ATA conference in San Francisco

For GLS, November has become synonymous with the annual ATA conference, where language professionals across the world come together to exchange ideas, make connections, and guide the industry forward. The conference provides an excellent forum for translators to step out from behind their desks and engage with their colleagues, formally and informally. In other words, the ATA conference gives us the opportunity to think about what our industry stands for and how we can all help it grow. This year’s conference took place in San Francisco (on the scenic Embarcadero—we hope that Seattle’s post-viaduct waterfront turns out so well), and everyone seemed to be buzzing from the excellent local pour-over coffee.

The conference also offers the rare chance to spend some time with colleagues far and wide, and to transform working relationships into social ones (and sometimes the other way around, too). We felt lucky to meet some people in person, after “knowing” them only via email and the telephone for months or even years.

We attended some fascinating sessions on translation (and not just the DE<>EN language pair!) and came away inspired by the good work that translators across the country are doing. I was also fortunate to present some thoughts and strategies on editing DE>EN texts, and I received some positive feedback across the boards. (Much more positive than the locals’ reaction when we jokingly called San Francisco “San Fran” or shudder to think “Frisco.” At least they still have a basketball team, unlike Seattle.)

The biggest event of the conference, for us at least, was giving Courtney Searls-Ridge a proper send off, as she’s retiring after years of great work and dedication. There’ll be a dedicated post shortly, but suffice it to say, the field of translation is much better thanks to Courtney’s hard work and vision. She’ll be missed!

–Geoffrey Cox