Letter to ATA director Maier

The American Translators Association Board of unpaid Directors is meeting in Denver today and tomorrow. Jane Meier is a former president and current boardmember.

Hola Jane,
The others can heave a sigh of relief that I won’t be in Denver. But I do have some concerns I will share with you, as suggested on the HITA maillist.

By now it should be clear that letting the ASAE take over the ATA was a mistake. I recommend getting rid of their lawyers and all staff that are ASAE members, and to hire only half as many people to replace them. It should then be a simple matter to return our direct voting ballots—like all other NY non-profit corporations.

Inviting self-righteous impostors and infiltrators in as voting members was as big a mistake. I suggest voting a deadline for their taking and passing an exam to earn entitlement to continue to meddle in policy (). I also favor getting rid of all the Continuing Extortion racketeering.

The ATA website is practically useless. Portuguese is needlessly split 80/20 unlike any other language. Google Search “find a translator” and Abrates.org shows up in the first couple of pages, along with several local associations—even proz, Linked-in and whatnot—but not ATAnet. This is objective proof of GROSS dereliction or subtle sabotage—it doesn’t matter which. The goofy questionnaires, endlessly-looping gotcha capture challenges and screwy searches are befuddling to professionals who have been members for years. They amount to a Keep Out sign to potential clients searching to directly hire someone (someone verifiably holding credentials–rather than agency middlemen).

Now repeat that search with: “Find a translation company” and SHAZAM! The ATAnet website is front and center on the very first page peddling agency URLs. Ask yourself if this looks like a level playing field. Clearly, when Ben Teague and Patricia Newman were in the saddle, with 17% annual growth this was an association of, by and for tested translators. (ATA Chronicle, December 1981)

Oh yes, I still keep all that stuff posted at www.freelanceparty.org

The search engine results objectively demonstrate that today’s ATA is an association of, by and for the American Society of Association Executives and the agencies those worthies perceived as the key to their success in continue… symbiosis of sorts. I am asking you to champion as many of these changes as seem right to you and I’ll listen to your reasons for the ones that don’t.

I am pleased to note that ALMOST all of the boardmembers are certified in at least one language pair. But that has in the past not been a reliable defense against the inveiglements of highly-trained and experienced professional predators. Those folks are nice, agreeable and persuasive, but we were better off without them before and I’ll bet we will be better off without them once they’re working some other neighborhood.

There you have it. I’ll be posting this online just to make it difficult for the others to laugh off or ignore.
Cheerfully yours,
Hank Phillips