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Is Platinum worth it?
Thread poster: David Jessop

David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 23, 2004

Hi,

I am new to ProZ and also somewhat new to translation. I have worked for a few months as a translator in the Ecuador jungle where I lead tourists on trips. I also translated a great deal of brochures and promotional documents.

I live in Bolivia and am fluent in Spanish and a native English speaker. $120 is a lot of money to me. Would you imagine that I would earn this money back quickly or could it be better spent establishing myself through another format?

Do you attribute much of your success to your Platinum membership?

How can I better market myself?

Thanks for any suggestions/help you can provide.

David
La Paz, Bolivia


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:58
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
A resounding YES! Jun 23, 2004

Dear David,

Go to http://www.proz.com/plat

If you do not 'buy' 'accountant' arguments, look at it this way:

Where would we all be without ProZ.com? It would be quite disastrous, don't you agree?
If we do not want ProZ.com to fail economically, we should support it financially. To many of us, it's called platinum membership!


BR

Mats J C Wiman
Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe
http://www.MatsWiman.com
http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com
http://www.proz.com/pro/1749
(Proz.com moderator, deu>swe, Swedish)
Träsk 201
SE-872 97 Skog
Schweden/Sweden/Suède/Suecia
Tel:+46-612-54112 Fax:+46-612-54181 Mobile:+46-70-5769797


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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 03:58
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Go for it! Jun 23, 2004

Hi David,

Welcome to the ProZ community. I would say that a Platinum membership is worth every penny if you're eager to establish yourself as a professional translator.

There are more job postings on ProZ than on other translation websites.

Personally, I did not get a lot of jobs by responding to job offers (but I was able to respond without having to pay a fee per quote). However, by answering KudoZ questions, I managed to get a high ranking in the freelancer directory. This proved effective, since prospective clients are starting to contact me directly. That's how I got into contact with what is now my biggest client, who is providing me with a steady flow of work.

All Platinum members have unrestricted access to the Blue Board, which comes in very handy when you need to check out potential clients.

Anyone running a business, be it ever so small, needs to invest. A translator needs to invest in tools. To me, a Platinum membership is a useful tool, as are CAT tools and dictionaries.

Good luck!
Marianne


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:58
French to English
+ ...
Options Jun 23, 2004

You know there's a slightly cheaper option of partial platinum, where you get the job notifications and several other options, but don't have free access to the Blue Board etc.

Take a look at the different options. That's what I did at first. The partial platinum is about 70 dollars.


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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 03:58
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Browniz Jun 23, 2004

When you take an active part in the ProZ community, you can also gather Browniz, e.g. by commenting on the answers given by your fellow translators. You can use these BrowniZ (4000) to pay for part of your membership fee.

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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:58
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
It's worth it Jun 23, 2004

There are not many jobs in my combination in other websites and to be honest, I've found most of my regular clients here.

Using proz as an ordinary user and participating in Kudoz and such has it's benefits and rewards but upgrading to platinum increases your chances, no to mention that you would be actually supporting the website that has given you remarkable opportunities.

Best wishes from Iran
Rahi


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 04:58
English to Russian
Go full Plat, Blue Board is very important Jun 23, 2004

Jeremy Smith wrote: You know there's a slightly cheaper option of partial platinum, where you get the job notifications and several other options, but don't have free access to the Blue Board etc.


I bought platinum quite recently and have had it back already, just lazily responding to Job offers (doing the jobs with utmost care though). Since, like myself, you are not in a position to hire lawyers and phone collection agencies on the other side of the world, purchasing full plat with BB access would be a good investment.

P.S. Welcome to Proz and happy translating

[Edited at 2004-06-23 12:17]


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
It's sure worth it! Jun 23, 2004

Hello David,

120 USD for one year's platinum membership at ProZ is really not expensive, no matter where you live. Just consider the advantages you have comparing with a non-payingmember (e.g. Blue Board).

If you have enough brownies you can also use some of the to pay a part of the fee, so in the end the amount of 120 USD has been reduced.

After all, I think everybody should consider all the effort Henry and his staff have put into this site - and what if nobody paid?

Go for it! You won't regret to go Platinum!

Best regards,
Erik

**********************************
Erik Hansson
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
Phone +49 - 3 59 52 - 321 07
Fax +49 - 3 59 52 - 322 02
E-Mail info@hansson.de
Internet www.hansson.de
Internet www.technical-translators.net
ProZ profile http://www.proz.com/pro/21654
***********************************


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Go Platinum and give yourself a really attractive profile Jun 23, 2004

Just being on ProZ.com is a good way of marketing yourself, as long as you're active and get to the top of the list. 'Boast' as much as you can on your profile, but keep to what clients are looking for. (If it's true of course!)

Apart from the Institute of Linguists site, ProZ.com is the only site that has produced jobs for me. (But they're the only ones I pay for!) The jobs definitely cover the cost, and I don't spend a lot of time looking for them. Outsourcers find me and I spend my time translating.

You can forget about paying for bids, having 'money in your wallet' and all that. You come faster to outsourcers and get the first peek at KudoZ questions. It's true, KudoZ is about getting the right answer rather than coming first, but if two people send in the same answer, the first one gets the points.

Then you can check the client on the Blue Board. Most are fine, but it's good to know you're going to get paid before you work flat out for a week on a rushed job!

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2004-06-23 14:59]


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Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
a DIFFERENT point of view Jun 23, 2004

I think you should try it first, and see if it is worth the money to you. You can access the BlueBoard without being Platinum: you can just pay per use with money or BrowniZ.

I really think that if your resources are very limited, you should invest money in your education and certification FIRST. Then come back and become a full ProZie.


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David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! And further comments Jun 23, 2004

Thank you all for your welcome and very helpful comments.

Some followup questions/comments:

QUESTION: When you say (several of you have said something to this effect) that Platinum is "not very expensive," I assume you mean that Platinum has paid for itself quite quickly. Is this correct?

QUESTION: I sent several non-profit groups an email last night with my CV and a cover letter volunteering my services. My figuring is that I can gain more experience, develop a better profolio and translator resume, and spread the word and maybe they will drum up some business through the network. I have not gotten a response yet but am still waiting. Do you think is a good idea or not?

GOOD NEWS: Yesterday, I searched on the web for translation agencies and I emailed six or seven with my CV and a cover letter. Then I came across some websites saying how difficult it was to get responses in this form and got discouraged. This morning, when I opened my email box, I had an email from one of the companies that said, "Thank you for your CV and interest in our company. As soon as I have a specific project matching your profile I will be in touch for a test." I wont get too excited because it is not anything yet, pero esto me anima (this excites me!).

Les agredezco.
David


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 22:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Hi David Jun 23, 2004

I think that Platinum is worth but you don't have to believe what we say. As Sol says, we're lucky here that we can taste before buying. I became Platinum after six months "tasting", and I paid half membership with BrowniZ. I considered ProZ.com as an investment, first in time (I spent a lot of time answering KudoZ and agreeing (or not) with peers, and then in money. When I became a member partial Platinum membership didn't exist, I think that now money shouldn't be a problem.

I also agree with Sol when she says that education and certification are important BUT they take much more time. I begun a translation certificate via Internet two years ago and I have so much work that I can only do one course per season, and I don't mind, because I started that certificate in order to get jobs and I already get them. Paying for Platinum is not enough, unless you translate in exotic languages. You should also be present in KudoZ, and why not, in forums too.
Jobs don't always come from the Jobs Area, they come from people who have "met" you in the site.

Good luck

Claudia


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:58
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Experience will tell whether it's worth it or not Jun 23, 2004

Welcome to ProZ and enjoy it, David!

Yes, only experience will show if it's worth it. Just like for you, the amount you mentioned is a lot of money here - two average monthly incomes, in fact. On the other hand, it's only 5-10 pages of translation at decent rates.

The number of Plat members grows steadily; that means, more and more translators recon it is a sound investment.

Yes, doing jobs for non-profit organizations will surely help you gain experience and also build an impressive CV. As for emailing tarnslation agencies don't worry abount not getting replies; certainly a large percentage of your messages were trashed immediately, but even lack of reply doesn't mean you weren't entered into the database. With me, I sometimes get jobs from agencies, the message starting with "You offered your services once in the past" - and I really don't remember writing to them! That is, it was so long ago that I even forgot I wrote.

Keep trying, gain experience, market yourself aggressively and soon $120 wouldn't seem so much

Cheers,
Oleg


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 02:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
worth it for me Jun 23, 2004

I started out a few years ago as a non-paying member, but upgraded to a "premium" membership (I think that's what it was called) after several months. I didn't notice any difference, so after several more months I upgraded to platinum. Nothing happened overnight, of course, but eventually I started getting some jobs through Proz, although very seldom through bidding on advertised jobs; most of the clients initially contacted me directly through my profile page.

Apart from agencies (the majority) and direct clients, I have also been contacted by other translators needing collaborators for certain projects. In my case, they're usually English > Spanish translators who need to subcontract a job going the other way. The great thing is that quite a few of these initial contacts have turned into regular clients, and some of them have even gone on to recommend me to others. Another great thing is that I have been able to gradually raise my rates (I started out strictly in the Spanish market, which is notorious for its low rates), partly by developing contacts outside of Spain and partly by having enough volume to be able to become more selective and turn down offers from agencies only interested in cheap labor.

I recently looked back at my billing for the last six months or so, and found that an average of 30-40% of my monthly total now comes from clients who originally "found" me on Proz. I can't tell you how much of that comes from being platinum, because I also participate in the Kudoz questions on a regular basis, and have also taken the time to build a fairly complete profile. I can tell you that I just renewed my membership in January (part of the fee paid for with Browniz) and within the next 2 weeks had had enough work from my established "Proz clients" to more than pay for the membership fee.

Even apart from jobs, I would maintain my platinum membership as a way of supporting the site, as others have said. I have learned a great deal from the forums, found help with terminology and developed my skills through the Kudoz questions, and best of all, developed a network of contacts and friends--some right here in Madrid, others halfway across the world. You can't put a price tag on that.

By the way, David, I noticed that you put a lot of emphasis on your rates in your profile (cheap, inexpensive, low cost). I think that may not be the best way to market yourself, and believe me, once you start out with low rates, it's very difficult to get out of that rut. I think you'd be better off emphasizing quality and other intangibles that you can offer rather than a low price.

My 2 cents, anyway. Good luck
Cindy


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Long story Jun 23, 2004

as they say. But when you're in this profession, you find that you'll have to be in it professionally. Invest in yourself first; buy those dictionaries, get a good internet connection, and participate -- above all, have fun doing it.

When you get jobs, ask your problems through KudoZ and enter the best answer in the glossary for the BrowniZ. Or: upload an already-existing glossary of your own (say, 400 terms?) and see if you can get the BrowniZ discount on a platinum membership.

But while you're still building up to that, take care of your own finances.

Platinum "grows" on you. I was already in business when I signed up on ProZ -- mostly to get terms help -- and 6 months later I did a comparative accounting of "before" and "after". Just being around pays. So I began to pay back in kind, answering questions. And after awhile... I guess it's natural to be looking around for tax deductions?

Welcome, by the way: I see you're in my SC (subcommunity). My co-moderator is Billy.

[Edited at 2004-06-23 23:35]


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