The Circle’s annual business meeting was held virtually on January 31, 2023 with twenty-three members in attendance. This event, which is required by the Circle’s by-laws, is an opportunity to look back at the achievements of the prior year, discuss the Board’s plans for 2023 and to take questions and suggestions from our members.
The meeting was called to order by Milena Savova, our out-going President, who thanked the other outgoing members of the Board for their outstanding service during the challenging conditions that we faced in 2022. She then introduced our new slate of officers: Michelle Berrios, President, Liz Herron-Sweet, Vice President; and Randall Gernaat, who is taking over as Treasurer from Sepideh Moussavi.
Looking back on 2022, Milena mentioned the Circle’s success in transitioning to on-site meeting as well as continuing to hold online events during the year. On-line attendance increased both from the US and abroad. The summer picnic in Central Park was held successfully with the Circle covering the cost of the event. The December in person holiday event also was held with the Circle covering part of the cost for that event as well. Milena also acknowledged the drop in membership which occurred last year which is an industry-wide phenomenon shared by the ATA. This year an effort will be made to bring in new members, including student members. Our membership at the present time stands at 170.
Alexia Klein, who is continuing as our Program Director, discussed her work during the year which included hosting eight webinars, a Translation Day get-together for members as well as the picnic and the holiday party. Matt Goldstein, Secretary, discussed his efforts to put together the new website which is still being perfected. He also reminded both new and old members to update their profiles on the site so as to increase their searchability. Matt also assisted Alexia in the planning of the summer picnic. Outgoing Vice President Marcel Votlucka was not present but communicated by email his efforts to prioritize member outreach and advocacy for our industry.
Sepideh Moussavi then reported on the Circle’s financial condition which is solid. During 2022 progress was made on cutting expenses. The Circle no longer uses a Webmaster which contributed to a significant reduction in expenses. The Circle has a substantial balance in its checking and savings accounts as well as a healthy amount in the CD that represents the proceeds of the Charles Stern bequest. Those funds are earmarked for covering the professional development expenses of emerging translators. In 2022, two grants were awarded to people who attended translation-related events and who subsequently wrote articles for the Gotham about their experiences. Members who belong both to the Circle and to the ATA were also encouraged to check the box pertaining to rebates to local chapters when renewing their ATA memberships as that increases the flow of funds into the Circle’s coffers.
Our new officers then had an opportunity to introduce themselves to the membership. Michelle, our new President, brings a wealth of translation experience to the Circle as a Spanish to English and English to Spanish translator. She will focus on increasing networking opportunities and surveying our members to determine how the Circle can best serve them. Vice President Liz Herron-Sweet, an ATA-certified Portuguese/English translator, is very active in the law division of the ATA of which she is a founding member. Randal Gernaat, our new Treasurer, is a freelance German/English translator with an extensive financial background.
Natalia Postrigan, who continues as our administrator, discussed her efforts to improve membership retention and to increase participation in social media though Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. She also mentioned how the new website makes it much easier for members to sign up for events.
I, your Gotham editor, would like to remind members that I am always looking for original articles on translation and interpretation for eventual publication in the Gotham. I am happy to work with authors on the editing of rough drafts to get them ready for publication. Aside from providing interesting reading for our membership, such articles increase our member’s visibility within the profession, potentially leading to increased business opportunities.
One of my ideas for 2023 is to provide members who are literary translators with the opportunity to publish yet unpublished literary translations in the Gotham. However, the Gotham cannot assume responsibility for ensuring that no copyright laws would be violated by doing so. Copyright laws seem to be a grey area for most of us and it was suggested that this might be a good topic for one of our monthly meetings if we can find an expert in the field willing to address our group on this issue.
To conclude, I think I speak for all the officers and members of the Circle in expressing our sincerest thanks to outgoing President, Milena Savova, for her outstanding leadership during the challenging times that characterized the last few years. Milena, you will be missed!
Patricia Stumpp, Editor