Tips-and-pitfalls for organising meets
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Apr 28, 2006

G'day everyone

[crossposted to Lantra]

Those of you who have organised informal or semiformal meetings of several translators (say, 10 or more), what tips can you give or what pitfalls do you now know of, for someone who wants to get a couple of translators from their city together for an informal workshop or discussion (with or without prior homework such as test translations)?

I'm looking for tips on just about anything that you think might be useful information for someone who wants to organise such a thing. I'm sure there are things that one easily forgets, but which if tended to can make a difference in the success of the event.

Have any of you been to such meetings and found certain things extremely annoying or un well thought through (how many words?), or have seen certain things which you had thought were a nice touch? Have you any suggestions about any aspect of it... such as subject matter, organisation, administration, venue, or anything else?

I guess the same question could be asked of anyone who has ever organised any sort of society meeting (stamp collectors etc) where 5-15 people (no more) are expected to attend. However, for translators it is not simply a show-and-tell event, but something which is useful "education", even if it is informally organised.

Your comments? Got any resources which I might find useful? Please don't tell me to contact my local translators' association... they don't have a tips-and-pitfalls document about such meeting yet


PS I have read the article about organising a Powwow, but let's get some more, practical ideas.

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Sara Freitas
Local time: 08:56
French to English
A few general tips... Apr 28, 2006

Think about seating. Try to set up round tables if possible. That way all attendees can see and talk to each other. If there is more than one table, round tables make it easier to circulate between tables. What you want to avoid is having 20 people at a long table, which usually means that each person only talks to the one or two people next to them.

Think about menu items if there will be food. Ask about dietary restrictions beforehand or offer food that will meet a variety of needs (veggie, kosher, etc.).

Ask each person to introduce themselves in 30 seconds or less. Great practice for other networking situations. If the participants know each other well, offer to coach each other on these mini introductions.

Remind everyone to bring lots of business cards and brochures to pass on to others.

Have a timed agenda and stick to it, even for informal meetings.

I am sure there are many more ideas, but those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head.

Good luck organizing your meeting!


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Local time: 03:56
This sounds a lot like one of our powwows Apr 28, 2006

You could read


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:56
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
A few tips Apr 28, 2006

Hi Samuel,
just a few tips I kept in mind when organizing a powwow in Rome with well over 50 people last month.

- be clear about registration deadlines and procedures
- prepare a file (I made a pdf file) with all the relevant details (maps, contact numbers, e-mails, menus, adresses, links to public transport info etc.) and send it to participants after you have received final confirmation
- keep an updated list of participants
- prepare some name cards or name tags
- inform participants on the menu (if you are going for something to eat ) and organise an alternative choice
- have a contingency plan for bad weather if you are planning to meet outdoors
- be prepared for many last minute changes!!

and most of all, once everyone is there, relax and enjoy the meeting after all your hard work!

Good luck! DZ

p.s. If time and budget allow for this I think a nice idea would be to prepare a folder (you can surely buy a stock of plain or coloured ones at a large stationery shop) for each participant to gather any material

One more thing, if the meeting is informal and you plan to take pictures be sure whoever is in the picture doesn't mind being photographed! It could cause high drama...

[Edited at 2006-04-28 19:46]

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Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 07:56
Russian to English
+ ...
Always be clear where you'll meet! May 2, 2006

Hi Samuel,

Hope this isn't stating the obvious too much but if it's a large venue it's always good to let people know where you'll be sitting.

I recently attended a very enjoyable powwow in Manchester. The venue was a large, attractive bar on two levels but unfortunately it took a while to work out who else was there for the meeting and where they were sitting. It's quite an odd experience to walk up to total strangers and say 'this may sound a strange question, but you're not a translator are you?' I swear one poor man (not a Prozian) thought I was trying out the worst chat up line in history!

Lizzy Sumner

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