ProZ resources for professional development and better business operations
Thread poster: KSL Berlin

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 6, 2008

This might belong in the "Professional Development" category, but since the superordinate category to that is "Language Studies" I have my doubts in this case.

I would like to hear opinions of practical "tools" which might be incorporated in ProZ to help beginning and more experienced translators develop and run their businesses more effectively.

"Tools" could include courses (ProZ has these - are there useful subjects "missing"?), features (lots of those already - rate calculators, statistical data, etc. - any new ones needed?), articles (lots of these already - any obvious gaps? maybe translations of really good articles needed?) & more.


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:55
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
specialization fields with a dearth of translators? Sep 6, 2008

One thing that would be useful is an overview of which areas of specialization do not have enough translators for a given language pair, and which have too many.

My two language pairs present unique problems for me.

DE-EN is chock full of bilingual people and top-knotch translators. The jobs on ProZ seem to be mostly in legal, patents, or specialized industry--none of which am I an expert in, and none of which is easy to gain expertise in. Are there other fields that are "going wanting"?

RU-EN has lots of people who do not translate into their mother tongue, but this is apparently adequate for the clients' purposes. The field also has lots of people who do not need an income of the level required to live in the high-priced Washington, D.C. area, as I do, and therefore who charge less. Again, are there fields in this language pair that are inadequately covered, which a non-technical translator such as myself could fill, or learn to fill?

I would think that ProZ's database would show which categories of jobs go unfilled, and that this information could be shared.

Susan


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oversupply & statistics Sep 6, 2008

Susan Welsh wrote:
DE-EN is chock full of bilingual people and top-notch translators.
...
I would think that ProZ's database would show which categories of jobs go unfilled, and that this information could be shared.


Interesting suggestion if I understand it correctly - basically surveys of market coverage for language pairs and specializations. Sounds like something that a university student could make a thesis out of if approached correctly. I'm not sure if the ProZ statistics would be very useful for determining the coverage of a market - there are lots of people doing IT translations and listing it as a specialty, but it's obvious to me in my language pair that there aren't enough competent ones to meet the real demand. The agencies I know are often desperate to find someone who knows the field and can translate well. There are certainly lots of DE-EN bilinguals out there, but from where I sit it looks like that language pair is far from saturated.

In any case, I think "market reports" (or whatever you want to call them) that give information on "gaps" perceived by the outsourcers could be very, very useful. Information like that is sold in some fields, and there are good reasons to pay for it if it is accurate. Even better if you can get the info without cost, of course....

(Hmm... professional market reports available to all or to members only? A useful addition to the ProZ business model?)


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:55
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Accounting Sep 6, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:
I would like to hear opinions of practical "tools" which might be incorporated in ProZ to help beginning and more experienced translators develop and run their businesses more effectively.


Web-based accounting (with some office management features) that is private (so that not even staff can see your stuff). We can talk about the various things to make this accounting system simple yet effective for the type of translator that doesn't want to buy TO3000.

Some features I can think of:

* If the client is a ProZ member, you can import their details to the client sheet.
* When you create any sheet (client sheet, job sheet etc), a direct link to it is e-mailed to your e-mail address, so that you can access it directly while you're reading mails pertaining to that client.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Web-based accounting Sep 6, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
Web-based accounting (with some office management features) that is private (so that not even staff can see your stuff). We can talk about the various things to make this accounting system simple yet effective for the type of translator that doesn't want to buy TO3000.


Amen. An important feature for me would be the ability to customize forms for quotations and invoices and generate PDFs from them (possibly with electronic signature, but I can always do that afterward - PDF invoicing for German customers without electronic signature is a headache these days thanks to changes in the law over the past few years). Customization for me (and probably many others) would include the ability to create language- or country-specific versions of the forms.

I own TO3000 but I don't use it because the customization of the forms is bothersome compared with the software I do use, which unfortunately is showing its age and is due for replacement. Member access to a fully featured online package (as part of regular membership or as an extra subscription option) would be considered very seriously.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The wiki project Sep 9, 2008

I know I must have seen that project discussed in the past, Samuel, but somehow it didn't quite sink in until I saw a link posted to an existing wiki dealing with a Wordfast problem. What great potential it has! When I think of all the times that some of us answer the same questions over and over again... no I prefer NOT to think about it.

I haven't quite got an overview of its status yet, but obviously some of the content is accessible to the general public.

On the whole I think this is an excellent extension of or alternative to the facilities for articles. It looks like graphics can be added too, which doesn't work directly with an article. (I would have to host the graphics myself and link them.)

I can see supporting this as a professional development tool in a number of ways.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Templates would be really useful Sep 9, 2008


An important feature for me would be the ability to customize forms for quotations and invoices and generate PDFs from them


I would really like a databank containing templates for quotations, invoices, POs, contracts, standard letters etc. I always feel I'm re-inventing the wheel. Community-minded members could propose different versions - I think that would work particularly well with contracts where you could pick the sections you believe are relevant to your situation.

Tutorials on using software specifically for translation would be useful. I went on a Powerpoint course, for instance, that covered all PPT features from the point of view of creating, updating and displaying PPT presentations. Bur I still don't really know how to deliver a proofreading of a PPT file, as the trainer wasn't remotely interested in such a thing.

There are a lot of software articles on ProZ that I find interesting but of no real tangible value to me personally as I don't have the confidence to try using the products - tutorials might actually get me using the technology.

[Edited at 2008-09-09 15:25]


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:55
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
listing and evaluation of dictionaries and glossaries Sep 10, 2008

I spent a lot of time yesterday hunting for a specialized dictionary (German financial terms) on the web or off the web, and found mostly junk online, and VERY EXPENSIVE offline. It would be great to have a centralized location on ProZ where people recommend and annotate dictionaries in their languages, including online glossaries.

A lot of the glossary/dictionary listings I've found online have had dead links, and I waste a lot of time that way too.

I searched the ProZ forum archives a couple of times, but not much came up on the subjects I was looking for.

Susan


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reference dictionaries/glossaries Sep 10, 2008

Susan Welsh wrote:
I spent a lot of time yesterday hunting for a specialized dictionary (German financial terms) on the web or off the web, and found mostly junk online, and VERY EXPENSIVE offline. It would be great to have a centralized location on ProZ where people recommend and annotate dictionaries in their languages, including online glossaries.


There is actually a place for that in the forums, though its organization makes things difficult to find sometimes if the relevant keywords one searches are missing. I suppose this ProZ wiki project could accommodate organized, updated reviews of online and offline references for specific subject areas very nicely.

With respect to your specific need for a dictionary for financial terminology in German, I can recommend Zahn:
http://www.amazon.de/Wörterbuch-für-Bank-Börsenwesen-Deutsch/dp/3831420386/

I don't know what you consider expensive, but the 35 euros plus shipping is a superb investment in this case. There are other decent references in this price range, but this is the best of the bunch. We use it almost daily. You can find it, Schäfer and others on eBay (usually the German site) for a lot less occasionally.


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:25
German to English
+ ...
Data export facilities Sep 10, 2008

Marketing is time-consuming and can be quite onerous without the proper tools!

While the ProZ Blue Board, Directories, My Quotes, and ProZ Connect jobs are excellent places to visit for marketing purposes, the data is scattered all over, and it's hard to get a holistic view. I use the TO 3000 database to store all my client and job data in one place, and its Advanced Reporting features to keep track of which clients/potential clients I have contacted, when I have done so, what was the result of the interaction etc. Then it's time for data mining during breaks between projects. Admittedly, TO 3000 is not the ideal tool for this purpose, but it does contain a fully functional database, and with some twiddling, FastReport can be used to generate desired reports, which is why FastReport is included in TO3000 in the first place.

Now the boring part is keying in the data from ProZ into TO3000 (or any other tool one might be using, for that matter).

If ProZ allowed members to export their My Quotes data or results of queries against the BB or outsourcer directories to Excel or text files, these files could then be fed into the appropriate program. (Again, TO3000 doesn't have import facilities, so it would need to incorporate the corresponding functionality).

Still, having ProZ data export facilities would be a good start.


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:55
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
dictionaries Sep 10, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:
With respect to your specific need for a dictionary for financial terminology in German, I can recommend Zahn:


Thanks, Kevin. The ones I looked at (Routledge, Schafer) were in the $125-300 range (and EBay didn't have them), so this sounds great.

Susan


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