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Preconference Seminars

ATA's Preconference Seminars are in-depth educational opportunities provided by experts in their respective fields. All Preconference Seminars take place on Wednesday, October 31.

Seminars are presented in English, unless otherwise noted.

Ticket required. See the Conference Registration Form.


Seminar A
Expanding Your Freelance Business (Or Converting It into a Translation Company)
Marian S. Greenfield and Kerri Modla
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - Intermediate/Advanced

This session will provide ideas on how to improve your freelance business and possibly build it into a translation company. We will provide an overview of the industry and discuss earning potential as a freelancer versus a translation company, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the skills required for each type of business. Participants are requested to submit résumés and business plans by late September so that they can be discussed during the session. Please submit your material by email to kerri.modla@ask-translation.com.


Seminar B
Federal Income Tax and Retirement Planning for U.S.-based Freelancers
Ted R. Wozniak
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels

This session will present an overview of federal income tax requirements and regulations that are especially pertinent to freelance translators and interpreters. The presentation will review relevant tax forms and record-keeping requirements for filing required tax reports to the Internal Revenue Service. This will be followed by a discussion of possible permissible deductions and tax credits for individual taxpayers, with an emphasis on sole proprietors with a home office. The remainder of the presentation will give an overview of current regulations regarding tax-preferred retirement or savings vehicles (individual retirement accounts, medical savings accounts, Roth versus non-Roth, etc.).


Seminar C
Contract Law (Vertragsrecht)
Suzanne Ballansat-Aebi
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - Intermediate (Presenting Language: German)

The first part of this session will provide some background knowledge about contract law for translators. The second part will enable participants to discuss the translation of English contracts into German and provide their own suggestions. The seminar will deal with business contracts, especially contracts for the distribution of goods and services (distribution agreement, sales representative agreement, and franchising). Participants will receive a handout with sample contracts and an English>German glossary.


Seminar D
The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts: What to Look at When You are Revising or Editing a Translation
Mercedes Guhl
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels (Presenting Language: Spanish)

The first step of revising a translation is to compare blocks of meaning in the source language and the target language. This session will focus on the second step of revision: the often-overlooked reconstruction of the text as a whole. Drawing from examples of translations and comparing features typical of English and Spanish grammar, this session will show common mistakes and discuss how to correct and avoid them. The goal is to produce translations that do not read as ghosts of other languages, but stand as autonomous texts.


Seminar E
Jurassic Parliament: Running Great Meetings Using Parliamentary Procedure
Ann G. Macfarlane
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels

The presenter will offer her unique presentation of the principles of parliamentary procedure using toy dinosaurs. Learn the paradoxes facing the presider at a meeting, how meetings can be both fair and efficient, and how everyone's voice can be heard. Demystify Robert's Rules of Order and amaze your colleagues with your parliamentary skills. Participants will practice making, amending, and voting on motions in an interactive, nonjudgmental, and humorous role-playing exercise. This session is recommended for anyone who would like to spend less time in better meetings. Advanced registration is required.


Seminar F
Traduire les statuts de société (English>French): quelques pistes
Véronique A. Sauron
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels (Presenting Language: French)

This workshop is a continuation of the presentation given at the 2006 ATA Annual Conference on translating bylaws from English into French. It is intended for translators who wish to enhance their knowledge regarding the translation of this type of legal document. Practical exercises will enable participants to translate specific American terminology accurately into French. Emphasis will also be put on phraseology in order for participants to learn how to think and write like lawyers, which is a particularly difficult challenge for those who are not familiar with the legal style.


Seminar G
CANCELLED Best Practice: Linguistic and Cultural Issues Surrounding Tape Transcription and Translation in the Pre-Custodial and Interrogation Setting
Jaime Fatás Cabeza and Roseann Duenas Gonzalez
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels (Presenting Languages: English and Spanish)


Seminar H
Translating Collocations and Combinations
Verónica S. Albin
Wednesday, 9:00-12:00noon - All Levels (Presenting Language: Spanish)

The essentially simple idea that word choice is seriously limited by what comes before and after is perhaps the single most elusive aspect of the lexical system and the hardest for translators to master. During this session, we will look at corpora in order to understand collocations, combinations, and fixed expressions, and to find ways of translating them into English and Spanish.


Seminar I
Getting Started as a Freelance Translator
Corinne L. McKay and Jill R. Sommer
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels

Are you trying to break into the field of translation? Are you already a translator or interpreter who would like to earn more money or manage your business more efficiently? If so, this session will show you how to achieve your goals! Many would-be language entrepreneurs fail, not because they do not have strong language skills, but because they make common and avoidable business mistakes. Reap the wisdom of two people who have been there, and succeeded and learn from our mistakes and missteps. We will offer many practical tips to help you find and keep well-paying clients.


Seminar J
CLOSED English>Spanish Certification Exam Workshop
Paul Coltrin and Rudolf Heller
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels (Presenting Language: Spanish)

This hands-on workshop will offer potential English>Spanish certification exam candidates a unique opportunity to gain valuable insight into the exam and the grading process. All participants will be asked to complete a practice test and submit it to ATA Headquarters prior to the conference. The presenters—both of them experienced English>Spanish graders—will use participants' actual practice tests to lead a discussion on how they approach and reason through their grading decisions. What are graders looking for when they grade an exam passage? How do graders assess point values for different errors? These questions and many others will be addressed.


Seminar K
Translating Terrible Teutonic Texts
Celia Bohannon, Maia R. Costa, and Marissa K. Wright
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - Intermediate/Advanced

Participants will translate, edit, and discuss real-life examples of "terrible Teutonic texts." A typical excerpt: Mit der ehemaligen zentralistischen Führungstechnik und der Zielvorgabe der "Ordnungsmäßigkeit" im Staat ist heute kein ausreichender Fortschritt mehr zu gewährleisten. How do good translators make sense of German intellectual texts and render them accurately in plain English? How do experienced editors clean up awkward translations? How far should we stray from the source text to make the translated text flow? Is it our responsibility to improve on the style of the source text? The session handout will include sample texts with translations and tips.


Seminar L
Cuatro ojos ven más que dos: Revision, Editing, and Proofreading
S. Alexandra Russell-Bitting
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels

Make no mistake. Inadvertent translation bloopers can ruin an otherwise excellent job. In this practical workshop on how to avoid them, we will review three different types of quality control in publishing: revision, editing, and proofreading. Participants will examine short texts and solve a variety of common problems, such as accuracy, register, style, ambiguity, and consistency, based on examples drawn from Spanish>English translations. We will also discuss translator resources, including dictionaries, style manuals, and the Internet.


Seminar M
CANCELLED The Exact Word
Lia Wyler
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - Advanced



Seminar N
Translating Legal Documents at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Ex-Yugoslavia
Isabelle Der-Kévorkian
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels

This interactive session will provide insight into the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the ex-Yugoslavia (UN-ICTY) through translation exercises using real-life texts reflecting the variety of legal contents dealt with at the UN-ICTY. We will also take a look at the translation process flow and quality assurance process used at the Tribunal, and how these standards differ from that followed in other countries.


Seminar O
Bibliography: Internet Websites and Books to Solve Issues Regarding Correct Spanish Usage
Alberto Gómez Font
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels (Presenting Language: Spanish)

Participants will visit websites that offer useful resources for solving linguistic questions and improving Spanish usage, including dictionaries, style books, and databanks. The presenter will give a detailed explanation of the content and usefulness of these sites and offer exercises for searching and solving problems. Apart from online resources, participants will also learn about the most useful resources available in print.


Seminar P
Translation Pitfalls: Cómo evitarlos, Part II
Javier Labrador
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels (Presenting Language: Spanish)

This is a continuation of the session that was given at the 2006 ATA Annual Conference. The speaker will demonstrate the most common types of translation errors he sees in his work as a senior quality manager. Audience participation is encouraged during this hands-on session. Attendees can expect to leave with a solid understanding of the things they must pay special attention to in order to avoid errors and produce consistently high-quality work.


Seminar Q
NEW Deconstructing a Brazilian Lawsuit
Ana Luiza Iaria
Wednesday, 2:00-5:00pm - All Levels (Presenting Languages: English and Portuguese)

As with any legal system, lawsuits have their own structural elements and idiosyncrasies. A lawsuit in Brazil is extremely bureaucratic and paper-heavy. It is composed of many different petitions, motions, documents, decisions, appeals, and other elements, which, more often than not, are written in a very flamboyant and intricate style. Using examples extracted from actual lawsuits, the presenter will analyze these elements.

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