The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020 - 2

FROM THE PRESIDENT
TED R. WOZNIAK
president@atanet.org

ATA61: Making
Your Welfare
a Priority

A

s most of you know by now, we have
canceled the in-person conference in
Boston and decided to hold ATA61
as a virtual conference. While I'll leave it
to ATA President-Elect Madalena Sánchez
Zampaulo to provide the details on how
the virtual conference will be structured
(see page 4), I do want to explain why the
Board of Directors had to wait so long to
make the decision.
Under the terms of our contracts with
the conference hotel and other conference
service providers, the Association would
have had to pay penalties or cancelation
fees of about $500,000 if we canceled the
event absent a government ban or other
"good cause." Even mentioning plans to
cancel could have had adverse financial
consequences. We were thus forced to
continue to plan an in-person event while
we negotiated with the conference hotel.
Experient, our event management
partner, and ATA Headquarters were finally
able to negotiate acceptable cancelation
terms with the conference hotel. They
would waive any penalty if we would agree
to hold the conference at the hotel in 2025.
Once the massive financial loss was no
longer a concern, the Board was able to
make the decision many of you had wanted
us to make sooner.
While we always make the welfare of
our members our main priority, the Board
also had a fiduciary responsibility to avoid
incurring such massive financial penalties if
possible. That's why we had to wait as long
as we did to make the decision.
I'm confident that while a virtual ATA61
will be a different experience for attendees, it
will provide just as much, if not more, value
to attendees. I look forward to seeing you
there virtually!
With respect to the economic impact of the
pandemic, even in light of the recent uptick
2

The ATA Chronicle | July/August 2020

in infections and some rollbacks of business
reopenings, I remain optimistic about the
prospects for the economic recovery of the
translation and interpreting industry.
The downturn in national economies
of developed countries appears to have
slowed and the first, faltering steps are
being taken on the path to recovery and a
return to normalcy. While it is likely to take
years for the global economy to return to
pre-pandemic levels, any uptick is welcome
news to the translation and interpreting
industry, which is inextricably tied to global
trade. A survey by CSA Research1 showed
that 52% of respondents, mainly language
services companies, expect enterprise
language spending will either increase or
stay the same over the next 12 months.
Here in the U.S., an unexpectedly high
increase in hiring (in many cases, rehiring)
in May and the loosening of lockdown
restrictions on businesses give cause for
cautious optimism that the economy and
society may slowly return to normal over
the coming months.
The pandemic is not the only crisis our
members are facing. In California, our
efforts to advocate for an exemption for
professional translators and interpreters from
the devastating economic effects of AB 5 have
had mixed results. Senate Bill 900, which
would have provided an exemption for
translators and interpreters, was shelved by
California's Senate Labor Committee in May.
Other proposed amendments to AB 5 were
also shelved or killed in committee. It appears
that only Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez,
the sponsor of AB 5, will be allowed to
propose amendments that have any chance of
being passed by the legislature.
Her proposed amendments in AB
1850 include an exemption for "certified
translators" under the professional services
provisions. While the inclusion of translators
under "professional services" is a major
victory in itself-certainly compared with
being included under "referral services" along
with pet sitters-the complete exclusion of
interpreters is unacceptable. We will continue
our advocacy efforts, and we strongly
encourage each and every professional
translator and interpreter in California to
contact their representatives2 in the California
Senate and Assembly and demand that
the exemption be expanded to include all
professional translators and interpreters.
NOTES
1.	
"COVID-19 Enterprise Survey Data:
Overall Results (CSA Research),
https://bit.ly/CSA-COVID19-survey.
2.	

Find Your California Representative,
http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.

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The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020

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