The Secrets Behind Crafting a Compelling Conference Program

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How is the LocWorld program drawn up?

From more than 120 proposals to around 30 sessions in five parallel tracks – how do we go about that?

The LocWorld conference program process always starts with a Call for Papers (CFP) to encourage submissions from leading language industry experts and all the different stakeholders to ensure we have a variety of topics to choose from. The CFP typically opens six to seven months prior to a conference. We receive between 100 and 150 proposals for every conference and it takes quite an effort to condense this into a two-day conference with approximately 25 regular sessions, a number of MicroTalks and two to three discussion panels, all distributed across four to five parallel tracks.

This is how we go about it:

For every LocWorld conference we assign a program committee. Head of the program committee is Ulrich Henes, co-founder of LocWorld, who together with the LocWorld core team members invites up to 15 language industry experts to assist in evaluating the incoming proposals.

The program committee consists of a mix of regular returning members and one-timers. We look for language industry experts, veterans, as well as newbies, from as many different services as possible, including technology vendors, services providers and, of course, corporate clients. We strive to have a diverse, gender-equal group where the mixture of people also depends on regional aspects. For Asia, Europe and North America respectively, we invite people who have more experience from that particular region or are located there.

Each member is asked to read the synopsis of each of the proposals and rank each based on a number of criteria including alignment with the main theme of the conference, relevance, news value and general interest. After the initial ranking, the committee meets two to three times in joint calls to discuss which proposals particularly stand out, if any areas lack coverage or if other areas are over-represented. Some individual proposals might become the basis for a panel or MicroTalk, if they cover similar topics. We also analyze the speakers to ensure that we have interesting content presented by speakers who have the equivalent expertise. We prefer to not repeat sessions that have recently been presented at other industry events to ensure the uniqueness of the program.

Once the program committee has its say, the LocWorld team continues to coordinate and compile what later will be introduced to you as the main conference program. Last-minute changes are always made, speakers might change careers, new topics can be prioritized and additional speakers might be invited to attend. All to make sure that we have an as up-to-date conference program for our attendees as possible. The whole process takes about two to three months.

How do we select our keynote speakers?

The typical LocWorld attendee is a localization business professional. More than likely, this person has risen from the bottom up, and they know the business inside out. So, when we look for a keynote speaker, we specifically look for someone who operates outside our industry, someone who has an intriguing view of current trends and practices. We want someone who can make us forget the mundane aspects of our day-to-day jobs and share major trends and concepts that affect us on a macro level. We can then be inspired with this information to discuss it with other attendees and, when we go home, apply it to our jobs.

Do you get paid?

Serving on the committee is volunteer work, but as a token of our appreciation, we offer each program committee member a free ticket to the LocWorld conference that they serve on.

Who has the last say?

The program committee serves as an advisory board to the LocWorld core team. The last say, on any of the sessions, is with us.

Do you want to serve on the program committee?

Feel free to reach out to us and we will consider inviting you to a future committee.

Do you want to submit a proposal?

The Call for Papers for LocWorld43 Vancouver is now open, so do submit your paper on this year’s theme, “Engage Global Users”, by filling out this form.

About the author

Anne-Marie Colliander Lind

Anne-Marie Colliander Lind is a recognized force in the global language industry landscape. She has spent almost thirty years helping multinational organizations solve their language issues, serving in executive sales and management positions at leading service, technology and market research companies. Anne-Marie is the CEO of Inkrease, a management consulting company based in Sweden that assists companies in their growth and development strategies. She is a sought-after speaker and is part-time engaged as marketing director for LocWorld. Anne-Marie is also the co-organizer of the Nordic Translation & Interpretation Forum (NTIF)