New for San Francisco: Advanced Skills and Training (AST) Day

From the President-Elect

Corinne McKay
Twitter handle: @corrinemckay

In looking over the attendee evaluations of past ATA Annual Conferences, several trends stand out. Most of our attendees rave about the conference and say that whether they’re attending for the first time or the 30th, they always learn something valuable and make new connections. Another ever-present comment is “More advanced sessions!” Although approximately one-third of each year’s attendees are first-timers who are looking to learn the fundamentals of our industry, an additional third are longtime ATA conference participants who have been in the industry for several decades.

For ATA’s 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco, we’ve restyled Wednesday’s preconference sessions into an entire day of offerings to meet the demand for in-depth and highly specialized sessions, and for training that is delivered better in person than online. We’re hoping that this Advanced Skills and Training (AST) Day will become a must-attend “conference before the conference” for all attendees. We have a total of 16 sessions, including preparation sessions for the English>Spanish and Spanish>English certification exams.

All AST sessions will run for three hours. They will be led by trainers who are experts in their topics and who have received outstanding evaluations for their presentations at past conferences offered by ATA and by other professional associations. (A number of presenters are on the faculty at the world-renowned Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.) Each AST session also includes a networking event exclusively for participants in that session, and many sessions will include hands-on practice in the topics being covered. You can view the full lineup of AST sessions in the Preliminary Program (included with this issue of The ATA Chronicle), but here’s an overview of what’s in store!

Interpreting: We have a variety of offerings for our interpreter members: Holly Mikkelson’s sight translation session, Katharine Allen’s note-taking session, Barry Olsen’s session on presentation skills for simultaneous interpreters, or Laura Burian and Jacolyn Harmer’s session on memory development for consecutive interpreters.

Business and Marketing: Nearly all of us can benefit from some advanced tips on business skills and marketing, especially marketing to direct clients. If that applies to you, check out Kristine Carey’s session on using the Get Clients Now system to identify and market to new clients, or Judy Jenner’s session on direct client marketing strategies.

Technology: Maybe your goal for 2016 is to get your technology skills up to speed. If so, then we invite you to attend Jon Ritzdorf’s session on translating digital media, Andrew Levine’s session on Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software (including live demos), Jill Sommer and Allison Bryant’s session on advanced Microsoft Word formatting and optical character recognition techniques, or Tuomas Kostiainen’s session on advanced skills for Trados Studio users.

Writing Skills: If you’re looking to move up in the market by improving your writing skills, check out Karen Tkacyk’s session on editing techniques for into-English technical translators, Grant Hamilton’s session on marketing and advertising translation for into-English translators, or Philip Boehm’s session on the voice in literary translation. (Philip was the recipient of ATA’s Ungar German Translation Award in 2007 and 2013.)

Financial Translation: We even have a session for our advanced financial translators—always the hardest track for which to recruit sessions. Robin Bonthrone will be presenting on International Financial Reporting Standards.

ATA Certification Exam Preparation: Rounding out the AST lineup are two sessions for ATA certification exam candidates (one English>Spanish and one Spanish>English), offered by experienced graders Jane Maier, Holly Mikkelson, Diego Mansilla, and Mercedes De la Rosa Sherman.

We’re thrilled that these highly acclaimed presenters have accepted our invitation to present in San Francisco, and we’re also excited to have an entire day of the conference devoted to advanced-level sessions. In our highly interconnected world, it’s easy to assume that online training offers everything we need to succeed as translators and interpreters. Online training does open up a huge array of opportunities, as the success of ATA’s webinar series shows. But it’s also important to look at in-person training not as an expensive hassle, but as an investment in our businesses, an opportunity to ask questions with the trainer right there in the room, and the chance to make connections with other dedicated professionals who share our specializations and interests.

I’m excited about our inaugural AST Day and hope to see many of you there!

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