Reaching out to the Local Business Community: CTA Members Report from the Frontlines of World Trade Day

For the second year in a row, the Colorado Interpreters & Translators Association sent a delegation of representatives to the World Trade Center Denver’s Annual World Trade Day, held at the Colorado Convention Center on May 16, 2017.

A group of 10 translators and interpreters mingled with local business owners involved in international trading and took the opportunity to educate them about the value of professional language providers. CTA also had a booth where attendees could get more information about our service offering – which, as it turned out, is something many local businesses were not very familiar with.

The event was not only a marketing opportunity for CTA but also a highly informative conference for CTA  and WTC members alike. Read what some of the participants had to say below. 

CTA members at World Trade Day in Denver
Members answered questions and passed out information at a CTA booth at the 2017 World Trade Day expo.


Rosabelle Rice, CTA Vice President and US court certified interpreter

After much travel, much work, and much fun, yours truly is reporting out on the amazing World Trade Center event.  It made me think how about 25 years ago, this would be a fairly fresh piece.

I recall it being a chilly May morning, I came armed with CTA tablecloths and our new promotional materials, including refrigerator magnets and stylus pens. My fellow CTA members Riccardo Schiaffino and Nina Abbud arrived early to help me as well. CTA had a nice table position right outside the lecture hall and main dining area. Once we had set up, we went over to the main dining area to drink coffee, eat sweet breads, and mingle with the many different types of attendees who came to this event.

It was exciting to get so much positive feedback from attendees at the CTA table, and I would like to flesh out our marketing materials and bring a signup sheet to our next event. A nicely produced poster perhaps, saying welcome in our different languages, would be fun. I’d go again in a heartbeat. I enjoyed meeting other language professionals and colleagues, and the presentation on Dubai during our lunch.

Some of the biggest takeaways were: All of us enjoyed being there and many of us fielded questions at the CTA table. Those who spoke with different industry leaders became quickly aware of how little the industry understands the importance of professional interpretation and translation.  They are willing to learn, though. They peppered up with friendly and curious questions.

I hope that we can be part of the solution.  I foresee that CTA can create an educational subgroup that could host a breakfast for World Trade Center members to learn more about what to look for in professional translators and interpreters (they have already contacted me regarding this).

I think the theme I took away from the conference and from my colleagues’ comments was that industry is dying to hire people and there is abundance of work. Start looking ahead to the next World Trade Center gathering.  And let me plant the seed in your mind of having even a small closet office in the soon-to-be, beautiful new WTC building,  which will be the flagship for international trade in Denver.


Eliza Graham, Wordsmith Translations, Inc.

This was my third or fourth World Trade Center event. They have always been extremely professional events, well organized and well thought out, with a surprising array of businesses and always some fantastic speakers. One thing that stood out for me is how desperate industry is to find people to work. One speaker went so far as to say that if you are living and breathing, please come to industry to work! I don’t know how much that comment actually has to do with us, but if you’re looking at a more macro picture in terms of jobs, GDP and some other economic indicators, it would seem that our economy (and making a wild extrapolation) and our society as a whole would be doing better if more people were just willing to get trained and go work.

And extrapolating a little further… last fall, I went to an oil and gas conference in Houston. There were some real movers and shakers in that room, all talking about oil prospecting, marketing, future fields, OPEC, in essence, a potential huge driver or killer of our global economy (although OPEC’s plan to drive out smaller players is backfiring). Even at that conference, with some of the smartest people on the planet in that room, there was ZERO understanding of how necessary language is to that – and nearly every – industry. Pretty much everyone I spoke to and to whom I gave my card was absolutely baffled as to why a translator was at that event. I politely pointed out the obvious, that so much oil is drilled for in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. One would think this would be self-evident. But since it is not, I agree that we should really make a push to educate industry, and become active participants in events like this, rather than a group of unknown professionals somewhat sidelined by industry’s ignorance.


Katja Yeats, CTA secretary

This was the first World Trade Center event I attended, and I must say I was impressed! The panel discussion on the future of cities was interesting and enlightening. There was a great spirit of interest and camaraderie, and CTA was made to feel welcome among the attendees. The lunch was fabulous and well organized. All in all a worthwhile event to attend! Bonus: Having 10 CTA members attend!


Michelle Bradley, Wordtrail LLCCTA member Michelle Bradley at World Trade Day

I learned more about thinking towards the future. Did you know that an estimated 25% of all cars will be autonomous by 2030? In fact, they are now building parking garages that will easily be converted they’re expected to become obsolete in the coming decades. Regarding our future, I foresee CTA having an office space in the new WTC campus for which they’ll be breaking ground in December with 1,000,000 sq ft of office space. It will take two years to build, but we know time flies so let’s keep participating and yes, educating Denver’s business community. On that note, I went to several sessions and found knowledge gaps. I think I only heard “cultural” or language considerations mentioned once the whole day when speaking of international trade. I also agree that people approaching our table were confused as to what CITA is exactly, so there is room to improve our marketing materials as well as our “elevator speeches”. All in all, this was a very enlightening experience as a citizen and representative of CTA.


Riccardo Schiaffino and Nina Abbud, Aliquantum, Inc.

This was the first World Trade Center Nina and I attended, too. We found it interesting and well organized. We suggest that the CTA should, in the future, propose presentations or participation in panel discussions. We believe that a greater awareness of what translation and interpreting are would be of benefit for the Denver and Colorado business community at large: when talking with the business present at the event, too many people mentioned that they have their translations done by “someone who speaks languages at our office” or something along similar lines. We think most of them are not sufficiently aware of the advantages that professional translation services would bring to their own business.


CTA members at World Trade Day
Members representing CTA (from L to R): Rosabelle Rice, Eliza Graham, Eve Bodeux, Frida Garcia, Michelle Bradley, Katja Yeats, Riccardo Schiaffino, Isabelle Al-Jassim.