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How useful was it to attend a conference?
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Nov 3, 2008

I'm curious. Was it a good investment of your time and money? What happened exactly? Can you describe it? Thanks.

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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
it is Nov 3, 2008

For making friends and for making money.
Eg. I got a job posted on Proz from form French, because I'd met the PM at Aix.
I could quote other examples, but I'm in a hurry


[Edited at 2008-11-04 16:25]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Intangible Nov 3, 2008

Hi Tom

I've attended three ProZ.com international conferences. Undoubtedly you can learn a great many practical pointers both from the official sessions and from informal discussions with fellow translators. Whether these are sufficient in themselves to justify the cost is less certain.
At the three I attended, the speakers were drawn largely from the ranks of ProZ.com members and they were in danger of becoming rather repetitive. The UK Regional conference later this month seems to be taking a different approach, with more professional presenters who are experts in their field. It remains to be seen whether this offers better value for money; if it's just academic style promotion of individuals' visions for the future, I shall be very disappointed.
I would not have missed the conferences I attended. They were an opportunity to visit new places (Kraków and Budapest) at reasonable prices but above all they made me feel like a member of a shared profession.
Meeting the actual people whose views you share or contest or who have debated or helped you with terms in KudoZ makes belonging to ProZ.com a more personal and valuable experience. I now regard many as friends (and exchange work on occasions) even though I may only have spent 30 minutes actually in their company.
I shall look forward to meeting you too, if you decide to take the risk.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
agree with Russel Nov 3, 2008

Completely.
I attended the conferences in Cracow, Edinburgh, Aix-en-Provence
and will attend more, maybe in another continent

[Edited at 2008-11-03 19:10]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
If... Nov 3, 2008

reading the fora here, making contributions to them, answering and asking KudoZ and exchanxing experience or taking advantage of the experience of other via this site is an advantage for anybody doing this (and I don't think there is anyone who would argue on that), so a conference is simply the same thing, but in a different environment. Instead of meeting people virtually you meet them face to face.
Seeing a conference from this perspective will make the attendance there very valuable and a great experience in any aspect.
However, if you put a lot expectations to attending a conference and will hope to get something for free (besides the conference fee) witout any personal engagement from you side, you will be highly dissapointed.
A conference is - similar to everything here on ProZ - an example for taking and giving. And on top it is a perfect way of networking.
Leaving aside Russells very valid point about repetitive speakers on ProZ conferences (btw, why don't other ProZians offer new topics then?) even a ProZ conference with some of such repetitice topics is worth attending - even if only for the networking aspect. But I don't think all speakers on ProZ conferences always do repeat what they did say before - knowledge is developing and so I think also the speakers do adapt new points of view in their presentations


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
interesting answers Nov 3, 2008

thanks for these very interesting replies and I hope there will be more.

Since I work mainly for Italian outsourcers and my language pair is Italian to English, the only conferences, powwows etc. (Lord how I detest that silly word!) would be in Italy, not here in London where I am based (and which on the other hand is very important because it's anglophonia, the land where a fast-evolving language is used).

For me to attend these events in Italy would involve me in considerable financial outlay. It would need to be worth my while. That's really why I was asking.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Look at topics offered Nov 3, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

thanks for these very interesting replies and I hope there will be more.

Since I work mainly for Italian outsourcers and my language pair is Italian to English, the only conferences, powwows etc. (Lord how I detest that silly word!) would be in Italy, not here in London where I am based (and which on the other hand is very important because it's anglophonia, the land where a fast-evolving language is used).

For me to attend these events in Italy would involve me in considerable financial outlay. It would need to be worth my while. That's really why I was asking.


While what you say is true in terms of possible work and partners in your language pair, so you are completly wrong as for all topics regarding our profession in general, for example such as avoiding financial risk (presented many times by Giuliana Buscaglione and Ralf Lemster) or a discussion about the cooperation between freelancer and outsourcer or many other technical topics.
So I would certainly consider visiting a conference even if it wouldn't be located in Italy, when this would be affordable to you.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Er... Nov 3, 2008

Jerzy Czopik wrote: .....avoiding financial risk.....


Speaking of financial risk, it would be a financial risk for me to attend these events, because of the cost: flights, hotel, etc. I would need to see a tangible possibility of coming back with enough contacts and/or real jobs to justify the outlay, which would be somewhere in the region of £750 - £1,000 including everything.

I used to have a house in Italy, but alas, no more. And when I'm in Italy staying with friends, there never seem to be any events within an easy striking distance.

As for the events that take place in London, they never involve the friendly "virtual people" I spend so much time with in Proz.com. I always check to see who's attending, but I get the impression it's just people sitting in a pub chatting about this and that.

I do plenty of that already

But I'm still interested in learning about what happens at these events.


[Edited at 2008-11-03 20:13]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:06
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
List of attendees in London is very very long Nov 3, 2008

and I do see a lot of fellow ProZians whom I meet here daily or I've met somwhere someday...

Financial risk - it of course depends on what you understand by that. The topic did consider more how to aviod not to be paid by an outsourcer... I think this kind of risk is much more crucial than the financial risk in connection with a conference. While you never can calculate the first one, you can for sure tell how big the other one will be


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
calculating the risk Nov 3, 2008

Jerzy Czopik wrote:

and I do see a lot of fellow ProZians whom I meet here daily or I've met somwhere someday...

Financial risk - it of course depends on what you understand by that. The topic did consider more how to aviod not to be paid by an outsourcer... I think this kind of risk is much more crucial than the financial risk in connection with a conference. While you never can calculate the first one, you can for sure tell how big the other one will be


heh... actually I *can* calculate the first risk: all I need to do is add up the unpaid invoices in my payments spreadsheet. The second one is not so easy.

I imagine the general assumption is that people attend conferences and events that take place in their own country. I'll give it some thought.


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 09:06
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Conference fees & connected expenses have been an investment so far Nov 3, 2008

Hi Tom,

I have attended many ProZ.com conferences (and other non-ProZ.com events/conferences/seminars about and all around translation & the only two fields I've been "active" in for the past 24+ years) and I can say that none of them turned out to be a waste of money or of my time. They were investments in my "continuing education" and opportunities from various perspectives: networking, getting to know about (a) translation world(s) totally different from my own, learning from colleagues with different or complementary experiences and/or more experience, sharing my little experience, discuss translation issues & risks, meeting old and new friends, making contacts, hearing what LSPs had to say and learn how to consider the very same issue from different perspectives and simply having fun for a few days and enjoy those hours far from my PC (well, before some colleagues jump in and correct my statement, I did have my laptop and my Blackberry with me, but there was no frenzy) as a sort of splendid "battery" recharging opportunity.

New friends, new contacts, new opportunities, jobs... sitting in front of my PC translating wouldn't have brought me that much and, in a long-term perspective, not even financially in a few days or (half) a week (well, I admit that I tend to take on more work before leaving for an event... I keep my usual "range" with an appealing added value).

I can't say that I was interested in all the sessions I have attented so far, but I did find a constructive way of keeping me occupied during those sessions with much more productive or inspiring activities or simply relaxing in a corner, a luxury I can hardly afford in my daily life amist the usual work-stress-family-kids-moderation havoc.

Academic views are interesting for me if praxis-based, but theories detatched from practical working life are for a practical person like me of no use, as I am far beyond the day-dreaming.

I'd say one can only find at events what (s)he was looking for

I'll be in London, Michael has put a lot of energy and efforts in the set-upZ, so that I am really looking forward to being there and enjoying another conf...

Giuliana

[Edited at 2008-11-04 06:34]


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:06
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Seconding Giuliana's view Nov 4, 2008

I, too, suggest that the expenses for the participation in a conference are to be treated as an investment rather than 'payment'. Attending a conference is investing into one's own knowledge (practical or theoretical, depending on the type of sessions), networking (with many freelance translators, colleagues are an inportant source of jobs) and recreation (the atmosphere, inspiring and recharging, you get at most conferences can hardly be found elswhere.

I personally think it worthwhile to attend as many events as possible, including those I'm not connected to directly. While I won't be able to make it to London due to the visa problems, I plan to come to Paris and Dortmund. The special thing about seemingly 'irrelevant' conferences (I don't work with French nor do I do a lot of jobs related to Ferman) is that you learn a lot about a different segment of the translation market, thus expanding your own scope of knowledge and frequently, finding great ideas or hints.

Still, an investment does not guarantee immediate return, that's obvious. Or adequate return, for that matter - while the latter mostly depends on what you do at and expect from a conference.

Cheers,
Oleg


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
French to English
+ ...
Very worthwhile Nov 4, 2008

I've only attended one ProZ conference so far, in Aix last year, but it was very worthwhile. I have to admit I combined it with a Wordfast training course in Nice (as I couldn't find one closer to home in the UK at the time!) and visiting a friend in the South of France, so the expense wasn't solely conference-related, but I do feel that the outlay was worth the reward. Quite apart from the networking, the sessions were extremely interesting and enable you to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in our profession, even if you're not ready to go that way yourself. I suppose it gets you known too, in the real world as well as the virtual world. I have attended ITI conferences in the past, when I was an in-house translator, and found them a little more theoretical, but times have changed and I shall be interested to see how the forthcoming London conference performs. I'm certainly looking forward to it very much, and not only because it's only an hour or so away from home this time!

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