E.g., 04/08/2020
E.g., 04/08/2020

GALA 2011 Lisbon: A Mix of Learning, Networking and Fun in the Portuguese Sun

By: Laura Brandon, Executive Director

When GALA first set out in 2009 to create a unique annual event for our members and the broader language community, we established a few goals that we hoped to meet in the first five years. At our third conference, held in Cascais in March, we made great strides toward achieving those goals.

At GALA 2011, we built upon the work we began at our first two conferences in Cancun and Prague and forged GALA’s reputation as an organizer of dynamic, productive, and refreshingly different conferences.

Critical mass. The GALA Language of Business conferences are designed to bring together the full community of professionals involved in global content delivery.  This includes language service providers, which are our main constituents as an association, as well as technology developers, localization buyers, educators, and more.  GALA 2011 saw significant attendance growth over last year’s conference, with 45 percent more participants and a truly global audience.  Attendees came from 39 countries and 50 percent of the professionals in attendance were company leaders or senior-level executives.

While we do plan to grow the conference further, we are searching for a happy medium: one which will offer wide-scale industry representation while still preserving an intimate setting for real, face-to-face exchanges among peer groups.  One of the elements our attendees appreciate most about the GALA conferences is the small group format, which is well-suited for in-depth, frank discussions.  This is key to the spirit of GALA and the needs of our members.  The GALA conference brings together some of the brightest minds in the industry – veterans who need the space and opportunity to dig deep on core issues relevant to their businesses.  Providing programming that allows for this depth will continue to be a part of GALA’s conference series.

Relevance.  When we began planning for an annual conference, GALA members were clear that the event must be highly professional and relevant to their business needs.  Top quality educational programming and peer-to-peer exchange were the two main reasons attendees visited this year’s event.  Our program committee, volunteers, and staff were devoted to creating an overall program that answered to those needs with a mix of in-depth, strategic-minded programming and practical, hands-on sessions.

Feedback from GALA 2011 has shown that indeed, we hit the mark. According to the conference attendees’ survey responses, 88 percent of attendees learned concepts or strategies that will help them in their businesses.  And overall, 93 percent asserted that the conference offered good value and a good use of their time.

Refreshingly different. In Lisbon we also demonstrated our commitment to maintaining an air of relaxation and fun. We all communicate better and learn more in a stress-free, sales light, collaborative environment.  GALA also wants to make sure that when you come to a GALA Language of Business conference, you experience something different…something that justifies the backlog of work you’ll accumulate while you’re out of the office… not to mention all those brilliant ideas you’ll have to find time to implement when you return!

As part of our effort to create a dynamic event, this year we explored some new programming ideas including small group discussions following key presentations, a technology bonanza to showcase our tech providers, and, of course, our zany GALA Film Fest – an entertaining chance for participants to show off their creativity outside of translation and localization activity.

I’d like to thank all of our member volunteers and supporters who make the event happen.  Our program committee:  Daniel Grasmick, chair (Lucy Software), Robert Etches (EICOM, a TextMinded company), Wouter Leeuwis (Waters Corporation) and Serge Gladkoff (Logrus). Thank you also to Andrew Lawless (Dig-IT Consulting) for the expertise and insight he provided during the proposal review process.  And thank you to our many sponsors and exhibitors of the conference, in particular our medal sponsors: L10N Studio (Platinum), GeoWorkz (Gold), and Moravia Worldwide (Silver).

As we develop GALA’s next conference for 2012, we will continue to keep the best and modify the rest.  Mark your calendars for 26-28 March 2012 in Monaco, where we will follow our established recipe for success while also sprinkling in a few new ingredients to keep the event interesting and fun.  I look forward to your being a part of it!

Laura Brandon
GALA Managing Director

Laura Brandon

Laura is GALA's former Executive Director.  She oversaw operations, staffing, and programming for the association of companies in 50+ countries.  Laura served on the advisory board of the Localization Certification Program for the University of Washington and previously was member of the ASAE Small Staff Associations Council and Task Force on Small Staff Community.  She is on the volunteer committee for the Seattle Localization User Group (SLUG!). Laura has a degree in French from the Agnes Scott College and a “License” in Art History from the Université de Provence.