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2009 virtual conference: Suggestions for next year
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:34
Sep 30, 2009

Hi all,

The virtual event is underway and participation has exceeded all expectations. As far as we know, this is, by far, the largest meeting of translators in history. In particular, sessions are going well, with over 1500 having listened in successfully on thebigword's presentation, for example.

That said, as expected, there is plenty of room for improvement. (Networking, for example, seems to be breaking down due to technical limitations of the platform, so alternatives will be worked on. (We threw one alternative together quickly -- see the "attendees" tab of the virtual conferences pages here on

Anyway, in the interest of capturing ideas while they are still top of mind, I am posting this thread. Please enter your suggestions. To keep things structured, please limit yourself to just one post, editing it if you have additional thoughts throughout the event.



I'll update a summary of suggestions here:

* Sound quality should be improved. Consider muzak.
* Put time stamps on chat posts.
* Better chat option. Chat option at
* Address login problems.
* Bigger type, bigger profiles, bigger chat windows.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-06-03 16:08 GMT]


Laura Scipioni
Local time: 18:34
English to Italian
+ ...
Serious problems loggin in Sep 30, 2009

Hi everybody,

it took me one and a half hour to log in the Fair after the opening hour, then half an hour ago I made the worst of mistakes by clicking on the "back" button of my browser instead of using the left menu of the platform and thus logged out (shame on me!)

I've been trying to log in usuccessfully since then and so I haven't been able to attend the conference I had prenoted, the one that interested me a lot.

I think that the log in systems/networks/server devices etc. really must be improved!


Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
Member (2005)
Danish to English
+ ...
Apollo 11 Sep 30, 2009

The sound quality could be improved. There's a slight Apollo 11 atmosphere to the presentations - especially the Q&A. This is surely something that would be fairly simple to address.

In fact, sound is something this environment needs to look into in general. Far be it from me to suggest muzak or equally cheesy options, but some kind of sound in the halls/booths might be a good idea. The fact that most areas are silent contributes to the 'sterile' feel of an event like this...



Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:34
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
There is no timestamp on chat entries - hard to figure the order Sep 30, 2009

What I noticed that in the group chats there was no time stamp on the entries. It was impossible for me to figure out whether the list goes from top to bottom, or from bottom to top...

Edit after I saw Henry's summary on top:
Henry, I am not talking about the Forums. Those have timestamps on the threads, those are OK.
I am talking about the Group Chat windows at the various booths. Chat entries don't seem to have timestamps.

[Edited at 2009-09-30 15:39 GMT]


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
sounds Sep 30, 2009

lack of ambient
muzak or natural sounds of the environment would have been good in the halls...
such things do not require resources... just MIDI or low-resolution MP3 loops...

sounds are a bit vocoder-like...

[Редактировалось 2009-09-30 15:37 GMT]


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
it is a sequence Sep 30, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
no timestamp on chat entries - hard to figure the order

The order is straight.


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:34
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yeah, sequence, but in which direction? Sep 30, 2009

Sergei Leshchinsky wrote:

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
no timestamp on chat entries - hard to figure the order

The order is straight.

Straight from top to bottom, or from bottom to top?
I was looking at some group chats at some of the booths, tried to read what was there, I could use the scrollbar but couldn't see where the whole thing started. The entries are kind of "interlaced" as participants fire away their questions and booth reps try to answer them, so it is hard to figure out the order just by reading the entries.
That's why I thought time stamps would be nice.
The forums do have timestamps and the threads are shown graphically, so it is obvious how things were posted in order.


Claudio Porcellana (X)  Identity Verified
interpreting please ... Sep 30, 2009

think even to poor translators that don't understand spoken english ...
like me



Ma.Elena Carrión de Medina  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
My suggestions... Oct 1, 2009

Hello Henry,

First of all, thanks for all your efforts into this event; for me it was great, and I had no problems with sound whatsoever.

For the next virtual conference I´d like to suggest a Products and Services booth with discounts on your training sessions, books, and any other product in your store.

Another nice thing would be a book store, a place where we could have access to books, mainly related to the translation industry, and where we could have special discounts for the day.

And something that just came to my mind: what about a "live forum", something like the chat room, but were all of the attendees can be talking about just one specific topic. The chatting section in the event was nice, but it was quite confusing because there were several languages and topics involved, so it was hard to flow with one topic only.

These are my suggestions for now. If I get any more ideas, I´ll let you know.

Greetings from Cuenca, Ecuador.


Mette Melchior  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
English to Danish
+ ...
Better networking options Oct 1, 2009

I agree that a better chat option for networking than the one that was offered at Unisfair should definitely be worked on. Good that you set up the additional option. I just saw that too late.

Furthermore, I think some people got confused by the fact that the scheduled time for networking was suddenly changed during the event. At least this happened for Danish.

The idea of live networking via chat in relation to an event like this is great, but I think it would be a good idea to organise it better:
- Schedule some planned times for each language longer time before the actual conference day
- Notify the participants of these times well in time before the conference and remind them on the day
- Set up chat rooms for each language (you did this later, but at first many languages were combined in the forums for "Other languages" at Unisfair, and this was working very very slowly and seemed more like an ordinary forum with threads than a live networking feature.)

As for the group chats available in different parts of the platform, it would be good if these windows could be resized and also allowed for scrolling. If these options were indeed there, I didn't find them.

I also had some problems with the whole platform reacting quite slowly at times, and I agree that some sound outside the sessions would improve the atmosphere.

Finally, it should be possible to see your own stated language combinations and specialization areas under the settings, and modify these when logging on. I know I gave this information upon registration but I couldn't find it anywhere nor see how this would be displayed to others.

Looking forward to more virtual conferences in the future!

Best regards,



Valérie Catanzaro  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
... Oct 1, 2009

Quality of sound and video during the conference should be improved. It was sufficient to understand but not very clear.

Many thanks again for the event!


Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Parallel sessions Oct 1, 2009

Hi Henry,
A much wider choice of topics could be covered if there were parallel sessions in several conference rooms. Since the sessions are recorded, those who have difficulty in choosing one among several sessions could watch one live and the other(s) later.


Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:04
German to English
+ ...
My suggestions Oct 1, 2009

- I think it would be nice to see statistics such as how many people were present at each booth and at each conference. The way it stood, there was a kind of disconnect, since you couldn't really 'feel' the presence of other people except in the chat rooms.

- It would also lend a more realistic touch if questions were flashed on the screen during the workshops for all to see along with information about the asker, analogous to a person standing up and asking a question in a regular conference that is heard by all participants.

- Next year, to increase the number of parallel sessions in the workshops, ProZians could be invited to make presentations, which could be chosen for actual livecast only if they met certain criteria defined by ProZ

- And I think the idea someone else had of simultaneous interpreting has some real merit (and sure should be easy in a ProZ virtual conference!)


avsie (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
English to French
+ ...
Better forum interface Oct 1, 2009

I thought the forum interface of the Networking Lounge was lacking user-friendliness. It was slow and it was a bit of a pain to scroll through the list of topics and replies.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Comments and suggestions Oct 1, 2009

Unfortunately, I had some urgent work, so I stayed there for maybe half an hour only. Had a brief walkthrough, watched part of a presentation.

I did it in the morning, when the network load here in Brazil is light, so I had none of the technical problems some colleagues here mentioned. As I tried it in the evening, when the network is heavily loaded, even your (Henry) short conclusion video required a lot of patience, as it halted all the time.

My web connection is 3 MBPS, so it was sufficient in the morning; slowness in the evening can actually be attributed to network overload.

This leads to the solution to another request: simultaneous translation. Such network delays may render it impossible, depending on the interpreter's local conditions at that time. As I understood that presentations will be kept available for online access, maybe such "simultaneous" interpretations could be done later, not in real time. Maybe some companies would be interested in sponsoring such interpretations for specific targeted markets. Subtitling is also an option.

The whole setup opens the door for making Proz training seminars (not only commercial presentations) avaiable online in a much, much better and more encompassing, resourceful way.

Anyway, congratulations! It was really an amazing show.

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