What are the benefits of Proz in the J-E pair?
Thread poster: Rod Walters

Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:09
Japanese to English
Jan 16, 2009

I'm still wondering whether to increase my very minimal overheads by joining Proz.

The main forums are lively enough, but they're not particularly relevant to our market.
The so-called Japanese forum is very quiet indeed, and nobody seems to be exchanging valuable information.

So what are the benefits for people in our pair who actually join? Do you get job offers? Is there an unseen exchange of information on clients and pricing? Are you teaming up with other Proz people to enhance your service offering? If any of this goes on, I could see the point of membership.

Can anybody point to some unequivocal merits of membership?

Thanks!


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Alex Farrell  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:09
Japanese to English
Good place to host a website Jan 16, 2009

Hi Rod,

I joined Proz last May and it's been most useful simply as a website that I use to show potential clients my samples, resume and other information at one place. I don't get approached by many people who find me on Proz since I don't think many Japanese agencies use it much, so most of them only see it after I give them a link in a resume or email I send them. Also, as I don't have much in the way of html skills, it's convenient to just use Proz since it's geared towards translators anyway. I especially like the samples function, as well as the localization feature. I also get about as many hits on my English resume as my Japanese version, so that's certainly nice.

The Blue Board has been good for scouting out who the crappy agencies are, but since I'm shifting more towards attracting direct clients now it's not something I use so often these days. Also, I think the general rule is avoid the ones who pay cheap and always seem to have urgent projects. Agencies in China in particular seem to have a bad record for our language pair with regards to organization/professionalism and terms of payment. Besides, living in Japan, why would I want to work for an agency in a country with a low cost of living that attracts bargain hunters? I certainly won't get paid much! Point is, if you don't have access to the Blue Board, just avoid the cheapskates and push for good rates and things will generally work out okay I think.

Anyway, I need to review what exactly the benefits are for paid membership when my one-year term nears expiration to see if I can still present my services in the way that I want to. I know the Blue Board is only for paying members, but that probably won't be so important to me at that time.

Last point, I was interested in the KudoZ for a while, but I don't have much hope of building up substantial points in my areas of specialty, so I pretty much just ignore it. Although I don't think that's a member only feature, I may be wrong.

Sorry my response isn't very substantial, but I honestly haven't used Proz much for interacting with other members (freelancers and agencies), just as a reference for clients whose interest I've already attracted by other means.

Take care,

Alex


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:09
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Benefits of ProZ Jan 16, 2009

For me, the first and foremost benefit of ProZ is the blue board. I have been able to screen clients this way, and have not worked for any of the bad payers (many have contacted me), because of the information on ProZ. That alone, in itself, is worth being a member in my opinion. Think about it. If you pay $120 a year to be on ProZ, you could be avoiding bad clients who don't pay you $500-1000 or even more money than that, if you read some of the stories on the blue board. So it's really a negligible cost when you think about it that way. So far, I have never had a non-paying client (*knock on wood*) or client that I had major difficulty from in getting paid, and I think that's because I carefully screen them using the blue board.

The secondmost benefit of ProZ for me, is being able to ask questions. There are times when my clients have no clue about Japanese, or are unable to ask the client a question for whatever reason. And you know sometimes when you get stumped on a term at 2 am for a project that's due at 6 am?? Yeah... that's what KudoZ are for. Because somebody in Japan is awake at that time and may know the answer. I answer questions too to help other people out. So that is a major benefit as well.

The thirdmost benefit of ProZ for me, has been new clients. I have gotten several major clients who paid a huge chunk of my salary off ProZ, who saw my ProZ profile. All I had to do was pay the yearly fee, voila, and they contacted me. Very simple, little effort required.

And beyond all this, our job is such a one that we don't get to really interact with others in our field. We are all freelancers, scattered across the world working out of our houses. Personally I have never met another freelancer in person, which is sad. But, on ProZ, through KudoZ, the forums, polls, and other stuff like this, you get to interact with others like you... which is good because sometimes translating is a lonely business.

I hope this helps.

[Edited at 2009-01-16 17:04 GMT]


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:09
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
A little more on this subject then Jan 17, 2009

Thanks for the replies!

Alex Farrell wrote:

Sorry my response isn't very substantial, but I honestly haven't used Proz much for interacting with other members (freelancers and agencies), just as a reference for clients whose interest I've already attracted by other means.


Not at all insubstantial, it's very helpful. It also tends to confirm my initial impression.

I'm going to be a little argumentative now, so please forgive me. Your responses might be "Well don't join then, nobody's forcing you!"

The thing is, I have a profile on Proz and on the SDL site, and I have my own relatively simple site on my own domain (which I'll be updating shortly), so I have little need to pay for another site. I too don't see many opportunities to post on KudoZ, plus I'm not really into jumping through that kind of hoop for gain, even if I can see the merit of the system.

I fully agree with you about the China thing. I don't see the logic of that at all. But as far as I can ascertain, the Chinese companies pay at least as much as some Australian companies. Anyway, I haven't worked for anyone outside Japan, and I hope not to.

conejo wrote:
For me, the first and foremost benefit of ProZ.com is the blue board. I have been able to screen clients this way, and have not worked for any of the bad payers (many have contacted me), because of the information on ProZ.com.


I have strong doubts about the Blue Board. First off, I can see the summary data anyway. But I can't see my handful of excellent agency clients on there, nor can I quite understand why I'd want to add them. I can see quite a few of my former agency clients marked with several 5's even though some of them pay unconscionably low rates that really deserve a 2 or 3. However, I'm not sure that I'd want to put my name to negative feedback on any company that is passing out work, even at low rates. People will quickly learn these things for themselves and judge the merits of accepting them or not.

conejo wrote:
And you know sometimes when you get stumped on a term at 2 am for a project that's due at 6 am??


I can see the value of that, but I always stop at 9pm...

conejo wrote:
I have gotten several major clients who paid a huge chunk of my salary off ProZ, who saw my ProZ.com profile.


Now we're talking! If I may ask, were they direct clients or agencies? If they were agencies, were they Japanese owned and operated? Was there any talk of 'volume discounts'. Do they still give you work, or are those 'happy chunks' just memories? (I've got a few favs of my own in that line! In fact, I've named my front porch "The B###r Genkan" in honour of a contribution that company made to my mortgage.)

========

In conclusion:

It's good to talk with other people in the same market. Plus times are getting tough. I thought my portfolio covered against risk reasonably well, but I got a bit of a shock last November, so I'm interested in exploring some new avenues.

So if there seems to be an interest in livening up this part of the forum and getting some synergy going (info sharing, CAT exchanges for example), I could see more point in joining.

Cheers!


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:09
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Specific CAT issues Jan 18, 2009

I am seeking information about computer aided translation (CAT) tools.
In many instances, troubles cannot be solved by the software vendors. Experience among Proz.com member exchanged on Proz webpages is quite helpful to freelance translators.
Soonthon L.


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Alex Farrell  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:09
Japanese to English
Yeah, KudoZ questions are useful. Jan 23, 2009

conejo wrote:

The secondmost benefit of ProZ for me, is being able to ask questions. There are times when my clients have no clue about Japanese, or are unable to ask the client a question for whatever reason. And you know sometimes when you get stumped on a term at 2 am for a project that's due at 6 am?? Yeah... that's what KudoZ are for. Because somebody in Japan is awake at that time and may know the answer. I answer questions too to help other people out. So that is a major benefit as well.



I'd forgotten you have to be a member to post KudoZ questions. I don't do it often, but it did help me out with a term I was totally stumped on the other day, so I suppose that's a good incentive to stick around as a member. I just wish more people in our language pair used this site. I think the problem may stem from the fact that most Japanese to English translators are Japanese people, so they tend to use sites targeted primarily at native speakers of Japanese. In my case, using those sites is how I've gotten most of my clients.

Edit: Actually, a colleague just informed me that you don't have to be a member to post questions. I'm quoting her because I'm too lazy to look it up for myself!

[Edited at 2009-01-23 03:32 GMT]


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Shelley Gehret Nishi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:09
Member (2009)
Japanese to English
Attracting clients outside Japan Sep 13, 2009

Hello gentlemen,

I have been reading this thread with much interest, and would like to contribute a thought. I have been found by both a US and British company in the two months since I have become a member, both of which turned into small jobs. Since January, I saw a huge drop off in orders from my Japanese clients, due to world economic conditions. If I were E--J, there may have been less of this, but I suffered. So I sought ProZ to reach overseas, and was quite skeptical, but have already seen results. Now I just have to wait for these two clients to turn into regulars, I suppose....:) But like Rod, I would like to see some synergy going in this forum, too, and am willing to participate.
BTW, what Japanese translation web sites do you both use?

Thanks,
Shelley


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Japanese into French Sep 14, 2009

I do not know much about the benefits for people working from Japanese into English, I can only say that I have been "found" by two agencies who since then give me small JP>FR jobs.
There are relatively few collegues working in this pair, and some have asked for a hand on larger projects, occasionnally. Kudoz works well too. There is only a handful of collegues but all very helpful.
I also noticed that many people visit my proz profile everymonth, and a lot of this traffic is redirected to my (modest) homepage. I have already been offered work that way.


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