How the Ukrainian Translation Industry Conference took me by surprise
What’s so special about UTIC?
Finally, my first on-site translation conference this year! This conference was also unique due to its uncommon location in a pine forest (a campsite outside of Dnipro in Ukraine) and its cozy family feel (participants could bring their families along as well).
It surprised me more than any other event of its type.
We had evenings around the campfire, accompanied by music from guitars and violins, and some specially written songs about our industry. We could also enjoy romantic trips by motorboat from the campsite back to our hotel under the starry night sky, and a tranquil forest where we could lounge around on a bean bag chair or swing in a hammock while listening to the enlightening presentations. Not to mention the invigorating river where we could go for a quick dip during the coffee breaks. And on top of all that, we were surrounded by so many wonderful and intelligent people, with friendly and attentive hosts, and some excellent keynote speakers.
This was also my first conference where I could easily combine family and work. There was a kids’ program every day so parents could enjoy the lectures and networking sessions while their children could play, swim, and take part in all the many activities prepared by the animation team.
The entertainment that was provided for both children and adults alike was excellent. We had different shows every evening where the conference participants could display their various talents, and it turned out that some of my colleagues had amazing voices or were incredibly skilled musicians. I also decided to show off a long-forgotten talent from my youth by dancing to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean in the dubstep style which I have recently started mastering. The generous round of applause I received has motivated me to focus even more on this hobby and continue practicing hard. We were also treated to electrifying performances from a professional singer and an instrumental band from Dnipro.
Fortunately, the outdoor format of the event allowed us to adhere to the lockdown requirements but still talk to lots of interesting people face-to-face.
For those who were unable to attend the conference on-site, there was also the opportunity to watch all the presentations and performances online for free. These recordings are now available on YouTube. This was another unique feature of this event, like many other translation conferences, this year have been available only online but not been free (except for the conferences organised by Smartcat).
PROGRAMME OF THE EVENT
My favourite presentations:
- Back to Better: Marketing tips for the post-COVID world by Sabina Jasinska. A wonderful insight into some of today’s effective marketing techniques from a prominent marketing expert. It was useful to learn that email marketing is one of the most powerful tools nowadays.
- Translation for Dubbing: Challenges and Unique Features by Iryna Tulovska. This presentation told me everything I have ever wanted to know about dubbing in movies. I’ve always been curious about the process, and it turns out that it’s extremely complicated but highly creative. Some of the funny examples we were given from certain movies about how American slang was translated into Ukrainian made this presentation even more enjoyable.
- Interpreting as Part of an Official Delegation: Expectations and Preparation by Andrew Liashenko. An official interpreter to several ministers of defense in Ukraine, he told many fascinating inside stories about working with state delegations and also gave some valuable tips for those looking to get into this industry.
- Preparing for Post-Doom – Diversifying business: Content creation, globalization, game, and multimedia localization, and more… by Fedor Bezrukov and Leonid Glazychev. This presentation about scenarios for diversification for translation companies and translators was a very interesting topic for me because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with my business in recent months.
- Foundations of Parenting by Elena Glazycheva. A presentation that was not related to the translation industry as such, but which was very useful for all the parents present all the same. The speaker was a professional psychologist who shared some great tips and stories which made us all reflect on how good we are at parenting.
There was also a roundtable discussion of the COVID consequences that the owners of translation companies are having to deal with. Representatives from five agencies shared how they are surviving the crisis and whether it has had any impact on their business. Most of them claimed that their business hasn’t suffered significantly and they even expect some growth this year. And that’s what I’m expecting with my business too. Everyone agreed that the second wave of the crisis shouldn’t affect them too much either. All of the companies have either already launched their in-house work or plan to do so within a month.
My score for the quality/value of the presentations and workshops: 5 out of 5.
There were two types of presentations – with either on-site or online speakers. I attended mostly the on-site presentations, but it was also possible to watch the online lectures on the TV screens located on-site. However, I decided to leave that for when I got back home and watch them there.
But overall, it was good that almost all the time we could choose between listening to an on-site or an online presence in one of the two outdoor conference lounges.
My score for the convenience of the schedule: 5 out of 5.
CATERING AND GALA DINNER
There was just one coffee break every day, as well as two welcome drink nights and gala dinners. But given the conference lasted for almost a week, we still had plenty of time to mingle and get to know each other. The lunches and snacks were always delicious.
My score for the catering and gala dinner: 4.5 out of 5.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
There was no app for this event so I could only find out certain information by looking at the event’s website or in the printed materials. However, the staff was very helpful so I could always find what I needed. As other events have proved, having an app allows participants to get to know each other better and continue networking even after the conference. This oversight is the reason why I can’t give the maximum score here.
My score for the ease of access to information: 4 out of 5.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND NETWORKING
There were about 65 on-site participants. Most of them were freelance translators from Ukraine, with only four foreign guests (from Poland, Spain, and the US), as well as the owners and managers of about 10 translation companies, including myself. There would have been far more people there if it hadn’t been for the COVID lockdown.
There were also several students, winners of a Ukrainian translation contest. Their follow-up feedback on social media showed just how important it is to invite the rising generation of translators to such events. I didn’t expect too much from the networking as it was mostly a local conference and I was not particularly looking for many business opportunities. However, I was happy to meet so many wonderful people.
My score for the networking: 4 out of 5.
This conference was definitely special and deserves a very high score. Only a few minor issues stopped me from giving it around 5, but I really feel that this event has now become my number one out of all the translation conferences I’ve attended.
My overall score for the conference: 4.5 out of 5.