• 24 May 2018
  • by Peter Reynolds

The nasty mean low-down trick happened with about 10 minutes to go at the first ever memoQfest. We were feeling happy with ourselves. The conference had been a great success. It was April 2009 and there were more people attending the conference than memoQ had as customers.

The final session was a Q&A session with the owners of the company. Doug Lawrence, who had delivered a workshop as part of the conference, had asked some penetrating questions such as “Is this a question?” with the follow up “Is this another question?”. There were only a few minutes to go when they decided to change things.

It is obvious to anyone from Hungary how to pronounce memoQ. Of course, we are a professional company, so we did some market research and asked a number of people from a country just north of England how to pronounce memoQ. They agreed with us. We had one native English speaker who was Irish (me) and I also agreed. The correct pronunciation of memoQ is “mem-ock” (listen to the audio by Google Translate).
Then as the clock clicked towards a happy conclusion to the first memoQfest, they struck. It is best not to name the evil person who started this but for the purpose of this post you can imagine a fictional American called Kevin Troublemaker. Troublemaker stood up and claimed that the pronunciation of memoQ was wrong and ridiculous and should be “mem-o-q”. If we were sharper we would have ended the conference as soon as Troublemaker started talking but the next thing that happened was that Jost Zetzsche, who was chairing this session, started a vote on how to pronounce the name. There were 9 Kilgray employees at the time. When the vote was counted it was almost everybody for ‘mem-o-q’ and 8 for ‘mem-ock’. To this day we have never found out which Kilgray team member voted for mispronouncing memoQ.
That was the first memoQfest. We are now about to start the tenth. Some people have attended all of them and will be with us again at the end of May. By the time he returns home after memoQfest 2018, Stéphan Gervais will have travelled over 132,720 kilometers. Luckily, Stéphan does not have to walk to the conference. Part of the reason why people come back year after year is that the conference is always getting better and it has the best networking events of any conference anywhere in the world. This is according to Sándor Papp. Being the main organiser of memoQfest he is not very objective.
There are also presentations at memoQfest, Pride and Prejudice, Cinderella, Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare and a TV show have all been used to introduce a new version of memoQ. This year we have one of the strongest programs we have had for the conference. Veteran memoQfest presenters such as Marek Pawalec, Kevin Lossner, Stefan Weimar and Angelika Zerfaß will be talking at memoQfest 10 as will Doug Strock, David Hardisty, Marco Neves, Errol Cleary, Tamara Tirjak, Santiago García Sanz, Marie Blanke and John Moran. Keynote presentations at memoQfest are always excellent and this year will be no different. Nataly Kelly, VP at Hubspot, will be speaking about “How AI Can Help Us Redefine Human Work”.
Every year the entire memoQ company gets together for a face to face meeting. During this year’s meeting there was a discussion about some recent release and my colleagues started saying that we will have to have an answer for this before The User Strikes Back panel at memoQfest. They were very worried by this panel that ends each memoQfest with senior memoQ people sitting on a panel and getting some pretty tough questions thrown at them. Last year a quite-spoken lady called Juliet asked “Why is your marketing so appalling?” This question partially led to a complete overhaul of marketing and I think has had some very positive results. When my colleagues were discussing their fears about The User Strikes Back, I thought it wise not to tell them that I actively try and encourage tough questions for this panel. I would appreciate you keeping my secret too.

memoQfest starts on Wednesday 30th May with masterclasses. These cover everything you wanted to know about memoQ but were afraid to ask. There are spectacular parties each night. However, you are advised to ignore them as the conference presentations will all be brilliant and the conference will start punctually at 9-ish even if you have been out dancing all night. Hopefully a lot of us will see each other in the very near future at memoQfest.