Gearing up for yet another exciting ATA Annual Conference!

By Francesca Samuel, Administrator of ATA Spanish Language Division (SPD)

We are gearing up for yet another exciting ATA Annual Conference and we have been hard at work. This year, the conference will take place in one of this country’s most exciting cities, Chicago. It will be the first time for me and I cannot wait to get there.

For those of you who are planning to join us this year in the Windy City, here are some interesting facts about this spectacular metropolis:

  • An average of 35 million visitors flock to Chicago each year.
  • Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backward.
  • Chicago is home to Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the world’s last free zoos.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris. (If you have a chance to go see it, do it.)
  • Four states are visible from the top of the Willis Tower: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • Chicago’s Western Avenue is the world’s longest continuous street, at 23.5 miles.
  • Shedd Aquarium is home to the oldest aquatic animal in a public aquarium in the world, an Australian lungfish named Granddad, who is at least 85 years old.
  • Chicago is home to 552 parks.
  • Chicago has 15 miles of bathing beaches.
  • Chicago is still home to the current president of the United States, Barack Obama.

As in this and every ATA Annual Conference, don’t forget to join us for the SPD Annual Meeting where we will recognize the contributions of three women: María Teresa Raquel Bertotto aka Pimpi Coggins, Helen Eby and Virginia Perez-Santalla Signorelli aka Virginia Stein.


Pimpi Coggins con Alicia Agnese

Pimpi Coggins with Alicia Agnese

Pimpi Coggins was a friend and a mentor to many, including myself. I learned much from this woman who I considered a Spanish language guru. Those of us who had the distinct pleasure of meeting her knew that she was made out of a special fiber. I had the privilege of attending one of her presentations at an ATA Annual Conference and was forever transformed. Her translation ability was uncanny; her personality, priceless! She passed away this summer and she will be greatly missed.


Helen EbyHelen Eby has been the SPD assistant administrator during the past two years. She is also the founding member of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters. She has been a key figure in efforts to change legislation allowing interpreting rates to rise in Oregon for the first time in 20 years. Additionally, she is one of the few volunteers who created the Buddies Welcome Newbies event held last year for the first time at ATA’s Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX.


Virginia Perez Santalla 2014Virginia Pérez-Santalla was chair of the Spanish Language Division’s first Mid-Year conference. She also has been part of the ATA Board for eleven years. She is founding commissioner of CCHI [Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters] and contributes to the Dictionary Review section of The Chronicle in addition to having chaired the Ad-Hoc Interpreting Certification Committee.


 See you in Chicago!