Getting started on Proz
Thread poster: Frank Dobbs

Frank Dobbs
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
French to English
+ ...
Nov 16, 2019

I started using Proz a few months ago. I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently. So far, I haven't received any offers of work.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and read
... See more
I started using Proz a few months ago. I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently. So far, I haven't received any offers of work.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and ready to take on anything that you may have. I am mainly looking for the longer-term, higher-paying projects, but I would be open to taking on smaller projects as well. I can also do transcribing, copying, editing, proofreading and subtitling.
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Andrea Capuselli
Local time: 07:37
SITE STAFF
Welcome to ProZ.com! Nov 17, 2019

Frank Dobbs wrote:

I started using Proz a few months ago. I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently. So far, I haven't received any offers of work.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and ready to take on anything that you may have. I am mainly looking for the longer-term, higher-paying projects, but I would be open to taking on smaller projects as well. I can also do transcribing, copying, editing, proofreading and subtitling.


Hi, Frank,

I'm Andrea, part of the ProZ.com team. Welcome to ProZ.com and I have no doubt that the community's advice here will be invaluable. I wanted to take the chance to invite you to the free "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" webinar, which may also help you take full advantage of the site: https://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/17054-meeting_clients_at_prozcom

And, of course, if you need anything, don't hesitate to reach out to the team through support: https://go.proz.com/help

Best wishes,

Andrea


Sheila Wilson
Philippe Etienne
philgoddard
Sasha Terehov
Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:37
Member
Italian to English
No magic bullet Nov 17, 2019

Hello and welcome to Proz.

Have you looked around the site and read the forums? I can guarantee that most of your questions will already have been answered, plus it will give you a "feel" of our profession.

Frank Dobbs wrote:

I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently.


Unfortunately, neither of these are enough to guarantee you any work - the bottom line is that clients are only interested in what you can do for them. Speaking two languages is one thing - using them to forge a successful translation career is something else altogether.

Frank Dobbs wrote:

So far, I haven't received any offers of work.


Joining the site is not enough - it's a common misconception that simply registering on Proz will make job offers automatically land in your inbox. Not the case, sadly - the site is a tool, offering various services to help translation professionals establish and promote themselves, get in touch with clients, and also apply for jobs, among many other things. What have you actually done to look for work?

Frank Dobbs wrote:

How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?


You should start by filling in your profile, uploading a CV and a professional picture of yourself. Then start applying to as many agencies as you can. I would also advise only translating into your native language.

Your use of the terms "Proz employers" (there is no such thing, only outsourcers who post jobs), and the fact you say "I am mainly looking for the longer-term, higher-paying projects" suggests you don't have a grasp of what our profession entails and how the translation market (and its many facets) operates (see my first point).


Sheila Wilson
Rachel Waddington
Philippe Etienne
Christine Andersen
Dan Lucas
philgoddard
Robert Rietvelt
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Are you really serious about this? Nov 17, 2019

Frank Dobbs wrote:
To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and ready to take on anything that you may have

Perhaps the clue to your lack of success is above, where you address "Proz employers".

There are few employers on this site. Andrea is the exception rather than the rule, as she is actually a ProZ.com employee, whereas 99% of us here are independent professionals, self-employed freelancers, solo traders -- call us what you will, but don't call us employees .
And rather than employers, you will only find potential clients here, interested in the first instance in risking getting you to translate one text of maybe a couple of hundred words.

I started using Proz a few months ago.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

What do you mean by "using" the site? How proactive have you been? I see a totally blank profile. A convincing profile is the very minimum that potential clients will need from you. But in your pairs -- the two most common pairs in the world -- you'll need to do far more than the minimum.

There are tens of thousands of us here that are prerfectly able to translate in your pairs. Some were brought up having an innate feeling for 2+ languages, others came to translation after getting to know their specialisation subject(s) inside-out through living and working abroad, others learned their languages in an academic setting. What they all have in common is their need to clearly demonstrate their abilities to potential clients.

Please follow Andrea's advice and all the other hints and tips in the Site Guidance Centre here. As a new translator, complete your profile convincingly, contact tens of agency clients every week, apply for every job, amass KudoZ points, pay for membership ...

You've got off to a really good start by getting a solid education, but that isn't all that clients are looking for -- they're looking for the very best person to translate their text. With so many speakers of your language pairs, you need to convince them that you're the best.


Philippe Etienne
Vera Schoen
Dan Lucas
philgoddard
Robert Rietvelt
IrinaN
Anna Gorska
 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Search the forums Nov 18, 2019

As you are in the habit of studying hard, your first professional, non-paid assignment will be to spend several full days of your time reading the Proz forums, gleaning all the information you can from experienced professionals.

Philippe Etienne
Sheila Wilson
Vera Schoen
Robert Rietvelt
Jorge Payan
Kay Denney
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:37
English to French
Hello Frank Nov 19, 2019

As others said, reading the forums will be a great way to start. There are countless threads on practices, rates, how to make a good CV, fish for clients and more.
Like Sheila told you, it is important to complete your profile on Proz. Potential clients will often ask for a link to your profile, so it needs to be good. Think of it as a second CV.
This is for the pure basics. As for landing clients and money, check the blueboard. This is a great tool to see successful and/or safe agen
... See more
As others said, reading the forums will be a great way to start. There are countless threads on practices, rates, how to make a good CV, fish for clients and more.
Like Sheila told you, it is important to complete your profile on Proz. Potential clients will often ask for a link to your profile, so it needs to be good. Think of it as a second CV.
This is for the pure basics. As for landing clients and money, check the blueboard. This is a great tool to see successful and/or safe agencies. There are offers everyday on the job board, but you will compete with dozens of other translators who will have far more chances to get the job because of their experience, specialties (having one is vital), the right tools (many clients won't consider you if you don't have translation tools) or simply because they accept to work for peanuts (please don't).

So see this as your starting point: make a great CV, complete your profile and contact clients directly everyday. This won't get you clients directly. And even if you do attract one agency or another, it doesn't mean they'll give you a project anytime soon. But this is how the starting point is. Good luck!
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Augusto Rochadel
 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Buy a membership Nov 20, 2019

This can pay for itself very quickly. And if you don't, people won't see your profile when they do a search.

And don't advertise translation into other languages unless you're one of the tiny minority who are completely bilingual. You may speak your languages fluently, but you probably don't write them fluently. If you believe you do, say so and give examples of your work. Otherwise, you'll come across as unprofessional.

In fact, samples are everything. Upload some to y
... See more
This can pay for itself very quickly. And if you don't, people won't see your profile when they do a search.

And don't advertise translation into other languages unless you're one of the tiny minority who are completely bilingual. You may speak your languages fluently, but you probably don't write them fluently. If you believe you do, say so and give examples of your work. Otherwise, you'll come across as unprofessional.

In fact, samples are everything. Upload some to your profile, or put some in your website and link to them.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2019-11-20 14:41 GMT]
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Michele Fauble
Sheila Wilson
Christine Andersen
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 04:37
English to Russian
+ ...
Time to get back to Earth Nov 20, 2019

Frank Dobbs wrote:

I started using Proz a few months ago. I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently. So far, I haven't received any offers of work.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and ready to take on anything that you may have. I am mainly looking for the longer-term, higher-paying projects, but I would be open to taking on smaller projects as well. I can also do transcribing, copying, editing, proofreading and subtitling.


Hi Frank,

By all means, I wish you the utmost success. However, there is some change in the attitude in order or, at least, a serious consideration should be given to the way you present yourself.

Essentially, you have no experience but you are ready to take on "anything?" Like clinical trials, navigation systems, IT, chemistry? Do you really believe that you are a ready-to-go editor, not just a proofreader? Again, regardless of the subject matter? Please understand that your presentation only attracts bottom-feeders who care about quality as much as you seem to care about the field you are about to take on. They will only be happy to send you anything and pay next to nothing. For serious clients, such omnivorous approach without any portfolio, experience and specialization will serve more as a repellent than an attraction. Your degree is only one flight of stairs you must climb. Of course, your university education must make you a good, maybe even an outstanding linguist but high-paying clients need much more than generic language skills.

With your permission, I'd like to refer you to the same O. Wilde's quote I already used once - "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

BTW, we all love longer-term, higher-paying projects. The problem is - they do not grow on trees. The path to such projects is paved with years of specialized experience. Legal, financial, technical and medical fields should be named among the best money-makers these days. In the "generic" areas, such as tourism, marketing, social studies, not highly technical articles for general public etc etc, which, unfortunately and quite unjustly, are often regarded as "easy" by both the unscrupulous clients and equally unscrupulous translators, you'll be competing with half of today's Earth population not so picky about rates.


Michele Fauble
Kay Denney
Anna Gorska
Jorge Payan
 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:37
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Credibility Nov 21, 2019

Offering to translate into languages you are not native in, and even between non-native languages, undermines your credibility.

Kay Denney
Dan Lucas
Sheila Wilson
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Worthiness - value - price Nov 22, 2019

Considering modern trends and specialists, I also can't trust those who on the free* (for who?) market agree to under $0.05/word and accept "discounts", offering PEMT, "freebies" and other nonsense, so what? The supply-and-demand principle still works both ways.

 

Frank Dobbs
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: Getting started on Proz Nov 25, 2019

Andrea Capuselli wrote:

Frank Dobbs wrote:

I started using Proz a few months ago. I graduated in 2018 from a top-ranking British university with a degree in translation. I speak both French and Spanish fluently. So far, I haven't received any offers of work.

To other freelancers of Proz: How and where should I start? What's the best way to start getting work and earning money using this site?

To Proz employers: If you're looking for a university-qualified translator of French and Spanish, I am available and ready to take on anything that you may have. I am mainly looking for the longer-term, higher-paying projects, but I would be open to taking on smaller projects as well. I can also do transcribing, copying, editing, proofreading and subtitling.


Hi, Frank,

I'm Andrea, part of the ProZ.com team. Welcome to ProZ.com and I have no doubt that the community's advice here will be invaluable. I wanted to take the chance to invite you to the free "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" webinar, which may also help you take full advantage of the site: https://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/17054-meeting_clients_at_prozcom

And, of course, if you need anything, don't hesitate to reach out to the team through support: https://go.proz.com/help

Best wishes,

Andrea


Thanks, I'll take a look at it.


 


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