Freelancers going to trade fairs / shows - which day is best?
Thread poster: biankonera

biankonera  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
Jan 4, 2007

When we look for clients - be it direct ones or agencies - we use different strategies. One of those is to go to specialist fairs where its like a (possible) direct client paradise - all of them together under the same roof and from all over the world.

What I was thinking lately is - when a freelancer aiming to sell his/her services should go to such fairs: on the first day which is usually dedicated to the professionals of the field or during some of the remaining days together with other "mortals"?

Im asking this after a discussion I had with one of my colleagues so I was curious to find out other opinions regarding this matter.:)


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-01-05 02:22]


Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
Italian to English
Trade fairs are an excellent ploy for expanding your customer base Jan 4, 2007

Every April, I go to Vinitaly, held at Verona, where I am sure to meet dozens of my wine-sector customers from all over Italy. In fact, I only actually see some of my clients who are based perhaps 20 kilometres from where I live when I go to Verona, which is about 200 kilometres away.

Sadly, work commitments mean that I generally have to go on a "plonkies' day" (the weekend), when the general public floods in to sample world-class wines in an atmosphere that I must admit I find uncongenial to tasting.

It doesn't really matter, though, so long as I have fixed appointments, or at least warned customers that I will be at the fair. Even when I was starting out and didn't have many customers, I found that an advance phone call or fax (most potential customers didn't have e-mail at the time) could smooth the way to a useful contact at the trade fair itself.

Just taking the trouble to go to the fair gives you an edge over other translators but a pre-fair email/phone/carrier pigeon contact is even better.




Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:12
German to English
Go during "industry days" Jan 4, 2007

Many trade fairs have special days set aside for people in the related industry, as opposed to days open for casual onlookers. In many cases you have engineers, etc, during the "industry days" who will be in a better position to pass your details along to the decision makers, as their job is also to see what the competition is doing. In many cases, the people working the "open" days are in marketing who want to sell their product, not learn about services other people are selling. Plus the crowds during the industry days are generally smaller.

In many cases, the best thing is to obtain press credentials. The crowds are often comparatively small. These credentials are hard to get, however, and you have to have "connections." As a translator I haven't had problems getting in during the industry days.


Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:12
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Be clear about why you're going Jan 4, 2007

I'd recommend going on whichever day the general public is unlikely to be there. You get the specialists there at that time.

Often when I go to these specialist fairs, the objective is not so much to meet potential clients as to find out what information is out there and where to find it. If you go to lectures, you can learn "specialist-speak" to some extent and, on a day when the general public isn't there, you can get some recommendations about where to learn more about "specialist-speak).

Mr. Watson's recommendation is a good one, assuming you prepare for the appointment and can talk about something other than "I offer wonderful translation services."


Raffaella Cornacchini  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
English to Italian
+ ...
first day but... Jan 5, 2007

It does not really matter as long as you have scheduled a meeting with someone.
However, at least in book fairs (I work in a publishing house), top managers fly away after the first couple of days, so you end talking with editors who do not have any decision-making power and who won't bother to report what you say to the management.


Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Interpret Jan 5, 2007

Well, I attend tradefairs (and industry specific fairs) as an interpreter and anyways, people rarely have time to talk during that time... so I drop my visiting card in their boxes and quite a few of them know that I'm a language professional and contact me directly as they've seen my work.

In India, it does not pay a lot to interpret during a trade fair but I take it as a sort of investment where my real motive is to get industry knowledge and increase my client base.

Hope this helps,



biankonera  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
so many ways.. Jan 5, 2007

and so many approaches to this issue.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your ideas and opinions regarding how to handle fairs. Its really interesting and useful because no fair is the same as no industry is the same.

Im currently getting ready to go to one fair as a freelancer. Will have to see how it works and what I can get out of it keeping in mind whats been said here.:)



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Freelancers going to trade fairs / shows - which day is best?

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