ATA Annual Conference is the most awaited event of the year. In 2017, it was even more attractive since it was held in Washington, DC, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And there, we also had the possibility of attending our first ATA´s Advocacy Day!
From the very first moment, the event was perfectly organized and every detail was planned. Almost 50 translators gathered at the Washington Hilton to listen to Advocacy Day facilitators who had prepared the materials three main topics:
- Inaccuracies in Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations for Translators and Interpreters
- Machine Translation vs. Human Translation
- Language Service Procurement: The Need for the Best Value Approach
Participants also had the possibility of supplementing these materials with their own choice of materials. The main focus was to offer solutions to many of the issues that our industry faces and to explain them to Congressmen by submitting our value propositions.
The agenda was fully-packed and very interesting. After a welcome speech by David Rumsey, there followed an Overview of the Federal issues impacting language services professionals and the challenges and opportunities for growth. Then, we gathered in small groups, divided by States, and analyzed our target issues, best practices for advocacy and collaborative working groups.
In our own groups, we did our research on the selected Congressmen. We visited their FB pages and LinkedIn profiles so as to get familiar with their background (for instance, if they had studied abroad). The value that language plays in each state is crucial. We collected figures and information on the languages spoken in the different states as well as their international treaties with other countries and the crucial role of translation and interpretation.
After lunch, a bus picked us all up and took us to the Capitol Hill. All the team was very excited and very much looking forward to speaking with all the famous Congressmen! The ride was a blast! We were all passionate translators and interpreters wanting our voices to be heard, and very loud!
The picture taken was perfect: the whole team with a breathtaking view of the dome of Capitol Hill, the seat of the United States Congress. The United States Capitol is among the most symbolically important and architecturally impressive buildings in the US.
T&I Advocacy Day 2017 was hosted by ATA in partnership with the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS).
Gabriela & Dolores are very grateful for this opportunity! Thanks for the hard work to the ATA, and, in particular, to María Pulcini who had previously called all participants and arranged with each of 68 Congressional offices and Executive Branch agencies. All the Representatives and Senators´ staff were waiting for us, and nothing was left at random.
If we don’t advocate for ourselves, no one will do it for us!
For us, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Thank you, ATA, for making this possible.