Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 in Review

By Karen Tkaczyk and Alicja Yarborough

Every year we take a brief look at the division’s activity for the prior year to see how we’re meeting the criteria divisions are meant to fulfill. This year ends with the division having 2,313 members. Many of those don’t participate in activity throughout the year, as is the case with most ATA divisions, but there is a small crowd who do network and share year round. The places we do that most are an online Yahoo forum and a Facebook group. To a lesser degree we also use LinkedIn. We have a Twitter feed where we post notices and news and ask for input: follow @ATASciTech.

The Annual Conference in Chicago had a great set of S&TD sessions including one pre-conference seminar. There were some outstanding presenters this year, led by our distinguished speaker, Christiane Feldmann-Leben, who gave two sessions. We also socialized at the Division Open House on Wednesday, a breakfast meeting on Friday, and of course the dinner at Emilio’s Tapas on Thursday evening. Organizer Alicja Yarborough came up trumps with that choice—it was copious and delicious—amazing for a large group dinner. We also networked at the Annual Meeting on Friday. The agenda and minutes were posted on the website after the event. During the Annual Meeting we appointed the Nominating Committee for 2015 by acclamation. Members are Abigail Dahlberg, Steven Marzuola and Patricia Thickstun.

The division’s website was updated monthly, thanks to Lebzy Gonzalez for news updates and Iryna Ashby for more substantial web maintenance. That is the hub of our activity and links to everywhere else are there. Members can also find resource files that members share and quarterly reports to the board there.

We continued to post to the blog, and welcome ideas for content. We owe a big thanks to Editor Amy Lesiewicz, and her helper Sarah Koby who joined us for a year. Leadership Council member Matthew Schlecht and wrote great posts for us this year, as did the editor Amy, whose post “went viral” in T&I terms, with over 2,000 page views, 16 comments on the blog, and more discussion on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the business practices listserv. Overall, the blog had more than 31,000 page views in 2014. Members are welcome to submit articles for publication on the blog, whether new or re-posted from another source, by writing Amy Lesiewicz at amy@russian-chem-trans.com.

To achieve all this, we need volunteers. The Leadership Council handles many administrative matters for the division. The council is formed each year and is a one year volunteer commitment. At the end of 2014 one member, Sarah Koby, left after she took employment outside translation. One new member has joined us, Carola Berger. She will be known to many of you from her presentations at recent annual conferences.

The Council’s members for 2015 are:
Iryna Ashby (Webmaster)
Carola Berger (Facebook admin)
Lebzy González (Website news updates, Assistant webmaster, LinkedIn admin)
Amy Lesiewicz (Blog editor)
Matthew Schlecht (Yahoo group admin)
Petra Schweitzer (Yahoo group admin)
Stephanie Strobel (Events coordinator)
Karen Tkaczyk (Administrator, Twitter feed)
Alicja Yarborough (Assistant Administrator)

Feel free to contact us by writing karen@mcmillantranslation.com if you wish to become more involved. Any interested members are welcome to join us and help the division thrive during 2015!

Karen Tkaczyk, Administrator

Alicja Yarborough, Assistant Administrator                                                                    January 9, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Updating Your Knowledge of Science and Technology Innovations

Review by Karen Tkaczyk

One of the strong themes I observed at the 2014 Annual Conference was that we all need to tell our own story. I had no idea when I targeted the session named “Updating your Knowledge of Sci-Tech Innovations” by Patricia Thickstun as one of my top priorities that this session would fit beautifully into that theme, as well as giving me what I had expected. As Patricia told us her structured method for keeping up with new scientific and technical innovations, she told us her personal story in a most engaging way.

Patricia began with what she called her personal taglines. The idea behind the taglines was to show us the big picture behind her career—I would call it her professional worldview. These were similar in purpose to a mission statement but more engaging and pithy. These taglines gave us a great idea of what drives Patricia and how she has achieved all that she has over her career. She encouraged us to consider our own tag lines.

The remainder of the session’s outline was straightforward:
  • Learn how to identify strategies and resources for developing our knowledge base
  • Learn how to increase knowledge of recent innovations
  • Learn how to be able describe innovations in our specialized fields


Many of us identify desired outcomes and assess results haphazardly. Patricia explained a straightforward logical method where updating our knowledge of Sci-Tech innovations was the desired outcome. We identify interests, resources, and activities that will achieve the outcomes, then assess results.

After she had gone through the fundamentals she explained how to apply the methods we identified on a routine basis. Patricia showed us how to do this using her interests and resources as examples. She has daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks. Again using her interests and effectively telling her personal story, we were able to see how we can continually improve our knowledge over years, changing the goals and interests over time when we reflect and change our goals.

Patricia’s handout was a worksheet for us to apply the same process to our own practice. To do so we need to consider our own interests, training and experience, and how that compares with what we want to be translating. Here are some of Patricia’s examples; we all need to craft our own though.

Daily: read the term queries on a mailing list for patent translators
Weekly: add new terminology to termbase
Monthly: Participate in a virtual webinar
Quarterly: Visit a science or technology museum
Annually: Read the journal Nature’s annual review

By the end of the session I had jotted the start of my list and ideas of things I ought to add to my routine. I also realized I have a tag line—something I've said repeatedly over the years in response to being told I worked in a narrow field: “I only need enough work for me.” I first said it when I was advised that there wasn't enough work in chemistry and I ought to add another specialization. I credit being highly specialized with my success and that is part of my personal story. Now if I complete Patricia’s worksheet using the guidance she gave, I can find others, and begin to tell the whole tale.