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Is a full membership worth it?
Thread poster: Andreas Morgenstern
Andreas Morgenstern  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:08
English to German
+ ...
Jun 30, 2008

This is my first day on ProZ and I don't see many jobs on front page. Are most of the jobs passed directly from agencies to members and if so, is it worth it to become a full member to apply for outsourcer groups on the blue board?

Right now I just have no idea how to get started or get any kind of first assignment.

[Edited at 2008-07-01 11:49]


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:08
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
It is worth it Jul 1, 2008

Hi Andreas, welcoem, and yes, it is worth it.

Other than job postings there is the Blue Board, a place where you can check prospective clients based on user experiences. This way you can offer your services to for examaple reputable agencies.

I would advice you not to rely only on job postings. That is a way to get work, but you need more if you intend to work full time.


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Definitely worth it Jul 1, 2008

Hi Andreas,

Welcome to ProZ.com, Andreas.

A full membership is definitely worth it, not only in terms of jobs, also for a full access to the Blue Board. First of all I would recommend you to polish your profile, i.e. take away typos, fill in selected keywords, put in samples from projects, make your special field visible for clients, and also getting active on KudoZ. Many prospective clients decide to contact a freelance translator after having had a closer look at his/her KudoZ acitivities.

Regards
Erik


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Nicolas Coyer  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to French
+ ...
Another point of view Jul 1, 2008

Although not denying proz.com usefulness in our field, I reckon that in my case community membership is enough. I was a full member at the beginning but the offers published were most of the time below my working rates. I never got an answer to all the quotes I sent (not bc of a lack of experience) so I ended up not using the "jobs" part. My perception is that (at least in my language combination) outsourcers are looking for the cheapest deal.
On the other hand, the Blueboard is a gold mine and you can have access to it with a community membership. However, if you want additional features like creating and updating your personal website (hosted by proz), I think you need a full membership.
Good luck!


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 03:08
My case Jul 1, 2008

In terms of jobs it's not worth it. For my rare language pair German-Chinese I already ranked very high in the listing before I became a member. The inquiries have not increased afterwards. For my more usual language pair English-Chinese I get orders only from clients for whom I already do German-Chinese translation.

However, as the others have pointed out, there are other valuable features as a full member.


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Andreas Morgenstern  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:08
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all comments so far Jul 1, 2008

I think I'll start with trying to collect KudoZ points for a year and then start with translations here next year when I really need the money.

I'm going to move to Thailand next year and even 0.04$ per word would be an awesome income with the low costs of living there.
Though I plan to charge more once my translation skills are top notch again. They have gotten a bit rusty since I had to do military service last year.


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:08
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
I think you're going to ruffle a few feathers Jul 1, 2008

Far be it from me to tell people what to charge, but I don't think you should take this attitude.
You're charging for your skills, not your post code!
You will also find that once you charge absurdly low rates like this you will not find it too easy to raise them.
And you will upset other people in your language combination, which is one of the better paid.
Regards
Angela


Andreas Morgenstern wrote:

I think I'll start with trying to collect KudoZ points for a year and then start with translations here next year when I really need the money.

I'm going to move to Thailand next year and even 0.04$ per word would be an awesome income with the low costs of living there.
Though I plan to charge more once my translation skills are top notch again. They have gotten a bit rusty since I had to do military service last year.


[Edited at 2008-07-01 15:23]


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Andreas Morgenstern  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:08
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All righty Jul 1, 2008

Angela Arnone wrote:

Far be it from me to tell people what to charge, but I don't think you should take this attitude.
You're charging for your skills, not your post code!
You will also find that once you charge absurdly low rates like this you will not find it too easy to raise them.
And you will upset other people in your language combination, which is one of the better paid.
Regards
Angela



So what would be the best way to start, if not at the very bottom?

Don't get me wrong on my statements. I don't like to work for low rates, but I don't think I can start off with the same rates as someone with a profile bolstered up with hundreds of past works.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:08
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Rates Jul 1, 2008

As you wil probably see after reading on the forums here for a bit, it is very important that you don't charge too little even in the beginning because - as has already been said - it is near impossible to put your rates up later.

My first jobs were for Indian and Chinese agencies (no offence) who just can't offer very much. After a while I had an improved CV and contacted Western agencies with my now higher rate and that worked very well. I just never mentioned the nationality of my previous agencies.

Another thing you can do is suggest to agencies that you will start at a lower rate and that they just pay their proofreader that little bit more and inform the proofreader that the translator is a bit "green". You should also request the proofreaders notes so you not the areas that need improving. Do make sure that the client agrees that this is not a longterm rate. This is what I would call a win-win-solution

You can also translate for free for non-profit-organizations to get experience you can showcase.


So yes, do start some where, a little lower, but do think about how you do it.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
French to English
Take your time Jul 1, 2008

Andreas Morgenstern wrote:
So what would be the best way to start, if not at the very bottom?


Take your time, then. You can charge a 'normal' rate (insofar as there is such a thing) but take twice or three times as long over the job as someone in 'the west' and have the same standard of living, if what you say is true. That should be enough to deal with rustiness. Just spend longer on the job to make sure you get it right.

When you are up to speed, you can either live like a king or work a third as hard as the rest of us or somewhere in between


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 12:38
English to Hindi
+ ...
not fabulous even in Thailand Jul 1, 2008

Andreas Morgenstern wrote:

I think I'll start with trying to collect KudoZ points for a year and then start with translations here next year when I really need the money.

I'm going to move to Thailand next year and even 0.04$ per word would be an awesome income with the low costs of living there.
Though I plan to charge more once my translation skills are top notch again. They have gotten a bit rusty since I had to do military service last year.


Dear friend,

I don't live in Thailand. I live in India--another one of your 'proverbial low cost countries'. But even if you plan to start charging US$0.04 per word, I would rather ask you to carry out a due diligence about living costs in Bangkok, along with taxes, rents, broadband costs, power backup costs. And then also add up what the US$ costs these days and how fast it depreciates! And also add the costs of wire transfers to the bank.

I worked for a company in North America recently. They paid me a fabulous rate, even fabulous by North American or European standards for my languages and I asked for a wire transfer and I was shocked to find $50 knocked off as transfer fees. They hadn't informed me earlier. I didn't mind it because they had paid me a rather high fee. But even after nine odd years of working pretty well with a number of companies, it just set me thinking... I should have asked them for the charges levied by their bank.

So, my suggestion in life is to carry out a due diligence first before even making a public statement of that nature.

[Edited at 2008-07-01 19:00]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:08
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The beginners' rate in our language pair is somewhat higher than that Jul 1, 2008

Andreas Morgenstern wrote:


I'm going to move to Thailand next year and even 0.04$ per word would be an awesome income with the low costs of living there.



Er - for your information, Andreas, the beginners' rate in our language pair (which is generally charged by the line of "55 characters with spaces" of the German text) is - ahem - about 3 times that amount. You can work your way up from there.

Astrid

[Edited at 2008-07-01 21:32]


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Nicolas Coyer  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 02:08
Spanish to French
+ ...
Another suggestion Jul 1, 2008

I definitely agree with Ivana. It is almost impossible to get a raise even after working years in a row for an agency and demonstrating your skills.
I think Charlie and Roomy also made very good points here. For example, I live in Colombia. When I moved, two years ago (not the reason why I moved though luckily), I thought life would be real cheap. This is not the case, especially when you live in the capital city (but that's also where you have the best chance to get very fast DSL or cable connection to the Internet and other valuable services), and I can imagine this is true for a lot of our "third world"countries.
As Roomy says, add to that the ever descending dollar exchange rate with most, if not all, of the world currencies.
Charlie's suggestion would be, IMHO, the best way to go if you want to improve your skills without earning yourself some enemies among your colleagues
Another suggestion could also be to state your "normal" rates and then offer a discount, but make it really clear that it is, for example, an INTRODUCTORY discount that will be applied during the first X number of months (better than the first X invoices bc, if you only a project from a client every three months, in a year, you'll be stuck with your discounted rates).
Hope this helps.
Best of luck!


[Modifié le 2008-07-01 23:11]


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Andreas Morgenstern  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:08
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Jul 2, 2008

Nicolas Coyer wrote:

Another suggestion could also be to state your "normal" rates and then offer a discount, but make it really clear that it is, for example, an INTRODUCTORY discount that will be applied during the first X number of months (better than the first X invoices bc, if you only a project from a client every three months, in a year, you'll be stuck with your discounted rates).
Hope this helps.
Best of luck!


[Modifié le 2008-07-01 23:11]


Introductory discounts are a very good solution, thanks.

As for Thailand: I already roughly spend a third of my time there so I know the costs well enough.


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Ditto Jul 2, 2008

Ditto re the attempt to raise those rates later - it won't wash!! Start at a much higher negotiating point. At the same time don't let anyone dictate rates to you - I don't believe in cartels!! And you are under no obligation to declare what your rates are to everyone - in fact it is better not to.

I can testify that full membership is worth it, at least for the first six months.

We have already had a couple of discussions hereabout charging lower rates because we live in economically disadvantaged countries and the broad consensus seems to be that it's not worth it after all. I have to admit I was of the copposing view for a while but then I started adding it up in my head. Especially in the case of persons who are nationals of these countries, they have to take into account that technology etc costs just as much to them and sometimes more when it involves importation and therefore duties. Going for training is another pricy one where you have to travel half way across the world to get it at times, the dishonestly high cost of visas just because you are from a developing nation (scream!!). Public healthcare is substandard when compared to Europe and Canada so you have to pay private insurance and copayments to keep up. Gas prices are a nightmare everywhere. Need I go on?


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