I found apostrophe use differs among association titles—"American Translators Association" has no apostrophe, whereas "Iraqi Translators' Association" does.

Therefore, I need to make sure which one of the following is correct: "Iraqi Translators Association" or "Iraqi Translators' Association"?


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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about the English language. How a specific organisation’s name is written is up to the organisation itself. In the case of the ATA, their website writes it without an apostrophe, so unless you have come across anywhere where the ATA themselves use the apostrophe, I would do the same. And if you have come across that, you’ll have to ask the Association which is the official name. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 31 '15 at 21:00
  • Whatever it says in their bylaws. – Hot Licks Mar 31 '15 at 21:07
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    Excuse me, Janus Bahs Jacquet. We are merely asking and discussing questions in terms of learning. I did find the "American Translators Association" using no apostrophe. But I found another association which is the "Iraqi Translators' Association," using an apostrophe a period of time ago. Therefore, I gave an example, and the ATA using no apostrophe. Moreover, if you are here to discuss linguistic issues then everything should be done peacefully without voting to close any topics; it is not a modern way of promulgating knowledge. – Johnny Mar 31 '15 at 21:12
  • I'd vote for American instead of Iraqui. – Robusto Mar 31 '15 at 21:24
  • I'd definitely vote for the ATA, but some Iraqi professors contacted me and asked about using an apostrophe or not, because they used an apostrophe for 44 years and now changed it because other professors are debating with them on that. Therefore, I appealed to this website because it is the best website for the English language I've ever come across in my life. I'm so grateful to those who help others through this unique website. – Johnny Mar 31 '15 at 21:32

If the Iraqi translators want to keep the apostrophe, that is perfectly acceptable. There is no need to copy the way the ATA did it. Many Americans don't have a clue about apostrophe usage (although one might think translators would have a clue)

In America one often finds the apostrophe omitted. That doesn't make it preferable.

  • Farmers Market / Farmers' Market (not so obvious which is better)

  • Men Room / Mens Room / Men's Room
    (glaringly obvious)

  • Ladies Auxiliary / Ladies' Auxiliary (not so obvious)

  • Writers cramp / Writer's cramp / Writers' cramp (definitely not the first, but one could argue for either of the other two)

Greg Lee's suggestion, distinguishing translators as owning vs simply constituting the Association, is useful. However, based on your comment that the Iraqi association is government run/sponsored, not owned/controlled by the translators themselves, that advice would mean that the Iraqi association should not have an apostrophe, but the American association probably should have one.

The question might fairly be asked whether the ITA is really an "association", or instead something more like a "registry".

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  • Thank you so much, Brian Hitchcock, for your answer. I actually found it the answer appropriate to my question. – Johnny Apr 1 '15 at 15:16
  • Glad to help. If you click the checkmark to accept my answer, the question will be listed as "answered". – Brian Hitchcock Apr 2 '15 at 6:35
  • Where can I find the Checkmate button to click, please? – Johnny Apr 12 '15 at 2:43

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