ATP Innovations in Testing Conference 2024

cApStAn at 25th ATP edition in Anaheim | Celebrating a quarter of a century of multidisciplinary knowledge sharing and friendship

Published in:  cApStAn updates, Conferences

ATP Innovations in Testing 2024, Anaheim California, March 3-6, 2024 | By Steve Dept, Founding Partner, cApStAn

Several researchers, executives, consultants and stakeholders from the testing industry have already shared their reflections on the 25th edition of ATP Innovations in Testing. They are my peers, my partners, my friends, people I always respect and mostly admire. They have their hearts in the right place and they share the savvy, the flair and the mindset that makes this vibrant conference such a unique event.

Conference Chair Brodie Wise has been the most genial host, the most energetic and humorous herald of our testing community. Before we write anything else, our heartfelt thanks go to Brodie and his stellar Conference Committee: they didn’t only make us feel at home: they made us feel important (read: one third of us overcame their imposter syndrome, another third heard a confirmation that they were superstars, and I’ll leave the last third open because everyone should be able to identify with Brodie’s program.

The cApStAn team flew in from Brussels. That’s a 24-hour journey. Keep awake when you fly westward, crash when you arrive, and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day, which was a Sunday. Registration, setting up the booth, champagne and cupcakes. First meetings, dry runs of presentations, last-minute changes, first bouts of laughter, hugs and exclamations. The opening reception was truly festive, the celebration of the 25th anniversary was colorful, informal and warm.

I love to attend division and committee breakfasts: the world belongs to those who rise early, and those who are present are motivated and vocal, so that the day sparks off in an energetic way before the opening keynote. Sae Schatz introduced the concept of LearnOps to a full house. This resonated with me because also in the language industry we now talk about LangOps rather than translation or language services. Sae Schatz was brilliant and it inspired additional respect (if at all possible) that she stayed throughout the conference and had conversations with most organizations and exhibitors present, which was much appreciated.

Then came the sessions. With 10 simultaneous presentations or panels (and two peas in a pod discussion sessions to boot), one was certain to miss some fantastic content. My selection was a mix of content about which I wanted to learn, topics for which I wanted to hear different perspectives, “back to the basics” sessions, or presentations by people I did not know who presented a theme that I found intriguing. There were pleasant surprises, including the quality of the questions from an informed audience. I tried to limit AI-related sessions to one third but that turned out to be wishful thinking.

Besides, the two panels in which I was a speaker myself explored AI-related topics, too: the first one was about the use of fine-tuned, specialist large language model to generate assessment items and replication of this approach in a multilingual context. In spite of the competition, the grand ballroom filled up rapidly, and the questions sparked off lively discussions. It was a genuine privilege for him to share the floor with Sara Vispoel, Simmy Ziv-El and Jim Mendes. The second panel took the form of a debate around a panoramic view of use cases in which different translation methods can and should (or should not) be used. Thank you Chelsea Dowd and Gavin Cooney for being worthy sparring partners!

There were sessions that presented extraordinary content, others that proposed innovative solutions for known problems, there was a lot of thinking out of the box and there were opportunities to delve deeper into aspects ranging from validity and fairness, to the future of credentialing in higher education, using AI for job task analysis, adaptive assessment, critical thinking, virtual reality, large language models (and large language models). Receptions, meetings, networking. A very special mention for LineUp who organized a volunteer activity at Dreams for Schools, where we had the opportunity to pack kits for STEAM projects in schools with underprivileged social-economic backgrounds – a refreshing change from the lavish events we are used to.

See you all in Orlando next year!