The energy and passion displayed at the inaugural Balkans Language Industry Symposium (BLIS) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Belgrade was palpable. It was this energy that boosted me in my presentation after a long journey and little sleep.
Delegates came from across the region with all countries represented from medium sized language agencies to freelance translators. Mature business owners to young graduates were eager to learn from the speakers on subjects as diverse as machine translation software, websites and selling skills.
It was my role to deliver the digital strategy masterclass early on day one of the two-day conference. The delegates were made up of freelance translators, business development managers and language service provider company owners.
In preparation for the masterclass I researched a wide range of economic and business information, from business statistics to government ambitions, tourism to manufactured goods and exports.
I looked at the business news in the region and read about companies and countries that were making large inward investments. International companies that were based there and local companies and organisations that exported their goods and services who would need translation services for their documents.
By reviewing the websites and online activities of the attending delegates it was possible to see their current activity and partially evaluate their digital strategies. It was not surprising that consideration of a formalised digital strategy for business growth using the internet as a medium was equal to that of many other countries I have studied and worked with. This includes the United Kingdom, often quoted as one of the most advanced in the world.
I identified the key elements for the masterclass that would provide the best guidance for the delegates even though they represented a diverse range of organisational sizes. These were namely:
Slides prepared my masterclass and plenary presentation were received with enthusiasm by the delegates. During the two days of the conference I was constantly asked direct questions from delegates each wanting that pearl of insight and wisdom that has become my trademark.
It may seem unusual to sit in on the speakers of another industry where the topics are unrelated to your own expertise, but I always find that you can learn a lot about an industry. Another advantage is you see how other speakers present. There are good ones and those who should get some presentation skills training. I have found, over many years, that I also learn how cultural variations at international events have helped me learn about the different ways that events are conducted with the variance of culture and language.
The event was a well organised congregation of willing participants who want to improve the languages industry in the region. From how to run their businesses to finding customers they are chasing after the same things that those in other industries seek to grow their businesses.
The professionalism of the organisers, the delegates and the interaction between those who supply the industry and those who are in the industry was a pleasure to experience. In the content and the social agenda, I enjoyed the balanced mix of all.
I am sure that with the conclusion of the 2017 inaugural Balkan Languages Industry Symposium we will see this event repeated, bringing the agencies and freelancers together for a stronger Balkans languages industry. I will look forward to an invitation to speak in 2018.
Nigel T Packer
After 23 years working in electronics, production and mechanical engineering fields, Nigel has spent the last 18 years working in the field of business development specifically on the internet.
Being at the start of the digital economy, Nigel has adapted and applied the principles of business development to the rapidly changing scene of the internet. With it the creation of new business models that work for clients had been his objective.
An author and digital business speaker his book “How to Get a Website that Works for your Business” has helped hundreds of SME business owners understand the principles of online success.
Today Nigel runs a digital consultancy PelaTis Online Ltd an independent eBusiness consultancy working with retail, manufacturing and service businesses. His insights and understanding of the way the internet works and the direction it is going in makes him the go to consultant for online business success.
Website planning is the first stage of any online development which Nigel T Packer and PelaTis Online offer consultancy services for. Get in touch by completing the contact form phoning 01639680248