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My impressions of the 2014 ATA Conference November 10, 2014

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Business practices.
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IMAG1498I got back from the ATA Conference last night. I wanted to jot down my thoughts before I drown in the translations that await me in the next few weeks. I drove this year, so I had six hours to ruminate on the conference when I wasn’t talking to people on my phone to stay awake. My eyes started seriously crossing about half an hour from home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. Once again, there were a ton of people I wish I had been able to spend more time with. I made sure I never ate alone and took the time to talk to the people I could. I even closed down the bar on Saturday, IMAG1525which is something I haven’t done in probably four years. I simply made catching up with the people I care about my priority this year.

One highlight of the conference for me was skipping out on a morning session and spending an hour in Julius Meinl with two German colleagues – one I knew well and one I had just met. We enjoyed our Melange (one espresso shot served in a large coffee cup topped with steamed milk and milk foam) and chatted about the industry, our work, politics and various other topics. I also got to savor the most authentic Apfelstrudel I have eaten in the U.S. The crust was as paper-thin as the ones I enjoyed in Austria when I lived there. It was worth blowing the diet for!IMAG1523

My panel presentation with Sandra Alboum, Terena Bell and Ted Wozniak, Why Won’t You Work For Me, was another highlight for me. I think Terena’s idea of getting rid of the table (or as she called it “the barriers”) was an excellent idea that set the tone of the entire presentation. Our focus was on making contact at conferences, because Sandra and Terena have both attended the conference looking to hire translators and not been able to make those connections. We wanted to discuss the possible stumbling blocks and IMG_0156offer concrete suggestions to enable agencies and translators to work together. The two main take-aways (I hope) are find a way to make yourself stand out and be memorable and make your interactions a bit more personal. Don’t simply just walk up to someone at a booth, hand them your business card and walk away. Talk with them a bit, tell them who you are and what you do and ask for their card as well. And then follow up by sending an email referring to the conversation.IMAG1469 You will get a better response with “I saw this article and thought you might be interested in it based on our discussion at the 2014 ATA Conference” than “Attached please find my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.” We have had wonderful feedback from everyone in attendance and hope to present this again with a more moderated (and longer) format to get through all of the points we wanted to discuss before opening it up to questions and discussion with the floor.IMAG1479

I attended several sessions that were very good (including ergonomics, HIPAA and one in my language pair on marketing translation); however, my absolutely favorite session was Joe McClinton’s Untangling German Legalese: Talkin’ Like The Supremes. He not only clearly explained the differences between the various “Supreme Courts” in Germany and shared lots of terminology, but he showed us how he breaks down complicated sentences and citations. It reassured me to find out my terminology is identical to his – even down to the usage of parentheses in citations instead of translating all the Absatz, Paragraph, Satz/Halbsatz stuff that Germans so love to cite.

IMAG1516The Freelance Juggling Act: Tips for Living the Life You Want panel discussion with Eve Bodeaux, Corinne McKay, Marianne Reiner and Andrew Morris was entertaining and was a great way to start the conference. Andrew’s idea of a work-life balance of 85% work and 15% life made me feel much better about my choice to favor work over life most of the time. It is still a good idea to ensure you have some free time and down time, because I personally know two excellent translators who have burnt out. So work-life balance is very important. You can find a lot of good background info and Ted talks on the subject at Eve’s website.

There were so many excellent sessions on offer that I had to make tough choices and miss some excellent presentations. As a result, I ordered the eConference recordings. I look forward to IMAG1540revisiting Joe’s presentation as well as watching lots of others that I really wanted to attend but missed (such as Trisha Kovacic-Young’s Translating for the Insurance Industry, Judy Jenner’s Quote This, Sanne LeGier’s Navigating the International Payment Jungle, and Riccardo Schiffiano’s presentation on XBench – just to name a few!).

The hotel was centrally located, and I was able to enjoy wonderful meals with colleagues and friends. From deep dish pizza and stuffed spinach bread at Lou Malnati’s while staying Tuesday night IMAG1509with my newbie last year and now good friend Joe, soup and salad at Howells & Hood, the German Language Division dinner at Bar Toma, dinner with eight good friends on Saturday night at Quay to the most amazing ramen at The Slurping Turtle, each meal was enjoyable and memorable. Chicago definitely has lots of culinary things to offer! Not to mention the hotel bar’s Old Fashioned Apple Pie Moonshine. I drank many of these with various colleagues. I am going back soon.

There were so many people I wish I had had time to catch up with. I always wish the conference was longer, but each time I am happy it is over when it is because I am exhausted. IMAG1530The conference was – as always – a total rush and a huge motivation. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

The only downer was my friend being pickpocketed on Friday night. Her wallet was in the coat pocket over her right breast that she was wearing while we were waiting to go to dinner in the hotel bar. They/he/she were definitely pros. IMAG1536They somehow knew exactly which pocket to pick, and her credit card and debit cards were maxed out within 30 minutes to the tune of almost $8000, leaving her without her cards, but also without her driver’s license, insurance cards, or cash. She was understandably upset and left a day early. No one noticed anything untoward and they knew exactly how to wipe out the cards before anyone could do anything. My tweet prompted Starwood Hotel headquarters to get involved, and I am very impressed with how they responded. But the fact remains that when we are at the conference we may feel very insular, but the hotel is a public place that anyone IMAG1491can enter. Attendees must remain vigilant of their belongings at all times. It also made me aware that I shouldn’t carry everything together and should only take the bare minimum with me at all times.

Nevertheless, I have a wonderful memory of the conference. My body is sore, my feet ache, and I went to bed early and slept really well last night. I look forward to doing it again next year. I just hope they bring back the massage chairs! See you in Miami in November 2015!

In case you missed it, here are some highlights of the conference (featuring, among other people, my newbie last year Joe, who was a Buddy this year). Derek Platt did a great job recording the conference for posterity and editing it into a coherent and entertaining video. Jost’s fish joke alone makes the video worth watching!

Goodbye to you September 8, 2014

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Random musings.
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IMAG1155I just received an email from Freek at Intrans Book Service. After twenty five years of supplying translators with specialized dictionaries he has made the difficult decision to shut down his business as of December 31 2014. He has already stopped importing new books and will be selling off his stock at http://www.intransbooks.com.

IMAG1154I have bought many of my dictionaries from Freek over the years – both at the conference and through the website. He was also the only exhibitor willing to attend the Mid-Year Conference of the ATA Medical Division I organized. I made it a goal every year when I started doing business in the U.S. to buy at least one dictionary a year from Intrans. However, at some point I had bought all the important dictionaries and no longer needed them. I have been relying on electronic dictionaries and the Internet for a while now. I guess this is just a sign of the times. In light of the Internet both in terms of terminology research and the low-bid world of online suppliers it no longer made good business sense, and I completely understand his decision even though we will miss him. I take comfort in knowing I will have my library for years to come and will think of him every time I reach for my Dietl/Lorentz or Langenscheidt Medizin.

Thanks for all the wonderful years of service, Freek. We will miss your smiling face and your sister’s cookies at the Annual Conference this year. I wish you nothing but the best.

Ramping up for the ATA Conference November 5, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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I am flying out to San Antonio tomorrow for the 54th Annual ATA Conference. After a bit of a snafu with my cat sitters (they just got a cat, and the two cats instantly disliked each other, necessitating an emergency trip back to my house tonight), Plan B is lined up to pick up my house keys tomorrow early enough to ensure I am up and get out to vote before I have to head out to the airport.

I’ve booked an airport shuttle (GoShuttle.com) to transport me between the airport and hotel and the boarding passes are printed out. My flight details are stored, my updated resume and profile are uploaded to my profile on the conference mobile app, and my presentation is printed out. Trados Studio is now installed on my laptop so that I can finish a translation for a client. My clothes are stacked and ready to be thrown into the suitcase tomorrow morning (the dog gets bent out of shape if I take the suitcase out the night before). Why is it that I try to do a ton of things the day before I leave for a trip? Human nature I guess.

I am bummed that all of my divisions (3!) are holding their division dinners from 7-9 on Thursday night. I chose to go with the German Language Division, but hope the Medical Division and Language Technology Divisions have successful dinners as well.

I have some meals planned with my newbie as well as with some fellow translators, so that is something to look forwards to. I look forward to seeing many of you there. If you see me in the hallway in San Antonio please say hi!

ATA and Pinterest September 5, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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I still haven’t been able to generate much interest in Pinterest, but some of you may enjoy learning about this. Be sure to check out the ATA 54th Annual Conference’s Pinterest board when planning your trip (As Mary David said on the ATA newbies listserv, “don’t forget to schedule in some time to go sightseeing!”). I have my hotel room reserved and have a roommate lined up. Now I just need to book a flight. See y’all in San Anton!

Newbies and buddies at the ATA Conference in San Antonio August 14, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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Today I learned about a fun program for people attending the ATA Annual Conference for the very first time. I have been presenting the Tips for First-Time Attendees session since 2006 in New Orleans. It is always the first session of the conference (on Thursday). Knowing how overwhelming and intimidating the Welcome Reception on Wednesday night can be for newcomers I’ve always felt bad that my session wasn’t able to give them tips on how to navigate it. Last year’s webinar allowed me to finally address this, but Helen Eby and Jamie Hartz came up with a brilliant idea to fill that niche. The “Buddies Welcome Newbies” event will pair up first-time attendees (“newbies”) with seasoned attendees (“buddies”) to give them a friendly face at the conference. The event is planned for Wednesday night from 5:15 to 6:00 – just before the Welcome Reception! The event will focus on pairing people up and teaching them valuable networking skills they can use during the conference. More information will be sent out soon. I plan on volunteering as a buddy, and I hope my fellow seasoned attendees will join me.

#ata53: Common German Terms That Make Native English Speakers Want to Bang Their Heads Against the Wall November 26, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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In this workshop-style session a panel of experts discussed some of their favorite “thorny enemies,” that is, German terms that are difficult to pin down and frequently mistranslated. Participants were invited to contribute their own “thorny enemies,” and everybody threw out suggestions for the best translations for these. This session had a lot of potential, with a stellar panel of German to English and English to German translators, but I was somewhat disappointed with the final result. The “contributions from the audience” part kind of made it a free-for-all, with people shouting out suggestions. And all of the suggestions were right depending on the context. Some examples included: Absatz/absetzen, abwickeln, Bereich, betrieblich, Es ist zu + verb, Fach- + anything, grundsätzlich, im Rahmen der/des, kompetent, maßgeblich/maßgebend, plausibel, qualifiziert, Sachverhalt, Wahrnehmung/wahrnehmen and wobei.

The session was amusing, but I don’t feel I learned anything new. Then again, that wasn’t the point of the session. This kind of session would be a difficult one to conceive and implement, and I appreciate that the presenters banded together to come up with it.

#ata53: Orientation Session for First-Time Conference Attendees November 15, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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Since I was the presenter and not an attendee I don’t have much to say about this session at the ATA conference – other to say that you can watch it on the ATA webinar page (for FREE!) and prepare yourself for next year’s conference. Sarah Dillon told me she is a huge fan, having listened to the webinar a whopping 7 times before the conference, and numerous other attendees came up to me thanking me for presenting the session. If you are nervous about attending the conference, this webinar is a great way to prepare for it mentally as well as physically (I include tips on how to write a resume, what your business cards should have on them, how to dress, networking tips, etc.).

As the abstract for the session states:

Is this your first time attending ATA’s Annual Conference? Do not be shy-we would love to meet you! The speakers will provide tips to help you get the most out of the conference and answer your questions. This will be a great opportunity to network with other first-time attendees from around the country and around the world!

We always start off the session at the conference with a five minute “introduce yourself to someone you don’t know” so that everyone knows at least one new person by the time they leave. So be sure to watch the webinar and prepare yourself for next year’s conference in San Antonio. We look forward to seeing you!

#ata53: Managing, Importing, and Exporting Bilingual Glossaries with UniLex November 8, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Tech tips, Tools.
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I checked into the Hilton Bayside in San Diego on the Tuesday before the annual ATA conference to attend the above-named preconference seminar by Fabio Said (@fidusinterpres) on Wednesday morning. I like attending preconference seminars, because they allow you to really delve into the material in three hour increments. The conference sessions are usually around one hour and don’t allow that much detail. The preconference seminars went up in price this year, so I only attended one. That said, I was glad I chose Fabio’s presentation, because I can see how it will really benefit me in everyday practice.

To quote the abstract, “This hands-on seminar [showed us] how to use UniLex, a professional (and free) terminology management tool, to keep all your existing and future bilingual glossaries in a single application.” I was probably one of the only people in the room who had actually worked with the tool; however, I had never known that it could be use to manage my own glossaries. Having trained under terminologist extraordinaire Sue Ellen Wright at Kent State, after graduation I worked as a terminologist for six months at a translation agency in Germany and then off and on for them as needed for another six months. I am quite familiar with the process of creating glossaries for clients and for your own use.

Acolada’s UniLex is a German tool that allows you to look up terms and translations in a number of dictionaries within seconds. I have been using the professional version for years when I purchased German-English dictionaries such as the Collins/PONS German-English dictionary, Wahrig Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, Brinkmann/Blaha: Data Systems and Communications Dictionary, Ernst: Dictionary of Engineering and Technology, Dietl/Lorenz: Dictionary of Legal, Commercial and Political Terms, Kucera: Dictionary of Chemistry, der Große Eichborn, and several specialized Langenscheidt dictionaries, which are all available on UniLex Pro. It is a stand-alone tool, which does not allow you to copy a term in Word and look it up in the interface, but this makes it an ideal tool to manage your own glossaries as well. Both tools are free, but Fabio stressed several times that we should download and use the regular version, because the regular version allows you to edit the data.

Fabio discussed what the tool can and cannot do. Like I said, it does not integrate with Word or CAT tools. However, if you are a word geek you can really customize it to meet your needs, with spaces for part of speech, context and other details. You can import existing glossaries, add new entries to existing glossaries, and export the data into nice-looking RTF Word files. Not bad for a free tool…

I wrote about using electronic dictionaries back in 2008 and am using the screenshot of the UniLex interface from that post. Since I haven’t had a chance to install it on my new Windows 7 system it may or may not look a little different than in the screenshot below, which was taken from an XP system.

He then walked us through how to create a dictionary in UniLex and import a bilingual glossary (as an Excel file). One thing to remember is that “Key” is the source term and “Equivalents” is/are the target term(s). He also shared a sample Excel table to use for the process, which was organized in 8 columns. The Excel table should then be copied into Notepad or another text editor to ensure no hidden formatting is copied with the data into UniLex. The text file should then be saved using ANSI encoding to ensure any special characters are maintained; however, some systems may do better with UTF-8 encoding. You should test your system before importing large glossaries and editing existing dictionaries. The last step is to close UniLex and reopen it to view the contents of your dictionary.

I have downloaded the tool, but haven’t gotten around to playing with it on my own yet. I’ve been pretty busy dealing with the insurance company, running errands, and following up with the people I met at the conference. Oh yes, and translating. Can’t forget the day (and night) job. I do, however, look forward to playing with it once my life calms down (maybe after the holidays?). In summary, I am very happy I attended Fabio’s preconference seminar and look forward to becoming an amateur terminologist again. I’m curious to see if my old dictionaries and the glossaries I create from my Excel glossaries will be able to happily and smoothly co-exist.

ATA conference round-up November 2, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Random musings.
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It’s been a wild few days. I stayed an extra two days in San Diego and am so lucky I did, because I missed the massive storm that was Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t think I would be able to leave on Tuesday, but luckily my flights weren’t canceled. I can’t say the same for colleagues from New York and New Jersey, who found themselves stuck in San Diego and had to find alternative housing. I know several French translators bunked with Marianne Reiner. That must have been a fun time – a grown-up sleepover, if you will. It’s a good thing most translators have stayed in youth hostels at some point in our past, because sleeping on the floor isn’t that much of a hardship.

Yes, Sandy even had implications all the way up in Ohio. Some of my friends near Lake Erie just had their power restored last night, and we lost two trees on the street. Phone service was spotty to non-existent in my home, so I have a feeling one of my local cell phone towers was damaged in the storm. The result is that it has taken me longer than usual to dig myself out of my suitcase and catch up with post-conference To Do items (this post being one of them).

I will post about the sessions I attended in subsequent posts. I just wanted to note that – unlike in years past – this year I came home with only eight business cards. One of them is an agency owner in Brussels whose company has a lot of German to English medical work. I met her at the Medical Division reception. I will be following up with a personal e-mail today and attach my resume. It’s the quality, not the quantity.

Tips for First Time Attendees PowerPoint presentation October 27, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
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It’s taken me a little longer than I planned to post my PowerPoint presentation. I apologize. Things at the conference are always a whirlwind.

Click here to view the PowerPoint.

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