What was the process of acquiring the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation (AFTI) First-Time ATA Conference Attendee Scholarship?
For students who are thinking about applying to this scholarship, my advice is: start the essay questions early and attend as many ATA events as you can. For the essays, I took plenty of time to reflect on my answers and kept revising until I was happy with the content. If you’re an NYU student, consider reaching out to the Wasserman Center for Career Development: they’re the best.
Attending ATA events, aside from being valuable on its own, will help support your application and help you make the most of your time at the conference, even if you don’t get the scholarship. I know that for students, cost is often a limiting factor, but if you’re already an ATA member, there is a lot you can do for no extra cost. I attended Back to Business Basics webinars, the ATA Webinar Series, and networking events for the French Language Division, Science & Technology Division, and Medical Division.
What was your experience at the hybrid virtual and in-person ATA Conference?
While I benefited greatly from attending the 2020 conference virtually, I am grateful that, with this scholarship, I was able to attend the 2021 conference in person. This time, I was able to delve deeper into a subject with face-to-face conversations with other attendees and even presenters between sessions. This really enhanced the learning experience for me, especially in my areas of specialization: French, English, science, technology, medicine, editing and proofreading.
What did a regular day look like at the ATA Conference?
Busy in a good way. I went to breakfast every day and often sat at a random table, yet I frequently ran into someone I had already met online. I attended as many presentations as possible and learned a ton. I used breaks in the schedule to do homework or to let my brain rest and recharge.
In the evenings, I attended social events for the French Language Division and the Science & Technology Division. I met so many interesting language professionals, from students like me to industry veterans. Sometimes we “talked shop,” discussing industry news and trends, professional development, and life-long learning. Sometimes we just had fun and got to know each other.
Did anything at the ATA Conference surprise you?
Yes, I was surprised how many names and faces I recognized! It’s a small world. Even though I had only been an ATA member for a year, being active in the organization gave me a solid starting point once I arrived.
What is your biggest takeaway from the Conference?
My biggest takeaway was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know! I had been in the industry for a few years already, and the 2021 conference further expanded my understanding of the product, process, and business of translation. As an avid learner, I found these discoveries deeply fulfilling. As an avid planner, I used them to refine and refocus my short-term and long-term career goals.
In the same vein, I saw that my first year in NYU’s MSTI program had already given me plenty of tools to build upon my career in the medical device industry and become a specialized translator. I came away with a greater appreciation for the fact that my professors are active participants in the industry.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes! Thank you for asking. To the reader: feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn under Anees Marie Gharzita to continue the conversation. You can also find me on Twitter under @anees_marie.