CETRA Recap of ATA60 Conference

CETRA attended the American Translators Association (ATA) conference in October this year, which was held in Palm Springs, CA.  It was the 60th anniversary of the annual conference.  Jiri Stejskal, CEO, and Dominika Weston, Global Resources Manager, from CETRA participated in several events and activities at ATA60.

There were nearly 1,400 attendees at this year’s conference, including 250 attendees from 51 countries outside of the United States.

Key takeaways from Jiri and Dominika included:

Roles in the Language Services Industry

Jiri attended a session titled Data-Based Overview of Roles in the Language Services Industry, presented by the Content Strategist and Marketing Manager for Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), Dr. Manuela Noske. The main point of the presentation was the proliferation of job titles in language companies, which makes it difficult for individuals trying to get a job, as well as organizations trying to identify suitable candidates for a job.

In the session, it was noted that of the more than 1,600 participants in GALA webinars last year, nearly 1,000 had different job titles.  This indicated that either the language industry is an industry of specialists or there are many different titles for similar roles.  The latter is the more likely scenario, which is compounded by the fact that GALA is an international organization and many participants translated their job titles into English themselves.

Dr. Noske concluded that standardizing job titles in the language industry would be helpful. She did not offer a solution, but perhaps GALA could undertake such an effort in the future.

Job Fair, Post Editing and Interpreting

CETRA attends ATA60
ATA60 attendees were dancing at one of the sessions.

Dominika met with hundreds of translators and interpreters at the conference’s job fairs, and attended several sessions.  It was great to meet in-person with some of our translators and interpreters, and sign up so many new language professionals to our team of linguists.

Dominika’s focus at ATA60 was on the role of the translator/interpreter in the industry.  She attended a session led by Jay Marciano, who directs machine translation at Lionbridge, on the fundamentals of machine translation. During the session, it was noted that translators are finding that translation automation is taking away tasks and not jobs for translators.  The presenters reinforced that technology should not be seen as a challenge to quality, but rather as an improvement of the process.

At the same time, technology is increasingly being incorporated into the routine for interpreters.  Automated recruitment practices, including auto scheduling, auto billing, video platforms and more, are moving interpretation services to be less personable. Dominika stressed the importance of interpreters to remain engaged with language services providers, and to continuously sell their services to potential clients.

Our team enjoyed the networking and professional development opportunities offered at ATA60.  We look forward to attending next year’s conference in Boston, MA.