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 »  Articles Overview  »  ProZ.com Site Features  »  ProZ.com overview and action plan (#1 of 8): Sourcing (ie. jobs / directory)

ProZ.com overview and action plan (#1 of 8): Sourcing (ie. jobs / directory)

By Henry Dotterer | Published  10/3/2006 | ProZ.com Site Features | Recommendation:
Contact the author
Quicklink: http://www.proz.com/doc/956
Author:
Henry Dotterer
United States
English to Croatian translator
 
View all articles by Henry Dotterer

See this author's ProZ.com profile
Note: This is the first in a series of articles in which areas of ProZ.com will be discussed. Each article in the series includes an overview of current status and future plans for one aspect of the site. The series of articles is provided to give ProZ.com members a birds-eye view of the current status and approaches, and future plans, for various areas of the site.

All members are invited to read and consider the content of these articles. Your feedback is invited using the online support system. By reading the series, you can position yourself to contribute--by way of your feedback and suggestions--to the continued advancement of our collaborative community. So thank you in advance for your time in reading and considering this document.

For an overview of all overviews/plans in the series, see this forum post: http://www.proz.com/topic/57466


ProZ.com's Matching / Sourcing (ie. Jobs) Systems:
Overview and Action Plan




1. Overview
1.1 Purpose
1.2 Terminology
1.3 How matching works at ProZ.com
A. Profiles (i.e. via directory and search engines)
B. Postings
C. Networking
1.4 Marketing tools provided
1.5 Advantages to members
1.6 Administrative and moderator oversight of the matching systems
1.7 Strategies for success in using the ProZ.com matching systems
1.8 Areas that have been identified for improvement
1.9 Misconceptions
1.10 Outsourcers using ProZ.com and volume of matching

2. Objectives and plans
2.1 Primary objectives
Goal 1: To generate more opportunities for members to establish new relationships with desirable clients.

Goal 2: To provide outsourcers with a more efficient means than is currently available of rapidly locating and engaging the most suitable professional(s) for a given project.

Goal 3. To further encourage and reward professionalism on the part of both outsourcers and service providers.
2.2 Secondary objectives
2.3 Actions planned
2.4 Actions previously considered and declined
3. Invitation for feedback



1. Overview of ProZ.com's Matching / Sourcing Systems


1.1 Purpose

ProZ.com provides matching systems in connection with its mission of providing tools and opportunities for translation industry professionals to network, expand their businesses, do better work and have more fun.


1.2 Terminology

Internally, ProZ.com staff members sometimes refer to the job posting and directory areas of the site as parts of the site's matching or sourcing systems. This terminology reflects the fact that what can be found via the site are not one-off "jobs", but rather, opportunities to meet new clients, or conversely for clients, opportunities to meet new service providers with whom they may work on an ongoing basis.

Each job / projects passed via the site is seen as providing an opportunity for site users to initiate relationships. Having met via ProZ.com, parties are free to work directly thereafter for any number of projects. In other words, the ProZ.com job posting systems, the directories (and to some extent, profiles, the Blue Board and other areas), are provided as tools for site users--translators, interpreters and outsourcers--to use in meeting counterparts and initiating long-term, mutually beneficial working relationships.

The term outsourcer is one used broadly to refer to any company or individual that requires the services of translators and interpreters, including language agencies/companies, end clients and in some cases, even fellow translators.


1.3 How matching works at ProZ.com

There are three basic ways in which outsourcers meet service providers (and vice versa) at ProZ.com: (A) via profile pages (accessed via search engines or directory searches), (B) via job postings, and (C) through networking.

No matter in which of these ways matching occurs, direct contact is facilitated between parties, with no fees charged for the transaction. In all cases, after initial projects are carried out, working relationships may form and last for years.

Here is a description of each type of matching...
A. Profiles (i.e. via directory, search engines and direct by URL)

The most common way that clients and service providers meet at ProZ.com is via profile pages. Clients arrive at profile pages either via the ProZ.com directories (or another area of the site), or by entering translation-related keywords into search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN. Once at a profile, a client is able to contact the owner and establish a direct working relationship.

Each registered user of ProZ.com is given a personal profile page. An editing page is provided to make it easy for a translator to enter such information as services offered, working language pairs, native language, rates, fields of expertise, physical location, etc. Site users are encouraged to fill in profiles carefully and completely, in a way that highlights their unique specializations (i.e. skills and areas of expertise.) In addition to the data that is entered by profile owners, information is displayed in profiles concerning site activities such as KudoZ points earned, forum posts made, etc.

For profile owners, a means is provided for tracking visitor origination (site and search keywords or parameters), geographical location, click activity on the profile page, etc. This information proves useful for profile owners in optimizing their marketing material and approaches.

The ProZ.com directories--of which there are four types: translator, interpreter, team and company--all lead finally to profile pages. The parameters that can be searched in the directories correspond to the data fields in the profiles. (When a directory search leads a visitor to a member's profile page, the owner of the profile page is able to see which search parameters were used. A guide is also available on "Improving Your Directory Listing").

The directories are not the only way to get to profiles. ProZ.com has been structured in such a way that links from virtually every site area--the home page, KudoZ and KudoZ archives, the directories, personal glossaries, Glosspost, the forums, the articles knowledgebase, etc.--point to profile pages. As a result, visitors to any part of ProZ.com may arrive at profile pages, and search engines such as Google and Yahoo index profile pages frequently. This explains why a considerable amount of traffic goes directly from search engines to the profile pages of site users. For example, searching Google for such phrases as "consecutive interpreter paris" or "quality romanian freelance translators" often results in a direct link to a ProZ.com translator's profile.

Having arrived at profile pages, outsourcers are able to review the data contained in the profile and if interested, send an email to the profile owner. This sort of message is typical: "We have a medical job of 7,000 words due next Thursday. Will you be available?" When the message is sent, the outsourcer is obliged to divulge his/her email so that the translator or interpreter can reply directly without going via the site.

ProZ.com is the leading portal in the translation industry, and because it has the highest Google ranking among human translation sites, profile pages inherit ProZ.com's high ranking.

To get to profile pages, outsourcers come either via the ProZ.com directories or straight from search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Once they have arrived at a profile page, outsourcers are able to contact the profile owners directly. From that point, i.e. the point at which the two parties meet, communications between outsourcer and service provider become a private matter, usually conducted directly between the two parties by email.

There is another way that clients get to profile pages: by direct link / URL. Each profile page has a distinct URL (i.e. web address / link). By including this link on marketing materials or in applications direct to clients, ProZ.com site users are able to call upon the marketing information and materials contained in their profiles.

Outsourcers tend to use the directories when they have a project in hand and know exactly the type of professional they are looking for. Clients met via the directory tend to be relatively desirable.

B. Job postings

After profiles, the next most common way that matching occurs at ProZ.com is through the public job posting system. Outsourcers post descriptions of their needs, the details become public and notifications are sent out by email to those who may be interested. Depending on the preference of the outsourcer, interested parties may express their interest either via the site or directly by email of other means.

Certain contact information is required from job posters, including company name, contact person name, physical address and other details. Although having this information on file is mandatory, the poster is given the option of whether or not to display each item publicly.

Job posters are asked to enter a significant amount of information about their projects. Conversely, those subscribing to job postings are given a means of specifying exactly the types of projects they do. Posting information is matched automatically against service information of site users, so that notification is only sent to parties who may be interested.

In late 2006, in connection with Project Connect, a new class of job posting was created: premium job postings. These are distinguished by the fact that in addition to having paid for the right to post a job marked as “premium”, the outsourcer will be operating under the understanding that the work referenced in a premium post will be compensated at rates that are at or above the rates that are average for the community. (This concept is still taking shape, but a number of the industry's top clients are already on-board a new platform created for the purpose.)

C. Networking

In addition to the directory, profile pages and job posting system, there are other ways that matching occurs at ProZ.com. These additional ways can be grouped under the concept of "networking".

It is not uncommon for relationships that begin in the KudoZ and Blue Board areas of the site, or even the forums or other areas, to lead to outsourcer/service provider interactions. This is something intended and encouraged in the design of the platform. Almost all new features are developed in such a way that those who contribute benefit from exposure, promotion and networking that result from their participation. For example, the articles knowledgebase has been arranged in such a way that article authors are credited, that their articles are indexed by Google, and that others with an interest in the topic may contact them directly. In ways like this, channels have been created for both client and colleague flow to contributors' profiles.

Another way in which clients and service providers meet is by way of colleagues. Once a group of KudoZ contributors, for example, establish rapport and mutual respect, it becomes natural for work overflows to be shared. Often, teams are formed gradually, with members ultimately coordinating efforts in marketing or quoting. By joining forces, members of teams benefit from an enhanced capacity to take on high volume and complex work. They also create a buffer for each other, thereby smoothing out the boom and bust cycles that plague solitary freelancers.

ProZ.com events--conferences and powwows--also provide excellent opportunities for networking. Among attendees of ProZ.com's fourth international conference, held in Buenos Aires in 2006, over 90% of survey respondents reported meeting at least one new person with whom they would or might work.


1.4 Marketing tools provided

A number of marketing and risk management tools are provided for optional use in enhancing efforts to connect with clients, or service providers, via ProZ.com. Among these are the profiles themselves, and within them, such features as project histories, the portfolio (i.e. sample translations), search engine optimization tools, etc., directory text ads, and more. Profiles and the marketing tools in them will be discussed in detail in an overview / action plan dedicated to profiles.

Another thing that ProZ.com makes available for members to use in marketing is hosting. Paying members can build their own websites and have them hosted, at their own domains, at no additional charge. Some members report that their own websites have become valuable channels for meeting new clients.

There are also features for service providers to collect "willingness to work again" (WWA) comments from previous clients, and to leave "likelihood of working again" (LWA) comments for outsourcers for whom they have previously worked. These systems provide both a tool for marketing and a source of reference for managing risk in forming new business relationships. WWA and LWA will also be covered in a dedicated overview / action plan.

There are also tools and information that are provided for member use in making pricing decisions. Aggregate rate information is provided to job posters who specific rates below community average. For translators, a rates calculator helps remind one of the things to consider when setting rates.


1.5 Advantages to paying members

Both paying and non-paying site users are able to meet clients via ProZ.com. However, paying members are provided with enhanced exposure and preferential access throughout the site's matching systems, and as a result, meet clients four times more frequently than non-paying site users.

For example, in the directory, when a client performs a search, two sets of results are produced. The first set of results is made up of paying members, and naturally, this list is the one that receives most client attention. (The second set is made up of non-paying registrants. Both sets are sorted by KudoZ points, browniz points and years at ProZ.com, or alternatively, another field that the outsourcer selects.)

In job postings, outsourcers are given the option of requiring site membership among the criteria for quoting. If they choose to require this, non-members are not informed and not eligible to express interest via the site.

Also, even when a client does not specify a preference for members, quotes are shown in two sets, the first set being made up of quotes from paying members. Because clients tend to give more attention to quotes shown earlier, the chances of a member being selected for a posted job are significantly enhanced.

As for networking, paying members are provided with more links from more places throughout the site. Also, because their profiles are listed preferentially, they tend to obtain higher "page ranks" from Google, etc., thereby leading to more direct traffic from search engines. In this and other ways (free hosting, ability to track sources of traffic and keywords searched, etc.), members gain advantages that result in their meeting clients at a rate of four times that of non-member users of the site (as reported in surveys.)

(Surveys also indicate that 43% of members realize a return on their membership investment within the first 3 months of joining--usually after meeting just one client. Within their first year, 86% realize a return, with half of the remaining 14% using the site only to outsource. Overall satisfaction is around 94% among members.)


1.6 Administrative and moderator oversight of the matching systems

The ProZ.com site is a workplace, a venue, and the primary goal of administrative and moderator activity in ProZ.com's matching systems is to ensure that the tools in the platform are being used for their intended purposes. While this is the case no attempt is made to intervene or interfere in the business dealings of site users. (This and other site philosophies are explained in the article Sixteen cornerstones of ProZ.com.)

All jobs posted in the site must follow the site rules, both the general ones and the ones related to jobs. In particular:

The jobs posted must be of interest to language professionals and they must involve paid work. “Potential jobs” are allowed in a limited way.

Jobs postings must include all relevant contact information (even though some of this information may be hidden to the public) and they can't be posted on behalf of third parties.

It is the responsibility of the job poster to respect confidentiality and the laws of relevant jurisdiction(s).

Job postings can't contain objectionable content, nor any extraneous commentary related to rates or payment.

Payment commitments must be upheld. ProZ.com’s policy on non-payment reports states that after receiving two complaints from unrelated sources regarding a single outsourcer, a warning will be issued to the outsourcer, and upon receipt of a third complaint, the site staff may choose to suspend or revoke the participation of the outsourcer in the site.

Responses to jobs postings should be based upon interest in the work and they should respect the poster contact instructions

As it is the case in other areas of the site, a subset of the site moderators (known as "jobs moderators”) work on the guidance and enforcement aspects of the site rules. For instance postings that are not actually jobs--such as attempts to send out Cvs/resumes--are not approved. However, no judgment is passed on the desirability of the jobs being posted.

When the posted jobs contain information that is incomplete or obviously bad (Ex. "name: asdf"), jobs moderators intervene to contact posters and encourage them to complete their data. They will also clarify when there are discrepancies in IP addresses, etc.

To facilitate the consistent and transparent implementation over time of their goal of interpreting and enforcing guidelines, the jobs moderators work together in a "jobs team" within written guidelines, and they coordinate efforts closely.

In order to achieve a reasonable trade-off between the moderators' oversight of the posted jobs and the delay between their posting and their availability to our members, a common-sense approach has been implemented, where some postings require moderators approval and others are published immediately. This classification is based on objective criteria and data and take into account previous posting history and Blue Board rating of the poster.


1.7 Strategies for success in using the ProZ.com matching systems

Several strategies have been developed for success in using the ProZ.com matching systems, and they are documented in ProZ.com's technical articles section and in several of the site forums.

To provide a short summary here, it is important to have in mind that what ProZ.com provides are tools and opportunities. It is left to the individual user to take advantage of those opportunities. To get the most out of ProZ.com, it is recommended that you:

- Join as a member, as all ProZ.com's features are designed to maximize their usefulness for the site members who pay for them. Surveys show that site members are four times more likely to meet clients in the site than non-members, and most report a positive return on their membership investment.

- Invest time in completing your profile. Your profile is your way of introducing yourself to colleagues, and it is your main marketing tool within the site. Having complete information, including all of the information against which a client may search (years of experience, etc.), will make it easier for the right clients to find you. Having a complete profile is easier now thanks to the new quick profile updater.

- Specialize. Those who specialize at ProZ.com tend to meet clients more frequently and earn higher returns.

- Participate in the site to be known and improve the rating of your profile. Answer KudoZ, not to get the most points but to provide great answers that will show your expertise and specialization. Write a technical article. Participate in the site forums to network and to show your qualities and skills. Take part in events such as powwows and conferences for face-to-face marketing.

To get a deeper understanding of these strategies please refer to the specialized forums and to the section of technical articles, and in particular:

- Getting the most out of ProZ.com: A guide for translators and interpreters

- To win jobs online--specialize!

- Five easy (and free) ways to boost your profile traffic

- How to improve your listing in the freelancer directory


1.8 Areas that have been identified for improvement

More information available for outsourcers and translators

It is in the interest of all parties to a business arrangement to have as much information as possible to make informed decisions before starting work with new counterparts. We will continue to provide tools for all parties to enter and optionally share information with potential counterparts.


Quality of opportunities / Outsourcer ease of use

We believe there is significant potential to both: (1) bring more of the most desirable job opportunities to our translator members, and (2) make it easier for qualified clients to source the professionals most likely to meet their qualifications, quickly and efficiently.

Project Connect is the program formed to do this. It began in June, 2006, and began to show results at the end of that year.


More closure of postings

Language service professionals who work to provide quotes to jobs posted in the site would appreciate getting more feedback from the corresponding outsourcers, at least a notification when their quotes have been rejected.


Home page exposure for the translator directory

Since profiles are the main vehicle through which jobs are passed in the site, it makes sense to make the directory search feature more prominent in the site, as suggested by our community in the “Let's improve ProZ.com” thread.


Problem of undesirable postings affecting perceptions

Although most job postings represent legitimate projects that are of interest to at least some site users, the 'open call' format has also in some cases been used by outsourcers offering projects under conditions that are not considered desirable by most site users (even if they are desirable to some). Various filters, including filters based on rates, have been provided to help ensure that site users are not inconvenienced by job postings that are not of interest to them. However, these have not proved adequate to address the situation, and over time, a significant number of site users have more or less tuned out job notices. This is a problem, because desirable opportunities are sometimes lost in the shuffle, to the extent that some postings get no quotes, although there are suitable candidates in the community.

(Project Connect is addressing this problem as well.)



1.9 Misconceptions

Misconception: The most common way that clients and translators meet at ProZ.com is via job postings.

Fact: Most “matching” happens via profiles. Outsourcers reach and select profiles by searching the directory or via a web search (at Google, etc.). (In both cases, site members with complete profiles are at an advantage.)


Misconception: Posters tend to work with the translators who quote the lowest rates. (Or: “Meeting clients via ProZ.com requires that I reduce my rates.”)

Fact: Those quoting the lowest rates in response to job postings, or displaying very low rates in their profiles, are usually not selected by established clients. Some site users have reported an increase in business as a result of bring their rates from levels that were too low.

The winning strategy for growing your business via ProZ.com is to use the site to boost your client flow, and accept work only from clients who pay rates as high or better than those you require to realize your desired standard of living. The rates calculator can be used to make this calculation: http://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc

Most members report that since they have found ProZ.com, their income has risen. In a a recent poll on this issue (past polls are visible only to members) 96% said that their rates had gone up or stayed about the same in the previous 12 months.


Misconception: High paying clients do not use ProZ.com to find translators.

Fact: Most of the top language companies, and a number of large and demanding end clients, use ProZ.com as their first resource for finding new language professionals. When a project demands top professionals, or specialists, these companies are willing and able to pay accordingly. (See a list of such clients in the next section.)


Misconception: Becoming a (paying) member does not help one to meet new clients.

Fact: As explained above, although a non-member may feel that s/he is able to do anything on the site, the platform has been structured in such a way that clear and significant advantages are given to paying members. Members meet new clients at approximately four times the rate of non-paying site users.


Misconception: Using ProZ.com to find translators would mean setting aside your own qualification procedures.

Fact: ProZ.com provides a place for outsourcers to source candidates. When sourcing linguists, ProZ.com provides a superior alternative to placing job ads in newspapers or going to trade shows and collecting CVs / resumes. Having sourced candidates, outsourcers apply their usual qualification procedures.


Misconception: Becoming a member of ProZ.com will be enough to launch my freelance career.

Fact: The average member meets a new client via ProZ.com every three months or so. Unless you are meeting clients at a rate significantly above the average, it can take a year or two to fill out your schedule.

In any case, if your goal is to build a freelance business quickly, ProZ.com should be just one channel of several that you use. You may also want to have your own website, do pro-active marketing, join local translator associations and non-industry organizations, and otherwise market yourself to build client flow.


Misconception: Jobs posted at ProZ.com involve auctions, which drive down rates.

Fact: There are no auctions at ProZ.com. Just communication, the kind that is seen among parties that meet via a telephone directory, a professional association or any other means. It is left to job posters whether or not to include (or require) budgetary information and it is left to those quoting to decide whether or not to include rates information in their quotes. All negotiations are left between poster and quoter, their direct contact is enabled, and in no way does the site structure dictate any terms of negotiation.


1.10 Outsourcers using ProZ.com and volume of matching

ProZ.com is the leading portal in the translation industry, and a great deal of matching occurs via the site.

Among those who used ProZ.com in 2005 to locate translator candidates are language companies Bowne Global Solution, CLS Communication, Lionbridge, SDL International and Webster's Online Dictionary, end clients HP, eBay, Manpower, the European Central Bank, Google, Interwoven, JPMorgan Chase, Korean Air, Cisco, Novartis, Vodaphone, and organizations Human Rights Watch, Catholic Relief Services and the United Nations.

Surveys indicate that the average member meets a new client via ProZ.com once every three months or so. The total value of initial projects (i.e. the first project done together by an outsourcer and service provider who have met via ProZ.com) performed in 2005 via ProZ.com is estimated to be approximately USD 60m.


2. Objectives and plans

2.1 Primary objectives

Our top three short-term objectives related to the matching/sourcing systems are:



Goal 1: To generate more opportunities for members to establish new relationships with desirable clients.

What ProZ.com members request most from the site are more opportunities to meet top clients. Therefore, the top priority for site staff members is delivering this.

This objective is being pursued in a number of ways, but the most significant is an initiative called Project Connect, which began in June. In a nutshell, Project Connect is a program to further market the services of ProZ.com members to the world's top language companies and end clients. Several posts have been made on the program. Links to postings about Project Connect (with excerpts):

  • Introducing Project Connect: A ProZ.com program to market your services to top clients.

    Excerpt: Part of what you get as a member of ProZ.com is a group of people (the site staff) dedicated to helping you market your translation services.

    Now, thanks to your membership investments, we are able to take our marketing of your services to a new level. We have initiated a program to bring your services to the most desirable language companies and end clients around the world...
    [more]

  • Project Connect, part 2: Design and PR

    Excerpt: We have recently published a press release [on ProZ.com's top-5000 traffic rank]. This is the first in a series of releases...

    We have hired a design firm to create a new look-and-feel that appeals to outsourcers, and a navigational scheme that is easier to use (for our new outsourcer platform)...
    [more]

  • Project Connect, part 3: Premium job postings beginning to appear

    Excerpt: ... we have created a category of job postings called "premium" job postings. What distinguishes these are... * the client meets a certain standard of desirability... * the client has paid for the right to post the premium job...

    The first premium job has just been posted today. [But] expect a
    gradual process...
    [more]

  • Project Connect, part 4: Members invited to update profiles

    Excerpt: We published a press release on Mike Kidd (formerly of SDL Trados) having joined to lead Project Connect... we [also] identified the significance of the problem of incomplete profiles [and] created a quick profile updater [to address the problem]...

    We will be exhibiting Project Connect / ProZ.com for Employers to clients at the upcoming Localization World in Montreal...
    [more]

[Note: Of the posts above, the third in the series attracted the most questions and may therefore be the most informative one to read.]

As part of Project Connect, we recently called for members to use the quick profile updater to make sure their profiles were complete. The response was exceptional. It was clear that even those who are not currently looking for new clients paused to help make Project Connect a success also for others. It is this collaborative spirit that bodes well for the success of the initiative.

We believe in the principles of Project Connect and we feel strongly that this program could contribute not only to an increase in the number of opportunities that our members have to establish working relationships with highly desirable clients, but also to a heightening of the level of professionalism on the workplace overall. For example, by introducing a two-tiered structure involving both "standard" and "premium" posts, we present an opportunity to exercise some "editorial control" over what gets called premium, without sacrificing our principle of allowing our members to run their businesses as they see fit. For example, one criteria of a premium job posting may be that the rates offered must be as high as or higher than the average rate of our community. With standards such as these applied to the job posting system, both outsourcers and translators / interpreters stand to gain; translators, because they can subscribe to job notices that they know at least meet a certain standard, and outsourcers, because their desirable postings will get more of the attention they deserve (rather than being drowned out by other postings, or being ignored by translators who have tuned out job postings completely because of past undesirable postings.)

This may sound good in principle, but the question remains: "Will it work?" We don't know the answer yet. However, it is encouraging that already a few members have benefited from Project Connect.

We will continue to monitor progress carefully. Because we are investing a significant portion of our resources on the program, we will need to periodically take stock of the program and make changes if they are warranted. If it is not clear that the program is paying dividends to our membership by next June, i.e. after a year of trying, we are likely to scale back the program and pursue alternative initiatives.

In the meantime, we are focusing our energies in Project Connect. It is important to understand that due to the resources required by Project Connect, we are forced to be selective in choosing other matching-related activities.

We will keep you updated as the program progresses, and will periodically be asking for your support. We'll need your help to make this a success!



Goal 2: To provide outsourcers with a more efficient means than is currently available of rapidly locating and engaging the most suitable professional(s) for a given project.

This goal goes hand-in-hand with goal 1 above. By providing outsourcers with a more effective platform for their sourcing, a more complete database, and a more attractive and intuitive interface, we increase our capacity to attract top clients who will then avail themselves of member services.

As noted above, we have hired a design firm, and have begun to prototype a new platform that represents a better way to source language professionals than is currently available. We are not disclosing the details of this platform publicly. It is being tested and improved by an internal group of top outsourcers.



Goal 3. To further encourage and reward professionalism on the part of both outsourcers and service providers.

We believe that there are a number of structural ways in which professionalism on the part of outsourcers and service providers could be encouraged and rewarded. We intend to implement mechanisms that will encourage more closure on projects passed (in the form of feedback to those not selected, etc.), that will discourage unprofessional quoting / solicitation, etc.



2.2 Secondary objectives

Among a second tier of objectives for the ProZ.com matching systems are the following:
1. To make available more information for reference by members when "matching" via ProZ.com

Among the types of information that we intend to make available to parties who engage in "matching" at ProZ.com are industry supply and demand data, demographics of the industry, rates charged, demand by language, field and role, services offered, etc. We will make this information available only in aggregate, and always within guidelines of our privacy policy.

We also will collect current and additional articles on such topics as "How to hire a translator/interpreter", etc. and link to them from appropriate matching areas.

2. To continue to enhance the array of marketing tools available to translators.

Among the marketing tools available to ProZ.com users are profiles (including project histories, WWA, portfolios, etc.), hosting and more. We will investigate (with moderators and members) the possibility of adding additional tools, always for optional use, such as the voluntary “Code of Conduct” that has been suggested previously in the forums. (“Code of Conduct” goes beyond pure marketing, and would contribute to primary objective #3 above.)

3. To provide a responsible means for offering services to agencies for future (not current) opportunities

Until recently, ProZ.com had not provided members with a means of promoting themselves actively to outsourcers, other than when outsourcers initiate searches. We anticipate expanding upon our Blue Board “applications” system, which offers a responsible means of active self-promotion. In this system, desirable outsourcers with ongoing needs are able to set parameters for professionals they seek on an ongoing basis, and translators and interpreters whose profiles match those filters are able, upon visiting the Blue Board records of those outsourcers, to express interest in establishing relationships.

4. Provide additional tools for parties to use in streamlining initial transactions.

It has been suggested that contracts templates, voluntary opt-in to professional guidelines or the previously mentioned "code of conduct” or other commitment framework be put forward. We will look for opportunities to do so.



2.3 Actions planned

In pursuit of the objectives listed above, we plan to:
[...] Build a new platform for outsourcers
[...] Publish policies for posting and quoting on "premium" jobs
[...] Market the new platform to select, desirable clients
[...] Encourage complete profiles in campaigns and at points throughout the site
[ ] Give outsourcers the option of requiring complete profiles (i.e. all sections marked "required") in directory searches and job postings. We will do this only after everyone has been given ample opportunity and notice to enter all required fields. (Note that in accordance with our privacy policy, in many cases a profile section will be considered complete if you enter "I choose not to enter this information.")
[ ] Put a prominent link to the directory from the home page
[ ] Publish aggregate data in relation to jobs / matching, including demographics, rates, fields, etc.
[ ] Give non-members a way to decide whether or not they want to get notified of jobs restricted to members
[ ] Support specification of language variants (for languages such as Portuguese, etc.)
[ ] Give outsourcers a means of "bookmarking" profiles - credit Cilian O'Tuama - http://www.proz.com/topic/64184
[ ] etc. (There are many other relatively minor tasks on our internal lists.)



2.4 Actions previously considered and declined

There are proposals that we have considered and opted not to adopt. Here is a list, with explanations:

[-] Set site-wide minimum rates

The reason we won't set a sitewide minimum rate is explained in the FAQ: http://www.proz.com/faq/jobs#jobs_minimum_rate Basically, your rates are your business. If you have not fixed your rates, please consider using this calculator - http://www.proz.com/?sp=rate_calc - to find the rates you need to charge, and then stick to them.

[-] Don't allow outsourcers to specify a rate when posting a job.

While we are aware of the effect that including rates in job postings can have on perceptions, we are inclined to think that the drawbacks outweigh the benefits of this proposal. When an outsourcer chooses to specify rates, our system is able to better serve members, for example by not notifying those whose rates are above the specified level. We have not yet seen a proposal that would not force parties into a situation where they might begin discussing an assignment, having no idea that the outsourcer's budget will not accommodate the service provider's rates.

[-] Don't allow the posting of jobs that require free test translations.

Whether or not to complete test assignments is left to members.

[-] Don't allow the posting of jobs with certain conditions such as payment terms beyond 30 days.

See previous.

[-] Restrict job posting to outsourcers who are ProZ.com. Members.

Our policy is to welcome non-paying users while providing premium features and services to members. This applies to both service providers and outsourcers.

[-] Lead in actions against unfair outsourcers.

ProZ.com is in principle a venue. Staff members and moderators work to do a reasonable check of data on jobs and jobs posters, and there is a published policy we apply in banning non-payers ( see http://www.proz.com/termination_policy ). The Blue Board is also provided for the purposes of managing risk. There have also been proposals to add tools that would allow those who may have been the victims of non-paying outsourcers to come into contact with each other to discuss possible remedies. However, given that it is not the site's role to engage in negotiations or broker transactions, it can not be the site's role to enforce payment.

[-] Discontinue the job posting system.

Thousands of outsourcers, among them some of the world's most desirable, have posted jobs, and thousands of members have benefited. Therefore we are not considered doing away with the job posting system at this time.

[-] Make all quotes visible so that quoters can see what other quoters are doing.

Although we may publish aggregate rates data for informational purposes, we would not consider replacing our “quoting” system with a “bidding” system.

[-] Prevent outsourcers from closing a post before the deadline stated initially.

Once the required professionals have been found, it is in no one's interest for a post to remain open.

[-] Vet all postings.

There is a trade-off between risk and delay. The current system filters some jobs for moderators' approval, while the rest are published directly. We believe this is a sound system. Requiring all jobs to be approved by moderators would translate in substantial delays in their publication. When a job published directly proves to break some rule then we can modify the poster's rights in such a way that further jobs posted will need moderators' approval.

[-] Act as a meta-agency.

ProZ.com has a clear mission - posted at http://www.proz.com/siteteam - and acting as a service provider is not within it. We make the business of translation more efficient and enjoyable--but we don't translate.



3. Invitation for feedback

This plan is a dynamic document. As a service business with a clear mission, ProZ.com's activities are ultimately dictated by your needs, as expressed in your feedback as a member. If you feel you can help us improve upon the above plan, or if you would like clarification of any aspect of it, please do not hesitate to contact us (as those members listed above have), with a support ticket containing your suggestion or feedback.

Thanks in advance for making ProZ.com better for all!


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