Your first public speaking event: coming out of your comfort zone

29 Jul


Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world !!
Make an attempt..”
Manoj Arora, From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom


When I was a student at my university, I remember I was thrilled about being asked to speak in public in front of my fellow students. Some years later, when I was a last year student trying to get my MA in linguistics and translation studies, I had to spend two weeks teaching second-year undergraduates the ins and outs of some English-Russian translation techniques. That was fun, and the feeling that you were seen to be a guru of translation was very exciting.

Strange enough, I never applied for any position at any university afterwards (although my MA was meant to be a starting point there). I became a freelance translator almost immediately, and since then this exciting feeling of controlling an audience has but vanished.

But in June 2016 I came across an ad on Twitter about Ukrainian Translators and Interpreters Conference (UTIC 2016 –, which was to be held in June this year. Speakers were invited to send their presentations, which first had to be approved by the conference committee. My first thought was “why not”? I had visited several industry-related conferences, and I listened to a lot of speakers there, so wasn`t that the time to remember this feeling of passing the knowledge to others? Well, I already had 50+ blog posts, so why not do it offline?

It took me an hour to compile a draft of my presentation. Frankly speaking, I was not very surprised when I received a positive answer, since the main subject I was going to talk about was about marketing, timely payments, etc.

When I came to the conference site (a small resorts in the woods some 50 km from the nearest big city), I was warmly welcomed by the moderator of the panel, Joseph Kovalov – (there were 3 panels, actually). Since the panel I was going to take part in was about marketing and payment issues (with some minor additions of literary translation ideas), it had the most attendees, with some of them being top translators and interpreters in Ukraine (one name says it all – Oleg Rudavin –

Well, my biggest challenge was to maintain an eye contact with the audience –  well , 10 years of freelance career can really change the way you speak with people, and that is exactly why I decided to become a speaker of UTIC 2016

On the last day of the conference I managed to get my family there – it was fun since there were a lot of kids there.

In other words, this is a very effective way to come out of your shell, or balcony cubicle (in my case). Needless to say, this is a perfect networking event, where you (among other things) can exchange business cards with other translators and (sometimes) direct clients.

So, don`t think twice – seize an opportunity instead!


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