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10th GALA conference in Boston, March 13-16, 2018

Asta Rusakevičienė, CEO

The language industry events calendar is quite intense. If you plan on attending most of them, you’d be traveling non-stop, going from one city to the next. Many events overlap so attending even most of them is all but impossible anyway. However, GALA was clever enough when choosing the conference time. GALA annual conference “The language of business, the business of language” is one of the spring season’s opening events. Note that I have just said “one of the spring season’s events”. I wonder if any of this year’s GALA conference attendees would call it a “spring event”. 🙂

Boston welcomed us with a Nor’easter, making this conference quite an experience for most of the attendees: ones who spent hours in the airports waiting for their cancelled flight to be rescheduled or renting cars and driving through the icy roads, those who touched snow for the first time. I was especially sorry for the fellow peers who didn’t reach Boston at all. Indeed, Nor’easter made the conference even more spectacular and, in a way, making networking with peers easier because the Nor’easter served literally as an icebreaker.


As far as the Boston conference content is concerned, the programme was full of interesting and exciting presentations with some new and fresh ideas, analysing industry trends or reminding us some known truths that are worth being repeated. On another hand, the Knowledge fest sessions are worth mentioning as well because they let the audience create the content on their own and learn from different experiences and business approaches of the peers. A few tracks have been running at the same time, however, unfortunately, it’s impossible to be at several places at the same time and benefit from all of them. Luckily, most of the presentations were recorded and I will definitely watch the ones I missed, share my thoughts about them with my colleagues at Diskusija and encourage my colleagues to find some time to watch some of the recordings on GALA On-demand. The access to these recordings is a big benefit of the GALA membership and we should take advantage of it.

I always say that an event is worth attending if I come back with at least few new ideas or I confirm to myself some old truths. Good takeaways are those that I can remember without checking my notes, and this time they are:

– In the process of carrying out marketing/sales activities, all too often we look at our competitors and try to imitate them by doing the same things they do. However, according Sabina Jasinska, we should focus on the client: try to find out what is appealing for the client and what s/he wants to get from us; it’s not necessarily something our competitors are doing. At the age of the commoditisation of our services, the success depends on our ability to build relationships with clients and to become a real partner. The people buy from people! Furthermore the people buy from people they like. Thus, we should put enough effort and energy to build this relationship and to ensure the best client’s experience, which is the key factor in the modern marketing/sales process (not the four P’s anymore).

– The most important factor in generating growth is the clients’ retention and it should be everybody’s goal in the company.

– Don’t “spray and pray”; know exactly what kind of clients you want to have and work to achieve it.

Our industry gatherings are definitely not just about the content but also (or sometimes even more) about meeting people, making business contacts that often turn into friendship, learning from each other and enjoying being part of the community. As always at GALA, we had plenty of social events facilitating the networking:

– Welcome reception (aka the kissing event because it takes time to meet and kiss all old friends; 🙂

– GALA dinner with a good dance party, snow battle and very bad food; 🙂

– Social hour with never-ending talks and good wine;

– Fundraising event “A Bit o’ Craic for TWB” with an Irish band and Irish dances performed by a group of GALA “best dancers” :): 10 minutes of training and we were ready to perform. Indeed, we got very encouraging support from our Irish host and event organizer Andrew Hickson before our performance: “My grandmother rolls over in her grave, but it’s good.” I don’t know how much funds were raised during this event but I was happy to support “Translators without Borders” once again;

– Structured networking event which replaced this year the old and well-known GALA event Speed Networking. Indeed, in my opinion, this new “structured” format was less effective than the old one;

– MBA. Yes, GALA decided to launch its own MBA programme this year. It was a quick one; 15 minutes are enough to study, build a strategy, execute, improve etc. 😉 The MBA (Most Balls in Air) activity made us work in teams and, of course, discover our strengths and weaknesses. 🙂


10th conference
Launched 10 years ago in Cancun, GALA conference “The language of business, the business of language” grew and matured together with the whole industry. Ten is a nice number and worthy of a celebration, thus I wonder why the conference organizers didn’t include any special “anniversary” festivities into the programme. It’s too bad. There are never too many occasions to celebrate. Why miss this one?

At the same time it was my 10th GALA conference as well. So far, I hadn’t missed any and I’m looking forward to attending the next GALA conference that will be held in Munich, Germany on 24-27 March, 2019; it’s a good choice of location. See you there!

To see more photos from the event please visit our Facebook account.

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