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Is Proz too big?
Thread poster: Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:57
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 20, 2006

I wonder if there there should not be a limit on membership. It seems like hundreds of translators join every day...but we as freelancers suffer...eventially this will turn into Monster.com...where competition is so bad that the chances of an interview are like equivalent to winning the state lottery!

I'm delighted for Proz and their success. Just wonder if there is a ceiling or more stratification planned?


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 11:57
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
The key word is cooperation Mar 20, 2006

Sally Quinn wrote:

I wonder if there there should not be a limit on membership. It seems like hundreds of translators join every day...but we as freelancers suffer...eventially this will turn into Monster.com...where competition is so bad that the chances of an interview are like equivalent to winning the state lottery!

I'm delighted for Proz and their success. Just wonder if there is a ceiling or more stratification planned?



Hi Sally,

I can see this is your first posting, so I am glad to welcome you to the ProZ.com forums, a very lively neighborhoud of the site.

About your concerns on ProZ.com's size, I believe that the key word here is not competition but cooperation. The competition is out there anyway, with or without the site, but we gather here to cooperate. We do so for instance in terminology (KudoZ) and in networking (forums, powwows, etc). And in my experience this networking and cooperation are also great for getting jobs.

Besides, the fees paid by the site members allow ProZ.com to keep growing and adding new features for an even better membership experience. And there are not so many members joining every day...

So the more of us, the better.

Regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


[Edited at 2006-03-20 04:42]


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telefpro
Local time: 20:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It should grow Mar 20, 2006

I like Proz.com because I get help from other colleagues and I too help them. There is no other site that is so active as Proz.com.
One should not look at it as a job source alone, for it is very difficult to compete with rates in this huge database of translators. The competition is fierce, something that I have never seen before. I appreciate the paying members - for they have shelled out money.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:57
Flemish to English
+ ...
Urban jungle Mar 20, 2006

Sites like these are great resources of information and a way to get to know people.
The downside is that suddenly everybody turns translator overnight for various reasons.
Before the era of the net, who became a translator? Right, those people who went to a T&I-school, some engineers, people with a legal training and that was about it.
Mind you, people on this site come and go, so that the +100000 actually is about 30.000?



[Edited at 2006-03-20 09:22]


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:57
English to Hungarian
+ ...
ProZ.com is not only about jobs: it's about cooperation Mar 20, 2006

The world is full of translators, translation agencies - and, yes: jobs.

But this here is a community, where we can cooperate, learn from each other, look up or ask for help with words and expressions and also: have fun. So, actually, the more we grow, the better is for all of us.

This is not a club of the élite: this is a community of hard workers.

Welcome of board


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:57
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sure, let's do the stratification Mar 20, 2006

Sally Quinn wrote:
I wonder if there there should not be a limit on membership. I'm delighted for Proz and their success. Just wonder if there is a ceiling or more stratification planned?


Let's delete all the profiles after 100,000 - including you, Sally. I just wonder if the subject deserves any discussing at all... Silly.


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 14:57
German to English
+ ...
Easy solution Mar 20, 2006

Don't allow anyone without a verified postgraduate translation qualification, or several years verified experience, to register as a platinum member.

This is the way things are going in the EU to keep the cowboys out of the market.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
German to English
+ ...
Is Proz too big? Mar 20, 2006

James Visanji DipTrans PhD wrote:

Don't allow anyone without a verified postgraduate translation qualification, or several years verified experience, to register as a platinum member.


You are jesting, aren't you James?

Marc


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Aliseo Japan  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:57
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Yes, you are certainly jesting! Mar 20, 2006

James Visanji DipTrans PhD wrote:
Don't allow anyone without a verified postgraduate translation qualification, or several years verified experience, to register as a platinum member.

Every day, try to give a look at the KudoZ section and see what questions *some* graduate and postgraduate translators dare to post. You will be surprised.


This is the way things are going in the EU to keep the cowboys out of the market.

If according to the EU assessment rules I am a cowboy only beacuse I never studied translations at school/university, you should know that I am a very successful translator thanks to many, many years of *real world experience*. EU is just a burocracy power-house. Elsewhere translators are evaluated for what they *know* and not for what they *studied* only.

Mario Cerutti
http://www.aliseo.com

[Edited at 2006-03-20 10:42]


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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:57
English to Hungarian
+ ...
James: come on! Mar 20, 2006

Hopefully you actually are jesting, at any rate: think it over: what about cowboys with several years of verified experience? I know some of them...

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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:57
Spanish to English
Is Proz too big...for what? Mar 20, 2006

Sally Quinn wrote:

I wonder if there there should not be a limit on membership. It seems like hundreds of translators join every day..........
I'm delighted for Proz and their success. Just wonder if there is a ceiling or more stratification planned?....



This is a difficult question to answer, as I don't know how to find the number of members (basic and/or paying) registered with the site. The world is ever-shrinking with internet access and communication. As for competition, if an agency wants the cheapest job, they can find a translator in say India or Argentina who can work for a lot less than say someone in Germany (cost of living indices). I live in Spain and recently received a job from and agency, in Australia, to translate a patent, from Spain. This may have been due to another reason. In my limited experience, I have rarely had quotes accepted by agencies, or clients in the USA, but very often receive jobs from all over Europe. Perhaps a USA and a European section might be the answer. There are several other sites for translators in Europe, and the only differences I can see are, access to looking at jobs (almost all are restricted to paying members) and the speed of response to a translation question which (in my humble opinion) are probably two of the most important assets of proz.com. Although recently I have noted that Proz is appears to be restricting job access (i.e. only available to paying members. It seems that if you pay, you are more likely to be more professional) more than before.
Maybe if you asked how many "members" accessed and used proz regularly (define regularly) you may get a more realistic view.


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 14:57
German to English
+ ...
Not entirely Mar 20, 2006

Marc, note I use "or", not "and" (qualification or experience). If you don't like this suggestion for Proz, why would you defend it when applied by some of the other organisations of which you are a member? Remember, both of them use "and", not "or". One of them has such a stringent experience requirement that it will be a cold day in hell before I can join.

Mario, nothing would surprise me, even of experienced and qualified translators. I note most of the dumb questions I see are by translators working in pairs they shouldn't be working in (especially between two foreign languges). Again, note I used the word "or", as does the proposed European standard - in recognition of the fact that it can be difficult getting qualifications in some pairs, and many translators started long before qualifications were an issue. It would be stupid to make all those people do tests now. Anyone who has, like you, been practising for many years and making a living at it is unlikely to be a "cowboy".

Eva, could you email me with an example of a cowboy with several years experience? Actually don't bother, I can think of one. I suspect they are in a small minority, although admittedly anyone determined enough can stay in the business even if they are a cowboy. In any case, these people are less of a problem (volume-wise) for the market than the bottomless pit of insta-translators who know a bit of a foreign language, give it a try without any training and undercut the rest of us by 50% or more to get business.

[Edited at 2006-03-20 10:32]


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:57
Member
English to Turkish
Which ProZ? Mar 20, 2006


Sally Quinn wrote:

Is Proz too big?


French to English ProZ? Yes, it seems so.
English to Turkish ProZ? No, it is not. No need to delete profiles!


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:57
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Free market Mar 20, 2006

James Visanji DipTrans PhD wrote:


James, I can't believe you are serious. Everything depends!
I know great translators with 1-2 year experience - and no membership or special training at all. From the other hand, I see people with 20+ year of experience - and with a a set of legal certificates and memberships who don't deserve 1 cent per word.

The solution is really easy: let it be the free market, let's rely on the `survival of the fittest' law - and forget everything else.

And, of course, no limitations on joining ProZ. Those who can't stand the competition, they will drop out automatically, and it happens in real life, so I don't see any reasons to worry about it or to institute any limits. It's a self-regulating business, and it will be self-regulating whether you like it or not. Remember Darwin - and give everyone their chance!

My opinion is that not allowing someone to join ProZ or to try become a translator is utterly arrogant. Really.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:57
German to English
Not serious, not true Mar 20, 2006

James Visanji DipTrans PhD wrote:
Don't allow anyone without a verified postgraduate translation qualification, or several years verified experience, to register as a platinum member.

This is the way things are going in the EU to keep the cowboys out of the market.


The suggestion is not serious, because there is not a shred of objective evidence to suggest that a postgraduate translation qualification equates in any way to several years of verified experience, or vice-versa. This is the sort of argument that is frequently advanced by people who have such a qualification as some sort of justification for their professional existence, but it really doesn't hold any water at all. And when you look at the sort of postgrad qualifications being offered in the UK today, it's difficult not to laugh (rather hysterically). 40 hours of classroom translating from the first foreign language over an entire academic year seem to be not uncommon nowadays. 40 hours!!!

I see no evidence whatsoever of any "way things are going in the EU to keep the cowboys out of the market". After all, we're talking about an entirely unregulated market that's open to global competition. And if by "EU" you mean the EU institutions, a look at the increasingly abysmal quality of translations published by these institutions shows that cost is the main driver here, not translation quality.

Nice try, though.

Robin


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