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Featured Article from The ATA Chronicle (September 2007)

From the President-Elect
Jiri Stejskal

San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate!
By now you have all received the Preliminary Conference Program for ATA’s 48th Annual Conference in San Francisco, October 31–November 3, 2007. In the February issue, I offered a glimpse behind the scenes of how conference sites are selected, and in July, I informed you about the results of ATA’s Conference Survey. With the San Francisco conference just around the corner, I would like to give you an update on our plans and let you know what to expect from this year’s event.

We anticipate this to be the largest ATA Annual Conference ever. To date, our largest conference was held in 1997, with a record of 1,752 attendees. It just so happens that the 1997 conference was held in the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, the very same hotel we chose for this year’s conference. Veteran ATA conference-goers will remember the spectacular 17-story atrium lobby, featured in many movies, including The Towering Inferno and Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety. The hotel is located on the Embarcadero waterfront, with easy access to such sites as Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, Ghirardelli Square, and scenic North Beach. There are dozens of places to eat and shop within walking distance, and local attractions include Alcatraz Island, the Aquarium on the Bay, the Asian Art Museum, and the Cable Car Museum. And speaking of cable cars, you can catch one right in front of the hotel and enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. The hotel is also right next to a ferry terminal from which you can get to Sausalito, a charming waterfront community that is often compared to the French Riviera because of its Mediterranean flair and breathtaking views.

For an up-to-date conference schedule and more information on the venue, visit While visiting the site, make sure to view a short video promoting the conference, starring people you are likely to know. You can also register for the conference and book your hotel room at this site.

Following the pre-conference seminars, the conference will officially kick off with the Welcome Reception on Halloween night (costumes welcome, but not required). On Thursday morning, make sure to attend the Opening Session and, if you are a voting member, the Presentation of Candidates and Election. This year, we will be electing three officers (president-elect, treasurer, and secretary) as well as three directors for ATA’s Board of Directors. The election results will be announced at the Annual Meeting (open to all members) on Friday morning, so be sure to attend.

Starting on Thursday, more than 150 educational sessions will be offered in up to 17 concurrent tracks. This year, all sessions will be 90-minutes (no 45-minute sessions), and the breaks between them will be longer than in previous years to allow for more networking and for smoother transitions between sessions. The sessions will run through Saturday evening, followed by a plenary Closing Session that will recap the conference and offer a few surprises, including a peek at next year’s conference in Orlando, Florida. The Closing Session is a new offering, and I hope everyone will stay for the Closing Reception immediately following.

Other conference events include a Networking Session, the Round Robin Tennis Tournament, the Scrabble Social, Yoga Stretches, the Translation Company Division’s Trick or Treat Dessert Reception, the Literary Division’s After Hours Café, the Interpreters Division’s Antipasto, the Spanish Language Division’s Reception, and the Conference Dance. You can also get to know ATA Board members at Breakfast with the Board (Thursday through Saturday) and the Chat with the Board session (Thursday). The Board will hold its meeting on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

According to the survey we conducted in December 2006, the most popular conference offering is the Job Marketplace, so if you want to expand your business, make sure to participate. Another must-see is the Exhibit Hall, where more than 50 vendors will showcase their products and services. Visit their booths and take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: Beetext, International Translators, Inc., and SDL Trados Technologies (gold sponsors); Hays Affinity Solutions and Idem Translations, Inc. (silver sponsors);
Association of Language Companies (contributing sponsor); Lionbridge (bronze sponsor) and Multi-Lingual Computing, Inc. (media sponsor).

There are many individuals and groups volunteering their time to make sure this year’s conference is a great success. Among the groups, I would like to single out the Northern California Translators Association (NCTA,, an ATA chapter that is providing volunteers onsite to assist conference attendees. NCTA has also created a Wiki website offering advice, tips, and insights to conference attendees—check it out at Last, but definitely not least, I would like to express my appreciation to the two people with whom I worked most closely on the organization of this conference: ATA President Marian S. Greenfield, and ATA Headquarters Meeting Planner and Administrative Coordinator Teresa Kelly.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the City on the Bay!