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The importance of making basic contact details available
Thread poster: Anne Lee

Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jul 2, 2007

Since I no longer subcontract work in other languages, I try to pass on work to proz.com members by giving the details that are publicly available on the website anyway to customers calling me about urgent assignments. I carry out a search on the database while the customer is on the phone and I pass on the name and contact details of the translators with the right language pair in their area.

However, I noticed that many proz.com members don't even insert their phone number or email address in their contact details. I'm talking about members with full profiles who are looking for translation work - not about members who are on proz.com but who are already in full-time jobs, retired, or not available for work, or who wish to remain anonymous.

I understand that people may not wish to display their email address for fear of junk mail, but why not make your phone number available for anyone who needs to place an urgent job?
Incidently, it prompted me to check my own details and I realised I was displaying the wrong Skype contact name, so checking my own contact details from time to time may not be a bad idea...


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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I don't want other people (who have nothing to do with translation) to contact me Jul 2, 2007

Personally, I have decided not to put my e-mail address on my profile, because I have already been contacted a couple of times by people who were clearly not interested in sending me translation jobs. If they send a message from my profile, I just block their address and that's it, but I wouldn't like them having my contact details. A few weeks ago I also got an e-mail (again from my profile) from someone I had been trying to avoid for the last ten years and, now, he has found my profile on Proz and contacted me again!!! Maybe the next step will be changing the picture
But, anyway, if I get a message from my profile about a job I do reply as soon as I can.

[Edited at 2007-07-02 12:46]


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Shirley Lao  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Why not just giving the member's Proz.com profile page to your clients! Jul 2, 2007

By accessing the profile page, your client can definitely find the proz.com member.



[Edited at 2007-07-02 13:18]


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
...because the client is on the phone Jul 2, 2007

Why not give the link to the client?
Because the client is on the phone. Because I want to help the client on the phone out straight away, rather than ask for their email address and send them the link.
I could send clients straight to agencies which will do all the hard work for them and deservedly get paid for it, but since this forum is here to help freelancers.... By the way, I am a freelancer, too.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:33
German to English
+ ...
Phone contact indispensable Jul 2, 2007

Anne, I've noticed the same thing and I couldn't agree with you more. I've harped on the issue of business image many times in these forums. I think it's crucial to cultivate a professional image, which IMO includes publicly available telephone, fax, address, email/website, etc. Also, in my experience, many customers, especially middle management and direct clients, are in fact very telephone-oriented - they pick up the phone right away and ring you up directly.

I have also had the experience of having an urgent, lucrative job to pass on. None of my usual contacts are available, so I do a search. 9 times out of 10 there is no phone number, no direct email address, etc. Also, there are so many people out there pretending to be native speakers that I really must insist on screening a potential translator on the phone first before passing on job info.

Imagine I have the choice between:
Translator A: Complete profile, telephone and fax listed, website listed, email listed, picks up the phone right away when I call.
Translator B: Mediocre profile, no telephone or fax, no website, no email (or if listed: a mass-media one like @yahoo.com, hotmail.de, etc.)
Isn't it clear who is going to get the job offer?

Anne Lee wrote:
Incidently, it prompted me to check my own details and I realised I was displaying the wrong Skype contact name, so checking my own contact details from time to time may not be a bad idea...


But when I look at your proz.com profile
http://www.proz.com/profile/41563
I still see no phone number / Skype number, even under the "Contact" tab, which is the first place I would look for such info. Or am I missing something?


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Michele Jul 2, 2007

What a revelation, Michele. The link you gave showed many areas were greyed out which I thought (even on checking this morning) were clearly visible to everyone. That's a lesson for me to check my profile from an independent link, other than just the one that is visible to me. Thanks for that.

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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not necessarily: consider "home-office" cases Jul 2, 2007

Michele Johnson wrote:

Imagine I have the choice between:
Translator A: Complete profile, telephone and fax listed, website listed, email listed, picks up the phone right away when I call.
Translator B: Mediocre profile, no telephone or fax, no website, no email (or if listed: a mass-media one like @yahoo.com, hotmail.de, etc.)
Isn't it clear who is going to get the job offer?



Hi Michele,

As I just commented to Anne privately, and as already commented by Livia D'Ettorre, I think leaving your contact information "in the open" in the Internet is a double-sided matter that, on the negative side, may generate sporadic "unwelcomed" contacts and, on the positive side, may produce a more "professional" image for some.

What I mean is that, for example, in my case, where my "home-office" is also my own home address, I don't think it is a good idea to have such private details public.

In regards to email, I use in Proz.com and in other similar web sites a "generic" email address (yes, from Yahoo), mainly to avoid being "bombarded" in my "direct home-office" address with spam.

As to the telephone contact info., I rarely accept jobs based on a telephone call. A minimum email exchange (best if it includes a PO with clear details about the job) is needed in my case.

I guess the ideal situation would be to separate your office from your home, but in my case at least this has not proven necessary so far.

Best regards,

Ivette


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
A question: Are you forwarding jobs to addresses without the addressees consent? Jul 2, 2007

Hhm.

I prefer forwarding the translator's profile page. Maybe I am tired of being called at 2, 3, 4 or 5 in the morning from Europe whereas my profile page would perfectly indicate my location and the time zone.

[Edited at 2007-07-02 14:33]


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 22:33
English to Indonesian
+ ...
My Contact Details Jul 2, 2007

Hi Anne and all,

On my profile, I show all my contact details except my email address. It is not made visible for my previous experience proved that public visibility of email address led to endless bombardment of annoying spams. Otherwise, all my contact details would be publicly visible.


Warm Regards

Hipyan


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Val Traductions  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:33
English to French
+ ...
I agree with Ivette (ICL) Jul 2, 2007

Yes obviously the best solution would be to have two phone numbers, one private and one for the office.
I do not make visible my phone numbers as it has been up to now rather a source of jokes, but no always funny, from youngsters or bored people who called to insult me.

This is why I leave my phone number only to my clients or people I had (good) contact via e-mail.

Warm regards,

Val


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, not without consent Jul 2, 2007

Hi Nicole,

In fact, I only tried to trace freelancers in the UK during normal UK office hours; I don't get involved in the jobs at all and don't think that I will bother in future. I certainly promise never to call you. That's what agencies are for. This has been useful for people like me who didn't realise that not all the information that I thought was visible could be seen.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
English to German
+ ...
Ah, sorry, Anne! Jul 2, 2007

My apologies. In the past I have just received too many phone calls in the middle of the night. My family actually nicknamed those calls between 3 and 5am as "London calling".

Ungodly hours aside, I like being contacted by phone better than email. I even have a toll free number for my international clients which I couldn't post on my profile page. Only one number can be listed.

[Edited at 2007-07-02 15:07]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
English to Arabic
+ ...
Forget about the phone number - what about the name? Jul 2, 2007

I don't think a phone number is that necessary - a link to the Proz profile should be enough in most cases.
But what I don't get is how and why so many professional translators - those expecting to get jobs through Proz.com - decide use the weirdest pseudonyms.
Imagine me writing to a client "Sorry I can't do the job, but I would recommend the translator calling himself (or indeed herself) xxzyw for his (or her) excellent contributions on the Proz.com website".


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Again, it depends... Jul 2, 2007

Nesrin wrote:

I don't think a phone number is that necessary - a link to the Proz profile should be enough in most cases.
But what I don't get is how and why so many professional translators - those expecting to get jobs through Proz.com - decide use the weirdest pseudonyms.
Imagine me writing to a client "Sorry I can't do the job, but I would recommend the translator calling himself (or indeed herself) xxzyw for his (or her) excellent contributions on the Proz.com website".


Hi Nesrin,

(I'm having a "slow" afternoon, so time for another break before starting to think about dinner...)

Proz.com is a "huge" pool of all kinds of "translators". Some are obviously more "real" than others. As long as the site allows users to open profiles with certain information as optional, I think it is pretty difficult to have a "uniform" look of profiles, unless more "strict" rules were applied when opening a profile.

Therefore, I honestly do not think that whoever (for example, a company) comes to Proz.com looking for translation resources can expect that the profile alone is a guarantee of "recommendation" or professionalism, though obviously it could be a good beginning.

The way Proz.com profiles are allowed to exist right now, Proz.com is a kind of "shop window" of both your professional profile, but also indirectly of your personal profile. Plus remember that some people work both as a freelancer and in-house and sometimes do not wish to have their "real" data exposed for fear of professional incompatibility between these two activities.

So, in my case, again, I have a "home office", where my professional and personal life mingle in (I hope) a "balanced" way, so I try to reflect that in my Proz.com profile, but also trying to keep my really private information (like my home address, telephone and my picture) limited to "direct" contacts from really serious potential clients.

Of course, I am taking the risk of potential customers not bothering to take the time to "get to know me" better and judging my Proz.com profile based on how "professional" a picture, a name/nickname or contact info. sounds/looks, but I can tell you that, so far, I have been contacted for business purposes more than once through my profile (or the forums*), in spite of having a cat picture and no address or telephone information included in my profile.

Best regards,

Ivette

*P.S.: I mean because of something I have written in the forums...

[Edited at 2007-07-02 16:44]


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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:33
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Just to clarify Jul 2, 2007

Anne,

I was a bit in a hurry before and forgot to write something. I think what you do is really nice, this is the idea behind Proz.com: a place where translators can also help each other. When I was working as a project manager, I did contact a few people from Proz and, of course, having their contact numbers would have been better in some cases, especially when I desperately needed to have an answer. But, on the other hand, I completely understand if people don't feel like putting their telephone numbers on the Internet if they work from home. Unfortunately, this is also my case, maybe one day I'll be able to afford my own office and, then, I'll definitely add my contact details

Regards,

Livia


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