ATA & Commercial Dispute Between Members

ATA and Commercial Disputes Between Members

All members of the American Translators Association (ATA), by the act of joining the Association, agree to abide by the American Translators Association Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.

In addition to the principles outlined in the Code, ATA encourages all its members to follow established business practices. Such practices include exercising due diligence and good business judgment before accepting or offering work by verifying that the prospective client or vendor has a satisfactory business record and qualifications with reasonable expectation of satisfactory future performance.

ATA recognizes that, even with due diligence, commercial disputes between members will sometimes arise. It is the policy of ATA not to undertake to resolve or publicize such disputes for the following reasons:

  1. Publicizing alleged cases of non-payment by members would not only require ATA to review such cases and make a finding of improper action, which is not feasible for lack of expertise and resources, but could also open ATA up to potentially expensive and damaging litigation if such cases were publicized on incorrect or insufficient grounds of evidence.
  2. The Board of Directors is obligated to allocate ATA resources in a way that maximizes the return to members on the investment they make in joining. Pursuing a policy of intervention in commercial disputes would require us to set aside financial resources to cover the potential legal costs, and to curtail other programs of established benefit to members.
  3. If ATA were to adjudicate commercial disputes involving claims of non-performance on the part of translation companies, fairness would dictate that it also adjudicate disputes involving claims of non-performance by individual translators and interpreters. To do so, ATA would have to determine whether a translator’s or interpreter’s work for pay meets professional standards, a function ATA is not prepared to undertake.

The ATA Ethics Committee is ready to consider cases in which a member has been convicted of a felony or other crime of moral turpitude in a court of law, cases of alleged impropriety in the conduct of Association business, and other cases properly brought before it under Article III, Section 6 of the ATA Bylaws. The ATA Ethics Committee will decline to consider disputes of any other type.

ATA Committees, Chapters, and Divisions shall not publicize alleged cases of non-payment by members or non-members in their newsletters, websites, electronic listservs or other publications. All ATA members are free, of course, to share among themselves views on commercial or other matters, provided that ATA channels are not used for communications covered by this policy.

ATA wishes to encourage good business practices and to foster a culture of prompt payment among its members. To this end, ATA has made the collection and receivables management services of Dun and Bradstreet available to members at reduced rates. This commercial service, while not always able to resolve a dispute to member satisfaction, nevertheless offers a useful and economical membership benefit. ATA has also made available on its website a Model Contract for Translation Services. The Board welcomes the initiative by the Translation Company Division to establish a voluntary code of business practices and quality standards for corporate members. ATA members who wish to suggest other ways to help ATA foster good business practices are invited to do so. All suggestions will be carefully reviewed and, if deemed appropriate and feasible, implemented.

As Adopted by the ATA Board of Directors March 8, 2002