Hartsfield International Airport’s foreign language signage will be a focus of the 43rd annual conference of the American Translators Association to be held in Atlanta Nov. 6-8, which will attract some 1,300 to 1,500 attendees from more than 60 countries.

          Thomas West, president of Atlanta-based Intermark Language Services Inc. and the current president of the translators association, told GlobalFax last week that the signage at the airport was marred by “mistranslations, misspellings and omissions.”

          He said that poor quality software programs were probably responsible for the mistakes. “We need to put our heads together as an association and come up with a way of constructively letting purchasers like this know that their translations have gone awry,” he said.

          Mr. West added that he would promote a “buyer awareness” campaign to praise companies with superior translations.

          Founded in 1959, the association is based in Alexandria, Va., and has more than 8,500 members worldwide. This year’s program will include a special town hall meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown from 6-7:30 p.m. entitled, “Translation and Terrorism.”

          The meeting will feature a panel of experts representing the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon and review U.S. government efforts to remedy the shortage of translators involved in its anti-terrorism efforts.

          Mr. West also said that the conference would include sessions in Dutch and Swedish for the first time and that the organizations will be considering the establishment of new divisions for Korean and Vietnamese.

          To register for the conference, go to www.atanet.org/register.htm or call (703) 683-6100. Mr. West may be reached by calling (770) 444-3055.