ProZ.com global directory of translation services
 The translation workplace
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Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer
only "full" members with access to the job board are given favored exposure in the directory

Siegfried Armbruster
Germany
Local time: 01:46
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
(IMO) ProZ is no community Feb 5, 2012


Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
We as a community should speak in favor of a fair workplace, especially here.


Many years ago I considered ProZ as being "the" platform of a kind of worldwide translators community
.
No longer, ProZ developed in a different direction. Unfortunately the rules forbid me to discuss this here.

Now I consider it just a service provider (internet hosting), a great SEO tool and one place where we sometimes can find the specialists we are looking for and a place with some useful information. If I can find better value for the money anywhere else, I won't hesitate to stop paying for my membership.

The difference between us might not be as big as it seems, in my opinion I went through the same decision finding process as you - just a few years earlier.

[Edited at 2012-02-05 18:08 GMT]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:46
Member
Italian to English
The good jobs Feb 5, 2012


Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

For me, that filter hasn't left many good jobs. I rather believe it has taken quite a few good jobs and turned them into duds.
And I do mind "paying" for that.



I think perhaps you've got the wrong perspective here, Bernhard.

Board jobs usually come with a fixed rate, which means that the outsourcer is working to a budget set in advance. Quality is a secondary consideration for such clients, who are never going to offer the job at a higher rate because they've already committed themselves to a price.

The "good" jobs on Proz tend to be offered to lists of translators that outsourcers have pre-selected, by specialisation and/or other criteria, from the Proz directory. The enquirers identify likely translators first and then ask them how much they charge.

If no one is asking you for quotes through Proz, you might want to consider tweaking your profile and also answering Kudoz questions in your specialisations. Check the directory for your language combinations and specialisations. If you are not on the first page, it's time to take corrective action!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Bernhard Feb 5, 2012


Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
When I wrote "Proz.com did not "make me" a "certified Pro" I meant that it were my efforts that helped me get the P badge - it wasn't simply bestowed on me for no reason (I hope). But I did actually not seek it. I simply got it. That's okay. The fact that I am a Certified Pro is mentioned in my profile, although without the P.


You are a pro in the sense that you are a professional translator, and you are "certified" only in the sense that you can provide certified translations in the US (but then, who can't?). You're not a "certified translator" in terms of the American Translators' Association either, are you. So why do you say that you are a "Certified Pro"? From your profile page it doesn't seem like you're a "Certified Pro" in the Red Pee sense.


But I don't want to pay for access to the job board. I want to make that point. Unfortunately, many of the other commenting colleagues here "don't get " that, as they write. It's not about the money I spend, it's about the money I pay for something I don't want and can't support.


I understand, I think. It's like buying food from a restaurant chain and deliberately not having chicken because you object to the way the chickens are slaughtered, because you want to make a point about the chickens. Simply not eating the chicken won't make the point strong enough -- you want to make it clear to everyone that you're not paying for it (even if it forms part of a combo meal that you order).

If that is so, then what you want is not a new kind of ProZ.com membership but a more visible (and officially sanctioned) method of protest. It's a pity ProZ.com staff does not allow us to place SIG badges on our profiles, because if they did, then you could join a "We don't support the jobs board because it drives down prices" SIG and place their badge on your profile page.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ProZ.com is a community... Feb 5, 2012


Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
We as a community should speak in favor of a fair workplace, especially here.

Many years ago I considered ProZ as being "the" platform of a kind of worldwide translators community. No longer, ProZ developed in a different direction. ... Now I consider it just a service provider (internet hosting), a great SEO tool and one place where we sometimes can find the specialists we are looking for and a place with some useful information.


ProZ.com is a community if you make it one. The same goes for Facebook or other communities -- if they introduce paid membership, it does not detract from the communityness of its community.


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: As per removal of quoted post.
opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:46
Member (2010)
English to German
+ ...
Community or not? Feb 5, 2012


Samuel Murray wrote:


Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
We as a community should speak in favor of a fair workplace, especially here.

Many years ago I considered ProZ as being "the" platform of a kind of worldwide translators community. No longer, ProZ developed in a different direction. ... Now I consider it just a service provider (internet hosting), a great SEO tool and one place where we sometimes can find the specialists we are looking for and a place with some useful information.


ProZ.com is a community if you make it one. The same goes for Facebook or other communities -- if they introduce paid membership, it does not detract from the communityness of its community.



That is the question. Does ProZ have enough "communityness" in it to qualify as a true community, or is the business aspect the dominating one?

You decide. Personally, I don't think the main share of ProZ' value is in the community aspects that it facilitates. To me it seems that the job board is the dominating ProZ feature for members (for ProZ as a business it all seems to be about income from membership fees), and everything else comes second. Witness the very small percentage of members participating in the forums, or in any other community-like effort.

I agree with Bernhard that ProZ' sheer size and influence comes with a greater responsibility, and that they don't show much willingness right now to meet that responsibility. ProZ is obviously a business with its own interests, and I have my doubts that they're willing to listen to the community. (ProZ staff tend to point to the survey results to show that change is not wanted by members, to which I would reply that it's the forum participants, among others, who in general provide the most value in terms of community.)

At any rate, I think ProZ -- business or community -- is much too big already for any one person (or subset of members) to influence the way it is going. Most of the hot issues that have been discussed in the forums over the last 20 months or so have had (close to) zero influence on ProZ policies. At least that's my impression.

So I sympathize with Bernhard's feelings, and I think it is worthwhile to ponder the questions he has been posing, but I'm rather sceptical wrt to the possibility of any positive outcome. One reason is that there are not enough people participating in the forums, so that building a consensus on any matter is difficult.

At any rate, mere technology, especially when combined with strong business interests, does not a community make. So IMHO ProZ can't claim that it is "automatically" on the side of the profession.



[Edited at 2012-02-05 21:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-05 21:23 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:46
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
you might be right Feb 5, 2012


Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Many years ago I considered ProZ as being "the" platform of a kind of worldwide translators community
.
No longer, ProZ developed in a different direction. Unfortunately the rules forbid me to discuss this here.


Yes, more and more, it seems to me you are right. And thanks for making an effort to understand me.

Bernhard


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:46
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
certified p Feb 5, 2012


Samuel Murray wrote:


Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
When I wrote "Proz.com did not "make me" a "certified Pro" I meant that it were my efforts that helped me get the P badge - it wasn't simply bestowed on me for no reason (I hope). But I did actually not seek it. I simply got it. That's okay. The fact that I am a Certified Pro is mentioned in my profile, although without the P.


You are a pro in the sense that you are a professional translator, and you are "certified" only in the sense that you can provide certified translations in the US (but then, who can't?). You're not a "certified translator" in terms of the American Translators' Association either, are you. So why do you say that you are a "Certified Pro"? From your profile page it doesn't seem like you're a "Certified Pro" in the Red Pee sense.



I am NOT a certified pro in the Red Pee sense anymore, you are correct. I used to be, as a member. I would be eligible but it's okay, I don't see any point in prolonging any of these arguments anyway.

Bernhard






[Edited at 2012-02-05 21:08 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:46
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
that's really all I can ask for Feb 5, 2012


opolt wrote:

So symphasize with Bernhard's feelings, and I think it is worthwhile to ponder the questions he has been posing, ...


Thanks a lot! I appreciate it.
Bernhard


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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:46
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some of us are shy. Feb 5, 2012

"One reason is that there are not enough people participating in the forums, so that building a consensus on any matter is difficult".

I visit the forums on a daily basis, although I admit I have only been a member for a few months. I would love to say many things but I'm so worried about putting my foot in it, I find myself making lengthy comments, then cancelling them before I post!

I have made no more than five posts. The first time I posted, after following a recommendation from Proz, I was told to delete a person's name.

I'm sorry, but if I have to take so much care in wording what I want to say, I prefer to spend my time doing other things.

I enjoy answering questions on Kudoz, but as for work offers, I'm afraid I'm exactly where I was three months ago. Which, now I think about it, is not such a bad place to be.


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xxxchristela
I sympathize too Feb 6, 2012


opolt wrote:

So symphasize with Bernhard's feelings, and I think it is worthwhile to ponder the questions he has been posing, ...


And am one of those who, after years of active participation, deleted his profile. i simply didn't want to have my name associated with low prices and therefore low quality, this is the contrary of what I am trying to achieve.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:46
Partial member (2008)
Romanian to English
+ ...
Prices and markets Feb 6, 2012

Prices have been discussed to death. In today's globalized world, we just have to accept there are different markets and countries with different costs of living.
In a country where a spacious apartment can be rented for EUR 250 in the heart of the capital and accountants do the books of companies for EUR 100/month and bills amount to EUR 150-200 tops, and education is free, it's not impossible to work for a few eurocents per word. In western EU countries where rent alone costs EUR 1000 or more, you can't work for those rates. It's simple. Blame globalization and easy communication between the two demands and supplies.

I honestly don't believe the "best rate" job offers steal away anything from the "professional" translators - those agencies would never pay decent rates, unless they only had their local translators available. But there will always be Indian translators - some of them excellent - who can really afford working at lower rates than their colleagues who have much higher costs.
If you don't like the price, then compete in quality - there will always be clients who pay the decent price of good quality, in the US, in Romania and I guess even in India. And the cheap translators are not competitors in these cases.

@Bernhard: As for the "package" offers - there are several channels in my TV package I really hate and I really-really-really want to make a point against. Guess what choices are there for me? I take it or leave it. I don't want to pay for channels that in my opinion undermine society (not just an industry).

When you want to make a point in such cases, you have to make a sacrifice too - not just force the provider to reorganize its package so that everything is available for you to make the point without any real sacrifice on your part. That's how people made a point in history. If the sacrifice (of leaving proz completely) is too big, well then it seems there is still something worth paying for, isn't there?


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Kay Barbara
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:46
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
I mostly agree Feb 6, 2012


Annamaria Amik wrote:

Prices have been discussed to death. In today's globalized world, we just have to accept there are different markets and countries with different costs of living.
In a country where a spacious apartment can be rented for EUR 250 in the heart of the capital and accountants do the books of companies for EUR 100/month and bills amount to EUR 150-200 tops, and education is free, it's not impossible to work for a few eurocents per word. In western EU countries where rent alone costs EUR 1000 or more, you can't work for those rates. It's simple. Blame globalization and easy communication between the two demands and supplies.

I honestly don't believe the "best rate" job offers steal away anything from the "professional" translators - those agencies would never pay decent rates, unless they only had their local translators available. But there will always be Indian translators - some of them excellent - who can really afford working at lower rates than their colleagues who have much higher costs.
If you don't like the price, then compete in quality - there will always be clients who pay the decent price of good quality, in the US, in Romania and I guess even in India. And the cheap translators are not competitors in these cases.

@Bernhard: As for the "package" offers - there are several channels in my TV package I really hate and I really-really-really want to make a point against. Guess what choices are there for me? I take it or leave it. I don't want to pay for channels that in my opinion undermine society (not just an industry).

When you want to make a point in such cases, you have to make a sacrifice too - not just force the provider to reorganize its package so that everything is available for you to make the point without any real sacrifice on your part. That's how people made a point in history. If the sacrifice (of leaving proz completely) is too big, well then it seems there is still something worth paying for, isn't there?


Good points, Annamaria.

First and foremost I would like to point out that I think the job board bashing is a bit over-the-top. I couldn't really say how many rubbish (NB: I deliberately don't call them "unfair") offers there are on the job board every day or week - I just filter the jobs according to my requirements (i.e. specialisation). My impression is that between 30% and 50% of the jobs I am notified of are interesting or desirable and the rest is not so much. However, in those not-so-interesting job posts I rarely read about the rates which allegedly lead to the "downfall" of this industry.

While I am not denying that there seem to be more low-ball offers around, I deny that this affects "the translation market as a whole" (sic!). We are all free to take offers or leave them.

As Annamaria said: "If you don't like the price, then compete in quality [...]" and this just nails it. Find your niche and be one of the best in your field (and market yourself accordingly), and you won't have to complain about bottom-feeding clients and translators.

Having said that, the directory is just as valuable (or maybe slightly more so) to ProZ members. Over the years I have made great contacts via job board and directory, so I wouldn't vilify the job board like some contributors do in this thread.

Last but not least, Proz is just one platform among many - go out there and be present on several sites/networks, not just here.

Pay the membership fee if it's worthwhile, don't pay it if it isn't.


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xxxchristela
Which sacrifice? Feb 6, 2012

Not being able to quote on jobs who do not interest me is not a sacrifice. From the entrepreneurial point of view, if a seller does not have the goods or services I am asking for, I am free to ask another one, or to retire on my mountain top, or whatever. This is not a sacrifice, it is just sound and reasonable and makes me win time.

This also includes reputation, and this was after the remarks made by some of my clients. In my opinion proz missed a point, definitely. How can one attract or keep high profiles when there is something like this job board. I agree that there are lots of translators in the forums who seem very professional, but won't they be tired of helping others, in the long run?

In each case, if there are people who need these jobs in other countries and who can cope with the prices, it's fine then. But they should keep in mind that normally the buyer does not fix the prices, but the seller, and that undercutting and competition are no good companions of teamwork and communities.


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only "full" members with access to the job board are given favored exposure in the directory







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