From the President-Elect
The call for proposals for ATA’s 63rd Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California, closed on March 1. We received 400 proposals for regular conference sessions and 39 proposals for Advanced Skills & Training (AST) sessions. This is very exciting because we’re back to our pre-pandemic number of conference proposals—which I take as a sign that we’re all excited to meet in person again!
On the flipside, the task of selecting conference proposals was challenging to say the least. At ATA63, we’ll have 168 slots for regular sessions and 16 slots for AST sessions. I’m incredibly grateful to our amazing team of volunteers and subject matter experts who helped review session proposals and shared their recommendations. The final decision rests with the conference organizer, which is a task I don’t take lightly. My goal is to ensure that we offer a balanced, attractive selection of conference sessions that reflect the needs and interests of a wide variety of conference attendees.
Selecting conference sessions is becoming more challenging every year (as each conference organizer before me will attest). ATA has 22 divisions, and each of them is invited to nominate a distinguished speaker to present two one-hour sessions. This dramatically decreases the number of conference slots available for regular sessions. With the current system of almost 30 language- and subject-specific conference tracks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to schedule something for everyone and offer a variety of sessions for beginners and veterans alike. So, we’ll soon need to rethink our conference tracks—in fact, you may see this change at next year’s conference.
Everyone who submitted a session proposal has now been informed if their proposal was accepted, waitlisted, or declined. A huge thanks to all the colleagues who submitted a proposal this year! With the growth of ATA’s Professional Development program, we can now offer high-quality, accessible continuing education opportunities year-round. If your conference proposal was not accepted this year (and I know how disappointing that can be), I hope you’ll consider submitting a webinar or virtual workshop proposal. You can submit a proposal online at https://bit.ly/ATAproposal and it will be considered by ATA’s Professional Development Committee.
And now back to ATA63. The conference website is live at www.ata63.org! Head to the website to learn more about this year’s conference events and find useful information. Our conference hotel block is open. You can book your room at the Westin Bonaventure at the discounted rate of $249 (single/double occupancy), $269 (triple), and $289 (quadruple) directly from the conference website. ATA rates are available until September 16, 2022, or as space allows. Your room rate includes wireless internet, access to the fitness center, and discounted valet parking. Are you looking for a roommate, a ride, or need some other information? The ATA63 Conference blog is your go-to place for planning and interaction: https://ata-conference.blogspot.com.
I know you must be curious about the ATA63 conference schedule, so let me give you a sneak peek.
Wednesday (October 12): Registration opens and you can receive your conference badge. (Note: If you arrive early, you can register on Tuesday afternoon.) We’ll also host AST sessions in the morning and afternoon. Along with many great interactive and in-depth training sessions from expert translators and interpreters, there will be two sessions dedicated to preparing for ATA’s English into Spanish and Spanish into English certification exams. There will also be an in-person ATA certification exam sitting on Wednesday afternoon. We’ll wrap up the day with the popular Buddies Welcome Newbies session in the evening, followed by the Welcome Celebration.
Thursday (October 13): You can start the day off right with Zumba and Mindful Movement. During breakfast, there will be tables for the student meetup and for those who would like to meet the candidates running for the Board in this year’s ATA election. The Opening Session will be followed by the Annual Meeting of Voting Members and Election. As usual, all Voting members will be able to cast their votes online. There will be no in-person voting.
The day will continue with 42 educational sessions, coffee breaks, and lunch between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm. We’re excited to bring the Book Fair back, and this time it will take place during the lunch break. You can close the day of learning by attending the Stronger Together Networking session—this is your chance to meet like-minded colleagues, share new business ideas, and discuss collaboration opportunities.
Friday (October 14): Begin the day with Zumba and Mindful Movement, followed by Breakfast with the Board, our popular Tweetup, and Mentors and Mentees breakfast. We’ll have the Annual Meeting of All Members in the morning and then honor this year’s winners of several ATA awards and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI) student scholarships during the Annual Awards Presentation. (For more information about this year’s awards, please see the links in the sidebar.)
We’ll have 56 educational sessions on Friday, with two coffee breaks and lunch on your own. Our popular Job Fair will be back in person this year during the lunch break, where you can meet with companies looking for translators and interpreters. We’ll close the day with Brainstorm Networking and the After Hours Café.
Saturday (October 15): This will be your final chance to start the day bright and early with Zumba and Mindful Movement. There will be breakfast tables for the Military Veterans Circle Meetup, Buddies and Newbies, and (new this year!) the Sleep-Deprived Parents Meetup, where you can chat with colleagues who can relate to the ups and downs of raising kids while building your translation or interpreting business.
After breakfast, you can choose from 70 educational sessions, with coffee breaks and lunch in between. There will be another opportunity to take the ATA certification exam on Saturday morning. Our popular Speed Networking event will be hosted during the lunch break this year. You are also welcome to attend the ATA Board meeting in the afternoon. And before you know it, we’ll meet at the Closing Session to recap ATA63 and look ahead to next year’s Annual Conference in Miami, Florida. We’ll wrap up the day with the Closing Reception, the AFTI Game Night, and the Conference Dance Party.
There will be 30-minute breaks between sessions to allow the hotel staff to clean the rooms. The conference hotel is big, so you’ll appreciate that extra bit of time to get coffee, freshen up, and chat with friends and colleagues. The Exhibit Hall will be open throughout the conference, and there will be Tool Support Stations, the Dictionary Exchange, and an opportunity to get your headshots done by a professional photographer.
And don’t forget to take some time to stop by our Hospitality Desk and Chapter tables. We’re very grateful to the Northern California Translators Association and the Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area for serving as hospitality groups this year! That being said, we would love to get some help from colleagues who are local to the Los Angeles area! If you are based in California and would be willing to help us spread the word about ATA63 to local translators and interpreters, please let me know. We’re eager to welcome new colleagues to ATA63 and show them what a great professional home ATA can be for them.
As I shared in my previous column, we’re not live streaming or recording conference sessions this year to avoid the high cost related to this.
The hotel staff are working with us to make sure that we all feel safe throughout our stay, and we’ll be following the Los Angeles County health and safety requirements closely.
I look forward to seeing you all in Los Angeles this fall!
Useful Conference Links
ATA Voting Member Information
It only takes a few minutes to complete the form. Do it today so you can vote in this year’s election!
ATA63 Conference Website
ATA63 Promo Video
ATA63 Conference Hotel Reservations
ATA63 Conference Blog
ATA Honors and Awards
American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation Scholarships
Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area
Northern California Translators Association