First Annual International Pavilion at STC Conference
By: Kit Brown (Comgenesis)
17 September 2007
This collaboration grew from a jointly organized treasure hunt at the Las Vegas STC conference in 2006 and from a desire by localization vendors, ITC SIG and GALA members to more effectively educate technical communicators about international communication. This year, in addition to the treasure hunt, we also held mini-sessions ranging from how to speak French and Italian to discussions on global content management to Japanese business card practices. We also had volunteer interpreters available who wore special language buttons.
There were daily drawings for door prizes and the winners of the treasure hunt were given the following prizes: a digital photo frame, an 8GB USB drive, a $50USD gift certificate, a copy of Virginia Tufte's book, Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, and inflatable globes.
We had several wonderful sponsors who made this pavilion possible:
- Diamond: SDL and Translations.com
- Garnet: SH3, TO-IN, and TripleInk
- Moonstone: ComponentOne, LinguaLinx, OmniLingua, SiberLogic and University of Minnesota, Dept. of Writing Studies
- Door Prizes: Author-IT
Lloyd Tucker, STC education director, joined STC in November 2006, and was instrumental in assisting us in arranging the pavilion, ensuring that the booth was in the front of the exhibit hall and committing STC to assisting in covering half the expenses for the 20 ft x20 ft space. GALA and the ITC SIG, along with the corporate sponsors covered the remaining expenses.
Considering that we only had about four months to pull it together, the pavilion far exceeded our expectations in terms of sponsor commitment, volunteer assistance, and traffic to the booth. For times when there were no presentations, we had a slide show running continuously. The slide show contained pictures from various team members' travels, trivia questions, sponsor ads, and so on.
Nonetheless, we have some lessons learned, which include the following:
- Start earlier to create the program and to ensure that the sponsor names are included in the main conference program.
- Ensure that the short sessions are both entertaining and informative. Lighter topics, such as the language lessons, business etiquette, and language trivia attracted more attention from weary conference goers than heavier topics that they could get from the regular session program.
- Provide comfortable seating and encourage people to relax in the booth space.
- Ensure that at least one volunteer is in the booth during the entire conference to answer questions.
- Include the treasure hunt form in the attendee bags and make sure there is an announcement in the program.
- Ensure that we clearly communicate sponsor benefits and expectations.
Our goal was to raise awareness of international communication issues and to get people thinking more globally. For those of us who live and breathe localization, internationalization, and so on, the need for global communication seems to be old news and something we incorporate into everything we do. However, for many people, these are still new concepts. While raising awareness amongst the masses takes time and is often frustrating, continuing to do so even as we endeavor to improve our own global communication efforts/methodologies/techniques will, ultimately, make the world a better place.
Special thanks to all of the volunteers who made this initiative possible.
Aki Ito, Amy Barnhart, Betsy Maaks, Bob Caskey, Brian Hertz, Catherine Deschamps-Potter, Cindy Cookson, Edith Velosa, Hans Fenstermacher, Jackie Smith, Jamie Wagner, Laurie Mazanec, Leah Guren, Linda Mikkelsen, Madelyn Flammia, Mario Marino, Mark Ambrose, Molly Teague, Patrick Hoffmann, Phillip Gray, Preeti Mathur, Rebecca Moneymaker, Rene Savelsburgh, Richard Kwiatkowski, Theodora Landgren, Traci Kelly, Valerie Rushanan, and many others.
Aki Ito, Edith Velosa, Gary Yang, Hans Fenstermacher, JiaNin Chen, Jukka Kukkonen, Kenneth Bjork, Lief Erickson, Preeti Mathur, Saurabh Kudesia, Ya Liu.
Kit Brown, an STC Associate Fellow, was the ITC SIG manager for 2 years and is currently the chair of the Global Strategies committee. She is also the principal of Comgenesis, LLC , a consulting company that assists clients in internationalizing their documentation and processes, as well as content design and development. She is currently based in Boise, ID USA, but will soon open an office in the Denver, CO area.