Proposal for a new type of 'secret' Proz forum
Thread poster: John Rawlins

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 15, 2009

I have a proposal for a new type of Proz forum.

As I translator, I consider myself to be a freelance professional.

However, it is obvious from forum postings that many ‘freelance’ translators see themselves as part-time employees working from home. I imagine that many would actually prefer to be 'real' employees working in company offices. However, the days when agencies, multinational companies, and government departments employed teams of translators have gone - probably forever.

Bargaining power for these individuals has practically disappeared. They face their 'employer' alone. No more union meetings, no quick get-togethers around the coffee machine to discuss terms and conditions. And no bonds of solidarity and friendship with fellow workers.

The managers of a company remain free to discuss among themselves the terms and conditions for translators - but the translators are alone, isolated, and vulnerable. The result, especially during an economic crisis, is an inevitable fall in pay.

Internet chatrooms could help right the balance. However, I believe that most of these translators would be afraid to participate in ‘employer-specific’ forums because they fear that their employer may infiltrate the discussions and punish any participants by simply denying future work.

Proz may be in a good position to help and profit from this situation. Proz could offer its paid-up members the opportunity to join a forum dedicated to a single employer (usually an agency) with a protected identity for participants. Discussion could then be open and fearless.

Personally, I don't work regularly for any large agencies or distant companies, and I would not be interested in joining such a group. Nor am I a type of ‘closet’ socialist – in fact, I usually vote conservative.

However, I do believe that the trend to outsourced home-working is too kind to the employer – and the opportunity for some democratic redress is needed.

Such groups could also make Proz an even more important place for translators.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Answers May 15, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:
Proz may be in a good position to help and profit from this situation. Proz could offer its paid-up members the opportunity to join a forum dedicated to a single employer (usually an agency) with a protected identity for participants. Discussion could then be open and fearless.


Answer 1: Private forums

AFAIK all paid members can have a private forum, to which they can invite anyone (even non-paid members), AFAIK.

http://www.proz.com/forum/categories/private_forums-priv.html

Answer 2: Anonymous forums

I think it's a great idea to have an anonymous forum, where any member can chat with any number of nicknames. I think such a forum should be anonymous to the outside and to fellow-members, but it should still be possible for staff to determine who is who, so that they can punish those who contravene the forum rules. Yes, rules -- the fact that it is anonymous shouldn't mean that there are no rules. If you think an anonymous forum is an idea, submit it to the Suggestions forum.


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Héloïse King  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:42
French to English
+ ...
I wider issue, it seems to me... May 15, 2009

I have often wanted to join in forum discussions on various topics, but have held back, not because what I have to say might be 'sensitive', but simply because I don't want to mix my professional persona (which is what I use Proz for) with my personal one.

It is one of the problems with Proz that one essentially has to chose whether to use it strictly for attracting business, and therefore avoid exposing oneself in a potentially non-professional way, or forget about the business side and join in on a purely personal level. A facility to have a second 'anonymous' persona for participating in matters one might want to keep away from potential clients would be welcome I think.


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