ProZ Virtual Conference
I celebrated International Translatorsâ€™ Day (September 30th) by visiting the Proz virtual conference called – translation3.
There were 9,900 registrants and just over half of them showed up for some of the day. I signed up last year and didnâ€™t manage to take part because I was ill on the day, so I was determined to have a look this year.
This virtual conference is free to the end user. That is to say, you do have to agree to receive some emails from the sponsors during the year, but itâ€™s a relatively small price to pay compared with whatâ€™s on offer.
In general the conference went pretty well. There were a couple of minor technical issues from time to time, (mostly speakers on panel discussions not setting their sound levels appropriately).
I ended up missing the first session (problem between keyboard and seat) because I clicked the wrong link and ended up watching Henry’s (interesting) presentation on the next 3-5 years. I clicked the “on-demand” link instead of the live content link. Clearly it wasn’t quite idiot-proof. (Did I just call myself an idiot? Is that good marketing? You’ll have to forgive me, I’ve had a head-cold this week)
Overall I attended 3 full sessions and â€œpopped inâ€ on a couple of others for short periods. Each one I looked in on had around 1000 attendees. Very few complained of technical issues, so I think the system was generally pretty robust.
One feature of the system was a real time chat window, which allowed people to ask questions and interact during panel discussions and talks.
I was quite surprised at the enormous level of stupid comments in the chat window. Some of them were very funny though. Perhaps a bit of moderation would be appropriate? Or maybe it’s just a part of the flavour of an online conference, where you can’t get physically lynched for saying something rude? Or perhaps it stops the panellists taking themselves too seriously? Itâ€™s a tough call to make.
There was also quite a lot of promotional plugging by Proz itself in this area â€“ mostly pushing their online training courses. Some of the sarcastic comments were hilarious, but if I had been a panellist, I doubt I would have been blessed or impressed by them.
One or two panellists were difficult to understand because of very strong accents or incorrect microphone settings. Thatâ€™s one possible area where a small tweak could have a big impact. Most people could be heard and understood pretty well most of the time.
It was the same for the content. Most of the people taking part were good and competent. With one or two, I wondered what they were doing there but most of them were very good.
There was also quite a lot of â€œon demandâ€ content. I havenâ€™t yet finished going through the sessions that interest me there. Some of them are pretty good. Although some do have rather poor sound quality (uncomfortable to listen to). I aborted one or two â€œon demandâ€ sessions because my ears wouldnâ€™t allow me to listen to the rasping noise of sound which has been downsampled too much. (Itâ€™s either that or poor quality recording in the first place â€“ hard to forgive either way.)
I hope the sound quality for the paid-for training courses on Proz is of a generally higher standard.
There were other conference areas with prize draws and promotions. Some of the major translation memory packages were available for purchase at 50% discount.
There was an area to interact with other translators and also some online Pow-Wows.
There was an awful lot to offer and Iâ€™m glad I took part. I think it will probably be an annual thing now, so I recommend you stop by next year and check it out. It was fun.
Alex Eames is the founder of translatortips.com, editor of tranfree and author of the eBooks…