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Do you have an idea of how many hours you spend on average in preparing for a conference?

If yes, is it because you use time management software to keep track of your time?

asked 12 Oct '11, 22:43

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Vincent Buck

edited 01 Feb '13, 04:50

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A lot. But it depends on the subject and complexity of the meeting.

In general, I don't think I have ever needed less that 3 hours preparation for the easiest meeting on the private market (it may be different working for the institutions; I have no experience here). In contrast, for a 3-hour conference on "aesthetic surgery" it took me around 8 hours to watch all videos the client sent me and another 8 to 10 hours to research terminology.

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answered 13 Oct '11, 17:36

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It definitely depends on one's familiarity with the subject, the type of meeting, the preparation material provided by the client, the languages you have to translate from etc. But as a general rule, I habe found that in retrospect I tend to underestimate the time I actually invested into preparing for a conference.

That is why I recommend tracking your time - just to get a better feel for it. Knowing how much time I need to prepare for a conference is very useful for my own planning but also in negotiating adequate homoraria for interpreting assignments. There are a number of free time-tracking tools available on the internet - for Windows, iOS etc. I've been working with Baralga for more than 2 years now and found it very easy to use.

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answered 08 Apr '12, 15:39

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edited 09 Apr '12, 03:36

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I always plan for a 6-8 hour day as preparation per assignment day, but I have to say that the lion's share of my assignments is private market and very technical either engineering or finance topics (rather typical of the Southwest of Germany). Time tracking also taught me not to forget to count in all the email correspondence with the client / the colleagues, drawing up the quote and getting it confirmed, making travel arrangements, etc. I also found that it makes a major difference whether you have the acutal presentations to prepare or not. Doing "free" research on the internet on a conference topic or watching youtube videos of speakers who did not hand in their speech or slides can take a lot longer than preparing specific speeches/presentations.

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answered 14 Apr '12, 16:59

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Just like Angie, I have been using Baralga for more than 2 years now and can only recommend it. Some of the categories I am tracking are: Interpreting - Travelling on the Job - Preparation for Interpreting Assignments - Paperwork - Conference Organisation - Teaching

I am working as a freelance interpreter and about 25 to 33 % of my working time is spent preparing for conferences.

Knowing how much time is spent on different activities has given me more confidence when negotiating with clients.

Tracking your time is also helpful when charging organisation fees (which I always used to underestimate!!!): It is much easier to agree on an hourly rate for recruiting services with the client once you can furnish the client with records to prove that you had to spend x hours and minutes trying to find a suitable team of interpreters for the conference in question.

You can easily print screenshots showing the time spent on any particular assignment and attach it to your invoice.

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answered 16 Apr '12, 17:05

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edited 20 Apr '12, 17:21

Not only does it depend on the difficulty of the meeting but it will also depend on your familiarity with the subject and the format of the meeting and it's documents (as Sirpa says in her answer). The first time you work on a very technical meeting you will spend a lot more time than the 10th time you work on the same subject, when you'll know which technical terms come up most often, what the controversial issues in this field are, what points of views different particpants represent etc.

If you're just starting out in the profession you shouldn't be worried about spending a few days preparing for a single meeting. As long as you're sleeping and eating it's difficult to be too well-prepared!

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answered 27 Oct '11, 20:21

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Preparation time varies greatly depending on the assignment, my familiarity with the subject matter and type of material provided by the client. I do not use time management software.

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answered 13 Oct '11, 00:00

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Indeed, working for the EU institutions means that you spend less time preparing for assignments than if you work in the private market. I, for instance, work mostly in Council working parties that draft EU legislation. The documents have the same structure and the meetings are conducted in a fairly standard way so there's a part that's routine. Subject matter varies but we often get the texts in all official languages beforehand electronically which helps a lot. Also, if you work on average 4.5 days per week in the booth, it's not possible to spend three hours preparing for each assignment! Commission interpreters prepare collectively by making electronic glossaries and there's a search engine that finds matches between specified language pairs that a bright colleague kindly created for us.

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answered 13 Oct '11, 22:05

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question asked: 12 Oct '11, 22:43

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