First Time at the Language Show Live? Some Tips for You!

Anastasia Giago... 0
InGreek translations at the Language Show Live, Olympia, London

Hello everyone! Did you miss me? Well, I missed you and I am super happy to come back with this post with that London scent all over!

As you probably know, last month I flew to London for the Language Show that took place at the Olympia Conference Centre on 17-19 October, 2014. This was the first time I had attended one of the biggest and most exciting exhibitions in the UK for linguists and I admit that it was an amazing experience! To be honest, it was also a bit scary, but at the end of the day I managed to survive and had a blast!

Language Festival, New rules

For you that haven't visited this festival yet, you need to know that the Language Show is definitely not a Conference, so totally new rules apply. If you are planning to attend such an event you can forget all about CVs, business cards and/or the famous "elevator speech". This language festival brings together language enthusiasts from all over the world in order to celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity and – in my opinion - to see how multilingualism influences our workplace and global economy. At the venue you will find exhibitors from different industry sectors like publishing houses, travel agencies, translation companies, embassies and more. You will also have the opportunity to attend workshops, seminars, language taster classes and for the more language-passionate ones, there are several open panel discussions that take place during the 3 days of the festival. This exhibition has so much to offer, but if you are not well prepared and organized, at the end of the day you will definitely be exhausted and drained out. So, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my notes that may be of help in order to plan your next journey to the language festival more effectively.

Tip No. 1: Plan, Plan, Plan

If you want to get the most out of what the Language Show has to offer, you certainly need good planning. I headed to the Language Show Live along with my best friend and language-passionate companion, Antonia, the co-owner of the school for foreign languages, L.two. She is an absolute organizing freak, like myself, so we were both ready to conquer Britain's best language exhibition; at least, that's what we thought! We made a time-table according to the festival's full programme (it is available on the show's official website or you can find it in the printed full guide) and we noted all the seminars that we were interested in; we even divided the time-table by categories (linguists, professionals, etc.). We also wrote some alternative seminars we wanted to attend in case there was some extra time. That was a good one! We did not take into consideration the high number of exhibitors that were located on the 2nd floor of the Conference Centre. We ended up going back and forth like crazy trying to keep up with everything! So, day 1 was crowned with exhaustion, a little bit of hunger, but still, full of satisfaction with what we had gained from this fair. The next two days were totally different due to our change of plan tactic! Along with our perfectly neat time-table, we drew a plan of the exhibitors we would like to meet and all these activities and events (e.g. taster classes) we wanted to attend. Overall, it may be time consuming to carefully plan your visit at the Language Show Live in advance, but as soon as you get there you will find out that it is totally worth the trouble.

Tip No. 2: Backpack

At the Language Show you will get lots of free stuff. This is really exciting because apart from pens and notebooks, I also got fantastic posters and lots of goodies for my desk, even a huge Europe map with geopolitical information about each country! It is a good thing that many exhibitors also offer cotton bags to carry all this stuff, but as these bags can be really heavy, you might end up bruising your shoulder (like I did!). So, the best solution would be to bring a backpack with you that will help you avoid any possible bruises and pack pains. An alternative solution could be to leave your bags at the cloakroom that will charge you almost £1 per item. 

Tip No. 3: Lunch

Each day's programme is so full with language sessions and other activities that you will definitely need a good break for lunch and also have some coffee in between seminars. It would be wise not to get far away from the Conference Centre so as not end up losing a session in which you really want to participate. Fortunately, there is a really cute take away on the 2nd floor of the exhibition centre where you can have a quick bite and enjoy your coffee until you head off to the next activity. If you would like to have a more proper lunch, then the ideal solution would be the "Pizza Express" which is located just around the corner of the Olympia Conference Centre. The important thing is to keep your reservoir full and your energy loaded!

Tip No. 4: Transport

One thing that you need to plan in advance for your journey to the Language Show is how you are going to get to the venue, just to make sure that you will not miss a morning seminar while you try to find which tube line or bus will take you there. There are many options available like the tube/train and buses. I would definitely recommend the tube since it is the fastest way to get there and the Kensington Olympia station is just outside the venue. However, you need to note that Kensington Olympia underground station (District line) is open on Saturday and Sunday only – but, the Overground rail service operates the whole weekend. As things can get pretty messy and confusing, the best way to plan your journey beforehand is to visit the show's official website (, just to be on the safe side. If you are a London-lover (like me) and your hotel is not far from the venue, you could always take an exciting morning walk and enjoy that unique London's feeling (if the weather allows exciting morning walks, of course!).

Tip No. 5: Networking - Yes, New Clients - No (well, probably not)

As I said at the beginning, the Language Show is not an event that would be at the top of the list of a translator whose aim is to attract new clients. This does not apply if you are a teacher (Antonia had a blast with all the publishing houses, the embassies and the language schools she met at the fair). So, it would be unnecessary to take your CV or plenty of business cards with you. Still, you should have some professional cards in your wallet, just in case an opportunity comes along. However, in this festival you will have the chance to catch up with dear colleagues (Valeria, it was so nice to see you again and enjoy one more of your super useful talks) and also meet some colleagues you have only met online (Lloyd, it was such a pleasure to meet you; I hope to have the chance to catch up pretty soon). From my experience, I can tell you that it is quite handy to give out your business card to your new professional contacts; you never know when you are going to be needed or when you will find yourself in need.

For me it was a fantastic experience. I attended quite a few useful seminars; I met some translation companies (I even gave out a few business cards!). I also came up with lots of marketing strategies in order to boost my business (yes, I did!). I believe that as long as you keep your eyes and your ears open, you can always find new ideas and strategies for your business. After all, we live in a marketing-ruled world, don't we?

In case you missed the 2014 Language Show event, here is a great article from The Guardian with the highlights of the London Language Show Live 2014.   

If you have any additional rules or tips, please leave a comment below.


P.S. I would also like to thank Lloyd Bingham for inspiring me to write this article and help first time visitors to the Language Show Live like Antonia and myself. :-)


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Anastasia is a member of: American Translators Association | Associate member (membership number: 254614)  Anastasia is a member of: IAPTI - International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters | Member (membership number: 730)  Anastasia is a member of: Institute of Translation & Interpreting | Associate member (AITI) (membership number: 00013479)  Anastasia is a member of: Panhellenic Association of Translators | Full member (membership number: 399)  Anastasia is a member of: Certified PRO Network Translator | Full member  Anastasia is also a volunteer Translator for Translators Without Borders  Anastasia is a member of: Business School for Translators  Anastasia is a member of: Hellenic Tourism Society