Getting the most out of industry events: Part five 2

This is the fifth post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (see Part onePart twoPart three and Part four). As explained in the first part, tips are grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!


During the event

Tip 5: leave shyness at home

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Coffee break at the last ProZ.com regional conference in Porto, Portugal (May 24th, 2014)

Some people are more open than others to new experiences and to meeting new people. However, most of us may inevitably experience some level of anxiety when attending an industry event. At some point, arriving at a place we have never been to before, introducing ourselves to unknown people, socializing or engaging in conversation may make us feel uncomfortable and nervous. This, in turn, may affect how we behave around others, how others see us and how we will be remembered when the event is over.

So, what can we do to overcome shyness and get the most out of networking opportunities during industry events? Here are some tips:

  • Make a mental list of conversation starters: try to think of two or three topics that may interest other event attendees (rates, clients, marketing, CAT tools) and use these to open conversations and keep them going. You may start by introducing yourself and then asking the other person a question (“Hi, I’m Joe Doe. I’m from Spain. Where are you from? Do you offer your services internationally or to local clients only?”).
  • Approach people you know: start by looking for one or two attendees that you may know (from social networks, from past events, from contacting them prior to the event, etc.) and warm up slowly, initiating small talk, asking questions, smiling. Once you feel more at ease with yourself, reach out to other attendees, join small groups, introduce yourself, ask them if they are having a good time.
  • Avoid seating or wandering about alone: during event presentations, coffee breaks and meals, try to always seat or stand next to other attendees. But, careful! Seating next to colleagues or simply standing next to them won’t do the trick (don’t expect others to welcome you just because you are there). Talk to them, introduce yourself, smile, make eye-contact.
  • Breath, smile and relax: most of the people in the room feel just like you and are there for the same reasons: to learn, network and have fun. So, go ahead, take a deep breath, relax your body (no arms crossed!), put your phone in your pocket and give yourself the chance to know them and them the chance to know you.

And if all of the above fails, here is the best tip of all: be yourself. Yes, you are a language professional, but you are also you. You work as a translator or as an interpreter, but you also have a personal life that others may be interested in or may identify with. Keep your personal style, let others know who you are, where you come form, what interests you. This is what attracts not only clients and colleagues, but also friends.

How do you overcome shyness?

Share below.

(Don’t be shy)

The next part in this series will propose tips to make an impression during an industry event. Stay tuned!

 

Getting the most out of industry events: Part four 5

This is the fourth post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (see Part one, Part two and Part three). As explained in the first part, tips will be grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!


Before the event

Tip 4: design a marketing plan

In general, attending conferences and other industry events costs not only time, but also money. Taking a couple of days off, sometimes travelling and staying at hotels, attending networking dinners, all these represent an expense. However, as your own business owner, it’s up to you to turn these expenses into an investment. How? By designing a marketing plan to be implemented before, during and after the event, and that allows you to see a return of your investment through new clients and collaborators.

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Personalized business cookies baked by Gabriel Cabrera and shared with attendees to the ProZ.com 2013 regional event in Madrid, Spain.

The first step in drafting a marketing plan to be implemented when attending an industry event may consist of defining three basic points:

  • What you want to accomplish: define your marketing goals. Do you want to make yourself / your company known? Do you want to build better relationships with colleagues? Do you want to meet new clients / collaborators? Do you want to share information, content or opinions with others in the industry? Do you want to explore new service types / approaches? Do you want to raise funds to support a further investment?
  • What tools you will use: make a list of the marketing tools you will use to reach your goals. Social media tools, CV / resume, business cards, demos, other marketing items.
  • How you will use those tools: decide how you will use each marketing tool. Will you give a business card to every attendee or just to those who may be potential clients / collaborators? Will you give a demo presentation of your services to potential clients only or to everyone? Will you use social media to target potential clients, potential clients and colleagues in general, or potential clients and potential collaborators? Will you give a copy of your CV to sponsors? Defining the use of your marketing tools will require defining your target audience and this will depend on what you want to accomplish.

Other important points may relate to timing (when you will use marketing tools or when you’d like to accomplish your marketing goals).

Once you have defined marketing goals, tools and their use, it’s time to implement your plan. Keep in mind that there are plenty of marketing strategies you can apply even weeks before an event (most of these using online resources). Start announcing your attendance to the event, show potential attendees how you are preparing yourself, get in touch with attendees you will want to meet in person and make arrangements. Almost everything counts when it comes to promoting yourself while learning, networking and having fun!

Do you have a marketing plan for attending industry events? What does it include?

Post below.


The next part in this series will start introducing tips to get the most out of industry events while they occur. Stay tuned!

Meet the speaker: Orlando Chiarello, introducing ASD-STE100 Reply

Orlando Chiarello is the Product Support Manager of Secondo Mona, an Italian aerospace equipment manufacturer, and the Chairman of the ASD Simplified Technical English Maintenance Group (STEMG), a working group formed to develop the Association of European Aircraft and Component Manufacturers (AECMA) Simplified English, to help the users of English-language documentation in the aerospace sector understand what they read, particularly in multinational programs.

Orlando (together with Irene Koukia) will be offering a session on Technical writing and translation in STE at the upcoming ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy, that will take place on June 28th and 29th.

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The interview

How did you get started in translation?

I work for an aerospace company and within its organization I have been a technical translator for almost ten years. My task was in fact to translate maintenance manuals of aerospace components from English into Italian. This was to support the internal repair and overhaul departments, and simplify the understanding of the procedures for non-English speaking operators. In that period, I actually translated more than 600 different manuals having lengths varying from just a few pages to a maximum of 500 pages. Later, my task changed from technical translator to technical writer, meaning writing maintenance manuals myself from scratch. It was in that phase that I started getting involved in the AECMA Simplified English project. My current tasks now are mainly concentrated to product support which concept consists of a series of logistic elements (for example, technical customer services, spare parts, maintainability, facilities planning, customer training, etc.) in which technical manuals are always included and have an important role.

What was the most important obstacle for you to overcome in building your career as a language professional?

Language played a key role in my professional career. I cannot define myself as a language professional, but I am constantly linked to language issues in my everyday work. Having a mechanical engineering background, I was in some ways “forced” into the language learning process. I attended very intensive courses in the UK, not only dealing with language, but also in the field of logistic and product support, applied to international projects. The experience accumulated in participating in the Simplified Technical English group for so many years, as well as attending international meetings related to the everyday work have dramatically contributed in building my career.

What is the greatest issue facing technical translators?

As I said previously, I translated from English into Italian and my activities as a translator were confined to technical texts in a single company specific context. This has helped me a lot to improve the quality of my translations because technical translation (and technical writing in general) is not very easy if a translator does not have a minimum of technical background or knowledge of the matter.

What is your prediction for the future of human translation?

As another colleague said when answering the same question, human translation is something that will always be required. Machine translation or authoring tools can dramatically help the process and so very welcomed. However, there is nothing which can think in our place or replace the human abilities and skills.

You will be presenting in the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa on the topic of “Technical writing and translation in STE: preparing documentation in a controlled language”. What can conference attendees expect to learn or know from your presentation?

My presentation is about a controlled language, the Simplified Technical English, a standard created some years ago within the aerospace industry to improve technical communication. Today, the success of Simplified Technical English is such that it is now rapidly moving outside its intended domain of aerospace. Today, there is a worldwide growing interest towards Simplified Technical, including the one of the Academic world and language professionals. .The primary target of presenting at the ProZ.com international conference is to make the attendees aware of the existence of this consolidated standard and explore if its accuracy and principles can help the translation process in some ways.

ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy

Join Orlando and other language professionals on June 28-29 in Pisa, Italy, for the annual ProZ.com 2014 international conference.

Visit event page »            View event program »            View related social events »


Did you know about ASD-STE100?

Do you think STE could be applied in your field of expertise?

Post below or discuss in ProZ.com forums.

Getting the most out of industry events: Part three Reply

This is the third post in a “Getting the most out of translation industry events” weekly series. As explained in the first part, tips will be grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!


Before the event

Tip 2: plan your event

Attending an industry event should be more than just showing up. Yes, signing up and being there are important, but these two may not pay off if not supported by some serious planning. Mind you that planning here does not entail flight and hotel booking, or finding a good friend who is willing to water your plants. Planning your event means preparing yourself to learn, network and have fun.

iStock_000017671802XSmallIf you are planning to attend an industry event, here are some tips for you to start making your own plans:

  • Carefully pick the sessions you will attend: check the conference program and the learning objectives of each session. Keeping in mind your own learning objectives and your business plan, sign up for sessions that will provide you with information that you don’t have and that could help you to improve your work and expand your business (i.e. presentations that you could not give yourself).
  • Prepare questions: once you have signed up for sessions of your interest, prepare a set of questions for which you would like answers. You may ask these questions during the QA portion of the session, or to the speaker during a coffee break or at lunch.
  • Know the speakers: familiarize yourself with speakers, know their names, their background and the presentations they will be offering. Remember that, even if you are not attending a given speaker’s session, you will still have plenty of opportunities to network with them and discuss topics of interest to both.
  • Know the sponsors: in general, translation industry events are sponsored by companies that are also part of this industry and that may offer a wide range of solutions to language professionals. Find out who is sponsoring the event you are attending and what they offer. Do they sell language services? If so, are they hiring? Do they sell translator software tools? Which ones? Can you get a demo for free?
  • Spot attendees with common interests: if there is a list of attendees available, search for colleagues working in your top language pairs and fields of expertise. Get their names and, if possible, contact them in advance and make plans to share a drink. Meeting with colleagues who have the same specialization could help you to learn more about your niche (rates, volume, types of clients, etc.).
  • Share your plan with others: now that you are familiar with sessions and have signed up for the ones that interest you, and you know the speakers, the sponsors and a few colleagues with the same interests as you, share your plans with other attendees. Let colleagues know the sessions you are planning to attend and why, the questions you would like those sessions to answer, the speakers you can’t wait to meet. This will encourage other attendees to do the same and set the tone for the event before it even starts. For more pre-event networking tips, see Getting the most out of industry events: Part one and Getting the most out of industry events: Part two.

Remember, if you want to optimize the value of attending an industry event, making plans before attending is as important as showing up that day (if not more!). Think of your plan as a strategy to achieve a return on your investment of time and money into an event. In the end, you will attend an event to network, but also to learn how to do your job better and more efficiently.

Do you make your own plan before attending industry events? 

Post below.


The next part in this series will discuss tips to develop a marketing plan before attending an industry event depending on your goal(s).

Meet the speaker: Federico Gaspari, reflecting on machine translation 2

Federico Gaspari is a part-time lecturer and tutor in English language and translation at the University of Bologna and the University of Macerata. He is also a postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the Centre for Next Generation Localization of Dublin City University, a member of the editorial and advisory boards of the online international peer-reviewed translation studies journals inTRAlinea and New Voices in Translation Studies, and an editorial assistant for the international peer-reviewed journal of contrastive linguistics Languages in Contrast.

Federico will offer a presentation and a workshop at the upcoming ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy, that will take place on June 28th and 29th, on the topic of machine translation, quality and post-editing.

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The interview

How did you get involved with the study of languages and translation?

Although I am not a professional translator, but rather a researcher and lecturer, I remember being interested in translation and languages ever since I was a very young child. The first clear memory I have of being fascinated by the different ways in which people used “languages” (you will understand in a minute why I put the word in inverted commas) dates back to my early childhood. I grew up in Italy, surrounded by immediate family members speaking not only standard Italian, but also quite often – especially at home – local dialects, of which there are literally hundreds in Italy; the dialects used by people speaking informally in Italy vary quite dramatically from each other in terms of accent, pronunciation, vocabulary used to refer to everyday objects, etc., even within relatively small areas, to the extent that most dialects are mutually unintelligible. I clearly remember being very intrigued (but also slightly confused…) by the fact that my grandparents, who were originally from two villages only 30 kilometers apart from each other, used quite different words in their own dialects to refer to me as “the baby” at family gatherings (in case you are wondering, these dialect words from the Marche region are “frichì” and “fantillu”, which have no resemblance to their standard Italian equivalent “bambino”!). This is the earliest indication that I remember of my strong interest in linguistics and translation, although I can’t explain how I ended up working with English from my precocious interest in Italian dialects!

What was the most important obstacle for you to overcome in building your career as a language professional?

I got my first degree in translation studies from the School for Interpreters and Translators of Bologna University in Forlì, Italy. I then went on to earn other postgraduate degrees in the UK, but ironically I had to struggle quite a lot to complete my first degree in Italy. This was because we had to study two foreign languages, which in my case were English and German, in addition to Italian. I was a rather weak student in German, so much so that at one point I considered abandoning it to replace it with Russian (which I enjoyed learning and for which I got good marks as an elective optional subject). On the other hand, especially in the first half of my 4-year degree, I consistently got very low marks (and quite a lot of fails, sadly!!) for my German exams. But I persevered and in the end I managed to get my degree, although to this very day I don’t quite know how I managed to pass all the very tough German language and translation tests!

What is the greatest issue facing translators working in your country?

Probably the greatest challenge for translators in any country and working with any language today is to be flexible and open to embracing the far-reaching changes brought about by technology in the profession.

What is your prediction for the future of human translation?

I expect it to be bright and shining, especially for quality-oriented talented and trained translators who are skilled enough to offer diversified and competitive services for text types and domains in high demand. For sure, translators working with high-density languages such as English and Spanish will continue to prosper, but I think that there will also be good opportunities for professionals focusing on niche language combinations.

You will be presenting in the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa on the topic of “Machine translation, quality and post-editing”. What can conference attendees expect to learn or know from your presentation?

Everything (OK, make that NEARLY everything…) they ever wanted to know about machine translation and post-editing but were afraid to ask…

ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy

Join Federico and other language professionals on June 28-29 in Pisa, Italy, for the annual ProZ.com 2014 international conference.

Visit event page »            View event program »            View related social events »


How would you describe machine translation usefulness, limitations or threats?

Post below or discuss in ProZ.com forums. 

Getting the most out of industry events: Part two Reply

This is the second post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events. As explained in the first part in this series, tips will be grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!


Before the event

Tip 2: keep yourself updated

It is not uncommon for event registrants to forget all about an event after confirming their participation and until a week or two before the event takes place. This may happen due to work overload or simply because they believe there isn’t anything else they can do until the event happens. However, it is actually by staying up-to-date about event-related news that registrants will not only know more about the event (what is being planned, what has been changed or updated, etc.), but also apply some strategies to get the most out of it.

Here are some tips to stay up-to-date on industry event news:

  • PisaConfTwitter

    ProZ.com 2014 international conference on Twitter (#PisaConf)

    Know, check and use event hashtag: in general, industry events have an associated hashtag (i.e. a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites to identify messages on a specific topic) used by event organizers, presenters, sponsors and attendees to keep each other in the loop via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (sometimes, event organizers may even create an event page on Facebook as well). If you are planning to attend an event, make sure you know the related hashtag and that you check it regularly to learn more about event latest news (changes in program, new social events being organized, etc.). Also, use the event hashtag to let others know your plans, the presentations you have decided to attend or the social events for which you have signed up.

  • Join mailing list: industry events may also have an associated mailing list you can join. This will allow you to receive regular updates on related news in your email inbox, and even reply with questions or comments.
  • Check event page: normally, industry events have a landing page that contains the most important information about the event and links to other pages containing details. You can add this page to your browser bookmarks and check it regularly to see if any announcements are being made there.
  • Check and use forums: forums threads may be opened for specific events either on the event landing page or somewhere else (in social networks for instance). Check and track these forum threads to learn more about event news and use them to share your event plans and expectations, ask questions or schedule meetings with other attendees.

With the advancements in technology (social media and web tools), staying updated on event related news is easy and there is almost no excuse for not knowing what is going on with an event you will attend or how to get the most out of it. Make sure you use news resources to know more about any industry event in which you invest money so that such investment counts.

How do you stay updated on event-related news? 

What strategies have worked for you? What haven’t?

Post below.


The next part in this series will explain how to plan your event in advance. Just stay updated on how to get the most our of industry events!

Getting the most out of industry events: Part one Reply

Translation industry events are probably one of the most important parts in the marketing strategy of many language professionals. But there is more to industry events than just registering and showing up.

Be it as an attendee, a speaker or a sponsor, industry events offer freelance translators and others in the language industry the possibility to learn about industry trends, gain new skills and network. So, once you have registered for an event, what can you do to prepare and get the most out of it?

This is the first in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events. These tips will be grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!


Before the event

Tip 1: build relationships

Once you have decided to attend an industry event and signed up, the next step is to build relationships with other event participants or reinforce relationships with participants you have already met. Why wait until the event to let others know who you are? Why not share now your expectations? Why not let others know more about you, the services you offer, your fields of expertise, etc. and get to the event feeling you already know everyone?

First ProZ.com conference – Porto Santo Stefano, Italy, 2001

Pre-event networking is probably one of the most effective and easy strategies event attendees can apply to put themselves on event participants’ radars (colleagues, potential clients and vendors) and get the most out of an event when the moment comes to network in person.

Here are some ideas for some pre-event networking:

  • Write and share your bio: if the event registration platform allows it, in two or three lines, tell other event participants who you are, where you live, the services you offer, your credentials and any other relevant details. This bio will not only help participants to know you, but also to remember you. Make sure you also check bios written by others and see if any of them live in your country or work in your fields of expertise, you may want to invite them a cup of coffee during the event to share experiences.
  • Interact via social networks: in general, industry events have dedicated hashtags for Twitter and Facebook. Check out the activity under the event hashtag in the weeks leading up to the event to see who else is attending. Check attendees’ posts, share their important messages, mention them in comments, follow them (or add them as friends). This will also help other attendees to remember you when you meet at the event.
  • Express your expectations: when possible, share your expectations of the event with other attendees (“I’ll be attending the session on negotiation tips because I need to learn new negotiation strategies. Anyone else attending?”). You may be surprised to see that others may also share your expectations, or learn what others would like to get out of the event.
  • Engage in discussions: based on the event program, propose topics for discussion via social networks, or post to discussions and share your views. Sharing your ideas about a given topic will encourage others to do the same, allowing all involved to learn more and be better prepared for sessions you will attend in person.
  • Contact attendees directly: if possible, contact one or two attendees directly and make plans to share a meal or a drink during the event. Keep in mind that contacting all attendees may be both annoying for them and fruitless for you. Focus on attendees that work in your language pairs or in your fields of expertise for instance, people that will have points in common with you and that may provide you with useful insights about the industry.

Technological developments over the last years have facilitated pre-event networking and now professionals can meet way before they actually meet face-to-face. It’s up to you to meet and network with colleagues attending future industry events to get the most of these when attending!

What other tip(s) would you add on pre-event networking? 

What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

Post below.


The next part in this series will explain the benefits of keeping yourself updated on event-related news. Stay tuned…