The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 5

matters of the Association,

as chairs or members of

new member could join as

and we will present this

committees simply because

an Active member based on

request to the Board on March

they don't have a certification

professional engagement

18. " A proposed amendment

exam in their languages or

and the endorsement of two

to the Bylaws that year

haven't yet passed a mid-

Active members. That began

would have extended voting

career examination? (On

to change by 1982, when

rights to Associate members.

a related note, since when

a " basic level certification

Although a majority favored

is competence, which is

examination " was included

the amendment 262-232,

what our exam tests, prima

in the Bylaws as an additional

it failed to meet the two-

facie evidence of being

third eligibility requirement

thirds requirement. A second

professionally engaged, which

for Active membership. The

attempt, offering two options

is the primary requirement

requirement for endorsement

to allow Associate members to

for Active membership?) I say

by two Active members had

vote, failed the following year.

no, and past ATA Boards have

also been dropped by 1982. In

Based on a desire to expand

agreed with me.

1988, peer review in lieu of

the franchise, a proposal

passing the " accreditation "

to automatically classify

of " rights and privileges, "

exam was added as a path

Associate members as Active

recent Boards have discussed

to Active membership.

member after three years of

at the time. Prior to 1982, a

Somewhere down the line,
all new members joined as
Associate members, and only
after passing the examination
(or more rarely, peer review),
could they " advance " to
Active membership. But far
too many never do even
though they're fully qualified.
Thus began the slow
but inexorable process of
creating a two-tier system
of membership, with an
increasing disparity in the
relative size of the Active
and Associate classes. This
resulted in the situation
described above.

So, What's the Problem?

membership was proposed,
and failed, in 2017. There has
obviously been resistance
from current Active members
to expand the electorate over
the years.
One could also legitimately
ask if efforts to expand the
franchise with an eye toward
increasing voter participation
are not exercises in frustration
and doomed to fail-at least
in relative terms. Increasing
the number of eligible voters
would likely increase the
number of ballots cast in
absolute but not relative
terms. Many members
simply don't care who
ATA's officers and directors

It's neither right nor proper

are. Many don't even care

for such a large number of

about contentious Bylaws

professionals engaged in T&I

amendments, as is evidenced

to not have a voice in ATA's

by the still-relatively low

governance. This was clear

turnout on the recent

at least as far back as 1995,

decoupling amendment.

when Peter Krawutschke, then

Is it right to deny the vote

chair of the Bylaws Revision

to the majority of practicing

Committee and president-

translators and interpreters

elect, wrote: " Over the past

in ATA simply because they

year, it became clear to most

may choose not to exercise

members on the Bylaws

that right? Is it right to deny

Review Committee that

ATA the ability to use the

Associate members should

expertise and volunteerism

have the right to vote on

of so many professionals

www.ata-chronicle.online

In addition to the question

whether the current
membership structure
meets our members' needs
and wants. A majority of
individual members don't
attend the Annual Conference
and don't require continuing
education credits since
they're not credentialed.
Many members, especially
those without a certification
exam, join and remain in
ATA for no other reason than
because their clients see it
as a sign of professionalism.
This last viewpoint has been
documented in numerous
member surveys. For such
members, just being a
member is all they want and
need. Is it right to charge
members who use little or
none of ATA's resources the
same dues as members who
avail themselves of most of
the benefits of membership?
Is there a more equitable

solution that would not only
continue to meet the needs
of members who are more
engaged, but would also
meet the lesser needs of
" mailbox " members-and
possibly attract additional
practitioners who are
somewhat skeptical of the
benefits of membership?
What about newcomers to
the profession who have
less financial resources
and a much smaller client
base than established
practitioners? Is there a place
for part-timers, or even
" hobbyists " in a " Supporter "
class? Is there a structure
that allows us to put most
or all of the " professional
practitioners " in one place,
and all of the " interested
parties " in another?
The Governance and
Communications Committee
began asking these questions
and looking for answers back
in 2018 when I became chair.
That work has continued, on
and off, for almost three years
now, and a report and
proposal will soon be shared
with the Board. If approved by
the Board, the framework will
then be opened for member
comment and debate. We
hope that there will be
sufficient discussion over the
next 12 months or so that will
allow a final proposal,
incorporating member
feedback, to be presented to
the Board in due time for a
member vote in 2022.

NOTE
1

There is very limited availability of past Bylaws, especially
versions predating computers and the internet. The timeline and
dates used above are pieced together from the limited sample
of Bylaws, articles, and other material that could be scrapped
together by ATA Headquarters on short notice. (If any " senior "
members have full and dated copies of past Bylaws, especially
from the 1960s through the 1980s, please send me a copy!)
American Translators Association

5


http://www.ata-chronicle.online

The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021

Contents
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 1
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 2
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - Contents
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 4
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 5
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 6
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 7
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 8
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 9
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 10
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 11
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 12
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 13
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 14
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 15
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 16
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 17
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 18
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 19
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 20
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 21
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 22
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 23
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 24
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 25
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 26
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 27
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 28
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 29
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 30
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 31
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 32
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 33
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 34
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 35
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 36
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 37
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 38
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 39
The ATA Chronicle - January/February 2021 - 40
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/chronicle/20210102
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com