Here in Madison, WI, we have an informal group of interpreters and translators that gathers about once a month to talk shop and socialize. At our get-together the other night, I was asked if I thought it would be worthwhile to attend the MATI Annual Conference, which will take place in Madison this year.
So I asked myself, why am I going?
For the same reason I like to get together with my local colleagues at Panera (or Sardine, or wherever) every month -- but taken to the 10th power!
As translators and interpreters, our work engages us to the exclusion of all else. Conferences like this present an unbeatable opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences, learn new tricks of the trade, and broaden our network of contacts, in this case with attendees from WI, IL, and IN.
(In fact, our monthly Madison gatherings were born out of a MATI Annual Conference, where I first met Sasha Carrillo and where she, Catherine Jagoe, and I discussed the idea of getting together on a regular basis with our colleagues in the Madison area.)
It is also an opportunity to have direct, personal contact with language service agencies at their exhibitor tables, which they pay to have precisely because they are looking to extend their roster of qualified, reliable interpreters and translators. We all know that nothing beats a face-to-face encounter -- and these vendors take a special interest in the serious professionals who manifest their commitment to providing quality services by attending professional events.
Oh yeah -- and there are also those continuing education points. This year, the ATA will award 7 points for attendance at the conference. Two of the sessions will likely be applicable towards Wisconsin's new CE requirements for Court Interpreters (not my area, so I'm not totally familiar with it), and one session should be eligible for CCHI credits. But that's not the bottom line for me. Much more important is the opportunity to grab one of the presenters during a coffee break and pick her brain for even more information, or wheedle her email from her for future queries of my own.
This year the conference ends with a social networking hour -- and that will be the icing on the cake for me!
I hope you decide to join me and other colleagues from the tri-state area!
Event information and registration: http://www.matiata.org/event-884656
Diane Grosklaus Whitty