eorge Kirby, an early president of the Northern California Translators Association and former director of the American Translators Association, died unexpectedly on December 29, 2006 in San Francisco.
A German-to-English translator, George worked for the U.S. Government in Europe, and went on to establish and operate his own translation company, Golden Gate Translations in San Francisco. He was also a writer, editor, and author of Looking at Germany among other works.
After a term as NCTA's vice-president, he reluctantly agreed to serve as its president, and went on to be one of the association's most active and forceful advocate of translators' rights in the marketplace, as well as a strong promoter of their professional status. During his 1985-1989 presidency, George Kirby guided the NCTA through a particularly difficult period when it and its parent organization, the ATA, were under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The concerns he expressed at the time, for example, are still echoed in the May 2005 Translorial, in an article on the open discussion of prices.
He concurrently served on the ATA Board of Directors, on the Association's Rates Guidelines and Quantification Committee, and was co-founder of the first translators' and interpreters' labor union in the country, The Translators & Interpreters Guild.
It was during his term of office that the NCTA signed an agreement with Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts to provide low-cost legal services for its members; contracted a Group Health Service with Kaiser Permanente; engaged its first staff administrator; organized meetings between translation agencies and translators, a precursor to the present Job Fair; strengthened the association's telephone referral service; and in 1988 hosted the Association's Tenth Anniversary Dinner, attended by the president and the past-president of the ATA.
George Kirby guided the NCTA through its fledgling years and made a significant contribution to the ATA, for which we owe him a debt of gratitude. He was a gentleman of the old guard, a lover of opera and the arts, with a reverence for language and literature.