by Anu Erringer, Certified English-Finnish translator
The conference in San Diego was the first ATA conference I have had the opportunity to attend. For 17 years, I have been working from my small home office (my ”translation bubble”) in Santa Barbara, a beautiful town on the Central Coast of California, full of tourists but almost devoid of other translators or Finnish people.
Although I don’t mind working by myself, the conference was a good experience for me professionally and socially. It feels good be a member of a group that shares similar interests and challenges despite geographical distance and time zones. I had a chance to meet other Finnish translators (there were 4 of us) and other Nordic and Baltic translators. I attended the Nordic Division meeting and the dinner at La Fiesta, had interesting discussions and found that we Scandinavians, of course, have a lot in common – not only historically, ideologically and linguistically but also because of our status as linguists of small languages. Even though our division is small, it is an important venue in bringing us together.
There was such a range of sessions to choose from at the conference that it was sometimes hard to decide and I was hoping for a clone or two. I ended up attending many business-related sessions, such as website construction, freelancer-agency relationships and desktopless office, and also medical translation sessions and tool tutorials. I voted in an ATA election for the first time and heard talks and discussions on many of the issues facing ATA and our profession, including pricing. I found the tool tutorials useful and checked out different translation software at the Exhibit Hall. I have been a Wordfast user for years, but after the conference, I took advantage of the conference discount and bought Trados Studio 2011.
I did not know many people at the conference to start with, so I decided to just start talking with random translators during coffee breaks. Not the easiest thing for an introvert like me, but I ended up having various interesting discussions. Many attendees also saw my pink first-time attendee ribbon and came to talk with me. I had a chance to meet a few of my clients that I had never met in person before – for example, a client with whom I have worked for 15 years. I found the overall conference experience positive and came home full of energy and excitement for my profession and new ideas about the direction I want my career to take.