Translation events 101: Virtual events 2

virtual_eventsThe virtual event starts in five minutes and you’ve just sat down to your desk, coffee in hand, ready to listen to sessions, view panel discussions, and chat with colleagues via a virtual powwow. Suddenly, as you go to enter the event, an error message pops up on your screen, or you realize that your headphones only work in one ear, or you find out that your version of Flash Plug-In is not supported
by the event platform (whatever that means).

Some pre-event planning

Don’t let this happen to you! Here are some quick and easy things you can do prior to the event to not only ensure that everything runs smoothly from a technical standpoint, but also to make certain that you are getting the most out of your virtual event experience:

  • Complete your bio. First and foremost, introduce yourself to other attendees by completing your event registration form and biography. Just visit the “My data” tab to see the information that will be visible to other attendees.
  • Check your hardware. Make sure you have a working set of headphones or speakers so you can listen in on presentations and group discussions. You also have the option of using a webcam and microphone for voice and video chat during the virtual powwows, so make sure you have those set up beforehand if you plan on using them during the event.
  • Know the program. Take a look at the “Sessions” tab to review the different sessions that will take place during the event. You can even submit any questions you may have for speakers prior to the event taking place directly on the individual sessions pages.
  • Check your software. Make sure some basic software is installed and up-to-date on your computer to ensure that everything runs smoothly when you try to access the event. See the technical requirements to enter a virtual event here: You can also run a systems check to see if your computer meets the minimum requirements necessary to enter the virtual environment by running the test available here: You’ll also need to have Adobe Flash Player Version 10.1.82 or higher installed on your computer to attend the virtual powwows and group discussions. To download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player, visit:
  • Find out who’s going. Browse the list of attendees to see who else will be attending the event. Take a look at the biographies they’ve entered and any interests they’ve expressed to get a feel for the type of people you can meet and interact with on the day of the event. You can even search through the list of registrants by name, country and company fields.
  • Tell a friend. Spread the word about the virtual event by posting to your blog, liking the event on Facebook, or tweeting the event URL and hashtag to your followers.

What to expect at the event

Once you’ve made it to the virtual conference, you can enter the session that is currently underway from the event’s program page (under the “Sessions” tab). Once that session ends, a prompt will appear on your screen indicating what the next session is, and where you can enter it. Here are the types of sessions that usually take place at a virtual event at

panel_discussionPanel discussion: Watch a panel of speakers discuss a particular topic live and via webcam. You can pose questions to speakers via a chat box at the bottom of the page.

  On-demand: Watch pre-recorded videos that are made available on-demand throughout    the entire event, and after.

group_discussionVirtual powwow: Participate in a group chat with colleagues. These sessions are typically fairly informal in that there is no set topic to discuss, and are mainly used as a “meet and greet” or icebreaker activity.

  Group discussion: These sessions take place in the virtual powwow environment, but with    a set topic to discuss.

presentationPresentation: Listen to a speaker discuss a certain theme, trend in the industry, or other point of interest via a pre-recorded or live session. A live Q&A with the presenter takes place after the session ends.

Upcoming virtual events at

Now that you know what to do to prepare for a virtual event, and you’re familiar with the types of sessions that take place during a virtual conference, let’s take a look at some upcoming virtual events at

Online Networking Event
The new Online Networking Event series seeks to connect language professionals across the globe who work in the same areas of expertise. Some upcoming events in this series are the following:


MT Is Useless and The Cloud is Slow – a discussion event
This event will take place on August 22nd and includes a panel discussion and group chat touching on the advancement of translation-related technology over the years.

2013 virtual event series
Don’t miss the 5th annual virtual events series in celebration of International Translation Day. This week-long event will kick off on Monday, September 30.

Post-event checklist

Now that you have an idea of some upcoming virtual events, let’s go over some things to keep in mind after the event has ended:

  • Follow up. Know who you spoke to and connected with during the event, and consider touching base with these individuals after the event has ended.
  • Continue the collaboration. Form a team or start a private forum to include the colleagues that you spoke with at the event.
  • Stay informed. Know that much of the content for these events is made available after they’ve ended. Sessions for virtual events are generally always recorded, and these videos can be accessed post-event by visiting the page for the specific session.
  • Stay tuned for upcoming events. Check in on the virtual conferences page to find out about new virtual events taking place on New events are announced regularly.

Next post…

This is part one of a two-part article on events at Stay tuned for the second half of this article which will focus on in-person events.

Translator, kindly step into my dungeon, I have a project for you… 99

A news item that has been commented on and shared widely recently had to do with eleven translators who spent nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel for simultaneous release in different languages.

You will of course be expected to perform the translation on our proprietary platform. It can take a while to learn to use it correctly.

“You will of course be expected to perform the translation on our proprietary platform. It can take a while to learn to use it correctly.”

As the story goes, eleven translators from Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Spain worked long days, seven days a week, for almost two months in a high-security basement. They gave up their mobile phones, and their only Internet access was through a supervised communal computer.

Maybe it was to help ensure no spoilers were leaked before the novel’s release, maybe it was a gimmick, perhaps a combination of the two.

There are bunkers, and then there are bunkers...

There are bunkers, and then there are bunkers…

Let’s say you can choose the author or the book, and let’s say you will be handsomely rewarded for the work. Would you be willing to spend two months working in a secret bunker, with no contact with friends and family? Give your opinion in the poll on the right side of the screen, or in the comments section below!

Some misconceptions about (freelance) translators and interpreters 19

Another video that has been around a while but that might be worth sharing (again). Some common misconceptions about translation and freelance translating, followed by a few clarifications:

Can you think of other common misconceptions about translation or what it means to be a translator?

This blog post is not checked on the title of machine translation and* Reply

* back translation of “This blog post title was machine translated and not checked” using MT.

I’ll begin a sentence with “and”, but I’d be hard pressed to end anything with it. The best back-translation of “This blog post title was machine translated and not checked”, though, was “This blog title was too mean and not checked.” You have to watch out for those mean blog titles.

This video has been out for a while, and there are pages and pages of similar compilations of failed translation out there, but if you have a few minutes and need reaffirmation that a good human translator is needed to ensure a good translation (or know someone else who does), here you go.

Warning: If you are the kind of person who cannot hear “Baby Elephant Walk” without getting it stuck in your head for the rest of the day, this may not be for you.

Have you seen other compilations or examples of failed translation worth sharing? Feel free to post them in the comments section and.