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Hidden Outsourcer Information counterproductive
Thread poster: Michael Meinhardt

Michael Meinhardt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
German to English
+ ...
May 27, 2008

When I signed up with Proz I was able to send an application to nearly every outsourcer that posted a job in my pair.

Now most of the outsourcer information on jobs I would be entirely eligible for and capable of doing is hidden, practically making me unable to apply.

I kind of get the credentials thing. In some cases they may come in handy. But what about native speaker restrictions?

I happen to be German by nationality. However, I probably speak English better than German now, simply because I have spent more time in England and America than in Germany. And even living in Germany, half of my day English is spoken.

Yet, I don't get the translation jobs from German to English (my favorite pair).

That's ridiculous!

I used to get plenty of these jobs and got rave WWA reviews for them. Look'em up!

Now I can't even apply?

That is not what I signed up for with Proz and it certainly isn't what I am paying for.

I consider this practice hopelessly counterproductive and entirely unfair.

I urge the Proz Team to go back to unhidden outsourcers, at least in terms of the nationality of the translator.

Michael




[Edited at 2008-05-27 13:30]


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 14:18
Member (2007)
Dutch to English
Why not change your language pairs? May 27, 2008

It seems to me that this would solve the problem.

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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:18
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Another problem... May 27, 2008

I have not thought about it before, as I took it for granted, but for me hiding outsourcer info have deprived me of vital information about what companies deal with interesting projects related to my specializations.

There were many cases where I could not bid for particular projects as I did not qualify for a particular project for various reasons. Still, as I found the project quite interesting I wrote to the outsourcer with a general offer for cooperation. For example, if an outsourcer posted a a localization job into Polish, which required a particular tool, I wrote to them that I am not able to take on this specific project, but I do provide such services in general and asked if they might be interested. Quite often they were, as the areas they worked in were similar to mine.

I felt that my approaching the client was not considered a nuisance by them, but a chance to add to their database a translator with a set of skills specific to the projects they worked on. For me, of course, it was another opportunity to seek new clients.

As it is now, we do not have that chance at all...


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Michael Meinhardt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Native Language Setting May 27, 2008

Hi Buck,

My language pair is set correctly. It is my "native language" setting that poses the problem. And it cannot just be changed. For good reason I suppose.

I filled out a support ticket to proz to request a double native language setting which would be appropriate in my case.

Hope that works.

Michael


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 14:18
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
What do you mean? May 27, 2008

Buck wrote:
Why not change your language pairs?

It seems to me that this would solve the problem.


Do you mean adopt the language of your choice as your newest native language? Admittedly this is done very often (actually, some people don't even mention their real native language), but I'm not sure how dishonesty fits in with Proz Professional Guidelines.



[Edited at 2008-05-27 14:05]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:18
German to English
Find an honest solution May 27, 2008

Michael Meinhardt wrote:

My language pair is set correctly. It is my "native language" setting that poses the problem. And it cannot just be changed. For good reason I suppose.

I filled out a support ticket to proz to request a double native language setting which would be appropriate in my case.



Hi Michael,
There are many excellent translators in your shoes - people who have acquired the ability to write a second language on a level equivalent to that of an educated native-speaker. And I'm sure you fit that description. We (members and moderators) have been discussing this sensitive topic for many years, but no solution has yet been found.
http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_suggestions/62666-english_native_speaker-.html

If a solution is finally implemented it must not further encourage people to change their native language just so they can bid on particular jobs. That practice is already rampant among native Dutch speakers.

[Edited at 2008-05-27 14:59]


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Michael Meinhardt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My native language has been reset May 27, 2008

Hi Kim and all the others who have responded!


My support ticket to ProZ was successful and I now have German and English set as my native languages.

That was very quick on ProZ part and I thank them for being so responsive.

I already checked and I am now able to apply for jobs in my favorite pair.

There still is the credentials thing, but admittedly that is something I am responsible for myself, and this summer I will get official credentials for the German-English pair here in Germany. Not cheap, but worth the investment, I'm sure.

Kim: I hope a solution will be found, and frankly it needs to be found. Because the world isn't black and white and people speak more than one language.

I will give this some thought myself and if I come up with a magic solution that has everybody gasping in disbelief (don't count on it) I will post it here on the forum.


Thanks again!

Michael


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Michael Meinhardt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just a hint May 27, 2008

One more thing maybe:

This may seem a little drastic, but why not leave out the native language differentiation altogether?

As we have seen multiple times it means diddly-squat anyway.

In a less networked world it may have meant something. Back then, as it were.

Nowadays, you can be from any place on the face of the earth and still speak better English than most Americans, or Britons for that matter. Let's face it: it's not that hard.

Listening to many "natives" and reading their scribble I am not sure what country they're from, quite honestly.

Should the native language be a deciding factor then? Should it be given this overriding and excludatory (I made that one up) status?

Maybe it's time to rethink the quality approach of a portal like this and leave the decision up to those we came here to serve: the outsourcers.

If they don't like my work, they will go somewhere else next time. If they like it they will come back.

Let the market work it out.


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:18
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
solution May 27, 2008

Michael, I believe there is a solution. The native language designation is important so we can't get rid of it altogether. The problem is, at the moment it's the only criterion used in directory searches as regards language skills.
I will open a new thread to present the proposal, and post the link here.
Maria



[Edited at 2008-05-27 22:46]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:18
English to German
+ ...
I never had to face this problem.. May 27, 2008

Halo all! I have done a few thousand projects in the last 20 years and never had to face this problem. I mainly use british english and can adapt to other english dialects also due to personal exposure in various countries, similarly I understand and implement all german dialects. I come from technical background, meaning I have enough intelligence to understand all kinds of technology and being an M.B.A also the law parts. But the option to specialize only on certain fields is not possible due to my own background, and the system gives may be about 10 fields one could opt for. From my understanding I can get around all kinds of sciences including a few rare fields like endovision. This is mainly due to my working background. But I am in the same situation as we all are since a few months. I believe something could be done to improve proz. com system along these lines. I am also personally not very happy about the outsourcer details being hidden just like as many other members, and have posted this in various threads. I guess the management will have to reconsider this option seriously try to find implement a solution that is good for the community. Brandis

[Edited at 2008-05-27 19:10]

[Edited at 2008-05-27 19:24]


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Nathalie Scharf  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:18
French to English
+ ...
a special problem for legal translators May 27, 2008

Here is another big issue for those of us specialized in legal translations.

In this past week alone, I spotted two job postings which specifically mentioned that they would prefer an attorney but Proz only disclosed the information to certified translators as requested by the outsourcer.

I am an attorney and translator and in my 8 years of experience, I have never once encountered an attorney who was also a certified translator. There may be some out there but I am really tired of having to edit and proofread legal translations done by otherwise good and certified translators who have no clue when it comes to the legal system or jargon.

The end result is that one of my certified translator colleagues referred me to one of the job posters who was thrilled to give me the job as he had not found a qualified certified translator for a complex legal document.

Certification does not imply ability when it comes to legal translations.

I am grateful that I don’t have to rely on the job board any longer but still, during the down times, it would be nice to get my money’s worth!

Why doesn't Proz go back to the way it was...let it be a free market out there.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I vote to change it back May 27, 2008

I do not translate into Spanish since that is not my native language. However, the other day I was tempted to change my profile just to be able to see who made a job posting.

In fact, I was considering permanently changing my profile to say that I am a native Spanish speaker, just so I could see the job postings. I decided not do this, but others clearly will. This will lead to many inaccurate profiles.

For me as an outsourcer, this will be frustrating, annoying, and, in the end, lead to a lower quality of service. It is essential to know one's native language when deciding who to outsource work to.

Please change it back until a better solution is found.

My two cents.


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:18
Member (2008)
French to English
change something anyway May 28, 2008

How clear is it to outsourcers that making certain choices will block some translators from contacting them? I have been blocked from a few because I don't use SDL Trados. Since files can be converted, this doesn't seem really necessary, I wonder if posters even fully realize that these things restrict their responses.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Many outsourcers are just careless May 28, 2008

Joan Berglund wrote:
How clear is it to outsourcers that making certain choices will block some translators from contacting them? I have been blocked from a few because I don't use SDL Trados. Since files can be converted, this doesn't seem really necessary, I wonder if posters even fully realize that these things restrict their responses.


I've noticed that job posted by end-clients are always crystal-clear and specific. On the other hand, many jobs posted by outsourcers display unbelievable carelessness. The message that comes thtough from these is: I'm a Project Manager, too important and too busy to waste my precious time with properly specifying jobs, translator requirements, etc."

I've seen interpreting jobs demanding Trados. I've seen EN to PT-BR, MS-Word translation jobs demanding that translators live in China. I've seen jobs requiring certified translations into PT-BR (they are always on hardcopy in Brazil) for a web site.

If these guys don't want to waste their time doing it properly, why do they waste time doing it at all?


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Gilda Manara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:18
German to Italian
+ ...
What about two separate lists of bidders? May 28, 2008

I am not sure whether anything has changed, but if I remember well once there was a difference between bids by paying and by non paying members - I think the latter were submitted to outsourcers later on. Would it be possible to make a similar differentiation between bidders complying or not with all requirements set by the outsourcers? Maybe the latter could be submitted with a banner saying "These applications do not fully comply with the requirements but might anyway be interesting" - so if the outsourcer is interested, he can have a look at it and maybe find a more interesting profile, while if he is not interested (no time or any reason for which the first trimming is made by enforcing some restrictive criteria) he just won't look at it - in that case the lack of interest is reciprocal...

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