Denise Fisher Wins 2018–2019 School Outreach Contest

ATA member Denise Fisher, a Japanese>English interpreter and translator based in Orient, Ohio, won a free registration to ATA’s 60th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, California, through ATA’s School Outreach Contest.

Denise won the contest with a photo taken during her presentation at the University of Michigan, where she spoke to graduate students in a Japanese interpreting class about working as a professional interpreter.

Denise began her presentation by talking about how a professional interpreter is expected to behave. After explaining the different modes of interpreting, she provided an overview of the equipment that interpreters traditionally use. She shared photos of what a typical booth setup looks like, including the portable equipment. She concluded the presentation with information on tools for terminology management and led a Q&A session.

She was pleasantly surprised by the active participation of the students, who had a stream of questions for her: Had she ever found herself in the scenarios she had discussed, and how had she handled these situations? Is there a certain personality type that’s more suited to the interpreting profession?

Denise enjoyed the animated discussion during her presentation. Students also approached her after the class with more questions, and some asked to exchange contact information.

Denise was excited to attend the conference in Palm Springs and receive her award. Having previously attended ATA Annual Conferences in New Orleans and Washington, DC, she says, “There has definitely been a return on investment for me to attend the ATA conference each year. The conference has provided invaluable networking opportunities and has been a wonderful resource for my freelance career.”

What is ATA’s School Outreach?

For 15 years, ATA’s School Outreach Program has been raising awareness of the role that translators and interpreters play in business, government, and society at large. With several sources predicting major growth in the demand for professional translators and interpreters, this program continues to build awareness of careers in the language industry. As our world becomes more integrated globally, businesses and governments are realizing the importance of using skilled professional translators and interpreters to communicate their message effectively and successfully to global audiences, avoiding potentially costly and embarrassing mistakes.

ATA launched the School Outreach Program in 2004 to educate students about translation and interpreting and to interest them in these rewarding career fields. Through the program, professional linguists speak to students at all levels, highlighting the career benefits of learning another language and the increasing potential for exciting work with language skills. Using a variety of model presentations and activities available on ATA’s website, presenters outline the requirements for becoming a professional translator or interpreter, emphasizing that these careers demand far more than simply being bilingual.

“By visiting classrooms through the School Outreach Program, translators and interpreters share valuable information not only with the next generation of linguists, but also the next generation of language services clients,” says Meghan Konkol, an ATA director and coordinator of the School Outreach Program. “Our program focuses on educating the public about these exciting career paths and their wide range of applications around the world.”

To receive this award, participants must belong to ATA or an ATA chapter or an ATA-affiliated organization and must deliver a presentation at a school of their choice. Entrants must also submit photos of themselves presenting in the classroom. To learn more about the ATA’s School Outreach Program, visit

Win a Free Registration to ATA61—2019–2020 School Outreach Contest Now Open!

The 2019–2020 School Outreach Contest is now open! The winner will receive a free registration to ATA’s 61st Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, October 21–24, 2020. For more information, visit


Birgit Vosseler-Brehmer, CT is an ATA-certified English<>German translator based in Germany. She specializes in technical, business management, and document translation. She is a member of the ATA School Outreach team. Contact:

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