ATA, Conferences

Far and Away: The Longest Journey

By Sarah Llewellyn

For most NCTA members, getting to the conference meant a bus or BART ride, or a car or ferry in from the burbs. One attendee, however, had a slightly longer commute.

More than a million miles were traveled by delegates to attend this year’s ATA conference in San  Francisco. A record-setting 1,850 translation professionals journeyed to California from at least five continents.

But who traveled the farthest?

Certainly one of the contenders would be Danish translator Charlotte Brasler, who came all the way from Sydney, Australia. A keen and active member of ATA who recently moved to Australia from Philadelphia, Charlotte was not going to let a mere 7,500 mile plane trip get in the way of attending the conference.

“There is nothing else like it in the industry,” she explained. “There are a lot of good lectures and knowledge to be had in just a few days, and it is the best way to network in this business. Plus, I love meeting up with my ‘cyber colleagues’ and supporting my small-language group.”

Charlotte’s small-language group would be Danish, although she takes a strong interest in all the Nordic languages, as well as anything to do with software.

“Translation is a great job,” she said, “but I was surprised at how important it is to know technology. You get nowhere if you are afraid of learning software and embracing new technology.”

After graduating from Copenhagen Business School with a Masters’ degree in Translation and Interpreting, Charlotte settled in Philadelphia, where she initially worked for a software company, taking on interpretation assignments on a part-time basis. After five years in a “corporate job,” she moved full time into what she calls her “true passion”—translation—and now specializes in medical and software texts. After a further five years in Philadelphia, in January 2007 Charlotte moved permanently to Sydney.

With projects coming to her from all over the world, being based in Australia has not diluted Charlotte’s business in any way. On the contrary, she has added a few Australian agencies to her client base. “The business is all global anyway, so it is less and less important where you are actually located.”

So how was Charlotte’s week at the conference? Did it live up to expectations? The answer to the latter was a resounding “yes.”

“Every day I went to a session that was eye-opening. I got something out of the conference that I can and will use every day.”

As for next year’s conference in Orlando (9,371 miles from Sydney), will Charlotte be attending? “Probably not,” she said. But it won’t be because of the extra flight. “I’m saving my money for the big 50th birthday bash in New York in 2009.”