How can I get real work from Proz.com Membership?
Thread poster: Federica M.

Federica M.  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:59
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 3, 2015

I'm a member of Proz.com and I pay and renew my membership every 6 months.
I would like to introduce this topic because I'm really disapppointed by this service.
I haven't got no translation works since I pay my membership, since March 2014 and everytime it expires, I wonder if it is really useful to renew it or not.
I would like to know if it is a mutual problem of other people or if it is only mine.
I know that there are many many Translators and Professionists, a very big and huge network, but I think that it is impossible to get no answer and no works from March 2014.
Is there anybody who live my same experience?
Is there anybody who can give any suggestions or information that maybe I haven't considered?
I will be glad to receive all your answers.
Thank You.
Federica Mariani


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:59
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I get work offers Oct 3, 2015

I get plenty of work offers from Proz.

As a first step I would stop offering into-English translations and take down your into-English samples. I don't want to open up the native speaker debate, but your samples and profile are full of basic mistakes that indicate you shouldn't be translating in this direction.

You also have no Kudoz points, so you will be low down in the directory. And I think the fact you are not listed under your real name might put people off.


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:59
English to Russian
+ ...
What can be done... Oct 3, 2015

Read relevant forum threads (it's a lot of reading, but if you take notes, you'll find it more useful than anything else you read online about translation work).
Update your ProZ profile. At the moment it speaks (shouts!) against you. Start with updating the info and then proofread multiple times (probably with the help of a native speaker).
Remove the last sentence in your profile, it's sort of recursive.
Every single tip that might greatly help you CAN be found in the threads of this forum. It was discussed to many times that you'd better do your homework and read it all rather than ask the same question for the 1001st time.
Good luck!


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:59
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Real work follows real effort Oct 3, 2015

Looking at this post, you should not be translating into English. In my opinion, although there are people who can translate in both directions in a particular pair, they are few and far between, and stating that you can will trigger alarm bells with many potential clients.

I find the content on ProZ to be useful and interesting. It is extremely useful to be able to ask questions and post topics for debate. I personally find the job offers to be a waste of time, but the database of agencies has been very useful to me for finding work.

Although you are paying for membership, this payment is no substitute for putting in the work and making contact with potential clients. If you are in an unknown marketplace hoping to get work from strangers, your best initial reference is the effort you make to contact them.
Good luck!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You can't! Oct 3, 2015

There is no DIRECT cause-effect relationship between the Proz membership and the number or volume of translation assignments you will get.

However your absence from Proz and a selected number of alike portals on the www will limit your exposure, and consequently reduce your potential demand.

The demand for a specific translator's services varies according to a relatively wide array of variables, including language pair(s), types of services offered, specialization areas, experience, quality, prices, payment terms, software used (viz. files compatibility)... and many others, including FINDABILITY!

If someone anywhere on this planet needs exactly what you offer, but they can't find you, your services won't be requested. You may have a good web site, might have spent a bundle on SEO, but someone can always have a better web site, and have spent more on SEO.

Proz is a focused channel for smart clients to search for translators. Of course, it's a business enterprise. So while they allow free users to get in and be present, these will be part of a crowd in the back lot. In order to make that enterprise sustainable, they must give privileges to paying members, so that they'll stand out in front.

People who pay for the Proz membership in the hope that the jobs board will flood them with assignments will be disappointed. According to Pareto's Law, 80% of the jobs there should be low-paying gigs, for which the client (so far!) didn't find anyone both capable to wing at them and stoop to pick the crumbs they are offering.

On the other hand, Proz is an important element of an all-round translator marketing plan.

My usual advice on this matter is for a translator to:
a) be "present" in all Proz-like portals that allow doing so for free without a time limit, in spite of restricted use;
b) stay clear of all similar sites whose proposal is pay-first-see-later, these are usually scams (lots of fabricated jobs that supposedly get always assigned to someone else);
c) monitor the local (I mean on that specific portal) demand for your specific skills; and
d) as soon as the local demand for your specific offer looks sustainable, go for that paid membership!

For the record, in ancient times I stayed as a free user on Proz for about five years, until I saw the demand for my language pair grow and hold at a sustainable level. One other such portal has demand for my language pair, however it is still occasional, so I continue using it for free. While I am present at a bunch of others, which gives me additional exposure (leading some prospects find me there and contact directly), the demand does not justify the membership fees.

I take it for granted that local jobs demand within my skills is a reflection of the potential customers who consider that specific portal as a worthy means of finding translators for their needs.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:59
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Start with trial translation Oct 3, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

There is no DIRECT cause-effect relationship between the Proz membership and the number or volume of translation assignments you will get.

However your absence from Proz and a selected number of alike portals on the www will limit your exposure, and consequently reduce your potential demand.

I take it for granted that local jobs demand within my skills is a reflection of the potential customers who consider that specific portal as a worthy means of finding translators for their needs.


Clients always need trial translation for their jobs. Why not join the test work to induce to real jobs.
FYI: When clients ask me to do trial translation, I ask them to show the translation style they want. I mostly told them that I can translate into such poor quality for them if they want. They never wrote to me again.
[This method is not suggested unless you have a firm customer base via Proz.com]

Soonthon L.


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Appear professional Oct 3, 2015

Rachel Waddington wrote:

And I think the fact you are not listed under your real name might put people off.


This is exactly what I was thinking.

Proz is a professional network, so we should be presented professionally. If you were in the shoes of a potential client, would you prefer to give your $2,000 job to "Feid85" or "Federica Mariani"?


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:59
Member
Italian to English
No magic formula Oct 3, 2015

I would not hire you for Italian to English translations based on your profile. I agree with Rachel's post:

Rachel Waddington wrote:

As a first step I would stop offering into-English translations and take down your into-English samples. I don't want to open up the native speaker debate, but your samples and profile are full of basic mistakes that indicate you shouldn't be translating in this direction.

You also have no Kudoz points, so you will be low down in the directory. And I think the fact you are not listed under your real name might put people off.


Proz membership is not a guarantee of receiving work, and I'm sorry if you were under that impression. Think of buying Proz membership like buying a plant - if you don't tend to it, it will very likely not survive. You have to water it, fertilise the soil, prune it, and so on. To get full benefit from Proz, you need to use it "a 360°" - polish your profile and keep it up to date, contribute to Kudoz and forum discussions, try to attend events and meet colleagues in person.
You may want to consider using your real name - some very successful colleagues on here don't do so, but they have years of experience behind them.

Best of luck!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:59
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You can't buy work Oct 3, 2015

You have to earn the right to take a client's money. I'm afraid all you are doing is encouraging any clients who find you here to look for someone else. But this can be remedied very easily (with a bit of effort).

Basically, with so many providers to choose from clients will go for the freelancer the one who is giving the clearest message; the one who's saying "I specialise in this type of work and can guarantee total satisfaction".

- How many native English translators speak Italian? Can you produce better English than them?
- Can one person specialise in areas as different as dentistry, tourism, computing, literature?
- Can a CV that mentions languages only at the bottom be useful for a translator?

There's a whole area of the site designed to help us do well here: the Site Guidance Centre. Attend the free webinar that will help you improve your profile. Find out where you currently appear in the directory and how to improve that position. Browse the Wikis, starting with the one on CVs in the marketing section.

I think you've done the right thing by buying membership. But there are plenty of hobby translators out there who have a bit of money to spend. You have to stand out clearly as a pro translator making an investment in time as well as money.


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:59
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Time, money and hard work Oct 3, 2015

Sheila has expressed exactly what I think. Anyone who wants to be successful needs to wisely invest both time and money.

Apart from that, freelancers need to work very hard because once a person has reached their goal, they can't just sit back and relax. I always say that running a business is worse than bringing up a child: children eventually grow up and become independent but your business will need your permanent care and attention.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:59
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It should be more than that Oct 3, 2015

Rachel Waddington wrote:
but your samples and profile are full of basic mistakes that indicate you shouldn't be translating in this direction.


The fact that "your samples and profile are full of basic mistakes" would scare potential clients away, no matter the profile owner wants to translate into or from his or her native language.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:59
English to Spanish
... Oct 4, 2015

Worse...

Helena Chavarria wrote:

I always say that running a business is worse than bringing up a child...


This was very funny. I love your choice of words. icon_smile.gif


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:59
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree with Rachel Oct 4, 2015

I only read:

"I'm a Italian native speaker translator.

I got a Bachelor's degree in Foreign Launguages and Literature at Catholic University of Milan."

And I'm already dealing with at least 5 very obvious basic mistakes - which makes me wonder about (the) Catholic University of Milan and its supposedly high reputation.

Going back to your question: just being a member of Proz will not bring you work, just as being a member of the Milan Chamber of Commerce will not bring business to your door. There's a lot more to it than that, but the main thing, for any business, is to look as if you mean it. Be professional.

If you look professional, and you have something to offer that is special and above all, reliable, people will come looking for you. They will come here to Proz looking for you.

What is your Proz profile offering that makes you stand out as being better, or more specialised, than the 20 million other English to Italian translators here?

That's what you need to work on. Good luck and buon lavoro!

[Edited at 2015-10-04 20:53 GMT]


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 16:59
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
In addition... Oct 4, 2015

In addition to what others have said, and I agree with all of it, I would attend any webinars that might help you develop your translation business and skills and reduce the number of specialties you have on your website - list only the ones that you are really proficient in and have substantial experience with. And finally, look at the profiles of the people who have responded to this post and see what you can learn from them.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:59
Member (2008)
Italian to English
That's the key Oct 4, 2015

Tina Vonhof wrote:

In addition to what others have said, and I agree with all of it, I would attend any webinars that might help you develop your translation business and skills and reduce the number of specialties you have on your website - list only the ones that you are really proficient in and have substantial experience with. And finally, look at the profiles of the people who have responded to this post and see what you can learn from them.


Yes - specialisation is the key, in my opinion.


 


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