one Active member of ATA.
Periods of employment, which may include self-employment and part-time employment, and periods of ATA membership should immediately precede the application for active membership. The Membership Committee may, but is not obligated to, consider periods not immediately preceding the application.
A letter of recommendation should speak to the applicant's performance and work history as a translator or interpreter. "Supervisor" means a person, preferably a translator or reviser, who regularly oversees and examines the applicant's work and is acquainted with the applicant's work history. An applicant who is self-employed may submit a letter of reference from any person who has had an analogous relationship with the applicant, for example, an editor or reviser in a translation bureau. [...letters submission, Registry form info] Current members of ATA should note that passing an accreditation examination will NOT result in an automatic award of Active status. Members seeking an upgrade must fill out the new "Registry" form/application and submit it, with appropriate papers, to Ms. Malia. (Chronicle, pp. 2, 4) 3/11/89 Board Meeting Abstract, by Steve Sachs; Peer Review alternatives approved; Sue Ellen Wright representative to ASTM; Rate Guidelines adopted [bad idea!]; Nominating Committee approved; Kurt Gingold reported that as of March 1 there were 2404 paid members, versus 2190 for the same date last year. 263 copies of TSD sold; Jane Meier presents model contract; SCNA stuff. (Chronicle, p. 4) 1989 ATA Guidelines for Translation Rates and Quantification [bad idea, but not as bad as defining this as ethics, which brought down the boiling wrath] (Chronicle, pp. 6-7) Ted Crump needs a rest from editing; upcoming exams (Chronicle, p. 8) Walter Haller letter on accreditation: "I am proud to belong to an organization such as ATA, which has established this objective and impartial means of recognizing competence." [more... recommended!] (Chronicle, p. 11) Gregory Rabassa: "For the Mayans, the gods are just trouble." (Chronicle, p. 12)
Ben Teague column: (...) An example of Board mistrust of chapters: chapters admit ATA actives as full members, but also offer non-voting "candidate" membership to those who have not joined ATA. The groups say this practice as a way of bringing new people to the association, and most to encourage candidates to achieve full membership. The Board, as I see it, has resisted understanding; it still questions "how a creature of ATA can admit members who don't belong to the national organization." (...)
Jane Maier ethics column (open forum), presents (excellent!) model contract (Chronicle, p. 16-17) Doris Ganser on certification v. accreditation, misleading advertising. (Chronicle, p. 18) ASTM stuff (Chronicle, p. 19)
May/89: RCNA Congress w/"elegant reception." (Chronicle, p. 1) 30 pass accreditation exam, including Paul Makinen R-E, John Glenn Fr-E, Robert Sprung G-E, C.H. Ronald Redmond E-D D-E, and Maria Vance DeVries E-D D-E (Chronicle, p. 6)
Ben Teague column:... First, the association needs to find out why it is growing so fast. Have we attracted a greater fraction of translators, are there just more translators out there, or what? Is our performance so good it brings in and holds new people? Do translators now in the profession regarding ATA as without peer, or do they seek just any affiliation? (...) the association, if it wants to serve many, will not only offer aids to networking, but also seek to integrate itself into the net. An e-mail system, online membership list and TSD, and semi-formal electronic networks for consultation and work sharing are just the first things the association should do. [Notice how the freelancer ex-President understands exactly what benefits freelancers -- FP] (Chronicle, p. 7) José Perez article on ATA's deontological "ethics." (Chronicle, p. 8) Dale Cunningham letter on FOIA (Chronicle, p. 11) RJ Lee letter on official German in NJ (Chronicle, p. 12) Claudio Pinkus letter on ethics/money dichotomy and "exploitation" by agencies. "Our internal test statistics indicate that over 80% of translators tested are so deficient that they don't even qualify as proofreaders." (Chronicle, p. 13)
June/89: Dale S. Cunningham mentioned as NOT on any list of past-presidents (Chronicle, p. 2) 14 members pass accreditation exams, including J Henry Phillips (P-E) (Chronicle, p. 4) Ben Teague... the Trickle-Up Theory of ATA Administration: How does the ATA solve its problems? For that matter, how does it discover them? A short answer: Knowledge, ideas and initiatives come to the Board as its members do--from somewhere else. [This was back when Board members heeded what the membership had to say--FP] Well-run committees don't need to create; they meet to enact or to ratify, because this is what committees do well. They leave the creating to the members. (Chronicle, p. 13) Free Lance--Blunt Sword by George Kirby. ATA membership survey as springboard and soapbox for coercive licensing by claiming there is a translation "cartel." (...) Displays coercive mentality with this quote, allegedly from JAT: "What would--or should John L. Lewis' life expectancy have been if he had told his men to expect nothing more from their organization than help in becoming better coal miners?" (Chronicle, pp. 17-18) José G. Pérez article on [undefined] "ethics": Pirating clients is a terrible problem. (as though clients were chattel)... code of ethics should include copyright law (!) "public interest"... (Advocates translating Salmon Rushdie books in overt violation of the laws of the Iranian government…) Rate fixing, discusses "taking into account" the rate-fixing language which had been inserted into a so-called "code of ethics" circulated at the time, and eventually turned over to the FTC. "I don't know about New York, but in Atlanta the truth is that agencies don't give out prices on the phone, etc., because they're afraid that it is actually a competitor who is bidding on a job, trying to underbid them." (Chronicle, pp. 18-19) Accreditation is More than an Exam Grade, by Ann Sherwin [recommended!]: "Allow me to respond to the critics of ATA's policy of linking accreditation with membership in the association." (Actually defines the term!...) "Unlike a degree, accreditation is a statement about the present. And unlike government licensing, it is free of government regulation. We can sell our services with or without accreditation." (Chronicle, pp. 19-20)
July/89: Candidates for President-elect; Peter Krawutschke, A. Leslie Willson (cover). The Rates Gap--or Chasm? by George Kirby. [Another article whining that the world owes him a better living] Blunt Words to a Blunt Sword, by Gabe Bokor [Attempt to cast aspersions on Kirby's whining, with a couple of good observations:] "In this country, the translator's profession is a fully open one (...) contrary to other parts of the world, where you cannot practice it without a Government license. A few years ago you could even become an active member of the ATA without providing evidence that you could translate the most simple text." (...) "Thank God, in America we are not forced to work for our Government..." (Chronicle, pp. 9-10) The View from Down Here, by Ben Teague; article on windbags who won't shut up... "You can tell a sorehead," the old saying goes, "but you can't tell him much." "But I see a difference between proposing deviant ideas and seeking to impose ideas on a group that has already rejected them." (...) "I believe I've seen the Board base decisions not on what it thought best for the ATA, but rather on a threat offered by a member or former member. Such threats have a chilling effect on anyone who tries to contribute to the association. So chilling that I believe good people have refused to run for office because of threatened lawsuits (which extend to the Board members severally and, however trifling, always cause a lot of aggravation)." (...) "But just as the Constitution affords freedom of religion and freedom from religion in the same breath, it insures equally your right to speak and my right to say, 'I've heard enough, now get the hell off my stump'. I believe the ATA has bent itself out of shape to try to foster what it takes for diversity of opinion but I regard as petulant demands for attention." (Chronicle, p. 11) Bokor's ad-hoc, case-by-case "ethics" column (Chronicle, p. 14) Panetta Introduces Foreign Language Bill H.R. 2188, the Foreign Language Competence for the Future Act of 1989 was introduced by Representative Leon E. Panetta (D-CA) in close consultation with the leaders of state and national foreign language organizations. Features: 1) government subsidies 2) government loans 3) government language institutes 4) more government subsidies 5) still more government subsidies. (Chronicle, p. 15)
Aug/89: Board meeting, Tarrytown, NY, July 15, 1989; The Board approved the ATA budget of $232,000 for fiscal year 1990. The Board heard from Frank Patterson, attorney, regarding the issues which would be involved in obtaining an IRS ruling changing the classification of ATA's tax-exempt status. Toward that end, the Executive Committee and Mr. Patton were authorized to research the possible change further and to report back to the Board. The report is to include a draft of amendments which would be required in ATA's Articles of Incorporation. (Chronicle, p. 4) Kurt Gingold reports that ATA now has 2865 members, only 59 short of an all-time high. Grace Tillinghast reported that the failure rate on accreditation tests is high, largely due to the fact that too many candidates have: * little or no experience in translation * insufficient knowledge of the target and/or source language. Ms. Tillinghast urged that candidates take advantage of the practice test before trying the accreditation exam. (Chronicle, p. 6) Photo of Al Bork smiling and without a beard. Other candidates were Willson, Krawutschke, Carson, Pellet, María Brown, Ann Sherwin, Fritz Hensey, Bill Bertsche, Laurie Truehaft, Norcross, Vasconcellos, Bokor, Lee, Greiss, Sachs (Chronicle, pp. 8-12). Letters: Hostage translation to get paid, M. Cerruti; Health insurance, again, P. Wheeler; Stop Bitching! good one by A. Habberton; Sachs on late payment... (Chronicle, p. 12-15) [That's right, 4 pp. of reader input!] Bokor on ethics (Chronicle, p. 17-18) A Modest Proposal, by George Kirby, whining about low rates, gives distorted "definition" of profession, then abandons definitions entirely to cite spurious sample characteristics; "...the serious use of the term "profession" generally involves the following tests: 1. Higher education in the liberal arts of sciences, sometimes coupled with advanced special training; 2. Demonstrated competence to enter the field; 3. (usually) controlled entrance by a professional body or by the state." Goes on to advocate coercive licensing by the state governments explaining that "the states would not have the slightest notion of how to direct us and would look to the ATA for guidance." If "we" were to "push for state licensing" and "work with the states to provide appropriate testing and examination" "we" would "not only have 'certified translators' for the first time in this country, but also control of the examination process, and hence of admission to the profession could fall to the ATA." Claims that since naked force works "quite well" to coerce court interpreters, why not coercive licensing of translators as well? Recommends (get this!) Germany as an example. [This is the first record I have of totalitarian coercive licensing advocated in an ATA publication, see response in September, 1989, pp. 22-23]
September/89: 16 pass exams, number not given. Advocacy or Education, anonymously reprinted from Sept/89
Translorial (NCTA) newsletter. Alleges a movement afoot for changing ATA
tax classification from 501 (c) (6) to 501 (c) (3), making us "educational."
Warns of lobbying specter, corporate entanglements; pp. 7-8. Letters p.
11: CHICATA President John Bukacek writes -- The abstract of the July 1989 and ATA Board of Directors meeting,
published in the August 1989 and Chronicle, omitted mention of a rather
distasteful attempt by the ATA Board to change the membership policy of
another organization, the Chicago Area Translators And Interpreters Association.
And little bit of history is of the essence: the Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters Association (CHICATA), a local cooperating group with the ATA, was formed in February of 1987 to promote the interests of translators and interpreters in the Chicago area, and to provide a free and open forum for translators and interpreters to exchange ideas and experience. At a general membership meeting in March of 1988, the CHICATA members decided that the organization should be exclusively for independent freelance and in-house translators and interpreters, and that the owners, managers, and representatives of translation agencies and bureaus would not be eligible for membership in CHICATA. Independent translators and interpreters require solidarity with each other and an organization such as CHICATA to provide an environment for them to maintain and develop their collegial relationships. It should be perfectly clear that CHICATA is not against agencies. The agencies have their own particular interests, which are not necessarily the same as those of translators, and translators have their own particular interests, which are not necessarily the same as those of the agencies. Moreover, CHICATA is in no way opposed to the ATA membership policy, and does not seek to change it every association has a right to determine its own membership policy.... the only reason the ATA seems to insist that the Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters Association change its membership policy is that it is exclusively for translators and interpreters. However, it is perfectly reasonable and, indeed, appropriate for translators to form an organization of their own that is free from the influence and control of the agencies. Translators and interpreters need and open forum to exchange ideas, experience, and information, and they need to take their destiny into their own hands.
The ATA has no right to dictate policy to other organizations, even if they are affiliated associations. Imagine how the ATA Board would react if FIT tried to get it to change its membership policy! [CHICATA offers accreditation sittings, is self-supporting, accepts no ATA funds] members of ATA are appalled at the outrageous attempt by the ATA Board to interfere in the affairs of a local cooperating group of translators. The ATA's action seems to indicate that it puts the interests of the agencies ahead of the interests of the translators, and that it thinks he can force other organizations to bend to its will. The ATA should not try to force its policies on cooperating groups, but instead, should welcome the cooperation of other associations that promote the same goals by means of different policies. The ATA should support its local translators!
Vivian Yu Computer Coolies letter wanting ATA to become a trade union, lobby for coercive licensing; sent out 2 ad copy translations for bids to 4 companies, where bids ranged from forty-two cents per word to 84 cents… editor, Ted Crump comments on tough choices, offers copy of original YU letter upon request, pp. 12-13. [His replacement by Jane Morgan Zorrilla announced same issue p. 2]
Bernard Bierman letter giving history of ATA publications. The Translation Inquirer was founded by Dr. Alexander Gode; review of 50 issues shows Alison Bertsche, Charles Stern, Hugh Blair and others helping.
Juan Morales letter opposing meddlesome Panetta bill, HR 2188, providing for tax-subsidized translation agencies; p. 15. J Henry Phillips letter on ethics, Proposed code for AATIA p. 18. Ben Teague on hiring an executive director, making the move to Washington, turning the president's less dramatic functions into staff jobs... we choose leaders because they represent something good in our profession -- the ability to make a living -- and load them with so much unpaid work that they can no longer do that. This arrangement worked when we had 800 members and when we had 1500; now we have 3000 and it doesn't. We can't do what we need to on our present income from dues, so why don't we raise them?. P. 19
Nov-Dec/89: RCNA is Regional Center f/North America (Chronicle, p. 9). Grace Tillinghast, annual accreditation report:
Tests given: 535
Tests graded: 511
Not yet graded: 24
Failed: 367 [pass/fail = 144/367= 0.39]
94 tests were given at the conference (Chronicle, p. 10) Bokor on ethics, p. 11. Gingold on membership: ...and our membership as of today stands at 3088 and still growing. This is approximately 4% above the previous high of 2924 at year-end 1988 and 11% above the total of 1390 (sic has to be 2782) this time last year. ...drop-out rate of approximately 19% is, of course, much too high... Analysis:
Of the latter, 1293, or approximately 45%, were Active (including 116 Life
members, 14 Charter members, and 2 Honorary members). We had 1457 Associate
members, including 195 student members. (...) Of the 1239 Active members,
1021 were accredited in at least one language pair, holding 1332 accreditations
among them--or, for those who enjoy virtually meaningless statistics--an
average of 1.29 accreditations per accreditee. Geographically... we had
2913 members in the US and 206 foreign members. (Chronicle, pp. 11-12)
Peter Krawutschke (unaccredited) on University accreditation; Steve Sachs
on rates guidelines (Chronicle, p. 13) Board Highlights: For the purpose
of gathering further information, the Board resolved that an application
be made to the Internal Revenue Service for a preliminary review of a proposed
change in tax-exempt status from 501(C)(6) to 501(C)(3), and to include
in that application copies of revisions to the Certificate of Incorporation
and Bylaws suggested by ATA's attorney, but not yet approved by the Board
or membership. Based on the information obtained through this preliminary
ruling, the Board will be able to continue its contemplation of the advisability
of such a change.
The 1990 updates to Translation Rates Guidelines were accepted, and their publication in the January issue of the ATA Chronicle was approved. ...Leslie Willson President-Elect (Chronicle, p. 16) Kristina Moeller letter on agencies, rates; J Henry Phillips letter on coercive licensing "This hesitant tentativeness (in recommending coercive licensing) is easy to understand when you remember that all decent people suffer conscience pangs when struggling with the temptation to do something simple, convenient, and wrong." (Chronicle, pp. 22-23) Hyde Flippo letter advocating coercive meddling in translation by the political State. (Chronicle, pp. 23-24) Mark Homneck letter critical of Vivian Yu (who is against all agencies) (Chronicle, p. 24-25) Jane Maier on Ethics, also her (very good) model contract (Chronicle, p. 26-27). Timeline: Bierman claims to have sent letter to Steve Sachs warning against rates guidelines publication. (TN p. 1)
Jan/90: Please loan us this issue! Photocopy would do just as well. Scan it to a pdf file and we'll manage the transfer.--FP
May/90: Ted Crump letter to Capital Translator, May 11, 1990. p. 4: "The most recent ATA Board communique, although cut to the bone as usual, contained some real screamers. First, after all the hoo-rah over the past six months, the 501(c)(3) idea was waylaid, at least for the time being." (censorship...) "The communique somehow failed to mention that ATA's attorney, Mr. Frank Patton Jr., between September 1, 1989 and the time of the Board meeting had been paid $16,344.25 in attorney's fees; that figure as of May 7, 1990 stood at approximately $22,000. ...this amounts to the annual dues of 44 members." [$500 apiece?--FP](...) "...the newsletter (Translation News) frankly maintains that it was the action of three translation bureaus, AdEx Translations International, Inc. (Bernard Bierman, New York), AdEx Translations International/USA (Robert Addis, California), and William Gray Enterprises (Mark/Marc Masurovsky) of Washington, DC, which brought about this sudden turn in ATA policy and the scrapping of rate guidelines. The newsletter says that beginning in November 1989, Bierman, Addis and Masurovsky successively questioned the legality of the rate guidelines program to the ATA President, engaged an antitrust attorney, urged the president get Mr. Patton involved, and even sent him documentation on the rates guidelines program." [to say nothing of turning in an actual complaint to the FTC--FP] (...) It's a black day for freelances, but it's just the logical succession of slamming the lid down on the Chronicle. (Capital Translator, May 11, 1990. p. 4)
Nov-Dec/90: "Almost 3700 members"--Hammond; ...on March 22, 1990 there were 2916 paid-up members--Kurt Gingold (source: Howie)
1991: president, Deanna L. Hammond; secretary, Ann Sherwin; president-elect A. Leslie Willson; Treasurer Bonnie L. Carson; directors: William I Bertsche, Gabe Bokor, John Bukacek, Nicholas Hartman, Julie Johnson, Jane Maier, Thomas Malionek, Laurie Treuhaft, Meeri Yule.
March/91: State Department rates, p. 7. Federal Trade Commission antitrust "update," p. 9. "The ATA attorneys submitted the materials requested by the FTC in late January. Should there be further news to report, we will keep you informed." Deanna Hammond, ATA President.
April/91: District Courts interpreter use by language for calendar year 1988, p. 4. Spanish 46064, Haitian Creole 538, Cantonese 520, Arabic 307, Italian 244, Mandarin 180, Korean 170, French 166, Hebrew 161, Greek 124, Vietnamese 123, Urdu 113, Navajo 111, Tagalog 103, Portuguese 91, Farsi 89, Thai 81; Punjabi 68, Russian 67, German 56, Serbo- Croatian 51, Hmong 48, Japanese 47, Hindi 44, Gujarati 35, Foochow 34, Yoruba 24, Bengali 23, Laotian 23, Apache 20, Dutch 20, Pashtu 14, Sign 14, Yiddish 11, Nepalese 9, Wayuaaki 9, Indonesian 8, Papago 8, Polish 8, Albanian 7, Cambodian 7,Canjoval 7, Mein 7, Ga 6, Zuni 6, Bulgarian 5, French Creole 5, Hungarian 5, Armenian 4, Hausa 4, Hintko 4, Norwegian 4, Czechoslovakian 3, Flemish 3, Ibo 3, Samoan 3, Sibuano 3, Yugoslav 3, Chamorro 2, Fulane 2, Icelandic 2, Neapolitan 2, Swedish 2, Yupik 2, Finnish 1, Guinea 1, Hakka 1, Indian 1, Keres 1, Turkish 1. Bankruptcy courts: Spanish 9, Sign 4. Fouad Kheir. Mike Stacy on spelling differences p. 5 Accreditation: Cesar Tavares P-E; upcoming exams in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Northern California, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington. P. 12 Susanna Greiss on terminology p. 14; Letters p. 16: Marina Banchetti gasps at Harry Obst's Jan 1991 "The Ivory Tower of Babel"; Tom Snow and Marianne Schwartz letters on Utah abortion laws, ATA Board sermon on law, basic human rights, political, moral, or religious beliefs, announces that censorship will be imposed to ban any further discussion of this issue. James Shipp complaining about altered reprint of his article; ATA policy on chapters and division publications, statement of copyright. P. 17
May/91: At meeting March 23-24 Salt Lake City UT the Board of Directors
authorized accreditation program task force; approved NOTIS as cooperating
group; approved are revised version of the ATA Code of Ethical Conduct and Business Practices; Approved University Program Accreditation plan; approved nominating committee
for 1991 board elections; approved several proposed bylaws, amendments and a resolution to submit them to the membership for approval;
instructed budget committee to prepare larger office, increase in membership
dues, job description for Executive Director, survey office space in Washington
D.C.; adopted ATA election guidelines; approved expanded model contract;
next meeting Los Angeles July 27. [No mention of abolishing our mail-in
ballots or renaming basic tests]
Bylaws revisions recommended: in short, by changing our voting to the Annual Assembly or two special meetings, members will have more input, and at the meeting itself, will be able to express their concerns and ideas. ...[Once the deck is stacked and the outcome rigged already] I would urge all of you to try this step designed to bring more member participation while bringing our bylaws into total conformity with New York law. I'm confident that once members have tried this system... you'll see that it is not only effective, but desirable. [To whom?]
BYLAWS AMENDMENT resolution adopted March 24, 1991 now revealed on p. 5. WHEREAS the Board of Directors has reviewed the question of whether ATA should conduct formal meetings of its voting members and has concluded that member participation in ATA will be enhanced by amending the ATA bylaws to provide for formal meetings of the active members of ATA to be held at least annually and more frequently if needed, and the Board has been informed that such procedure will conform to the applicable provisions of the New York Not for Profit Corporation Law; and
WHEREAS bylaw amendments providing for meetings of members make desirable the adoption of related bylaw amendments dealing with such matters as quorum requirements, voting proxies, and notices of meetings; and… RESOLVED... 1. Article XI Is Replaced in Its Entirety As Follows: [entire-page amendment abolishing our mail-in ballots and establishing the anti-democratic proxies system with puppet checkoffs; REMOVAL of incumbent officers by the membership is now changed from simple majority to two-thirds majority requirement. Also, where before only the members could remove officers from the Board of Directors, new language was added to permit the Board of Directors to submit petitions for purging minority directors not conforming to their agenda. Removal of the description of the accreditation exams as "basic" was NOT published.]
Election "guidelines" prepared by Gabe Bokor and approved at Salt Lake City March 24, 1991, prohibit contributions and expenses [effectively eliminating freelancer candidates] and call for "dignified," not negative, campaigns; p. 6. Entire text with translation into plain English:
1. Nominating Committees will propose qualified candidates for each office, making a reasonable effort to offer the membership a choice of at least two candidates for office, but without excessively fragmenting the vote by proposing too many candidates for a given office. [That's where we got our single-party unopposed incumbent agency candidates slate for 2001]
2. When selecting candidates for national offices, the Nominating Committee will attempt to select a slate that is representative of the membership at large regarding the geography and type of professional involvement. [Screen out independent-thinking freelancers--FP]
3. The slate of candidates to national office shall be presented, prior to its publication, the ethics committee, which shall verify that they candidates have no reasonable complaint lodged or sanctions applied against them. The slate shall be presented to headquarters for verification of membership status. [Gabe Bokor, claiming insight into "ethics," alone decides who gets to run for office, later Ann Macfarlane alone--FP]
4. No funds of the Association, the Chapters, or Divisions will be used to promote and candidate. [sic] While candidates may not accept contributions or incur expenses for campaigning purposes, every effort will be made to encourage as much constructive dialogue as possible among the candidates within the existing forums of the ATA. [In other words the Board tightly censors all debate, agencies can subsidize their candidates, but freelancers may not.]
5. Campaigns must be open and dignified, concentrating on the issues and on the qualifications of the candidate. Negative campaigning is discouraged. [Any mention of illegal/unethical activities by the Directors or their handpicked candidates shall be vigorously censored]
6. All members of the association are encouraged to carefully examine the issues and the qualifications of the candidates for each office and to exercise their right to vote as they are entitled to do according to their membership status. [Vote the way we tell you to; nominating committee members: Norma Pringle, Lydia Balk, John Matthews, L. Manouche Ragsdale, Ian Reid] (Chronicle May 1991 pp. 6, 10)
Form letter for beseeching the Nominating Committee to grant the boon of recognizing a candidate; p. 10. AATIA regional conference May 31 and June 1, 1991 on UT campus, Ben Teague the keynote address, accreditation workshop, Fritz Hensey on careers, NAJIT, Al Bork, $30 for members. P. 11 Bokor's ghastly code of "ethics" approved by board, p. 15. Excerpt: 9. I will refrain from unfair competitive practices. [See FTC antitrust investigation same year.]
June/91: BYLAWS AMENDMENTS announced, proxy forms to be sent out; p. 3
[mail-in ballots abolished by fiat/proclamation, in violation of the bylaws]
Message From The President: Within a few weeks, all of you who were active members in good standing as of March 1 will be receiving a packet on the proposed amendments to our bylaws. As was explained last month, the main purpose of these amendments is to enable us to hold our elections at the Annual Conference. Those unable to attend will still be sent a proxy, which they can fill out with their vote or in trust to someone who will be at the meeting. It is essential to have your support in this matter so that this year, for the first time, which can hold our elections at the time of the conference. This will enable the candidates to have more opportunities to express themselves, both in an additional issue of the Chronicle and at the conference itself. In fact, I am told that right after the opening session of the conference, will have the candidates' forum so that those present can hear what the candidates have to say. [When these words of Deanna Hammond's were published, the ATA bylaws read: "a. Each active member in good standing as of March 1 shall be entitled to one vote. All voting shall be by individual, secret mail ballot." In other words, the mail-in ballot -- not a proxy ballot -- was still the legal ballot as provided for in the ATA bylaws. The then-illegal proxy ballots were simply switched in to approve an amendment abolishing the mail-in ballots and replacing them with the very proxy ballots used to pass the amendment.]
Petition circulated for Independent Translators Division: A petition has been signed to request the establishment of an Independent Translators' Division and bylaws are being drawn up. The Board plans to act on this petition at its July meeting. We would like to hear from you, the members, regarding your views as to why such a division should (or should not) be established. Please address your remarks to any Board member or the Chronicle editor. p. 4. [Not another word on that was ever published, see CHICATA Sep/89] 57 pass tests; p. 14. Nominations open for President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, 3 Directors; Manouche Ragsdale Chairman pro-tem on behalf of Norma Pringle, undergoing surgery. P 16; freelancer/agency letter by Sarah Pilgrim of OmniLingua p. 17; Schutte letter from Pretoria South Africa nitpicking Charles Stacy article; Phillips letter on "The Invisible Man" Mendelson article in February Chronicle, Stacy article on Portuguese, "I'm not sure what to think of the Editorial Board's sermon on tendentious politicking. Nevertheless I sure hope the ethics committee pays close attention to the part about ' advocacy of political, moral or religious viewpoints' as contrasted with the ATA's true function. P. 18
July/91: Deanna Hammond announces job opening for Executive Director who will "respond directly to the president, executive committee, and Board in turn."... [not the membership] "reporting back to the president and Board concerning staff operations and suggestions." (Attend... all Board and executive committee meetings..." p. 3-4; Charles Stacey article on capitalizing p. 6; FIT History of Translation Committee splits into two committees. P. 12; five letters to the editor p. 15 -- Alicea Betsy Edwards review of S/E Courts Interpreter's Manual by T. W. Lewis p 17
August/91: Maria Brown runs for director, p. 3; bio, p. 5. 17 pass exams; p. 10; Publication of J Henry Phillips' further objections to the proposed code of "ethics" (exposing conundrums) is suppressed.
Sept/91: Hammond message: lays down law on references to accreditation; approves disbursements for depositions by former Rates Guideline Committeemembers Steve Sachs, George Kirby and Gabe Bokor, and John Bukacek, in ongoing FTC investigation; pp. 4-5 46 pass exams, p. 10. J Henry Phillips article on computer code pages for accented characters, p. 15.
October/91: Al Bork runs on "no secrecy" platform, p. 3 [defeated] Panegyrics to Hammond, pp. 6-8, by Zorrilla, Truehaft, Yule, Maier. ATA moves to Washington area, not a word about rechartering; p. 10. Budget; revenues, accreditation $31,000; disbursements, accreditation, 23,000 [$8,000 in black] Velloso letter on agencies, p. 16. [For the record, Wilson Velloso's translation of Orwell's 1984 is, in one opinion, world-class literary translation into Portuguese]
November-December/91: JNCL report by Peter Krawutschke. "At least a few ATA members were as surprised as I was at the unexpected decision reached by the ATA Board of Directors during its July meeting in Los Angeles to discontinue ATA's membership in the Joint National Committee for Languages." [JNCL is a do-nothing bunch of lobbyists, bureaucrats and tax leeches bleeding the ATA white to the tune of some $2375/year, but we weren't to break free that easily--FP] "During its meeting on October 20, the ATA Board of Directors voted, after considerable discussion, to continue JNCL membership for another year." [thereby providing Peter a chance to play lobbyist with our $2375--FP]; p. 15 Message from [unaccredited] Leslie Willson, Accreditation Task Force, under Bill Bertsche does some wonderful things, but nobody knows what. Election results, p. 16: Of our 1210 voting members, 455 (37.6%) cast ballots. Edith Losa gets 404 votes. Highlights of the October, 1991 Board meeting: Faced with information from ATA attorney Frank Patton that the FTC construes point 9 of our Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practices, which states that an ATA member "will not engage in unfair competitive practices," to mean "undercutting of fees," voted to delete the item from the Code as a gesture of good faith, notwithstanding that such an interpretation was never the intent of the authors of the Code or the Board. [In the December 1988 Chronicle, p. 17, Gabe Bokor, then volunteering on both the Ethics and the Rates Guidelines committees, circulated a ghastly "Code of Ethics" advocating collusion. There was no Point 9 in the circulated draft, all price-fixing language being contained in items 6 ("rights"), and 2-4 ("duties"), especially 2. (See Chronicle 12/88 p. 17; Chronicle 2/89, p. 14) ]
Jan/92: Willson message; ATA HQ moving to VA; Task Force recommendations for smoother implementation of accreditation (Bill Bertsche, Chair; Pat Newman, Deanna Hammond; Jane Zorrilla) named as Executive sub-Committee of Accreditation Committee; p. 8. State Dept. rates, p. 10. Teague further lays down law on references to accreditation; p. 13. [Teague does not answer simple questions as to why.]
February/92: Willson message, ATA at new HQ; p. 7. 25 pass tests, p. 10
March/92: Willson message redefines active membership as now a prerequisite for listing in the TSD! p. 7. Admits proposing change to allow people incapable of passing exams to get active membership anyway, but does not mention his wife. The change was approved by the Board and subsequently by a "refferendum" of active members. [reversion to cronyism--FP] Also, board abolished membership Committee in spring of 1990 [no wonder data are hard to come by!]. JNCL Report by Peter Krawutschke: Various laws, including English Only, Miller Bill; p. 8. Bill Bertsche, Call for graders, p. 9. 39 pass exams, p. 12. Shuckran Kamal; Arabic to English exams added; p. 11. Teague on ethics, p. 13.
April/92: Executive Director Rugenstein: "And we promise to do everything in our power to serve the ATA membership." p. 9. 31 pass tests; p. 10
[Then you also know all about our campaign to elect Tom Malionek to the ATA board. We succeeded in getting him elected through a grassroots effort, but the Olympians outlawed campaigning in ATA. Tom finally was forced to resign from the ATA board, having been accused of "conflict of interest" when he got involved in forming the Translators Guild. He was fed up with ATA anyway.]-- Personal communication to compiler.
May/92: The Internal Revenue Service and the Independent Contractor, by Bernard Bierman, pp. 3, 5; "According to my information there are several trade and professional associations now gearing up for a lobbying effort." Quotes from IRS Employer's Tax Guide in margin. Board sets active review fee at $75; accepts resignation of Tom Malionek, Maria Brown to serve out term; p. 6 Malionek resignation letter, p. 7. Accreditation Committee--New Exam Policies Affect Candidates and Proctors: candidates must be members; pay in advance; register in advance; 9 candidates pass. p. 11
June/92: 56 pass tests, including J Henry Phillips & Tim Yuan (both E-P); Monique-Paule Tubb evades English into French exam through the review procedure originally intended for language pairs for which ATA has no exams; p. 13.
July/92: Administrative Office of the Courts Recognizes ATA Accreditation, by Jane Morgan Zorrilla. Clears up misconception that only court interpreters may translate court documents; Title 28, U.S.C., Section 1827 (D) (1) states that a certified interpreter shall be used when a party or witness has a hearing or speaking impairment. The section does not mention translations of documents. L. Ralph Mecham, Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts: This agency recognizes the certification process of the American Translators Association as the measurement of a qualified translator. There is no prohibition concerning interpreters using their federal status to profit in their personal business... neither the courts nor this agency exercise control over the freelance certified interpreter is when they are not performing duties in court. Of 450 certified interpreters, only 60 are federal court employees. The others are freelance interpreters and, as such, are not limited to working solely for the federal courts. p. 1. 28 candidates pass tests; p. 9.
August/92: Peter Krawutschke on recognition by politicians, various laws; "I was pleased to have been able to comment on this bill during the delegate assembly..." pp. 1, 5. 47 pass tests, p. 15. Active review lets one dodge English/Spanish; Marian Greenfield "reinstated" (she had passed S-E around August, 1981) Court interpreter complaining letter, p. 19
September/92: Maria Brown served out Malionek's term, runs for board, p. 3. Chronicle editor Jane Zorrilla resignation letter, p. 9. 19 pass tests, active membership review; p. 19 [Executive Director Edgar Rugenstein resigns September 18, 1992. John Gillis, association manager, appointed administrator of ATA headquarters office effective September 21 (October, p. 5)]
October/92: Willson message, "After the resignation of ATA Executive Director Edgar Rugenstein on September 18, 1992, the Association was fortunate in being able to appoint John Gillis... effective September 21." Aside from accreditation test graders, only three persons at the present time receive compensation for work for the Association: the staff at headquarters, which consists of an Administrator and 2 secretaries. They have an immense responsibility to an association whose members now total over 4000, a number that continues to grow. It is sufficient to mention that ATA isn't a period of transition that requires expenditures for headquarters in areas of staffing and equipment that will make possible its efficient response to the needs of members. --Willson, p. 5. ATA Revenues, p. 6: Accreditation: $11,000; Practice tests $1,500. Disbursements: Accreditation: $10,000; Practice tests: $1,800 [$300 loss on practice tests?] Accreditation Committee disbursement: $300. Total revenues equalled total disbursements. Good Mintz letter p. 18; Judy Howe letter on how Japanese MT software translates "in the black" as "in the African-American". J Henry Phillips reviews Brazilian terminology management software; p. 20 VOTE, p. 3: "As you may recall, the format of our elections changed last year. We no longer send out ballots or vote by mail. Elections are now held at the Annual Conference, once a quorum of the voting members has been established at a business meeting held for the purpose of conducting the elections." [This by the bootstraps bylaws amendment using illegal proxy votes to replace legal mail-in ballots and to transfer more votes into the hands of boardmembers.--FP] "Eligible members who have not sent in a proxy are encouraged to vote in person."
Dec/92: From Translation News: ATA Discloses Significant Losses Over Past Two Years... $100,000 spent in connection with FTC investigation, or about 18% of all expenses incurred. (Translation News, p. 4) NAJIT also the subject of an FTC investigation; TAALS has history of rate recommendations. (Translation News, p. 5) Chernobyl, USSR breakup (p. 6) ATA loses $76,000 in 2 yrs. (Translation News, p. 10) (...) With that growth [in the world of translation] have come some new problems, new issues, new concerns. I am talking about problems, issue and concerns which in more cases than not cannot be addressed individually. These are problems, issues and concerns that call for--nay, demand--collective action, the kind of action that one looks to an association to take. But ATA... is off somewhere in the ionosphere... (and even when the real opportunity comes, doesn't even chase it). ...independent contractor assault of the IRS... California and Florida [evidently legislative meddling planned]... Quotes Comrade Hartmann as saying "professionals do not engage in politics." (Translation News, p. 10)
January/93: Active review Committee reinstates 3, admits English-Arabic candidate; 2 pass exams; p. 3. John Ferreira [extremely competent, B.A. in management information systems, minor in economics, and database designer] starts work January 11, 1993; p. 9. Lee Chadeayne, new Chronicle editor; p. 11. Hilton Head, expensive resort examined; p. 12 Leslie Willson on TSD, claims it is still restricted to active members, despite explicit language in the bylaws to the contrary (see associate member rights); p. 19 Muriel Jérôme O'Keeffe chairs Chapters Committee; p. 23
March/93: Accreditation Committee News, by Jane Morgan Zorrilla: Bill Bertsche, Deanna Hammond and Jane Zorrilla "clarify certain matters concerning the accreditation program, its goals and its administration." "Someone who is not a skilled translator will find it difficult to pass the exam." "For those who want to test the waters before committing to taking the exam, the Accreditation Committee offers a practice test..." [practice tests not yet mandatory?]; "Accreditation simply means that you have passed a translation examination evaluated by your peers." pp. 3, 13.
April/93: 111 pass exams; pp. 3-4. Exam Sittings, an Introduction, Anonymous article explains the procedure; pp. 5-6. ATA Board: hires two full-time employees at HQ; p. 8.
April-July/93 ATA Accreditation article. Maria Brown Chair since October 1993. (June/94 p. 11)
May/93: Bierman on IRS and independent translators, pp. 1, 4. Accreditation practice tests now forced on all comers whether interested or not, in direct violation of the bylaws; p. 3. President's Statement on Antitrust Issue, [Big Brother is watching]; p. 21. J Henry Phillips proctors May accreditation exam [5/26 thanks letter from Ingrid Lansford]
June/93: Siege mentality message from A. Leslie Willson paints Peter Krawutschke's benevolent political State as threatening to reduce us all to "common labor." Resents this placing of the "culturally sensitive" on a par with the foul-smelling working classes: "The gathering of information that relates to that threat is underway now, and the action that will and must be taken by the ATA from its highest echelons to its student members will be debated and eventually agreed upon for the benefit not only of our profession but also for the nation's economic and cultural wellbeing." Seeing is believing, pp. 1, 4. Incoherent "MT survey" was also included in the center of the June issue. 53 pass exams, including Monique Paule Tubb, p. 14 [Cf. June/92 p. 13] Inspec Thesaurus review, pp. 21-22.
July/93: Peter Krawutschke makes a 900-word candidate statement after the Nominating Committee expressly imposed a 250-word limit. Highlights include: "...we need to insure [sic] the integrity of our accreditation testing and of the accreditation process. Unless conducted in a professional 'scientific' manner, ATA exposes itself to yet another legal fiasco that could well ruin our organization... it may well become economically feasible for other organizations, e.g. ETS (Educational Testing Services), or the CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics), to enter the scene." Source: August, 1993 Chronicle, p. 19.
August/93: Ethics Committee: Ben Teague resigned, replaced by Louis Feuerle. Provides for complaints and grievances against everyone, including Boardmembers? Mario Ferreira obituary by Susana Greiss; p. 13. Willson message: "The printout of membership records for the disastrous 1992 Membership List lacked fax numbers and was full of mistakes, making that list highly suspect and practically useless." "The numbers of persons taking accreditation exams increased. The retention percentage of members had not appreciably changed..." "...the number of members increased from the 1992 total of 3305 to the present total of 4751, a 44% increase in membership. The retention rate for 1993 was 72%, much higher than in the past." "After no Membership List appeared in 1991, and a flawed one in 1992..." "The ATA changed its fiscal year to a calendar year in 1992..." [This is followed by a breakdown of costs: 25% of the 1992 rump budget for HQ; 41% of the 1993 budget for HQ; same figure planned for 1994] pp. 14, 16. Vasconcellos letter noting that Peter K. used 900 words in his candidate statement, while Bonnie Carson's was kept within the 250-word limit imposed by the Nominating Committee; Deanna Hammond letter commenting on this same phenomenon, and responding to Krawutschke's veiled threat that the accreditation program is a legal liability in that someone may someday sue: "The implication that the program is an accident waiting to happen is, in my opinion, an irresponsible statement that denigrates the work being done by more than 75 dedicated members of the Accreditation Committee and casts aspersions on a program that has been operating successfully for many years. It also overlooks the tremendous recent accomplishments in making the program even better. The newly instituted review procedure is but one example. Furthermore, the possibility of turning the program over to CAL has already been investigated and rejected for many reasons, not the least of which is cost. We believe that forcing candidates to pay several hundred dollars to take the exam would make it economically unfeasible for many members and would have an adverse impact on the Association as a whole." p. 19.
Sept/93: Leslie Willson message, p. 4 [This is what happens when the Board is infiltrated by academicians unable to pass a translation test or read the bylaws--FP]: "...a backlog of unentered information concerning memberships and accreditation examination results..."; "The invitation to renew membership published in the fall 1992 issue of the Chronicle had brought few renewals, and it was not until late in January of 1993 that a reminder was mailed to all non-renewed members."; "...I decided that an extension of the deadline for renewal would be in order and requested that the date of 15 March 1993 be stated in a reminder letter..."; "Then it was pointed out to me at the March, 1993 Board meeting that I had transgressed against the Bylaws by authorizing the extension, since the Bylaws state that the membership of any person not renewed within 60 days after the end of the year (or 1 March) would lapse; payment of late dues would reinstate the membership, but the lapsed status would mean that a voting member lost the right to vote and would also be ineligible to run for office in the ATA in 1993."; "The Board suggested that I write to all lapsed members... advising them further of their loss of voting privileges and candidacy for office."; "...a groundswell of protest began to be felt and heard. Two candidates for directorships on the Board were among those disenfranchised; more than a score of prominent ATA members, some serving as chairmen of committees and even holding office in the ATA, had been caught in the two-week extension authorized by me. My intentions had been good--circumstances beyond the control of Headquarters staff and me..."; "...a petition began to be circulated..."; "...ATA attorney Frank Patton, who suggested a temporary amendment of the Bylaws for 1993 that, if ratified by the voting members of ATA, would reenfranchise members denied their right to vote..."; "The Board recommends the approval of the temporary Bylaw amendment..."; "...I have appointed a Bylaw Revision Committee consisting of Peter Krawutschke (chairman), Nicholas Hartmann, Edith Losa, Patricia Newman, and Charles M. Stacy."; "Backroom and downstairs (or upstairs) cliques are no longer welcome in the New ATA." [Omits any mention of the amendments adopted March 24, 1991, with Gabe Bokor's election guidelines included.] John Ferreira hired to straighten out HQ; p. 4. Lee Curtis made Editor; p. 5. Dues are $75/year; p. 6. Portuguese Language Division publishes bilingual quarterly newsletter [edited and published by J Henry Phillips]; p. 7. Muriel Jérôme O'Keeffe begins campaigning for director, p. 8. Peter Krawutschke commercial for pouring our member dues down the JNCL rathole to "reach 250,000 educators..." [pp. 14, 28; by his figures, that's a $2375/year bill we have to pay for this "reaching."]; "...ATA members request and expect similar effort by your JNCL delegate in the... policy arena as well; i.e., in reference to legislative initiatives and vis-a-vis regulatory efforts by such agencies as the INS, IRS, or FTC."; "Yet, it is not unreasonable for ATA and its membership to assume such a role in informing legislative efforts in areas of importance to the profession."; [Get this] "...it may well be true that an organization of ATA's significance and strength acts socially irresponsible if it allows policymakers and regulators at the national or state level to set policy affecting its members without giving these officials the benefits of its members' collective expertise and knowledge." [Here comes the best part] "In conversations I recently had with a number of ATA members, there is a growing interest in establishing an organizational structure which would allow us 'to inform federal policymakers about [ATA's] views on issues of importance to the profession,' as quoted from '10 ways to get the most out of your ABA membership'." [He then goes on with glowing descriptions of failed attempts at meddling by politicians, and his own hobnobbing with that elite society. Best of this is a scam whereby the government subsidizes would-be translators in return for a one-year indentureship to the political State, see pp. 14,28] Bonnie Carson now allowed to exceed the 250-word limit, but only opposite Peter Krawutschke's JNCL commercial. Carson is vowing "responsible fiscal management," warning that our finances are anemic, that dues are 150% times what they were in 1991, that $40,000 have been squandered in legal fees [brought on by agency owners complaining abt rates guidelines and the circulation of an "ethics" draft advocating collusion and price-fixing]. Carson also promised to "avoid cost overruns and bolster the bottom line," and to "be careful to abide by the By-Laws..." [Why was she defeated?--FP] Jane Maier article on IRS/State Labor Department Audits of translation agencies, explains the very real benefits Peter Krawutschke's helpful government legislators have brought to the translating profession: shakedowns and extortion, driving agencies to hire out-of-state, loss of eligibility for health or other insurance, increased paperwork at tax time, loss of deductions, all of this suffered by us freelancers. Jane also offers a checklist for independent contractor status which includes refusing to sign anti-competition agreements because an independent contractor can work for anyone. [See the full text on pp. 16-17] FIT has 47 voting members in good standing on its 40th anniversary, and increases member dues 15% to $1,725 for the likes of the ATA; p. 20 [This is something we pay money to belong to!--FP] Hartmann International bankruptcy notice, p. 24. Accreditation Committee report on requests for exams in new languages; explanation of what is involved; pp. 26-27.
October/93 ATA Chronicle: Censored/slashed issue
October/93 Capital Translator: Chronicle Goes under the Knife, by Ted Crump, CT Editor -- the October ATA chronicle, which was literally teetering on the mailing dock, some 5500 copies strong, last-minute hook on Sept. 24 for emergency surgery in the face of threatened legal action.
The offending material was a copy of "An Open Letter to the Voting Members of the American Translators Association," which had been previously mailed out to all voting members of ATA. Chronicle editor Lee Curtis and co-editor Derick Fajardo, as well as signatories of the "Open Letter," had received a strong warning from Robert A. Bertsche, son of ATA director William I Bertsche, and an attorney... alleging that the letter "contains matter that is both (page 9) false and defamatory of Dr. Deanna Hammond," and "if it is published, the editors of the Chronicle and the letter writers, as well as the Chronicle itself, they all be held responsible for the publication of this matter in a negligent manner and/or 'with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.'" This had been preceded by warnings from Deanna Hammond and William Bertsche to ATA President Leslie Willson and Lee Curtis, respectively. After receiving the faxed letter from Robert Bertsche, Willson ordered that the copies be retrieved from the mailing service and the offending material cut out before mailing.
Subsequently, Deanna Hammond warned all editors of chapter newsletters through chapters Chairman Muriel Jérôme O'Keeffe of the risk of a lawsuit in any of them published the "Open Letter," and then extended her warnings to prevent publication and distribution at the Philadelphia conference by the New York Circle of translators of 400 extra copies of Gotham Translator containing Alex Gross' article "The Gridlocking of the ATA." The NYCT Board of Directors reportedly decided to publish and distribute the GT with a blank space containing a short statement about wishing to avoid controversy.
Donna Sandin cover article on JPRS/FBRS…
Letter from Nicholas Hartmann p. 3: Responding to all the exaggerations, half-truths, and outright falsehoods in John Bukacek's article ("Watch Your ATA-Tude!") In the September issue of the Capital Translator would consume more time than I can spare, and no doubt to set off another slanging match of the kind that has become depressingly common within ATA. But there is one statement that I cannot let pass: "... there have been a few token freelancers on the Board, but with some rare exceptions, they tend to be freelancers who work for agencies who have representatives on the board. Since they depend on those agencies for work, they tend not to take independent stands. This interlocking system of sycophancy stymies the ATA from progressive actions." (...) All of these statements are astonishing lies... and most of them are libelous. [... Nick was Secretary 1991-93, Director 1988-91]
Letter from Bernard Bierman p. 4: the present letter contains a statement made in the article [see above]. On page 6 Mr. Bukacek wrote: "subsequently I found out that the attorney in question was one Brian Moran of the Stamford (CT) law firm Chapman, Moran, Hubbard & Zimmerman. Attorney Moran was the same attorney engaged by Robert Addis, Bernard Bierman and Mark Mazurovsky in connection with possible legal action against the ATA." [heated denial]
In summary, what occurred between November 1989 and the end of January 1991 was as follows: the November of 1989, I informed ATA officials of my believe that the organization's rate guidelines program might pose certain federal (and state) antitrust dangers. My communications to the ATA (which remained without response and/or action) were followed up by letter sent by Mr. Addis to the ATA Chronicle editor (Jane Zorilla) on December 30, 1989. That letter was not published; rather it was sent by Ms. Zorilla to Steven Sachs, Chairman of the Rate Guidelines Committee. Mr. Sachs responded to Mr. Addis by saying, among other things, that the ATA attorney (Frank Patton Jr.) was aware of the rate guidelines and found no objection to them. [The board's lawyer tells the board what it wants to hear--FP]
At that point Messrs Addis, Masurovsky and I, at complete cost to ourselves, retained Mr. Moran to research the legal aspects of the ATA rate guidelines program, specifically for determining whether the program might be in violation of federal and state antitrust strictures. Mr. Moran submitted to his report to us around Jan. 20, 1990, which indicated that the rate guidelines program could very well run afoul of antitrust laws. Shortly after receipt of the report, Mr. Masurovsky had lunch with then-President Deanna Hammond and related to her the essentials of the report. Following clearance of certain client-attorney confidentiality is, the report was submitted to Ms. Hammond, who on or around February 6, 1990 turned over to Mr. Patton. In March 1990, Mr. Patton recommended to the ATA Board of Directors that the rate guidelines program be immediately terminated, and a strict antitrust policy formulated.
From the very outset, all three of us firmly believed that the rate guidelines program contained discernible legal flaws, a belief that was verified by Mr. Moran. We were confident and always remained confident that when reading the opinion of an attorney specializing in antitrust matters the ATA would act in a proper and judicious manner. There was never any thought about bringing a private antitrust action against ATA, and no such thoughts were ever entertained given the circumstances. Moreover, the cost to the three of us for these legal services was considerable, and at no time did we ever ask for reimbursement from the ATA or make any inferences in that respect. [Why bother? Much easier to generate a complaint to the Feds-- FP]
Letter from Bill Grimes advocating censorship of John Bukacek's article. P. 4
Open letter to Bill Grimes from Bernard Bierman denouncing censorship, reminding him of his signature on August 1, 1979 letter making "wild and unfounded charges" against Bierman and of excluding agency owners from a freelancer session at the 1989 ATA conference in Arlington "in clear violation of the bylaws of the ATA." I applaud Ted Crump for the courage that he showed an publishing Mr. Bukacek's controversial remarks. One of the root causes of the current convulsions overtaking the American translators association is the lid that has been placed an open, uninhibited discussion of important issues. [Bierman was managing editor of Translation News].
Letter from James F. Shipp thanking the C.T. for its open editorial policy and actual reporting of the news. P. 5
THE FIG LEAF IS OFFby John Bukacek [claims that because certain individuals have perceived the ATA as their own personal property, translators have not had a truly effective professional association to represent their interests; that the ATA members deeply resent the fact that they have been kept in the dark about many issues that directly affect them, and are finally speaking out, dirty linen or no]
Politics or Poker?
There have always been politics and ATA, although some would deny it. The problem is that most of ATA political activity has been conducted behind closed doors by an "inner circle" of power. Various attempts at grass-roots participation have been made, but these movements have usually been squelched by those with vested interests in the ATA power structure. The ATA "inner circle" has almost always been able to "stack the deck" and its own favor. (...) Part of the rationale behind a moving ATA headquarters to the Washington D.C. area was to lobby the U.S. government.
Democracy depends on uninformed electorate. However, ATA has rarely had a true democratic process because information has been withheld from the members and because open debate has been denied them. There has always been a mentality within the "inner circle" of ATA to cover up, because "the members don't need to know." In the past, the "Ethics Committee" has been used in attempts to muzzle dissidents and to exercise ... control through an active (...)
The Rate Guidelines Fiasco
the ATA membership has not been thoroughly informed about the origin and development of the "Rate Guidelines" matter or the investigation of ATA by the Federal Trade Commission. There was never any open discussion and debate about the advisability of publishing those "Rate Guidelines" in the first place. Everything was done behind closed doors. If there had been open debate, I believe the fiasco would never have occurred. In January of 1990, Robert Addis sent a letter to the editor of the ATA Chronicle asking some pertinent questions about the rate guidelines program. This letter was suppressed and never published. If it had been published, and if open debate had ensued, the ATA might have been spared a multitude of legal fees. [About $500,000-- FP]
In February of 1990 it became clear that the ATA was threatened with legal action in connection with the rate guidelines. When I questioned the NFL Hammond, ATA president at that time, about the matter, she indicated that the ATA had to print a retraction of the rate guidelines in the ATA Chronicle or face legal action within thirty or 60 days (she was not clear which it was). She would not tell me from what party this threat of legal action came. One advised Hammond to engage a competent antitrust attorney, she told me that ATA already had an antitrust attorney, but she refused to tell me the attorney's name. When I, as a board member, ask for a copy of the attorney's written report, she told me she did not have to provide me with that information because of "attorney-client confidentiality." The ATA's legal counsel is responsible to the Board of Directors. [Not the membership -- FP] and ATA president does not have the right to withhold vital information such as legal counsel from members of the board. And the NFL Hammond certainly did not have the authority to make decisions based on legal counsel obtained without the approval of the board.
Although it is clear that the antitrust attorney in question was Brian E Moran, the same attorney retained by Robert Addis, Bernard Bierman, and Marc Masurovsky in connection with the rate guidelines matter, it is not clear if the possible "legal action" indicated by DNA hell Hammond referred to a lawsuit by Addis, Bierman and Masurovsky, or to an investigation by the FTC. The role of attorney Lee H Simowitz, a former employee of the FTC, has never been explained to the association. Marc Masurovsky has been silent on the matter.
In late 1990, the FTC initiated an investigation of the ATA. The FTC lawyers have conducted a very thorough and intelligent investigation of the ATA and its rate guidelines activities. Five ATA members gave sworn and confidential testimony before the FTC in late summer of 1991: Deanna Hammond, Steve Sachs, gave Bokor, George Kirby, and myself. The ATA board approved the payment of the legal fees for these depositions. It would be a shame if my testimony and that of the other for our never made public. Its release which had a lot of light on the whole "rate guidelines" fiasco.
In connection with this investigation, the economists at the FTC have conducted a very thorough study of the translation market in the United States. It is probably the most comprehensive study of the U.S. translation market ever undertaken. Since the study was done at taxpayers' expense, I urge all of you to write to your congressmen to call on the FTC to release the study for public inspection.
Same Bed, Different Dreams
There is a wonderful Chinese saying that poignantly describes the situation within the ATA: "Same Bed, Different Dreams." The ATA Membership Consists of Both Translators and Translation Agencies. Although the ATA Is Incorporated As a 501 (c) 6 trade association, there is an inherent conflict and the makeup of its membership, since the economic interests of translators are totally different from the economic interests of translation agencies. This has been demonstrated in numerous scandals throughout the history of ATA, and most recently in the Hartmann International case. (...) Some agencies restrain free trade by requiring translators to sign non-competition agreements. The agencies want to protect "they are" clients, but the reality is that most companies have multiple vendors and do not sign exclusivity agreements. Agencies warn translators that it is "unethical" to "steel" clients, but the agencies do it all the time to each other. When agencies do it, it's called "competition," but when translators do it, it's called "unethical." The ATA seems to have always supported this double standard, and has not done much to champion of the right of translators to compete in the free market. When was the last time the ATA commissioned an objective study on the translation market? [And so on...]
What Happened to the October Chronicle?Page 9 -- by Lee K. Curtis-- On Sept. 10, a Letter to the Editor signed by 25 people was submitted to me for publication in the October issue of the Chronicle. This letter listed several reasons why the signers felt that Seth Reames would be a better treasurer than Deanna Hammond. (...) on Sept. 22, 1993, I received a copy of a fax sent by Deanna Hammond... requesting that the presses be stopped and mailing delayed in order to remove the above-mentioned letter, because "It will only give me (Deanna) substantial grounds for a lawsuit which I abhor, but which I will be forced to initiate immediately against the Chronicle, its editors, editorial board, and all other parties concerned."
Because we were concerned about the possibility of a lawsuit, whatever its merits may have been, we wanted to avoid unnecessary legal fees for ATA, and therefore decided to pull the letter. This meant getting the 5500 Chronicle's back from the mailing house, over to the guy with the coupon cutter, then back to the printer for the replacement inserted pages [there were none], and finally to the mailing house again. It looks as if the Chronicle may not reach the membership before the elections, even though we are all stretching ourselves to the limit. (...) I also believe that because we are the third-largest translation association and the world after those in China and the former Soviet Union, we should be setting an example for all other associations worldwide in regard to freedom of expression. (...) I also worked closely with an editorial board, of which I am the head. If there is any question about what is to be published, we vote, and as the democratic way would have it, the majority wins.
Let me warn you, Dear Readers, the first person who dares come up to me at the ATA conference in Philadelphia to tell me I should censor letters and articles that are not "appropriate" will hear the Liberty bell ringing in his years for years to come! [The press had guts back then] end of Oct 1993 issue of Capital Translator.
November-December/93: (unseen) Nicholas Hartmann [no relation] letter advocating restricting membership in the ATA to exclude agency owners who are not active members, giving the inactive associates a deadline within which to pass an exam or move on, and preventing new members from joining chapters if they do not also join ATA. Source: January/1994, p. 6
January/94: Edith Losa's presidential message: "...it became clear to me that most ATA members do not know much about the activities of its officers..."; p. 4 [Amen to that!] Maria Brown appointed to head Accreditation Committee after serving on Active Review Committee; resignations from Ethics committee Chairman, replaced by Peter Wheeler. [Losa suppressed the Committee after J Henry Phillips initiated expulsion proceedings against Bernard Bierman]. Losa goes on about sleepless nights spent in self-sacrificial devotion to our glorious cause. John Gillis letter claiming great accomplishments, same page. Anne Crowe letter decrying Nick Hartmann letter advocating restricting membership in the ATA to exclude agency owners who are not active members, giving the inactive associates a deadline within which to pass an exam or move on, and preventing new members from joining chapters if they do not also join ATA. George Plohn letter complaining of $98 unrefunded after tour was cancelled at Philadelphia conference; p. 6. Ann Sherwin letter decrying Edith Losa's remarks in her Nov/Dec "President's Message" about ethics complaint against her and others as "anything but presidential..." Claims "Open Letter" sent to voting members before the election was clearly a violation of our Elections Guidelines banning contributions and the incurring of expenses, and requiring that campaigns be dignified, not negative [Chronicle 5/91 p. 6, adopted 3/24/91]. "The fact that all candidates who engaged in negative campaigning won by wide margins and that all victims lost proves that such tactics work. Is this 'The New ATA'?" Letter from ATA Director William Bertsche explaining that his ethics complaint was petitioned to discover negative campaigning by 2 ATA Directors constituted a violation of the Election Guidelines and malfeasance in office. Complains of "personal attacks and innuendoes made against me" and the "disgraceful abuse of the election process" witnessed. Claims credit for improvements to accreditation program, "A review procedure was established, the practice test program rejuvenated, etc."; p. 7 [Recommended reading.] Letter from Jane Morgan Zorrilla expressing disappointment at Edith Losa's "reaction to Dr. William Bertsche's formal, substantiated charges under Art. III, Par. 6 of our Bylaws (Expulsion of Members)." Continues on p. 36 with: "I am thankful that the charges have at last been forwarded to the Ethics Committee and that Peter Wheeler has agreed to chair that committee as it determines whether the charges warrant further investigation." (...) "If we as an Association conspire, whether through apathy or fear, to excuse or dismiss the actions of any member engaging in the malicious defamation of a colleague, we shall cease to merit being called a professional association. Where perpetrators are rewarded and victims punished, even the most noble among us will be in constant danger."--Jane Morgan Zorrilla, ATA Director [Recommended reading, pp. 6, 36]; Bill Fry farewell letter containing many interesting bits of information on the Willson and Losa regimes; p. 36 [Recommended] Editor's note denying Fry's allegations, p. 36.
February/94: Edith Losa, President's Report; Peter Wheeler appointed to chair Ethics; appoints Dee Warwick-Dias interim HQ administrator; thanks "all of you who have been so supportive during the past three months." p. 4. Grammatically odd letter from Janis Palma on interpreters; p. 7. Manuela Cerruti letter critical of the [interesting] Nicholas Hartmann proposals for restricting membership [see November-December/93; January/94, p. 6] "Mentor program" by Jeff Whittaker, preparation for the ATA accreditation exam; p. 23 Excerpt from 1971 Bierman article on price-fixing Guild in Philadelphia, followed by another old Bierman article on education. Reprint from 1966 American Translator: $15 member dues, Fischbach message claiming the final text of the ATA certification program was soon to be submitted to the membership, as was his code of ethical practices; p. 32 Edith Losa letter in reply to Ann Sherwin, Jane Zorrilla and Bill Bertsche: "I am sorry that the Deanna Hammond camp followers... are disappointed..." "...Dr. Hammond's manipulations... continues to engage in unauthorized interference in ATA business..." "For too many years information that should have been made public to the membership was withheld." Bernard Bierman [Editor, Translation News] letter approving of the way the entire campaign was conducted, "allowing an open, free-wheeling debate" on the elections. Claims "Ms. Zorrilla's tenure as ATA Chronicle editor was characterized by zealous censorship..." Ben Teague letter commending the absence of editorial correcting rejoinders juxtaposed with letters critical of Board positions. [Evidently he did not notice the one next to Bill Fry's letter in 1/94, p. 36] Alex Gross letter cackling about the Losa-Krawutschke slate's election; pp. 34-35 Eric Buckle letter scolding the upper echelons for their uninteresting "petty conflicts and mudslinging..." "...what we have seen approaches the niveau of a dirty campaign for senior class president at a local high school rather than an election of officers in a national professional organization..."; p. 35 [Highly recommended!] 70 pass exams, back cover.
June/94: Bill Cramer "Whither" article bashing accreditation, p. 10; 25% pass rate, "If so, will they now be screened out by the requirement to take a practice test beforehand?" A Look at Accreditation, report on p. 11: passages generally 200-275 words in length. Procedure for adding new languages outlined.
September/94: ATA Accreditation... The first step, now required, is to take a practice test in your language combination, which is returned to you with comments that may help you to pass the exam itself. p. 33 Lee Curtis exhorts members to read Chronicle and vote. (Chronicle, p. 3) ATA Accreditation... The first step, now required, is to take a practice test in your language combination, which is returned to you with comments that may help you to pass the exam itself. (Chronicle, p. 33) Mike Conner article puts membership at 5100. (Chronicle, p. 8) Walter Bacak reported that as of July 7, 1994, total ATA membership was 5035. Deanna Hammond petition to expel 24 members from the association reviewed by Board in Nashville, July 9-10. Board decides in Executive Session to have the Ethics committee do nothing at all pending bylaws revisions. Maria Brown reports the "demand" for mandatory practice tests has increased dramatically. Board and Ethics Committee inquest into The Open Letter of Sept. 15, 1993 finds allegations against Dr. Hammond unsubstantiated. Hammond drops expulsion petition. Finnish exams added. Chinese exams to be offered at October conference. [NOT!] BYLAWS REVISION PROPOSAL: Nicholas Hartmann's motion that the Board of Directors submit the following amendment to the Bylaws for approval by the membership was approved for a vote at the October Conference: "That Article III, Section 3(b). of the Bylaws be revised to read 'Corresponding members shall have all the rights and privileges of active members except the right to hold Association office,'" The Board discussed membership issues at its July meeting but took no action to reopen the Hartmann matter [no relation, this is the agency that went bankrupt, and was commented on in Caveat Emptor in PL Data 3/94, and the Gotham Translator then became the subject of a long-winded and libelous article in Translation News, for which J Henry Phillips petitioned to have Bernard Bierman expelled. The Bylaws were of course amended instead, and greatly improved by deletion of the expulsion language.] Therefore the Board's final determination is that Walter Hartmann and Hartmann International have been restored to full and uninterrupted membership privileges and that they remain ATA members in good standing. Paragraph approved by lawyer: The Ethics Committee, however, did not recommend expulsion or any other disciplinary action be taken with respect to the twenty-four members. (Chronicle, p. 9) Dr. Allan R. Taylor defends time limit on accreditation exams as normal; "Those people who fail should keep practicing until the time limit is not a problem, or they should select another profession." J Henry Phillips satirical letter on biased examinations and time limits. Robert Johnson letter critical of disastrous Hold Harmless agreements. (Chronicle, p. 7)
October 1994, Losa on government meddling and ATA lobbying. Slams freelancers as not "willing to invest time in ATA. The last President who was a freelance translator held office in 1983." "...none of the officers and only two ATA committee heads are freelancers." "Agency owners, corporate in-house translators, ATA members from academia, can't do it all."
Nov-Dec/94: Goodman, Chaves letters bashing accreditation. p. 44 Obst on Census inclusion, 24
April 1995: Walter sells pig in poke "a sound document" and hides the dissent on the Board ("agreed to disagree") as a hidden agenda is quietly crafted and railroaded over all opposition. Peter K. note: As some of you may know, it was a young man from the mountains of Tennessee who cast the decisive vote for the 19th Amendment in Nashville in 1920; thus making Tennessee the pivotal 36th State to pass the 19th Amendment and thus assuring American women, my daughter among them, the right to vote." p. 8, He also called it Nashville '95, to rhyme with Bierman's Forum '95. Subtle.
May/95: Walter, p. 3... ATA gave 1212 practice tests and conducted 922 exams for the 1994 accreditation year (October 1, 1993 to October 4, 1994). The program, created in 1963 with testing starting in 1971, is administered by the Accreditation Committee.
June/95: Walter Bacak on active membership review. There are 21 language combinations offered, and ATA recognizes translators in languages not covered through peer review, chaired by Jo Thornton's Active Membership Review Committee. Translators accredited or certified through FIT member associations [are there any such?] can apply for review by showing proof, and get a 50% price break. Other requirements unchanged, itemized 1-3. Details for reinstatement (Chronicle, pp. 3, 14)
July 1995, 5500 members p. 3; Bierman letter denying that "most translation bureaus are intermediaries between clients and individual translators" p. 7 Not a word about letting nontranslators vote.
August/95: Board meeting was "open to all members" July 29-30. Bacak explains that all is revealed in the "ATA Communiqué" [which is excluded from this issue] see p. 3. HIDDEN AGENDA is further shaped to spring surprise election issue (nontranslators vote) without debate beforehand (see below). Losa article on ATA's Government: "Last year only 23% of the eligible members voted, which points to voter apathy or not caring about the Association's fate." Member retention (including flunkers) is 78.2 percent (above nat'l avg of 70%). Hides fact that retention of accredited members is about 92%. Peter K. scolds the sudden bloom of internet critics: "We are the ATA." (names 7 people! p. 5) CALL interview: "And eventually you hope to be able to test translation proficiency? Yes." p. 12
Sept/95: (Hidden Agenda?) Peter K. pushes for vote dilution. "...giving associate members the right to vote was the only change not receiving unanimous Board support with three Board members voting against it." On p. 5 Edith Losa presents amendments as foregone conclusions: "I would like to take this opportunity to point out two important changes..." 66% freelancers p. 3; Bokor's article misrepresented in pull quote p. 6; 5719 members p. 9; Ethics amendments proposed p. 10 Bierman's Forum 95 to abolish accreditation. p. 13 Text of amendments pp. 15+ Tim Yuan runs for Director p. 30; Peter Theroux runs for Director; Cliff Landers runs on platform p. 29; Jana Bundy, Harvie Jordan run, p. 28; Alan Adams, Monique-Paul Tubb run... Amendments include changes to NY certificate of incorporation p. 5. As proof agenda was settled and concealed from membership in August issue, ATA Communiqué on the July meeting p. 10: The Board approved a motion to separate from the proposed Bylaws vote the specific vote on Article 3, Section 3c of the Bylaws that will give associate members the right to vote. (Note by the use of "will" that the outcome is a foregone conclusion). The Board agreed to table the PALRAC (political action, Joe Murphy) Committee Report. Conference Update p. 13 on "Forum 95," A lynch mob directed against accreditation: "That element is its moderator, Bernie Bierman." New York charter retained in ballot, thereby allegedly still excluding the mail-in voting so irregularly abolished in 1991, p. 16.
Oct/95: Tony Roder article (not in TOC) advocates "relaxing" the vote to include nontranslators p. 7 Several articles on the "Bureau-Freelancer relationship".
January/96: Peter K. interview: "We're going to be revisiting the issue of voting rights for associate members. How would you like to approach that? "... Actually the proposal carried, but it didn't carry with a wide enough margin. What I think ought to happen is that the membership--if it wishes--should coalesce around the thought of enlarging the voting base. (...) The first step would be to convince board members to bring the issue back up. (...) I wouldn't be surprised if it happens next year." p. 16 "Let's turn to accreditation for a moment. Obviously it was a controversial issue at [Bierman's] Forum '95 in Nashville. Where would you like to see the program go? I feel secure with the exam, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. I think we ought to have one part that is more objective and can be scored by a machine." "I firmly believe in ATACert." p. 17 [Peter K never passed an accreditation exam]
Feb/96: Roshan Pokharel, ATA's Nepalese membership specialist, provides monthly statistics based on membership category (e.g. active, associate, student, etc.) and new and renewed memberships. (...) [no mention of accreditation exam result statistics, variances, standard deviations or curve-plotting to identify trends over time]
Why the push for a larger membership base? ... Second, as ATA President Peter Krawutschke always stresses, it gives us a stronger voice in dealing with state and federal governments as well as with other organizations. (...) Finally, more members generate more income, which allows the Association to subsidize or undertake non-revenue generating programs and services (e.g. government relations).
While we continue to push for new members, the Board and staff continually strive to retain current members. This past year our retention rate--number of '94 members who renewed in '95--was 79.2 percent. 1992's retention rate was 78.8 percent. For an individual membership group, these numbers are above average. (Chronicle, p. 3)
May/96: 6000 members in over 45 countries. (Chronicle, p. 3) Peter Krawutschke claims freelancers "well represented" on ATA Board. (Chronicle, p. 4) Gabe Bokor [who cannot state the difference between good and evil] writes complaining about amendments to the Ethics Committee's mandate. (Chronicle, p. 6)
June/96: Bierman on Advocacy, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committee, along with Jane Maier, Tony Roder & Walter Bacak to "not only monitor legislative efforts on the national and state levels but are also actively involved in drafting legislation supporting their goals." p. 4 Roshan Pokharel is ATA's membership information specialist. [meddling, lobbying, but no reports of the scatter in test fail rates] (Chronicle, p. 3)
Sept/96: Survey results--67% of members are freelancers p. 3 One fourth of membership made up of beginners with 0-5 years experience. (Chronicle, p. 5) Ad hoc committee appointed by Peter K. to meddle in accreditation; Board approves the revised bylaws submitted by the Portuguese Language Division [No mention made of their proposal to do away with ALL standards for voting--FP] (Chronicle p. 42) ATA Headquarters continues to aggressively market and promote ATA membership. [no figures given] (Chronicle, p. 5) Peter and Muriel extol virtues of RCNA, but never say what it is. (Chronicle, p. 4)
Nov/96: LDW Editor's Soapbox, p. 2: Only 505 valid ballots cast in election of 3 Directors. Complains of voter apathy. ATA had "vote-by-mail procedures." Spate of letters on unidentified author, suspicion of agencies.
January/97: Gabe Bokor, p. 12... "Of course, there are poorly managed, incompetent, and even dishonest translation companies, just as there are incompetent and dishonest lawyers, plumbers and translators."; Kevin Hendzel (ASET), p. 15: "In fact, a reputable translation company can readily be identified by its request that you quote your rate first." Contracts, p. 17
February/97: Website online (Chronicle, pp. 3, 5). Peter Krawutschke says: "It is certainly true that ATA accreditation is no longer the single most important activity ATA has to offer to its members, however it is still one of the services our association needs to provide to the profession and the public." p. 4; Appoints Betty Becker-Theye (unaccredited) to meddle in accreditation.
March/97: Peter K. on p. 4... "Among the goals I set for myself and the ATA was to invite participation from a wider range of ATA members in our 'political' process. Our efforts for obtaining voting rights for associate members have been unsuccessful so far--in spite of the avant-garde cover design for out 1995 ATA Conference Program." The ATA Accreditation Program, by Maritza Brown, p. 7 "According to the late Charles Stern, the examinations 'are intended for persons who... possess sufficient practical training and experience to have earned an appreciable slice of their income through this particular art..." "The overall pass rate this year is 17 percent." "An interesting statistic is that 40 percent of the candidates who request a practice test by mail never return it for grading." "The passages, which are selected by the language chairs and graders of the individual languages, are approximately 275-300 words..." "...or 20 or more minor errors." The entire process is well-explained here. Survey of Slavic Division includes accreditation percentages p. 28
April/97, Hidden Agenda? p. 8: The Board approved a proposal to place an amendment to Article VII, Section 1 "...with the exception that editors of ATA Division and Chapter publications may receive a modest honorarium, as authorized by the Board" on the November ballot. The other ballot proposal, to give the vote to nontranslators, appeared thus: "The Board approved proposals to place two versions of a proposed bylaws change on the November ballot: 1) 'That Associate members shall have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to hold Association office and to serve on the Board of Directors.' 2) That Associate members in the second calendar year of membership have all the rights and privileges of Active members except the right to hold Association office and to serve on the Board of Directors.' Betty Becker-Theye on Ad-hoc Committee Reviewing ATA Accreditation. Strategic Planning retreat for Board was March 14.
May/97: ATA membership continues to grow at close to seven percent [no figures given]. (Chronicle, p. 7) Article by Shuckran Kamal on translators/interpreters and development (Chronicle, pp. 9-10)
July/97: Hidden Agenda? p. 4 Peter K. exhorts Right to Vote! "However I was even more surprised that granting associate members the right to vote received the highest priority rating among the planning goals obtained [sic] at the Board's planning meeting. The Board subsequently and unanimously formalized this recommendation. This fall, active members will once again be asked to approve giving the right to vote to associate members." "Of course you are invited to participate in the outspoken, vigorous and fair debate that, I am sure, will occur again this year on the issue as we move toward our vote this fall." [The word again makes this a lie! The surprise decision was top secret in July/95, and censored out of the August/95 Chronicle, see p. 3] False analogy with paying taxes and political suffrage, hints active members resemble male bigots of 1920! p. 4
Oct/97: Peter K. on IRS classification, AFTI, p. 5; Muriel Jérôme O'Keeffe on p. 6. Not a whisper about letting nontranslators vote. Exams held in SF, Iowa City, Waltham, Novi, Minneapolis, Billings. Membership growing at 7% (Chronicle, p. 6) 6200 members as of October 3, (Chronicle, p. 12)
It was at the ATA conference in San Francisco that Czech translator Radovan Pletka—who read the bylaws and noticed that if active members had the right to be included in the TSD--online or offline--then associate members did too, made his move—viz: "Section 3 - Rights and Privileges … c. Associate members have all the rights of active members except the right to vote, to hold association office and to serve on the Board of Dirctors." The board, of course, ignored him. They did not ignore the lawyer he hired to explain to them the legal meaning of that right--distributing copies to all and sundry at the convention. After that not a peep has been heard from any boardmember concerning the board's power to keep associate members' names out of the TSD or the online services directory. Associate members enjoy free and unobstructed access to the directory, as is their legal right. [A similar usurpation emerged later, in 2001, when arbitrary restrictions were imposed by board fiat on associate member access to accreditation tests--as blatant a violation of the letter and spirit of the bylaws as can be imagined]—FP
12 November 1997
Andrew J. Mohr, Esq.
Cohen and White
1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20007
Dear Mr. Mohr:
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter, re. Associate Members; Translators Services Directory, dated November 4, 1997, at ATA Headquarters in Alexandria on November 5, 1997.
I learned of its existence when Mr. Pletka "served" me with a photographic copy during his mass distribution of this letter on Thursday, November 6, 1997, at the annual conference of the American Translators Association, Inc., in San Francisco.
Since my term in office ended on Friday, November 7, 1997, I have asked the new president of the Association, Ms. Muriel M. Jerome-O'Keeffe, to respond to it on behalf of the Association.
Peter W. Krawutschke
cc: Dr. Radovan Pletka
Ms. Muriel Jerome-O'Keeffe
Subj: ATA chickens coming home Section: Transl/Interpr MISC
To: all, Tuesday 19:01:13
From: Radovan Pletka, 74150,1532 #867513
November 4, 1997
Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke
American Translators Association
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 220
Alexandria, VA 22314-2840
Re: Associate Members; Translators Services Directory
Dear Dr. Krawutschke:
I represent Radovan Pletka. Mr. Pletka has retained me to enforce his right to be listed in the Translators Services Directory ("TSD") published by the American Translators Association ("ATA").
Mr. Pletka is an Associate Member of the ATA. According to the ATA's bylaws, Associate Members have the same rights as Active Members, with a few specified exceptions:
Associate members have all the rights and privileges of active members except the right to vote, to hold Association office, and to serve on the board of Directors or standing committees.
ATA Bylaws, 1997 Membership Directory, at Art. III, Membership, #164# 3.c.
Since Active members are listed in the TSD, and since the exceptions applicable to Associate Members as listed in the ATA's bylaws make absolutely no reference to the TSD, Associate Members therefore have the same right and privilege as Active Members to be listed in the TSD. The ATA's failure to list Associate Members in the TSD violates its own bylaws, and is thus illegal and wrongful.
The ATA is undoubtedly aware of this illegality, as seen from the ATA's webpage. Under the heading "Membership," the ATA webpage states that Associate members "have all the rights and privileges of active members except the right to vote, to hold Association office, and to be listed in the Translation Services Directory." (emphasis added).
The ATA, however, cannot simply add at its whim the TSD as an exception applicable to Associate Members. Very much to the contrary, to add TSD as an exception applicable to Associate Members the ATA must first change its bylaws. This the ATA has not done. Therefore, the ATA's listing in its webpage of the TSD as an exception applicable to Associate Members is an illegal act beyond the ATA's corporate powers, and is of no force or effect.
The ATA's failure to list Associate Members in the TSD has wrongfully deprived Associate Members from the rights they should enjoy under the ATA's bylaws. As a result, Associate Members have undoubtedly lost revenue and business opportunities through their omission from the TSD. Moreover, since Associate Members' annual dues should have included their listing in the TSD, Associate Members have for years subsidized the listing of Active Members, to the detriment of Associate Members.
Mr. Pletka demands that the ATA immediately agree to list Associate Members in the TSD in compliance with the ATA's bylaws. In addition, Mr. Pletka demands that the ATA remove the statements in its webpage stating that Associate Members are not entitled to listing in the TSD. Finally, Mr. Pletka demands that the ATA waive one-half of Mr. Pletka's annual dues for the next five years in repayment of its subsidization of listing Active Members in past issues of the TSD.
I appreciate your attention to this matter, and expect your prompt reply.
Yours very truly,
Andrew J. Mohr, Esq.
Attorney for Radovan Pletka
Copy: Radovan Pletka
Nov-Dec/97: Push to let nontranslators vote fails 284-175; Same thing with a delay fails 247-114 (p. 5). 1995 result was 263 for and 232 against, yet it failed for lack of a 2/3 majority. Membership increases to 6529, a 7.5% increase p. 5. Conference attendance was 1750 members. PK article p. 6: Austin 1994 attendance was 937; Nashville 1995 was 971; Colorado Springs 1996 was 1265; San Francisco 1997 was 1752. Membership up 40 percent since 1994. Hints that the agenda will return "but that is a topic for another day!" Chris Hollingsworth gets tough (now that the voting is won): "But I have no patience with associate members who resist the entire concept of accreditation and for one reason or another will not even attempt to achieve active status." p. 10 Yet "Finally, I believe that associate members should not pay the same membership fee as active members, since they do not have the same rights." [True they do not have the same acquired legal rights as active members, but what rights they do have are no less inalienable, as the case of Radovan Pletka demonstrated.] Academic Division a flop p. 21. [The diploma mills would return for Continuing Education extortion later]
January/98: Muriel on p. 6... "However this [census inclusion] is still a victory for us and we should thank Peter Krawutsche, Walter Bacak, and Bernie Bierman for their efforts." (...) "Inside ATA one of the first matters I covered with the new Board of Directors was the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to address voting rights for associate members. This committee will review the ATA membership structure and the rights and benefits of all membership categories, and research why the latest amendments to the ATA bylaws were defeated. I have also asked them to recommend a strategy to the Board, and to involve other committees as they feel necessary to accomplish these goals." Members, Marian Greenfield, Gabe Bokor, Nick, Dick, Ann, "...represent both the pro and con sides of the voting rights issue." 6500 members, "agreeing to disagree" Guan article advocating coercive licensing of translators by political State p. 14.
March/98: (Hidden agenda revisited?) p. 12 Ad-hoc Membership Categories, Rights, and Benefits Committee scolds voting members and announces conclusions BEFORE information-gathering begins: "We also believe it is unhealthy and undesirable that only a minority of ATA members have the right to vote." "Higher dues for active members." Board "focusing" on accreditation, listens to "interested parties outside the association" wants "to work with" LCs, graders, "audit" program p. 7; Survey planned p. 8; Mikkelson article advocates coercive control, exclusion of competition! p. 14 Membership, p. 11, no figures given.
July/98: Walter on p. 7... "For ATA, the complaint I hear is 'I've been translating for a dozen years. I'm established. Why do I need this exam?' I've heard the same from association management professionals, particularly from other association CEOs."
"My response to this is that taking a certification or accreditation exam represents a commitment to the profession. It reflects your drive to better your skills and further your professional development." (...) Another interesting point is that ASAE has almost 24,000 members of which over 10 percent are certified. Whereas with ATA, over 30 percent of our members are accredited. Muriel, p. 8, on National Standards in Translation [i.e. coercive licensing by the political State]: "Before I go any further, I would like to state that the purpose and goal of ATA in supporting the development of quality standards for translation is to educate the consumers and to facilitate choice" "Within the past six years, ATA has doubled its membership..." "Why are we interested in the development of national user standards? We know that bad translation is bad for business. The development of professional standards is particularly important in view of: ...the fact that the profession of translation and interpretation now has its own separate entry in the 2000 Census." [This is thanks to Bierman and Krawutschke, see Jan/98 p. 6]
August/98: Muriel on p. 8... "As a business owner..." (...) Tom West discussed the five "challenges" (as named in the Plan) the Association faces. They are: (...) Maximize Board effectiveness; (...) Expand voting rights to all individual members; and Address advanced accreditation. The hidden agenda is still alive and well, the bylaws and the voting majority to the contrary notwithstanding.
More to come—FreelanceParty.org