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What stops translators from thriving?
Thread poster: Andrew Morris

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:15
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Please install a link button from job board to ProZ Find Jun 7

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

Mike Donlin wrote:

The Orange button was added this week to get more businesses to consider posting jobs. Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts - believing that will result in continued growth for more job posts and overall activity at ProZ.com. The orange button setup takes the search, and all its filters, to start a job post for that outsourcer. It seems to be a natural, and expected step from a directory.




You say outsourcer Mike. This seems to be clearly geared towards translation agencies. However, we translators are most interested in direct contacts from direct clients. I believe ProZ Find is also a much more efficient way for direct clients to find the right person. With job posts, they will have to sift through possibly hundreds of replies. Not so with the direct search for the best-suited translator. So, I strongly support Viktor's suggestion:

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
Does this work in the other direction too? You could also add a big orange button to the "post a job" section, suggesting to the potential job poster that there is a huge directory of pro translators and that they could simply use the directory instead of posting a job. You could even use the filters the poster already entered and show something like: "152 translators found for these criteria - open directory now?" That would seem equally natural to me.


Katalin Horváth McClure
Katalin Szilárd
Robert Forstag
 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 20:15
SITE STAFF
Goto directory from job post, outsourcer in the generic sense Jun 7

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

You say outsourcer Mike. This seems to be clearly geared towards translation agencies. However, we translators are most interested in direct contacts from direct clients. I believe ProZ Find is also a much more efficient way for direct clients to find the right person. With job posts, they will have to sift through possibly hundreds of replies. Not so with the direct search for the best-suited translator. So, I strongly support Viktor's suggestion:


I typed outsourcer to cover anyone looking for translators. Whether they use directories, job posts, or something else, I hope they are hiring the best-suited translator in the way that best fits their workflow.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
Does this work in the other direction too? You could also add a big orange button to the "post a job" section, suggesting to the potential job poster that there is a huge directory of pro translators and that they could simply use the directory instead of posting a job. You could even use the filters the poster already entered and show something like: "152 translators found for these criteria - open directory now?" That would seem equally natural to me.


I missed this post. We can take a look at adding this if it is not there. Certainly seems natural as noted.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Professional translators' interests Jun 7

Thank you for your answers, Mike.

Mike Donlin wrote:
Yes, by offering better ways to post jobs, I believe there will be more activity and more opportunity for all.


It may be more activity for proz.com. But if you navigate clients from directories to posting jobs it is against all professional translators' interest who want to be contacted directly (as proz also claimed where better jobs can be achieved). So basically proz.com's earning more activity interest is against professional translators' interest.

The same is true for the mobile version of Proz Find. You made the contact unavailable for clients.
This is your interest and this is against professional translators' interest.

So basically we found another answer to Andrew Morris' thread question: "What stops translators from thriving?".
If proz.com wants translators to thrive, positive thinking is not enough, proz should let us thrive and take professional translators' interests into account.


Michele Fauble
 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 20:15
SITE STAFF
Thriving topic Jun 7

Katalin,

Nice job bringing it back to the original question!

I reported the question of what appears in your Visitors tab and whether Find visits are up or down. I do not know if it will be reported here, or if I will have best answers but it seems like an interesting number to track.

It may be something Andrew Morris brings up in the Facebook group as well.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Interactions Jun 8

Mike Donlin wrote:

Katalin,

Nice job bringing it back to the original question!

I reported the question of what appears in your Visitors tab and whether Find visits are up or down. I do not know if it will be reported here, or if I will have best answers but it seems like an interesting number to track.

It may be something Andrew Morris brings up in the Facebook group as well.


Mike, thank you for reporting the issue concerning my Visitors tab and Find search visitors. I really appreciate it.

Although I'm not the only one who has this problem. I know at least 2 other top directory ranking translators who receive almost no direct contacts via directories and also almost no visitors from there.
And see this thread from 2018 (this was the time when you started to disable clients to contact translators from proz mobile Proz Find and this was the time when many members didn't receive visitors via Proz Find directory):

https://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_directory/326140-proz_find™_search_tool_alpha_speed_improvement_search_by_location_improved-page3.html#2749646

"Number of visitors decreased dramatically"

"I'm experiencing pretty much the same - hardly any visitors to my profile page since the Proz Find directory was introduced,"

Can you see the connection now?

I wrote in more threads many times: these "no visitors" periods are up and down.
When proz.com starts a new initiative, a new tool, a new feature that has a direct or indirect negative impact on directories, then visitors from directories are reduced. And when you started to navigate clients to job board then there were extremely many Hungarian jobs posted (many of us not interested in those) and no visitors and no direct contacts via Proz Find.

So it is not only my problem, but there are more of us.
Especially professional translators.

So this issue can be solved only by you, proz.com.


Kay Denney
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:15
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
Not quite related to the topic being discussed but... Jun 8

Katalin Szilárd wrote:


Although I'm not the only one who has this problem. I know at least 2 other top directory ranking translators who receive almost no direct contacts via directories and also almost no visitors from there.
And see this thread from 2018 (this was the time when you started to disable clients to contact translators from proz mobile Proz Find and this was the time when many members didn't receive visitors via Proz Find directory):

https://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_directory/326140-proz_find™_search_tool_alpha_speed_improvement_search_by_location_improved-page3.html#2749646

"Number of visitors decreased dramatically"

"I'm experiencing pretty much the same - hardly any visitors to my profile page since the Proz Find directory was introduced,"

Can you see the connection now?

I wrote in more threads many times: these "no visitors" periods are up and down.
When proz.com starts a new initiative, a new tool, a new feature that has a direct or indirect negative impact on directories, then visitors from directories are reduced. And when you started to navigate clients to job board then there were extremely many Hungarian jobs posted (many of us not interested in those) and no visitors and no direct contacts via Proz Find.

So it is not only my problem, but there are more of us.
Especially professional translators.

So this issue can be solved only by you, proz.com.




Earlier this year I discovered a very sobering fact about the Proz directory. While doing an SEO-related search on Google (I simply typed in "Turkish Translator" in the search box) I came across a link at the bottom of the first page saying "Proz English to Turkish Translators". I clicked on it, thinking this was the Proz translators directory (which it was) and expecting to see my profile somewhere on the second page. But, to my surprise, I couldn't. I was listed on the 9th page, and there were lots of non-paying members with less Kudoz points than I had were listed above me. I checked the directory directly on this website (clicking on the magnifying glass icon above), here I was listed on the second page, but in the directory directly accessible on Google I was listed on the 9th page. I reported this situation to Proz staff, they looked into it and said that the directory accessible on Google was an old one and it was there because it was 'cached' (they mentioned some other techie stuff that I don't recall now). Anyways, they removed that old directory (or rather updated it with the current one that you can access directly on this website). I don't know for how long that 'old directory' had existed before I chanced upon it, but it was certainly bad for business.
Though, having been alerted to this situation, the Proz staff may have updated the directories in other language pairs including yours, but you might want to do a similar search like I did.
I personally think that this website (Proz.com) is only used by translation agencies. A direct client looking for a translator would never try this website directly (they might not even know the existence of this website unless they come across it on a Google search), they simply Google a translator or go to those freelancer websites filled with bottom feeders.
I wonder if there is a way (algorithms, advanced filters, identifiers etc.) for the Proz staff to identify and distinguish direct clients (i.e. a person accessing the website from the HR department of xxx company or a private individual from a certain country that has no connection with a translation agency) from translation agencies.
I could be wrong of course, but only those operate in the translation industry (meaning the agencies) are familiar with the websites like Proz and Translatorscafe, a direct client who has an occasional use for a translator will not even have heard of Proz, they will most certainly use Google.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Education of direct clients Jun 8

Baran Keki wrote:
A direct client looking for a translator would never try this website directly (they might not even know the existence of this website unless they come across it on a Google search), they simply Google a translator or go to those freelancer websites filled with bottom feeders.


I think with extensive education of direct clients by us translators they can find their own translator candidates.
Education means to tell them the truth about this profession (no hocus-pocus marketing): translation processes (translation + proofreading/editing), other QA options, softwares, skills of translators, what we translators normally do (because many direct clients don't know how many translation process stages/tasks are done by us translators). And also tell the truth when it is recommended to look for translators and when it is recommended to look for agencies.

The question is which segment of direct clients will be "allowed" to contact translators without intervening into the business between direct clients and translators and without sorting the clients. As I mentioned before I have recently seen a job post by an end client with a shameful 0.06 Euro/word. This ruins the whole market both for freelancers and for translation agencies.

[Edited at 2019-06-08 19:16 GMT]

Edited because typo (to the approving moderator: sorry!!)

[Edited at 2019-06-08 19:34 GMT]


Baran Keki
Sandra Hyland
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:15
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
I agree with you Jun 9

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

The question is which segment of direct clients will be "allowed" to contact translators without intervening into the business between direct clients and translators and without sorting the clients. As I mentioned before I have recently seen a job post by an end client with a shameful 0.06 Euro/word. This ruins the whole market both for freelancers and for translation agencies.

[Edited at 2019-06-08 19:16 GMT]

Edited because typo (to the approving moderator: sorry!!)

[Edited at 2019-06-08 19:34 GMT]


It's sad to see such a low rate offered by an end client on this website, but if you go to a website like Upwork you'll see end clients from Europe (not agencies) posting jobs paying 2 to 4 cents per word. Though, interestingly, a PM from a British translation agency (with a stellar BB record) asked me, in passing, if I had an Upwork profile.
Btw, you may have seen a guy from Italy (who appears to be a direct client) open a thread today asking if Proz.com is a legitimate/reliable website. I hate to say this, but this just goes to prove my point. Direct clients have no idea about Proz.com, they use Google when they need to find a translator (just like when they need to find a dentist or a florist). Proz should do more to get the direct clients to use this website.


Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:15
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Job posts Jun 9

The Orange button was added this week to get more businesses to consider posting jobs. Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts - believing that will result in continued growth for more job posts and overall activity at ProZ.com. The orange button setup takes the search, and all its filters, to start a job post for that outsourcer. It seems to be a natural, and expected step from a directory.

The "post as a job" reminds of an additional option for contacting professionals. Instead of sending 15 messages, or bulk messaging 100 profiles, this allows the outsourcer to have professionals respond to them. This seems to be improving the experience for outsourcers.

It is orange because we wanted it to get noticed, to get usage and feedback. Will it remain orange? I do not know. I am happy it was noticed and brought up for discussion here.

Job posts seem to be a way to eliminate some of the bulk message mail going out since notifications should be taking into account individual settings.

Yes, we have that toilet paper you're looking for.

But are you really, REALLY sure you don't want this sandpaper instead?


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:15
German to English
+ ...
google Jun 10

Baran Keki wrote:

... a direct client who has an occasional use for a translator will not even have heard of Proz, they will most certainly use Google.

I often ask new clients how they found me. It is usually through one of three things: Google, my professional organization (often also found through Google), or word of mouth. I don't actually see a problem with end clients using that resource. The real problem that has been highlighted seems to be that end clients should also be able to readily find translators here, and through direct contact rather than primarily bidding-type jobs - do I have that right?


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
"Mojo" Jun 10

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

The real problem that has been highlighted seems to be that end clients should also be able to readily find translators here, and through direct contact rather than primarily bidding-type jobs - do I have that right?


Yes, this is one of the problems and not only end-clients but translation agencies as well.

That vivid orange "Post a job" icon should be deleted from all directories for good.
I understand that proz.com does not have as much activity (so doesn't earn that much) if end-clients or translation agencies look for translators directly via directories, but it will lose much much more if translators and outsourcers stop being subscribed.

Proz's "mojo" is (??was??) its directory.

If proz navigates clients to job board and makes restrictions on directories, it will lose much more if people stop being subscribed.

Without the free usage of directories proz will be not more than any other translation portals.


Kaspars Melkis
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 03:15
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
The end client dilemma Jun 11

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

The real problem that has been highlighted seems to be that end clients should also be able to readily find translators here, and through direct contact rather than primarily bidding-type jobs - do I have that right?


Yes Maxi that's right. Oddly enough, after posting here I got contacted by two end clients yesterday (one after the other in the space of 30 minutes, I was shocked) directly from Proz directory. I don't know if this was a pure coincidence. But the problem with end clients is that you can't tell if they're real or scammers as you can't find much info on them (no BB record or LinkedIn profile etc.). I think I managed to blow my chances by asking them to make a small down payment (as both were asking for large volume).
I'd appreciate it you could give some tips on how to deal with potential end clients that are not translation agencies. Do you think asking for a down payment is good practice? One of the clients was Spanish, the only thing legitimate about them seemed to be their website, which was completely in Spanish.
I mean how do you go about checking out an end client to see if they are kosher? There are ways to check out translation agencies, but when it comes to end clients (unless you're contacted by Shell or Tesco or whatever) how do you do that?


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
meta-analysis Jun 11

Hard skills don't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Soft skills (negotiations) don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Mentality doesn't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Experience doesn't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
References don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Experience doesn't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
CVs/cover letters d
... See more
Hard skills don't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Soft skills (negotiations) don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Mentality doesn't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Experience doesn't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
References don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Experience doesn't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
CVs/cover letters don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Portfolio doesn't really matter for freelancers are no equal party.
Rankings don't matter for freelancers are no equal party.
. . .
Middlemen pay a way under $0.05/word because freelancers are no equal party.
Direct clients who find translators at the ProZ and similar places also pay the same because freelancers are used to bottom-feeding and cannot prove their value, let alone they are no equal party.

A magic circle... Nice try, though)
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Leah Kim
New Zealand
Local time: 12:15
Member (2016)
Korean to English
+ ...
Just think: lawyers vs translators Jun 11

I would like to debate a bigger picture -- the translation industry as a whole -- as a way to analyze why many translators feel that they struggle more than they should. At the end of the day, we are talking money, aren't we. If you earn a lot in a short time, then you have more leisure time and hence, a higher quality of life. If you work a lot but earn little, then you could say you're enjoying it or on a learning curve, but can't say you are thriving.

People, in general, accept t
... See more
I would like to debate a bigger picture -- the translation industry as a whole -- as a way to analyze why many translators feel that they struggle more than they should. At the end of the day, we are talking money, aren't we. If you earn a lot in a short time, then you have more leisure time and hence, a higher quality of life. If you work a lot but earn little, then you could say you're enjoying it or on a learning curve, but can't say you are thriving.

People, in general, accept that lawyers are expensive to use -- for example, charging $300 per 10 minutes would sound normal for the top ones. Of course, their fees vary and so do our rates. However, people accept their exorbitant fees as 'okay' and dare not talk about getting discounts.

It is important to set widely-accepted base rates for translators and interpreters. At the moment, the rates are too low in general and proficient translators ourselves should not engage in competing against one another with lower and lower rates. How low will the rates go? until we perish?

Take a note of this: a 2-hour consecutive interpreting job would cost about $500 in Seoul, Korea. A comparable job in New Zealand would only cost about $100; despite the fact that New Zealand has a higher per capita income than Korea. Why is there such a big gap??? Supply and demand? Not really, at least for the case of Korea vs NZ. It all boils down to industry standard rates.

Interpreters in Korea have set very good base rates back in the days, and this is proving to be beneficial to all active interpreters. (The lack of jobs/survival of the fittest is another story)

I notice that for job postings that would have En>Ko, En>Jp, En>Ch; the number of Korean translators that bid far outnumbers those of Japanese or Chinese. What does it mean? More competition = lower rates. This really sags my morale and this is part of the reason why I hadn't been bidding actively on Proz.com (hey, y'all, I keep my dignity as a professional translator!) but I guess those who overcome this initial bidding frustration and accept low rates have a chance to move on to a better ground. Or NOT. I'm on the sidelines on Proz. and need to check out for myself if this is really worth the annual membership fee. I've been accepting jobs from local agencies and direct customers, and am witnessing a steady growth, which is a good sign. One last thing that I noticed is that agencies that try to cut down cost seem to get lousy translations and then ask me to proofread them, when in fact, proofreading becomes a major makeover and takes about just as long, or sometimes longer, to translate them from scratch. They will always find people to undercut.

I think we need to have a new forum on this subject. I could go on forever, so I'll just stop at this. Cheers. Happy translating!

[Edited at 2019-06-11 12:46 GMT]
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Kaspars Melkis
Gareth Callagy
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
end vs direct clients; B2B vs B2C transactions Jun 11

Baran Keki wrote:
the problem with end clients is that you can't tell if they're real or scammers as you can't find much info on them (no BB record or LinkedIn profile etc.). I think I managed to blow my chances by asking them to make a small down payment (as both were asking for large volume).

I think you're confusing two very different terms here, Baran. End clients are the final clients in a chain, the agency's clients. You seem to be talking about direct clients, where we cut out the middleman and deal directly with the user of the translation. Then again, I suspect there's some confusion between the different types of direct client.

B2B transactions are where we (businesses - albeit very small ones in the main) transact with other businesses. There are many things that can be done to manage the risk of dealing with them. They have registered premises etc. and their financial status should be accessible on that register. They have websites. Their employees may use Glassdoor, while their clients may use other feedback sites, and most executives will be present on LinkedIn. Etc., etc. As businesses, they will be used to paying other businesses "on account", although you would expect them to be open to staged payments for large jobs that will take some weeks to complete. If I have doubts about a new B2B client I insist on doing a small job first and getting paid for it before accepting more work. The amount of credit I allow clients is always relatively low during the first few months anyway.

B2C transactions are where we sell our services to consumers, aka private individuals. Those are indeed less easy to check. But fortunately they're well used to paying in advance or immediately on receipt. If for any reason you fail to get advance payment, and they are reluctant to pay, you only need to provide proof of having done the work and they'll pay to get their hands on the final version. Proof could be a scanned PDF of the text, a watermarked DOC file or even one with all the occurrences of one letter (e.g. E) removed.


Baran Keki
 
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