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This year, I noticed gross misinterpretation of people's professional qualifications (at ProZ.com)
Thread poster: Marquis

Marquis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Jun 20

I was hesitant about posting this, but at this point I have no choice.
It seems that nowadays Proz is only interested in making money and it has veered so far away from the original environment of the site that in my opinion professional translators will soon be staying away from this site altogether.
I have been a member of Proz.com since 2006 and during the years, I noticed discrepancies in people's profiles, but only this year, I noticed gross misinterpretation of people's professional qualifications. Not only that, I was told personally by a mediator that they cannot possibly vet all the translators - but they can charge each $190 for each for registering nowadays.
Please note, the fee is not the problem. It is what it entails that is.

Starting with the native language of some translators - some are bilingual without even visiting the foreign country, and some are native in another language just by going to school in a different country for 4 years - How is this possible????

Not only that, I found a translator who claimed to be registered with the ATA in 7 language groups (not possible for any ATA member - but apparently ALL is possible on Proz,com, once you pay the fee - you can be native in Martian), this particular translator was not even a member of the ATA in ANY language pair!!!

I found translators who claim to be certified by a foreign association for translators, but upon inspection, none of their claims were true.

How is this that we are charged $190 for a membership nowadays, only to be competing with a bunch of liars, posers, and cheaters? Why on earth am I going to renew my membership, if this website is just full of lies???
It makes no sense. Once they raised the prices, they should have also raised their vetting process.
How is this possible that I, an individual translator, can find this information online and nobody at Proz.com can......
This is a US based website and should at least abide by some ATA protocols.
People working at Proz.com should be able to get online and check the ATA website for this professional information that involves the ATA name. This practice is unfair for all members who actually pay their dues at the ATA or who are actually native in one language or another. This is just baffling to me, as it proves that Proz.com is ONLY about making money nowadays, instead of continuing to provide a valuable and trustworthy information for potential clients. This website is now full of lies and misleading information.
Frankly, if I put down that I am native in Swahili, it will pass and most likely if I enter that I am a member of XOXX that would fly as well..... This is just not right. Not for the money at least.....
I feel my next move will be to report this website to the ATA, as they post false information online about their members.
A real ATA member


This is not a professional move and


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2017-06-20 14:13 GMT]


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:56
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Verification Jun 20

Are you saying that the verification measures already in place (i.e. the "pre-Plus" ones, such as native language, credentials, identity, WWA, etc.) are unreliable as well?


P.S. This could also be extended to the P badge 'credential'...

[Edited at 2017-06-20 14:08 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:56
English to French
+ ...
ATA displays only 7 language pairs Jun 20

The ATA web site states "You may list up to 7 language combinations in your directory profile. Additional Languages and dialects may be added using the "Languages and dialects not listed above" text below."

I don't see why claiming more than 7 language combinations would not be possible on the ATA web site.

Marquis wrote:

Not only that, I found a translator who claimed to be registered with the ATA in 7 language groups (not possible for any ATA member


[Edited at 2017-06-20 14:13 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:56
English to French
+ ...
Why not? Jun 20

Please, let us know what the ATA says, assuming you get a response.

Marquis wrote:

I feel my next move will be to report this website to the ATA, as they post false information online about their members.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:56
SITE FOUNDER
Staff check ATA (and other credentials) when discrepancies are reported Jun 20

Hi Marquis,

ProZ.com's policy (since 1999), is to verify ATA (and where possible, other) credentials upon either the request of the credential holder, or when another person reports a misrepresentation / discrepancy. When there is an inaccurate claim, we require it to be updated or else we take actions, which may include removal of the profile.

As you can understand, we do not check into every claim made in every profile before receiving such requests. This would not be practical.

If you are aware of misleading claims, please report them by support ticket.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:56
Member
Italian to English
Community Jun 20

I understand your frustration. That said, there are a number of considerations that need to be made.

ProZ.com is a community. It is not the job of staff to check every single thing that each member puts on their profile - it really would be impossible, as they say. Some aspects of the information that site users declare are vetted, but others aren't. Being a community of supposed professionals, one would hope that the professionals who use the site report information that properly reflects their skills and qualifications. But of course there are cowboys everywhere, in every trade and profession - you only need to pick up a newspaper, turn on the news, or look around you in life to see that such people are not limited to Proz. Here on the site, on KudoZ in particular, you can see many people masquerading as professionals, who IMHO should really be doing something else. "Translators" with no knowledge of the subject areas they claim to be specialists in, translators with no research skills or common sense. It's a pity, of course; on the other hand, the site is simply a reflection of the society we live in. Some people are honest and ethical, others less so.

It's my belief that those who falsely report their credentials won't get very far, since successful businesses are built on hard work, honesty and mutual respect. Or maybe that's just utopian optimism on my part.

Of course it's not always easy as a client to differentiate between bad quality and good, but if a certain client truly cares about quality (and not all of them do), they will look further than this site to ensure they are getting a quality service. Caveat emptor, as the saying goes.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oh, come on Jun 20

Henry Dotterer wrote:

As you can understand, we do not check into every claim made in every profile before receiving such requests. This would not be practical.


No, I don't understand. Not if you're going to call your site ProZ.

Ten minutes to check a member's credentials isn't much to ask given the size of the membership fee and the purported aims of the site.

But I won't hold my breath given the sheer number of people accepted onto this site who claim native English but can't string together a single correct sentence.


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The Misha
Local time: 18:56
Russian to English
+ ...
When has ProZ NOT been about making money? Jun 20

And what's wrong with making a buck anyway? I've been around here for about as long as the original poster, and it's always been this way if I remember it right. Furthermore, I think they've always been upfront about being a business, it's just that they have progressed down that line and it may be a little more apparent now. Actually, it is very much a standard route for pretty much any "progressive" online venue. Sooner or later, you need to monetize (well, duh, it's a business, remember?), and eventually it goes too far, and pretty much everyone gets disgusted and leaves, and that's the end of the business cycle. Then, all of a sudden, another shining city upon a hill pops up, and the process repeats itself.

If you ask me, ATA is a much bigger offender here. This self-professed "industry association" (presumably, nonprofit) charges you exorbitant fees and imposes requirements that have progressively less to do with the real business we are in while at the same time pretending to be God's gift to translators. Well, they are not. Depending on your language pair, ATA offers little to no value in exchange, for which reason it is rapidly becoming altogether irrelevant. What's ATA anyway?

Nor is ProZ a quasi-regulatory agency to police this so-called "industry". If they tried, I'd be the first to head for the exits, and I am sure many more would follow. They know better than that, I am sure. As to people lying and cheating, well - surprise, surprise! - people lie and cheat. It may be disgusting, but it's as human as everything else. Make your own favorite comparison here.

I've said it before, and I will say it again: what this place is, is an electronic flea market where everyone comes to have fun and schmooze. It's a vital role too. Human society pretty much started at markets (it sure didn't start at a cemetery, such as that other place that shall not be named:)). That it is at the same time kind of seedy and disheveled, and there's rotting fish guts and pickpockets everywhere is but an unpleasant dark side of the moon (dialectics, baby). What matters in the end of the day is what's on the bottom line. You know, once most of the pluses and minuses cancel each other out.

I say take off your rose-colored glasses, man. This place is what it is - and not an iota more. Besides, flea markets are fun - as long as you don't hold them to the same standard as Tiffany's on 5th and 57th.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:56
French to German
+ ...
Not possible Jun 20

I don't think it's possible for Proz to verify any information people put on their profile.

How e. g. do you want to verify that someone is a native speaker or not?

Proz may still be able to do that for English (it would take a considerable amount of time though) but to do that for every single language just is not possible.

People happen to falsify CVs to get a job in an administration, in industry etc., politicians pretend having exams they don't have, so I am not really surprised such things happen on Proz as well.

That's unfortunately how life is.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:56
Member
Italian to English
Information vs. credentials Jun 20

Henry Dotterer wrote:

we do not check into every claim made in every profile


Chris S wrote:

Ten minutes to check a member's credentials isn't much to ask


There's a difference between checking someone's credentials (a few pieces of information) and every word they write in their profile.


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:56
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Childish Jun 20

Since long ago, I’ve been referring to a need of an option “close to native”. A huge amount of translators would have a possibility to adequately indicate their levels.

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finnword1
United States
Local time: 18:56
English to Finnish
+ ...
I agree with Inga Jun 20

"Near native" would be more honest. Nobody has more than one native language. In fact a newborn baby has none. A baby is not born with it. Language is mostly picked up from the mother. In many cultures this is referred to as "mother tongue".
Having two native languages would seem to imply that the father has two wives in the household, speaking a different language, and competing to introduce theirs as the dominant "native language".
Honesty is the best policy.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Sometimes it's laughable Jun 20

Sometimes a master's degree in applied linguistics becomes an MBA...

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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Why Jun 20

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
ProZ.com is a community.


Don't you pay your membership only to improve your ranking in the directory?
It's like paying to be listed in the yellow pages. Are the yellow pages a community?
I would say Proz is a marketing tool, not a community, even though we can interact.
Is Facebook/linkedin a community?


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:56
Member
Italian to English
Jumping to conclusions Jun 20

David GAY wrote:
Don't you pay your membership only to improve your ranking in the directory?


Do you always jump to conclusions and presume to tell others why they do certain things?
Improving my ranking is only part of the reason I pay for membership. It does get me a better ranking in the directory, particularly in my language pair and specialist subject. This in turn gets me further work, not something to be despised, as you seem to be insinuating.

David GAY wrote:
I would say Proz is a marketing tool, not a community, even though we can interact


ProZ is a marketing tool, but it's more than that. It's a terminology resource, a place where people can interact on the forums (perplexed as to why you seem to think that being a community and being able to interact with each other are somehow mutually exclusive), a place to organise get-togethers, participate in the same, network, and ask for/give help with terminology problems. I could go on and on.

A definition of "community", in case you were unsure:

community
[kuh-myoo-ni-tee]

a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the):
the business community; the community of scholars.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/community?s=t


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