Volume 2, No. 3 
July 1998



Happy Birthday, TJ!
Index 1997-98
  Translator Profiles
It Needn’t All Be Boring...
by Derry Cook-Radmore
Dr. William I. Bertsche
by Gabe Bokor
  Translator Education
Considerations on Teaching Translation
by Denis Sánchez Calderaro
  Translation Theory
Translation As a Communication Process
by Frédéric Houbert
  Art & Entertainment
Translator, Adapter, Screenwriter
by Robert Paquin, Ph.D.
 Biomedical Translation
Immunology—a Brief Overview
by Lúcia M. Singer, Ph.D.
 Business Translations
The Language of Business Entities in Brazil
by Danilo Nogueira
  Science & Technology
A Translator’s Guide to Organic Chemical Nomenclature XII
by Chester E. Claff, Jr., Ph.D.
  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Events
Letters to the Editor
Call for Papers

Translation Journal
W.I. Bertsche

Obituary: Dr. William I. Bertsche

by Gabe Bokor

Translator, engineer, attorney, businessman. Mentor to an entire generation of translators. Gode medalist and Honorary Member of the American Translators Association. A renaissance man of many talents, yet always accessible and unassuming, soft-spoken and polite, with a ready smile, willing to listen or help, loyal to his many friends and forgiving to his few adversaries. I remember the many occasions I listened to Bill, admiring his wisdom and his self-effacing humor. Like the speech he gave to a group of translators in Austin, Texas, about his avocation: “We translators are fortunate not only to learn new things all the time, but to be paid by our customers for doing so.” And Bill never stopped learning, working, and enjoying life. In fact, he did everything with high intensity and full dedication. His working capacity was proverbial. Owner of one of America’s oldest and most prestigious translation companies until his recent semi-retirement, he spent most of his time dictating translations and editing other translators’ work. Quality was the first consideration in everything he did. He once said: “If I receive a translation from God himself, I will still edit it.”
   The long hours he spent at work and the effort he dedicated to his business did not prevent him from taking on positions in ATA that very few people wanted and even fewer would discharge as successfully as he did. The only individual who held the Presidency of ATA twice, he also served as its Ethics Committee Chair, Treasurer, and Accreditation Chair, in addition to several terms as a Board member. In ATA’s early years, his Croton-on-Hudson home also doubled as ATA’s Headquarters.
   Belonging to the older generation of ATA officers, he responded to being called a “dinosaur” by donning a dinosaur tie at one of ATA’s conventions. Yet few people were as open to innovation as this “dinosaur.” His business was among the first translation bureaus to computerize its operations; as ATA Treasurer, he computerized the Association’s bookkeeping; as Accreditation Chair he introduced important improvements resulting in more uniform text selection and grading. Because most of the positions he held in ATA meant hard work and little or no recognition, few people were aware of the contribution he has made to ATA and the translation profession. Yet those who were fortunate to know him cannot but applaud the ATA Board’s recent decision to grant him Honorary Membership.
    Dr. Bertsche died on July 11, 1998, at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife Alison, six children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as a brother.
   In Bill Bertsche we have lost an exceptional human being, who will always be fondly remembered by his friends and colleagues.


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