One Powerful Way to Change Your Year as a Translator

One of the best things I have ever tried as a translator was speaking at an ATA conference. Presenting gives you a confidence boost, solidifies your knowledge around a topic, and creates a unique way for you to meet new clients and colleagues. The ATA just put out its call for proposals for this year’s conference in New Orleans—give it a try!

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I’ve presented at most of the conferences I’ve attended. Here are my best tips for putting together a winning conference proposal:

  1. Think about your own “pain points” in the industry. Do you get annoyed by how often you see confusion around certain terminology? Does an apparent lack of education on some business topic make you crazy? Have you ever rolled your eyes or pulled your hair in frustration about how little information is available about your secret favorite resource? Make that your presentation topic!
  2. Create balance between theory and practical skills or resources. Language professionals can enjoy talking about say, the history of French prepositions, but that’s not the whole reason people attend this conference—if someone from your audience got a job the same day with connections to your topic, what would they immediately be able to implement to improve their work? Give your listeners a useful tool.
  3. Remember that adults like to share what they know. Yes, even when they are in a learning situation. Build audience participation moments into your presentation plan (even simple audience surveys will help) to make sure people are going to stay engaged with your information.

If all you do is jot down a sentence or two on these three topics, you’ll be most of the way to a successful proposal.

Remember, too, that translators and interpreters have one major trait in common: an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You never know when a project will come along that requires specialized understanding of how a printing press operates, what conditions are required for optimum results in asphalt laying, or when is the best time of day to eat an apple. There is nothing that won’t interest us—so you really can’t go wrong!

For more information on how to submit your proposal, click here.

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