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Whether ProZ.com full membership is worth taking?
Thread poster: Transitwrite

Transitwrite  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:57
French to English
+ ...
Dec 11, 2007

I am currently wondering whether or not to register for full membership. Can anybody give honest, impartial comments on whether business is really increased by membership? I translate from French to English. Any stats would be appreciated.
Thanks
Sharon

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-12-11 13:36]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:57
Italian to English
+ ...
For me it was certainly worth it Dec 11, 2007

However, having had a quick look at your profile, I'd suggest that to get the full benefit of being a paying member you need to start answering some Kudoz questions, especially in your specialisations. I can't comment on your language pair but as a general rule, full membership + specialisations + Kudoz points will get potential clients approaching you directly through your profile, saving you from having to chase after new work.

Why Kudoz points? When an outsourcer searches the Proz translator database, he's invited to enter the language pair and specialisation he's interested in, among other options. The resulting list of translators is organised with paying members first and non-paying users afterwards, and within those categories it's organised by number of Kudoz points. So by paying, you move up the ranks into the uppermost list. Then, bearing in mind that a large number of users (including paying members) don't participate at all in Kudoz, if you get just 4 points you've automatically bumped yourself above all of them too, increasing the chance that the outsourcer will see your profile and contact you.

I couldn't quantify how much new work I've obtained through being a full member - it's possible that the same clients would have approached me anyway (although I'm convinced that being a full member helps, both through greater visibility and a perception of greater professionalism, due to my investment in a professional tool).
But for me, the sense of belonging I get from this site, the technical and moral support which other members provide and the chance to spend 5 minutes having a break from work while still kidding myself I'm doing work-related stuff are worth far more than the 100-odd euros membership fee and I'm happy to pay it (although I'd ask Henry not to take this as an invitation to raise my fee!).

[Edited at 2007-12-11 13:38]


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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:57
English to Spanish
Honestly... Dec 11, 2007

It´s very difficult to answer your question. I think each one of us will have a different story to tell.

When I started working as a freelancer, I was worried that I might not have what it takes to sell my services and gain clients. I then started using this site without paying for membership. During that period, I remained very active, answering questions, participating in every forum that offered me an opportunity to have a say etc. My best two clients appeared at that time.
However, I realised that I still needed more work, so I paid to become a full member because I came across a lot of job offers I could apply for before many other translators. There were many occasions when my application didn´t produce work straight away. However, it gave me a lot of visibility for after.

Whenever I go through periods of "drought" and they coincide with very few job offers published in the site (November, for instance), I regret having paid. But then the business picks up and I feel it´s worth doing again.

On the other hand, when I was settling, I found the Blue Board a very helpful tool. It´s not perfect, and you can´t rely on just that, but if you lack the confidence that getting to know different companies and agencies provides, then it´s a good reference.

I hope this answer helped. Good luck !


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I've gained a few new clients through Proz Dec 11, 2007

Sharon Benmussa wrote:

I am currently wondering whether or not to register for full membership. Can anybody give honest, impartial comments on whether business is really increased by membership? I translate from French to English. Any stats would be appreciated.
Thanks
Sharon

All I can say is that I've gained a couple of good new clients through Proz, although that wasn't my main reason for joining. My main reason was to be able to check the reliability of outsourcers using the Blue Board. However, I discovered many other useful and enjoyable features as a result of joining, particularly being able to get help with bewildering terms through the Kudoz system. Surely, the relatively modest fee is well worth it and is tax deductible as a professional expense?
Best wishes,
Jenny.


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
We are Internet freelancers... Dec 11, 2007

Sharon Benmussa wrote:

I am currently wondering whether or not to register for full membership. Can anybody give honest, impartial comments on whether business is really increased by membership? I translate from French to English. Any stats would be appreciated.


We work globally, and visibility is the key factor here. Whereas membership won't bring you clients lining up by your door per se it will enhance your visibility manifold, thus increasing your chances of being found/selected for a job.

Cheers,
Oleg

[Edited at 2007-12-11 16:08]


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William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 05:57
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
Absolutely worth taking... Dec 11, 2007

My business simply took off after I became a full member!



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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
English to French
+ ...
Certain advantages, but... Dec 11, 2007

Many people think that becoming a member means making more money - this, I believe, is one of the main arguments used by staff to advertize membership. However, this is not necessarily so.

There are ways to get more financial benefit from this site without being a member - and being a member doesn't at all guarantee more jobs or better rates. You need to know what additional benefits being a member can bring you, whether you have any use for these and how to turn these to your advantage.

I find that having access to Blue Board records is very useful - but you can get a partial membership to have access to these. I also like the fact that I can post to the forum without being vetted, so my replies to threads can be read by others right away and this helps to communicate with colleagues. Having access to the average rates charged by fellow translators on this site is nice, but I have stopped relying on this because those rates are too low for me. Even if they went up by a few cents, they would still be under what I charge.

If you want to know whether it is worth it to become a member, look at the offer and ask yourself if you have any use for these features and how they pertain to your business. In the meantime, fill out your profile as best you can. Most of us don't realize how important this is - in fact, your profile is the decisive factor, whether you are a member or not (if you are a member and your profile is not filled out correctly, you will find that being a member is worthless). This helps to position you in the directory, but also to be in the top results for Connect searches, which is an initiative to help match outsourcers and freelancers for real, paying jobs at good rates, rather than a possibility to be part of a database or to work for peanuts.

I am happy to be a member, but don't consider that this directly contributes to my financial health. In other words, a membership is a great thing, but it will not automatically place you among the most sought after freelancers - that is your job.

All the best!


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:57
French to English
+ ...
Hear, hear! Dec 12, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

I couldn't quantify how much new work I've obtained through being a full member - it's possible that the same clients would have approached me anyway (although I'm convinced that being a full member helps, both through greater visibility and a perception of greater professionalism, due to my investment in a professional tool).
But for me, the sense of belonging I get from this site, the technical and moral support which other members provide and the chance to spend 5 minutes having a break from work while still kidding myself I'm doing work-related stuff are worth far more than the 100-odd euros membership fee and I'm happy to pay it (although I'd ask Henry not to take this as an invitation to raise my fee!).

[Edited at 2007-12-11 13:38]


I agree wholeheartedly with Marie-Hélène. I have definitely gained at least two very good and regular clients through ProZ, as well as other less regular business. I like the reassurance that I'm not restricted to the non-members' asking limits, although I don't think I've ever had cause to exceed them, and unfettered access to the Blue Board is invaluable. Most of all, though I agree with the last point - when you work from home it's great to feel that you belong to a virtual community and that other people out there are in the same boat. Definitely worthwhile!


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:57
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Ameliorate your ProZ profile Dec 12, 2007

Hi Sharon,

Ameliorate your ProZ profile, as a start. ALLCAPS is scary, translate into your native language only (duck!).

You want stats? 0.10 EUR per word / 20 EUR per hour means your throughput is 200 words/hour or 1600 words/day. That could be realistic but might be insufficient for some clients, especially those who peruse this site through a dashboard. You might not meet their metrics.

Market yourself as a translator over here, not as a future technical writer who'll accept translation jobs in the meantime.

Well, you asked for stats? Through the years, my ProZ membership might have cost me 1,000 dollar and might have brought me - some people tell you they've found you through ProZ, some people don't, and I don't insist - 100,000 dollar. That's before taxes, but for me it's been a viable investment. Mind you, I've never bidded on a job advertised on this site and I'm part of the profile-only crowd over here, so I might not be very visible in the ProZ Connect dashboard. But the clients I want to attract do seem to find me over here.

Regards,
Gerard


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
1:10/100? Dec 12, 2007

Count it simply - you invest 120 USD for Plat for 12 months. During 12 months you have to get a job worth 10 USD (or 2.5 USD per week, or 0.33 USD per day) to pay it back.

But you can also get a 10 000 words job every month, or a big job of 50 000 words. So, you spend 120 USD to get 12 000 USD (1 USD makes 100 USD) ? OK, even you spend 120 USD to get 1200 USD (1 USD makes 10 USD)...A question then - is it worth? Not even speaking about your improved reputation being a Plat member, not even speaking about new clients who can become your permanent clients...



[Edited at 2007-12-12 01:11]


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Absolutely worth it Dec 12, 2007

Once you use this site to the fullest and you are a good translator you might even find yourself turning work away! Proz takes away your need to do aggressive marketing by doing a lot of stuff for you and helping you avoid hiccups like bad payers.

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sandhya  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:27
German to English
+ ...
More than business... Dec 12, 2007

Hi,

As one of the members mentioned, we are "Internet" service providers. So besides looking at a ProZ membership merely as a "business benefit", I guess we need to also look at the other "non-commercial benefits" - a common platform for thousands of translators from every single country in the world, a place to exchange ideas, cry your heart out and get solutions to your problems, indulge in some good old "client-bashing", getting help - Kudoz and other kind of help too.... I can go on and on...

Personally, many clients have approached me through my Proz profile and of course through my website too.
Basically, I see this portal as a marketing tool and a meeting place for translators ... and it is up to me to make optimum use of it!

soooo, go for it

cheers
Sandhya


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LoyalTrans
Local time: 11:57
English to Chinese
+ ...
Worth it Dec 13, 2007

I just took advantage of the promotional offer and are still enjoying my bonus period.

I would say that even a full membership does not affect your opportunities to get new clients, it is still giving you other benefits (e.g., get to know who is visiting your profile, view BB records, etc.) which are well worth the investment.

That said, I do hope memebership can make an even slight difference. Wait and see...


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
An excellent investment! Dec 14, 2007

Over the years more than half my clients have come through ProZ contacts, and I found that faster access to the job postings restricted to members was worth the bit of money for membership. I have been a paid member of other sites, but these investments were not terribly worthwhile and I let those memberships lapse. Before I became a paid member back in 2003, I got a lot more business through my profile on translationzone.com (owned by SDL Trados, not really a ProZ competitor since the focus is different), but all that changed very rapidly after I became a member here.

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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:57
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
I wanted to repay this site Dec 15, 2007

I was a free member for several years and got all of my clients through this site. I then decided that it was appropriate to contribute something back so I became a platinum member. I really do not know if this has influenced the job offers I get through Proz. I have never bothered to compete on jobs posted for tender, because I have more offers than I can accept. However, I do acknowledge that without Proz I would never have had the opportunity to establish myself as a freelance translator and leave a job I had grown to hate. Thus, recently I have taken out the 10-year membership option, more as an expression of gratitude than anything else.

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