I’ve just come back from Poland, where last weekend I attended a conference entitled “Translation and Localisation Market in Poland” organised by LSP Software. The conference allowed me to mingle with other language professionals, be it freelancers or translation agency representatives, and to listen to presentations delivered by both language professionals and people from outside the industry. It was great food for thought and so a new blog post series is on its way! In this post I’ll share some thoughts on going to such events. But first…
Coming up in KeyCheck Translation blog
The conference inspired a series of posts. Some posts will reproduce some of the conference presentation content but in every instance I intend to credit the person that delivered it (with a link, wherever I can). The series is on the following topics:
- Why attend translation conferences? Post-conference thoughts
- Time and task management
- In the spotlight: Ponglish, or the influence of English on the Polish language
- On translation quality standards (EN 15038:2006)
- Tricky localisation: how to deal with certain issues
- Macros in document preparation for translation
- Home office ergonomics
This is a draft written from memory. I might alter the exact content of the series but I’m going to stick to these general topics.
1. Why attend translation conferences?
To kick-start the series, I am going to talk about why one should attend events such as translation conferences. The one I attended was not particularly cheap (early bird price was in the region of £125), plus I had the expense of going to Poland and staying somewhere (luckily, I could stay at my parents’ place in Warsaw, where the conference took place this year). If there was nothing to be gained from the event, one could think it was money and time wasted… Were they wasted? The pros of attending such an event can be summarised in two main points:
People at a translation conference
The conference provided me with an opportunity to network with other, like-minded people. In fact, there was a great variety of points of view and opinions. People at the conference came from all sorts of backgrounds.
Some freelancers wanted to find more clients, others wanted to optimise their working/personal life balance; some people came from a strictly academic background, others from translation agencies or software solution providers. (One person came from a business coaching company but his presentation in particular was, in my opinion, a complete miss.) Nevertheless, there was a variety of experiences and interesting opinions to share.
What really made me smile was the fact that I met some people I heard about from other professionals or who I followed on Twitter. It was great to speak to such people in person!
Translation conference presentations
Presentation-wise, there was something for everyone. Some presentations were quite general and theoretical, which I enjoyed on a superficial level.
Other presentations focused on very practical issues, such as what software to use for OCR or terminology management, and how to sit in order to avoid repetitive strain injury. I found these very interesting: I could verify my own methods and knowledge and share my own ideas and experiences. (All presentations were positively interactive, which contributed to a great atmosphere.)
In either case, every presentation I attended gave me food for thought, as well as ideas for blog posts and my translation business in general. Whilst so did professional literature (at a fraction of the price), such as “The Prosperous Translator” compiled and edited by Chris Durban or “The Entrepreneurial Linguist” by Judy and Dagmar Jenner, there is no way that reading literature could provide me with as many opportunities to network as the conference did.
Room for improvement?
As is often the case, a few things could have been a bit better. Firstly, the aforementioned business coach delivered a presentation, which he entitled “Psychology in contact with clients”. It was a bog standard presentation for any business at all and it was blatantly not tweaked to translation specifically. There was little psychology and there was little contact with clients in it. However, it contained a lot of self-promotion and big statements with no implications to us whatsoever. Disappointing.
Secondly, I chose to attend a number presentations on the basis of “lesser evil”. Most of the time, there were two presentations running simultaneously in two separate rooms; I avoided every single presentation that was trying to sell me something. I did not pay over £100 to find out that I cannot possibly work without buying X, Y and Z! I don’t think much could be done about sponsored presentations, though; without sponsors, the conference would have probably not taken place at all and that’s that.
Thirdly, and this is an insignificant matter that could easily be improved, I had to bring my own lunch with me for the simple reason that conference organisers did not cater for specific dietary requirements (no meat, no cheese for me!). Not a big deal but a slight inconvenience, though certainly a cheaper option, as in my humble opinion the lunch provided was quite costly (for what it was).
I wrote this post quickly and hope it makes sense.
If you have some translation event experiences that you’d like to share or just want to express an opinion, please comment!