Proz Conference 2013 – Portugal

ProZ Conference in Porto, Portugal, is over, and I decided to break the silence to post about the sessions I attended. The theme for this year was New demands on the translation industry and the details for the program are available here. The conference happened on a Saturday and a Sunday. On the first day, I attended 4 sessions (Zambrini, Lyons, Diamantidis and Kisin’s) and on Sunday, another 4 (Stelmaszak, Castro, Piróth and Aliperta’s). The program was very good and I had a hard time choosing a few sessions. Some were a no brainer (such as MemoQ – I already have the software and know how to use it pretty well, so this was not a priority).

Here are my impressions.

Drafting a business model canvas: First steps towards personal branding

Daniela Zambrini

The focus was how to create a business model canvas in a workshop. Daniela was clear, simple and very pleasant. She left a canvas for us to complete along with coloured post-its. So we heard about the key elements for a business model, which should be described simply in a single page. It was an amazing hands-on workshop that will be helpful (as soon as my thesis is finished) to create a visual chart. There is a good explanation of the business blocks here.

Summary: hands-on workshop just as I like it! I’m a practical person, so this matches my style.

The next wave: understanding how IT developments are changing the future of medical translation

Erin M. Lyons

Erin was very pleasant and nicely composed in her presentation. You could tell she knew what she was talking about. Erin presented an overview about medical translation market, specially focusing on pharmaceutical companies, showing numbers on growth of the pharma sector in specific countries or regions. She also mentioned a few problems related to back translation and its use to validate a translation (this was REALLY interesting), the transition to e-documentation and terminology management.

The fact that time was not enough and the presence of data too small to read was the only bad side. However, I think I made a good choice attending her session. It gave me a few ideas for my own business, so the result is very positive.

Decoding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Anne Diamantidis

I seeked this session in the hopes of understanding SEO. But this is too much! Anne gave us a great and complete overview as for the SEO terminology and a few concepts needed before digging into it. She also gave a few tips to rank organically among top results and what being in the first page implicitly means. The objectives in program were:

Immediately usable and implementable simple strategies – How to define and generate your keywords – Basics of a SEO-friendly webpage/site – The relationship between your page and social networks (and why social networks matter in SEO) – Content marketing principles and strategies – Dos and don’ts

Objectives achieved! Again, I left the session with a few ideas.

Translate more, more easily

Konstantin Kisin

Here is the description of this session:

“This session is intended for freelance translators who want to:

  Earn more while working less

  Have more free time without paying for it

  Be more motivated and focused”

There were no specific points about what would be covered, so my imagination made me believe some tools would be in order. Wrong! Kisin talked about what drives our productivity, the importance of proper resting and what you should do (and NOT do) during a break. The results were also positive, since I also left the session with a few ideas, but I missed a big secret or something (like a tool!). To be honest, it was so obvious that I felt a bit stupid… Anyway, pointing the obvious can also trigger other neuronal connections and… ta-dan, more ideas! And his presentation style is amazing, fun and light.

Exploring the freelance advantage: how to stay competitive in the new professional landscape

Marta Stelmaszak

Marta is a rock star in our field, so I needed to watch her doing her magic live. Her session was divided in 3 parts (translators, clients, and the “magic between” them). She talked about business models, new services and branding. Her passion itself is very inspirational, and she demonstrated in this workshop a few tools one can use to define a niche. A few jokes sprinkled also made the session very light and fun. And it left me more anxious about Valeria Aliperta’s session on branding, since this seemed to be the key to it all.

Tips & tricks to be competitive, find and keep clients

Xosé Castro

Xosé Castro presented a few tips and tricks indeed. From the importance of using keyboard shortcuts and file organization, so you can find anything you need in less than a minute, to how to stay productive (starting with a shower) and pampering your client. He presented a few tools I didn’t even know existed – and again, practical person here, so I loved it!

He also talked about personal branding and, man, is Aliperta’s presentation too far away?

Trendspotting – round table

Attila Piróth

This was a round-table session which should count with Joao Roque Dias, Marta Stelmaszak and Attila Piroth, but JRD was not around. The aim was to “discuss recent developments and trends in the translation and interpretation sectors”, starting with a discussion on the problems with ALS company and the court interpreting profession in the UK. I’m not an interpreter, but it was nice to understand how that problem exploded in the lack of quality and use of professional interpreters in the UK. Also, the new EU directive (Directive 2010/64/EU), to be implemented until 27 October 2013, was mentioned and much was discussed about the UK situation in this context. You can see the directive here  and a note about UK interpreting status and this directive here.

Branding and websites for translators: tips and ideas to enhance your online and business persona

Valeria Aliperta

Finally! Valeria talked about the importance of having a professional picture consistently used in your profiles and how your business name should match the client profile you wish to reach (on name, sound and look). She also told us how she came up with her brand name and logo, the color palette, font, impact and message. She showed us her branded stationery (and I managed to take a beautiful pin home, so cute!).

Valeria continued the session showing us the main features of good websites and logos along with examples and comments on rights and wrongs . I have to add: she is impressive.

Mox cartoon

I’m looking to change a few things in my business, and these sessions certainly gave me a few tips to shape it and get things going.

Besides the sessions, there is networking. I’m horrible at this, I don’t know how to approach people and every business card I gave was a victory for me, so I really can’t talk about this. However, even though I’m not an expert on this subject, I did make some connections.

Final comment

Conferences go beyond sessions and coffee break (which was also pretty good), and even for shy people, this is a time to make connections and hold conversations about our industry. And frankly, conversations about our industry are only possible with another translator.

My only regret:  Alejandro Moreno-Ramos (Mox’s creator) was there, but I was dying to get some sleep, so I went home. Maybe I should’ve sleep-walked to his desk and get an autographed book instead.

About Michele Santiago

Translation, localization, editing, subtitling. 7 years of experience in English and Spanish into Braz. Portuguese, specialized in Medical, Pharma and IT. Love rainy days, travelling and gadgets. Not necessarily in that order.

  1. Marta (@mstelmaszak)

    Hi Michele,

    Thanks for such a great review! I’ve enjoyed all the sessions I attended, too. It was a wonderful conference, indeed.

    5 years ago

    • Michele Santiago

      Hi Marta,

      So glad you stopped by! Thanks for the great advises on your session, I’m planning on putting them in practice real soon (probably not within 2 weeks, though).

      Hope to talk to you again soon!

      5 years ago

  2. Karolien van Eck

    Hi Michelle, nice to read your review; funny thing is that you did NOT at all seem shy to me! We had a nice, non-shy talk 🙂 So… we’ll be in touch (or rather, I’ll be in touch and hold you to your offer to help out when needed in IT topics) bye for now ;-D

    5 years ago

    • Michele Santiago

      Hi Karolien,

      So good to see you here! I’m glad to know I don’t let it show 😀
      Please do, I told you, I love these tech stuff.

      Hope to talk to you soon!

      5 years ago

  3. Allison Wright

    Nice overview, Michele!
    I wish I could have attended some of the sessions you did, but my programme could not have been fuller than it was. We were fortunate indeed to have an abundance of topics to choose from. I missed out on meeting you, too!

    5 years ago

    • Michele Santiago

      Thank you, Allison, I’m glad you liked it and that you enjoyed the conference as well. Hope we have a chance to meet some other time 🙂

      Have a lovely week!

      5 years ago

  4. Val

    Dear Michele,
    Wow! How come I hadn’t seen this great recap of Porto’s conference?!
    Thanks so much for the kindest words too. I hope it was indeed worth the wait (when you have the ‘death’ slot, it IS hard to keep audiences on their toes!)
    Thank you so much again for attending and for the praise… My pleasure!
    Ps.: Send in a pic with the pin, will you?

    4 years ago

    • Michele Santiago

      Dear Val,
      I’m glad you liked what you read 🙂 And it certainly was worth the wait.
      I’ll gladly send a pic, of course.
      Hope to meet you again soon!

      4 years ago


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