The Freelance Party
Political Action for FREELANCE Translators

We, the founders of the Freelance Party, affirm our faith in the principle of voluntary association. We nevertheless recognize that voluntary associations can be infiltrated and corrupted by powerful vested interests who see in them the opportunity for self-aggrandizement. We propose to offset these influences by offering truthful information, straight political alternatives, a clear and principled platform and a simple code of ethics which our candidates are pledged to uphold and defend. Our purpose is to see to it that associations organized of, by and for translators and interpreters preserve their identity as such. We seek to ensure that their membership shall remain free, not coerced; be independent, not reduced to servility -- and to accomplish all of these things by perfectly legal and democratic means. We want only the voluntary, informed consent of the governed, nothing more. In furtherance of these goals we place before the thoughtful consideration of translators and interpreters the following political platform for the year 2009:

  1. The Freelance Party is pledged to support direct mail-in and/or electronic balloting for all voting issues. This is a perfectly legal right enjoyed and exercised by other NY nonprofit associations. The direct ballot was robbed from ATA members by irregular amendment in 1991. We propose to restore the one-member-one-vote principle, and expand it to include verifiable electronic balloting (see how your vote was counted just as you see how your deposit was credited at the ATM).
  2. ATA Certification testing is a right reserved for members only. We repudiated as illegal and immoral recent efforts to use certification for nonmembers overseas to secure "qualified" pauper labor at the expense of dues-paying members. In this effort we achieved success, for that item has since been quietly dropped from the 2001 board's agenda. We also oppose the transformation of certification into any form of coercive licensing.
  3. Associate members "have the right to take certification examinations" without regard to any other requirements. We view with alarm recent attempts by the ATA board of directors to infringe that right through resolutions robbing associate members of their secured chance to earn the voting franchise and other privileges of active membership. Unanimity in such an error evinces only ignorance or contempt for member rights explicitly set forth in ATA bylaws. The amendment proposal to change active to voting is but another layer of deception to further undermine what was a meritocracy before 1991.

Freelance Party candidates agree to practice the following ethical precept once elected:

"Exemplify in your work a courageous regard for the whole membership, and not just some powerful and influential faction thereof with which you come in close personal contact."
-- Harvey Washington Wiley


Independent translators and interpreters, and persons studying toward a language-related degree at accredited universities, are eligible for membership. Owners, agents and representatives of translation bureaus or agencies are not eligible for membership. We do not charge any dues; we ask only that each member pledge to contribute one hour of effort per year in furtherance of our goals. Members in good standing are members who have kept this pledge, and will be allowed one open vote in all party deliberations such as the approval of platform planks. Although our ballots are not secret we do not at this time choose to indiscriminately publish the identities of our members.

If you have been robbed of certification you may be eligible for class action for damages.  Here you will find a collection of alternatives, information and reference material. Among the most pressing concerns is the current effort to abridge associate member access to testing, and therefore credentials and suffrage. Click the link for the legalese version.   Do associate members have rights?
2009 Candidate endorsements
Boris Silversteyn, Treasurer Yes. Boris is the only listed candidate we recommend. He will watch our money as someone familiar with the workings of kleptocratic corruption. His opponent, evidence suggests, is largely responsible for some $600k in losses in the antitrust investigation and other bad decisions. FOR Boris
J Henry Phillips
The only alternative to a Junta-style single-party fake election is to write in a candidate who stands for honest elections, directly voted by electronic ballot. FOR (write-in)
J Henry
Memuna Williams, Director A business-minded professional able to choose between clearly distinguishable alternatives and make decisions. FOR Memuna
David C. Rumsey, Director Did not respond to the survey because he is off working to earn a living. This is a good sign, and his statement does not endorse coercive licensing or racketeering with our credentials FOR David
2009 Candidate warnings
We regret recommending Virginia Perez-Santalla by elimination at the Phoenix convention--and she abetted continuing extortion. Fool me twice, shame on me. AGAINST (write someone in)
Cristina Helmerichs, Izumi Suzuki, Odile Legeay Lobbyists working to make interpreting illegal except by bribery and Soviet-style work permits. AGAINST
Giovanna Lester Communication with this evasive candidate was as frustrating as questioning an indicted politician. AGAINST
Board-endorsed bylaws amendments The Wetback Protection Amendment serves only to further undermine the earning of merit credentials for suffrage. The other amendments are just as unappealing and only complicate rolling the bylaws back to 1990 before-the-putsch language. AGAINST
Want more choices?
Run for office If you are a freelance linguist and back our platform, why not run for office? Did you know that nearly all changes in policy have come from parties that lost? Understand why losing elections is winning
Background information
ASAE members and agency owner Bokor claim that NY law prohibits our mailed ballots. Based on what? The clique of ATA staff composed of members of the American Society of Association Executives (Executive Director Bacak, Attorney Jefferson C. Glassie, paid consultant Michael Hamm--possibly several directors as well) want you to believe it is illegal to vote by mail. Read the law, see that it is a lie. Bernard Bierman unable to back voting claims: read the email
Continuing extortion with travel, without meals or lodging, PDF version How many dollars per year it costs to ransom a single kidnapped ATA credential, graph of time versus continuing extortion. Excludes travel, lodging, groundcars, meals, testing fees
Bill of Rights Amendment petition 5kb pdf file
Volunteer to translate the rights section into your language. Many people are baffled by legal English.
We have provided a print, fax and mail pdf of the Bill of Rights amendment proposal drafted by Freelance Party organizers. The amendment offers no radical changes. It serves only to keep a small minority of individuals--usually selected with no opposition candidates--from approving apparently illegal and undemocratic changes adversely affecting member rights. Let us know you sent it so we can keep a tally and be sure we get 50 signatures--within the proper timeframe--for a vote on the question at the 2009 meeting. Puzzled? Read the explanation of why we recommend this option. Read the amendment proposal details in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Bulgarian,.....
New association, with credentials, for Brazilian Portuguese translators: now forming
Brazilian Translators Association
Visit this group
December 1981 Bylaws Amendment Committee report to offer testing to members only We offer a 160 kb image of Patricia Newman's original report on amending the ATA bylaws to provide for testing as a means for ATA members in some of the "several classes of membership" to earn active member status. It is unequivocal proof that the original intent of the person most influential in framing the bylaws was to offer testing to ATA members for purposes of earning active member status.
What about cheap foreign competition? Cheap foreign competition is exactly what agency representatives on the ATA board have promised to decorate with OUR credential--without requiring membership. Already they are exploiting legitimate member misgivings as to the wisdom and legality of unauthorized Continuing Extortion as an opening to promise to soften those requirements. Soften them where and to whom? (See below...)
Image of letter signed by Bill Bertsche "This allows you to use the statement 'ATA Accredited from ... into ... when listing your qualifications for as long as you remain a member of the ATA.'" That was how William I. Bertsche signed the letter accompanying certificates of accreditation before the ATA was given over to interests more pecuniary than linguistic. Click the link to see an image bearing the signature of a man of integrity.
How the ATA board was first caught violating member rights Just as today a ruling elite announces new hoops and hurdles placed between bylaws-guaranteed rights and ATA members in good standing, so it was done in the past. The same lawyer who stuffed your proxies with electioneering slander also served as hit-man (to surrender) in this hushed-up event. Then the "honest mistake" was to keep associate members from enjoying a listing in the services directory--now it is to stop them from earning active status. Learn about your ATA board-selected candidates. Download the 9k pdf version...
 Ann Macfarlane's unanswered letter 1
unanswered letter 2
 This is eyewitness testimony of then-president Ann Macfarlane's egregious error in interpreting the plain language of the bylaws. She has promised in writing in the June 2001 ATA Chronicle p. 8, and the board formally RESOLVED: "that at a time yet to be determined the following changes will take place:... 4. Eligibility to apply for the credential will be extended to persons who are not members of the association;" It doesn't get any clearer than that who--and in what countries--is going to benefit from Continuing Education irregularly imposed by autocratic minority fiat. PDF of the original page...
January 2003 letter to the Accreditation Committee Chair On the left is another sincere effort by a voting ATA member Wanda Boeke to talk sense to Lilian Van Vrancken, of the newly-purged accreditation committee. On the right a 9/03 letter to the Chronicle by Messr's Bekman, Ishenko and Vessler explaining in patient detail how anti-democratic Continuing Education impositions would penalize professional translators. Three professional linguists opposed to the board's usurpation
Our reply to the ATA hit-man electioneering letter To intimidate voters, an electioneering letter was stuffed into ATA "proxy" envelopes. The purpose is to keep you from exercising your right to vote for Amendment 2, Retention of Credentials. The lawyer's hit- man letter (see for yourself)
Sally Costello's 8 questions on arrogation of power to impose new requirements Here are voices you do not hear in one-sided "do-as-you're-told" propaganda. Lip service to democracy papers over a single-party slate. When the time comes for choice, out come the better people who know what's good for the riffraff, rights to the contrary notwithstanding. Margaret Cullen letter supporting Credential Retention and opposing usurpation
 This is a Yahoo discussion group organized by linguists appalled by board announcements of policy changes that manifestly violate member rights and ATA bylaws. Signup is not very difficult.  
January, 1989 warning that ATA bylaws need amending to not forbid officer remuneration. 200k jpeg Here is an actual click-and-print graphic page from the pre-censorship Chronicle, January 1989. We had no executive committee forcing us to institutionalize salaried staff. Translator volunteers did it all with the help of one capable secretary. Ben Teague was the second freelancer president in a row for ATA--and the last. Learn how the structure of the organization made us vulnerable to mercenary infiltration and control. Download the fast pdf version (8k).
Allpoints Translator Alert which appeared in the mailbox in 1994. 30k pdf This anonymous document is offered at face value as a historical curiosity from before there was a Freelance Party. It is interesting to note that many current concerns such as improper procedure, censorship and the transformation of the ATA into a different sort of association (or a subsidiary of are neither novel nor unprecedented.
 Essay examining the March 2001 member rights usurpation announcement in the light of Hamm Report errors, NY law and the bylaws themselves. 
 Are translators apathetic or afraid of retribution? Running for office and serving need not reduce your income--Continuing Extortion will definitely rob you of income. 
This analysis was requested by ATA authorities. It is a critical look at the 55¢ per word Hamm Report by the Portuguese Language Chair, pointing up many errors and inconsistencies. When was the last time you saw Michael Hamm's credentials? Ever heard from another association which followed his advice?. 
Seven Signs of a Good Translators Association Can the general public use a search engine to find your listing and contact you for work? Some member lists are hidden from search engines and accessed only by agencies. Learn the difference.
 A historical compilation of ATA accomplishments & controversies, with special attention to accreditation and voting issues. HTML link is on the left. Download PDF version.
 2003 ATA bylaws amendment proposal to preserve earned credentials.  Another grass-roots petition movement obtained over 300 signatures to protect ATA certification from continuing meddling. Use the link to the right to visit or join their Yahoo Group. Supporters of this too-ambitious effort are urged to sign the electronic petition for the Bill of Rights Amendment at With a few signatures we can offer it to the membership in 2009. Unlike the failed amendment the Bill of Rights amendment protects your credential with no changes to quorum requirements.
 Analysis of VOTING IRREGULARITIES in the 1991 ATA bylaws amendment which robbed us of our mail-in ballots. 
 Here are the ATA bylaws that were in effect in 1990. Note the mail-in ballots distributed for direct vote by each active member. That's what honest elections are made of. 
 Exact text of the way our mail-in ballots were eliminated without warning. This is a published board resolution dissembling amendment language.
1986 New York Circle newsletter with mail-in ballot. Bernard Berman on the cover of a facsimile Gotham Translator containing a mail-in ballot he claims is illegal. Observe the similarity between his oratory and that of the ATA's current guru of hyperbole.
 These are the 1992 bylaws, in which our mail-in ballots were replaced in irregular voting using possibly illegal meeting proxy forms (instead of legal mail-in ballots).
Contribute Was this information useful to you? Would you like to contribute an article or letter? collect signatures, carry proxies? work as a volunteer? collect money to hire a lawyer? Please mention the party in the header so we know it's not spam.