ATA’s Annual Conference: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

As I write this, we’re one week out from the early registration deadline for ATA57 in San Francisco, and all signs point to an excellent turnout. By the time you read this, the conference will be in the history books and we’ll be looking ahead to ATA58. As of mid-September, our room block at the Hyatt is sold out and we’re quickly filling up our overflow room block at the Hilton. As expected, given that our 2007 conference in San Francisco had a huge turnout, registrations are flowing in briskly as well. With all the professional development opportunities from which our attendees can choose, we’re excited that so many of you are choosing ATA’s Annual Conference.

When we look back at past ATA Annual Conferences, we see a few trends. The vast majority of our attendees give the conference excellent reviews. Year after year, our members rate the conference as one of ATA’s most successful programs, if not the most successful, and to our knowledge it is consistently the largest in-person conference in the world for translators and interpreters. While many other professional associations struggle to get their members to attend in-person events, we’re thrilled to see you investing the time and money to attend ATA’s conference every single year.

Looking ahead, we have a number of plans and hopes for the conference. Most importantly, we’re committed to having the conference be self-sustaining from a financial standpoint. As you’ve heard many times by now, ATA’s Board decided—ahead of ATA56 in Miami—that registration fees for the conference must at least cover our costs, rather than running the conference at a loss that was then subsidized by membership dues. We’re aware of the huge impact that the conference has on ATA’s overall finances, and we’re making major progress in drilling down to better forecast and manage our revenue and expenses. Most of all, we’re thrilled that after just one profitable conference (Miami), we were able to erase ATA’s equity deficit completely. We know that members want us to remain “in the black,” and our conference budget reflects that.

Whether you attended the San Francisco conference or not, you may be wondering where ATA will be meeting in future years. In 2017, we’ll be in Washington, DC, not far from ATA Headquarters and in the heart of the international action in our nation’s capital. 2018 will find us in ever-lively New Orleans (meet me at Café du Monde for beignets!), and in 2019 we’ll be testing out a convention center model for the conference when we visit Palm Springs, California. When looking at cities for the conference, we try to mix East Coast, West Coast, and central locations, smaller cities, and larger cities. In Palm Springs, we’ll be taking over the entire city and many of its hotels, instead of focusing on just one host hotel. Our hope is to throw some new elements into the mix at every conference, while remaining your in-person conference of choice.

Thank you so much for the trust you place in ATA! 

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