ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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ATISDA at the 56th ATA Conference


Looks like ATISDA members had a little bit too much fun at the 56th ATA Conference in Miami. In case you don’t recognize them, they are (L to R) Rafa Lombardino, Jenae Spry, Leo van Zanten and Gloria Rivera.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s big ATA shindig in Miami, you’re probably kicking yourself now. Just looking at the photo above should make you feel like you missed out on a really fun time, let alone an important professional event. Worse still, you’re left wondering what exactly Leo is blaming on Gloria, who Gloria may have kissed with those big red lips, why Jenae is hiding behind those psychedelic glasses, and what Rafa is really smiling about.

Sadly, what happens at the ATA Conference stays at the ATA Conference, so we’ll never really know what hijinks our fellow ATISDA members were up to between all those educational workshops and sessions. All they’ve shared with us are some G-rated photos and videos that we’ve compiled into this #ATA56 Video Blog and, below, their “on-the-record” statements about what they liked most about this year’s annual conference—and why they’re already planning on attending next year’s gathering in San Francisco.

Leo van Zanten, Dutch translator; 7th ATA Conference

  1. My favorite session this year was “Home is where the Job is” presented by Jonathan Hine. The content was both instructive and appealing. The presenter has a certain flair that will capture your attention from beginning to end. I also have to mention the very instructive presentation by our own Rafa Lombardino on Friday morning. Now I know that Swordfish are not just swimming in the ocean.
  2. My favorite event this year, as most years, was the Opening Reception, because that was the first opportunity to see friends from all over. Most I hadn’t seen for a year, which always makes for a very happy occasion. Others I had never actually met in person, and now I can put a face to the sender of emails. Last but not least was the priceless occasion of getting together with the fellow ATISDA members for a session at the photo booth. Those pictures, I can now use to prove that “it wasn’t me…”
  3.  I would encourage ATISDA members to attend the 57th ATA Annual Conference in San Francisco, because it is THE occasion to network, receive education, get useful information, make new friends, reconnect with old friends, and get energized and motivated. Moreover, it’s in California, so no need to get on an airplane. And last but not least, there will be colleagues from ATISDA presenting sessions that you shouldn’t miss.

Rafa Lombardino, Portuguese and Spanish translator; 6th ATA Conference

  1. My favorite session this year was “Finding the Student’s Inner Technologist: Best Practices for Teaching CAT Tools, Localization, and Terminology Online” (ET-3) presented by professors from the New York University (NYU), because it reinforced my own ideas, methods, and impressions about teaching “Tools and Technology in Translation” at UCSD Extension for the past five years.
  2. My favorite event this year was the opening dinner, because it’s always a great chance to say “Hi” to everyone and mingle in preparation for the sessions.
  3. I would encourage ATISDA members to attend the 57th ATA Annual Conference in San Francisco because each event is a unique experience to see old friends, meet new people, and take a step back to reflect on what it is that we do every day in our professional lives as translators and interpreters. Here’s a video I recorded about the importance of attending professional conferences.

Jenae Spry, French > English translator; 5th ATA Conference

  1. My favorite session this year was “Get More Business: Successful Sales Techniques for Translators and Interpreters” presented by Paul Urwin because after coaching freelancers for the past few years, one of the top questions I get is “how do I sell my services and/or market myself better?” This comes up repeatedly in our industry and it’s an area a lot of freelancers struggle with and Paul did a great job explaining the business of sales to translators including the concept of “sell first and find solutions later” which seems to make most freelancers cringe even though it’s a necessary part of sales. He also discussed negotiation which is another area that freelancers seem to struggle with so I was really happy to see a lot of these topics covered.
  2. My favorite event this year was the Wordfast party because I got to have fun with some old friends and meet new ones. I even met some fellow San Diegans all the way in Miami!
  3. I would encourage ATISDA members to attend the 57th ATA Annual Conference in San Francisco because it will be a lot of fun and these conferences really help renew your passion for your industry…not to mention how close it will be!

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Guest Blog: Supercharge your Productivity!

Intro: This week’s guest blog deals with one of the most important issues for translators: productivity. French-English translator Jenae Spry is an expert in that area and has graciously provided us with a summary of her best tips to help you boost your bottom line. If your productivity skills are holding you back, then be sure to keep an eye on the ATISDA website and Facebook page for details about Jenae’s upcoming series of productivity workshops for translators starting in early 2016.


ATISDA member Jenae Spry shared some of her favorite productivity tips with fellow members at last month’s International Translation Day event.

I was honored to get the opportunity to speak at the ATISDA luncheon in October at the fabulous New Americans Museum. If you missed it, never fear! Below, you’ll find a breakdown of some of the tips I gave to help attendees increase productivity and success in their translation businesses.

  • Translation is lucrative 

Whether you want to make 6 figures or work 2-hour workdays…it’s up to you. Either way, leveraging productivity means you are able to produce more quality words in less time. This means you can translate more or spend more time at the beach or with your family. Many productive translators have outputs hovering around 1,000 words per hour or even more than 2,000 words per hour. I’ll wait while you calculate how much you’d make at your current rate if you were producing 1,000 words per hour. Not too shabby, huh?

  • Skills + Tools + Process = Success

You need all three of the above to be productive. Any shortfalls will affect your ability to achieve success. For example, if your marketing skills are lacking and no one knows that you are the most amazing translator to ever walk the planet, then you can translate by yourself…for free…as long as you want. However, you’ll never be a successful translator, despite your amazing talent, unless you can communicate your value to others. If your equipment is lacking and you’re working on a computer from the DOS age, I’d be willing to bet your translations are lower quality and slower than they could be. If you’re spending half your time keeping track of projects and finding e-mails while yelling at your kids to stop chasing the dog, your process is broken and likewise, you’ll continue to struggle to achieve success.

  • Take control of your time today

There is an easy way to figure out how much time you’re spending on everything you do – get a timer! Well, get two actually. Time your entire work day and clock in and out. This will show you how much time you’re spending going to the grocery store in the middle of your workday and how much time you’re actually spending working. Use your other timer to time every single project and begin categorizing your projects (by subject matter, difficulty, etc.) and begin to learn which projects are making you more money and which you might need to ditch.

If you don’t remember anything from the presentation or this post, remember this: the only thing standing between you and success is you. Create small, achievable goals and be accountable to those goals. Whether the goal is income in a day/week/month or e-mails sent to potential clients, CHOOSE to be successful. Make it happen!

If you’re interested in staying up to date on the upcoming Productivity in Translation webinar or helpful tips and tricks for freelancers, click here sign up for my newsletter. Also, make sure you’re up to date on your ATISDA membership so that you can sign up for the productivity workshops I’m giving in 2016 with ATISDA including Dragon, ABBYY FineReader, Productivity in Practice, and more!