A few weeks ago, Filmatik Production got in touch with me – an audiovisual film production agency based out in the South of France.
Since returning to university I have been able to assist Filmatik with several translations for their brochure and marketing materials, but I was unsure of what these were in aid of until I received a message asking me to clear my calendar to go to Dubai.
In fact, Filmatik wanted to attend the annual International Content Market which is hosted by Index Conferences and Exhibitions, and takes place in the UAE. Although the founders speak a small level of English, it would not be enough to communicate at a high scale business event such as this, which sees business professionals from across the globe attend.
It was the most amazing opportunity for me to practice my French – English interpreting skills for the first time in a professional environment, but I had to give it some serious thought as it would be during the middle of my exam period. With a lot of encouragement from my university professors who reassured me they would re-schedule my exams, I immediately said yes!
It was a long old flight from Heathrow but was worth it when we stepped out into Dubai’s winter sun. We stayed in the Signature Hotel in Al Barsha, a stones throw away from where the event would take place – Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful hotel as Jumeirah Beach- everything from the red carpet arrival to the private beach overlooking the Burj Al Arab made it feel like a palace.
The event took place in the main conference room of the hotel and each exhibitor had their own stand to showcase their service portfolio. When we first saw our stand, I was so proud and excited to see that my translations had been blown up onto an enormous backdrop, which I had no idea was the purpose for them! Throughout the 2 day event, around 500 buyers from several companies browsed the stands and attended organised meetings with ourselves. It got off to a good start with buyers from TV channels based out in the Middle East and North Africa looking for content. I felt a little rusty and nervous at the beginning with my interpreting but soon got into the flow of things.
After a few meetings, we decided that the interpreting element was putting potential buyers off as they seemed afraid of the language barrier. We then made the decision for me to run the meetings individually based off information I was briefed on before. This made the exchange a lot easier and buyers seemed more at ease speaking with a native English speaker.
Throughout the day, several journalists and TV crews conducted interviews for local news which made the atmosphere even more exciting. Later in the day, His Excellency Ali Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Dubai Economy attended the event, and I had the opportunity to pitch Filmatik’s services to him.
It was also a fantastic opportunity to network with some big names in business and gain some invaluable advice. I was particularly inspired by advice given by iKNOWvation Labs who chatted to me informally about where I would like to take my language skills in the future.
Business aside, we were lucky enough to visit the beautiful Burj Khalifa during a free moment in the evening. It is so impressive and 3x the height of the Eiffel Tower. We ate in a lovely Italian restaurant overlooking the pool surrounding the tower, and every so often, an enormous waterfall spectacular begins. They play loud music and the tower lights up whilst water fountains spray water high into the sky.
It was a very quick trip (3 days), and although we were unable to visit many tourist hot spots, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and feel really proud to have been a part of this experience.
I hope that this will be my first of many interpreting projects abroad!