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.

GabrielCabrera

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!

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…

 

 

Meet the speaker: Irene Koukia, proposing a business plan 2

Irene Koukia is a former International Travel Consultant and current full-time freelance English-Greek-German translator. Irene is also a ProZ.com trainer and mentor, and she is getting certified as a Business Coach and studying Business Administration. She has been invited to present at the upcoming ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy, that will take place on June 28th and 29th.

 

The interview

How did you get started in translation?

Actually, I always wanted to become a translator, but I was afraid that I would not be able to make a living translating. After some health issues during my former occupation as a Travel Agent, I decided to continue translation studies I had left unfinished a few months before resigning and take it from there. I started to learn actively, attend webinars, perform pro-bono work in order to gain experience. At the same time, I created a web-site, filled out on-line profiles, sent resumes, etc. It took me about six months to get established, but I haven’t stopped working as a translator ever since.

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

Actually, obstacles were more than one, but in a few words, mainly the following:

  • extremely low rates and way too long payment terms by translation agencies,
  • direct clients that turn out to be fraudulent,
  • extremely high taxation and social security expenses,
  • insecurity in terms of cash-flow and/or work coming in,
  • long hours working,
  • and gaining experience in order to become competent.

What is the greatest issue facing translators working in your country or with the languages in which you offer services?

I mainly translate into Greek and German, and I recently moved to Belgium from Greece. The greatest issues I had are mainly:

  1. Extremely low competition rates into Greek: Greek translators are marketing their rates way too low compared to other countries. In addition, translation agencies offer them even lower rates, thus resulting in problems getting an assignment at a fair price.
  2. Extremely high taxation and social security expenses: Greek government treats self-employed as ‘thieves’ in general, thus it is very hard to survive as a freelance translator. In addition, if you do work with Greek clients (agencies or direct), you will need to take into account long payment terms and delays due to lack of cash-flow, something that has its roots in Greek taxation policy.

What is your prediction for the future of human translation?

I believe that human translation is something that will always be required. No matter how good automated translation becomes, it can’t replace the human in any case. Automation may help translators work faster, but it will never ever replace them.

You will be presenting in the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa on the topic of “Thinking of Becoming an Outsourcer? Draft Your Business Plan”. What can conference attendees expect to learn or know from your presentation?

My presentation is about outsourcing. I will highlight all work involved into becoming an outsourcer and provide attendees with useful tips in order to get organized with the minimum possible risk. You already know I am a huge fan of free and/or low-cost software, so you will definitely get some useful tips on that! Of course, I will be very happy to answer on any question. Looking forward to seeing you in Pisa!

ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy

Join Irene 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 »


Have you ever considered expanding your business by outsourcing work?

Post below or discuss in ProZ.com forums

Meet the speaker: Dominique Defert, right out of the underground bunker Reply

Dominique Defert -a literary translator with twenty-five years of experience, translator of best-seller authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown, screenwriter, film director, Calibre Prize winner, you name it!

Dominique was one of the translators who was selected to spend nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel for simultaneous release in different languages (learn more »). He will be presenting on the topic of “Inferno: Translating in the Bunker” at the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy, on June 28-29.

The interview

How did you get started in translation?

I came to translation through writing. I was a writer of science fiction short stories. One of my short stories had been published by Denoël in the “Présence du futur” collection.

Gérard Klein, a well-known French science fiction writer I greatly admired, read my stories. At that time he was the literary editor for the “Ailleurs et Demain” collection at Robert Laffont. He offered me to translate for this renowned collection.

The first translation he entrusted to me with was a new edition of Pavane by Keith Roberts, an English science fiction author. Pavane had been my favorite book during adolescence and I had been searching in vain for a copy for a long time. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect gift. I was twenty-five years old and that’s how it all began.

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

Ironically, the greatest challenge early in my career was to detach myself from the author’s words to find the real meaning within the text. Prioritizing fidelity and accepting that the only fidelity that really mattered was to be as close as possible to the author’s intentions: that was the most significant challenge. Together with the need to always love one’s translation. To claim each word, each sentence.

What is the greatest issue facing translators working in France or with the French language?

In France, literary translators are the authors of their translations. This means that they are “writers” of their texts. The editor wants to read a novel in French, not a translation.

I see three basic principles, three simple, obvious and sometimes strangely neglected cardinal rules:

1. Understanding. Understand the text: meaning, context, situation of the character. Know what you are telling.
2. Writing. Write in French. Erase English. Completely. Phrases, syntax, rhythm. Everything must disappear!
3. Giving. Give the gift of wonder. Give something special to read. Write literature. This is what I call the quest for Intrigue, Surprise and Enchantment.

What is your prediction for the future of human translation?

I must admit that I don’t really understand the debate on the future of human translation (related to literature, of course).

A translator tells a story. Actually, he re-tells the story. He tells the story as he has experienced it. And this is the story he’ll write. In literature you must be biased, subjective, radical and monomaniac: this is the way to tell a story.

Choosing a word represents one’s vision of the world. Machine translation software can give the general gist but it will never give the text a soul. Especially since machines will never be human, and vice versa.

As one of the translators who spent nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel, Inferno*, you will be presenting in the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, sharing your experience with attendees. What can they expect to learn or know from your presentation?

Work in the bunker compressed the average everyday working conditions a translator experiences. Drastic conditions, intense work and lack of comfort simply highlighted the issues all translators face. When you are a professional translator, when translation is your only source of income and when you translate every day -as I do- there is one precious magic concept which must never be lost along the way: ENJOYMENT.

Enjoyment for the body, enjoyment for the soul.

As for the body, when I was in the bunker, I resorted to certain tips and tricks.

For my soul, this meant finding enjoyment in writing and in telling a story. So I strove to love what I was writing, despite the stress, the looming deadline and the terrible hours. My simple threefold mantra “Intrigue, Surprise, Enchantment” guided me during this adventure.

The importance of really enjoying the translation process is what I would like to illustrate during my presentation.

ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy

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

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

 

See “Translator, kindly step into my dungeon, I have a project for you…” T.O. blog post (May 9, 2013) »

Thanks Daniela Zambrini, ProZ.com 2014 international conference organizer, for the translation of Dominique Defert’s interview answers from French into English!