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Incentives for staying with Proz.com?
Autor de la hebra: Bernhard Sulzer

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
España
Local time: 14:27
Miembro
español al inglés
+ ...
And (3) ... Aug 1, 2017

... that warm feeling of bonhomie, togetherness and comprehension.

Germaine
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:27
Miembro 2008
inglés al ruso
+ ...
+1 Aug 1, 2017


I am considering quitting my Plus package subscription as I find it useless but standard Proz membership package guarantees me 80 % of my yearly income (and I don't visit the job board)


Yes, the same here. Standard package is fine, more pros than cons (already mentioned by others, i.e. new clients, the Blue Board, Kudoz, forum) while the Plus one is all about those "annoyingly untempting offers" mentioned by Jenny in a different context.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 09:27
inglés al portugués
+ ...
In Memoriam
Networking Aug 1, 2017

I advocate for translator e-presence. I may be found on every translation portal that accepts free users, albeit with limited privileges. I track the demand (= jobs) on each one for my language pair (EN-PT).

I spent the first five years as a free user on Proz until that demand rose to a worthy and sustainable level, which was when I chose to become a Proz member, having held this status for about a decade, until almost a year ago. I must mention that in all these years, the runner-u
... See more
I advocate for translator e-presence. I may be found on every translation portal that accepts free users, albeit with limited privileges. I track the demand (= jobs) on each one for my language pair (EN-PT).

I spent the first five years as a free user on Proz until that demand rose to a worthy and sustainable level, which was when I chose to become a Proz member, having held this status for about a decade, until almost a year ago. I must mention that in all these years, the runner-up in worthy demand failed to hold it, so Proz was my only paid membership.

I am an active participant in translators' newsgroups on Yahoo. However most of the people there are located in my country, and translate in my pair. Most of the traffic there has migrated to groups on Facebook. Proz is my gateway to networking with colleagues worldwide working in all language pairs.

During that decade ended last year I got enough jobs through Proz to make my subscription fee worthwhile. However I noticed that the demand shifted gradually. Less and less job posters were looking for translators; most were merely seeking Trados owners, which became the default. The Proz forums - which I enjoy a lot - were gradually, but massively, taken over by Trados tech support issues. SDL said they were "reaching out" to their users via Proz; I saw it as cost-cutting, by shifting their tech support staff duties to the users community.

Further analysis led me to realize that my mushrooming web site had gradually become my major source of new clients, so I gave up on the Proz paid membership. As a free user, I still see all those "MUST have Trados" jobs, which I disregard, as a WordFast user.

Anyway, if the situation changes. here or on another similar site, I might become a paying member again. Like any computer software or hardware I buy or refrain from buying, I'm constantly doing a cost/benefit analysis.
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Chris S  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
sueco al inglés
+ ...
Why do experienced translators need more customers? Aug 1, 2017

What I find interesting about this thread is the number of seasoned translators bigging up the job board and blue board for getting odd jobs from random agencies around the world.

But why do you need them?

I know customers come and go, but surely only on a very occasional basis?

Am I the exception in only ever working for a small handful of customers?

Isn't the idea that once you get work from a promising agency or end-client you do it well a
... See more
What I find interesting about this thread is the number of seasoned translators bigging up the job board and blue board for getting odd jobs from random agencies around the world.

But why do you need them?

I know customers come and go, but surely only on a very occasional basis?

Am I the exception in only ever working for a small handful of customers?

Isn't the idea that once you get work from a promising agency or end-client you do it well and then get regular work from them for ever more?

As for ProZ:
I find the forum discussions and KudoZ a good source of light entertainment (generally unintended) on a dull day. The rest holds no interest for me.
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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
España
Miembro 2005
italiano al inglés
+ ...
Does its job Aug 1, 2017

I'd actually prefer to pay more for membership.

If membership cost 500 bucks perhaps it really would be a web site for Proz.

If 100 bucks or less is too much to invest in your business, just hang around as a freebie.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Local time: 13:27
Miembro 2004
inglés al italiano
No, you are not... Aug 1, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Am I the exception in only ever working for a small handful of customers?



you only need a few good ones... just make yourself "indispensable" and they'll keep returning...

[Edited at 2017-08-01 11:39 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 09:27
inglés al portugués
+ ...
In Memoriam
Demand may be or become fickle Aug 1, 2017

Chris S wrote:

What I find interesting about this thread is the number of seasoned translators bigging up the job board and blue board for getting odd jobs from random agencies around the world.

But why do you need them?

I know customers come and go, but surely only on a very occasional basis?

Am I the exception in only ever working for a small handful of customers?

Isn't the idea that once you get work from a promising agency or end-client you do it well and then get regular work from them for ever more?


I spent 20+ years serving one direct client who accounted for 60-75% of my income. Then their market took a turn, and ever since I have been doing 1-2 jobs per year for them. It took me almost seven years to adequately replace their demand with several other clients.

I serve a number of domestic law offices that now and then need sworn translations. However the number of cases they work on involving foreign documents is random. The same applies to a foreign trade operator who will come straight to me when he needs sworn translations, because something went wrong, and there's a lawsuit. However their everyday translation work is obviously done inside his firm.

One of my most frequent clients is a translation agency in the USA. For the past ten years, in average, they have been assigning me one job per week, each one being worth anything from 1 to 5 digits in USD. So it's random again.

So, unless a freelance translator has at least 80% of his/her time committed to a constant translation demand clientele, such as a newspaper, or a news agency, they'll have to be constantly seeking new clients. Translation is not like food or fuel, that must be taken in regularly. Once a translation is done, that text will never need to be translated again, unless it is changed into something new.


 

Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 14:27
Miembro 2011
inglés al ucraniano
+ ...
WWAs, BlueBoard, Certified PRO Network... Aug 1, 2017

... to name a few. Also, as mentioned above, ProZ conferences, TWB and the mentor programme. I have met really interesting people there, with whom I stay in touch for years. Living in a small town, with not so many translators around, it actually gives an opportunity to meet the people who are on the same page with you. And also it gives now and then a welcome push from the daily routine coming in the form of a message from a fellow translator, a new job or a potential client.

 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 08:27
Miembro 2003
español al inglés
+ ...
My own lists Aug 1, 2017

I tend to agree with Bernhard's sentiments, but also with Jenny's comments. Here is my own list of "pros" and "cons":

PROS:

1.
Exposure leading to at least occasional contact with good clients for good jobs.
2.
Being able to fully participate in "Kudoz game," and thus improve exposure.
3.
Access to Blue Board (useful, despite its oft-discussed limitations).
4.
Ready access to forums.
5.
The "P" badge (I am not clear
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I tend to agree with Bernhard's sentiments, but also with Jenny's comments. Here is my own list of "pros" and "cons":

PROS:

1.
Exposure leading to at least occasional contact with good clients for good jobs.
2.
Being able to fully participate in "Kudoz game," and thus improve exposure.
3.
Access to Blue Board (useful, despite its oft-discussed limitations).
4.
Ready access to forums.
5.
The "P" badge (I am not clear what real value it has, but I am certain it has at least some value).
6.
Terms help and glossaries (even though my access typically falls well within non-member limits, I do not mind supporting a site providing these useful features).
7.
Proz has no real competition. The other "portals" are a joke. Then there's a place imposing real professional criteria for entrance but offering nothing more than forums where freelancers typically exchange observations about their own magnificence.

CONS:

1.
Lots of contact through site about low-rate jobs.
2.
A Jobs Board featuring mainly low-rate jobs.
3.
A site more oriented to agencies than freelancers.
4.
A site not designed to attract direct clients.
5.
Caprcious censorship of negative Blue Board comments.
6.
Constant ads for, webinars about, and discussion of CAT programs I have no interest in.
7.
The absence of barriers to use/membership (i.e., this is not an exclusively professional site).
8.
By virtue of allowing anyone to join, this site has contributed to the degrading of the translation profession.

***
For me, there certainly is more negative than positive, but given the strength of the negatives, it is an uneasy balance.

Perhaps this is what Bernhard was getting at in his original post.
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Chris S  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
sueco al inglés
+ ...
Living life on the edge Aug 1, 2017

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Unless a freelance translator has at least 80% of his/her time committed to a constant translation demand clientele, such as a newspaper, or a news agency, they'll have to be constantly seeking new clients.


I couldn't live with that level of unpredictability, and I don't see why any experienced translator should have to. It shouldn't be "constantly seeking new clients" so much as "choosing carefully in the first place while remaining open to the occasional new one".

Five years, let alone 10 or 20, should be enough to establish a reliable customer base that obviates any active need to hunt for titbits on ProZ.

Most translators here work for agencies. If you translate from German to French, say, a handful of agencies in Germany and France will have plenty of work to keep you busy. If one goes quiet, another can supply more work to fill the gap.

So why go fishing for work in Outer Mongolia?

But then that seems to be ProZ's raison d'etre: helping all-language agencies in low-cost countries find desperate translators.

And hosting our esteemed opinions.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italia
Local time: 14:27
Miembro
italiano al inglés
Everyone has to find their own reasons Aug 1, 2017

Everyone has to find their own reasons. Mine - the overwhelming majority of my customers find me through the site, so to me it makes economic sense. It also provides me with opportunities to meet up with other translators in my area in person.

It also seems to me that you have been complaining about ProZ for years, yet you still pay the membership. So what's your real reason for this post? What merit can it possibly have to ask others why they stay, if their situation turns out to b
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Everyone has to find their own reasons. Mine - the overwhelming majority of my customers find me through the site, so to me it makes economic sense. It also provides me with opportunities to meet up with other translators in my area in person.

It also seems to me that you have been complaining about ProZ for years, yet you still pay the membership. So what's your real reason for this post? What merit can it possibly have to ask others why they stay, if their situation turns out to be radically different to yours? My feeling is that this post is yet another opportunity to rally the troops in bashing the site, when your time would be better spent in truly examining whether or not you want to stay.
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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 08:27
Miembro 2003
español al inglés
+ ...
This site is not a cult Aug 1, 2017

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Everyone has to find their own reasons. Mine - the overwhelming majority of my customers find me through the site, so to me it makes economic sense. It also provides me with opportunities to meet up with other translators in my area in person.

It also seems to me that you have been complaining about ProZ for years, yet you still pay the membership. So what's your real reason for this post? What merit can it possibly have to ask others why they stay, if their situation turns out to be radically different to yours? My feeling is that this post is yet another opportunity to rally the troops in bashing the site, when your time would be better spent in truly examining whether or not you want to stay.


Paying for a membership at a commercial website is not like embracing either a radical political group demanding unflinching adherence to the party line or a religious cult requiring blind devotion to leader and church. It is normal for people to have both positive and negative opinions about products and services they use, proz.com membership included.

I therefore see nothing wrong this discussion.

[Edited at 2017-08-01 14:35 GMT]


 

Tom in London
Reino Unido
Local time: 13:27
Miembro 2008
italiano al inglés
ME too Aug 1, 2017

Gitte Hovedskov wrote:

....you want to participate in a forum discussion and your comment doesn't appear instantly, but ends up completely out of place in the order of submitted comments.


I am a fully paid-up member but my comment, which was the first, ended up completely out of place in the order of submitted comments.

Please explain, Proz.


 

Tom in London
Reino Unido
Local time: 13:27
Miembro 2008
italiano al inglés
Doesn't happen Aug 1, 2017

Chris S wrote:

......Isn't the idea that once you get work from a promising agency or end-client you do it well and then get regular work from them for ever more?



As it happens, I've just been shredding my old accounting documents from six years ago. Feeding old invoices into the shredder, it's a wonder how many agencies I used to work for and thought of as "regular clients", but which subsequently dropped out of sight and were completely forgotten. Only those old invoices remind me of them.

There's no such thing as a client that lasts forever. And there's certainly no such thing as "too many clients".


AstridH
 

Lianne van de Ven  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 08:27
Miembro 2008
inglés al neerlandés
+ ...
Virtual office that I enjoy Aug 1, 2017

I see all the points made and share most of the pros and cons, but for me this is in a sense my workplace - my virtual office and the fee is rather small. Besides some irritations every now and then, I actually ENJOY my membership!
I am lucky that I am high in the directory for my language pair (this skews my view). I get more direct requests than I can keep up with and the rest of my jobs are referrals. I only use job postings to keep an eye on the market. I never get a job if I am one o
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I see all the points made and share most of the pros and cons, but for me this is in a sense my workplace - my virtual office and the fee is rather small. Besides some irritations every now and then, I actually ENJOY my membership!
I am lucky that I am high in the directory for my language pair (this skews my view). I get more direct requests than I can keep up with and the rest of my jobs are referrals. I only use job postings to keep an eye on the market. I never get a job if I am one of the 10 to 20 people who reply, so people who use the directory know what they are looking for. I can see how having to compete harder with other translators for jobs can make this a very different experience.
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