Advice for Getting Business? Is ProZ Certification Useful?
Thread poster: Joshua Lesk

Joshua Lesk
Israel
Local time: 03:02
Member (Feb 2017)
Hebrew to English
+ ...
Jan 29

Hello.

I am an experienced translator (Hebrew, French),
but am new to using sites like ProZ to
find work. In the past few months I've connected
with a number of potential clients
and had what seemed like promising
communications, but it all ended nowhere.
I usually quote a rate in the middle of the ProZ
recommended range - about $0.10/word.
I am wondering if other translators have had this
experience and what I could do to secure more
contracts.
Also, I'm wondering if the ProZ certification (or
whatever it's called), costing about $120, was
a good move for any of you, and if it led to
getting more work.

Thank you very much for your help.
Joshua


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:02
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
Certification? Jan 29

If you mean a ProZ (paid) membership, I would definitely suggest it. In my case, it paid off in few weeks and I believe that it is a smart move (at least for the beginning).

Joshua Lesk wrote:

Also, I'm wondering if the ProZ certification (or
whatever it's called), costing about $120, was
a good move for any of you, and if it led to
getting more work.

Thank you very much for your help.
Joshua



Completing a profile and contributing to fora is also important. You may find tons of information in the fora regarding this subject.

Prices and negotiations should not differ much from the "outside world". Making yourself visible is important and the rest depends on your negotiation skills.

Elif

[Edited at 2017-01-29 19:24 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Membership and the "PRO" tag Jan 29

It's most certainly worth paying for membership here. It will make a big difference to your visibility. But paying is not enough on its own; you need to be an active site user too. You can find out how to meet clients here and get the most out of the site at the Site Guidance Centre.

Those paying members with experience can apply for the "P" badge. This is free but not all applications are accepted. The value is difficult to quantify. But it certainly doesn't hinder .

Obviously we don't know why your contacts haven't been turnng into jobs, although I don't suppose any of us have anywhere near a 100% success rate. But you do need to bear in mind that the online marketplace is an enormous one. Clients have an enormous choice and so can afford to shop around. Basically, they'll either choose the cheapest quote they can have some faith in, or they'll choose the person who seems to be a real expert at a price they can afford. It follows that if you don't want to compete purely on price, it pays to give a strong "specialist in XXX" message.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, it won't help you (by itself) Jan 30

Joshua Lesk wrote:
I'm wondering if the ProZ certification (or whatever it's called), costing about $120, was a good move for any of you, and if it led to getting more work.


Paid membership was a good move for me eventually, but paid membership would not enough for you.

If you were to get paid membership right now, your name would still be at the bottom of page 4 of the search results for English-Hebrew translators. And the new "mobile friendly" design of ProZ.com means that the bottom of the page only starts loading a second or two after the user scrolled to it, which reduces your chances of being spotted even more. If you wanted to get to even the bottom of the first page of results, you'd have to amass at least 31 KudoZ points. To get to the top 10 results, you'd need 140 KudoZ points. And if the user had specified "Israel" as the translator's country, then you wouldn't even have been in the results.

In the past month, there were 15 English-Hebrew jobs posted at ProZ.com, but those were mostly small jobs that would not have paid for your membership. 1 of those jobs would only have been available to you if you had been a paid member, and for 8 of them you would have seen the job 12 hours before any non-paying member saw them, but you'd still be competing against about 100 other paying members.

I would encourage you to build up your profile page as much as possible, however, to stand out from the rest in more restricted directory searches.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Fortunately we don't have to rely on publicly posted jobs or general searches Jan 30

Samuel Murray wrote (extracts only quoted):
If you were to get paid membership right now, your name would still be at the bottom of page 4 of the search results for English-Hebrew translators.
If you wanted to get to even the bottom of the first page of results, you'd have to amass at least 31 KudoZ points.
To get to the top 10 results, you'd need 140 KudoZ points.
And if the user had specified "Israel" as the translator's country, then you wouldn't even have been in the results.
In the past month, there were 15 English-Hebrew jobs posted at ProZ.com, but those were mostly small jobs that would not have paid for your membership.

I'm sure the statistics are right, Samuel, and they do sound rather depressing. But fortunately, as you know, the majority of all jobs placed through the site don't go through the job board, nor do most clients simply search for translators in a particular language pair. The better clients with specific needs search the directory using filters to find the very best match for their needs.

I just did a search looking for a translator for what would seem to be your ideal job, Joshua, going by the information in your profile, and yours was the last of 42 names, at the bottom of page three. With paid membership alone you'd jump to page one, in sixth spot. And getting one KudoZ answer accepted would put you into third place. I'm assuming that Hebrew to English is really your top pair, and advertising is your top specialisation. Your profile has to really match reality for searches to work in your favour. But of course, our ideal jobs don't come up every day, so in reality you'd need to try a lot harder to reach the front page in most searches.

I would encourage you to build up your profile page as much as possible, however, to stand out from the rest in more restricted directory searches.

Absolutely! Imagine you do get into sixth spot. You still haven't got the job. That's when an outsourcer will bring up the six profiles, and compare them. They should get a clear message that you're the one to go to for their particular job. Being a generalist rarely works well here; being a specialist is what brings the clients to you.


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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:02
English to Spanish
... Jan 30

Sheila Wilson wrote:

... fortunately, as you know, the majority of all jobs placed through the site don't go through the job board, nor do most clients simply search for translators in a particular language pair. The better clients with specific needs search the directory using filters to find the very best match for their needs.


Not looking for a confrontation, just asking an honest question: Is there any hard data, statistics, etc., supporting that statement?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Probably not verifiable site-wide Jan 30

Miguel Carmona wrote:
Not looking for a confrontation, just asking an honest question: Is there any hard data, statistics, etc., supporting that statement?

All I know is that I get a lot of private messages sent through my profile, through directory listings, and through private job postings. Most are pretty well tailored to my expertise although there's a smattering of spamming agencies too. Sometimes I check the sender's profile to find that they clearly registered here just to find a translator - often company bosses wanting to get into new markets. I get more clients privately than through quoting on public jobs, although those sometimes turn up trumps too.

Most of my work has come through this site, one way or another (including recommendations etc), since shortly after I joined way back when. I can't imagine that I'd have got much work at all from here if I'd never paid. There are such vast numbers of us here that you're like a tiny wisp of straw trying to be noticed in a haystack. Anything that can get you to the top of the heap is going to give you a tremendous advantage.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Specialise, specialise, specialise Jan 31

I agree with both of Sheila's posts. To improve your opportunities you should not say you can translate any kind of document (because nobody can). It might seem counterintuitive but you will get more work if you restrict the service you offer to one specific area.

For example, if you make a big play of the fact that you are specialised in the translation of documents relating to food manufacturing and logistics (from growing the plant to the finished and packaged product and all the machinery and processes that go with that), you will find that prospective clients who need a specialist translator in that area will choose you.

BTW I haven't got one of those red "Certified Pro" badge things and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Clients are not looking for medals and decorations and certainly not for paper qualifications. They are looking for genuine, proven experience and professionalism.

(Added note)

I don't know about your language pair but the rate you quoted seems rather high for a "new kid on the block". Maybe that's why nobody has got back to you.


[Edited at 2017-01-31 08:22 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not so sure about this Jan 31

Tom in London wrote:

BTW I haven't got one of those red "Certified Pro" badge things and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Clients are not looking for medals and decorations and certainly not for paper qualifications. They are looking for genuine, proven experience and professionalism.


Some clients get cold feet at the idea of having to wade through hundreds of bids after posting a job, and most of these probably being from desperados who will take just any gig, no matter what. The best resource they had for trimming this pile was to demand absolutely "must have Trados", even when they were recruiting interpreters. Now, some have shifted from this to requiring the PRO-tag.

So now and then the PRO-tag makes a difference, but having Trados is still a frequent absolute requirement, even in jobs where any CAT tool will be completely useless.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Statistics please Jan 31

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

The best resource they had for trimming this pile was to demand absolutely "must have Trados", even when they were recruiting interpreters.


And was that what they did? How do you know?

Now, some have shifted from this to requiring the PRO-tag.


Again: how do you know?

Statistics please. Otherwise this is all just speculation. Not very helpful to the "newbie" who posted the original question.

[Edited at 2017-01-31 09:12 GMT]


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:02
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Phone Jan 31

Hi Joshua,
Perhaps you're already doing this but when I was starting out the most successful way I got work was by phoning the people I wanted to work with. If you're just sending an Email it will often get ignored, but if you've spoken to someone on the phone asking about work and if you can send your CV, when your mail arrives someone will know who you are and be expecting it.

I didn't join Proz for about 5 years, but membership is well worth it once you get a few Kudoz points. You don't need to be a top ranking member in your language pair, just in your areas of specialization.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Statistics? Jan 31

Tom in London wrote:

I haven't got one of those red "Certified Pro" badge things and it doesn't seem to make any difference.



My reply, in your own words:

Tom in London wrote:
How do you know?

Statistics please. Otherwise this is all just speculation. Not very helpful to the "newbie" who posted the original question.



[Edited at 2017-01-31 09:20 GMT]


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