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Poll: Has being a member of a translators' organization helped you attract more clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:35
SITE STAFF
Jan 7, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Has being a member of a translators' organization helped you attract more clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Andrey Slyadnev. View the poll results »



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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:35
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other ... Jan 7, 2013

How would you know?

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:35
Member (2006)
German to English
I am not Jan 7, 2013

a member, but I could imagine it helps?

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:35
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Proz.com is not an organization? Jan 7, 2013

So far, as of this writing, 40.4% of 366 pollsters have answered "I'm not a member of any translator organization."

With 612,257 registered users increasing every day (check this out under About Proz.com) with a presumably large percentage being full paid-in members such as myself, I would have assumed that this site is quite a large organization even though it advertises itself as a "community."

Oh, incidentally I answered "Yes, significantly" because this is where outsourcers do come to do their shopping which has proven to be good for me.

Added "About" before Proz.com

[Edited at 2013-01-07 10:18 GMT]


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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:35
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Perhaps the questioner meant Jan 7, 2013

professional associations. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, but its directory of service providers (ie members) is not well promoted, and unfortunately it creates very few leads. I hope this may change in the near future. I gather that the ITI's database is rather more effective in generating leads and in helping translation buyers find translators. And, of course, you can still gain referrals from fellow members and benefit from membership in a host of other ways.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:35
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some of my new customers have come through Proz.com! Jan 7, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

So far, as of this writing, 40.4% of 366 pollsters have answered "I'm not a member of any translator organization."

With 612,257 registered users increasing every day (check this out under About Proz.com) with a presumably large percentage being full paid-in members such as myself, I would have assumed that this site is quite a large organization even though it advertises itself as a "community."

Oh, incidentally I answered "Yes, significantly" because this is where outsourcers do come to do their shopping which has proven to be good for me.

Added "About" before Proz.com

[Edited at 2013-01-07 10:17 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Jan 7, 2013

Nearly 20 years ago now I was coerced into researching and writing an article about organisations for translators, which revealed that in some countries they were a good or even essential source of work, and this may still be the case today despite the arrival of the Internet.

However, in my experience (UK/Scandinavia) membership of professional organisations for several years generated zero leads, and a year's membership of ProZ generated only random enquiries from agencies with wholly unrealistic price expectations.


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
A very positive yes. Jan 7, 2013

Membership of the ITI and the Translator's Association of the Society of Authors have brought me significant amounts of work from good clients for many years. The enquiries I get through these professional organisations are always serious ones from clients looking for translators in my specialist fields.

When I was an outsourcer we regularly used the ITI database to search for appropriate translators, and when clients approach me for help that I cannot fulfil for one reason or another it is where I send them.

I also collaborate with other ITI and TA members on projects, and am able to recommend them to clients because I know their work well. This reciprocal knowledge and recommendation is invaluable in widening your client base.


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Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Chartered Institute of Linguists Jan 7, 2013

I am a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL) and so able to put MCIL after my name (as well as DipTransIoLET for passing the Diploma of Translation required for membership).

I believe this has helped in bidding for some work, perhaps even when my rates are higher than other translators, though it is difficult to know for certain.

I have had some work coming as a direct result of being listed on the IoL website.

In addition, official organisations requiring certified translations in the UK make it a requirement that the translator is a member of IoL or other named associations. For example, this is the approach of the Home Office for immigration documents.

That said, the bulk of my work comes from clients found through Proz.com and other routes, many from even before I joined IoL.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Maybe indirectly Jan 7, 2013

Like others above, I write MCIL after my name, and explain that it is the UK acknowledgement of my qualifications. They are in fact Danish and exempted me from the Dip. Trans. which is not often set in Danish.

Like many Danes, I have not taken the specific MA necessary to be a Danish State Authorised Translator, and qualifications are required for a lot of the work I do.

Once or twice a year good clients find me on the CIoL 'Find a Linguist' list, although they may only rarely have work in Danish.

Most of my work is generated by Proz.com directly or indirectly. Possibly the red P badge helps, but that is also largely based on my membership of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Gilla Evans's remarks about the ITI are interesting - maybe I should join... I am also a member of Communication and Language Professionals in Denmark, but AFAIK that does not generate much work directly.


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Alan Corbo, CT  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 01:35
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
ATA Certified Jan 7, 2013

Becoming ATA certified has definitely been a very good investment in terms of attracting more clients. I've only been an ATA member for a year (certified just as from November 2012), but I've already recovered the investment several times over.

Of course, you have to make it happen. Being a member of any professional association and not promoting yourself as one will certainly not bring any new business in. Whenever I earn some new qualification/certification, I send emails out to all my regular and potencial clients to let them know about it, and I can say it has worked for me. Reply rates (i.e. the number of "I'm-marketing-my-services" emails you get a response to) are significantly higher when you belong to a professional organization. Although being a member (certified or not) of an association doesn't really prove you're a good professional, it does show that at least you care about projecting an image as such

As for ProZ.com, I don't know if "translators' organization" would be an apt term to describe what it is. The way I see it, a translators' organization usually has some kind of entry requirement that goes beyond the monthly/annual fee it charges. It also usually offers some kind of certification program/continuing education scheme. That's something that cannot be said about ProZ.com, since anybody can sign up to have an account (and also pay the fee, for that matter).


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't think so Jan 7, 2013

The problem in England is that the ITI and the IOL do not promote themselves or their databases, so belonging to one of them will not bring in that many new clients. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the ATA.

Very few potential clients say they found me on the IOL database. However, it has to be said, these are serious clients who do not blink twice when you tell them your rate.


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Kedls  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:35
French to English
Yes Jan 7, 2013

I've been an ATA member and clients have sought me out from ATA's online directory. It's a great investment.

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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
French to English
+ ...
Definitely Jan 7, 2013

Like Gilla, membership of the ITI has definitely brought new clients in my direction, not only from the database but also via networking with other ITI colleagues and I also believe that the more you put in, the more you get out. In other words, if you attend training days, conferences and workshops, you meet other colleagues and they are then more likely to forward work in your direction if it comes their way and they can't help. I know I do so myself if clients come to me with jobs out of my area or which I'm too overloaded to handle. Knowing how rigorous the entry standards for qualified membership are also makes me more confident in recommending fellow members I may not have worked with. I've also obtained good clients via postings on the ITI online language networks.

That said, membership (both paid and unpaid) of ProZ has also brought its rewards in the form of a number of good clients over the years, although I do think having a relatively unusual specialisation has played a part there too. Here again, the more you participate (via KudoZ, forums, etc.) the higher you are likely to rise up the listings and come to clients' attention.


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Member (2003)
French to English
Yes Jan 7, 2013

Or at least that's what a lot of clients tell me when they contact me, either through the Chartered Institute of Linguists or (less often in my case) through the ITI. As Claire says, I do think being actively involved helps but I also think being a member of a professional body helps attract better (rather than simply more) clients, alongside all the other benefits of membership.

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