In a few days it's time for this year's biggest event for translators and interpreters - the ATA 58th annual conference! The conference is hosted by the American Translators Association and attracts about 1800 translators and interpreters from all around the world. It takes place in different cities in the United States every year during the last week of October. This year the event has come to Washington DC, one of my absolute favorite cities in the United States. I have also listened to many interesting interviews with some of last year's lecturers in the podcast "Marketing tips for translators", so this year I decided to sign up. In a few days I will be attending my first ATA conference. Exciting!
A few weeks ago, I received the catalogue with the conference program in the mail. It certainly looked promising. (And overwhelming - but in a good way...) The program offers a wide selection of seminars and workshops to attend, and since there are about fifteen different seminars taking place at the same time it definitely won't be easy to choose. There are many subdivisions within the ATA, representing various fields of specialization and language groups, all of which offer different seminars. Moreover, there are also general sessions about marketing and business and how to hone your skills in different areas.
But the conference is about so much more than just professional development. It is also about networking and meeting colleagues from all around the globe, as well as making contacts with potential clients. Since there are exhibitors from many different companies within the language industry at the conference, it gives you the opportunity to spread your résumé and make contacts for the future.
This being my first ATA conference, it seemed like a good idea to sign up for the "Buddies Welcome Newbies" event. There the first-time attendees will be paired with a more experienced attendee, to guide them through the conference and make sure they get a good start. I think I need that.
So study the program, come rested, update your résumé and bring your business cards. It's time to network.