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June 23, 2020 |

A Translator’s Guide to Networking During a Pandemic

Successful translators know that going out there and advertising their services is essential for success in the language industry. But, with everything that’s going on and all industry events canceled, it’s harder to build a robust network than before. Networking during a pandemic means thinking outside the box and adapting to different channels. 

According to networking expert J. Kelly Hoey, “networking is on pause, but relationship building is not.” Therefore, you need a new approach when connecting with people outside conferences and planned events. 

Changing Your Mindset – Networking During a Pandemic

Networking is about more than connecting with people with similar interests. The ultimate purpose is to build relationships–not to take immediate advantage. Eventually, many of these connections will generate opportunities and profit, but it shouldn’t be your primary concern when connecting with someone. If you focus only on a profit-centered network, you won’t be able to consolidate connections and build trust in the long run. 

During a pandemic, more than before, people don’t want to be marketed to or become a name on a list. They look for generosity and authenticity. So, if you want to reach more potential collaborators and build a useful network, you need to push your human side. Use your creativity and energy to open conversations and listen to what people have to say. 

Try to initiate relationships by helping people who need your expertise. Be ready to give without expecting anything in return. You’ll have plenty of time to capitalize in the future, so put that aside for the time being. 

Networking during a pandemic is about being there for people and helping them overcome challenges. As a translator, you can provide tips about your clients’ international target audience, industry insights, or other information that could result in informed decisions. Instead of sending people emails or private messages about your services, give them content to guide them when communicating with their local audiences.

Grow an interest in what your peers do and plan to achieve. Don’t fake it to get what you want. If you manage to change your networking mindset, you’re more likely to get in touch with the right people and nurture relationships. 

Staying Connected to the Industry

Once you’ve adjusted your networking plans for 2020, it’s time to find some places to go and meet people. Luckily, the industry has managed to keep specialists connected so that everyone has continued to network during the pandemic. Some of the major translation and localization events scheduled for this year have gone virtual. 

You can join live presentations, participate in panel discussions, and access workshops from the comfort of your home. Better yet, you won’t have to spend money on planes or other transport tickets, and overall, online events cost less than traditional, face-to-face conferences (some of them are even free!). So you can finally make it to one of those industry events that otherwise would have been off-limits!

Get in touch with professional associations in your area or subscribe to newsletters from global organizations in the language industry. This way, you’ll find out about virtual events and be able to join them.  

Language Industry Events Going Digital in 2020

Here are some translation conferences that are available online in the following months: 

  • SlatorCon Remote (SlatorCon) – July 9, 2020. This online event plans to gather technologists, industry executives, and translators from around the world. The purpose is to highlight the fastest growing sectors in the industry and share critical market knowledge to help translators remain competitive. You can join this virtual event for $25. 
  • UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference (UKCLC 2020) – July 27-29, 2020. It’s an event for linguists interested in sharing their research with peers in the industry. The organizers promise to recreate the feeling of going to an actual conference as much as possible. Prices start at $38.
  • LocWorldWide 42 Virtual (LocWorld 2020) – July 28-30, 2020. This is one of the leading conferences for translation, localization, and global website management. The event is focused on global business and provides an opportunity for experts in the industry to share knowledge with their peers. Prices start at $229 and don’t include access to the pre-conference workshops. 
  • The Translation and Localization Conference (TLC+KT 2020) – September 25-27, 2020. This is one of the best events for the translation industry that brings together translators, interpreters, multinational corporations, CAT tool experts, technical writers, QA experts, and other people who want to refresh their network. Price tickets start at $57. 
  • The Association for Machine Translation in the Americas Conference (AMTA Virtual) – October 6-10, 2020. The 14th biennial conference will be organized using Microsoft Team and promises to maximize virtual interactions between attendees, in an attempt to provide the same context of a face-to-face conference. 

If your ideal event isn’t on the list, search for it online. There’s a high possibility it is going virtual, too. You might even register in time for an early bird discount.  

Showing up for Your Peers

Networking during a pandemic is harder than in regular times, but it’s not impossible. What matters is that you check in with people. If you want to strengthen relationships, take the time to write a few lines and let them know you’re there.

You can send emails, add comments on LinkedIn, or send Slack messages–anything that makes people feel comfortable will work. What matters is that you show up and let people know you care even if there’s no immediate financial reward. 

Your contacts will remember that you connected during these hard times. A simple email can make more difference in the long run than any marketing campaign or future discounts. 

The secret is to personalize communication and adapt your message to every single person you’re reaching out to. Connect with empathy and care. Networking during a pandemic isn’t a numbers game, but an exercise of humanity and authenticity.

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