Bookmarked for Life?

21 07 2015

blog pictureDuring last month’s LocWorld event in Berlin my company Skrivanek, in common with the other exhibitors, offered visitors to our stand a variety of freebies, giveaways call them what you will. As well as the standard pens, notepads, mints etc. we had a couple of new additions. The popularity of one of these newcomers got me thinking.

For those of you who don’t know LocWorld (formerly Localization World) is the industry event for all that is new in the translation and software localization world. It takes place three times a year across three continents. By its very nature the participants tend to be at the cutting edge of technology and anybody with a mobile device more than a year old had better keep it in their pocket ( no names being mentioned here 🙂 ).

So, what was this free gift that so attracted the interest of these state of the art delegates? The answer, a good old fashioned bookmark (a device for not losing your page in a book). Perhaps I should explain for younger readers that a “book” is a data storage device which consists of two thicker pieces of paper (“covers”) containing thinner pieces of paper on which text is printed (“pages”). The usual size of such a device is a few hundred pages, it is portable and does not require a signal or power source.

Admittedly the Skrivanek bookmarks were particularly attractive, with a magnet to hold the device in place and colorful artwork reminiscent of the Dutch artist Mondrian (or so I’m told 🙂 ). They moved like the proverbial hot cakes off our stand during the two days in Berlin and now presumably are to be found in the homes and offices of translators and localizers across the globe.

What could explain this unusual phenomenon?  I have a few theories; the bookmark is an attractive keepsake and could make an interesting talking point on social occasions or perhaps people will keep them to show their mystified grandchildren in years to come. However, the theory which personally gives me most comfort is as follows: after a hard day in the virtual, digital on line world and being loaded down with Kindles and tablets etc. the movers and shakers of the industry retire to the privacy of their own homes for a good read with a real live book and their Skrivanek bookmark of course!

Joe Atkinson

LocWorld 2015 Berlin- Train of Thought!

24 06 2015

To be honest, as earlier this month my train to Berlin made its way across the Czech –German border and I gazed out at the beautiful countryside either side of the river Labe/Elbe my expectations for the upcoming LocWorld were not high. I had attended LocWorld on a couple of previous occasions and found them let’s say “not really my cup of tea”.

Berlin_LocWorldThe train I was travelling on had set out from Budapest early that morning and after dropping me in Berlin would end its journey in Hamburg in the evening. Although early in the tourist season the passengers evidently came from many different countries and overland travel in this part of Central Europe is certainly a good reminder if one is needed of the rich linguistic and cultural mix in this relatively small part of the world.

So, onto Berlin and LocWorld, Skrivanek had a strategically located booth this year and I must say from my arrival on the Wednesday evening to departure on Friday lunchtime the event was a pleasure to be part of and my misgivings on the journey up were quickly dispelled.

The event was extremely well attended with a healthy mix of old faces and newbies, the exhibition area was not dominated by any particular participant so there was a constant ebb and flow of attendees from a wide range of LSPs, technology providers, freelance translators, members of professional bodies, academics and many others.

I said earlier that the Skrivanek booth was strategically located, to be more exact it was on the main route to the supplies of coffee and cake and this ensured a steady stream of visitors and just a few of the conversations I remember having were with colleagues from Egypt, Sweden, China and France. We also had the chance to greet many of our business partners in person. Thank you to everyone who called by to say hello.

There seemed a real eagerness among everyone I met to swap experiences, learn new things, make new contacts and generally make good use of every opportunity, both professional and social that LocWorld offered.

I’m sure many participants social highlight would be the Thursday evening grill party which took place on a perfect early summer’s evening by the shores of the Neuen Zee in Berlin’s famous Tiergarten.

All too quickly as it turned out, it was Friday lunchtime and time for me to make my way back , through the gathering crowds of Juventus and Barcelona fans ( in Berlin for the Champions’ League Final) to the railway station.

I believe it is customary at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games for some VIP to say “these were the best games ever” well I’m not a VIP but I can honestly say that this was easily the best LocWorld I have attended. Why? Several factors I guess; Berlin is a great location – a truly laid back big city, Skrivanek exhibiting this year certainly made a difference, also a great mix of participants and speakers but I am convinced travelling by train rather than by air put me in a more “linguistically receptive” mood. I hope LocWorld is in Istanbul sometime soon, a trip on the Orient Express or its modern counterpart might be interesting!

Joe Atkinson