The first ATA Interpreter Connections, the Interpreters Division’s (ID) new way to get interpreters together, took place at The Union Social Eatery (St. Clair) restaurant in Toronto, Canada on March 23, 2019. The event lasted two hours and had 22 attendees, attracted through posts on our social media outlets.
ID Leadership Council member Flávia Lima, a very active social media geek and former Arizona Interpreters & Translators (ATI) Secretary, hosted the event. ATI is an ATA affiliated association and it is where Ms. Lima started this initiative in Phoenix, AZ in 2016 via Meetup.com.
It was a great success, as expressed by the impressions and comments made by attendees, such as this one: “What a great idea! We need more get-togethers in Toronto! I would love to host one, but I’m not a member yet.”
As a result, a discussion about the benefits of ATA membership ensued, and four people expressed interest not only in joining but also in becoming ATA Certified Translators (CT). Issues surrounding community interpreting in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the need for more ATA representation in local associations were touched upon, as was ATA’s upcoming 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California this year. Much to Flavia’s delight, the group discussed hosting the next event in the GTA area.
Members from other associations were also present, including from the Association of Professional Language Interpreters (APLI), as well as community and legal interpreters employed by the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, a local legal representation entity in the GTA area.
This new way of connecting face-to-face is important to foster change, create a space to talk about issues pertaining to interpreting, share opportunities, and also create unity, which helps the profession move forward. Therefore, we find it important to keep this initiative going, in as many states as possible. This mission can only be accomplished by actively hosting events.
This idea seemed revolutionary at first. However, it has been mirrored by other associations nationwide and also within ATA. The Portuguese Language Division (PLD), for example, has held similar events. The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF), an ATA chapter, has also been promoting monthly events that draw a great number of attendees, especially in the Miami area. Do you know of any such events in your state?
If you don’t, and you want to support the division by bringing one of these Interpreter Connections to a town near you, please let us know. You can start by recruiting like-minded colleagues who are also interested, and tapping into their personal and local professional networks.
Saturdays are usually the best day of the week to host these events, but mid-week evenings after work can also be attractive, at a restaurant that can accommodate at least 20 people and issue separate checks. Just put it out there and they will come!
Pictures kindly provided by Flávia Lima.