Impressions of a first time attendee at the ATA 53rd Annual Conference in San Diego – by Carmen Ferreiro

In my experience, translators live in two worlds.

Some of us grew up in one country before moving to another, others studied languages at school, then lived abroad. This experience marks us. We may speak both languages fluently and feel totally comfortable in both cultures, but because we cannot turn off our knowledge of one world when looking at the other, this also makes us outsiders.

That’s why attending my first annual conference in San Diego was such an extraordinary experience. I loved meeting so many people from so many different backgrounds who, like me, had a dual take on life.

But if meeting like-minded attendees was an unexpected bonus, the conference itself was even more gratifying. It provided an excellent space to network, learn about the new and improved CAT tools, and its more than 200 sessions covering a wide array of subjects had something for everyone.

In my case, and because I went to the conference to learn how to increase my client base as I move toward being a full time translator, I chose the workshops that were business related.

I did so reluctantly since, with my background in Biology and Languages, I feared I would not be able to follow the business jargon, but I was surprised. The speakers were most knowledgeable and conveyed their information in a language I could understand.

If I had to choose my two favorite workshops I would name: Chris Durban’s “The Care and Feeding of Direct Clients” and Friderike Butler and Jeana Clark’s “Making the Whole Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Virtual Partnership Among Freelance Translators.”

Chris Durban’s insistence we take pride in our professions was most inspiring, and I loved Friderike and Jeana’s idea of creating a partnership between two (or more) freelance translators to offer their services as a translator/editor team to their clients. It’s a win/win situation I’d love to imitate.

As for so many sessions I missed, I can’t wait to get them online to listen to them on my own time.

What about you? Which ones were your favorite sessions and why?


Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban was born in Galicia (northern Spain) and went to college in Madrid, where she finished her Ph.D. in Biology. For the next ten years, she worked as a researcher both in Madrid and at the University of Davis in California. Since 2000 she has being a translator (En<>Sp) and writer (English and Spanish). Her two writer websites are: and You can also follow her at her blog:

She’s working right now at creating her website as a translator.

Carmen Ferreiro, Ph.D.

Writer/Editor/Translator (En<>Sp)
Life Sciences/Medical/Pharmaceutical/Literary


The Criminal Justice Center of Philadelphia opens its door for a seminar to more than 100 interpreters – by Maria Weir

The weekend of October 20-21, 2012, Widener University School of Law, the First Judicial District (the Philadelphia Courts) and the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) with the collaboration of EZ Language, Language Services Associates, Quantum, Inc. as well as the Delaware Valley Translators Association offered a language-specific workshop on court interpretation for Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish Languages.

Early Saturday and Sunday mornings a continental breakfast waited the arrival of interpreters from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and some of them Chicago, New York and Ohio.

The Plenary Sessions were conducted by Agustin de la Mora, who offered many tips and information about key skills on note taking, consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation, as well as protocols, standards of practice and best professional practices.

After the plenary sessions, attendees gathered in small groups with recognized instructors: Agustin de la Mora for Spanish, Jacki Noh for Korean, Natalia Petrova for Russian, Marwan El Bakri for Arabic and Christina Wu Yee for Mandarin and Cantonese. Each group practiced with audio recordings, transcripts and documents, skill- building exercises in all three interpreting modes, and discussed terminology and cultural awareness.

The seminar also included the presentation of Gabriela Jenicek on The Pennsylvania Code of Ethics for Judiciary Interpreters.

The Honorable Judge Ida Chen, who has been an avid advocate of interpreters, conducted an animated and instructional Mock Trial on “How to Interrupt and Correct the Judge”.

All participants received a copy of the Interpreter’s Quick Reference Manual for Protection from Abuses (PFA) in Courtroom 3 of Family Court, which contains the translation of all legal forms used in this Court. All in all, an incredible enterprise, under the leadership of Judge Chen, and a great help to the interpreting community!

The organization, instructors, materials and networking with fellow interpreters turn the weekend at the Criminal Justice Center in an instructional experience and a professional opportunity for the constant quest of being the best in our profession.

Thanks to all the organizers and instructors who made it possible!

By Maria Weir

English<>Spanish, Interpreter and Translator.