BxlTweetUpLab: An interview with organiser Emeline Jamoul

Today’s blog post is a special one – my first guest! Hopefully you’ve already seen some info about the International BxlTweetUpLab in April – if not, go have a quick read here. It looks like it’s going to be a really exciting event – something new to the world of translations! So here’s an interview I did with one of the two co-organisers, Emeline Jamoul, to find out more.

Hi Emeline! I’m really looking forward to coming to the BxlTweetUpLab! First of all, do you want to explain a bit about what it is, and how it’s different from other events?

Hi Carol! First of all, let me thank you for inviting me to speak about the BxlTweetUpLab on your blog, it’s so kind of you! The BxlTweetUpLab will be a one-day event divided into two parts: the morning will be devoted to presentations and the afternoon will allow attendees to network and to mingle with fellow translators and linguists. It differs from other events because it is designed to be highly interactive. We want the attendees to play around with new ideas that will help them improve their skills and change how they see their business and the industry – hence the Lab term.

How did you come up with the idea?

Well as you might know, we’ve been running BxlTweetUps since November of last year. So far, it’s been very nice to meet colleagues and to make things change. But we wanted to go beyond these friendly gatherings. I’ve launched a survey among translation students here in Belgium, in France and in Luxembourg – the results just keep on proving my initial thoughts: the gap between translation studies and the industry is huge and it doesn’t seem likely that the situation will change any time soon! Newcomers to the profession have no idea what running a business means. This realization and the fact that many new translators seem to find themselves lost in the middle of sea of resources telling them how they should run their business were good enough triggers for us. We don’t want to be gurus dictating people how they should act – but rather bring out their potential and help them achieve what THEY want to do.

And what about the presentations – why did you decide to focus on these areas?

We wanted to avoid current popular topics in the industry such as branding and marketing, which Sara and I have already cover a lot in both our blogs. Instead, we chose to focus on underestimated and often overlooked areas which are still crucial for the new-coming translator – blogging and social media, networking and technology tips & tricks. Blogging helps you present yourself to clients and colleagues. If done well, it can give you more credibility. Social media, as you know, is an invaluable resource for professionals, yet many people seem to be unaware of that fact and we hope we’ll be able to convince them in that sense. Networking is an inherent part of any business, and well, of life! We connect with people since we were born, but do we really know how to do it efficiently? Finally, Raphaël Toussaint will be sharing technology tips and tricks which will help attendees to improve their productivity. As you can see, the presentations are varied and we hope everyone will find at least one topic that will interest them. 

It sounds like a great mix of topics! What has been the most challenging part of organising the event so far?

Timing is particularly stressing, as we’re all very busy and it’s not always easy to juggle regular work, our blogs, our personal lives and this project. Thank God we love being busy and we love working hard!

But it’s worth it, right? What are you most looking forward to?

Of course it is – it’s a very interesting process! Personally, I’m really looking forward to hear what attendees have to share with us. Regular conferences are often one-sided, with attendees listening to one speaker, which can be quite daunting. We want to change this setting in order to optimize what participants will take home and to make them feel welcome and comfortable.

Okay, last question! Give me the one reason people absolutely shouldn’t miss this event?

Just one? But there are so many! First of all, it’s a friendly event, so we want to stress that attendees are really encouraged to take part and not to be afraid of asking their questions about the industry (if they’re still students) or of asking for advice and opinions (if they’re already freelancers but seem to be stuck somewhere). Not many events are taking place in Brussels, so it’s a real opportunity for Belgian translators to unite and engage with each other. And last but not least, let’s not forget about the Belgian food!

Ah yes, I’m dreaming of waffles and cherry beer already! Thanks for taking the time to tell us more about the Lab, Emeline, and a very big thank you to both you and Sara for organising it!

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