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LTD Proposal

Language Technology Division Proposal

Fellow ATA member Michael Metzger came up with the idea of a new division called Language Technology Division in December 2006. After circulating his idea among several ATA members, and working on this proposal with the feedback received, it became clear that this proposed division should focus entirely on the aspect of technologies and techniques used and not to revive with this proposal the former SCITECH group with focus on the translation of science and technical content. Everyone, Michael spoke with over the course of the next months felt strongly that this proposal for a language technology group would be of great benefit to the entire membership of the ATA. Eventually the proposal was finalized and send to ATA headquarter where it received positive response. On this page we want to publish the initial proposal to outline the mission of this Division and to frame future initiatives of the members within this group. It should also help ATA members to understand the benefit of joining this division and non ATA members the benefit of joining the association.

Language Technology Division Proposal – Background

Every ATA conference in the last 10 years has seen a growing interest by translators in conference sessions that go beyond or outside their language combination(s) and area specialties. Sessions on the craft of efficient translation memory management, CAT tools or complex manipulations of translatable content in spreadsheet programs or via macros have always met with very great interest. Other sessions presenting terminology management, the work of industry-wide standards committees and the presentations of the TM tools panel always draw large audiences. Finally every session that illustrates working techniques for translation of Web content and for software localization are definitely “crowd pleasers” sometimes causing interesting debate far beyond the sessions. With an ever growing need for technical expertise in all of these areas, with many freelance and contracting translators seeking to improve their productivity and make use of the emerging highly sophisticated technologies of computers, software and web applications, I see a wonderful opportunity for ATA to add membership value by offering a new division to cater to those interests and needs.

Incentive to create a new division

With the introduction of the new membership fee structure, participation in any division is free. What is missing from this free selection is a division going beyond the language combinations that traditionally was the deciding factor for joining a division. And since participation is free, I would expect many to sign up just for the benefit of what they can learn from this group. In return members joining this division would immediately become potential contributors and volunteers in activities of the group, future conferences and committees. In any case, it would be of great value to ATA membership if the pool of divisions to chose from could be enlarged.

Objectives for the new division

There are essentially several major areas where this division can become a central home to diverse activities.

All year round support group

  • The proposed mailing list could answer any kind of query via peer to peer support. Predefined query categorizations could also help focus the division’s objective.

Continuing Education

  • Sponsor and support ATA’s professional seminar series
  • Information dissemination in newsletter articles
  • Support existing ATA conference contributions (tools panel, standard committees) and help identify potential new contributors to ATA activities

Shape the industry

  • We should be able to communicate our needs in Standards committees such as Terminology (TBX), Translation Memory (TMX), Content management (XLIFF) and have a positive influence on technologies that shape our work environment. ATA representatives in above committees could find support from division members when formulating new directives and would get access to an immediate audience interested in their work.

Define evolution

  • Areas such as translation-automation hybrid models (machine translation & translation memory) are intriguing and should be understood by those educated, trained and experienced in the craft of translation. Having the essential dialogues and access to information should enable interested and open minded professionals to grow into new directions.

Career growth

  • Members interested in or with the need to understand more about adjacent industries such as software localization would be given a forum to exchange knowledge and professional experience. It would also give freelance professionals the potential to expand on services offered or even find a new career.


The Division should conform to standard ATA policies. That would include:

  • Division proposal presented to ATA board, ATA executive office and ATA General membership (this document)
  • Petition for the Division and submission of required votes for founding of this Division
  • Approval for Division inauguration by the above.
  • Creation of Bylaws
  • Election of officers: Administrator and Vice Administrator
  • Request for annual budget & expenses
  • Call for and creation of supportive committee to Administrator as successfully deployed for years in German Language Division (Ratsrunde)
  • Call for Web master, List master and Editorial staff for newsletter.


The division should be equipped with the following bodies for support of membership communication and Division activities:

  • Mailing list
  • Webpage (single web page to link to fundamental information, to be expandable to multipage website)
  • Quarterly online publishable newsletter (or pushed content) as required by Bylaws

Potentially there are new emerging technologies that could be used for further communicative needs:

  • Online polling
  • Chat rooms for conferencing
  • Online class (CE)
  • Wiki
  • Blog

Where to go?

With every conversation I had with various ATA members the more possibilities I envisioned. But I would also like to leave it up to the membership of the ATA and in particular and immediately to those who would be interested in joining such a new division to form strong and sustainable SIG niches and initiatives. All I am interested in at this point is to facilitate the founding of the division, the creation and set up of infrastructure and the guidance through the initial stages. With the upcoming ATA conference we should be in a position to vote for the group, vote for the bylaws and elect proper representation of the division in all required bodies of the ATA.

This concludes this proposal. If you like the idea, please sign the petition, subscribe to the mailing list and contribute in any form you would like. Please contact us.