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Choice of photo to accompany profile - help or harm?
Thread poster: xxxCMJ_Trans
xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 01:15
French to English
+ ...
Jun 6, 2007

Hello everybody,
I have finally managed to find time to ask a question that has long been nagging away at the back of my mind. I am curious to know why people choose the image they use for their profiles on this site.

To explain more clearly: there seem to be a variety of approaches and I was wondering whether there was any logic behind them or whether it was purely a matter of taste. I am also curious to know whether I am the only one who thinks that some types of photo could do more harm than good in attracting custom.

There are those of us who have no image whatsoever. In my case, this is deliberate because I prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, having no interest in looking for work via this site. Do others who have no image omit this detail for the same or for other reasons?

Then there are those with a picture of their pets. This is cute but is it a good selling point?

Again, some people use pseudonyms and their image is symbolic of these pseudonyms. What mileage do they get out of that?

But the ones that worry me the most are the pictures of brides on their wedding day - how on earth do potential customers react to that? It is all very sweet and cute but is it not counter-productive? But most of all, the ones that frighten me from a professional perspective and nothing more are the pictures of people with their small children or of their small children on their own. Are those who opt for this approach not aware of the message it sends out to the average punter looking for a translator? To me and others it spells trouble: don't expect your deadlines to be met if the kids fall sick, etc. I know this is not very PC - not PC at all, in fact - but these subliminal messages are there, whether we like it or not.

So my real question is, has anybody ever done any market research into the type of image that attracts the most business and those types best avoided, if you want to be taken seriously? Or does the majority think it doesn't matter?

Forgive my curiosity but when I see photos that look like pin-ups, I wonder whether their owner realises that they could be doing much more harm than good? Likewise photos of people smoking.

Thanks for your help in my mini-survey - it may be pure curiosity but there could be a serious message somewhere out there....

[Edited at 2007-06-06 14:38]

[Edited at 2007-06-06 14:39]


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:15
French to English
+ ...
Interesting Jun 6, 2007

Interesting points you raise, CMJ, and ones that I have often asked myself. And I think the answer lies in your own reasons for not posting an image - just who is here looking for jobs and who isn't? Perhaps the people posting "fun" or "personal" images are like you and not interested in attracting customers.

Personally, I have no image at the moment. Like you, I have no interest in looking for work here, I have more than enough as it is. I don't use this site for networking with prospective clients, but rather a place to "connect" with colleagues. So if they want to put up photos of their kids or a smiling face on their wedding day, well, that's their prerogative and I'm happy to see them.
I admit to having had at one point posted a photo of my daughter (simply because I didn't feel the desire to show *my* face), and believe it or not, I got some *very* worthwhile contacts through that image. I.e. a very reliable and well-paying client contacted me bcs they thought her eyes were beautiful. I was quite stunned to say the least, but happy when all was said and done, because even though I wasn't looking for clients, an excellent one approached me and we have now been working together quite steadily.
And, because I already have a long list of good clients, if someone searching this site doesn't want to work with me because I have children and is so in the dark ages to think that this would affect my deadlines (ever heard of full-time daycare??? I work 9 to 6 like most everyone else and, as I full-time working mother, I would say that I am the *queen* of effective time management), then I don't really want to work with that person anyway.
This is all coming from the perspective, as I said, of someone who is not using this site to attract clients, but rather to connect with colleagues.
If someone is seriously looking for work here, then I do feel that a business logo or professional portrait shot is the best option.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
Help Needed Jun 6, 2007

In the area you mention there are definitely many people who need a lot of help for all the reasons CMJ mentions. Many of the images I see, whether portraits, avatars, pets, kids, symbols, and even models, I suspect, appear totally unprofessional, and that includes the use of pseudonyms and anonymity.

Some people have fine images which are much to their credit and should be emulated.

As for my own, I can only say it is honest, and it was taken at my birthplace where I recently spent some time and could be found any day near that location.

Now maybe I need to change it to the border, but I still look the same.

I don't look for any work from this site either, but I'm no recluse.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 01:15
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
don't get me wrong.. Jun 6, 2007

1) The views I express are not my own. Just what potential clients might think
2) I still to my refusal to stick my photo on the site because I don't like the sight of myself and wouldn't inflict it on others
3) This is my secret life and I'm not going to give myself away.....


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:15
English to Dutch
+ ...
I'm curious too Jun 6, 2007

Hi CMJ,

nice questions! I'm curious as well.
As you can see, I do have my picture in my profile.
It's very recognizable - the first time ever I appeared at a powwow almost everybody present knew my name without introduction!

Why did I choose to do so? Because I feel it is easier and more pleasant to talk/mail/work to/with someone with a personal face. So I'm trying to show to every visitor of this site (customer, colleague, moderator, whoever): Hey, this is me, I am a person, not just a name.

I have also chosen to use my real name, for more or less the same reason. Basically, my message is: Here's who you're dealing with, nothing more, nothing less.

Having said that, I don't mind if anyone is showing another kind of pictures or no pictures at all. I just like to keep my private life to myself, so my family members or pets or hobbies just won't show up on this site. After all, I'm the translator, they've got nothing to do with that. I very much feel the need to keep my private life and my work separated. My work is supposed to pay my bills; my family is supposed to - well, be my family.

I guess it all depends on how you define professionalism. To me, it is: to be open and honest about what clients need to know in order to work with me, and to keep irrelevant private matters to myself.
Example: I am not a better translator because I own a guinea pig, so clients don't need to know that. I do have very flexible working hours, because I usually work at home. That is something a customer could be interested in, so I do tell them that.
The same is true for my picture: it accompanies my profile, it doesn't show my private life.

I don't judge anyone's choice though; this is just how I feel about it.

Best,
Margreet


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Mirella Soffio  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:15
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Guilty as charged Jun 6, 2007

I am one of those people who chose to post a picture of their offspring. In my case, I was fully aware of the fact that this might be seen by some as unprofessional, but frankly, I'd rather be judged for my skills than for my choice of a photo*.
This said, I would have probably chosen a very different picture in the first days of my career...

Mirella

*****
*by potential clients, I mean.

[Edited at 2007-06-06 22:36]


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Fiona Gonçalves  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:15
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Modesty aside Jun 6, 2007

I chose my photo mainly because I like it and I'm proud of it even if you do need a magnifying glass to see it properly. I did take a few other things into consideration too, though. For example, I advertise athletics as one of my specialities and the photo shows that I have good reason to do so. Added to which, I think it shows that I'm a pretty determined person, which I reckon can only be good as a professional image. Then again, maybe people will think I must be pretty mad to be running through the mud with a number pinned to my front...
Interesting topic CMJ. Glad you brought it up.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:15
German to English
+ ...
Confused? Jun 6, 2007

CMJ_Trans wrote:

There are those of us who have no image whatsoever. In my case, this is deliberate because I prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, having no interest in looking for work via this site.


So why ask?

Anonymous Chris


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good point Jun 7, 2007

Textklick wrote:

CMJ_Trans wrote:

... In my case, this is deliberate because I prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, having no interest in looking for work via this site.


So why ask?

Anonymous Chris



That's been a good point, Chris. Maybe this question does not deserve any other answer....

Ruth @ MW


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Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:15
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Help or harm: it depends Jun 7, 2007

I think it depends on the kind of pic one decides to add to his/her profile. As Proz is a workplace, it would be advisable to avoid pics taken on the beach:)
Personally, I like the idea that people can see my face - even if just through a pic - when they get in touch with me, and the same applies to me. I do not like talking to somebody hidden behind an avatar or a symbol.
To be totally frank, should I be a customer and see a translator's profile page showing his/her children, I do not think my impression would be completely positive. As said above, this is a workplace so we should convey a professional image and leave all personal sides out. They are of no interest at all for customers: they just want us to do our job.

Antonella


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:15
German to English
+ ...
Pictures and stuff Jun 7, 2007

I chose my picture because I like the artist who painted it.

I did, however, give some thought to the professionalism (or lack thereof) - I have not noticed any negative consequences from using that particular picture.

But, then again, I doubt I know much about the clients who chose to go elsewhere (I'll just assume that they are few and far between).


[Edited at 2007-06-07 09:44]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:15
Italian to English
+ ...
Interesting question Jun 7, 2007

I chose my photo to look as professional as possible (actually, my partner took the photo specifically to be used on this site!) and I use my real name for the same reason. It also means that if people find me here through a profile search and then look for me through google, they can see some of my work (some of my clients are kind enough to acknowledge me in their articles).

I can't answer from the point of view of a client, but as a Proz user, I do prefer to know someone's real name when chatting in the fora or whatever, although it's not a big deal. I'm not so concerned about knowing what they look like, although I do find it annoying when someone changes from one photo (which I have assumed is actually of them) to another of someone completely different - I feel like I've been misled and I'm inclined to distrust them after that.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It's the best digital photo I had at the time Jun 7, 2007

I put in a logo when I started, which was better than nothing, then a photo that I disliked and removed again after a short while. The present picture shows me in the autumn of 2003 wearing my favourite glass beads...

I like to connect with a person, preferably 'the real thing', and assumed others feel the same way. I was interested in attracting clients then, too, though now I have more work than I want at times!

We had to borrow a digital camera or get friends to take digital pictures in 2003 when I joined, so it was that or nothing. Now I have not found a portrait I like better, and I don't like people changing their image too often, so I don't change mine either. I know people's names too, but pictures and logos are a quick reference for how good a KudoZ answer is likely to be, for instance.

The owners of some images that are ridiculous in my opinion may still provide fast and reliable help when needed, so there is no logic in it.

Some people can even recognise me from my picture. For the time being, it stays!



[Edited at 2007-06-07 11:11]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:15
Member (2004)
English to Italian
??? Jun 7, 2007

Maria Antonietta Ricagno wrote:



Antonella




Antonella?


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 01:15
German to French
+ ...
Yes, interesting Jun 7, 2007

Hallo everybody,

Like you, CMJ, I do not look for jobs here and on any other website for translators. As I began working before Internet exists, I may be a little bit more traditional (older), and a fact is that the clients I find on a more traditional way accept my rates.

Though, I put my picture as I registered on this site because I thought it may be nicer for the communication on the forums, more human. (In this sense I understand perfectly what Margreet means).
In the meanwhile, I removed my picture for personal reasons and put a free avatar I found on the web. I could have chosen to put no foto at all, well yes. One day, I will perhaps have no avatar at all, I don´t know...

I am using a pseudo because I consider Internet as not very secure and I do not want to get more spam.
If someone wants to work with me, he knows how/where to find me, and if someone wants to know my real name, I have no problem to tell him in private.

I think the reasons for having a picture or not or using a particular name may have many reasons and have nothing to do with professionalism or not.
Browsing a little bit on the forums, you will find serious colleagues with/without avatar/foto and with/without real name/pseudo.

Kind regards


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