What I learned last year to make ATA54 work even better!

Last year ATA53 in San Diego was fantastic! I did learn a few things that I believe will make ATA54 in San Antonio even better. I will share with you the blog I published about that experience last year.  Then, I will share a few new thing I plan to do.

I can never say enough about the importance of making connections. Some connections might result in work, but for me, it is more about getting to know people who inspire me to continue growing in excellence. I felt honored and humbled to share with some of the greatest interpreters and translators in the world! What a privilege it was to socialize with persons of great experience, knowledge, and passion in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

Registration:  When I registered at the event, I was given a name badge and a bright pink flag which identified me as a first-time visitor. As much as I hated to have the bright pink flag, people did notice and warmly welcomed me. They took the time to get to know me and chat, which is great considering that being surrounded by 1,650 new faces can be overwhelming.

Welcome Reception:


Our first gathering was spectacular. We attendees had dinner and cocktails out in the lawn of our hotel overlooking San Diego Bay. Afterward, we entered into smaller, more intimate locations for networking and dessert. I have no doubt that the wonderful people we met will be long-term colleagues.



Every day we had breakfast on a spacious, beautiful balcony overlooking the bay. The weather in San Diego was perfect as it was sunny and cool. I would enjoy a healthy bowl of oatmeal loaded with nuts and raisins, a cup of coffee, and grapefruit juice.  Every morning, I met great new folks from all walks of life specializing in so many areas and languages. I could not imagine a better start to each day.

Lunch:  Our first lunch was spent with a fabulous set of twins with whom we have connected recently, Judy and Dagmar Jenner. Not only are they fantastic entrepreneurial linguists, they are wonderful people. It was a very special treat to spend some time with them, especially considering that in our industry, they are rock stars who took some time for us. It meant a lot.

The second day’s lunch was spent with a lovely interpreter that made our acquaintance the night before at dinner. She introduced us to another interpreter as we discussed all the wonderful things we were learning at the conference.



We joined the Spanish Language Division for dinner at a ridiculously delicious Italian restaurant Thursday evening. New connections were made in that very loud packed room. The food was out of this world! We started with salad, then pasta with chicken or shrimp, followed by eggplant, then delicious meatballs the size of tennis balls. Then chicken in a lovely cream sauce was served followed by dessert, a choice of chocolate cake or tiramisu. We all walked away from that restaurant very satisfied and joyful for meeting more amazing people.

Friday, dinner was at a Tapas restaurant where we ate paella. This group was comprised of both the Medical and Interpreters Division, where more fantastic connections were made.

Closing Session and Reception:


Saturday evening ended the fantastic event with a final cocktail party. It was a beautiful moment to reconnect and say goodbye as we watched the sunset over the bay.Looking forward to next year

Conference Dance Party:

 Conference Dance Party

Finally, we finished with the conference dance party. Ok, so I entered with a little prejudice. I wondered what kind of dance party you could get from a bunch of brainy intellectuals that love to read dictionaries for fun! I also overheard several conversations that expressed that at any social event it is so easy to tell the difference between a social, outgoing interpreter and the introverted, social averse translator. First of all, I have to say that during the entire conference I could not distinguish the difference between the two, everyone was so welcoming! I must say that the dance party was a spectacle to behold. Young and old were on the dance floor getting down to fast-beat dance music. There were many cultures doing their own thing on the dance floor. I really enjoyed watching a group of women holding hands and dancing around the perimeter of the dance floor Greek (better check that) style I believe. Emily and I enjoyed dancing a little salsa and whatever else came up. Captain Kirk once opined in that “the more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” The dance party definitely proved that true!

What about ATA54 in San Antonio?  This time I plan on taking advantage one of the many preconference seminars. Seminar G:  Medical Terminology Workshop for interpreters. That same evening at 5:15 p.m. before the Open House will be a new event. Buddies welcome Newbies! Last year I was warmly welcomed by many, I hope to pay it back this year, beginning with this event. What a great way to make connections! That also goes for speed networking on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m.

This time around I plan to get up every morning at 6:30 a.m. for Stretch, Breath and Move. I plan to get the blood pumping and the brain cells charging so that I can learn much!

It isn’t on the website, so I totally missed it last year, but on Saturday morning during breakfast there will be a Tweetup!  I love to meet my social media friends in person. This is fantastic, I can’t wait! I am @JWAlfonso in case you want to find me. I plan to bring some delicious chocolate chip cookies to the Tweetup, and you just might be able to get some if you show up.
American Translators Association conference registration

Finally I decided to stay a couple of days after the event so that I have time to attend the Board Meeting on Sunday morning which is open to the public.  Afterward, I plan on visiting San Antonio. I hope that if you haven’t already made up your mind, that this helps.

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2 thoughts on “What I learned last year to make ATA54 work even better!”

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