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How to win jobs from ProZ
Thread poster: Silvia Barra

Silvia Barra  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:04
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 29, 2008

Hello all!
I'd like to know if there are some tricks to get some job from ProZ (or equivalent communities) after quoting. I've submitted so much CV but received no answer (or they told me the job was already be assigned). It's not my purpose to make concurrence to other translators, only to know if and where I'm wrong in answering to posts.
Thank you
Silvia


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Igor Indruch  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 21:04
English to Czech
It is normal... Oct 29, 2008

There are several aspects of this issue. Some of them are discussed frequently:

1) Some agencies actualy do not seek translators for immediate job. It is quite a mystery why they are doing that, but the symptoms are always the same - they require test translation, then, if you succed, they will send you a lot of papers to sign like non-discolsure agreements etc. but never any jobs.

2) Some agencies are only interested in one thing: rates. Although it may be tempting for new translator to get some jobs by offering very low rates, it is a trap - after some time you will realise that if you want a decent lliving as a translator and do not want to be worked to death, you need decent rates. But when you start working for low rates for some agency, there is usually no way how to get higher rates later. The only way is to stop working for that company and look for some other. But it is good to remember that as you compete with low rates, the same is doing that agency. So working for low rates is against the interest of all of us.

3) The best way how to get some job is to find out some "competitive advantage" (other then rates). Something that makes you different. Then you just need to find a client who needs exactly that. And you must know how to tell them. Thats all.

Good luck.


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:04
English to Russian
The only way... Oct 29, 2008

...to get a job through job posting systems of Proz and the likes is dumping. If you quote 3 eurocents per word, your CV might get noticed=) That's why I am ignoring job posts — most of posters simply choose lowest bid.
Otherwise, polish your profile, and CV, play some kudoz, and clients will come. Some of them will be ready to pay decent rates=)


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:04
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
You are too cheap Oct 29, 2008

Hi Silvia,
it takes patience to get jobs via Proz. I would suggest a 4 step approach:

a) join Proz as a member, this gets you up in the Proz ranking
b) get involved and answer Kudoz questions, this not only gets you up in the Proz ranking, people will also start to regognize you
c) improve your Proz profile, there are various ways how it can be made more appealing
d) increase your rates. You rates are in my opinions much too low for a "serious" translator and others might have the same impression.

Don't forget, the jobs you see on the jobs page are only a fraction of the Jobs that are channeled through Proz. For most jobs, outsources will contact translators directly via Proz or after searching the Proz directory.

Siegfried


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not always true Oct 29, 2008

Vadim Poguliaev wrote:

...to get a job through job posting systems of Proz and the likes is dumping. If you quote 3 eurocents per word, your CV might get noticed=) That's why I am ignoring job posts — most of posters simply choose lowest bid.
Otherwise, polish your profile, and CV, play some kudoz, and clients will come. Some of them will be ready to pay decent rates=)


When I have posted a job, I have never chosen the lowest bid (I, for one, don't trust translators with low rates).
I have also found several of my clients (agencies) here. I have always posted my bid at my standard rate which is not low at all.

Answering to your question:
For me, the best postings are the ones that "answer" to the actual job posting, i.e., the ones that explain why they would do a good job with my project.
Maybe because you have translated something similar/the same for another company, because you have a major in that field, because you had working experience on that field, etc...
Also providing examples (not samples) of the work done related to the offering.


[Edited at 2008-10-29 10:26]


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 21:04
German to English
Join up Oct 29, 2008

Most of my clients found me through the freelancers directory and I rarely bother to bid on jobs posted at proz. Check out the number of freelancers for your language air and then do the math ... the odds of winning a client by bidding are very, very poor. If your profile is good and your rates fair, clients will find you. You can help them to do that by becoming a full member - members are priority listed on directory searches. Do a directory search yourself, play around with the settings and work out what you have to do to put yourself in the top twenty for your language / specialization... work out how to use the directory settings to your advantage.

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Silvia Barra  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:04
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A long list of mistakes Oct 29, 2008

Thanks a lot to all.
I can see all my mistakes and discover why they not consider me.
In effect I thought that putting me and my work on discount it woulde be easier to find jobs. But I thought over what you said me and I discovered you're all right. Translating means a "brain" work, highly specialised and conquered after long studies and experience. It is not right to sell off all that. I've already started to update my profile.
I'll keep your suggestions as a treasure
Thank you!!!
Silvia


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Jason Young  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:04
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Good point! Nov 1, 2008

Igor Indruch wrote:

There are several aspects of this issue. Some of them are discussed frequently:

1) Some agencies actualy do not seek translators for immediate job. It is quite a mystery why they are doing that, but the symptoms are always the same - they require test translation, then, if you succed, they will send you a lot of papers to sign like non-discolsure agreements etc. but never any jobs.

2) Some agencies are only interested in one thing: rates. Although it may be tempting for new translator to get some jobs by offering very low rates, it is a trap - after some time you will realise that if you want a decent lliving as a translator and do not want to be worked to death, you need decent rates. But when you start working for low rates for some agency, there is usually no way how to get higher rates later. The only way is to stop working for that company and look for some other. But it is good to remember that as you compete with low rates, the same is doing that agency. So working for low rates is against the interest of all of us.

3) The best way how to get some job is to find out some "competitive advantage" (other then rates). Something that makes you different. Then you just need to find a client who needs exactly that. And you must know how to tell them. Thats all.

Good luck.


There should be an orientation session like this for anyone entering ProZ.com (if not the whole translation industry).


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:04
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Would you trust a two-dollar whore? Nov 1, 2008

Silvia Barra wrote:
... I thought that putting me and my work on discount it would be easier to find jobs.


Sorry for that title, but there are days when I feel like I am running a lexical brothel. And yesterday I got a translation request from one, so in a sense I am

But seriously, we are selling ourselves, and price is part of the image we sell. If someone offers you a beautiful Maserati for 5000 euros, would you haul the cash out of your pocket and take it untested? Probably not. You would wonder what was wrong with it.

The advice that others have given here fits my early experience with ProZ completely. I signed up on the site in 2001 or 2002 (I no longer remember clearly) on the recommendation of a friend, and for many months I had little success in capturing jobs from the posted bids. Sometimes I was too expensive, but mostly I was too late. I had few KudoZ points in those days (I still have few - too little time!), but my profile was much the same as it is now. Gradually I got a few good clients, some from posted jobs, some from profile contacts. I got just as many being listed in another directory owned at that time by Trados, probably because that was a logical place for agencies and companies to look for those rare (at that time) translators using TM technology.

Becoming a member in 2003 changed the picture completely and put my business on steroids. Earlier access to job postings and access to "members only" postings, improved search rankings and possible differences in Google indexing (not sure about this point, but I must say I am extremely pleased with the Google rankings my ProZ profile gets - maybe this is the same for non-payers however) meant that responding to job posts was no longer a long shot but more like a 1:1 bet or better and I got steady contacts from serious prospects willing to pay good rates, rates that sometimes exceed 20 euro cents a word by a good margin (from agencies, not direct customers).

Your experience will differ, of course, according to your individual skills, educational background, career experience, etc., but at this stage the advice to become a paying member is the best I can give. You will recover that trivial investment in a fairly short time if you take the time to clean up your profile and your approach to quotation is sufficiently professional. And do remember that the translation market is much like the rest of the working world where the term "dress for success" applies. As I sit here typing this in my bathrobe (I love home offices) I mean this metaphorically - your "dressing" is the image you project through your pricing and presentation. If you want to get into the executive suite, wearing torn jeans and asking for a mailboy's pay won't get you anywhere.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:04
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Comments on your profile Nov 1, 2008

The profile I see is basic but not bad overall. Your CV in English could use a bit of editing to fix the errors. If this is the way you translate into English, I hope you are teamed up with a good editor.

I like your skill set, but as a fellow chemist I'm prejudiced in that direction. Maybe Italians are cheap labor, but I'd like to think that's not true. Your word rates are low, but your hourly rates are the worst - low by about a factor of three at least I'd say. Maybe life in Italy is cheaper than I think and you can get by on what after taxes amounts to less than my starting salary as a chemist in the early 1980's, but I'd say that, if your scientific qualifications are worth anything and your language skills are good, you should be charging much more.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's the worst of it Nov 1, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:
But seriously, we are selling ourselves, and price is part of the image we sell. If someone offers you a beautiful Maserati for 5000 euros, would you haul the cash out of your pocket and take it untested? Probably not. You would wonder what was wrong with it.


The worst of it is that too many translation outsourcers see my "Maserati" and say I've paid all my Maseratis 5,000 euros each, and they run very well! Why should I pay more for yours? It's useless for me to argue that they are actually driving a Miserati (sic!), possibly an old Trabant or something in that price range.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:04
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Brilliant! Nov 2, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

It's useless for me to argue that they are actually driving a Miserati (sic!), possibly an old Trabant or something in that price range.


May I use it? It works perfectly well in Italian
I used to compare cheap Chinese clothes and branded ones, but I love this.
2 different agencies told me once they have translators who work at 0,03 €/word and their job is flawless. Possible, if they have a rich husband/dad and translation is just a hobby. Many people play in bars, at weddings and so on for free or almost. They're not musicians, they're amateur.
So translators who work for peanuts are either newbies, amateur or incompetent. Quartum non datur.

Have a nice Sunday,
Paola

@ Kevin: the cost of living in Italy is incredibly high


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Silvia Barra  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:04
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you :-) Nov 2, 2008

Thank you to all, above all to Kevin that "proofread" my profile. I've started updating my profile, now that you tell me that my rates are too cheap. The fact is that I've started working with some agencies that paid me very low rates and before joining ProZ forums I thought that those were average rates. The truth is that I felt not sufficiently expert to ask for higher rates, but it is also true that in the meanwhile I made training, courses and experience that can justify higher rates. During next days I'll carefully check and update my profile and CV, also the rates, since as Paola says, life in Italy is not cheap at all and I don't have a million dollars husband.
I've really appreciated your suggestions for making me a "real" professional translator.
Silvia


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
And yet the rates here are incredibly low Nov 2, 2008

Paola Dentifrigi wrote:

the cost of living in Italy is incredibly high


I pay my cleaning lady, all charges, contributions, holidays and so on considered, 9 Euros NET per hour. All she needs for her job is a pair of gloves and possibly a good sight. She needs no vocabularies, software, internet, not to speak of computers nor long studies done before. And still I see fellow translators that state an hourly rate of 15 or 20 Euros which would be - charges, contributions and taxes deducted - only a little more or even less than what earns my cleaning lady. In this way, they are undermining their own image and the image of the whole category.

Unfortunately, Italy, due to its extremely low rates, seems to be a country where the cost of living is very low. Try to call a plumber or an electrician, pay your bills, do your shopping or rent an apartment and you will suddenly change your mind:-)


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Silvia Barra  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:04
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I completely agree Nov 3, 2008

I completely agree with you! Unfortunately a large majority of young graduated italian people earn less than a cleaning lady I was so attached to this idea that hoping to earn a little bit more and to highlight my studies and experiences was for me strange indeed!
I know very well how difficult is living in Italy and more than once I had tought leaving Italy or working as a cleaning lady, it's not a joke!
Have a nice day
Silvia


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