On October 11, more than 60 NCTA members gathered in San Francisco’s Chinatown for dinner, wine, conversation, and a fireworks show. BY INGEBORG WEINMANNN WHITE

The 30th anniversary celebration dinner of the NCTA, held at the Empress of China, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most prestigious Chinese restaurants in the heart of Chinatown, was truly a joyous event. The large windows offered a beautiful view of the downtown skyline and distant bay basking in the rose-colored light of the sunset. It was easy to break the ice and feel at home among our family of peers (the delicious welcome champagne helped too). People greeted old friends, met new ones, and eventually settled down at the round tables, where the Chinese feast was soon to begin.

During the serving of the spring rolls, NCTA’s President Tuomas Kostiainen welcomed everyone warmly and gave a fascinating summary of NCTA’s accomplishments over the last 30 years:

Did you know that NCTA is the largest and most active ATA chapter, our membership reaching almost 600 this year? Or that for the last 23 years NCTA has listed, as a public service, the organization’s phone number in the Yellow Pages, as well as online, helping the public quickly find translators and interpreters and learn about our services? Edith Fried, one of our founding members, volunteered as the ATA telephone contact person for 10 years until the task was added to Juliet Viola’s duties in August 1995. Very few other Translators Associations have continuously offered this type of public service, providing accessible information about our profession long before the Internet.

Each year NCTA offers a variety of events, including workshops with professionals sharing their expertise in translation and interpreting. We also have four General Meetings per year, where members come together and network, socialize, stuff envelopes for the next mailing, and listen to guest speakers. Not to mention the purely social events, such as the Summer and New Year’s Picnics, the monthly Happy Hour, bi-monthly Lunch Social and the annual New Year’s Brunch.

We served as the host chapter for the 2007 ATA conference and helped make the conference an unforgettable experience with a San Francisco touch. All together over 70 volunteers worked our table at the conference and made sure that it was never unattended.

And let’s not forget our Translorial, which you are holding in your hands right now: lovingly and creatively put together by our Translorial staff, always containing a wealth of useful and entertaining information. Steven Goldstein, editor of Translorial for the past three years, was actually the founder and first editor of the publication. He reminded us how different it was in those days to publish the Translorial, printed manually and often on the fly.

Speakers and door prizes

As we kept munching away contentedly on various delicious Chinese dishes, Stafford Hemmer, NCTA’s Secretary, who acted as Emcee, introduced a few more speakers:

Our colleague Deolinda Adao, a translator of Portuguese, who played a major role in the founding of the NCTA, also told us a little bit about the old days:

“Tom Bauman and I shared the idea that local translators needed some sort of forum that would represent a united voice and would serve as an advocate for translators. We drew inspiration from the ATA and decided to try to establish a local chapter. From the beginning I served as NCTA’s Secretary/Treasurer. However, in those early days we were jacks-of-all-trades and shared many duties.”

Sylvia Korwek reminisced about her time as President of the NCTA, taking over from Tony Roder, how she was worried about being able to fill his shoes, which as we all know, she ended up doing extremely well. And since many of us missed seeing Tony himself there, who has always been such an important source of cheer and intelligent support, Sylvia read a letter from Tony to all of us.

Michael Metzger, who served as President of the NCTA from 2001 to February 2005, wearing many different NCTA “hats” over the years – webmaster, Translorial‘s ad manager and board member – gave us an entertaining summary of NCTA’s accomplishments. Michael reminded us to take advantage of NTCA’s many supportive events and workshops and thanked the volunteers who make them possible, prompting us all to get more involved in volunteering for NCTA.

Speaking of which, I want to mention the members who made our 30th Anniversary such a success: Raffaella Buschiazzo, our Event Coordinator, and our invaluable Administrator, Juliet Viola. Paula Dieli and Sonia Wichmann called sponsors and were able to get over $3000 in door prizes, such as SDL International – SDL Trados 2007 Freelance (value $945) and SDL Passolo (value $2,550). Congratulations to the lucky winners!

To make the evening complete the City of San Francisco provided us with stunning fireworks (perhaps something to do with Fleet Week…), as if to say:

Way to go, NCTA – here’s to the next 30 years! IWW