Best localization conferences to attend in 2022
The Latin roots of the word “conference” mean, literally, “Bring together.” A conference brings together people and ideas. In the cases of health and community work, conferences often have the goal of generating or working toward solutions to problems or broader social change.
In any industry, conferences are like educational and inspirational events to attend—not to mention lively and fun. They make it possible for practitioners and industry leaders from around the world to gather and help steer the industry for the coming year. It is particularly important that conferences in the translation and localization industry happen every year: due to its ability to take ideas, solutions, and products globally, the localization industry has the influence to drive change around the world.
Conferences may be held in places other than the workplaces and neighborhoods of their participants so that the people attending can focus on the topic at hand without distractions. Some conferences are even held in another area of the country or the world.
Types of Conferences
1. Informal local conferences
It is like that organized by the Peterson Women’s Health Collaborative in the example at the beginning of the section – may sometimes consist entirely of discussion, but usually include some presentation of ideas or practice, at least as a springboard. Frequently, the format of a grassroots conference is similar to that of a professional one but less formal. (Such conferences are often held outdoors, for instance, where weather permits.) A conference may last a few hours or several days.
It may be a one-time event or a regular (usually annual) fixture on participants’ schedules. It may be held at the YMCA down the street or in a hotel in Paris or Barcelona, or San Francisco. It may also be one of several types:
2. Academic conferences.
Most academic conferences are centered around a single subject, and sometimes on a single topic within that subject. The format usually involves graduate students and academics presenting their research, work, and theories, and defending, expanding, or changing them in response to questions, criticism, and other feedback from colleagues.
Generally annual, these conferences are often sponsored by the professional organization of the discipline involved, and may be held in a different city each year. A major focus of academic conferences, besides the exchange of ideas, is networking, which, in academia as elsewhere, is a key to collaboration, funding, employment, and other professional benefits.
3. Professional association conferences.
These are similar to academic conferences in some ways, but presentations tend to be focused more on practical issues, both having to do with the actual work participants do, and with regulations, funding, and other forces that affect the profession. Professional associations in the U.S. may exist at state, national, and, sometimes, international levels, and each of these levels may hold a yearly conference.
Both of these types of conferences may also be used to conduct organization or association business – election of officers, approval of bylaw changes, annual meetings, etc. – and to present awards and honors.
3. Training conferences.
A training conference may be run by a professional association, but is at least as likely to be conducted by an industry or industry organization, a state or federal agency, or a local coalition or initiative. As might be expected, its purpose is training, and so it might include workshops on methods and techniques, information on new regulations, or simply an exchange of experience and methods among people from a number of different organizations.
Another possibility for nonprofits is a conference run by a manufacturer or supplier to teach participants how to use products their organizations have purchased.
4. Issue- or problem-related conferences.
These might be convened by almost any association, organization, institution, or citizens’ group to focus on a particular concern. Such conferences range from “Education Summits” called by the President of the U.S. and attended by politicians, school superintendents from large cities, and eminent thinkers (but often no teachers or students), to local-coalition-sponsored events focusing on child abuse in the community.
The purpose here may be to inform and energize people about the issue, to create a critical mass of concern about it, or to develop strategies for approaching it. Depending on the issue’s importance and the enthusiasm of the participants, this kind of conference can turn into an annual event.