Let me start by saying that I am a conference rat. I love attending translation conferences!
In the last four years I’ve gone to the following:
- Brazilian Association of Translators and Interpreters (Abrates) conference, every year since 2013;
- PROFT, a Brazilian translation symposium held in São Paulo, Brazil, also every year since 2013;
- ABRAPT (Brazilian Association of Translation Researchers) conference in 2013;
- Translator Week traditionally held by UNESP (São Paulo State University) in 2014;
- IAPTI (International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters) conference in 2015 and 2017;
- ENTRAD (National and International Meeting of Translators) in 2016;
- ProZ.com Brazil conference in 2016; and
Although I’ve attended quite a few translation events in the past four years, ATA58 was my first ATA conference. This year it was held in Washington, D.C. from October 25th–28th. I think this was the best choice because of the location.
This was also the first time I visited the U.S., so you can imagine the great expectations I had before and during (and maybe after?) the conference. And all my expectations were met and surpassed!
In my opinion, what makes the ATA conference stand out is the following:
- Direct contact with a lot of potential clients
This happens not only at the Job Fair. There are dozens of potential clients among the exhibitors and also the attendees! I was contacted by two potential clients even before the conference started because they saw my profile on the conference app. I met a couple of project managers at unexpected times, such as at breakfast.
- Interesting and useful social events
Buddies Welcome Newbies; Zumba classes; Stretch, Breathe and Move classes; Job Fair; Brainstorm Networking; and so much more! For example, I met a promising potential client at the Brainstorm Networking.
- The size
This year there were 1,740 attendees from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world. I met interesting people in the halls, during the sessions, and even online while tweeting with the hashtag #ata58. The reach of the conference is unbelievable. I also had the chance to meet quite a few Brazilians I did not know in person or at all.
I attended sessions at all scheduled times (and unfortunately a single person can’t be at all the sessions happening in the same time slot!) and thought they were certainly worthwhile. To name but a few: I loved Cris Silva’s talk on developing a power termbase; Sameh Ragab’s session on becoming a super-fast translator was also fantastic; Chris Durban, as always, presented some naked truths on working with direct clients; Riccardo Schiaffino made regular expressions look like a piece of cake; and, although I am not an interpreter, I found David Coles’ talk on language analysis to be quite interesting. In addition, there were oh-so-many other amazing things to do.
Overall, the impression I had of ATA58 as a newbie was like the one I had of New York as a first-time visitor: it was overwhelming! New York and the U.S. in general have nothing that is small-scale–everything seems huge, everything is impressive, and the ATA conference was as well.
If you’ve never been to one, you should go at least once. It is worth every penny. And for those who work with translation agencies, it is valuable to go every once in a while to update and even maintain your client portfolio. If you only work with direct clients, it is a great chance to meet other colleagues, exchange experiences, and have fun.
Attending the ATA conference was one of the items on my bucket list: I wanted to go once in my life. I did. And now I want to repeat the experience in a couple of years. See you in Boston, in 2020, perhaps?
Caroline Alberoni is a Brazilian translator working from English and Italian into Portuguese. She specializes in IT, marketing, business, and the environment. Besides being the head and heart of Alberoni Translations, she is a blogger and podcaster. Caroline is a social media fan, and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram (@alberoni).