This was my second time attending an ATA Conference, so at this point I felt that I had an idea what it was about. Boston was also home to me for 9 years, so I knew what to expect of the city and took advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.
Since I wanted to get to know the ATA interpreting community and issues better, I went to sessions on interpreting, some of which I expected to strongly disagree with. I found that they dealt with my objections very well. I did not expect to think that remote interpreting would work, and was pleasantly surprised with the solutions they have come up with in Florida. I certainly thought that distance education for interpreters was not going to work, and found that it has been very successful, and has made it possible for many to acquire skills in a practical way.
I also went to a couple of “geeky” sessions about Standards. The ASTM standards are a very valuable tool for communication with our clients. I came home and made a client worksheet based on that, and my potential client said he could understand the issues of translation and interpreting better. Since then I have shared this worksheet with colleagues, one on one, and they have told me it helps them think about the issues involved in translation and interpreting.
I was very encouraged by meeting people I had interacted with electronically. We meet at our “electronic water cooler” (the Listserv) on a regular basis, but being able to shake a hand and smile at each other makes these relationships much deeper. I think being authentic in our electronic posts really helps build community. I have posted my ignorance many times, and gained some wisdom in the process.
Meeting old friends (from last year, plus some NETA friends from when I used to live in Boston) made me feel as if I belonged with the group. I highly recommend being a regular participant in conferences. Most of our work is done in isolation, and the conferences are a very necessary part of our professional growth, with or without the continuing education credits (CEUs) that we might get from attending the sessions. I, for one, plan to be as regular as I can!
I was mentored by members of the New England Translators Association (NETA) when I lived in Woburn, MA, and continue to grow through the input of ATA members through the Listserv and the convention. In Oregon, I am involved in the Associated Linguists of Oregon (ALO). Now that my daughter is a student at Seattle Pacific University, the Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society (NOTIS) meetings are “on my way”. Being involved with others helps us when we are starting, and gives us a place to help others as they get started. All of us can help and be helped. Our participation helps us grow as individuals and as a group.
See you in Orlando, and again in San Diego! No snow in the forecast there!
Helen Eby is a professional Conference/Medical Interpreter and Translator (English<>Spanish) with specialized experience in the legal, business, nautical, medical and education fields. She was an Adjunct Professor of Spanish at Gordon College and is a member of the American Translators Association (ATA), Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society (NOTIS) and the Associated Linguists of Oregon (ALO). Contact: email@example.com