The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 4

FROM THE PRESIDENT

A Problem with Membership Classes
Associate member? How
many Associate members
do you know who are not
professional practitioners?
Probably very few. I don't
know any. However, of
the 8,831 total members

TED R. WOZNIAK
president@atanet.org

as of June 20, 2020, less
than one-third, 30.4%
to be precise, are Active
members. Associate members
comprise 52.7% of the
total membership and
Corresponding members
another 6.9%. How many
Associate members meet
the " U.S. person " and

O

professional engagement
ur membership
structure no
longer serves our

Association as intended.
There are too few Active
members and too many
Associate members.
In basic terms, Active
membership is intended

criteria? I would hazard to
guess almost all of them are
professionally engaged and
that most also meet the U.S.
requirement. Yet they are
not Active members. They
cannot vote, run for elected
office, or serve on standing
committees. There are far too

A " Brief " History
of Membership
Requirements

but who were interested in

When ATA was established,

Honorary member. (By 1981,

its membership requirements1
and procedures were very
" guild-like. " In the 1959 draft
" constitution, " there were
only two membership classes:
Members and Associate
Members. Members had to
be professional translators,
defined as " any person who
had made their living, or a
major part of their living, by
translation for at least one
year. " " Interested persons "
could become Associate
Members. Membership was
granted by approval of a
three-person membership
committee elected by the
members, and subsequently
ratified at the next regular
membership meeting. As
I do not have a full copy

ATA's objectives. Any nonmember deemed worthy
could be nominated to be an
the non-member requirement
had been eliminated so that
existing members could
become Honorary members.)
New members had to be
investigated and approved by
the Membership Committee
(peer review by three to five
Active members). By 1965,
the requirements for Active
membership were changed
slightly to include adherence
to the Code of Professional
Ethics, but still required
professional engagement,
endorsement by two Active
members (or evidence of
three years' professional
experience), while Associate
membership was still for
ethical persons interested in
ATA's objectives.

many individuals who could

of the original Bylaws, it's

residents of the U.S.

become Active members,

unknown if these provisions

by " Masters " to use guild

who are professionally

and thus be able to vote and

were in effect in 1960. But

language) notwithstanding,

engaged in translation

play a greater role in ATA,

it does show the intent

it's clear that the intent

or interpreting. That

but who fail, for whatever

that membership would

from the beginning was for

describes the vast majority

reason, to become Active

be controlled much like a

professional practitioners

of our members. The

members. I, and several past

medieval guild.

to be Active members, while

Corresponding membership

Board directors, think this is

class is for persons who

a problem.

for citizens or permanent

Peer review (or approval

The 1961 Bylaws show a

persons who were merely

similar structure and process.

" interested " in T&I were

There were three membership

to be (non-voting, non-

but do not meet the U.S.

depends on how one views

classes: Active, Associate,

governing) Associates.

requirement (i.e., non-U.S.

ATA in terms of what kind

and Honorary. Any person

professional translators and

of an association one thinks

of " good moral character "

remained the sine quo non

interpreters). In contrast,

it is (or should be). Is ATA a

who was actively engaged in

for Active membership,

Associate members are

" professional association "

translating or interpreting

and thus the ability to play

supposed to be individuals

designed to promote the T&I

was automatically eligible for

an " active " role in ATA

who are not professionally

professions as we state in

Active membership. Associate

and its governance, until

engaged in translation

our mission statement? Or

membership was for those not

the early 1980s. As early

or interpreting (T&I)

is it a " trade association "

eligible for Active membership

as 1971 the passing of an

but who wish to further

intended to promote the

(presumably solely because

examination was discussed

ATA's objectives.

T&I industry? Is it a " guild "

they were not actively

as a requirement for Active

formed to promote and

engaged in T&I and not

membership, even though

protect its members?

because they were immoral)

no such examination existed

are professionally engaged

Are you professionally
engaged in T&I but still an

4

Or is it? I guess that

The ATA Chronicle | Januar y/February 2021

Professional engagement

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The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021

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