Monday, December 31, 2007

Views on the San Francisco ATA Conference

This year I decided to attend the ATA Conference (this time in San Francisco, CA) after a two-year hiatus. When I was a new translator in New York City, back in the early 90s, I was so eager and nervous about what I would find at ATA conferences and how difficult it would be to juggle so many options in so little time (3 days). The ATA conference in 1993 took place in beautiful Philadelphia; I remember sitting for the sessions on translation issues in Spanish, which I kept doing for the next following years. I was eager to learn at first, then felt a bit jaded at the basic, unchallenging level of such sessions, as if I were sitting at a undergraduate course on Spanish verb conjugations.

Fast forward to 2007. I had no time to evaluate similar sessions this year but I was hell bent on sampling Dr. Angelelli's presentation along with Sonia Colina (AZ), Geoffrey Koby (Kent State University) and Kayoko Takeda (from Monterey Institute), among others, entitled "Everything you always wanted to know about teaching translation and interpreting but were afraid to ask!"

This is, I believe, the first time ATA ventured to bring together field experts to talk about translation a small room, which quickly filled up with no standing room. I couldn't enter and I missed the session completely. I hope to read about it in the ATA Chronicle soon.

I also wanted to attend the session titled "Los manuales de estilo: guías para mejorar la escritura," by Alberto Gómez Font, but, again, was unable to. Because of my current position at Medtronic (project management is one of my duties), I spent most of my time talking to and interviewing project management tool vendors throughout the conference. I had submitted a presentation proposal for this conference months ago, titled "In search of a Spanish manual of style for technical translators," but it was rejected under the often-quoted excuse that ATA had received so many proposals there was no time slot for my proposal (with, of course, the convenient invitation to submit my paper to the ATA Chronicle...not the same difference.) I believe ATA organizers should do a better, more sincere effort to explain their criteria to select and reject presentation proposals beyond the formulaic replies they're using now. Do I sound bitter? Not at all. I sound frustrated.

More about the conference next time.

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