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Thread poster: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:08
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 26, 2008

I have no photo of myself on the site - only my name, my country of residence and my language combinations.

Digressing slightly here off the main subject of my posting, it says "Spain" only because the site doesn't give me the choice of "Basque Country". At the risk of loud groans and shouting from certain quarters, I am not a terrorist, nor do I sympathise, although I have my own reasonable political views, and I have nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing against Spain (or France), but I do know I don't live in Spain. I did live in Spain-Spain for quite a few years (that's how I know), but I have lived here for more, and anybody who does live here knows it ain't Spain. Most of the Spanish who have been here know it too, I reckon. I would appreciate the choice on Proz.

That is by the by, though.

I have no photo because I haven't decided yet which photo to use. I asked my patient partner to take one which shows a "professional but perhaps tortured" vision, she keeps saying You what??, and that is why it is taking so long. Also, sadly I am far too attractive (in a tortured sort of way) to be visioned so freely, for it would disrupt things, but that is also by the by.

Some of the photos and (worse) icons I see here advertising translation services, though, add to my doubts, and therefore to the time frame for posting my own. I see featured translators on this site staring so strangely at the camera I would no more place a translation with these people than I would ask them the time in the street, because they give me the frigging willies. Others have icons with winkies and doo-dahs which relate more to Disneyland and Candid Camera than serious business, and remind me of my student days, when nothing mattered except that the nothing-matters phase should last forever.

If you have to put a serious visual in, take a tip from Ralf or José Henrique - something that is serious, business-like, and inspires confidence. Please note I have no deal with either of them, though - probably just a certain amount of healthy envy.

Sometimes I wonder whether the site is not hampered by non-serious gatecrashers.



Mervyn


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 12:08
Member (2007)
Dutch to English
Hmmmmmmmm Jun 26, 2008

Hi. You are very candid. That's refreshing. I agree, sometimes the photos/icons can be offputting, but at the end of the day, proz visitors are actually interested in the skills a person or company has to offer. Personally, I shudder at the prospect of putting my own photograph anywhere near the Internet.

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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:08
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My point of view Jun 26, 2008

I think people should select the proper name according to their feelings. If there are catalans who like to put Spain, so be it. But what about those catalans who prefer the Catalan flag. The same applies for basques, quebecois, and many others.

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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:08
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I'll skip the Basque Country bit... Jun 26, 2008

...and go straight to the following:

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Some of the photos and (worse) icons I see here advertising translation services, though.

(...)

If you have to put a serious visual in, take a tip from Ralf or José Henrique - something that is serious, business-like, and inspires confidence. Please note I have no deal with either of them, though - probably just a certain amount of healthy envy.

Sometimes I wonder whether the site is not hampered by non-serious gatecrashers.

Mervyn


Up to about a month ago, I used to have a photo that was serious, business-like and apparently inspired confidence, as outsourcers frequently contacted me with job requests.

More than that, I couldn't understand people who put in their Proz.com profiles photos showing them with, of all things!, children. It's a professional site, I thought. What on earth!

Now look at the hopeless gizmo I've put up on my profile page. Children, of all things! Serious? Business-like? Inspiring confidence in prospective clients? Anything but.

The client community, however, seems to have made nothing of my efforts, and the workload for the past 3 weeks has been unlike anything I had experienced in my career. Tons of work, including from new clients, with more coming all the time...

This may be too far-fetched, but I suppose outsourcers look for something more than a serious and business-like photo.

My two euro cents.

M


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:08
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe Jun 26, 2008

Maciek Drobka wrote:
This may be too far-fetched, but I suppose outsourcers look for something more than a serious and business-like photo.

My two euro cents.

M


Maybe. There are strict clients looking for 100% "formal" translators and some clients looking for "natural" translators; unfortunately, I think these are a minority. anyway, I have some swimsuit pics ready to upload


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
weddings and babies and babes Jun 26, 2008

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
I see featured translators on this site staring so strangely at the camera I would no more place a translation with these people than I would ask them the time in the street, because they give me the frigging willies. Others have icons with winkies and doo-dahs which relate more to Disneyland and Candid Camera than serious business
Mervyn


I know what you mean re Spain-Spain, I've only ever lived in Galicia or Catalunya, and feel a bit embarrassed at the outpourings of joy over Spain in the "eurocopa" (mind you, I'm no big footie fan...).

As far as "images" go, it's the ones in wedding dresses and with babies are the ones that get me. Nothing against either, but to be honest, it's hardly a differentiating feature, and it's hardly businesslike. There's also someone around here who looks awfully like like George Clooney or Harrison Ford, but maybe it's really them and they go under a pen name as they clearly don't want to get jobs (at 4 or 5 cents a word) on the strength of their reputation in show biz. Then there are the beautiful babes with sexy pouts ...

The best ones are the obviously real ones . I'm rethinking mine (the 4 green fields), although I have to say that I do less and less in Proz, so it matters naught to me.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
are you serious? Jun 26, 2008

Maciek Drobka wrote:

the workload for the past 3 weeks has been unlike anything I had experienced in my career. Tons of work, including from new clients, with more coming all the time...

M


Looking "familiar" gets work? Aren't you possibly jumping to a conclusion here?

To be honest, though, I can't even see that one should be using the images of people other than oneself to sell oneself.

I know I would have hated if my parents were flaunting my image and identity on the web before I even had the sense or knowledge to possibly realise what that meant.





[Edited at 2008-06-26 23:54]


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:08
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Not my conclusion Jun 27, 2008

Lia Fail wrote:

Maciek Drobka wrote:

the workload for the past 3 weeks has been unlike anything I had experienced in my career. Tons of work, including from new clients, with more coming all the time...

M


Looking "familiar" gets work? Aren't you possibly jumping to a conclusion here?



Could have been my English or the way I put things in my posting. I am sorry for the confusion.

The point I was trying to make is that for (some) outsourcers, the photo you put on your proz.com profile page makes no or little difference. I dare say some take the time to read our profile descriptions and maybe consider other factors before deciding whether or not to contact us for business.

And as for my children hating me for showing them to the world in a business context? I can't speak for them, but I know I myself would NOT hate my parents if they told me now they'd always carried a photo of me in their wallet or briefcase to show to their colleagues or business partners. I fail to see a problem with that.

M


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 13:08
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Why not a photo with you and the Basque flag? Jun 27, 2008

That would be a compromise.

Cheers
Heinrich


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:08
English to German
+ ...
Mervyn: The ultimate photo Jun 27, 2008

We would love to see a beauty shot of you in a wet muscle shirt (or whatever the equivalent to cleavage that even exceeds the picture frame might be), speedos, a cigarette, an alcoholic beverage in your hand, your favorite hamster and a plush animal. And some bling, please. Try to look tired or drugged. Or at least lascivious. Make sure to take the picture at the Photo-Mat at the subway station. This saves cash. Use a colorful wig or a bridal veil. Don't forget to be unshaven (4 days min.). If this doesn't help, use Photoshop to superimpose George Clooney's face. Make sure to use some hysterical animation in addition that will drive the viewer nuts.

Ahhh.. nice. All of my pet peeves at once.

Maciek: Your photo is actually very nice. There is a huge difference between a portrait of the translator together with his nice and happy kids (immediate association: breadwinner, responsible, balanced = trustworthy and reliable) or a mere baby photo or a portrait of the family pet. There is a lot of psychology involved how photos are perceived.


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:08
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That Basque flag and the drugged look Jun 27, 2008

Hi Heinrich and Nicole,


As for the Basque flag, being from West Britain I know enough about flags to have ascertained in my youth that they serve chiefly to drum up hatred (literally DRUM up, as John Paul Weir and certain others will know) which trickles pointlessly down down down through the years, over 300 years in the case of Ireland to the point of anachronism in the year 2008. Having said that, I was always favourably struck here by Yaotl's ikurrina (Basque flag), which just goes to show no arguments are 100%.

I realise my previous comments may be incompatible, but seriously, all I am asking for is a personal country/region choice. Is somebody directing you to say that you can only live in Belgium, when perhaps you feel that you live in Flanders? Is someone directing you to tell people that you live in Russia, when you feel you are Chechyn? All I am saying is that the "Country" option could be left open for YOU to put South-West Yorkshire, People's Republic of North Illinois, Community of Madison and Third, or whatever.

Which means, of course, I'm starting to argue against myself on my second point about business professionalism in my calls for crazy individualism ...

Nicole Nicole, I don't actually know what a muscle shirt is, but by God I've been making fervent inquiries in Bilbao this morning!! The looks I got. The emotion as I write. As you say, there is a lot of psychology in how photos are perceived, and just as much, if not more, in how they are decided.


Bye now,



Mervyn


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
My two bob's worth... Jun 27, 2008

First, about the regional issue. In my case, I originally put UK as place of origin. Technically that's where I am: Northern Ireland. But for an awful lot of people out there, and for a whole host of reasons, they associate the UK exclusively with England (or perhaps Britain). I felt it didn't adequately reflect where I am though, so for geographic reasons I changed it to Ireland: again, technically correct. And I did it like this: I chose Ireland as the country, then selected the regional option 'region not listed' and entered it manually.

I am surprised there isn't an option to highlight one's region in Spain (= the Iberian peninsula) as Spain is nothing if not a country of regions...try the above, Mervyn.

When I lived in Euskadi, I was constantly reminded by the locals that I 'was not in Spain, and not in France'. To which I would reply, "Thanks, but I do know exactly where I am, you know". Unfortunately the same people would then manifest an almost wilful ignorance of all things Irish, toward which they claimed a great and historical affinity. The latter of dubious origin IMO, the historical ties were usually with Britain, hence the ikurrina modelled on the Union Jack. That's how I understand it, but I am open to being stood corrected on that...

The conversations usually went: "You're from Ireland, yes?". "That's right." "Oh, which part?" "The best part(!) - the north..." "Ah yes, the English part. You're English then." "Okay, if you say so. Me English, you Spanish, yes?" "No, me Basque". "That's right, and me Irish"....and so on, ad infinitum. In some cases it took an incredibly long time for the penny to drop.

And just for the record- Basque Country: great country, great people, great food, great girls. And great flag too. The only thing I don't miss is the special 'drizzle'.

Secondly, on the photos and icons issue - interesting topic by the way - as far as I am aware there is no rule that says you must upload a photo of yourself specifically and exclusively. Thus, you can basically show what you like, within the bounds of good taste of course. I have no problem with family photos and the like; people who post these are going through a certain phase in their life, one where they feel pride in their young and growing family, etc. Not a problem. But I can't understand how or why (well, not how actually, but why oh why) someone would post a photo of a dog or a cat: how can a cat have more KudoZ points than me?! [Please don't reply to that one].

The animated ones give me mixed feelings: yes they're pretty cool, I'd love to know how it's done (javascript probably but that's as far as I can fathom) BUT again they bear no relation to what is being promoted. Ah well, each to their own I suppose.

And then there's the flags. As Mervyn pointed out, where I live flags are a real hot potato, and will continue to be for some time. For me they represent all that is still wrong (read 'backward') with this society in particular, as tribalism is sadly never too far from the surface. Fortunately I live in a part of the land that's relatively unaffected by such issues. Relatively.

That said, I was never one to be offended by the sight of a flag (of whatever hue); I am above that, I'd like to think. Too long in the tooth at any rate. It's just a piece of coloured cloth after all. To me - and I am speaking in local terms here, not flags in general - they're just tacky and serve only to mark territory - something that animals are expected to do, but humans are expected to rise above.

If someone wants to post a flag instead of a photo that's fine by me too. I actually like Lia's one, or what it represents - the 'four green fields'.

Which then brings me to what do I advertise for myself: for I have no image either. And I have strained to find something adequate, for I have considered everything from a simple photo to a coat of arms (and then, which one?) to a nice photo of where I live. In the end I couldn't decide. The compromise I suppose would be to change the photo every couple of weeks, but I don't think anyone else does that, and there's probably a reason for that...you're not allowed(?).

At the end of the day, the image reflects the person. Psychology indeed. And very interesting too.

Excuse the long post, folks, those that are interested will read it; those that aren't will pass on by like ships in the night...

JP.

PS. A 'muscle shirt' is a shirt filled to bursting point with muscles (I did some research). The shirt you can buy in any shirt shop. The muscles you have to supply yourself.


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:08
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
This is waaay off topic... Jun 27, 2008

John Paul Weir wrote:

First, about the regional issue.

(...)



John Paul, you are a great writer. Or (story)teller. I enjoyed the form of your posting as much as I did the content.

Have you ever written anything that was published?

M


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:08
English to Dutch
+ ...
Another off-topic Jun 27, 2008

Have you noticed how many tag lines/slogans that accompany the photos have spelling/grammar mistakes and/or typos? Would be funny, if it wasn't sad.

Today, an agency was featured on the homepage with the tag line (in German): * Highly qualified, true to quiality*
Makes me wonder....


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not yet... Jun 27, 2008

John Paul, you are a great writer. Or (story)teller. I enjoyed the form of your posting as much as I did the content.

Have you ever written anything that was published?


All the best writers in English were Irish, to be sure. Ahem. Except Shakespeare. And P.J. O'Rourke. Although you'd never know by looking at his name.

I was actually responding to Mervyn's original forum post about:

a) how to more accurately reflect where you work from / live (a very valid point I think);

and

b) how I feel about photos and/or icons.

The answers to both are somewhere in there, amongst the drivel.

As for writing, I'd rather write in Spanish or Irish (but who'd read it?). Now that would be waaay off topic...

By the way, where I live, there are many Poles too. Yep, that's right: telegraph poles, flag poles, etc.



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