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Incentives for staying with Proz.com?
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:12
English to German
+ ...
Jul 31, 2017

Every year, I make an effort to remind myself why I am still a paying member of Proz.com. Is it for the jobs offered on this platform? No. Is it for my image? Only if people seriously believe we are all a community of professionals - in the sense of serious, dedicated translators who know the worth of their quality work. Certainly not.
Is it for the forums to exchange opinions with other dedicated colleagues? Less and less. Is it for Kudoz to get to the top of the directory to receive contacts from serious clients who also appreciate the quality and adequate fees for one's work? The latter isn't happening. Is it for the Kudoz glossaries which help with terminology questions or for Kudoz in order to get help from others in a few rare cases when needed? Not really. Is it for all the other bells and whistles that are offered nowadays such as term uploads and downloads, discounts for software which we are expected to keep buying or invest in? Don't need it. Really. And I am test driving these things.
Is it for all the mass emails I receive from agencies who tell me about their limited budget, demand rock bottom rates and want my CV, references, free test translations and quick delivery but pay after 45 or 60 days or only if you bug them enough? And have quite extensive and mostly ridiculous NDA's (which are aggressively more than simple NDA's) to fill out? No thank you. Is it because I can trust my membership fee will help improve my income and increase the flow of serious orders? Can't say it does.
Let me know about your incentives to pay. And please don't tell me your membership paid off because you got a job for $150.00 Think of how many people pay and participate here and what it all means for the translation sector.
As always, I am expressing my own point of view and anyone else's can certainly be different.


[Edited at 2017-08-01 02:09 GMT]


 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 10:12
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
I share with you the same opinion! Jul 31, 2017

Dear Bernhard,

Honestly speaking, I have the same opinion/feelings about my paid membership!

I spend a lot of time every year trying to persuade myself that it's worth it!

Finally, I always end my inner struggle by renewing my membership!

Hope, like you, to hear more of others' experiences icon_smile.gif


 

The Misha
Local time: 03:12
Russian to English
+ ...
Two things only Jul 31, 2017

From where I stand (30+ years into it and counting), none of the goodies you mentioned in your original post are worth much. I mean, some of them may be, but I and others like me already have them, so there's no need to pay for them again, here or elsewhere.

So for me, this place has only two attractions:

1) KudoZ may be extremely entertaining (less so in the past few years, but still making my day on occasion) and give me a great excuse to beat around the bush rather than do something useful. Like, say, work.

2) The really important one: schmoozing. I mean, really, where else are you going to go? Those other places? They are cemeteries. Nothing ever happens there. Even though ProZ has definitely lost its old luster, there is still no viable alternative. To paraphrase that old bank robber joke, it's where everyone is.

Incidentally, like most other best things in life, the above are (still) free. Maybe that's why I've never paid these folks a dime in the ten years I've been here. Well, that and the pervasive left-leaning political bias that I resent and that seems to permeate everything the owners and staff of this purportedly apolitical platform do.


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:12
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
ProZ brought me plenty of business Aug 1, 2017

OK, there are some outsourcers that demand low rates etc. But there are also serious ones that I would never have reached without ProZ. And Blue Board /non-payment report are powerful tools when you have a problem - I am just experiencing one, an agency who hasn't been answering my reminders for 3 months, but immediately answered when I reported them. You are in large markets and maybe don't need international business (although I am not sure what rates may be in Egypt?), I live in a small, low-cost country and it makes a lot of difference to me.

 

Gitte Hoveds (X)
Denmark
Local time: 09:12
Danish to English
+ ...
Here's a thought Aug 1, 2017

If you were not a paying member, your opening comment here would have been vetted by a ProZ staff member before being posted. Not saying it would then have been deleted (but it might), but at least you have the privilege of having your comments posted instantly. Non-paying members don't. This can actually be frustrating at times if you want to participate in a forum discussion and your comment doesn't appear instantly, but ends up completely out of place in the order of submitted comments.

 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 09:12
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board Access / Forum Posts Aug 1, 2017

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Let me know about your incentives to pay.


1) Blue Board Access
While the general BB score usually does not say much about an agency (many translators seem to be into some hardcore brown-nosing), individual comments in BB entries can be quite informative.
Also, the BB has worked as leverage against late-paying agencies for me in the past.


2) Forum Posts
My forum posts appear right away.


Those were my main reasons to pay the membership fee.
I have gotten quite a bit of business via Proz, but I think that would have worked out without me being a paying member, too (for example, I used to bid on jobs by paying $1 from my Proz wallet before I was a member).

Since most of what I find interesting here is user-generated, I feel the membership price is unreasonably high; it should be about half of what it is.

[Edited at 2017-08-01 06:42 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
Italian to English
My POV Aug 1, 2017

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

As always, I am expressing my own point of view and anyone else's can certainly be different.


Mine's different.

I am regularly (though not every day) headhunted by prospective clients, because they've seen my profile on Proz. That's why I stay.

[Edited at 2017-08-01 07:01 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Me too Aug 1, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

As always, I am expressing my own point of view and anyone else's can certainly be different.


Mine's different.

I am regularly (though not every day) headhunted by prospective clients, because they've seen my profile on Proz. That's why I stay.

Yes, the directory is very useful indeed. The job board gives maybe one job per year, if that. But the ideal scenario is to receive an email from someone asking for your terms and availability after finding you high in the list of suitable suppliers. With no prior effort, you have an interested potential client, interested enough to have contacted you. Non-members can only appear after every paying member. Of course, you get a few time-wasters, but I find these contacts are quite often converted into orders.

I wouldn't like to be without the Blue Board either, however flawed it may be. It still shows you who to definitely avoid because you'll have to fight for your money. Reading between the lines of individuals' entries helps, as does seeing whether names you recognise appear happy. If most translators are living in low-cost countries and/or not paying members, you know rates will be low.

Attend ProZ.com conferences, especially international ones, for the really "Pro" side of the site. When you're with hundreds of translators who have paid to attend, travel and stay in hotels, you know you're among professional translators who are investing in their careers. Few of the outsourcers most of us despise are going to be there (only the giants of the industry icon_frown.gif) but you'll meet many owners of small translator-run agencies, and many freelancers who outsource or at least pass on work they can't handle to people they know icon_smile.gif.


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:12
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
The same here Aug 1, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

As always, I am expressing my own point of view and anyone else's can certainly be different.


Mine's different.

I am regularly (though not every day) headhunted by prospective clients, because they've seen my profile on Proz. That's why I stay.

[Edited at 2017-08-01 07:01 GMT]


I am considering quitting my Plus package subscription as I find it useless but standard Proz membership package guarantees me 80 % of my yearly income (and I don't visit the job board) .

[Edited at 2017-08-01 08:09 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Pros (Prozs?) and cons Aug 1, 2017

The pros:
1. Like Tom and Sheila, I'm often contacted by potential clients who have viewed my Proz profile and these contacts often lead to good jobs with lasting clients.
3. I find the Blue Board invaluable when deciding whether to work for a hitherto unknown client - assessed, of course, with plenty of sodium chloride.
4. I find Kudoz useful sometimes, if only to confirm my thoughts about terminology, or interesting generally - again assessed with a pinch of sodium chloride.
5. I love the forums, even if they're sometimes infuriating.

The cons:
1. Too many forum posts about difficulties with CATs, Trados in particular. Yawn.
2. Bossy censorship of negative Blue Board comments.
3. Too many annoyingly untempting offers of software, CAT tool courses, bells and whistles (yes, I know I can ignore them, but still ...).

As my pros far outweigh my cons, I have so far decided to renew my membership each year.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Because it is expected Aug 1, 2017

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Every year, I make an effort to remind myself why I am still a paying member of Proz.com.


Mainly because it is the best site on the web to have a profile page for my translation services. So, yes, there is LinkedIn, and there is TC, and there is Facebook, and there are a dozen or so other translator portals (they come and go), but ultimately the link that I give to clients and colleagues (apart from my own web site address) is the link to my ProZ.com profile page.


 

Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:12
Spanish to French
+ ...
My case is a mix of... Aug 1, 2017

Bernhard, Morano on the one hand and of Jan and Sheila on the other hand.
I surely can't say that Proz brought or is bringing me 80% of my income, very far from it. Maybe is it a matter of language pairs, maybe a question of rates that help some of us to get most of their business through Proz.
In the end, Jenny sums it all quite clearly.
But yes, it could be a bit less expensive!


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:12
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bernhard - so why DO you stay? Aug 1, 2017

There must be at least one reason. I agree with just about everything you say, but my reasons are probably (1) access to doubts concerning terminology, with Jenny's NaCl proviso, and (2) the forums' window to other people doing the same job I do.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:12
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
One day I'll drop out too Aug 1, 2017

... but not yet!

I am now a pensioner, and I was dropped by my Danish union when I reached retiring age. Several of the major benefits do not apply after reaching pension age, and the subscription was just out of proportion with the benefits. I miss them! So I soften the blow by staying on here.

The forums are one big reason for staying on. I filter out a lot of topics, including CAT tools, and only visit them when there is a major update, to see whether others are struggling with bugs, or when I have a problem myself.

Like others, I would not want to be without the Blue Board. Especially as I am now really picky about jobs I take on... but good clients find me as well as the cheapskate offers, and the balance is still positive.

KudoZ is not nearly as active as it used to be in my languages, but I still look up an expression now and then.


 

Maija Cirule  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:12
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
If I Aug 1, 2017

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

There must be at least one reason. I agree with just about everything you say, but my reasons are probably (1) access to doubts concerning terminology, with Jenny's NaCl proviso, and (2) the forums' window to other people doing the same job I do.


was unhappy with Proz, I would simply quit without acting like a drama queen. Just saying...


 
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