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 »  Articles Overview  » Site Features  »  Organizing a powwow in your city

Organizing a powwow in your city

By Henry Dotterer | Published  03/4/2005 | Site Features | Recommendation:
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Henry Dotterer
Estados Unidos
japonés a inglés translator
View all articles by Henry Dotterer

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Organizing a powwow in your city

1. What is a powwow?
2. The role of the organizer
3. Proposing a powwow
4. Estimating attendance and selecting a venue
5. Editing the powwow page
6. Promoting the powwow
7. Communicating with interested members
8. Confirming attendance / receiving payments
9. At the powwow
10. Verifying identities
11. Submitting attendance form (and powwow browniz)
12. Publishing powwow reports / photos
13. Powwow principles and rules
14. For more information


1. What is a powwow?

Powwows are informal get-togethers of local members. The events are organized by members, for local translators. In most cases, the events are either free or "pay your own way", ie. pay for what you eat, etc. Powwows provide an excellent opportunity for exchanging professional information and for building relationships. They are also fun!

Each powwow has a dedicated page on which information related to the powwow is shown. Members interested in the powwow are encouraged to add their names to this page. It is also possible to add notes here, so it is common for discussions to occur leading up to the event.

Powwow pages have URLs of this form:
where the final number varies depending on the id of the powwow.

To access lists of current or past powwows, go to:
Alternatively, click [Community > Powwows] from the menu bar.

A batch mailing function is provided on this page to enable organizers to send announcements to those who express interest in the powwow. Members may also communicate with each other or the organizer by posting to this page.

2. The role of the organizer

The powwow organizer assumes primary responsibility for selecting a suitable venue and time, and primary responsibility for reporting on powwow attendance. Though it is not required, most powwow organizers will also say a few words to start or finish a powwow, and many see to it that a report is entered after the event.

Some powwow organizers do more: some create agendas or even invite speakers. Others host at their houses, preparing food, etc. But this is not required; it is enough to make sure that everyone is clear regarding the venue and time.

3. Proposing a powwow

The first step in the process of holding a powwow is proposing it. Any member with a verified identity or a platinum membership can propose a powwow by going to the main powwow page [ ] and clicking the tab that says "Propose New Powwow". When this form has been submitted, site staff will be notified, and will confirm or deny the powwow within a few days.

Because the powwow notification process is a gradual one (people notice powwow ads as they browse the site), powwows should be proposed 2 to 3 months in advance of the planned date. There is no reason you can not propose a powwow just a few days in advance... just don't expect many people to notice!

4. Estimating attendance and selecting a venue

The two most common venues for powwows are restaurants and organizers' homes. Powwows have also been held at parks, libraries and other public places.

When selecting a venue, it is important to select a place that is quiet enough for a comfortable conversation. If the venue is a restaurant, try to get a private room so that members will be able, for example, to stand and introduce themselves. Alternatively, select a day or time when there will be few other patrons.

One important factor in selecting a venue is the number of people who will participate. It is hard to know exactly how many people will attend a powwow, but there are several ways to estimate. Powwow attendance varies with location, so one way to get an idea of how many people may attend is to look at the pages of past powwows in your area.

As the date of the powwow approaches, it becomes easier to estimate attendance. Interested members will have added their names to the powwow page. In order to accurately estimate how many of these will attend, an organizer can encourage interested parties to confirm attendance. A group mailing function is providing for this purpose (it can also be used to notify members regarding updates to information, etc.)

When closer estimates of attendance have been obtained, the organizer should let the venue know.

5. Editing the powwow page

Organizers are given a means of editing the powwow information box on powwow pages, including the date, theme and other information related to the event. To edit this information, click on "Edit powwow info" to the upper right of the powwow box on the page for that powwow.

6. Promoting the powwow

The best way to promote a powwow is to invite local colleagues you know personally (no function is yet provided for this purpose). Encourage colleagues in turn to invite others or bring friends (and family, if appropriate).

Powwows are also a place to meet new colleagues, so you will want to notify people in the area who you do not yet know. Consider announcing the powwow in the powwow organizers forum: You may make an announcement there when a powwow is first accepted, and then an announcement again (as a reminder) a week or two before the date the powwow is to be held. not more than two postings should be made in this forum for a single powwow.

To attract new members, banner advertisements will also appear automatically (randomly), to those who have entered the relevant country into their profiles. As a result, it is likely that people you do not know will express interest in your powwow. Organizers are encouraged to make new guests feel welcome, and respond to any questions they ask directly or in the powwow page.

Upcoming powwows are also announced in each of's monthly newsletters.

7. Communicating with interested members

A group mailing function is provided to help organizers communicate efficiently with members interested in a powwow. To use it, login and visit the page of your powwow. A series of checkboxes will appear beside the names of those interested. Check the boxes of the members you want to contact and then click "Send message to checked members". On the next page, you will indicate the type of message, and then write/edit the note you would like to send to each member.

The group mail function can be used to inform members regarding updates to powwow information, to request that they confirm attendance, to announce that a powwow report has been posted, etc.

To test the group mail function, just check your own name and send yourself a message.

8. Confirming attendance / receiving payments

In order to get a good estimate of the number of members who will attend a powwow, organizers are encouraged to send a "confirm attendance" request, using the group mail function, a week or two before the event. Members are given a way of either clicking a link in the "please confirm" email, or of indicating via the powwow page how likely they are to attend (yes, no or maybe). In addition, the organizer is able to change the attendance status for each member--this allows the organizer to update the page when members confirm personally via email, etc. Organizers are encouraged to keep status up to date using this function so that miscommunications will be avoided (members will change their status if they notice it is wrong.)

Most powwows are either free or "pay-your-own-way", ex. each member pays for the food she/he eats. In some cases, however, particularly if 50 or more attendees are expected, advanced payment may be advisable. In these cases, permission must be requested from for the powwow to require advanced payment. A staff member will review the proposal, and if advanced payment is deemed advisable, the format of the powwow page will be modified so that instead of confirmation status, payment status will be shown.

Advanced payments can be received in one of two ways: locally (with payment handled by the powwow organizer) or via (with payment online). When payment is made via (a business), an electronic invoice will be issued. When payment is made locally to you as organizer (not organizing a powwow as a commercial activity), no invoice should be expected by members.

9. At the powwow

Powwows provide an opportunity for networking and informal socializing among language professionals--a chance to meet the people behind the profiles.

As an organizer, you may want to facilitate networking. Most organizers offer attendees an opportunity to introduce themselves and make announcements. One common technique is to go around the room, with each attendee mentioning their languages and areas of specialization, as well as one hobby not related to translation.

Sometimes, a theme is selected by an organizer; examples include: 'CAT tools', 'Literature', 'Free-lancing', 'New Translators'. Sometimes a member volunteers to speak on a topic, and provided there is sufficient interest expressed by others, the organizer may permit this.

Some organizers have invited representatives from large clients, or CAT tools vendors, to speak or give demonstrations. This has generally been well-received. It is important, however, that the tone of such meetings be informative rather than commercial.

Some powwows have no agenda and no theme, and that is fine, too. Basically, if you are the organizer, it is your event to create!

10. Verifying identities

Some functions require that the identities of members have been verified and having your identity verified is intended as a benefit to members. Powwows provide an opportunity to verify the identities of members without charging a fee. Powwow organizers who are interested in offering this service, and who have themselves had their identities verified, may request that staff assign to them the right to verify the identities of powwow attendees. This request should be entered using the online support system at:

If the request for the right to verify identities is granted, the organizer will receive instructions on how to verify identities. Basically, the process involves announcing to members in advance (via the powwow page) that identities will be verified, checking photo IDs at the event, and then entering the verified identity data after the event. The process takes about a minute per identity verified.

11. Submitting attendance form (and powwow browniz)

Members are awarded browniz for organizing, and for attending, powwows. Therefore, one of the responsibilities of the organizer is to see to it that attendance is recorded. This means that they should bring a sheet to the powwow, (get it here: ) and afterwards, click on a link from the powwow page to the attendance entry sheet:

Note that in order for browniz to be awarded to attendees, either their member ID or the email address that matches their profile must be entered into the attendance form.

Within a day after the names are entered here, the browniz will be credited.

12. Publishing powwow reports / photos

After a powwow has been held, a link will appear at the top of the powwow page, allowing the organizer to enter an attendance sheet and a report on the event. It is important that this be done, because attendees (and you as organizer) will not receive browniz points until it is.

Once a report has been published, you may want to use the batch mail function to notify attendees so that they can see the report for themselves!

13. Powwow principles and rules

There are some basis principles and rules for powwows that asks organizers to know and follow. They are:

(1) Powwows are open and informal.
(2) Guests and families are welcome.
(3) Powwows are not commercial.

14. For more information

For more information related to powwows, see the powwow faq by going to the powwow list page and clicking on the FAQ tab:

A forum is also provided for discussions related to powwows or the organization of powwows. To access that forum, go to:
This forum is also accessible by navigating from the menu tabs as follows: Community > Forums > Forums about > Powwow Organizers.

To comment on what you have read in this article, please go to this thread:

Comments on this article

Knowledgebase Contributions Related to this Article
  • New freelance translators, Canada (Posted by Mendham on 12/30/2016)
    I've just received approval to organize a powwow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is a new experience for me. I am excited to know how this opportunity will help jump start my career and the career of other freelance translators like me. I'm hoping for more freelance translators in the greater Toronto will show up.

  • Powwow meetings- cancellation of powwows (Posted by Josephine Cassar on 12/1/2012)
    As I come from a small country, there are likely not enough members who would respond positively or even found to participate. What happens in case you need to cancel event, even if there is another reason besides my particular case. This has not been covered in issue- when I asked for help in a translation English -Maltese or vice-versa, there were no answers so maybe, won't be able to hold meeting after all. tkx

  • A Novice Powwow Organizer (Posted by Mohsin Alabdali on 01/7/2008)
    I've just received approval to organize a powwow in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As a novice powwow organizer, I found this article very helpful. I shall use it to guide me all the way to a successful event, I hope.

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