By Matthew Schlecht
During a recent S&TD brainstorming session about possible initiatives to pursue, the issue arose of the possibility of doing poster presentations at the ATA conferences. It seems that this has not been tried before, but it could be a good opportunity, especially for the younger members, to gain exposure and benefit from networking.
For those who are unfamiliar, a poster presentation is a display of information on a poster board (generally 48″x60″, in landscape format) concerning one or a few key topics, in our case related to translation, interpreting, localization, linguistics, or associated technologies. Unlike a regular conference or workshop presentation before an audience, for poster presentation, the presenter and the presentation are situated in a common area and interested parties engage either one-on-one or in small groups.
In the olden days, the poster was assembled from printed sheets attached to a bulletin board with thumb tacks. The poster board is generally held up on an easel so that the center of gravity is roughly at eye level for someone standing beside it. These days, the entire poster is often composed and printed out on rolled stock which is then affixed to the posterboard. The poster content can have graphics and can be printed. The title (generally no more than ten words) is displayed along the top, and should be in a font size large enough for someone to read from at least 10-15 feet away. This is because a potential visitor might be hesitant to move close enough to read a smaller font, and will want to be sure that the topic is interesting before moving into the “contact zone”. The presenter’s name and affiliation/address can be in a smaller font.
The poster content is most effective when the information “nuggets” have a flow, either left-to-right, top-to-bottom, or the reverse, top-to-bottom, left-to-right. The content should be concise and suggestive, not comprehensive. It is the presenter’s job to explain and expand upon the points listed in the poster, answer questions, and entertain suggestions.
I had participated often in poster sessions of this type during my career in academic and industrial chemistry and life sciences, and my hope is that it might provide a viable alternative for networking to complement the existing venues at our conferences.
The idea of trying a poster session at the ATA conference has been approved by the conference committee, hopefully beginning at this year’s 63rd national meeting in October. If you have any questions or are interested in presenting a poster, please contact me at email@example.com or S&TD Administrator Mery Molenaar at divisionS_TD@atanet.org. Please note that only two posters can be displayed during the event.