Top 10 Localization Conferences in 2024 to Attend

Chidinma Egwuogu
28 Sep 2023

16 min. read


If you thought 2023 was a whirlwind year for translation and localization conferences, just wait until you see what 2024 has in store.

Below, we detail the must-attend translation and localization conferences in 2024.

Whether you're already a pro or you're looking to climb the ranks, we’ve got the insider tips to help you choose the right conference, make the most of your time there, and come back with more than just a tote bag full of swag.

Pro tip: Looking for a way to up your localization game? Use the professional localization platform, Centus, to manage translation, automate workflows, run QA tests, orchestrate cooperation, and stay on top of deadlines. Learn more.

List of localization conferences in 2024

Date Event Name Location Fee Description
6 & 7 Mar 2024 Going Global Live Miami Free Explores globalization strategies in marketing and technology.
22 Feb 2024 Together 2024 Rīga, Latvia €230 – €685 A gathering for translation and localization professionals to discuss current trends and share expertise.
21 Apr 2024 GALA 2024 Valencia Melià València, Avinguda de les Corts Valencianes, 52, València, Spain NA A platform for networking, learning, and discussing strategies in translation and localization services.
22 Apr 2024 BP24 Translation Conference Hotel Silken Al-Ándalus Palace, Sevilla €50 – €300 Covers a wide array of topics such as audiovisual localization, global marketing, and technology.
15 May 2024 Business, Leadership, and Economics: Practical and Ethical Considerations Remote €50 – €400 Virtual conference covering practical and ethical dimensions of business and leadership.
16 May 2024 Focus on Executives 2024 Malta TBD Designed for executives in the industry. Offers panels and discussions on best practices.
4 Jun 2024 2024 ITI Conference Edinburgh, UK and Online TBD A multidisciplinary conference on translation, interpreting, and technology.
4 Jul 2024 New Trends in Translation and Technology Varna, Bulgaria TBD Explores technological advancements in the translation industry, specifically for translators.
TBD Disruptive Technologies: Innovations & Interdisciplinary Considerations University of East London, University Way, London, UK TBD A comprehensive look at disruptive technologies and their interdisciplinary implications.
TBD Translation Services Singapore 30 Sam Leong Road, Singapore TBD Focused on localization services in Singapore, featuring experts from the industry.
TBD Panel: Accelerating translation with AI that scores AI Remote TBD A virtual panel discussing the potential of AI in scoring and accelerating machine translation.

How to choose the right localization conference for you

Deciding which localization conference to attend can be a big deal, especially when you're spending your own money and using up those limited vacation days. You want to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck. So, how do you pick the best fit?

Here's a detailed guide to help you make an informed choice.

1. Understand your goals

First things first: Why are you even thinking about going to a localization conference?

Is it for the skills, the networking, or maybe you want to be up-to-date with what's shaking up the industry? Whatever it is, get specific.

If it's skills you're after, what exactly do you need to brush up on? Maybe it's machine translation, or perhaps you're moving into a managerial role and need to understand multilingual project management better.

When it comes to networking, think about the kind of connections that could move the needle for you. Is it people from specific companies, freelancers like yourself, or industry bigwigs? Sometimes it's not just about what you learn but who you meet that can make all the difference.

2. Research, research, research

This is your homework phase.

The conference agenda and list of speakers should be your starting points. What are the talks about? Do they align with your objectives? Are the speakers influencers or thought leaders whose views you value? Maybe you can find YouTube videos of past events; those are gold for getting a real feel of what you can expect.

Also, don't underestimate the power of social proof. If previous attendees have good things to say, you're probably onto something good. On the flip side, a string of bad reviews should raise a red flag.

And, don’t forget your budget. Conferences can be expensive when you add up the cost of tickets, travel, and accommodation. Don't forget to check for any discounts or company rates for language service providers.

3. Check the logistics

If the conference is far away, you'll have to see if the hassle of travel is worth it. How many days will you be away? Can you afford to take that time off work? Some localization industry events offer remote participation, so if you can't make the trip, that's something to consider.

4. Evaluate content and structure

Look out for variety. A string of monologues can be a real snooze-fest. Good conferences will have workshops, panel discussions, and maybe even hands-on coding sessions for those interested in the tech side of localization. Variety keeps the brain ticking and caters to different ways people learn.

5. Make a shortlist and prioritize

Okay, so by this point, you should have enough information to make a shortlist. Note down your top 2 or 3 choices and then really get into the details.

What are the unique perks of each conference? Maybe one offers excellent workshops, but another gives you a chance to see a speaker you've always admired. Take your time weighing these factors. Remember, you're not just investing money; you're also investing your priceless time.

6. Other considerations

Lastly, think about the overall atmosphere. Some conferences are super formal; people wear suits, and there's a strict schedule. Others have a relaxed, communal atmosphere, maybe even with some social events thrown in. What’s going to make you most comfortable and open to learning and networking?

Pick the one that suits your vibe and put it at the top.

7. Take the plunge and plan ahead

Finally, once you've zeroed in on the conference that fits your needs, start making plans for it.

Early bird registration can save you money, and it's also the time to book flights and hotels if you're traveling.

Don't just show up; have a game plan. Know the talks you want to attend, the people you want to meet, and the questions you want answered. Remember, you're there to get the most out of it, so make every minute count.

So, there you have it. It might feel like a lot to consider, but remember, the more thought you put into choosing the right localization conference, the more you'll get out of it.

Tips for maximizing your conference experience

conference attendees Source: Pexels

So you've done the legwork and picked the perfect localization conference to attend. Great! But how do you make sure you get the most out of it?

Here are some tips, complete with examples, to help you make your conference experience count.

1. Plan your schedule

Don't wing it. Conferences usually release their schedules ahead of time, so take advantage of this to plan your day. Highlight the talks you absolutely cannot miss and schedule less pressing events around those.

For instance, if you're a game localizer and there's a session on "Advances in Game Localization Techniques," mark it in red, set reminders, do whatever it takes to not miss it.

2. Choose the most relevant sessions

Conferences can offer a bewildering array of options, session-wise. Pick sessions that align with your current career level, your professional interests, and your longer-term goals.

Here’s how to think about picking your sessions:

  • Beginners: Look for sessions that cover foundational elements of localization, like "Localization 101," or "The Basics of Language Technology."
  • Mid-career professionals: Your cheat sheet should feature sessions that provide advanced insights into topics you’re familiar with. For instance, if you're a project manager, you might look for discussions on "Agile Methodologies in Localization."
  • Senior-level executives: Your focus will likely be on strategy and organizational leadership. Consider sessions like "Building and Scaling Language Companies" or "Localization ROI Metrics."
  • Entrepreneurs: You’ll probably want a mix, from tech innovations to localized marketing strategies for international business. Make sure to visit startup pitches or investment panels.
  • Academics and researchers: Scan for research presentations and updates on new localization theories or technologies.

3. Engage and network

Conferences are prime networking territory. Don't be shy; step up and introduce yourself to people. Have your elevator pitch and business cards ready. Make it a goal to connect with a certain number of professionals each day.

Let’s say you specialize in AI translation, seek out experts or companies in that niche. A simple, "Hi, I'm [Your Name], and I work in AI translation. I really enjoyed your talk on neural networks," can open many doors.

4. Be active on social media

Share your experiences in real time. Tweet insightful quotes from speakers, post photos, or even go live for a few minutes to discuss a session you just attended. This not only adds value for your followers but also makes it easier for you to connect with others at the conference using the event hashtag.

Imagine you're floored by a new translation tool demo. Tweet something like, "Just saw an incredible demo of [Tool] at [Conference]. The future of language services is here! #LocConf2024."

5. Take notes, but be selective

You're not going to remember everything, so jot down key points, interesting quotes, or names of people to follow up with. But don't bury yourself in your notebook or laptop; be present and engage with the material.

Instead of writing down every word in a presentation on "The Future of Machine Translation," jot down the three or four key takeaways that you can implement or look into further.

6. Make time for the exhibit hall

Most conferences have an exhibit hall with vendors that are highly relevant to the industry. This is a good time to explore new tools, technologies, or even job opportunities.

If you're interested in the latest translation software, spend some time demoing different platforms. You may find a solution that can make your work more efficient.

Remember, this is about getting the maximum value, both for the money you paid for the conference and the time you're spending there. Participate actively in workshops and don't skip those 'optional' networking events—they're gold mines for making unplanned, valuable connections.

7. Reflect and follow up

After the conference, take some time to go through your notes and any materials you collected. Don’t let them collect digital dust.

Follow up with the people and translation companies you networked with. Connect on LinkedIn, send a thank-you email, or even propose a catch-up call to discuss potential collaborations.

Example: Send a LinkedIn request saying, "Hi [Name], it was great meeting you at [Conference]. I really enjoyed our conversation about [Topic]. Would love to keep in touch!"

That’s a lot of tips, but remember: You're investing in your growth and future. Make it count.

The do's and don'ts of localization conference networking

You've got your sessions picked and your cheat sheet ready, but your conference journey doesn't end there. Networking can be intimidating, especially when you're surrounded by industry experts and thought leaders.

But don't sweat it; here's a down-to-earth guide on the do's and don'ts of networking at a localization conference.

Do: Be genuine

First things first—people can spot a phony from a mile away. So, when you engage in conversations, be yourself and be genuinely interested in the other person. Do your research on the attendees and speakers you know you’ll meet there, but be open to new people.

Your aim shouldn't be just to hand over your business card to as many people as possible. Real connections happen when you're sincere.

Don't: Monopolize conversations

I get it, you're excited to share your ideas and experiences, but remember, networking is a two-way street. Give the other person a chance to talk, and show interest in what they're saying.

Do: Have an elevator pitch ready

It's a classic for a reason. A well-crafted, 30-second spiel about who you are and what you do can set the stage for a fruitful conversation.

It can start like this: "I'm Alex, and I work with a startup focusing on machine translation. We're exploring ways to make translation more accessible and affordable for small businesses. How about you?"

Don't: Be overly salesy

You might be at the conference to make business connections, but that doesn't mean you should turn every conversation into a sales pitch. It's a turn-off.

Do: Make use of social events

Conferences often have mixers, dinners, or other social events. These are more laid-back settings where people are more open to casual conversations that can later turn into professional relationships.

Don't: Forget to follow up

Meeting someone at a conference isn't the end—it's just the beginning. If you had a good conversation with someone, a polite follow-up email, DM, or LinkedIn message could go a long way.

Do: Respect personal space and boundaries

Some people are open to hugs and high-fives; others prefer a more formal handshake. Especially in a diverse setting like a localization conference, being mindful of personal space and cultural norms is crucial.

Don't: Be glued to your phone

We're all guilty of it, but a conference is not the place to be catching up on emails or scrolling through social media. Unless it's absolutely urgent, keep your phone in your pocket and focus on the people around you.

Do: Be open to random interactions

Some of the best networking opportunities come from unplanned interactions. Maybe it's the person you end up sitting next to during a breakout session or someone you bump into while in line for coffee. Be open to the possibilities.

Don't: Use generic icebreakers

Generic questions can lead to generic conversations that are easily forgotten. At a localization conference, don't just ask, "So what do you do?" Instead, try something like, "What's your biggest localization challenge right now?" It's much more engaging.

Do: Ask open-ended questions

People love to talk about themselves and their work. Frame your questions to invite more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer. For instance, instead of asking, "Did you like the last session?" you could ask, "What were your key takeaways from the last session?"

Don't: Overshare personal problems

It's okay to talk about professional challenges you're facing; in fact, that can make for some of the most enriching conversations. But there's a fine line between sharing a challenge and sounding like you're complaining. Balance is key.

Do: Take notes

You're going to be meeting a lot of people, and details will get fuzzy. After an interesting conversation, step aside for a minute to jot down key points on your phone or a notepad. This will be invaluable when you're sending out those post-conference emails.

Don't: Get too comfortable with the free drinks

Conference social events often offer free drinks, and while it’s tempting, don't go overboard. You want to be remembered for your insight, not your antics.

Do: Recognize when to exit a conversation

Sometimes, a conversation is going nowhere, or you realize the match isn't beneficial. It's okay to politely excuse yourself. You can say something like, "It was great talking with you. I want to catch the next session, but let’s keep in touch."

Don't: Forget to smile and use body language

Your body language speaks volumes. A genuine smile or nod can make conversations more engaging and enjoyable. At the same time, pay attention to the other person's body language to gauge their interest in the conversation.

Do: Make an action plan for later

Make sure to have an action plan for how to follow up and engage with the people you meet. Whether it's a potential partnership or a lead on a new job, know what the next steps are and commit to executing them.

Don't: Neglect your existing network

While you're out making new connections, don't forget about your existing network. If you know someone else who's attending, make time to catch up. Conferences are a great place to strengthen existing relationships, too.

Networking is more than just trading business cards; it's building relationships that matter. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be well on your way to making meaningful connections.

Actionable checklist for conference attendees

Alright, you've mastered the art of picking a conference and networking like a pro. Now let's turn those insights into action. Here’s a practical checklist that covers all the bases, from prep work to post-conference follow-up.

Before the conference

  • Research: Know whether you need this conference. Research who the industry leaders are and which panels they'll be on.
  • Confirm logistics: Hotel, flights, local transportation—have all these details nailed down well in advance.
  • Plan your agenda: Many conferences have multiple tracks. Decide in advance which sessions are must-see for you.
  • Reach out: Connect with attendees or speakers you want to meet. A simple LinkedIn message can break the ice.
  • Prep your elevator pitch: Have a quick and compelling way to introduce yourself; you never know who you'll meet.
  • Tech check: Ensure your phone, tablet, or laptop is up to the task, with all the apps or software you might need.
  • Collect pre-event materials: Download or collect any pre-reading materials or apps the conference recommends.

During the conference

  • Arrive early: Give yourself time to get a lay of the land—where the main stage, breakouts, and all-important coffee stations are located.
  • Be present: Multi-tasking is the enemy of a conference attendee. If you're in a session, really be in it.
  • Connect in real time: Tweet or post insights you've gained; this can make you more memorable during networking opportunities.
  • Diversify your learning: Attend a mix of sessions—some that align closely with your work and a few wild cards to broaden your horizons.
  • Ask questions: Take the opportunity to ask questions in sessions or workshops, not only for your benefit but as another way to get noticed.
  • Take photos: Whether it’s of a slide you find informative or of new contacts, pictures can serve as useful reminders.
  • Balance your time: Networking is essential, but don't neglect the content.

After the conference

  • Sort business cards: Remember who was who and jot down any specific notes or follow-up actions for each person.
  • Review your goals: Did you meet your networking goals and attend the sessions you targeted?
  • Share insights: Whether it’s within your team or via a blog post, sharing what you learned can cement the new information in your mind.
  • Schedule follow-ups: Actually put time on your calendar to email new contacts, test out a new tool you discovered, or otherwise follow through on your post-conference to-dos.
  • Self-assessment: Consider what went well and what you might do differently next time to get even more out of your conference experience.
  • Implement: Don’t just listen. Do. Plan for the Next One: If you found this conference valuable, start planning for the next one—maybe you’ll even be a speaker!

Now you’re set! This comprehensive checklist should keep you focused and make your conference experience as rewarding as possible.

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