Seach without specifying a field and Specializing (disappointing!)
Thread poster: Larissa Dinsley

Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
May 1, 2006

When the new directory was announced some time ago I was very happy to see the new development, i.e. that during their search outsourcers have to specify a field. It gave a lot of importance to the idea of speciliazing (which I believe ProZ.com is supporting) and a better chance to stand out to those of us who specialize.

However, with new recent "improvements" to the Directory the whole idea was effectively ruined. I quote:

* It is possible now to search for translators in a given language pair without specifying a field. This removes a step in the search process.

Indeed, it does! However, the truth is the majority of outsourcers just to not bother to choose a field (when they do not have to) and just do a general language search. And it was not difficult to prove: I just looked through my "Visitors" - all recent visits done via the directory were just direct "English to Russian" search - no field specified.

If fact, it was a recent discussion in the Russian forum that encouraged me to look into it. A colleague (who is a good anserer) mentioned that he now appears only on the 2nd page in the Directory search. And indeed he does. However, if you search by his field of expertise he appears on the 1st page and in some cases is the 1st on the list.

But the sad fact is: it does not matter any more, because very few people are going to do extra efforts of entering fields of expertise if they do not have to. Instead, we shall have the same old people on the front page of the search.

One more point. A few days ago I was approached by a company who wanted me to do a translation in the energy field. They found me through the Directory. Now, I do NOT do translations in the energy field. And if they were made to choose the field of expertise they would have saved their and my time.

Please, can you return "Select Field" as a mandatory step in the Directory search process?

At least, would it be possible to make "any field" just ONE of the options in the "Select Field" stage, i.e.: Technical, Science, Social Sciences..., Any.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:01
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
second that ... May 1, 2006

The big rationale for the changes so far has always been "FOCUSSING".

Of course it's a question what all those defocussed visitors were looking for. If they were just window-shopping, well, they are just noise / nuisance. In case they really meant business, h*l, a little channeling / arm twisting with field never killed anybody.


smo

[Edited at 2006-05-01 10:24]


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:01
German to Spanish
I think so too May 1, 2006

Larissa Dinsley wrote:


But the sad fact is: it does not matter any more, because very few people are going to do extra efforts of entering fields of expertise if they do not have to. ..


...Please, can you return "Select Field" as a mandatory step in the Directory search process?

At least, would it be possible to make "any field" just ONE of the options in the "Select Field" stage, i.e.: Technical, Science, Social Sciences..., Any.



Yes, this is a very important point!



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Dees  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
English to French
+ ...
Yes, agree! May 1, 2006

Thank you very much, Larissa, for bringing this up! I agree with you.

I also think that your idea about adding 'Any field' in the dropdown list is a great solution. I hope it will be implemented soon.

Happy May 1st!


[Edited at 2006-05-01 11:49]


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
How do visitors search? May 1, 2006

Larissa Dinsley wrote:

Indeed, it does! However, the truth is the majority of outsourcers just to not bother to choose a field (when they do not have to) and just do a general language search. And it was not difficult to prove: I just looked through my "Visitors" - all recent visits done via the directory were just direct "English to Russian" search - no field specified.

...

Please, can you return "Select Field" as a mandatory step in the Directory search process?

At least, would it be possible to make "any field" just ONE of the options in the "Select Field" stage, i.e.: Technical, Science, Social Sciences..., Any.


I agree with you, Larissa, that outsourcers and other visitors should be able to easily find suitable translators. In our daily usage of ProZ and all its functions we quickly forget that an outsourcer visiting ProZ for the very first time very probably has difficulties in finding the relevant data, knows which box should be ticked etc.

The question is about the tightrope walk between a) keep it short and simple for outsourcers, meaning they wouldn't need to invest much time and effort when searching and b) translators should still be able to specialize more than just "technical texts".

When looking at the major language pairs, I am quite sure that there are colleagues in most special fields. However, the smaller the language (or less common language pairs), the chances for finding a translator within a very specific field are shrinking towards zero.

So I think we would need to keep both options open, and let the outsourcers search either "general" or "specialized". It would be great benefit for ProZ if the search function would still include "any field" with one of the major fields.

Erik

**********************************
Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
Phone +49 - 3 59 52 - 321 07
Fax +49 - 3 59 52 - 322 02
E-Mail info@hansson.de
Internet www.hansson.de
Internet www.technical-translators.net
Internet www.wintitus.de
ProZ profile http://www.proz.com/pro/21654
***********************************





[Bearbeitet um 2006-05-01 16:03]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 03:01
SITE FOUNDER
Thanks for this feedback May 2, 2006

We are evaluating the effect of this experiment. I believe we should encourage that a specific field be selected when searching, but the ability to search without specifying a field was a frequent request from outsourcers. Based on your feedback, perhaps the interface needs adjustment.

Other reports on the effect of the change on profile mail inquiries would be appreciated.


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Larissa Dinsley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all for your replies! May 2, 2006

Thanks to all for your replies and support!

Henry wrote:

I believe we should encourage that a specific field be selected when searching, but the ability to search without specifying a field was a frequent request from outsourcers. Based on your feedback, perhaps the interface needs adjustment.

Other reports on the effect of the change on profile mail inquiries would be appreciated.


Henry, I can appreciate this. This is exactly why I have suggested that "any field" can be an option on the level of general field names.

The current interface is such that an outsourcer is kind of prompted to skip "select a field" altogether.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:01
Spanish to English
I disagree May 2, 2006

I think there is a place in the translation world for general translators. A lot of my translations cover more than one specialised subject. Who is the outsourcer supposed to chose it these cases?

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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 07:01
German to English
+ ...
This explains a few things May 2, 2006

I was wondering why I have received far fewer "cold calls" recently and my "visitors" tab shows a load of search engines and only one hit from the directory sine April 14. Meanwhile the top few in at least one major pair, a majority of whom happen to outsource, will be collecting extra hits then calling other translators with the job and taking a cut. Proz is looking ever more like the agents' friend with first the cutthroat-rate job board and now most of the directory hits handed out to points farmers who by definition can cover any job with a big enough contact list. Personally, I didn't pay platinum rates and waste time on Kudoz making it to the top half of the front page in my specialities just to get kicked in the teeth with a huge fall-off in directory hits.

I agree, Lesley, that there is a place for general translators - after all most of us do a "general" job at least once a year, so perhaps in terms of Kudoz ranking the "other" category should be considered "general", or alternatively your "sum total" of Kudoz could count to your directory listing under "general", but at least make the searcher aware that they are indeed looking at "general" translators.


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 07:01
German to English
+ ...
26 days since my last post... May 30, 2006

And only two directory hits - one from a colleague (not looking for someone to do a job).

So I will not be renewing my membership unless this site sees sense and makes speciality searching obligatory. What is wrong with "other" as the option for those thousands of clients who demanded the option to search for a "general" translator?

In my view these changes to the directory system are nothing short of breach of contract to those members who signed up prior to the change.

Before this change I had a good amount of hits (and jobs even), but I cannot compete for directory ranking with the 5,000-point jack-of-all-traders. I am happy to lose the competition to these people on the "general" jobs (I don't want those jobs anyway), but it is in no-one's interest to have 95% of the work going to the top 10 translators (=outsourcers) in each pair regardless of speciality.

[Edited at 2006-05-30 08:59]


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