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Why haven't I upgraded to Platinum membership?
Thread poster: Jianjun Zhang

Jianjun Zhang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:05
English to Chinese
+ ...
Mar 27, 2005

Proz is my favorite translation site. I love it and enjoy being a member of this professionals' community. I really want to be a platinum member and would like to contribute more to this great site. And I of course want to access more features unavailable to non-paying members. However, you see I'm still a basic member. But why?

I think my case is typical of many Chinese translators living in mainland China. Most of us simply don't have any means to send money abroad. RMB Yuan is not convertible and we are not allowed to convert RMB to foreign currencies without stated purposes authorised by the government (for studies abroad, travel abroad, etc). Even so, a person going abroad can only get very limited amount of USD each time.

Hey what about a credit card? Unfortunately I know most credi cards in China are printed with words "Valid only in China" and hence can't be used for international orders. There are international cards available, but a person like me - a freelancer - without any employer - can hardly persuade credit card companies in China to issue me a card.

Paypal would be good to use if:

1. I first get some client overseas and would like to deposit my money into paypal account.
2. I still HAVE TO have a credit card (international) to verify my account first.

So this is the dilemma.

[Edited at 2005-03-27 10:56]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:35
English to Tamil
+ ...
This is one of my reasons Mar 27, 2005

Other reasons are:
1. Personally I do not see any tangible benefit in the form of increased orders. Rates offered are just slightly better than the ones offered by local clients to me in my city of Chennai, India.
2. I am not very confident of the honesty of agencies abroad in sending prompt payments.
3. There was this feature of not having to put up one's forum postings for vetting by a moderator, if one becomes a platinum member. But now my ID has been verified thanks to my attending powwow in Bombay, India. Now my postings get published instantaneously. Even without this feature, I did not mind waiting for the vetting to be completed.
4. I am yet to find some compelling reasons for going platinum.

Proz can nominate representatives in various countries to receive fees in the concerned local currencies.

Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:05
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Dear Narasimhan Mar 27, 2005

forgive me please, but your reasons are selfish reasons.
You use the site, enjoy it (I hope, as otherwise you woldn´t be along) and do not wish to support it?
Why do we allways look for our benefits first? Couldn´t it be so, that we do something for others first?
Perhaps this could be a reason for going Platinum: to help the site to exist and improve in the future...
At last this is the way I see it after beeing here since early 2001.
Moderators spend their time for the site for free - and so are working indirectly for you too.

Thank you for your understanding - and please don´t take this personal.

Best regards and happy Easter
Jerzy


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Please let people say their opinion Mar 27, 2005

Jerzy you are hard and maybe selfish yourself in your judgement.
Narasimhan only said his opinion. Do all people here have to have the same wonderful opinion about the site?
Critics are always constructive and it is always something to be improved everywhere. Nothing and nobody is perfect.
Then there are also reasons for everybody. Everybody has his own expectations.
The Chinese colleague has opened this discussion with courage. They indeed have problems. On the other hand I do not understand how they manage to get jobs abroad, but it is not of my business.
I think this thread is interesting, in order to see what people miss, what ProZ can improve. Only Laudatio is not always useful.
It does not mean anbody is selfish.
Selfish are people who do not understand the problems and the real necessities of others.
I do not want to offend here anybody,please don't be angry Jerzy.
This is my opinion and my reason(s) for not being a Platinum Member.
1. ProZ is indeed a good and serious site. I came here looking for a translation job. Somewhere I read about ProZ.Before registering I looked a little arround and it seemed to be very serious and nice. This was the first opinion.
Pro points:
2. I was happy to meet in fora people with the same interest and more or less the same level of skills and culture, as mine.
I said: yes, it is a good site.
3. I registered and started happily to work in KudoZ helping the colleagues.It was interesting for me and for them too until I could find out the problems of such a system.
4. I found a lot of interesting information.

Against points:
1. KudoZ is more and more unfair and has a lot of problems which in spite of the often complains in all fora are not being solved.
I have retired from Kudoz long time ago,but I can see what people are writing on fora.
2. I find the job system very unfair, not offering to people the same chances to compete for a job.
We need money to pay a Platinum and for this a job and not viceversa.
This is one of my strongest reason for not being able to be Platinum: I do not have the money.I can not get a job and am in deep financial problems.I believe I am not the only one.There are a lot of poor people in the world wanting to work and trying to find a job.
I had to leave my in-house job for some reasons and a way to get a job according to my skills, was also the translation field.But I have learned here on ProZ that the market is full of translators these days and there is no chance to get a job in this field. The competition is hard and often unfair and like in any other field people also try to discourage the competitors.
They succeeded with me. Translation is for me an art and the trade I could see know made by people in order to make an existence on translating, made me sad.I can not do it myself.Translation means something else for me.
3. I made some suggestions in order to improve the site, to help people (beginners, people who are looking for jobs) and they are never taken into consideration.
I do not have the money to support this site. Rich people can do it if they feel like doing it. I tried to help it on a different way, but it does not count.
4. I do not like the censure in the fora.I only have the possibility to attent a powwow in order to verify my ID. May be I will organize one myself in my beautiful town.
Regarding the moderators: I sincerely believe they have some (also material) advantages for doing their jobs, otherwise they would be more sensible and open to their colleagues.They can not do it all for free.No one can convince me of that, because they are many and have also a pleasure in doing their job.
I would work for free, but would not be able to be so hard as needed for such a job. I would try to help people even against the site, if it is necessary.Justice can only be one way and for all.
This does not mean there are not some kind and wise moderators on ProZ. I know some.
These are my opinions and my reasons. I do not want to offend anybody or to be selfish.I only wish to show some real problems.
There may be people who have received support or advantages from this site. It is not my case,unfortunately.
Good luck to everybody else.

Ruxi


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:35
English to Tamil
+ ...
No problem Jerzy Mar 27, 2005

The reason cited by you is good. But the first reason for my reluctance is just there. It is difficult to pay in dollars or Euros for an average Indian.
I guess the platinum members from India are credit card holders or they have Paypal account or similar. I do not have any such facility nor do I intend to get one, on account of credit card and Paypal swindles.
If it is possible to pay an authorized Indian representative of Proz the required amount in Indian rupees, I wouldn't mind the cost and in such an eventuality going platinum will be attractive, as I too like to support the site.
For example, Trados has got an Indian agent, who wrote to me. As I was not interested in a CAT tool, I didn't take up the offer.
Till such time the reasons for not going platinum will prevail.
Regards,
N.Raghavan
Jerzy Czopik wrote:
Perhaps this could be a reason for going Platinum: to help the site to exist and improve in the future...
Best regards and happy Easter
Jerzy


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:05
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
You are pretty right Mar 27, 2005

and a possibly small amount for someone in Germany may be a very big amount elswhere in the world.
Nevertheless, it remains still less than 30 cents per day, so I hope I dare to say that isn´t much.
Nevertheless I respect your reasons and any other reasons not to go Platinum. What I stated before is my own opinion, which may be caused by the fact where I live.
Perhaps this will give all of us some food for thought, what the reasons for or against Platinum may be. As we see, there are very different possibilites to see that.

Best regards
Jerzy


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
What a good idea Mar 27, 2005

Although, like Jerzy, I don't agree with all of Narasimhan's arguments, his idea of nominating someone in countries where members have payment problems is a good idea.

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:
Proz can nominate representatives in various countries to receive fees in the concerned local currencies.


The benefits I have experienced since joining Proz are priceless in many cases. I don't believe it is a case of whether platinum membership is worthwhile or not, for me personally it is a way of showing my support for the excellent service provided by Henry, Jason & Co. who cannot be expected to work for nothing. The website is continually being improved and this must take a lot of time.

Regards,
Jill

[Edited at 2005-03-27 09:57]


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Jianjun Zhang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:05
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A representative would be good Mar 27, 2005

I fully support this idea. That way I can pay RMB and I believe lots of other translators from China would like to pay and this site would attract more eyeballs from this country.

I know this could mean lots of more investment and efforts from Proz but it's really worthwhile, isn't it?

Thanks for all your discussions and ideas.

And about Ruxi's question of how we Chinese get overseas jobs. I can only say for myself. I have a long-term cooperation with an agency and got those jobs from them. Other jobs are local ones.

[Edited at 2005-03-27 11:35]


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:05
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Moderators have no financial advantages Mar 27, 2005

Ruxi wrote:
...
4. I do not like the censure in the fora.I only have the possibility to attent a powwow in order to verify my ID. May be I will organize one myself in my beautiful town.


Ruxi,
you can write what you like, and your posting above is the demonstration, as long as you stay within the forum rules.

The vetting system, that you mistakenly call 'censure' is due to many instances of abusive postings. As a matter of fact they mostly came from members having a profile without verified identity, and once the ID is verified the number of cases drops dramatically.

This is the reason why the site allows anyone to post immediately, without moderators or staff vetting, if they simply have a verified ID, and not only to paying members. If you want to get a VID is up to you. There are several methods, just pick one suitable for you.



Ruxi wrote:
...
Regarding the moderators: I sincerely believe they have some (also material) advantages for doing their jobs, otherwise they would be more sensible and open to their colleagues.They can not do it all for free.No one can convince me of that, because they are many and have also a pleasure in doing their job.


How wrong you are. We do our work (we use the term 'to serve as moderators'), for the benefit of all colleagues, to support the site, and maintain a friendly atmosphere, contributing to maintain a more ethical workplace. We directly benefit from its existence like any other member.
If you don't understand it, or you cannot be convinced it is clearly your problem.

Please note that we pay our membership, we benefit from any discount in the cost of the memberships or software offers exactly like anyone else, and when we participate to ProZ.com events we pay in full our travel costs and other expenses.
I have organized the Oxford Conference and the moderators who came paid for their participation.

And finally, you are right, we like this task, but we do it as a collateral activity during our working days, in those bits of time that we can afford to dedicate. In short, we do what we can, and no more.


Ruxi wrote:
...
These are my opinions and my reasons. I do not want to offend anybody or to be selfish.


Actually, you have been quite offensive and selfish. It doesn'n matter that you state the opposite. What counts is what you say, not how you paint it.


Saludos
Gianfranco






[Edited at 2005-03-27 11:37]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:35
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Supporting the site without going Platinum Mar 27, 2005

I agree with Jerzy that we should support proz.com which is doing so much for us. But is going platinum the only way to do that? The site itself has provided many options for supporting it and helping it to become the most popular site among translators. If I post a large glossary of terms in my pair of languages that I have painstakingly prepared over several months for the benefit of other translators, or if I help a fellow-translator in difficulty by providing him the right translation through the kudoz mechanism, am I not supporting the site in my own way? By the very act of registering my name with the site, I am supporting it!

Now to the monetary part of the argument. Going platinum means shelling out $120 a year, which translates to roughly Rs. 5000 in Indian currenncy. By no means is this a small sum. It is equivalent to a month's salary for most us. If the amount had been equivalent to one month of Mr. Jerzy's salary, would he have been so forthcoming in going Plantinum?

I suggest that proz.com have a flexible membership fee, which is pegged to national currencies and which could be payable at the national level.

Another suggestion is to link the browniz or kudoz system to platinum membership, that is if a member accumulates sufficient browniz or kudoz points, he becomes eligible for platinum membership.

Regards


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:05
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
To be very short Mar 27, 2005

as I´m leaving in few hours to go visiting my family in Cracow, it is NOT necessary to go Platinum in order to support the site. However, paying for the membership allows getting new, better and more secure server for instance. Paying allows Henry, Jason and other saff member work on programmingm making the site working smoothly, looking better, offering more.
Nevertheles, anyone is invited here. And criticism is welcomed too.
Moderators do not have ANY advantage of serving as moderators. This is quite the oposite. To make decisions and discuss problems - your problems or problems signalised by you - moderators have allready met twice. All on our costs, any of us who came had to cover his own expenses. The flight, the hotel and so on was paid by each of us. If you call this an advantage, then I don´t understand your logic.
If you don´t want to go Platinum, be fair enough to support us in other way. What I don´t like very much, is keeping critisising but not doing anything to get things better.
You say KudoZ is cheating? So don´t cheat, than it won´t be cheating anymore. This is not personal, just as a thought.
The world is not perfect, but if we only sit down and state that, it will never become perfect. If you don´t like your situation, so go on and try to change things. Sitting and complaining does not help anyone.

And once again - I do not attack anyone. I accept your opinions and respect them. So please respect my opinion too.

Happy Easter everybody
Find more peace among you
Jerzy


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
You'd be surprised Mar 27, 2005

Ruxi wrote:

They can not do it all for free.


All it needs is efficient time management.

Why I am platinum: obviously, I support the site. As a non-paying member, I supported the site through KudoZ. Moderating, however, is another way of supporting the site.

The BrowniZ discount is one way that the site acknowledges support. 10 browniz are given for every glossary entry, to the asker or the chosen answerer. They are also given to people who take time out to upload personal glossary terms. And they are given to people who post new reference links on GlossPost, once the administrators have checked that the item is indeed new and has not been posted before.

I don't bid (well, approximately once a year, I guess, when a job is interesting). But people write to me, and other people whom I have met pass jobs on to me as well as to others. I also refer outsourcers asking for specialized colleagues, although that is not part of moderation, and I know ProZians who do the same. Thus, pulling the cart together, we are no longer at the mercy of certain outsources who insist on dictating their rock-bottom prices, take it or leave it. We leave it. All this taken together, the site has raised economic perspectives for the trade, even though on the surface it may "seem that" the bidding system pulls the other way (this is from the point of view of a non-bidder). Just having your profile up, complete with CV and samples, goes a long way.

It is indeed interesting what Jianjun Zhang says about forex restrictions. I know that similar measures exist in other places, although they might not be as stringent. I had to sign government papers in order to be cleared for forex collection in Vietnam, for example, and one job I performed in Cambodia was paid for through Germany, Argentina through Uruguay, etc.. Situations change, and these things are worth knowing. I think it would be worthwhile to discuss the issue.


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Jianjun Zhang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:05
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's worth paying Mar 27, 2005

From posts from our friends in India I can see that translators are in a similar economic situation in both countries. (The usual yearly membership fee is just about a month's average salary in China, too.) And from the post of Parrot I see that many poor countries are the same in strictly controlling foreign exchange. I believe our government need that precious dollar to keep up its much inflated economy. Wow, but anyway, these things should not be excuses to not being a paying member of this great site.

If a translator can be regarded as a business person, if translation is regarded as business, then why shouldn't we invest in it as we do in other businesses? Besides, if a site can help us develop our career and probably help us earn more money (although sometimes potentially), I think it's worthwhile to pay for it.

A platinum member not only gets much more opportunities to find jobs (not in all cases of course), but also gives you chances to get closer with colleagues around the world. Furthermore, with payment we can get a personal website running with database capabilities.

I started this discussion in the hope that Henry and other Proz leaders could understand my (and my fellow countrymen and women's) situation and work out some ways to help us become members if we want to. I'm submitting my dilemma for practical solution, not just grumbling about the facts.


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Patricia Posadas  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:05
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"They can not do it all for free" Mar 27, 2005

You may find it hard to believe, Ruxi, but they do!

I won't go into judging why you find it is so unlikely, perhaps you never heard of voluntary work.

This is just a proof of how generous they are, so if I were you I would say a big "Thank you" instead of suspecting such great people who work for free and make this site possible... I wouldn't like any of them to be discouraged by your statements.

THANKS DEAR MODERATORS ALL OVER THE PLANET!!


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 06:05
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Thanks Patricia and others who support our role Mar 27, 2005

Just taking a quick break from my holiday duties to perform my Moderator duties, such as checking forum postings and English Monolingual KudoZ questions.

As you said, Patricia, I do it for free.

I also attended a Moderator conference in Europe last year, at my own expense, as did all those who attended. We do it because we want to contribute to this great site. It's volunteer work, but we are dedicated and we love it!

We're here to make the whole experience more comfortable for all. It's with sadness that I read postings implying that there is subterfuge or dishonesty or nepotism or pay-offs or illegal activity going on behind the scenes. It's simply not true.

On the other hand, I firmly believe that in this world, you come away with more than you put in, but first you must put in. It's just an example to explain why some of us have agreed to become Moderators at ProZ.com; we appreciate the site and the ideology behind it, and wish to help improve it any way we can.

Happy Easter everyone.

Nancy

PS
1. The BrowniZ you accumulate through activity on the site can pay for part of the Platinum membership.
2. I can't speak for all countries, of course, but in Canada and the US the price of a Platinum membership can be written off at income tax time, something to consider if you make your iving as an independent freelancer.
3. Pow-wows get you VIDded, true; your postings will appear in real time. But they give you more than that, they give you a chance to meet with your virtual colleagues. It's one of the first things I did after joining ProZ.com; because of it, I was convinced that Platinum membership was the way to go. Try it; it's only a day (or evening) out of your life -- if you don't like the result, it wasn't a big time investment. But I think you'll like the result.

N.


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