ATA conference recap November 9, 2015Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.
Today is the first day back after the ATA conference. I’m moving a little slowly, but I am up way earlier than I would usually be up (probably because I felt like going to bed at 9 PM last night but pushed it until 11). The first couple days back are always kind of anti-climatic, and I have some malaise, missing all the action and seeing all the wonderful people.
The conference this year was held in Miami. I didn’t see much of the city. I have traveled too much this year (having had vacations in Iceland, Charleston and New York City), so I decided to make it a short trip and just focus on the conference. Also, I just rescued a cat from a neighbor’s backyard and have been stressed out trying to integrate him with my cat and dog. I flew in on Wednesday night (missing the Buddies Welcome Newbies event and Welcome Reception, which I was sad about) and flew out Sunday morning. So I didn’t hit the beach or venture too far from the hotel this year, and that was okay. I was able to focus on sessions and on catching up with colleagues.
The hotel was located on the river, which was nice because I wasn’t tempted to hit the beach. We were able to watch yachts, pleasure boats and shipping barges float through and sail under the high MetroMover bridge and the drawbridges. Traffic in Miami is intense, so I was happy to rely on the MetroMover, taxis and Uber when I did venture out.
I had booked a room by myself, but was talked into having a roommate at the last minute. She ordered a roll-away bed and tucked it away in the corner. The two of us did not see much of each other (she was usually asleep by the time I got in), but she was an extremely pleasant roommate. If you are afraid of the cost of the conference, having a roommate can defray that cost. ATA offers a roommate referral service every year. This year it was in blog form, which may not be the best format, because I could not delete my original post and had received several inquiries about being a roommate after booking my king bed room. If anyone has a better solution please let me know so I can pass it on.
Wednesday night was spent catching up with friends in the bar over drinks and a quick flatbread. It was an early night for me though, because it had been such a rough week and I needed a good night’s sleep to fully enjoy the conference. Thursday night was the German Language Division event at the Intercontinental Hotel. I had toyed with the idea of not attending, because it is expensive and usually too crowded for my tastes (I can get a little claustrophobic). The venue this year was really dark, but it was very roomy and I found a table and sat down with some friends to catch up. The constantly circulating trays of appetizers (tuna tartare, beef empanadas, ceviche, caprese skewers, a Caesar salad wedge and some meat ball) filled us up.
One of the highlights for me is quickly becoming a tradition – a visit to a Brazilian churrascaria. I organized a group of 8 on Friday night. We had a couple others join us as the night progressed. The more the merrier I say. We went around the corner to an affordable churrascaria (only $27 not including drinks and dessert when they normally runs around $40) and ate our fill from the salad bar, hot dishes and skewers and skewers of meat. This particular restaurant didn’t have its liquor license, but that’s okay because we were there for the company and the food. Too bad the group of Germans who followed us to the restaurant thought I was joking when I told them there was no alcohol there. They ended up leaving and having a lovely meal elsewhere.
My presentation (Beyond the Basics: Tips for Better Formatting in MS Word) went well, and I received a lot of compliments. I was a little surprised that I finished it so quickly, but that left plenty of time for lots of formatting questions. One thing I did want to say (and it is probably my fault) is that it is probably a good idea to applaud for the speaker before you leave the room. This was not the first time I witnessed this at this conference. Like I said, it was probably my fault because I tend to be embarrassed by applause, but it also happened in the session directly after mine. We aren’t trained speakers, so we are not trained to pause for applause. Please make sure you do so to thank the presenter.
The only true criticism I had about the conference was not having enough seating for breakfast and not announcing the lack of tote bags early enough that some attendees weren’t surprised by the news (a move I applaud, BTW), but I think overall it was an excellent conference. The seating in the Regency Ballroom was comfy and offered a good view of the podium. I attended three fantastic medical translation sessions on the first day, attended several other sessions on project manager-translator relations, financial translation and PDFs, was able to take a break to hit the pool and to have a leisurely lunch with colleagues at the uniquely named restaurant El Cartel, and got to see just about everyone I wanted to see.
I spent Saturday afternoon in the bar and had the best networking experience of the conference. I met some amazing colleagues who I did not know through several I did, and we all ended up friending each other on Facebook at the end. We had planned on having a post-presentation drink and attending the Closing Session, but it was so enjoyable that we just stayed and stayed and stayed. I look forward to getting to know them better this year. You all rock!
Saturday night I went out with my core group of girlfriends and finally got a chance to see and talk with Corinne McKay, our President-Elect. I’m sure she is going to do an excellent job! We went to a Cuban restaurant that was loud and dark, but it had great food and the company was excellent. I had my first Rum Chata as well as a Cafe Cubano and some amazing plaintains, lobster and shrimp.
While filling out the Overall Survey in the airport I realized that I did not attend a single special event. This surprised me, and I intend to change that next year. The organizers offer something for everyone, and I hope that those of you who attended found a special event that you enjoyed.
And now it is time to buckle down and get back to work. I had some work pile up while I was at the conference. Isn’t that the way it always is? I hope those of you who attended had a great time at the conference. I urge those of you who have not yet attended to consider attending it next year. It’s in San Francisco and the hotel is in a fun location, near the Ferry Building, Chinatown and the Tadich Grill. The conference is a highlight of the year for me and everyone else who attends. It reenergizes me and makes me love my job even more. I’m just going to really miss the freshly squeezed passion fruit juice.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here is the ATA’s official video recap of the conference.