This year will be COMUNICA’s first time at the Translation and Localization Conference. Our CEO Tina Julsgaard will be taking part and bringing some Nordic flair to this renowned international event.
Ahead of the conference, we got in touch with Anna Lewoc of the TLC Team and asked her to tell us more about this event, which is making history with their first fully online edition.
“A decade ago, a good conference was sorely missing from the Polish translation market. There were of course a number of associations, but none of them could successfully create a broad and open community that could attract everyone involved in the language industry.”
It became clear that if we wanted to build a community around an event, user forum or anything similar, we needed to be sure that everyone would feel at home there. Shortly after the idea first arose, Agenor Hofmann-Delbor from Localize.pl began creating the initial vision for a large conference. In the Polish market, the only options were to join events organised by associations and aimed specifically at their members, or to go abroad and take part in extremely expensive conferences that hardly anyone from Poland could afford. So we decided to first create a strong local conference and only thereafter to pursue the dream of international expansion.
Agenor started doing just that in collaboration with Maria Szpor from TexteM, who is now the head of the Polish section of the conference, Konferencja tłumaczy. Agenor and Maria were aware that participants from other countries would need to be able to participate in the event, so they started with a mixed conference, with panels in English and Polish. Another important consideration was that the event needed to be affordable, no matter what.
The organizing team expanded year on year, soon welcoming Jacek Mikrut, Marta Stelmaszak and Anna Lewoc, while continuing to make significant improvements on a broad array of smaller details.
“The whole machine worked so well that other organisers even began visiting our events and taking notes on our organisation. And most importantly, our attendees always give us very high ratings for organisation in satisfaction surveys, which is what really counts for us,” says Anna Lewoc, the current head of the Translation and Localization Conference.
“We put a lot of effort into making this event run smoothly, without any delays, while at the same time giving our participants ample opportunity to network and connect. From the very beginning, our primary goal has been to bring everyone to the table. Not just freelancers and LSPs, but also corporations, organisations, and universities. That’s why we position our conference as an industry platform, not as a conference for freelancers or LSPs. And that is the difficult part as we need to make sure that our programme holds plenty for everyone. Trust me; three simultaneous sessions are sometimes not enough!”
The work on each edition starts around eight months ahead of time. The organisers plan a theme for the event, a vision, a venue … They are usually quick to draw up a shortlist of potential keynote speakers or experts to invite, but it is the call for papers which brings them the most topics. It also gives the organisers an idea as to what issues are trending among potential speakers and what they are interested in talking about.
“We keep learning and each year we listen to comments, read the surveys, etc. It is truly an ongoing process. Each edition needs to be different; no one wants to hear the same stuff all over again. That is why we generally avoid presentations that have already been delivered at other conferences. But I would like to highlight that above all else: TLC works because we have a great team,” says Anna.
“For the 2020 edition, we decided to expand the team by appointing two ambassadors to help spread the word about the conference: Ellen and Nicolás. Then, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and everything changed. The Translation and Localization Conference faced two options: either we cancel the event or take it in a different direction. We chose to move both conferences to September and hold them online. We are doing quite well, so far, and we already have confirmed a number of attendees, sponsors and partners…”