Buddies Welcome Newbies: A conference event you don’t want to miss

The hybrid format of this year’s Annual Conference brings with it new opportunities and challenges alike, for all attendees. Are you ready for the ins and outs of next week’s events, whether you are attending in person or virtually? Here are The Savvy Newcomer’s top ten tips for a successful hybrid conference:

  1. Attend Buddies Welcome Newbies

Both the virtual and in-person components of this event will provide first-time attendees the opportunity to connect with a seasoned conference-goer and have their burning questions answered. A great way to start off the conference festivities, Buddies Welcome Newbies will offer some networking advice as well as time to get to know your Newbie(s) or Buddy.

Virtual: 12:15-1:00pm Central time on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

In person: 4:45-5:30pm Central time on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

(We recommend that you check the box on your conference registration to sign up for these events, but this is not required.)

  1. Check the registration desk

You’ll need to visit the registration desk to pick up your conference badge before attending any events, but be sure to also check out some additional accoutrements in the registration area: a) language dots to show what languages you speak or work in; b) ATA branded facemasks available for purchase at the ATAware store; c) colored wristbands to indicate your level of comfort with proximity to others.

  1. Join us for breakfast (in person only)

The breakfast area is always a great place to meet new people, especially so for first-time attendees. If you can’t make it to the Wednesday event the Saturday Buddies Welcome Newbies breakfast is a great opportunity to connect with a Buddy and ask questions.

  1. Attend networking events

In addition to your educational sessions, be sure to work in some time for networking events; these are a great place to connect with colleagues you may never have met otherwise. They are available to both virtual and in person attendees; make sure to check the schedule for the events that may interest you!

  1. Have virtual materials ready

Even if you are attending the conference in person in Minneapolis, it’s a good idea to be prepared with online resources that will allow you to share your contact information with others quickly, easily, and safely. Consider having a QR code that people can scan to add you on LinkedIn or access your website/a contact card.

  1. Prepare some questions

Lots of networking experts will tell you to have an elevator speech ready, and we agree that you should have thought about a succinct way to explain who you are and what you do. But networking is a two-way street! You should also be ready with engaging and open-ended questions that will help you learn about the people you meet and get to know them better. Instead of “So, what do you do?” think something more like, “Have you gained any interesting new clients lately?” or “How did you get started as a translator/interpreter?”

  1. Plan how you’ll collect contact info

You’ll certainly give out your own contact information to lots of colleagues at the conference, but you’ll probably also collect the contact info of many colleagues as well. Do you have a secure means to store this information, whether digital or handwritten? Will your chosen method facilitate follow-up after the conference?

  1. Coffee breaks

Besides being a necessity for those of us with a caffeine addiction, coffee breaks are a good place to connect with people you might not otherwise get to know. Grab a hot beverage and strike up a conversation!

  1. Exhibit hall

The exhibit hall has all kinds of booths, from universities to translation agencies to software vendors. There’s something for everyone (and usually free swag as well!)

  1. Have fun!

Attending your first ATA conference can be overwhelming, but more than anything it should be fun. Translators and interpreters are a welcoming and engaging group of professionals, and we love nothing more than to share about our work and experiences with one another. That’s what makes the ATA conference the best week of the year!

ATA is celebrating International Translation Day – and we want to celebrate with you!

We’re calling all members, followers, translators, interpreters, and students to participate in ATA’s interactive social media campaign to celebrate International Translation Day 2021.

From September 27–October 1, 2021, ATA will release one to three interactive posts per day on each of its social media channels, inviting T&I professionals to interact with questions and prompts about their work. Posts will range from Instagram bingo to Facebook mad libs. Our goal is to share details and facts about our work with the world in a fun and interactive way.

Help us spread the fun! Every day that week, starting Monday, September 27, a post will go live on each ATA platform. All you have to do is:

We can’t wait to see the results! Thank you in advance for your support and Happy International Translation Day!

What are ATA’s Mastermind Groups?

Preview blog post for Next Level: The ATA Business Practices Blog

 The following post is a preview of a new blogging venture by the ATA Business Practices Education Committee. Next Level: The ATA Business Practices Blog will provide helpful information about business practices for established translators and interpreters (those with five or more years of experience). If you have moved beyond the “newbie” stage or are curious about what to expect in your future career, check us out! We expect to launch in the next few months and look forward to building a community that seeks to improve our T&I businesses together. For more information or to submit a query, contact us at atabizpractices@gmail.com.

Mastermind groups are small peer-based groups formed to learn more about a specific topic. The members of Mastermind groups help each other solve problems and develop their professional objectives by sharing input and advice. The groups’ core value is the synergy of energy, motivation, and commitment, as well as everyone’s willingness to learn and grow together.

The ATA Mentoring Committee is introducing the new Mastermind concept for ATA in 2021 as part of a broader effort to expand benefits for long-term members. The application process will open every January. The pilot roll-out for the groups is planned for the spring of 2021.

The term “Mastermind” may suggest a connection to the concept of a masterclass, in which highly qualified experts share their knowledge as instructors. Mastermind groups are the exact opposite—instead of a group of people learning from one expert, the groups are self-guided and choose their own activities. Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support. Members challenge each other to set strong goals and, more importantly, to accomplish them by holding each other accountable and sharing resources and tips.

What does that look like? It means that professional peers, people who are at approximately the same level of professional experience, get together regularly to learn more about a specific topic together. The meetings follow a defined outline, which helps to share time fairly and ensures equal speaking opportunities for all members.

The group size is relatively small, typically around six people. When you think of a 60-minute meeting, a group of six gives everybody enough time to speak for five to ten minutes. Participation matters a lot in Mastermind groups. All members are expected to come fully prepared and to engage in meaningful conversation with the other group members.

The idea of Mastermind groups originated from the process of matching mentors and mentees. Although we match 30 mentor/mentee pairs of ATA members every year (https://www.atanet.org/careers/mentoring.php), the Mentoring Committee saw an unmet need for an in-depth discussion of more advanced learning topics.

Developed as a benefit for more experienced members who want to grow their translation or interpretation businesses, the new Mastermind groups at ATA will be offered once a year. ATA members can register by completing a survey form (open until January 31st). The information to be provided will include desired fields of learning and some information about professional experience. The groups will be open exclusively to ATA members and are expected to run for 6 months.

Tess Whitty and Dorothee Racette recorded a free webinar on November 5, 2020, to explain the primary responsibilities of leading a Mastermind group. The recording is available here.

We will initially offer five or six topics a year but are open to suggestions for special issues ATA members want to discuss. The groups will run from February to July. ATA will not be directly involved in scheduling or running the groups. We will expect the groups to follow shared guidelines so everyone has equal learning opportunities. The Mentoring Committee has compiled a manual with practical resources the groups can use.

Based on the responses we received after the 2020 conference and the webinar presentation, we already know there is interest in groups to discuss: Marketing to direct clients, Building a freelance website, Advanced use of CAT tools, and Building a market for a new specialization. The Mentoring Committee will put people with the same interests in contact and provide instructions for the next steps. Training will be offered to people who are interested in serving as group facilitators.

At least two years of professional experience are required to participate in ATA Mastermind groups. The concept is not an ideal fit for beginners who are still learning about the industry and their careers. A mentor-mentee group, professional development courses, or the Savvy Newcomer blog are more beneficial options for beginners.

The regular group meetings will include elements not typically addressed in a class or presentation: giving each other feedback, sharing what you learned, or pursuing specific questions. No one in the group, including the facilitator, has to be an expert on the subject matter. Activities such as selling your products and services, discussing unrelated concerns, or “hogging” everyone’s time will be firmly discouraged. Groups will decide independently where and how to meet. Venues can include Zoom, Google Meet, or similar programs.

What Does it Take to be a Mastermind Group Participant?

Before and during the first meeting, members will agree on group rules, expectations, and guidelines. That includes setting a single, definite focus for the group and clarifying the outcome everyone is looking to achieve. Confidentiality is another critical concern—be sure to talk about what everyone can and cannot share.

Mastermind group work doesn’t end after a meeting. Everyone makes time for action, learning, and research between meetings. The group can also decide on shared activities outside of meetings, such as reading an article or chapter of a book together. Groups may invite outside speakers on specific topics or arrange for presentations. The most crucial point is that activities are planned jointly and that everyone takes an active role in the conversations. Leaning back and letting others do the work is not acceptable.

Group Facilitators

When you fill out your participation survey, you have the option to volunteer as a group facilitator. Mastermind group facilitators start and run groups. They help the group dive deeply into discussions and work with members to create success by holding each other accountable.

Facilitators do NOT have to be an expert on the subject.

They will NOT be expected to teach about the topic.

Qualifications include an interest in learning about the topic and a willingness to network with peers in other language pairs/fields/locations. Mastermind group facilitation is a 6-month commitment.

Benefits:

  • An ideal way to try something new
  • No previous leadership experience required
  • The same level of professional experience as group members
  • No expectation of teaching or being an expert in a topic

Group participants are eligible to earn up to 10 continuing education points (1 CE point for every 2 hours of meeting time). Mastermind groups will be asked to keep attendance records to document CE claims.

Facilitating a Mastermind group can also help to expand your network beyond your language pair or division. Because all participants are ATA members, you will learn more about other ATA membership benefits and division activities.

The Mentoring Committee is excited to offer Mastermind groups as a new membership benefit in 2021. With your active participation and feedback, we hope to roll out a more extensive variety of groups in 2022. Questions or suggestions? The Mentoring Committee is looking forward to hearing from you! They can be reached at mentoring@atanet.org.

Author bios

Tess Whitty has been an English-Swedish freelance translator since 2003. She is also the current chair of the ATA Business Practices Education Committee. With her degree in International Marketing and background as marketing manager, she also enjoys sharing her marketing knowledge and experience with other freelance translators as an award-winning speaker, trainer, consultant, author and podcaster.

Dorothee Racette has been a full-time freelance GER < > EN translator for over 25 years. She served as ATA President from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, she established her own coaching business, Take Back My Day, to help individuals and organizations solve problems related to workflow and time management. As a certified productivity coach (CPC), she now divides her time between translating and coaching.

International Translation Day 2019 – A Day in the Life of a Translator or Interpreter

Have you heard? ATA is encouraging translators and interpreters to celebrate International Translation Day (ITD) in a BIG way this year! A United Nations resolution passed in 2017 recognizes ITD as the day to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, and to celebrate this huge step for our profession, ATA is celebrating big time on September 30, 2019. We just need your help to make it happen!

What’s the big deal?

How often do you meet people who don’t know what translators and interpreters do, or how many times have you cringed when you heard a translator referred to as an interpreter and vice versa? How often have you had to explain to friends or family members that yes, you do make a living as a translator or interpreter? How often do you encounter people in your community who are unaware of the role language services play in our world? Probably all too often!

What’s the plan?

On International Translation Day (September 30, 2019), ATA will unveil an informational video taking viewers through a day in the life of a translator or interpreter. The video will help you get the word out to both your professional andpersonal network—people who may not be familiar with what you do—about the importance of your profession and your role in it.

I’m in. What do I need to do?

  • Follow ATA on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) and share the video on your own social media accounts on September 30. You can also visit the ITD webpage on September 30, download the video and post it on your own social media accounts. In your post to social media, we’d love to see you tell us what a day in your life as a translator or interpreter looks like.
  • Find out if your local ATA Chapter or Affiliate will be hosting a gathering to celebrate translators and interpreters. If not, consider hosting one yourself!
  • Schedule a School Outreach presentation in honor of ITD. Now is the time to teach the next generation of translators and interpreters about our exciting and growing profession. Materials and inspiration can be found at the School Outreach website.

A Day in the Life of a Translator or Interpreter!

ATA is set to make International Translation Day 2019 all about showing the world what a typical day in the life of a translator or interpreter looks like. Raising awareness about translation and interpreting will help pave the way for a better future for our profession, and it can start right here in our own backyards. You can help! Mark your calendars, follow ATA on social media, and help spread the word by sharing the video on September 30, 2019!

About the author

Molly YurickMolly Yurick is a Spanish to English translator specialized in the tourism, hospitality and airline industries. In the past she has worked as a medical interpreter in Minnesota and as a cultural ambassador for the Ministry of Education in Spain. She has a B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies and a Certificate in Medical Interpreting from the University of Minnesota. She is currently living in northern Spain. You can visit her website at: http://yuricktranslations.com/

Get out the vote 2019

ATA members should vote!

We get the leaders we vote for. ATA is fortunate to have an all-volunteer Board of Directors that dedicate their time and energy to directing and bettering our organization. These directors and other specific positions are elected at an annual meeting of voting members during the annual conference each year.

In September, ATA always gives voters the information to carry out our duty to vote with intelligence. In the past, ATA has published candidate statements. Since 2017, they also release candidate statements by podcast.

For 2019, this is the timeline:

Become a voting member.

Become a voting member by September 22, 2019 (preferably well in advance): There are several ways to do this:

  1. Through Active Membership Review
  2. By becoming an ATA Certified Translator (CT): CTs become voting members as of their date of certification (after passing the ATA certification exam)
  3. By becoming an ATA Credentialed Interpreter (CI): CIs become voting members as of the approval of their CI designation (after having their non-ATA interpreter credentials verified by fulfilling these requirements)

According to ATA President Corinne McKay, “If you are approved [by the deadline], you can vote in the October election. This process is free and takes literally five minutes. Also, remember that you do not have to attend the conference in order to vote; if you have voting status in ATA, you can vote by electronic proxy and everyone will receive that information before the conference.”

Become an informed voter.

a) Read the candidate statements published in the Chronicle in September and/or listen to the podcast containing the candidates’ statements (released in early October).

b) You can also find other supporting information to help you make your decision, such as the ATA profile of each candidate, what they have done in ATA or local chapters, or a LinkedIn profile… There is so much we can do now that the possibilities are endless. You can also email the candidates directly with questions.

Get out and vote!

a) Attend the election at the ATA Conference on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. and vote, OR

b) Sign up to vote by proxy/mail

If you care about the future of our organization—and our profession—voting is one way to change things for the better. Let’s support democracy at ATA!

Image source: Pixabay