ATA Orlando: A First-Timerís View
By Junko Gilbert

This was the first year I attended the ATA Conference. Iíve been a CATI member for four years but never joined ATA until this summer. I thought ATA membership was too expensive for the expected benefit. Also, the cost for the conference was outrageous, I thought.

This year I thought of attending the conference because I had access to a rental trailer at a campground in Orlando. When I tried to recruit some people to go with me, Etsu Nair ended up convincing me to fly and stay in the hotel. That was a good suggestion after all.

Etsu told me that her attendance at the past two ATA Conferences did not lead to jobs, so I did not expect to get jobs through the conference. I just wanted to enhance my skills and learn something and get to know other translators. Iíve been in the profession of translation and interpretation on and off since 1986 and a full-time translator since 1990. But I know some people do it better than I do.

I did not actively seek job leads at the conference. Instead, I hung around with other Japanese-English translators to learn how they manage this business and to enjoy the camaraderie. I attended mostly Japanese sessions.

To my surprise, I have already gotten a job thanks to the conference, and another one may be on the way. These are not small jobs, but good-sized jobs. The first one more than pays my cost for the ATA membership and conference.

Thank you, ATA, for all the wonderful learning and job opportunities, as well as fun. I recommend the ATA conference to all translators and interpreters. Iím already making my plans for the next yearís conference in Los Angeles.