Kent State Professor to Lead American Translators Association

Geoffrey Koby, Ph.D., professor of Translation Studies and German at Kent State University, has been studying German since he was a freshman in high school.

Geoffrey Koby

He was recently elected as president-elect of the American Translators Association (ATA), the largest professional language translation association in the world.

“I was on the ATA board for six years, then it seemed like the logical progression to run for president, which took three tries to get elected,” Koby said. “The way our system works, you’re elected president-elect, and it’s a four-year commitment, but a two-year term. So, when you’re elected president-elect, you’ve been elected president, but you don’t get to do it for two years. It’s kind of a training and apprenticeship.”

Koby said that he has three major roles he plays as president-elect, the main one being planning the big conference that ATA puts on annually.

“I also chair a committee called the Governance and Communications Committee,” Koby said. “That’s the committee that’s responsible for looking at policies, procedures and the bylaws. So as the association evolves and the profession changes, we have to adopt good policies and change the bylaws to reflect what is modern and what is not.”

As an officer of ATA he also has the responsibility to make speeches, attend professional meetings of the association and to create good relationships between the various language associations.

Motivated to Give Back
“There’s money to be made in translation,” Koby said, “but officers don’t get paid. For me, it’s not so much the money, but that I’m able to give back to the profession. It’s a major job because ATA has over 8,000 members. As an officer of the association, I think it’s really important that I make sure that I’m helping guide the association into the future.”

“I thought if I’m going to train people to be professional translators, I have to actually be involved in the professional translation world,” Koby said. “So, in 1995, I passed my certification exam, so I’m a certified translator in German to English and Dutch to English.”

About Dr. Koby
Koby joined Kent State in 1994 and teaches undergraduate courses in German translation, phonetics, foreign language and culture and Business German as well as graduate courses in literary translation, commercial/legal/financial translation, and scientific/technical/medical translation, and occasionally teaches a Ph.D. seminar on translation assessment.

His research focuses on translation assessment and evaluation and translation pedagogy. He has co-edited three volumes on translation pedagogy, financial translation, and translation quality, co-translated a major work on translation theory, co-authored a dictionary of translation teaching terminology, and published articles on translation practice, translation assessment and evaluation, and translation pedagogy.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned his Ph.D. in Germanic languages, literatures, and linguistics along with an M.A. in Linguistics and German. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in German and music at California State University, Northridge.

To learn more about Kent State's Department of Modern & Classical Language Studies, visit:

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POSTED: Tuesday, January 23, 2024 10:54 AM
Updated: Monday, February 12, 2024 01:56 PM
Destiny Torres