The new directory, or: How specialised are you?
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 3, 2005

I have a serious bone to pick with the new Freelancers Directory. I don't think this has been discussed before, but if it has, apologies in advance.

The way things work at the moment, freelancers are allowed to specify 10 specialty fields and 30 working fields in their profile. If a client searches for freelancers through the directory, and specifies a field that is not in my profile, my name will not appear in the search results.
Now a total of 40 fields may sound like a lot, and it may sound pretentious to say that I need to be able to click more fields, but numbers are a relative matter, and when you know that the total number of fields you can choose from are over a 100 (106 to be precise), this changes matters significantly.
I know that it is very commendable practice for translators to specialise. Many translators I know primarily work in the field of medicine, for example, and clients appreciate that.
But the truth of the matter is that (dare I say it!!!) very many (most??) will accept almost any kind of job that comes along, and do a very good job at that. Most translators do not have a solid background in law, medicine or engineering, but if they are good researchers, they can be relied upon to do translations in these specialisations. Specialisations they will REFUSE to work on are more the exception than the rule.
I am one of those translators. I do not do patents, I no longer accept to do jobs in the field of electrical engineering, and I would rather not have anything to do with nuclear science.

I was therefore frustrated to find that after selecting 40 fields, I was unable to select field like Folklore, Agriculture, Cinema, Film and Music, and many more... Now if a client had a simple job on folklore or music, my name will not appear in the list of freelancers who can do the job, which is really absurd...

Am I too presumptuous for wanting to select more than 40 fields? My humble suggestion would be - not to increase the number of fields we can select from - but to narrow down the list considerably. I mean, if someone can translate documents on Anthropology, then he/she will obviously also be able to translate documents on Sociology and Folklore...

I'd like to know what others think about that -

Nesrin


[Edited at 2005-06-03 17:40]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 22:52
SITE FOUNDER
We are asking for your top 10/40 Jun 3, 2005

What you say is correct, you can indicate 10 specialties and 30 working fields, which means you may appear in the directory for a total of 40 fields. Experienced and talented translators may be able to work in more fields, but we are asking you to select your best 10 (and after that, your next-best 30). If you feel you must market yourself in other fields as well, we ask that you do so with your local clients, or using channels available to you besides the ProZ.com directory--there, we just want your top 10/40. Thanks!

I mean, if someone can translate documents on Anthropology, then he/she will obviously also be able to translate documents on Sociology and Folklore...


I think it depends. I would not agree with the use of the word "obvious".


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:52
Spanish to English
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Yes! Jun 3, 2005

Nesrin wrote:
I'd like to know what others think about that -


One vote of total agreement, and you explained it more eloquently than I could.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 19:52
English to French
+ ...
Beg to differ Jun 3, 2005

Nesrin wrote:

But the truth of the matter is that (dare I say it!!!) very many (most??) will accept almost any kind of job that comes along, and do a very good job at that. Most translators do not have a solid background in law, medicine or engineering, but if they are good researchers, they can be relied upon to do translations in these specialisations.



Hi Nesrin

As a medical translator, I have seen the kind of "very good job" these "good researchers" can turn in. In this kind of heavy-duty field you need a solid background. Otherwise, you're just skimming the surface and the translation is usually chock-full of meaning errors.

I think the number of specialty fields in the new directory is more than enough. Actually I am suspicious of people who boast too many fields of expertise. How much do they really know about each? What is their definition of field of expertise?

My 2 cents

Sarah


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You're right of course, but… Jun 3, 2005

Of course you're right, Sarah, I know exactly what you're talking about, and I've seen more than enough of these kinds of translators. But when I say "very good job" I do mean the ones that do a "very good job".

I also agree with your being

suspicious of people who boast too many fields of expertise.

But the Proz Translators' Directory quite rightly makes the distinction between "Working Fields" and "Specialty Fields". The latter needs to be limited, but the former doesn't. This is the reality for very many of us who like to think of themselves as "good" translators.

I don't want to repeat what I said in my posting above, but I'll just reiterate that 106 fields are just way too much, and I can't get over the fact that I was unable to select Cooking and Cosmetics, or even fields that would generally be thought of as requiring more expertise, like Transport or Construction…

Of course, in the end it all depends on how the translator wants to present himself. No limitation on the number of fields that can be selected will stop some no-good translators (like the ones you talk about, whose work is chockful of errors) from stating that they specialise in medical translations, and taking jobs from more deserving people like you...


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another thought then... Jun 4, 2005

I realise there will always be people who think that 40 fields is too much, and others like me, who think that it's too little.

On the one hand, I want it to be possible for me to appear in all searches for fields that I know I can work in...

On the other hand, I do understand Sarah's concern. She is a specialist in medical translators, yet someone like me, who declared that "Medical (general)" is one of my working fields, may rank higher than her in the search for freelancers (if I have more Kudoz than her in that field). And that is truly unfair.

Which made me think: The problem may not be the number of working fields we're allowed to select, but the fact that the search makes no distinction between specialty fields and working fields.

(Or does it??? Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

If that is really the case, then we could find a compromise:

Allow as to select as many working fields as we like (it's all a matter of self-assessment anyway), BUT rank the search results differently: People who declared a field as their specialty come first, then people who declared a field as a mere working field.

Wouldn't that be the best of both worlds?


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I have to disagree Jun 4, 2005

You may indeed be able to produce very good translations in fields in which you are not specialised, but wouldn't you prefer your name to appear at the top in your real specialist fields rather than somewhere in the middle in all of them? If everyone can select every field then the whole purpose of being able to search for specialists becomes pointless. I prefer to have the number of fields restricted, then there will be less people with the same specialist fields as me, I'll figure higher in the list in searches for those fiels, and I'll get more job offers in my fields.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Please see my posting above Jun 4, 2005

Hi Timothy,

I did think about this matter - please see my posting above (entitled "Another thought then...")

Nesrin

Timothy Barton wrote:

You may indeed be able to produce very good translations in fields in which you are not specialised, but wouldn't you prefer your name to appear at the top in your real specialist fields rather than somewhere in the middle in all of them? If everyone can select every field then the whole purpose of being able to search for specialists becomes pointless. I prefer to have the number of fields restricted, then there will be less people with the same specialist fields as me, I'll figure higher in the list in searches for those fiels, and I'll get more job offers in my fields.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 04:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Specializations are underlined Jun 4, 2005

Nesrin wrote:

Which made me think: The problem may not be the number of working fields we're allowed to select, but the fact that the search makes no distinction between specialty fields and working fields.

(Or does it??? Please correct me if I'm wrong!)



There is a distinction. The names of people who specialize in the field are underlined. There's a note in the top Search Results box that says: "Underlined names have marked themselves as specializing in the field of ...." (Architecture, for example).

Outsourcers can also choose to limit their searches to specialist level ("Self-defined expertise in field selected", with working, specialist and interest as the selectable options; working seems to be the default selection).

I personally think that 10 specialty and 30 working fields are enough.


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