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7 Reasons to Attend a Local Translation Conference
You've invested in your education to become a translator or interpreter; now it's time to invest in your profession. Attending a professional conference is an excellent way to enhance your career.
Conferences are taking place all year long, all over the world - some perhaps just within a short drive from where you live. Click here to view the Translation Journal Calendar of Events, which lists global conferences as well as regional and state conferences.
There are many reasons attending a smaller local conference may be preferable to going to one of the larger international conferences. In addition to the most obvious factors (lower conference fees, reduced travel costs, and a smaller time commitment), here are seven excellent reasons to attend a local conference.
1. To get your feet wet
Big conferences can attract huge crowds, sometimes upwards of 1,800 attendees. These large conferences can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for a first-timer, so it may be better to start off attending a smaller conference. Regardless of the conference size, you will be free to come and go as you please, and there will be plenty of time built in for meals and socializing. You might try to attend your first conference with someone who has gone before and can show you the ropes, though flying solo can be freeing and fun, too.
2. To forge connections
Networking is an important element of professional conferences. With smaller local conferences, there is a good chance that you might already know someone or even many people there, such as past or current schoolmates or co-workers. Mingling with people you already know is not only enjoyable, but often leads to meeting new people. As they say, who you know can be just as important as what you know.
3. To meet your heroes
Smaller local conferences allow for greater access to the attending luminaries in the translation industry. Speakers at larger conferences are often swamped by people grappling for their attention, making it is difficult or next to impossible to talk with them before or after their presentations. The smaller size of local conferences means fewer people vying for the attention of these VIPs.
4. To make a big splash
With fewer people to contend with, you have a much better chance of making a great impression on potential collaboration partners or employers at a smaller conference. Connecting with people in decision-making positions can often benefit you in the long run, especially if positions open up on their teams or if they land a project requiring additional translators. Make an effort to stand out by contributing to conversations and asking questions in workshops. Increasing your visibility can have a significant effect on your prospects for future work.
5. To find a mentor
At a smaller conference, you may find the opportunity to share some of your work questions with other more experienced colleagues. Your fellow professionals are the best source of real-world information and advice on translation issues and other professional obstacles you may be encountering. Local conferences are usually less of a whirlwind than large international conferences, and attendees are generally more relaxed and often extremely open to helping their colleagues.
6. To know your area
Conference organizers and conference speakers all generally try to tailor the conference experience to best suit the local audience, and it is much easier to focus on a smaller, more specialized market than a global one. Because of this, offerings at a local conference may be of more relevance to you than they would be at a larger conference. Pay special attention to information on upcoming local projects, job opportunities in the local community, and specific issues facing your region. Knowledge is power!
7. To boost your résumé
Listing your attendance at a professional conference on your résumé is a great way to demonstrate to potential clients that you are committed to furthering your education and staying up-to-date on key issues in the translation and interpreting field. You might also list specific seminars you have taken in your particular area of expertise. Highlighting your continuing education makes you more attractive to potential employers and can increase your chances of securing future projects.
So, check out the TJ Events Calendar and register for an upcoming conference in your area today! It may lead to future work, and it will certainly benefit your professional and personal development. You will not regret it!