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Thread poster: Joost Elshoff

Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Oct 22, 2006

Although I haven't been around for that long, I've seen plenty of threads passing by on this forum about novice translators requesting assistance in getting established. I myself have been among those posters.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier if some more experienced ProZ-members worked together to, well, create a sort of manual on getting established. I'm sure there's a lot that can be generalized in this subject, like CV creation, marketing your business, building a network and the like.

After this has been done, more specific issues could be addressed, such as local laws and regulations regarding translation and the administrative side of the job.

What do you think? Can it be done? Could ProZ.com offer novice translators a ready-made, easy to read/download manual on how to get established?


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 20:16
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
every situation is unique Oct 22, 2006

The idea of a manual as such - on a large scale - is not bad at all, however when I start thinking of how this could be practically done I get a rather scary image in terms of size of such possible manual.

Maybe its just me but I think every single situation is different - at least because all newbies (all of us in fact) come from different countries with different circumstances, so what might work for one, might be absolutely and totally impossible for another.

My suggestion would be that all info on this matter - getting established / starting out as a freelancer - could be gathered in one big part of ProZ (by that I mean something like "Blue Board") where all newbies could easily find possible answers and guidelines. Currently there is plenty of information about these issues but they are pretty scattered around the site and its not that easy to find everything quick and easy.

Keep smiling!

Stella


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Deschant
Local time: 18:16
Articles knowledgebase Oct 22, 2006

In fact that exists already - go to Community > Article knowledgebase. There are some articles about getting started and I think they are quite comprehensive, but of course some new users of the site don't know about it (the site has too many features to get to know them in a couple of hours) or their specific questions/ situation doesn't appear in them.

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:16
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
I'd be against Oct 22, 2006

Hallo Joost,

Aspiring translators who have found this site should be intelligent enough to find most answers they need to get started. I'm against making those things too easy.

The next step is subscribing to the national bodies: URSSAF, kamer van koophandel, VAT, VIES numbers etc. This part couldn't be covered by a general manual, because the rules are changing so fast that it's useless and dangerous to document them forever.

Newbies should read the stuff that's already there and should google on to the current stuff.

Regards,
Gerard

[Edited at 2006-10-22 22:09]


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So the overall view in this is negative Oct 23, 2006

So the knowledge base contains a number of articles on how to get established as a freelance translator. And more experienced members here say any newbie on ProZ should be smart enough to look for them before posting a question regarding getting established on this forum.

If these texts have been written already, how come they are only referred to sporadically by those same experienced members?

Should a thread be made here (locked and sticky) about those articles? Search the knowledge base if anything useful comes up before posting your question? Relevant topics and articles could be mentioned and linked to in that post, so newbie visitors to this topic know how to go about asking their questions.

Of course that would only apply to questions regarding the actual "getting established" issues, and not to the use of CAT tools and other topics.

Looks like I agree with bramasole...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
So... are you volunteering? Oct 23, 2006

Joost Elshoff wrote:
Wouldn't it be a lot easier if some more experienced ProZ-members worked together to, well, create a sort of manual on getting established?


Sure... but who's gonna write it? Not me. Not you, surely.


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Happy to cooperate on such a project... Oct 23, 2006

... but I'm not an experienced translator. I've only been around for a few months now and I just notice that the same questions are being asked over and over.

It seems to me that it would suit ProZ.com to provide newbies/novice translators that want to register here with some interesting information that has been made more visible and more structured than it is right now.

I know it's common practice on other forums to have a list of addressed issues people have to check before posting a new thread.


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Vanessa Rivera Rivier  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 14:16
Italian to English
+ ...
I have to be honest... Oct 23, 2006

A lot of the articles I have found here on Proz do give some tips and advice on how to get started such as, writing a good Résumé, answering Kudoz, completing you Profile etc..but I haven't found many articles that go into specifics about the REAL secrets of the profession i.e. how to get clients, how to go about approaching direct clients and where to find them, how to get hired by agencies etc..It is a competitive profession after all, and not everyone is willing to share his/her secrets.


Am I the only one who thinks this? I think it would be useful to poll how many novice translators have found the articles in the knowledge base truly helpful.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some secrets are so obvious, too Oct 23, 2006

Vanessa Rivera Rivier wrote:
It is a competitive profession after all, and not everyone is willing to share his/her secrets.


Well, some of the "secrets" are quite obvious if you think about it. For example, how does one get more clients? Now that shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. How much should you charge? If you're asking that question without already knowing the answer, then you shouldn't be in business. Etc.


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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So maybe they are obvious... Oct 23, 2006

Obvious as those secrets may be, there's nothing against a summary of "Need to know"s, "Must do"s, "Should not forget"s for new people to read and work by.

I think it would be a good thing for ProZ.com to spend some more time on helping novice translators find the way to success.

That does not mean that ProZ.com should take us newbies by the hand.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Please comment on this thread Oct 23, 2006

Please comment on my new thread in ProZ.com Suggestions, "Wikitype Knowledge Base": http://www.proz.com/topic/58124

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How to find clients Oct 23, 2006

Vanessa Rivera Rivier wrote:
...but I haven't found many articles that go into specifics about the REAL secrets of the profession i.e. how to get clients, how to go aabout approaching direct clients and where to find them, how to get hired by agencies etc..


Here are some existing forum threads on how to find clients. These articles are easy to find with a minute or two of simple searching. I don't believe there is a magic formula that's missing from them. In other words what's needed isn't more articles, or even putting them all in one place, just reading them and putting their advice into practice.

http://www.proz.com/topic/52854
http://www.proz.com/topic/53338
http://www.proz.com/topic/37980
http://www.proz.com/topic/56850
http://www.proz.com/topic/51746
http://www.proz.com/topic/53728
http://www.proz.com/topic/49742
http://www.proz.com/topic/49102
http://www.proz.com/topic/45459
http://www.proz.com/topic/42295
http://www.proz.com/topic/39165
http://www.proz.com/topic/38999
http://www.proz.com/topic/37763


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I agree completely with Gerard and Samuel Oct 23, 2006

ProZ is not the only forum or source for beginning translators out there. I agree that if you are motivated and can use a search engine, you can find a wealth of information - indeed most of the answers to the questions asked here.

Attend a conference (ProZ, ATA, whatever) and you'll learn even more and have a networking opportunity to boot. Sign up for a language-specific translation discussion group on Yahoo! Visit your public library for shelves full of books on starting a small or work-at-home business. If you're in the US, order the free CDs from the Small Business Administration. Take an online course. The list goes on. Doing at least a couple of these should answer most of the beginners' questions asked here.

There is no magic formula to a lot of these questions, as another poster said - you have to take the information you find and filter it for your situation. As Samuel says, if beginners can't figure some of this stuff out themselves, they will have a very tough time starting a business.

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while! (And I write all of this as a person who has written many long e-mails and had many conversations sharing what I have learned in almost 10 years as a translator with beginners.)

Forgot to mention: there are already books out there (at least in English) on this subject, such as The Translator's Handbook by Morry Sofer. Search Amazon, too!

[Edited at 2006-10-23 18:09]


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