Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ATA Sci-Tech Division Year in Review

The Year in Review - 2012

An annual review is a good place to look back at the goals for ATA divisions and to compare them with what we actually do. The divisions section of the ATA site includes a list of items that divisions should achieve.[1]
  • Provide education specific to a language combination or specialty
We achieve this at the annual conference, webinars, in the resources section on the website, and in selected blog posts. For example, this resource page[2] added in 2012 to the division’s website is full of information. We have useful posts such as ‘Translating Technical Manuals: What are they? What are they used for?’.[3] That was the most viewed post in 2012, but others also fall under this category.

  •  Offer a "home" for members with a common goal within the larger association
The Science and Technology Division finished 2012 with 1823 members—17% of ATA members. As is the case with most divisions, only a small percentage of members take advantage of the benefits we offer in terms of year-round networking or conference activity, but we certainly offer them. The highlight of this ‘home’ moment for me (Karen) this year was the dinner at the annual conference. About 25 of us gathered. We understood each other. We were all linguists, but many of us were also scientists or engineers by training. We are number people as well as word people. There was empathy and understanding that we were at home, part of a family within ATA. It was a great evening.

  • Increase visibility for a language or specialty within the association
I think we do this by merely existing, but specifically, some of this year’s blog posts have shown what it takes to survive and thrive as technical translator, both aspiring[4] and established.
  • Keep members informed of news and events within a particular segment of the industry
Headquarters sent seven broadcast emails to all S&TD members during the year. In addition, for those who actively participate in the division, we updated the website at least monthly.[5] We tweeted approximately twice a week, created a Facebook group and used broadcast email and the Yahoo group and LinkedIn as well. This table shows how many (how few!) members are involved in our social networking.

124 members
31 members
93 followers (not all division members)
Yahoo! Group
116 members

All of these could be more active, but all are active enough to make them worthwhile. We could do better on keeping members informed on technical translation news, if we had more help.

  •   Assist the ATA Conference Organizer in recruiting speakers relevant to professional interests

At the beginning of the year, we encouraged division members to submit sessions in their specialized areas of expertise for the conference. This encouragement worked, and there were 25 sessions to review, including several areas where the subject matter has not been covered in recent years. The resulting “ST” track was strong. We found an invited speaker (sustainable architecture). We also had a second (pharmacology) thanks to a contact made through the Japanese Language Division. Unfortunately, one of these invited speakers had to pull out after receiving a promotion during the summer than meant she could no longer leave her university during October. We were disappointed but happy with the extra session we got from division member Salvador Virgen as a result!

·         Organize Annual Conference events for targeted networking among division members.
For San Diego, we promoted the division’s open house and arranged S&TD involvement (Wednesday evening) and dinner (Thursday evening). Both were successful. We were not able to find a good venue for a site tour this year, unfortunately.


To achieve all this, we need volunteers. The Leadership Council handles all the administrative matters for the division. Members can see quarterly reports to the board[6] and an agenda and minutes for the annual meeting, which is held each year during the conference. 

Its members for March 2012-February 2013 are:
Karen Tkaczyk               Matthew Schlecht           Steven Marzuola              Tess Whitty
Stephanie Strobel            Alicja Yarborough            Petra Schweitzer             Vincent Lai
Susanna Weerth              Nicholas Hartmann          Lebzy González               Iryna Ashby

During 2012, we appointed a new Assistant Administrator. Steven Marzuola, Assistant Administrator since the Division’s inception, stepped down from that position. He remained as a member of the Leadership Council. At that time, Steven said: “I have been honored to serve as the first Assistant Administrator of the Division since it was re-established in 2010. Membership has grown to over 1500 and the Division is very active. Last December I was elected President of the Houston Interpreters and Translators Association, and the duties of that office are taking a lot more of my time than I anticipated. As a result, I have decided to resign from my position in the Division, to take effect at the next ATA Conference in San Diego or when we find a replacement, whichever is sooner.”

The process for replacing Steven, according to the Governing Policy for Divisions, was for the Administrator to appoint a member of the Leadership Council to complete Steven’s term. Matthew Schlecht was appointed. His full bio can be found at http://wordalchemytranslation.com/Matthew_F_Schlecht_Bio.pdf.

A Nominating Committee was formed during the Annual meeting at the conference: Abigail Dahlberg and Salvador Virgen are our committee and will find candidates for Administrator and Assistant Administrator for the 2013-2015 term.

Karen Tkaczyk, Administrator
Matthew Schlecht, Assistant Administrator

[1] http://atanet.org/divisions/division_start.php
[2] http://www.ata-divisions.org/S_TD/tech_writing.html
[3] http://ata-sci-tech.blogspot.com/2012/03/translating-technical-manuals-what-are.html
[4] http://ata-sci-tech.blogspot.com/2012/12/how-to-start-successful-career-in.html
[5] http://www.ata-divisions.org/S_TD/news.html

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