Welcome to my blog! For my first post, let’s talk about the American Translators Association’s Annual Conference held in Chicago from November 5th to 8th, 2014.

ATA’s 55th event was my first. I’d heard a lot of good things about the Conference, but as a “Newbie”, I didn’t quite know what to expect. It turned out that ATA did a marvelous job of bringing together 1,842 passionate professionals and organizing dozens (or was it hundreds?) of sessions focused on many aspects of the work of language professionals. The highlights:

Seminar C: How to Get and Keep their Attention: Optimizing Your Website for Potential Clients, presented by Tess Whitty

In this 3 hour seminar, Tess shared great tips on website design, SEO, marketing for translators and content creation.  A seasoned translation and marketing professional, she publishes Marketing Tips for Translators.

Buddies Welcome Newbies

One of my favorite events, because I was paired up with two fabulous Buddies, Judy and Dagmar Jenner from Twin Translations! I was also delighted to meet Corinne McKay in person, whose course I took last year (Getting Started As a Freelance Translator). Newbies & Buddies is an awesome system designed to pair up the overwhelmed Newbies like myself with seasoned conference-goers who volunteered to share tips and advice.

The Welcome Reception and Division Open House

Fact: Translators know how to party. I’d heard of ATA’s French Language Division (FLD) but hadn’t really thought of it until meeting its members during happy hour. Lots of français networking and exciting connections.

The Sessions

Close to 50 topic-specific sessions with as many speakers were offered each day. At the cost of skipping some of the Association’s annual meetings (I am not a voting member), I managed to attend a session in every time slot! Top favorites:

  • The Freelance Juggling Act: Tips for Living the Life you Want (Eve Lindemuth Bodeux, Corinne McKay, Andrew Morris, Marianne Reiner) on how to establish a balance that works for each of us
  • Claims Against Translators (Martin Ween) on how to protect ourselves from such predicaments
  • Why Won’t You Translate For me (Sandra Alboum, Terena Bell, Jill Sommer and Ted Wozniak) on the disconnect between freelancers and agencies in the aftermath of the Conferences
  • Mastering the Challenges of a Direct-Client Portfolio (Chris Durban)
  • Les slogans, j’en fait mon affaire! (François Lavallée) and Switch Hitting for More Idiomatic Translations(Grant Hamilton), two great French-specific sessions

Switch Hitting” particularly “hit home”. It looks at word choices of translators who work in the opposite language combination. Indirectly, it also offered insight into how translators who have several native languages can come up with creative and natural translation solutions.


“So, did you meet any new clients at the Conference?”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I even delivered my first project for a new client I met during one of the French sessions today!