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  • Writer's pictureFang Sheng

In for a Treat – ATA63

(This is a repost from the article I contributed to the Yifeng Blog of the Chinese Language Division, American Translators Association. The original post is here: https://www.ata-divisions.org/CLD/in-for-a-treat-ata63/)



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Photo by: Jeremy Bishop

In less than a month, the American Translators Association’s 63rd Annual Conference will be opening in Los Angeles. Unlike last year, when ATA62 was held dual-track with both on-site and on-line options, this year’s conference will be held solely on-site, which offers rich opportunities for learning, networking, and fun. For our CLD members, particularly those coming to the conference in person, there are many things to look forward to.


This year, many CLD members are presenting, with over 10 sessions on very diversified topics, from Human vs. Machine Translation, to Translating Xi Jinping, to AI, to localization, to Remote Interpreting for the Tokyo Olympics, and even non-language-specific topics such as linguistics for Language Professionals, or literary writing (the one I will be presenting).


One of the highlights of “our CLD sessions” is our distinguished speaker this year: Joel Sahleen. Both Joel the speaker and his topic are really unique. Some of us probably tuned in back in August to his online presentation Translating Confucius and were fascinated by his subject as well as his knowledge of classical Chinese philosophy. Yet, his guest presentation at ATA63 will be in a completely different field from his original training in Chinese language and culture – a two-part workshop on Software Internationalization and Localization: A Practical Guide for Translators, in which he will share with us his experience at audio-streaming service Spotify. From classic Chinese thought over 2,000 years ago to tech media service in the 21st century, the span of time and arch of knowledge will surely enlighten us in a unique way.


As much as we would like to attend all of them to learn from our colleagues and support them, it’s a pity that some of the sessions are happening simultaneously – a good kind of problem to have for CLD members. And it’s also a pity that the sessions will not be recorded. So, a good idea to make the best of this situation is to preplan your personal schedule for the sessions you really don’t want to miss. For someone old-school like myself, I have made a simple chronological list in Word, which I update from time to time as the opening of the Annual Conference comes near. And there will also be a conference app, to be launched about 10 days before the conference, which I believe will be really handy for attendees to plan things on the fly. And if you are torn between attending two simultaneous presentations that pique your interest, don’t be shy about ducking out of one session and popping into another, to get a taste of both!


Professional education being one of the top goals for many members attending the ATA Annual Conference, please don’t forget there are many other events and activities for us to make the best of the conference as well as to enjoy Los Angeles. In particular, the Chinese Language Division will have its dinner on the evening of Thursday, October 13th, at Little Skewer. Who would say no to a fun night of networking with all sorts of yummy skewers to our hearts’ (and stomachs’) content?!


L.A. itself also offers unparallel fun. So as a veteran attendee to the ATA Annual Conferences, I’d encourage our colleagues to pace ourselves, and take time to walk out of the conference rooms and enjoy the city. Check out museums, concerts, cafés, and bars as well as movies. For more information and ideas, check out one of Yifeng’s previous posts – Coming to L.A. – ATA63 or ATA63’s website “City Guide” under the “Location” tab.


Hope to see many of our CLD colleagues in L.A.! And for those who cannot attend this year, CLD will host an online debrief on Tuesday, October 25, where we will share what we learned at the conference.



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