“One of the many fine things that one has to admit is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion–in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on the grounds of ability.” —Tom Lehrer
The board of the American Translators Association, since 1991 entirely dominated by the American Society of Association Executives–ASAE, wanted ATA members to give beginners and infiltrators voting control over the association. Why?
In 1981 a bloodless coup placed translators (as opposed to beginners and labor outsourcing agencies) in charge of the American Translators Association. To register to vote you had to demonstrate some translation ability by passing a test. Choose 3 out of 5 short passages, translate them without too many errors, and you became accredited (certified), and could vote. This model was championed by Ben Teague and Patricia Newman in the December 1981 ATA Chronicle, and opposed by many managers of large translation agencies. These powerful interests later put the ASAE, its managers and attorneys in charge of all ATA activities, with an ASAE executive present at every board meeting. Translators serve on the board without pay, but ASAE executives are paid handsomely to rewrite our bylaws and “run” our organization.
Exceptions were made whereby translators of rare languages (especially if also representatives of large agencies) produced less objective evidence of ability and thereby gained the franchise. These “active-but-uncertified” members were the entering wedge of an agenda separate from the art and science of translation. Ask yourself: how many of them took and passed certification tests once those became available in their claimed languages?
The results? Thanks to lobbyists, South Texas Federal District Courts pay a premium to untested members of a foreign association. ATA-member interpreters certified for translation in both directions of their language pair are discriminated against by U.S. federal courts. Yet colleges, cities and states are increasingly requiring translations by ATA-certified translators, not “voting” members who have never passed a test.
Why propose these amendments? Because earlier amendments kidnapping our certification credentials for Continuing Extortion have alienated members able to pass a simple test. Certification has become an onerous liability and real translators a target of discrimination. Replacing those certified members with fake translators and voting middlemen only compounds the damage caused by previous anti-translator amendments designed to penalize the competent.
Examine the resolution issued by the United Nations on 24 May 2017. It praises “competitive examinations,” then Affirms that “professional translation, as a trade and an art, plays an important role in upholding the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security;” …
Now look at the resolution proposed in tandem with these ATA bylaws amendments. The ATA board resolution is whining over political election outcomes and boils down to: “…we, (Paleface), strongly oppose … all forms of expression of … religious intolerance, and strongly favor welcoming qualified immigrants who, … seek refuge here from war or persecution.” Ask yourself: Is this another bid to import additional ideologues who engage in wars of religious intolerance and persecution in their own countries and elsewhere? Surely America already has enough of those!
An alternative resolution supporting diversity instead of violence reads:
“I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”
I have proudly signed this non-aggression certification, and I vote against all parties that attack/invade other countries. Pro-freedom translators are invited to become certified against coercion and the violence it engenders. The ASAE’s attempted anti-translator and pro-impostor bylaws amendments are unprofessional. The violent ideologue importation resolution advocates coercive censorship. Censorship is part of the very initiation of persecution and force that leads to war. Surely the reader will recall that honest communication is the first casualty of war.
Linguist-entrepreneurs may join the Libertarian Translators communications list. Ask me how. There is also a Freelancers Union for all professions operating out of New York.