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Prague conference 2010: Benefits from the ProZ conference?
Thread poster: Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
Member (2008)
English to Czech
Jul 25, 2010

Could any past ProZ conference attendant share (in general) their thoughts and experience on positive impacts on their knowledge or business thanks to the conference?

I mean, I see there are many workshops and speeches on schedule for Prague, but given it is not a free event, I would like to know what VALUE a translator does/can actually get that make it worth it, in terms of learning something new (what is unavailable via free on-line resources), self-promotion (except for extra paid advertising), making new business contacts etc.

Thank you.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-07-30 15:30 GMT]


 

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
Every single person takes his/her advantages of it Jul 25, 2010

Hi Tomas,

well I think this is not a question that can be easily be answered. Everybody takes advantages of such a meeting and so much information. But how valuable these are, can definetely not be measured in global terms. It all depends on what do you expect from such a conference and how much do you want to learn and finally how much are you willing to make it up into your daily work, once back home. So it is a very personal decision.

If I am right, this will be my seventh conference and I can assure you I don't want to miss any of them. I have learnt a lot there and I have met many people. I.e. there was a conference in which you could learn a lot about how the translator departments at the EU headquarters in Brussel works. This was very interesting and I am very happy to have got such an inside view of it.

At another conference, I learnt how important is to have an accurate profile at proz.com. I now know that I have got more clients due to this fact (And I am NOT saying this here because this is a proz.com-Forum!)

In another conference I learnt how it works to translate for publishers, let's say literature translations and this is one of the most impresive speaches I have ever heard.

Well there are many things I could say why for me is important to attend a conference. But I think, for me, the most important thing, by far, is to get to know colleagues: In my opinion there is no better way to get into the field of "translations", as doing so. To share your problems, difficulties, but also successes and efforts with somebody who does not make an question mark out of his face by talking about "source language" or "fuzzy matches" is for me very important. Really very important.

For these reasons and many others I love to attend conferences and as far as I can, I will keep on doing so.

I hope this answer helps you a little bit!

I hope to see you at the conference in Prague!

Cheers,
Helena


 

Jana Kinská  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
English to Czech
+ ...
Good question... Jul 25, 2010

... I am, too, interested in this topic. Having noted the amount to be paid for that, and having read the list of the issues to be discussed, I still am not persuaded this will be worth it. I would be happy if people shared their experience here and maybe helped me, and other potential conference "newbies", decide.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
English to Czech
+ ...
Seconded Jul 26, 2010

Jana Kinská wrote:

... I am, too, interested in this topic. Having noted the amount to be paid for that, and having read the list of the issues to be discussed, I still am not persuaded this will be worth it. I would be happy if people shared their experience here and maybe helped me, and other potential conference "newbies", decide.


Exactly my thoughts.


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:42
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Feedback from past conferences Jul 26, 2010

I think Helena already said it quite well and I agree with her in that different persons will get different benefits out of attending these conferences.

You probably should not expect to learn new things in each and every one of the sessions you attend and to return back home with a completely new set of skills. You might already know a lot of the things you hear and others might not be relevant to you at all. But I am sure you will also get lots of ideas and thoughts worth following up afterwards.

I only attended one of the previous conferences (Budapest 2007) and enjoyed it tremendously. What I took home from the actual sessions were lots of notes of things I thought were worth putting into practice or finding out more about. Just to quote one specific example: There was a session on backing up your work which I found very useful. I put many of the points into practice and now backup my work and my files much more efficiently than before. Of course, I could have done some research on my own and easily have found the same information online, but to be honest I don't think I could ever have been bothered to do so.

Similarly, there were 'eye-openers' in other sessions - things you already know (or knew and forgot about), but which were worth being reminded of. In Budapest I also saw a new CAT tool which I had not known before and I attended a practical TRADOS session for advanced users, which I found very useful.

An important part of the conference, however, is also meeting your colleagues and maybe even potential clients and/or collaborators. To me this is just as important (if not more important) than the actual sessions.

And last but not least, I find these conferences a perfect excuse for getting away from the usual routine for a few days - seeing a new place, meeting new people and making new friends. (I appreciate, though, that "getting away" and "seeing a new place" might not be that relevant for those of you who are based in Prague or the Czech Republic already icon_wink.gif).

You might also want to have a look at some of the other discussions in the "Conference" forum to see the feedback from participants of past conferences (e.g. Budapest or Ohrid).

Looking forward to seeing you in Prague!


[Edited at 2010-07-26 10:25 GMT]


 

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
Member (2008)
English to Czech
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jul 26, 2010

Thank you Helena and Thomas.

"meeting your colleagues and maybe even potential clients and/or collaborators"
- this reminds me, is there during the Proz conference any option for free self-promotion like displaying business cards etc. at a dedicated-to-all spot, something like "job marketplace" known from ATA conferences?


 

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
@ Thomas Pfann Jul 26, 2010

Thomas Pfann wrote:

I think Helena already said it quite well and I agree with her in that different persons will get different benefits out of attending these conferences.



Hello Thomas,
I thank you very much, indeed, for your nice words!
And also thank you for confirming that my post was not only in my own PC, but can also be seen at other pepole's computer!
I was in fact wondering, if people can read what I wrote or I was only dreaming I had done it ;o)

See you in Prague!
Take care,
Helena


 

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
@ Tomas Mosler Jul 26, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:

Thank you Helena and Thomas.
Your very welcome!


"is there during the Proz conference any option for free self-promotion like displaying business cards etc. at a dedicated-to-all spot, something like "job marketplace" known from ATA conferences?


By now I am absolutely convinced, that if some attendees of other conferences, like Thomas Pfann, are reading that, they are smiling right now! ;o))

Among some attendees of past conferences I am known as the "Visitt-Card-aunt"!

Yes, of course, indeed you can give your visit cards among other people! But a stand behind which you stay and you everybody say how a gorgeous translator you are: No, there are no 220 tables for this purpouse. And I am sure, there won't be in Prague either.

Cheers,
Helena-"Do-you-have-already-my-visitcard-May-I-have-yours,-please" -aunt! ;o)


 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:42
English to Russian
+ ...
Helena, Jul 26, 2010

+100

:0)))


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
English to Czech
+ ...
No irony necessary Jul 26, 2010

Helena Diaz del Real wrote:

Hello Thomas,
I thank you very much, indeed, for your nice words!
And also thank you for confirming that my post was not only in my own PC, but can also be seen at other pepole's computer!
I was in fact wondering, if people can read what I wrote or I was only dreaming I had done it ;o)

See you in Prague!
Take care,
Helena


Hello Helena et al,
I believe that all askers and conference "noobs", myself included, already understand that there's a difference between a conference and a training. And I believe they also understand that there cannot be a "universal" output valid for all attendees at the conference.

But like Jana, neither I am convinced that the topics to be discussed in Prague are worth the investment which will, including accommodation, amount to approx. € 400 for the two days. That's why there are voices asking what additional benefits such a conference can have, apart from meeting up with your colleagues in person.

At first, I welcomed the opportunity and was eager to attend such an event in my own country; however, the prices are quite beyond my budget.


 

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
German to Spanish
+ ...
@ Stanislav. There is no irony in my words! Jul 26, 2010

Hi Stanislav,

There is no irony in my words! And if you think there is one, I can assure you it was not my will to offend anybody.

Yes, I made a joke with the visitcards, but as you see, it is not a lie: See Sergei's answer!

I am sorry that your budget does not allow you to attend the conference. As per me, I know I won't spend 400 € for the 2 days conference, as there is a train to Prague from Nuremberg for 38 € round trip and I will stay at a hostel for aprox. 14 €/night. As 250 € includes all meals I could easily make it for 350 €, including city transportation. And this is well worth it, for me.

However nothing forbiddes you to ask the organisators for a discount for people living and working in countries where the is hard to earn high prices.

All the best,
Helena


 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:42
English to Russian
+ ...
And there is a good news Jul 26, 2010

All business cards one collects at the conference will be for free!

:0))

[Edited at 2010-07-26 15:27 GMT]


 

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
Member (2008)
English to Czech
TOPIC STARTER
a few more thoughts on value for money Jul 27, 2010

First of all, before you read on my "hesitating" comments, please keep in mind I just sometimes tend to act with possibly lower expectations and being positively surprised in the end than vice versa...

I dare to assume that asking for discount would not work, if it didn't work for Ohrid
http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_international_conferences/130054-ohrid_conference_2009_conference_fee.html#1081678

Secondly, there is a note on the Proz conference page in Czech saying "the fee certainly won't be higher than in case of other similar conferences (...see Ohrid...)". I can't help but seeing 190 eur (Ohrid) as lower sum than 300 usd. Thirdly, saying that Olympik Artemis Hotel is in the heart of Prague (as on conf. page) is somewhat exaggerated.icon_smile.gif (Whatever, it's just that the use of misleading "marketing speak" may add to the sceptic side.)

Please don't misunderstand me, I would have no problem paying 300 usd for the conference and I still haven't decided myself, but I (the cautious part of me) can't help thinking that I'm buying a pig in a poke without any "money back/satisfaction guarantee" and I'm trying to consider different possible aspects of the expected "service". If I deduct the sessions (that may or may not be beneficial, as Thomas also kind of acknowledged) and lunches/dinner, it would almost seem:

a) That there could/should be a free option (for non-participants) to meet fellow translators/"lobby" access that would do for some of the socializing ones... (I see there is a powwow on Friday but there probably won't be everyone.)
b) That there could/should be a fee for one session/workshop access - out of all the sessions (12 in total that you can attend one by one in both days), I see three or four of them (in different days) that stand out for me, while I can live without the rest. Organisators, wouldn't that be a possibility?

Anyway, if this won't work: Jana, Stanislav, et al. - what about forming some subversive second class group that would meet in any pizzeria nearby - for no money people many (ah did I just expressed reversed expectations here?icon_wink.gif ).


 

Pavel Janoušek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
German to Czech
+ ...
Potential benefits, but not guaranteed Jul 28, 2010

Dear potential attendees,

As the organizer of this event, I am probably not the person whose opinion or experience you would prefer reading here, as everything I say may be perceived as an attempt to sell the conference but let me tell you at least why I go to ProZ.com conferences all over the world and why I decided to organize a conference in Prague.

First, many thanks to Tomáš for pointing out to an error on the website regarding the location of the hotel. In fact, it's four metro stations away from the centre of the town, but it was never my intention to mislead anybody. If there is anybody who registered for the conference just because they thought the venue hotel was located in the heart of Prague, please tell me at the conference and I'll buy you a beer (or a glass of wine)icon_smile.gif

I asked myself the same questions as Jana or Stanislav when I went to my first conference in Dortmund, Germany. Will it be worth the money? Can I obtain ANY benefit from attending it for my own business?

The answer came quite quickly, after two or three days when I was back in Prague. One of the attendees called me and offered me a job worth EUR 1,200. So I got my money back and, on top of that, we've been working together since then on a number of projects. Of course, this may but need not happen every time and to everybody. Having said that, choosing a translator for an agency may in fact be a lot easier if they know the translator in person. So this is perhaps the biggest "business" benefit of attending the conference. There will be a dedicated space (probably in the corridor in front of the conference rooms, and in the coffee room with dozens of tables) where you can get in contact with others, including your potential business partners.

Meeting other fellow translators, mostly from Germany, where most of my clients come from, also opened my eyes as to what prices are realistic, what working conditions are usual in Germany, etc.

As for the sessions I attended in Dortmund, I remember one very clearly. It was a workshop held by Peter Linton on "Computer tools for translators". Actually, he did not say anything I had not known, but it was the combination of various tools he was using and some of the features that were unknown to me until then what I benefited the most from.

Or Jerzy Czopik's training on Trados and his workshops on PDF conversion. Of course you have been using all those programs and tools for ages and you may use a lot of free online resources for tips and tricks, but believe me: (a) you never know every little trick of it, and (b) if someone shows them to you, you'll never forget them (at least I didn't).

So to sum up, and as Thomas put it, you may not expect to come home with a completely set of new skills. What you may expect is to come home with:

a) dozens of notes from workshops and sessions containing lots of useful tips and tricks for the use of the software that you use or should use to make your work easier or more efficient;
b) dozens of contacts to both other freelancers and agencies that may, but of course need not, turn into rewarding business contacts later;
c) a feeling that you are part of a big community of professionals who you can talk to and meet and who help you not only to do your business better but also to overcome the feeling of "being alone in this world" that we freelance translators sometimes have;
d) inspiration for your further development by following others' examples, knowing how translation business is done in other countries, etc.

Although these may be only vague benefits that may not realize after all (or that you don't see right now), in my opinin, they are definitely worth EUR 250. Oh, and have I mentioned making friends?

The mixture of all these benefits was one of the reasons why I decided to organize a conference in Prague: to help fellow translators to develop their own businesses and to provide them with a platform where they can meet with each other and exchange information and ideas.

It's always a difficult task to put together a programme that suits everybody's needs. We are not at the same level, with some of us, like Tomáš and Stanislav, being experienced translators and advanced users of IT tools, while others are newbies not only to ProZ.com events but also to technology. What I can offer is that you contact the speaker via a link on the session's website and tell him or her what your expectations are. By knowing the approximate level of the attendees, he or she will be able to adjust the workshop to the needs of those who plan to attend it. For this reason, there won't be hardly any prepared speeches at this conference, as they are not so interactive and the speaker cannot easily respond to questions and suggestions during the session.

As for the suggestion to offer access to individual sessions, I like this idea but it would not be easy to put into practice. We would have to use several types of badges to "mark" those who should leave the hotel after a particular session and see that they don't have lunch, etc. I find this quite complicated not only in terms of organisation. I would feel very uncomfortable if I was to tell someone they should leave now because they have only paid for one session. This is why only one-day passes are available.

Last but not least, we already have a platform where both attendees and non-attendees can meet. It's the powwows - one on Friday evening, another one on Sunday evening after the conference. Besides, you can also buy a ticket for the gala dinner on Saturday. That will be an excellent opportunity to meet almost everybody who attend the conference, as the gala dinner is included in the conference package.

Feel free to contact me or post your questions here. I'll be happy to help you with any concerns you may have.

Thank you for your support!

Cheers,
Pavel


 

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:42
Member (2008)
English to Czech
TOPIC STARTER
good Jul 28, 2010

Thanks for in-depth analysis.icon_smile.gif

I'd have two more questions:
1) If I pay the registration fee in advance and then cannot attend for whatever upredictable reason, e.g. illness, would any refund apply, and if so what are the rules and percentage deduction (if any)?
2) Is there any option to see - or to make us see if it is not secreticon_smile.gif - on an ongoing basis how many of the "registered" participants ( http://www.proz.com/conference/157?page=participants ) are actually going there (ie. those of all registered people that have paid the fee)? It's just that it is a bit different if one gets the opportunity to "socialize" with people out of 50 or out of 250.

Thank you.


 
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