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The importance of becoming a member to proz.com
Thread poster: Katja Dobie

Katja Dobie
Local time: 01:42
English to German
May 4, 2010

Hi everybody,

I've recently started to set up a profile here on www.proz.com and would be very grateful if I could get some feedback on the advantages of a membership here.

Is it easier for members to get jobs or projects?

Thank you
Kat


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My two cents May 5, 2010

I have been in Proz.com for 9 years now, and a member for 5 years. In the question on whether you will get more jobs as a member, I must say that you will probably not. Although some good and nice customers got in touch with me via Proz.com over this time, they are not my main customers and I could not live solely on their jobs.

This is a very competitive market, and even more competitive in Proz.com since you must compete with thousands of people who offer your same services. For part of these thousands of people, the only competitive tool is their ability to drop their rates until they are dead (the rates, not the translators, or at least not immediately as their rates are not really sustainable), so either you are really good and have an impressive academic background, or competing for jobs in Proz.com (I mean as an immediate goal) will prove to be rather hard.

Having said all this, I think that Proz.com's membership can give you a competitive edge if you are really good: with time, you will become a Certified PRO, you will gather Kudoz points by sharing your expertise, and with some involvement in Kudoz and the fora you will get to be seen by many people who could be interested in your services in the long run.

On top of considering Proz.com membership, I would strongly encourage you to seek Canadian translator certification if you are not certified at present. Being certified will probably be a much more solid way of driving your income in your case, as customers will be more reassured that you are really good. You might want to call the translators association of your province in Canada and ask them about the requirements and how to get proper training in your area to increase your chances of passing the exams.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-05-05 05:07 GMT]


 

3ADE shadab
Local time: 14:12
Hindi to English
+ ...
Advantage !! May 5, 2010

I would request to please go through the link, whatever they say they mean it..

http://www.proz.com/faq/membership.html


Hopefully this will surely help you. "PROZ IS NUMBER ONE TRANSLATION PORTAL" So surely you will have advantage becoming a member of it.


Regards
Shadab


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:42
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I disagree May 5, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I must say that you will probably not.


I have to disagree. In 3 years as a Proz member I have got quite a lot of work through having a profile here. That's the keyword: p r o f i l e.

You need to work carefully on your profile, and this in turn will lead you to reflect on what you are actually offering.

People looking for translators use search engines, and many of these searches lead to Proz.

In your language pair you should seek to demonstrate competence, professionalism, experience, hard evidence in the form of good sample translations, and above all, genuine high-level expertise in the language pair in which you specialise.

I'm more than satisfied that Proz.com brings me work, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. And then there are all the other interesting and useful things on the website.

Naturally it takes a while to get started. I waited for about 2 years before fully completing my profile and signing up for membership, and after that it was a while before the results started coming through.

So go ahead and sign up, but don't expect miracles; it's still *you* who have to do the work!



[Edited at 2010-05-05 07:36 GMT]


 

Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:42
Member (2006)
English to French
Similar threads May 5, 2010

This topic has been discussed before, e.g.:

http://www.proz.com/forum/off_topic/147617-do_i_have_to_be_a_member.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/151168-does_being_a_prozcom_member_really_help_in_getting_new_jobs.html


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:42
German to Serbian
+ ...
Membership fee. May 5, 2010

A mere access to the forum boards is worth the annual ProZ fee, IMO. I'll never understand second thoughts about such a small fee; have you got any idea how high fees are in other branches, for example for physicians, scientists etc? Yes, they are paying them out of their own pocket, no external funding; and it's a normal professional practice - if you want to keep up-to-date in your field of work, access more opportunities, create contacts, etc.

As for the jobs, it's very relative, depends on your competence, skills, etc. You can't expect to get the jobs just because you are a member; it's just a first requirement, so to speak. You are paying the access to the opportunities, but not for the opportunity itself. It's on you to do that part.

I had got a few high-paying deals as a non-member, because the end client liked my samples in the given field. They would have liked them whether I was a member or not and that was completely irrelevant to them.




[Edited at 2010-05-05 09:26 GMT]


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 10:42
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What's worth it and what isn't May 5, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:

A mere access to the forum boards is worth the annual ProZ fee, IMO. I'll never understand second thoughts about such a small fee


Personally, I don't think I'll ever become a member, and especially not for the forum.
Frankly, the forum is about as active as I'd expect n Italian-language forum for Argentinian sled-dog breeders... not very. It's probably the best public translator forum there is, and there are a good couple of colleagues in here who know a lot about technical issues, but the overall quality and quantity is not nearly what you'd hope from a leading worldwide translator forum.
Plus I have a couple of issues with the way the site and the forums are run as well, so it's not like I can't wait to give proz my money (case in point: let's see if the mods let this message go through).

If I wanted to get more work from international clients, I would consider paying up for membership, though. If you play it right, membership should pay for itself pretty soon. I'm personally not interested in that, though.


 

Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 10:42
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Unimportant May 5, 2010

In terms of getting clients, ProZ membership is unimportant exactly because it's cheap. It takes a costly signal to make a message credible (in this case, the message that you are a valuable resource and that you take your job seriously and will not disappear from the market tomorrow). You need to be doing something that a lousy/unreliable/I-do-nothing-anyway-so-I-could-as-well-translate LSP would not be willing/able to do. What Tom in London says is correct, but that is because of the expertise demonstration, not because of the $100/yr paid to ProZ.

That was theory. You may want to read up on information asymmetry if you want further details. Practice, at least in my case, looks exactly the same. I've been on ProZ for ten years, four as a paying member. Membership does provide some perks, such as full access to the BB and having your forum posts post-moderated rather than pre-moderated, but the number of clients finding me through this site hasn't changed since I began to pay.


 

Sara Trevisan
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:42
English to Italian
+ ...
dubious May 5, 2010

I have been wondering whether I did the right thing in subscribing to proz.com.
In 3 months or so I haven't obtained any jobs at all. OK, the Eng>Italian pair is hideously crammed with translators, and it always gets at least twice as many bids as other pairs. My profile might not display the greatest background of all times, but I have a PhD in English and 6 years of experience in translation (with publications), plus samples attached.
To be honest, I still haven't understood how the site works, and how one is supposed to do to get a job--whether clients just have a look at the first translators who reply, so you must be quick, or whether they just wait and see what comes up, and then compare.
Problem is--it's a vicious circle. If you don't have the so-called necessary background you won't be considered, and if you are not considered, you won't get the necessary background. But I guess this is true for the translator's job in general.
I'd appreciate if someone could say something about this, and give some advice on what can be really done with a proz.com membership.
Thank you.


 

Erkan Dogan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
a continuous process May 5, 2010

Katja Dobie wrote:

Hi everybody,

I've recently started to set up a profile here on www.proz.com and would be very grateful if I could get some feedback on the advantages of a membership here.

Is it easier for members to get jobs or projects?

Thank you
Kat


Establishing a loyal base of clients is a continuous process. It doesn't happen over a couple of months. Yes, I think being a Proz member may contribute to that process, yet having high expectations may be frustrating. If solely depending on a site like proz were possible for "making good business", anyone would be able to flourish easily today.

To me, prospecting - still - is the key for increasing the number of your clients, because a huge portion of it will not come back very often -simply because they do not constantly receive projects in your language pair (unless they are an agency) OR there are always "better" alternatives who offer to complete their projects for a cheaper amount icon_smile.gif

ProZ is a very good marketplace for any translator, but anyone who want to make good business must use its features wisely. I would suggest starting with a good profile. From a potential client's perspective, the big question would be: why should I choose you for my project over so many others? If you can answer that question in a manner to address the majority who visit your profile, then you stand a better chance. Otherwise, no one picks me because I am a Proz member.

Best,


 

Erkan Dogan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
figuring out takes time... May 5, 2010

trystan82 wrote:

I have been wondering whether I did the right thing in subscribing to proz.com.
In 3 months or so I haven't obtained any jobs at all. OK, the Eng>Italian pair is hideously crammed with translators, and it always gets at least twice as many bids as other pairs. My profile might not display the greatest background of all times, but I have a PhD in English and 6 years of experience in translation (with publications), plus samples attached.
To be honest, I still haven't understood how the site works, and how one is supposed to do to get a job--whether clients just have a look at the first translators who reply, so you must be quick, or whether they just wait and see what comes up, and then compare.
Problem is--it's a vicious circle. If you don't have the so-called necessary background you won't be considered, and if you are not considered, you won't get the necessary background. But I guess this is true for the translator's job in general.
I'd appreciate if someone could say something about this, and give some advice on what can be really done with a proz.com membership.
Thank you.


I would disagree with your fact that Eng>Ita pair gets at least twice as many bids as other pairs, you haven't seen EngSpa yeticon_smile.gif Apart from that, I think the first challenge is to learn how to effectively use the features as you already pointed out. I do not think that customers pick translators with PhDs or 15 years of experience per se, but for their own subjective reasons. Therefore, understanding a potential client's subjective criteria is the key to submit a competitive bid. Also, regardless of who your client may be, that "competitive bid" has to be concise and appealingicon_smile.gif One thing I noticed is that no potential customer has time to read a long or boring proposal letter which tells about the translator's "unique" qualifications. 70-80% start the process with the "cost" in their head. the quality follows after, because this is business; business of buying and selling sth, and thus making profiticon_smile.gif I think their process is simple to some extend: What do you got? Why should I be interested in that? AND how are you different from the rest of the pack? If you can answer these questions precisely and SHORTLY in your letter, then I would say you stand a good chance.

For the best empathy, pick a language pair that you are not familiar with and imagine you are looking for a qualified translator with a reasonable quote. Then look for some translators in the directory and see how some stand apart from the rest. There are a lot to learn from many examples. You would be amazed how amateur some profiles may look like to you. I hope it helps. Just my opinion...

Best,


 

Kay Barbara
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:42
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Mostly agree with Tomás, but... May 5, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I have been in Proz.com for 9 years now, and a member for 5 years. In the question on whether you will get more jobs as a member, I must say that you will probably not. Although some good and nice customers got in touch with me via Proz.com over this time, they are not my main customers and I could not live solely on their jobs.

This is a very competitive market, and even more competitive in Proz.com since you must compete with thousands of people who offer your same services. For part of these thousands of people, the only competitive tool is their ability to drop their rates until they are dead (the rates, not the translators, or at least not immediately as their rates are not really sustainable), so either you are really good and have an impressive academic background, or competing for jobs in Proz.com (I mean as an immediate goal) will prove to be rather hard.

Having said all this, I think that Proz.com's membership can give you a competitive edge if you are really good: with time, you will become a Certified PRO, you will gather Kudoz points by sharing your expertise, and with some involvement in Kudoz and the fora you will get to be seen by many people who could be interested in your services in the long run.

On top of considering Proz.com membership, I would strongly encourage you to seek Canadian translator certification if you are not certified at present. Being certified will probably be a much more solid way of driving your income in your case, as customers will be more reassured that you are really good. You might want to call the translators association of your province in Canada and ask them about the requirements and how to get proper training in your area to increase your chances of passing the exams.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-05-05 05:07 GMT]


... I have to say that getting jobs (and, more importantly, regular clients) via proz worked a treat for me. This started with my first customer right after joining Proz as a non-member and went on after becoming a full member. It should be noted that, contrary to Tomás' case, I can live quite comfortably on my income. Yes, there are well-paying clients out there "even" on ProZicon_wink.gif

Tomás is also right in saying that participation in kudoz might yield good results (it certainly did for me) and that a degree and/or certification might help, however, I have the impression my clients see my background and work experience in my specific field as more significant assets.

The full membership is just a potential "launch pad" to success, you will have to put in a lot of effort to make it work. Nevertheless, I would suggest you try it; it's not that big an investment if you want to run a business. And the Blueboard alone might already be of great value to you.

All the best, Katja!

Kay


 

Erkan Dogan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
about membership May 5, 2010

Whether membership is worth is debatable I think. Depends on how you view things here. If you think your clients care to see a ribbon next to your name, then you know the answer. This is the tip of the iceberg, there are more underneath. I really disagree that Proz membership is unnecessary. It is obviously the best marketplace available to us today, as long as you know "how to play right" on the market. The membership fee is really nothing compared to what you might get from here in the long term. Also, if you are a paying member of Proz for several years and do not see an increase in the number of your clients, it is probably because you have been unable to exhaust some energy to figure out the best use of its features. I have been a paying member for a year by now and my second year just started. I see a great change in the number of my clients whom I contacted via Proz. That is AFTER I skipped ridiculous projects that would pay almost nothing. Otherwise, I wouldn't be a member just for forumsicon_smile.gif That would be sillyicon_smile.gif

Also factor the fact that I am living in the US where the expenses are more expensive than those in Turkey. If I am able to compete with an overwhelming number of Turkish translators who might offer very "reasonable" prices vs. mine, I think I am doing sth right in communicating my quality to customers and asking for a fair price. One client once had told me that "I was not necessarily the one with the most reasonable price, but...". You fill the part after "but", then you have some answersicon_smile.gif

Sorry for piece by piece commentsicon_smile.gif


 

Katja Dobie
Local time: 01:42
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 5, 2010

Hi,

I'm quite amazed by all your very detailed replies. I kind of guessed that there would be no "one perfect" answer, but your different opinions offered a wider range of perspectives on the matter. Since I'm new here, my profile is "under construction".

I was sort of aware that getting jobs had first of all to do with the quality of your work, thoughicon_smile.gif

Have a great week, thank you very much and I hope you all have a bit warmer weather than us here on the West Coasticon_smile.gif

Katja


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Membership May 6, 2010

Dear Katja,

I have been on ProZ since 2004 and have always envisaged great advantages in being a paid member, firstly by the priority position in listings but mainly by the right to quote on more jobs. Non-members are discriminated against by job posters who say "non-members may only quote after 12 hours" and then close the job, say, after only 6 hours.

However, I have never been able to afford membership because rates in Brazil are so pitifully low while taxes are the highest in the world.

As it turned out, however, I signed up for a ProZ conference (with PayPal credits that I could otherwise not have used, as Brazilian banks do not accept PayPal transfers) and was lucky enough to win a 6-month membership in the prize draw. So I thought, let's see how the cookie crumbles, if it works out I will take out membership on a permanent basis.

So guess what... the six months passed and not one job through ProZ!

I do have quite a few clients but got nearly all of them through personal marketing or word of mouth.

So, is it worth it? It depends on your luck, I suppose. My language pair is extremely saturated and rates are very low, maybe this has something to do with it. Indeed, my work is 98% local, yet I know a co-ProZian who once mentioned her work was 100% international - so it just depends on Old Lady Luck, and on how things turn out.

Saudações do Brasil,

PAUL


[Edited at 2010-05-06 00:55 GMT]


 
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