Ordering Business Cards

One of the main items you will want to have on hand at the upcoming ATA conference in Washington D.C. is business cards. These can be as complex or as simple as you’d like, but they are important to have! A business card is your calling card; this is how you will be sure to connect with the people you meet after the conference is over.

A business card should contain the following information: your first and last name, email address, phone number, and job title. If you want, you can also include other information, such as your location or address, your website URL, any certifications you may have, your business name, your professional photograph, or your logo. If you don’t have a job title yet, or you’re a student, or you’re just getting started and aren’t sure what to write, you can write your language pair(s) and your current job or status – e.g. “Graduate Student in Translation – English>Japanese”. There’s no rule that you have to keep these cards forever, and since they’re a relatively low investment you can always make new ones later.

The card does not need to be too fancy – in fact, we suggest that you be sure to leave some blank space on the card so that people can make a note in pen after they’ve met you in order to give themselves a reminder of who you are. For example, if they met you at the Brainstorm Networking event and connected with you over a scenario you discussed regarding medical interpreter ethics, they may jot down, “Brainstorm Netw. – medical interpreter ethics. Interesting perspective.”

Your cards can be uniquely designed by you or a designer, or you can use a template found at one of the many business card designing sites online. Two we’ve used in the past include Vistaprint and Moo. If you want people to be able to write on your card, be sure to make the side with blank space matte and not glossy finish. It shouldn’t take too long for these cards to be delivered to you, but be sure to order them early just in case there is a problem!

Below are some examples of freelancer business cards:

  

While we’re on the topic of business cards, here are a few examples of situations in which you might want to swap business cards with someone:

  • You had a nice chat with a fellow attendee sitting next to you before a session started. You’d like to follow up with them later and thank them for making you feel welcome.
  • At breakfast you met an agency representative who is looking for freelancers in your language pair, and they said the best way to get in touch with them is to share your business card and they will follow up with you after the conference.
  • You ran into someone on the elevator that works in the same lesser-diffused language as you do, and you’d like to be able to connect with them for future collaboration later on.
  • You talked to a speaker after one of their sessions and they promised to send you their PowerPoint slides so you can enjoy the resources they recommended after the conference is over, and they asked how they should get in touch with you.

Don’t forget that it’s never too early to start planning for the conference! Comment below if you have questions or additional thoughts about creating business cards, or if there are any topics you’d like to see covered on this blog. We’re looking forward to getting to know you!

Budgeting for the ATA Conference

Now that you’re convinced that you need to attend ATA58, you’re probably asking yourself how much it’s going to cost. What do you need to budget for? What are some ways you can save money? Here’s the basic layout of an attendee’s budget for the ATA conference – be sure to also take into account the fact that you may lose out on some income since you won’t be working during these business days. Based on numbers from this blog post, you are potentially missing out on an average of $185/day for four business days, for a sum of $740. Let’s examine some of the other expenses involved and consider how the ATA conference just may be an investment that pays for itself!

Item #1: Conference registration

$540-1,210

http://www.atanet.org/conf/2017/registration/

Be sure to do your math… The early registration fee (which ends 9/15) is $540 for ATA members, versus $715 for non-members. ATA membership dues for one year cost $285, so if you’re considering joining the Association, make sure you do so before the conference in order to receive the discounted rate! Rates for all attendees increase starting 9/16 and then again starting 10/6, so the earlier the register, the bigger the discount.

Item #2: Transportation

$200-1,000

Depending on where you’re traveling from, travel could be a big expense. Coming from the East Coast, you may consider driving (in which case you’ll need to pay for parking) or taking a bus or train. From anywhere else in the country or world, you will probably want to fly into either DCA (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport), IAD (Washington Dulles International Airport), or BWI (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport). Regardless of your origin, remember that you will most likely need to factor in the cost of an Uber, taxi, or bus from the airport or train station to your hotel.

Item #3: Accommodations

$300-1,200

The Washington Hilton is the host hotel of ATA58 and offers special rates for conference attendees. However, these rooms fill up quickly and you may need to search elsewhere for a place to stay. You can look for a roommate or roommates to split the cost of accommodations by visiting the ATA Roommate Finder. Some conference attendees opt to stay at other hotels or even Airbnb in order to save on money and experience more time outside the conference hotel.

Item #4: Food

$200-400

Depending on your food preferences and schedule, you can choose to take advantage of the low-cost options that will be available through the conference, from free continental breakfast at the conference hotel to evening receptions that include hors d’oeuvres. On the other hand, if you want to truly experience the city of D.C. and enjoy spending time with new and old contacts at local restaurants, your budget needs may be a little different. Some ATA divisions offer dinner receptions at an additional cost to conference attendees, so be sure to sign up for any you may be interested in and calculate these expenses into your budget as well.

Item #5: Miscellaneous expenses

$???

Remember that while you may have travelled a long way to attend the conference, you’re also in a beautiful city with a deep and rich history. It’s a great idea to get out of the conference hotel and take in some of the sights of D.C.; the Smithsonian Zoo, White House, and George Washington University are a quick mile and a half walk or taxi ride from the Hilton and you’ll be glad to get a breath of fresh air.

I’m sure you’ve been adding up these costs as you read and you’re asking yourself if it’s all worth it. I can tell you unequivocally that for every year I’ve attended an ATA conference, it has paid off not only in terms of meeting new clients but also making great contacts, learning invaluable skills and lessons, and getting the intangible yet invaluable sense that I am part of a larger professional community of translators and interpreters. Don’t be afraid to invest in your career by going to the ATA conference; you’ll be glad you did!

What are some ways you’ve thought of to save on conference expenses? We’d love to hear them!

Free Webinar: Tips for Navigating Your First ATA Conference

This webinar by Jill Sommer is chock-full of great advice for first-time attendees to the ATA conference. Both practical and encouraging, the webinar details the steps you can take now in order to be prepared for four days of networking and education. The free webinar will help you conquer some of your nerves and will prepare you to develop strategies to make the most of your time. Be sure to let us know what you think!

http://atanet.org/webinars/ataWebinar116_first_timers.php

What does it mean to be a Buddy/Newbie?

You have heard about this Buddies Welcome Newbies session at the ATA conference and you are all signed up to go to it, but you may not be sure what you have signed yourself up for! Here is a breakdown of what Buddies’ and Newbies’ roles are and what to expect:

Buddies are “veteran” conference-goers; if you’ve attended at least one ATA conference, then you qualify to be a Buddy! Your job is to make a first-timer (or a few of them) feel more at home.

Newbies are first-time attendees to the ATA conference; they aren’t necessarily new to the industry or green or inexperienced, but they aren’t sure how to navigate their first conference and are looking for a friendly face.

Buddies will be paired up with their Newbies at our Buddies Welcome Newbies session on Wednesday, October 25th at 4:45pm. We’ll talk more about networking and how to navigate the conference, as well as engage in a few ice-breaker activities to make you feel more comfortable right off the bat. Here are some activities we encourage you to do with your Buddy or Newbie:

  • Head to the Welcome Reception together for a bite to eat (the Welcome Reception occurs right after the Buddies Welcome Newbies introductory session and can be quite overwhelming if you don’t know anyone there!)
  • Attend a session together (maybe something you are both interested in; maybe something your Buddy is interested in that you could learn more about)
  • Get a meal together (this is a good chance to talk about your work and learn more about each other; your Buddy can offer you candid advice on how to best use your time and energy at the conference)
  • Walk through the Exhibit Hall together (it can be a scary place, but your Buddy will point out ways to make it more manageable and make the most of your time there)

Choose one or two of these and enjoy getting to know your Buddy! Don’t be afraid to ask questions; your Buddy will be happy to share their experiences and remind you that you are not alone.

Looking forward to the conference? Have unanswered questions? Write to us in the comments!