ATA Conference Checklist

By Thaïs Lips, CTA President.

Welcome to the end-of-the-year roller coaster! A normal soul would only have to manage Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. But we translators, the privileged souls that we are, have the ATA conference to add to the schedule.

You have your airline tickets, a roommate for the hotel, and you didn’t miss the early-bird registration. Are you done? No, this is when and where the marketing and networking start.

So, here is your ATA CONFERENCE CHECKLIST

  • PHOTO

A great and current professional photo is mandatory. Not the one from 20 years ago, the younger, skinnier you. Don’t scan your “wanted” photo from when you were in a hurry at the DMV because your driver’s license was about to expire and your hair looked a mess. If you are a girl, no low cuts, and not too much makeup. No sunglasses, husbands, kids, or dogs! Why do I place so much emphasis on this? Because a good professional photo means the world to someone who doesn’t know you, it confirms all the nice things you point out in your résumé.

  • RÉSUMÉ

Brush up your résumé! No misspelling or typos, no lies, and no Word templates. Be concise, people are busy, one page should be enough for you to get your foot in the right door. Be tidy but creative; spend some time working on it and ask colleagues to review.

  • BUSINESS CARDS

Have you ordered them already? I recommend Vistaprint and Moo. I use the first; you can build your card online and even get a QR code for the back. Keep it simple: name, languages, phone, email, and website if you have one.

  • DOWNLOAD THE ATA 56 MOBILE APPLICATION

Go to http://atanet.org/conf/2015/app.htm. Allow some time to go through its glitches. But it is worthwhile; it is your chance to shine among over 1,500 attendees. Complete your “MyProfile” to appear in the Attendees section. This page has an “edit” feature on the upper right corner.

  • FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE IN THE APPLICATION

Make sure you fill out everything, and that includes the Twitter and linkedIn accounts, all in name of being thorough and organized, two great assets for independent professionals. So, don’t give up at the first glitch of the application, because there are some. For instance, my photo disappeared a few times, so I uploaded it after I was done with the rest. I also saved the profile  after each step to ensure I did not have to fill it out again.

  • BROWSE THE APPLICATION RESOURCES

You want to become familiar and learn how to use it, because you will not have time on once the conference starts. Find out in advance what your options are and mark the most interesting sessions to you.

  • EMAIL YOUR CLIENTS

Especially the ones you have not met in person, ask if they are attending the ATA 56, and try to schedule something. You can meet at one of the organized events, breakfast, or invite them for lunch.

  • WHAT TO PACK AND WEAR

You only need one set of clothes per day and maybe two for the evenings. You may not have time to go back to your room and change before your division party, so, you should wear something that would look good, professional, and crisp all day. Remember that you will be walking about 10K steps per day, many times only inside the hotel. I know because MyFitnessPal on my cellphone has been telling me that for the last three years. So, those very high heels will look nice in the evening if you don’t intend to walk to the party outside the hotel. Tennis shoes are not desirable either. Find the right balance for your own style, but please do look professional.

  • ROOMMATE IS SOULMATE

I was lucky to have the same roommate for many years, and I’m equally lucky with my new one now. I just wanted to state that, before I start pointing out the don’ts, because they are not from personal experience! Be respectful and friendly. If your roommate looks tired and needs to sleep, be considerate. Very few would enjoy sleeping with the noise of a keyboard because you need to finish that translation, or that shower at 1 AM because you were partying. Make the most of your conference, you spent a lot of money to be there, so you don’t want to be locked in your room finishing a translation, or even your ATA presentation; you also don’t want to miss the morning sessions because of a hangover. And, an obvious point, make sure you provide your credit card to pay for sharing the room and your personal extras.

See you in Miami!