How to avoid being born dead?
Thread poster: Serge Santander

Serge Santander  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:21
Member (Feb 2018)
English to French
Mar 1

HELP

I'm about to enter the process of joining the Certified PRO Network
but I have a huge problem.

I stopped working as a freelance translator during a 11 years period to pilot a charity program.

I just started again last month. I have bills from my old customers but I do not know anyone that may recommend me, they are either dead or retired))
The only way out would be to pass French and English tests to show my skills or to be entrusted with a job that I could do for free if necessary.

I can't see any skills tests on this platform as on Upwork for example.

If any of you can give me a little advice on how to survive the first few months, I'll be very grateful.

I have had hundreds of translation jobs in the past, in most areas of translation, even with prestigious companies. My expertise is writing articles in French. I handle French with ease and I have a style that always impresses my customers.

I just spent 15 days on Upwork without success and yet, I received an excellent appreciation from my first client (the only one;)
I passed their skills tests and I'm in the top 10%.

I say it again, feel free to give me an advice if you have any.

All the best to all of you
Bonne chance à toutes et tous

Serge


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Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 08:21
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
KudoZ Mar 2

First, you need your potential clients to be able to find you.

The ProZ equivalence of skills tests is to answer KudoZ questions. KudoZ points will raise your profile in directory searches.

There are a number of issues with the KudoZ system and I believe there is ongoing work on the site to make changes/improvements to the way it is used, but at the moment the bottom line is that if you go in there and build up a few points, you'll start to come up in directory searches.

Second, having been found by a potential client, you need to fill out your profile. When a client looks through the twenty+ translators who have come up in her or his search (or who have replied to the job ad), why will they choose you? What are your unique skills? Specialisms? Maybe some translation samples?

Good luck!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Emphasise the positive aspects Mar 2

It seems to me that you're focusing on what you CAN'T give clients; not what you CAN give them. Forget those tests that (I think) you have to pay to do on Upwork. They're just gimmicks. The Pro thing here on ProZ isn't a gimmick, but neither is it essential to get work. You can leave your application for a while and in the meantime build up your client base and improve your visibility on here by being active on KudoZ, particularly in your areas of specialisation.

You give three positive sentences in your post, telling us that you have loads of experience and particular skills. Leverage them! Give clients a 100% positive message about your experience and skills in translation, your charity work and what you can do for them. You would most certainly benefit from reviewing your profile. There's a great - and free - webinar here to help with that. You'll find that and lots of other useful information in the Site Guidance Centre.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Serge Mar 2

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:
First, you need your potential clients to be able to find you.


Sheila Wilson wrote:
It seems to me that you're focusing on what you CAN'T give clients; not what you CAN give them.


Don't forget: Serge's main question is specifically about the appropriate procedures for joining the Red P programme.

Serge Santander wrote:
I'm about to enter the process of joining the Certified PRO Network
but ... I do not know anyone that may recommend me (they are either dead or retired).


It does not matter how old the contacts are -- ask for their permission to mention their names and contact details for use as references.

There is actually very little information available on how the Red P application process works, and for example I have no idea whether there is a minimum number of references that are required. In addition, it would appear that you would have to fill in information on 3 screens, but there seems to be no way of knowing what kind of information will be asked on screens #2 and #3. But... there is: you can click the "Save data and continue" button even if you haven't filled in any information.

There is also a video about joining the Red P programme, but it doesn't work in my browser.

The only way out would be to pass French and English tests to show my skills or to be entrusted with a job that I could do for free if necessary. I can't see any skills tests on this platform as on Upwork for example.


There are no tests on ProZ.com, although it is my understanding that the sample translation you submit during your Red P application will be reviewed by Red P members to see if they think you can actually translate.

If any of you can give me a little advice on how to survive the first few months, I'll be very grateful.


It is said that you don't need to be a Red P member in order to get work via ProZ.com. That may actually be true. So polish your profile page and start working on your KudoZ score, in the mean time.



[Edited at 2018-03-02 16:42 GMT]


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Sulim Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 15:21
Member (2017)
English to Korean
contact to the old references Mar 2

Contact the old references

No matter how old they are or even they are dead
you can still contact to the companies you used to work for.

just contact them and use them as your references
I don't think it will be problem to write down all your old projects only if it was decent ones.

and use 'your sample translation' box on your profile, to show your skills to your potential customers:)


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
But is joining the programme the current priority? Mar 2

Samuel Murray wrote:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
It seems to me that you're focusing on what you CAN'T give clients; not what you CAN give them.

Don't forget: Serge's main question is specifically about the appropriate procedures for joining the Red P programme.

Serge Santander wrote:
I'm about to enter the process of joining the Certified PRO Network
but ... I do not know anyone that may recommend me (they are either dead or retired).



I didn't make it at all clear, Samuel, but I really don't think that joining the programme should really be Serge's priority at the moment. Apart from anything else, you are supposed to be able to show some involvement with the community here. Serge is totally new to the site and has translated zilch for the last 11 years, so it doesn't seem the right time to be collecting recommenders and producing samples. I certainly didn't see a rush of new clients when I got my P, so I don't think it's a deal-breaker. It does give clients who find you here a certain amount of extra confidence, of course, and it's worth having for that, but I don't think many clients restrict their searches to P members, and I don't think it alters our position in the directory. Visibility comes from your directory position, and that varies depending on the searcher's filters. You can check your position here: https://www.proz.com/guidance-center/directory-rank . Once a potential client finds you here, then it's your profile that matters; and if that puts them off, you've lost them - P or no P.

I personally would advise you, Serge, to:
a) sort out your promotional texts and your ProZ.com profile
b) get active on KudoZ
c) get some new clients, who will hopefully recommend you
d) arrange some great samples, including one that will be suitable for your P application
e) apply


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Serge Santander  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:21
Member (Feb 2018)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all of you Mar 2

Many thanks for your help, I'll go to bed less silly tonight
I'll read all your precious stuff
I've received my first job today on another platform
I'll improve my presence on Proz
"Merci beaucoup"
Serge


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