A graded platinum membership fee
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Jan 31, 2006

This site is making a concerted drive for making more of its non-paying users to become paid members of the site. Several threads in the forums have focused on this issue and many members, as well as the site owners, have made known their views on this issue.

One puzzling thing that I noticed in the views expressed by many members is that they say that a paid membership makes full economic sense to them for it translates into more jobs for them.

The purpose of starting this thread is, first, to suggest that this statement is not universally true and may actually be true only for a handful of high-volume language pairs, and, second, to suggest a graded membership fee to correct the disparity in the volume of work available through the site in various language pairs.

In many language pairs, I would say most language pairs listed in proz.com, at the most one or two small volume jobs are posted in a month on an average. Even if a user/member lands all the jobs posted in a year, it would not add up to the annual fee of proz.com membership plus a decent profit.

Whereas, in some high-volume languages like Chinese-English, French-English, Spanish-English etc., several times more jobs of much higher volumes (word count wise) are posted. So a paying member operating in these language pairs is in a position to recoup his membership fee in a matter of a few weeks.

Doesn't this make charging the same membership fee from low-volume language pair translators and high-volume language pair translators a bit unfair?

One suggestion that I can think of to correct this is to have a graded membership fee structure based on the statistics available with the site, where the high-volume language pair translators have to pay a higher member-ship fee, while low-volume language pair translators have to pay a reduced membership fee.

A second possibility is to peg membership fee to the actual earnings of translators through the site. A small percentage of the fees received by the translators is deducted towards membership fees. This will be a more democratic and fairer arrangement in my view.

I am sure that if this kind of sensitivity can be built into the membership fee structure many more non-paying users would consider becoming paying members.

What do you think?


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member
English to Turkish
From a low-volume perspective Jan 31, 2006

Hi Balasubramaniam,

I work in a low-volume pair: English-Turkish, and my experience has been the opposite. I think your suggestion focuses too much on the bidding aspect of the jobs section. I've been generally unsuccesful in bidding, and this hasn't changed much ever since I've begun paying the membership fee. What has changed, on the other hand, is the amount of outsourcer contacts I get through my profile. And this is thanks to the visibility my high directory listing as a member provides. Don't forget that even if you are the Kudoz champion in your pair, your place in the directory is as favorable as the number of paying members before you allows. Therefore, given your qualifications and the observed level of activity, you'd be very likely to obtain many more contacts through your profile as a site member, even if your success ratio in biddings didn't change.

Best of luck to you!


[Edited at 2006-01-31 11:21]


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
German to English
Hard to imagine Jan 31, 2006

I have a hard time imagining that proz has any desire to try and police our incomes so as to set pricing. Nor that most of us have any desire to share that information. I certainly don't.

Besides, if bidding isn't of interest because you work in a low-volume pair, then wouldn't a partial platinum for the community functions serve as a cheaper, but equally productive, membership?


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Competitiveness Jan 31, 2006

Balasubramaniam wrote:
Whereas, in some high-volume languages like Chinese-English, French-English, Spanish-English etc., several times more jobs of much higher volumes (word count wise) are posted. So a paying member operating in these language pairs is in a position to recoup his membership fee in a matter of a few weeks.

What do you think?


Hi Balasubramaniam,

I have always thought the opposite. Only pairs with less-volume make money from Proz.com because these pairs you mention are so competitive that rates are absurd, so it is difficult (if not impossible) to get jobs with my rates. I know by experience

Best
Fred


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Concession for translators in less rich countries Jan 31, 2006

I personally would be happy to pay an annual membership fee of double the current amount in order to subsidize translators in less rich countries, so that they could pay half of the current amount.

Astrid


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Clients go directly to members Jan 31, 2006

I have bid for quite a lot of jobs and only ever managed to get one of them. (But it was a great client...)

Conversely, within a month of becoming a platinum member, I was offered a job directly by an agency that never seems to post jobs for bidding.

The first job paid for my year's membership, and now they call me so often, that I have to turn down about half of the jobs because I am already working for another of their PMs... Some of their deadlines are tight, but otherwise they are great to work for. I think that kind of client goes for platinum members because they come first in the directory.

I have had many offers made directly through my profile, some just to me, some with CC to other translators.

These clients often pay better than the ones who post jobs for bidding, or they ask me to quote a rate, which they may or may not accept, but my language pairs are generally expensive...

I have one major client and a few occasional ones who did not find me through this site, and the direct offers through my profile make a big difference.

The outsourcers who make direct offers almost always have very good BB ratings too. Some are just asking for long-term collaboration and my rates frighten them off, but I have enough who do pay to keep me very busy.

The situation for other languages may be different, but the 'invisible' market in my languages is generally far better than the jobs everyone can see and bid for.

With all the other benefits on the site, I think platinum membership is worth every cent.

Happy translating!


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Developing countries Jan 31, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I personally would be happy to pay an annual membership fee of double the current amount in order to subsidize translators in less rich countries, so that they could pay half of the current amount.

Astrid


Hi Astrid,

I have never understood why members from rich countries don't pay the fee. It should be an insignificant amount for them, since it is reasonable for me.

I certainly appreciate your attitude and I certainly would not be able to pay double as some other international organizations charge.

I believe the exchange from colleagues throughout the world is essential, and maybe some developing countries (not all) could be subsidized. I personally don't think this would be the case of Brazil since translation business is quite reasonable around here. But it would be great meeting colleagues from all countries.

Fred


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:51
German to English
+ ...
A graded platinum membership fee Jan 31, 2006

Fred Neild wrote:

I have never understood why members from rich countries don't pay the fee. It should be an insignificant amount for them, since it is reasonable for me.


Perhaps the reason has nothing to do with money.

Marc


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just curious Jan 31, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

Fred Neild wrote:

I have never understood why members from rich countries don't pay the fee. It should be an insignificant amount for them, since it is reasonable for me.


Perhaps the reason has nothing to do with money.

Marc


Hi Marc,

That´s obvious and that's why I have never understood it. Of course, I am talking about members that benefit from the site.

I am just curious and not trying to judge anyone since this is a personal option and we all come from different cultures with different points of view.

Fred


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:21
English to Hindi
+ ...
why blame ProZ? Jan 31, 2006

Balasubramaniam wrote:

This site is making a concerted drive for making more of its non-paying users to become paid members of the site. Several threads in the forums have focused on this issue and many members, as well as the site owners, have made known their views on this issue.

One puzzling thing that I noticed in the views expressed by many members is that they say that a paid membership makes full economic sense to them for it translates into more jobs for them.

The purpose of starting this thread is, first, to suggest that this statement is not universally true and may actually be true only for a handful of high-volume language pairs, and, second, to suggest a graded membership fee to correct the disparity in the volume of work available through the site in various language pairs.

In many language pairs, I would say most language pairs listed in proz.com, at the most one or two small volume jobs are posted in a month on an average. Even if a user/member lands all the jobs posted in a year, it would not add up to the annual fee of proz.com membership plus a decent profit.

Whereas, in some high-volume languages like Chinese-English, French-English, Spanish-English etc., several times more jobs of much higher volumes (word count wise) are posted. So a paying member operating in these language pairs is in a position to recoup his membership fee in a matter of a few weeks.

Doesn't this make charging the same membership fee from low-volume language pair translators and high-volume language pair translators a bit unfair?

One suggestion that I can think of to correct this is to have a graded membership fee structure based on the statistics available with the site, where the high-volume language pair translators have to pay a higher member-ship fee, while low-volume language pair translators have to pay a reduced membership fee.

A second possibility is to peg membership fee to the actual earnings of translators through the site. A small percentage of the fees received by the translators is deducted towards membership fees. This will be a more democratic and fairer arrangement in my view.

I am sure that if this kind of sensitivity can be built into the membership fee structure many more non-paying users would consider becoming paying members.

What do you think?


I don't think blaming ProZ is a very good idea. If you look at the money, US$100 for Platinum is Rs. 4500 [4500 Indian Rupees] or US$80 for Platinum with Browniz is Rs. 3600 for the entire year, which if you factor over the next 12 months is just about Rs. 400 or Rs. 300 [with Browniz] per month. That is an affordable expense in Indian Rupees as an investment for someone who would like to seek out business.

Yes, a priori, one can accept the argument of a reduced fee but to state that US$100 is an impossibly high sum if you are staying in India [I stay in New Delhi, perhaps where you stay too] is not a very sound argument.

More importantly, one needs to understand the following:

1. what is translation?
2. Who is a translator?
3. What does being a professional translator imply?
4. What kind of expertise is required?
5. What is constant upgradation?
5.1 What are the professional tools that we have?
5.2 How much do we invest in dictionaries?
6. How to sell oneself?
7. What is self-appraisal?
8. How and where to pitch oneself in front of clients?

These are very important questions. I know that in countries like my own, India, and in few other countries of the world, such as The Philippines, bilingualism 'prevails' in society and there is the added temptation of selling oneself as a translator for the extra money it gets. Yes, everyone has a right to earn more. But everyone should also know where they stand and how they should improve. This is important for me, for you, and for all of us. The problem arises when people who normally speak two languages in big Indian cities think they are able translators. They will then mess up somewhere and spoil a reputation.

The problem with Western companies is that once they experience lack of professionalism, they are unlikely to come back. This is also true of good professional Indian companies as well.

So, if you really think that the revenue is not sufficient enough to pay Rs. 4500 per year, then you should do a serious rethink on the issues raised above and you should think of some intelligent marketing. And then you can consider the membership. Actually, sometimes, it may not be a bad idea to take the membership to *see* if it will help you.

Roomy

[Edited at 2006-01-31 18:49]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:21
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all of you Feb 1, 2006

Your responses have been very enlightening and useful. I have learnt several new things from this thread:

1. That the browniz discount scheme reduces the membership fee substantially;

2. That the real advantage of membership is in getting a more prominent place in the member list rather than in the jobs that are posted for bidding.

Xola has been kind enough to loan browniz points to me to get the discounted membership fee. My heartfelt thanks to her.

I have been considering a regualar membership for quite sometime now but have been sitting on the fence. This thread has convinced me to take the plunge.

Roomy Naqvi has some sound advice for me too, for which I thank him whole-heartedly. Becoming a member to *see* if it helps also makes a lot of sense.

By the way Roomy, I am from Ahmedabad, though I have lived in Delhi for a few years during my college days. My parents still live there and I visit Delhi quite regularly.

Thank you all once again, for taking the time to explain things to me regarding the advantages of a membership.


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:21
English to Hindi
+ ...
Another reason for membership... Feb 2, 2006

I have been a ProZ member since 2000 or so and I have been a paid member since 2001 or so. Its been a long time. I used to think of proz membership as my way of supporting the site, which is not a professional reason; it sounds personal but then after some time, you seem to realise that you do get business and it becomes professional.

Enjoy!

Roomy


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