East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit – Opening and Closing Remarks

This past weekend DVTA held the first ever East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit at La Salle University in Philadelphia. We are proud to say that the event was a success, drawing in attendees from a variety of places, languages, and fields of expertise and covering a multitude of topics. For those of you who were not able to attend this event, you can find a copy below of DVTA President Tony Guerra’s opening and closing remarks – so you can see a small sampling of what you missed!

DVTA President Tony Guerra welcome attendees

DVTA President Tony Guerra welcomes attendees

Opening Remarks

Welcome to DVTA’s East Coast Interpreters and Translators Summit!

I am so pleased to see so many familiar and new faces here today. According to our registration records, we have a tremendous representation of language diversity present, including German, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Italian, French, Portuguese, Indonesian, Russian, Japanese, Turkish, Darfurian, Cantonese and Mandarin.

These participants not only represent a variety of language skills in translation, interpretation, transcription, voice-over, editing, subtitling and other applications but many of you are also experts in multiple fields and industries such as legal, medical, pharmaceutical, engineering, financial, government and military, marketing and so on.

I am reminded of a conversation I overheard between two interpreters on a ship that went something like this:

One says to the other “What happens if the ship goes down? I can’t swim…”

The colleague responds, “I can’t either, but I know how to yell for help in nine languages!”

Such talent in one room! Our membership is not limited to just freelance linguists but also agency representatives and project managers. Our Summit is a national and international affair, boasting participants from not only PA but also MD, OH, NY, NJ, DC, DE, TN, OR and even from the Middle East, Jordan!

You can’t imagine how proud I am to be associated with this unique association made up of remarkable skill, intellect and accomplishment. This year marks the 55th year that the DVTA has been in existence. DVTA past president, Helge Gunther, who is with us here today and set the bar very high during her tenure, a few years ago wrote an article for the ATA Chronicle on the history of the DVTA.

Established in 1960, a group of translators from Philadelphia and Camden started to get together for meetings, created some programs and even put out a newsletter. One year later, the newly formed American Translators Association (ATA as we now know it) formally accepted the DVTA as its first Chapter.  Currently there are over 15 Chapters and Affiliates nationwide, with DVTA still regarded as one of the most vital and prolific amongst all.  This reputation is well earned due to the tireless commitment and efforts of our outstanding board of directors, our committees and volunteers and the essential participation of all of you in the programs and events we organize on your behalf – as evidenced here today!

Another driver of our vibrant and dynamic culture is the continued sponsorships that we frequently receive from our corporate and institutional members.  Today’s Summit was made possible in part through the support of the Hispanic Institute, facilitating our use of their beautiful facility here at La Salle; our Platinum Sponsor, Nationalities Service Center; Gold Sponsors Language Services Consultants and Cross Cultural Communications; and Silver Sponsors Magna Legal Services, Accent Interpreting, Ricarti Group, and Magna Voce. Please be sure to stop by their exhibition tables in the Lobby of Holroyd Hall, say hello and introduce yourselves. We are also delighted to have the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) as a special exhibitor.

Now, I would be remiss if I neglected to also acknowledge the American Translators Association, which is our umbrella organization and which provides the DVTA not only with some financial support annually but also guidance, structure and resources to make these types of quality educational programs possible.

DVTA’s affiliation with the ATA, and in particular our Board’s and members’ participation in the ATA Annual Conference, allows us to tap into and bring to you the leading thinkers, teachers and pioneers in the language industry.  These conferences are designed to inspire us to be better translators and interpreters, to sharpen our linguistic skills, refine our technical abilities, and streamline our business practices. We recognize that not everyone has the time or budget to travel to San Francisco for four or five days, so what we try to do here today is to bring you a sampling of the types of fantastic international programming that comes together every year at ATA. The DVTA Programming Committee has done its best to create solid, distinct and enriching sessions in a way that will allow you all to get the most out of a single day.

I’d like to tend now to a bit of housekeeping and logistics regarding the Summit.. Please take the time after each session to fill out the green evaluation form so that DVTA’s Programming Committee is able to ensure that your interests, feedback and preferences are well considered in shaping future events.

In conclusion, I’d like to congratulate all of you for taking the time out of your weekend and for investing in your professional development by participating in our Summit. Not only will you leave enlightened, inspired and better connected to other professionals and agencies, but hopefully, the rewards will also manifest financially.  In other words, attending this Summit makes good business sense.  The May/June Chronicle in your folder has an article on a recent industry survey which reports that translators and interpreters who have some form of certification or accreditation earn about $5K to $10K more per year than those who have none. Quality, precision, education and business savvy do make a difference! Now without further ado, I’d like to present our keynote speaker and my good friend, Ms. Dorothee Racette.

2016-summit-group-dvta-la-salle

Group photo at DVTA East Coast Summit

Closing Remarks

Thank you all for your valuable participation in our Summit.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Programming Committee for their very hard work to make this Summit happen: Maria Emma Weir and Carlota Dalziel, DVTA Programming Co-Chairs. The Programming Committee: Rudy Tellez, Anne Connor, Eliane Markus and Eileen Haag, for tirelessly lending their time, creativity and energy towards making this happen during the last 6 months

I also want to thank those volunteers that came forward at the 11th hour to help in the actual execution of the event: Marina Fayanova, Melissa Chaves, Laurie Lane and Christine Verduin.

It was my distinct pleasure to work together with all of these volunteers and watch this amazing program take place. Thank you, thank you!

The work began last March, with planning and reviewing feedback from our members. After identifying topics, from there we reached out to potential speakers who were experts in the fields we wanted to include. The venue, the logistics and details all followed over the past seven months.

Please note that in October, we will be conducting elections for three positions which will be opening up on our board of directors and are currently accepting nominations of colleagues – or you may also self-nominate. We will be voting on a new Secretary, as Anne Connor will be stepping down, as will our Program Chairs Maria Weir and Carlota  Dalziel.  Interested candidates may contact Rita Weil or Yongmei Li for more information. We will be sending out reminder emails with details on the elections.

Safe travels and we hope to see you at our next event!

Tony Guerra.

President, DVTA