ProZ.com membership for a beginner - feedback needed
Thread poster: Alex Alexandre

Alex Alexandre  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jun 15, 2013

Hi

I'm still new here on Proz.com and would like your advice on the subject of paid membership. I'm a Portuguese native who’s been living/working/studying in the UK for the last 9 years and, even though I've been doing translations for quite a long time, I've never undertaken any translation work for financial recompense or on a paid basis - it has always been to assist friends/colleagues.

I have a somewhat diverse academic background, ranging from geology to anthropology and sci-fi literature studies; (the latter at master’s level). I also have a level 8 I.E.L.T.S. certificate (academic).

Recently I started working as a freelance face-to-face medical interpreter and I'm also quite committed on pursuing translation as a professional career path. However, I'm only just starting to learn the basics about the translating business; I feel tempted to pay for a full Proz.com membership but fear that I might be getting ahead of myself when there’s still so much to learn.

Any thoughts/opinions/advice/suggestions on this would be most welcome.

Thank you.


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Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Definitely a Good Investment Jun 15, 2013

I would definitely get membership if you're pursuing translation/interpreting as a career. I'm a new translator (less than one year) and have been a member for about three months. I was contacted by a reputable company a couple of months ago and so far have had enough work from them to pay for Proz membership for several years!

I would say that it's the opposite of getting ahead of yourself when you have a lot to learn - it is a good step towards learning more about the profession and advancing your career.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:43
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I agree. Jun 15, 2013

Also, you don't have to wait for your posts to be vetted, and there are other perks.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:43
Member (2008)
French to English
BlueBoard - pays for itself Jun 15, 2013

If you are soliciting business from a variety of outsourcers, one non-payer identified by BlueBoard reports will save you a lot more than the membership cost.

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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:43
English to Polish
+ ...
My two cents Jun 15, 2013

Hi, Alex,

I believe you aren't really considering the financial aspect here (in which case just getting the dilemma out of your way and cutting the headache is worth a lot in itself), so let me move on to the 'ahead of yourself' angle.

So, I understand where you're coming from, and yes, expectations of the professional market can be quite overwhelming if you're a beginner. Still, you're already in the directory and waiting to be contacted by people expecting you to translate like a professional. You might as well take your first steps with the benefit of reliability associated with the membership. That, and some other perks.

To avoid getting ahead of yourself, you first of all need to inspect each and every job and each and every file very carefully before you agree to take it up. Don't ever be fooled into confirming something you aren't sure about just because somebody's complaining that the clock is ticking or threatening to go and find a different translator.

Benefit from the reliability and associate with reliable partners. As a beginner you're vulnerable, and that means it's really a good idea to work with someone who has a proven track record of high business standards, preferably also understanding of the translator's work and overall kindness and amiable character, as some outsourcers do.

Also, make sure you've read all the valuable introductory resources. They can save you a lot of pain... and time.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:43
Japanese to English
+ ...
Better than some other things Jun 16, 2013

If you look at the money spent on a 1-year ProZ.com membership, it is comparable to the membership fees for a lot of national translation associations. While joining those associations isn't usually a bad thing, if you are just starting out it can be difficult to justify pouring a ton of money into translation-related things, especially ones that don't immediately correlate to increased profits (a CAT tool that helps you work faster would be a lot more worth it, for instance). But, it is almost a guarantee that a membership on this site will help you much more if you are a beginner in the industry - if not because it gives you a boost in exposure to new (and potentially better) clients, but perhaps more importantly because it can help you avoid the plethora of scammers and dark denizens lurking in the shadows of the outsourcer community, waiting to take advantage of someone with little knowledge of the ins and outs of the translation industry. The Blue Board is worth its weight in platinum, as John mentioned. Particularly in the beginning, it can be difficult to comprehend the amount and extent of fraudulent and shady characters in this realm of international translation.

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Alex Alexandre  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Jun 16, 2013

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply with such kindness and valuable advice. Your input has helped me make the decision: I'm definitely going to invest in a membership!

Like pretty much all of you mentioned, it seems to be the best and most secure way of learning more about the business/profession.

Again, a big, sincere thank you.


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Aleksandra Karpiuk, AITI  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Polish to English
+ ...
I have the same question Jun 16, 2013

I've been torn for about three weeks now about paid membership and I still can't decide.

I have a BA in translation and I'm pursuing my MA studies in Interpreting, I've also had some professional experience while translating for private clients and translation agencies, mostly from Poland and UK for the last two-three years. I really want to develop my professional contacts and start more than one, meaningful cooperation with respectable translation agencies and maybe also take my first steps towards interpreting, but... the fee for the membership is quite high. On the other hand, the access to BB and option to quote on all jobs that match my profile is tempting...

Any advice?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Student membership? Jun 16, 2013

Aleksandra Karpiuk wrote:
I'm pursuing my MA studies in Interpreting

I imagine you qualify for the much-reduced Student Membership, Aleksandra. It doesn't, on the face of it, help you to find jobs through ProZ.com, but actually it could very well do just that, by enabling you to take part in the Mentoring Programme. That way, your Mentor would find the jobs and pass them on to you, giving his/her help and feedback.

Link to the FAQ regarding Student Membership: http://www.proz.com/faq/827#827
and to the Mentoring Programme: http://www.proz.com/guidance-center/mentoring-program/


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Aleksandra Karpiuk, AITI  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Polish to English
+ ...
Thank you Jun 16, 2013

I haven't thought of that option before, so thank you very much for the suggestion. I'll definitely think about it, the mentoring programme sounds like a great opportunity.

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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 15:43
Japanese to English
Just note Jun 16, 2013

I should point out that there are other ways of accessing the Blue Board without being a paying member, so that shouldn't be your sole reason for joining.

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Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
I think it's a good idea Jun 17, 2013

I'm also new to the website, as well as to the profession and I had the same doubts as you, but I decided that buying membership is an important step towards showing outsourcers my raw talent and raw ambition.

In order to succeed, you need to invest in yourself and in honing your craft, make contacts, seek out clients, etc. etc. With a free membership you are greatly limited and in the end, it's not worth it.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:43
English to Polish
+ ...
Have fun Jun 19, 2013

Give your profile some loving now, Alex! Imagine you're a high-octane, luxurious translation marketing consultant who has only 1 client: you.

(A good deal of people are visual and many have short attention spans, especially those outside the academic or literary world. It might be a good idea to work on the presentation. Plus, get yourself some projects, translation samples, verified credentials (e.g. by showing scanned diplomas to Proz staff members) and other such credibility enhancements and client incentives. You really need to capitalise on those 13 years of experience. That's like 3 times what I have, for example, forget beginners.)

[Edited at 2013-06-19 17:14 GMT]


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Alex Alexandre  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:43
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank You Jun 19, 2013

Thank you TransAfrique, Simona and Lukasz (again) for your advice/input! Much appreciated

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