When you want to write a review about a conference or an event you attended, you try to do this as quickly as possible because you do not want to forget about what happened.
But I am writing about the BP19 Translation Conference 60 days after I attended it.
This is for a reason!
It was a different experience and one of the highlights of 2019 for me and for many other translation professionals who attended the conference.
Imagine yourself at the same place with more than 275 translators and interpreters from different parts of the world.
Translators who speak different native languages, work with hundreds of different clients, have different specializations, live in 30 different countries, but they share one thing.
They all have a real passion for the translation and localization industry.
I was fortunate to attend the BP19 Translation Conference this year in Bologna, Italy.
In this article, I will try to give an overview of the conference and the most important sessions and/or events that happened there.
But Why do I Go to Conferences?
I had to travel a total of 10 hours by flight and 6 hours by train to attend the BP19 Translation Conference. This is the standard time I have to spend to attend a conference in Europe, but I truly believe it’s worth for the below reasons:
Reason #1 – I live far away fro my clients
as you may already know, I live in Egypt, but 95% of my work is with international clients in Europe and the USA. So, attending conferences give me a great chance to meet the people I may work with. Although the BP19 was not intended to be a conference for clients, I had discussions about some potential cooperation in the future.
Reason #2 – Meeting new people
Networking is an important part of the game if you plan to build a business for yourself. But I had a problem. I was an introvert for many years. However, I keep trying to overcome this. Attending conferences is an excellent opportunity to meet people you already know, online or offline, and make new friends. I only knew two people who attended the BP19, and you cannot imagine how many people I talked with and how many new friends I made.
Reason #3 – Learning from others
I read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, read articles, but nothing is like attending a live event. It is a different experience. You can ask questions and listen to others’ thoughts and talks about what is delivered. The best part about the presentation in translation conferences is they are customized to translation and localization professionals, not general presentations for everyone.
Reason #4 – Get Some Positive Energy
Most translators work and live in an isolated environment. They see the world through social networks and the internet in general. I think you would agree with me that most of the posts on social media are full of negative energy. The talk about low prices and bad clients is everywhere. But if you go to conferences, you’ll meet people who try to improve themselves and will listen to new ideas about how to market to clients the right way. All of these will give you a positive push in your personal and professional life.
What is a BP Translation Conference?
The conference website refers to BP as “Business + Practice.” The first conference was held in 2014 in Budapest. The main themes of the conference are always about practical advice for translators and interpreters. All the conference speakers come from the translation industry, which means they know what they talk about and they share the business practices they are already following.
The BP conference was held 6 times:
- The BP14 Conference: in Budapest with 145 participants.
- The BP15 Conference: in Zagreb with 145 participants.
- The BP16 Conference: in Prague with 180 participants.
- The BP17 Conference: in Budapest with 180 participants.
- The BP18 Conference: in Vienna with 280 participants.
- The BP19 Conference: in Bologna with 275 participants.
Why BP Translation Conference is Different:
Reason #1: No association or an organization behind it
Usually, large conferences are organized by large agencies or private organizations. For example, the first translation conference in Egypt was organized by the American University in Cairo in 2019.
But for the BP conferences, there is only one hero: Csaba Ban.
Csaba is a Hungarian freelance translator and lives in Budapest. The conference idea came to him after finishing a 140,000 word translation project back in 2013.
He posted about the idea on Facebook and received positive replies from colleagues. Within half an hour, a domain name was booked for the first conference, and Csaba called a hotel to book the venue of the first BP Translation Conference ever.
Reason #2: The Participants are Mostly Translators and Interpreters
The majority of the attendees are translators and interpreters. They come from different backgrounds and have different levels of experience.
I met people who worked for more than 15 years in the language industry and people who just started out in 2019!
As you are surrounded by people with different experiences and cultures, you will be exposed to a load of information and knowledge you cannot get from anywhere else.
The best part of this is that most of the attendees of BP translation conferences have the same mindset; positive look at the industry and passion to improve themselves.
The internet is full of negative energy, but when you meet people who have positive thoughts, you will feel you are not alone in this world.
Reason #3: “Whoa” Application to Communicate with Other Participants
Csaba used the “Whoa” application before, after, and during the conference to connect with all participants. But the application was far more useful. Participants can create mini events during the conference and invite others to attend. For example, I attended a dinner on the second day based on an activity posted in the application, and I went on a morning tour with other participants as someone posted about it.
Also, the application had a messaging feature. I could connect with other conference attendees through “Whoa” to arrange for mini meetings and exchange information.
The application enabled the conference attendees to see the conference agenda and create their own agendas based on the sessions they loved.
It was an amazing idea.
My Favorite BP 19 Translation Conference Sessions
Day One: 1st May
The first day was a non-official start of the conference.
There were 4 workshops presented by experienced professional translators. Each workshop lasted for 3 hours with practical tips, mainly on marketing for translators. I did not attend any of these sessions as I had clients meetings in that day, but the participants who attended them said they were full of practical tips and information.
Day Tow: 2nd of May – Long Talks
Thursday 2nd of May was the official starting day. It was a full day of 18 informative sessions in 3 parallel tracks from 9:00 to 17:30. Each session lasted for 55 minutes.
I was perplexed about which one to attend because most of them were important and the presenters were outstanding. Here are some notes about the main sessions I attended.
Tess Whitty: How to Find Direct Clients
Tess is English to Swedish translator. She runs a popular podcast, “Marketing Tips for Translators.” Her long talk was about different ways freelance translator can use to find direct clients. Her main advice was to pick 2-3 marketing strategies and follow them consistently to find new clients. Also, she advised us to decide where to find direct clients as opposed to translation agencies. Attending industry events is a great way to find new clients and approach them.
Paige Dygert: What Legal Clients Want – as Told by a Previous Client
Paige is a former practitioner in the legal space and now works as English to Italian translator. So, she knows what she is talking about. Paige gave good recommendations about how to deal with clients who need legal translations.
She said lawyers are always busy and overwhelmed; that is why they always have tight deadlines. They forget about the translations they need to complete for courts!
Paige also mentioned that legal clients do not like to change translators, which is a good thing for us. But still, you need to provide top-notch work for them.
The best thing about working with lawyers is referrals. If your legal translation client loves you, they will refer you to other lawyers, which mean more work for you as a translator.
If you want to know how to communicate well with lawyers, check what Paige wrote on the above picture.
Day Three: 3rd of May – Short Talks (and my talk)
The last day was full of 12 short talks. Each speaker had 20 minutes to squeeze their ideas, which is very hard! Each talk was followed by an 8-minute Q&A moderated by the funny comedian Konstantine Kisin.
Here are my main takeaways of the short talks.
Caroline Alberoni: How to Impress Clients and Make Them Fall in Love with You
Caroline is full of energy. When she is on stage, she talks like a true professional. I enjoyed her talk very much.
Caroline talked about how translators can impress their clients. She said the rule is to treat your clients like you need to be treated as a client. When you visit a hotel, you will ask for a top-notch service. The same happens to our clients, and they are looking for a top-notch service. She mentioned some situations where communication is key with clients; for example, when you are going into a long vacation, tell your clients about it.
Olga Jeczmyk Nowak: how to get more clients in a non-spammy way
Olga gave a very nice talk in under 20 minutes. Every second of the presentation was vital as it had a new tip for translators and interpreters. Olga stressed the importance of online presence for translators. Also, she asked translators to send customized emails to clients to avoid looking spammy. She mentioned that being innovative in your communication with your clients can let you stand out from the crowd.
Jaqui Guardamagna: the Power of Soft Skills in a Digital Age
Soft skills are important now than ever. Jaqui explained how digital communication can ruin relationships, but by mastering soft skills, we can have better relationships with our clients. Some of the soft skills we need to practice and master include, risk management, well-being, initiative, and commitment.
Sherif Abuzid: Productivity Hacks For Translators
My presentation was about how translators can be more productive in their work. The presentation was based on the idea of “Deep Work” presented by the computer since professor “Cal Newport.”
If translators worked in a distraction-free environment, with complete focus on their task, they will be more creative and finish the tasks in a shorter time. To do this, translators need to plan their day ahead, block time for similar tasks, and set tight deadlines for their work.
Carlos La Orden Tovar: Running a Translation Business as a Restaurant
Carlos’ talk was the closing talk, but he was very funny and managed to grab the attention of the audience.
He explained that translators can provide different service levels to their clients, but clients will always remember the remarkable service level. It is our duty as translators to provide a memorable experience to our clients by finding out their exact needs, getting the proper training, and managing our relationship with them very well.
Here are my final thoughts about the BP19 Translation Conference
- Great Choice of the Speakers
- Variety of Presentations Topics
- Many Networking Opportunities
- Mainly for Translators and Interpreters
- Few Workshops Presented
- The City is far from Rome
- Nothing about Interpretation
- The Recordings are not Public
Where will the BP20 be Held?
There is a tradition in BP Translation Conferences to let you know where will be the next conference. Csaba said the BP20 will be in the German City Nuremberg. I think he prefers to organize the conference in cities, not capital cities so we can enjoy a quiet environment while attending the conference. I hope to see you soon and feature you in the BP20 conference review.
As you can see, I love the BP19 conference and all its events. I came back full of positive energy and keen to implement new ideas for my business. If you attended the conference, leave me a comment below about what you loved or did not love about it.