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Why I am NOT a Proz member.
Thread poster: David Wigtil

David Wigtil  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:10
German to English
+ ...
Nov 21, 2008

I'm a lurker, a non-member of Proz who's been a non-paying registrant for 10 years or more.

Why? Just for example, today I saw one job offering four cents (USD 0.04) per word, another offering 3 cents, another claiming 12 books with no mention of page length (despite specifying so many words per page), another requesting French-to-English translators but insisting on Spanish as the native language, another insisting on multiple languages plus professional experience in both computers and medicine, and on and on.

Most of the jobs posted, even for members, I would never apply for. I've been translating various languages into English as a freelancer for 30+ years, and I know that 15 to 20 years ago I could charge ten cents, USD 0.10, per word. To me, Proz.com has come to represent bottom-feeding, no matter how splendid the discounts it offers to me to join. All other prices have gone up, but Proz and its member translators are accepting jobs at less than half the rate of two decades past.

Proz folks: give me a REALLY good reason why I should pay to join! I keep looking in, from time to time, and I keep fanning off terrible feelings of revulsion every time!
--Loquamur


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 05:10
SITE STAFF
Membership, and other considerations Nov 21, 2008

Hello David,

I'm sorry to hear you feel that way about membership on the site, but I'm happy to hear you are still "lurking" around.

I think it's important to note that membership alone will not necessarily guarantee your success. It definitely helps. There is a lot a language professional can do, member or not, to increase their chances at finding good clients.

And, while many jobs are posted on the site every day, an often overlooked fact is that the majority of jobs do not pass through job postings, but through direct contact made via the directories.

So, if I want these potential clients to contact me, membership is important-- members are listed in the first set of results in directory searches. Member or user, if I want to rank higher in the directory, I also need to be earning KudoZ PRO points in my top language pair(s) and fields of expertise. You can check your current ranking and see ways of boosting your position at http://www.proz.com/jobs/?sp_mode=about&pg=my_ranking

Making sure you are towards or at the top of the directory for your top language pair and field of expertise isn't the end-- everyone here has a profile, and this profile is your face on the site, what could be called your "shop window". Filling your shop window with the best you have to offer is part of catching and keeping a potential client's interest. Having a complete, professional-looking profile, and paying attention to details like your "About me", your Portfolio, tagline, availability calendar, and so on, are key. Everything in your profile should be aimed at what you do, and what you do best. All of the fields in a profile are there specifically to allow you to market yourself as you see fit. All of these things, along with membership, are ways of ensuring your ProZ.com experience is optimal.

I would like to help you get the most out of the site. Getting the most out of the site includes membership, sure, but I hope I have helped explain some of the other factors which are also important.

If I haven't addressed your concerns fully, or if you need help with your profile or other issues, let me know. You can also contact me or other members of staff via support request. Thanks.

Best regards,

Jared


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:10
English to German
+ ...
Why I AM, and happy about it Nov 21, 2008

Hi David,
Thanks for voicing your concerns.
I have been a member for several years; eventually, I converted a ten-year membership into a company membership.


Most of the jobs posted, even for members, I would never apply for.

Same here - but that's only a small part of what ProZ.com is (or can be, depending on how you approach it).

I've been translating various languages into English as a freelancer for 30+ years, and I know that 15 to 20 years ago I could charge ten cents, USD 0.10, per word.

With this experience, I would expect you to charge more today - significantly more, in fact.

To me, Proz.com has come to represent bottom-feeding, no matter how splendid the discounts it offers to me to join. All other prices have gone up, but Proz and its member translators are accepting jobs at less than half the rate of two decades past.

Some do - many do not: same thing as in the market outside ProZ.com.
For me, that's irrelevant: I use ProZ.com in many ways - but not for quoting on jobs. The amount invested in membership - which, compared to the overall cost of running a translation business, is relatively small - has paid off many times through the benefits of being part of a very powerful network.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:10
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Why I am a Proz member Nov 21, 2008

I think you have missed a key point about ProZ -- most of the work, certainly in my experience, comes not from applying for advertised jobs, but from outsourcers trawling through ProZ looking for translators matching their requirements. As a result, I have a very healthy workload, at very good rates -- many times greater than the figures you quote.

I think you have also missed another key point -- ProZ is a market-place, a workplace, a venue. So there are bound to be some low rates on offer. But that is nothing to get uptight about -- just a fact of life in our capitalist economy. Best ignored.

We should not shoot a messenger merely because he brings bad news.


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 05:10
Asocial Nov 21, 2008

Don't you think it a bit asocial to post such a topic on a forum, which is largely participated by Proz.members?

What would happen to a non-translator, who tells us on the Proz.com forum, how happy he is not to be a translator?


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ditto Nov 21, 2008

Peter Linton wrote:

I think you have missed a key point about ProZ -- most of the work, certainly in my experience, comes not from applying for advertised jobs, but from outsourcers trawling through ProZ looking for translators matching their requirements. As a result, I have a very healthy workload, at very good rates -- many times greater than the figures you quote.



My experience exactly!


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:10
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
A legitimate issue to raise Nov 21, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:
Don't you think it a bit asocial to post such a topic on a forum, which is largely participated by Proz.members?


No Bin, I don't find him raising the point objectionable at all. I'm glad when the issue gets aired from time to time. A lot of mistaken ideas can develop in silence. If we don't know why we are members and can state our reasons in some coherent manner, then something is wrong. There are, of course, a few time-wasters who seem to think that they are so special that the world must come crawling to their doorsteps over broken glass to beg them to join, but I only remember one of those recently and a lot of people who are genuinely interested in why they should bother forking over USD 129 or so. I don't know what their reasons will be, but I'm perfectly happy to share mine. ProZ has been a huge benefit to my business over the years, and I really don't think that I'm such an exceptional case that others might not benefit in similar ways.

My reasons (some of them at least):

  1. Occasional job posts of interest. (I ignore most of the posts, but I have had no problem gleaning jobs from there at rates between 15 and 25 euro cents per word at least. Here in Germany, the municipal waste practices have us all well trained at sorting our trash, so it's easy to transfer this skill to evaluating ProZ job posts.) Mostly I have no time for such fun because of #2.

  2. The huge visibility my profile gives me in search engines. (I think this is better with membership, right Jared?) Go ahead and search Google with the terms german english translator berlin chemistry and you'll see why I'm happy. If I had a nickel for every time someone local contacted me with a job in my favorite field... but wait, I have God-knows-how-many thousands of bigger currency units instead....

  3. The obnoxiously large number of serious business contacts I get through the ProZ directory from agencies and direct clients who are willing to pay very fair rates. Sure, I may have brought some of this on myself by wasting time optimizing parts of my profile when I really need a long vacation more than new business, but it's hard to get too upset when one of my favorite companies whose products have delighted me for decades calls me up and asks for my services on a name-your-price basis after finding me here. Shame on you Henry for helping me stay too busy and have fun at the same time!

  4. The fantastic network of people I've met here. Sure, there are some jerks, and I may be one of them as far as some are concerned, but this is - online AND offline - one of the finest professional networks I've been privileged to be part of. Sure, there are incompetents and wannabes and translators of all stripes hanging out here as you know well from lurking so long, but there are a lot of gold nuggets you can pan from that mud!

  5. Blue Board access. Sure, some of the entries are compromised perhaps - at least that's what I hear lately. But most of what I have seen - good and bad - seems accurate. Besides, only a fool would use just one source to check the payment practices of a potential client. I cross-check other lists. This is also a great source for researching potential clients, but I don't think I've had time for that in the last 5 years. The points mentioned above keep me too busy.

  6. Probably a half dozen other things that I don't think about much, like discounts for this and that. I stay so busy with the work that I have attracted through the ProZ network that I don't have time to remember where and what I saved. But I'm sure I must have done so somewhere, and I was probably pleased about it at the time.



Those are my reasons, at least the ones I can remember off the top of my head. I might have had some silly, sentimental idea of "giving back" to a community and platform that has given me so much, but unfortunately I'm too busy making money off my membership to remember such nonsense. If and when you join, do so for your own reasons, silly or otherwise. To get some of the benefits I mentioned above, you might have to do some serious work on your profile (no idea - I haven't looked at it yet), but you can indeed go a very long way for a trivial amount of money here.


Bin Tiede wrote:
What would happen to a non-translator, who tells us on the Proz.com forum, how happy he is not to be a translator?


We'd probably all congratulate him/her on realizing that there are other ways to make a living and that not everyone can or should translate. Perhaps I might congratulate that person for having the good fortune to live in a part of the world where such an undesired activity is not compulsory.


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:10
English to Slovak
+ ...
See my post Nov 21, 2008

I asked similar question recently. Visit the link:
http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom:_translator_coop/118334-to_be_or_not_to_be_a_full_member.html


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:10
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
These would have been my own words to express it. Nov 21, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:

I might have had some silly, sentimental idea of "giving back" to a community and platform that has given me so much, but unfortunately I'm too busy...


For one, last weekend I just felt like quoting on a job (I very rarely do it). I translated a short sentence for it. On Monday, I could hardly remembered I had done that when I received the (first) job from the client. This eventually has turned into a series of well paid jobs that will amount to several thousands dollars.

That is only one good aspect of Proz.com and the reason why I'm a paying member.

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:13 GMT]


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:10
English to Slovak
+ ...
Amazing! Nov 21, 2008

Elías Sauza wrote:
For one, last weekend I just felt like quoting on a job (I very rarely do it). I translated a short sentence for it. On Monday, I could hardly remembered I had done that when I received the (first) job from the client. This eventually has turned into a series of well paid jobs that will amount to several thousands dollars.

That is only one good aspect of Proz.com and the reason why I'm a paying member.

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:13 GMT]


It is really amazing that you ended up with series of well paid jobs from a new client in just couple of days.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:10
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
What's so unusual about that? Nov 21, 2008

Rad Graban wrote:
It is really amazing that you ended up with series of well paid jobs from a new client in just couple of days.


I've seen a new client that likes what they see try to take as much capacity as they can in a short time. I'm sure there are plenty of others with similar experiences. A lot of stuff can happen in five days.


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:10
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
It happens Nov 21, 2008

I can assure you it happens. When if a client is satisfied with your first job, he will not post jobs he can give to you on ProZ.com anymore, he just emails them to you. Saves him time and worries... In my case more than 95% of my now regular clients (and there are many hundreds of them) I have first met thanks to ProZ.com. Also several times after doing a small first job (I'm sure they had it revised and proofed and obviously were satisfied with results) it has turned out that in fact they have some huge projects available right away. In fact we have one such project going for several years already, tenths of thousands of words monthly.

THANKS BE TO PROZ!

Uldis

Rad Graban wrote:
It is really amazing that you ended up with series of well paid jobs from a new client in just couple of days.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:10
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
And what about the aspect of credit control? Nov 21, 2008

Rad Graban wrote:

Elías Sauza wrote:
For one, last weekend I just felt like quoting on a job (I very rarely do it). I translated a short sentence for it. On Monday, I could hardly remembered I had done that when I received the (first) job from the client. This eventually has turned into a series of well paid jobs that will amount to several thousands dollars.

That is only one good aspect of Proz.com and the reason why I'm a paying member.

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-21 20:13 GMT]


It is really amazing that you ended up with series of well paid jobs from a new client in just couple of days.


Do you honestly think it is a very good thing if a new client, for whom you have never previously worked, wants to run up a huge amount of credit with you, when you have not yet tested out that client's invoice-paying ability?


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:10
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Yes, sure Nov 21, 2008

If he in the BB has average rating close to five and there are many entries.

Uldis

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
Do you honestly think it is a very good thing if a new client, for whom you have never previously worked, wants to run up a huge amount of credit with you, when you have not yet tested out that client's invoice-paying ability?


[Edited at 2008-11-21 22:11 GMT]


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:10
English to Slovak
+ ...
Please be realistic Nov 21, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:
I've seen a new client that likes what they see try to take as much capacity as they can in a short time. I'm sure there are plenty of others with similar experiences. A lot of stuff can happen in five days.


You get a job from a new client on Monday. You deliver it on Tuesday (if it's something short). I believe that they will have it proofread, or wait couple of days to see if there are any complaints from their client, before they shower you with SERIES of jobs worth thousands of dollars. You may get another job in the same week, but I would hardly call it "series of jobs worth thousands".

P.S. And my appology to the poster of this thread for straying from the original topic in the first place, but couldn't resist to object to such a nonsence.

[Edited at 2008-11-21 22:24 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-21 22:29 GMT]


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