I had this idea that going to the annual ATA Conference is an unofficial rite of passage for the translation industry in the US. Like crossing a bridge and never looking back.
That is exactly what ATA 56 felt like for me!
Once on the other side, I knew I had joined a strong, diverse industry that is more necessary than ever in the 21st century – an era where we connect with people in other countries at the speed of the Internet.
Prior to this year's conference in Miami, my sources for T & I information included blogs, forums, classes at Bellevue College, and my local library. I often went down the freelance translator rabbit hole by reading, oh, say, the Savvy Newcomer (an ATA blog), clicking on a link in an article, then clicking on a link there, then... Well you get the idea. This is how I discovered Corinne McKay’s blog and Tess Whitty’s podcasts.
Attending this conference, though, wasn't the same as accidentally getting lost on the Internet. It was more similar to a...
4 day long choose your own adventure
where the adventure never stopped and my head became so full of information that I felt hungover on the trip back home.
ATA 56 was the perfect opportunity to follow Paula Arturo's advice in her blog post - newbies will learn the most by absorbing info relevant to them and forging their own unique path. (Hint: more experienced translators aren't mean. They just want you to learn by doing.)
The sessions were practice and the speakers my coaches. They gave the audience useful information, and they almost always provided their contact info for post- conference when newbies like myself would apply what we learned to our businesses and need a cheering section.
In addition, this event was about meeting the people that make the translation industry function. I knew there were others like me out there:
1) who love reading in foreign languages;
2) who laugh at memes like this one to the right;
3) who know what it's like to advocate for themselves and take their career Into their own hands since no one else is going to do it for them.
There was something inspiring about being surrounded by these folks! The murmur of various languages filling the space. The sense of belonging with other language and culture nerds.
As proof of the benefits of attending the annual ATA conference, I submit exhibit A – What I have accomplished since returning from the conference:
1) Updated my website with an emphasis on social selling
2) Re-worded my LinkedIn profile, same as above
3) Connected with colleagues on Twitter
4) Volunteered to head a webinar committee on the board of NOTIS
5) Connected with potential clients on social media.
Next step, continue the momentum of marketing my services and accept projects as they come rolling into my inbox… to be continued...
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