Job quotes and profiles: wondering on what basis I'm being eliminated / declined
Thread poster: Richardson Lisa

Richardson Lisa  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:24
Member (2009)
French to English
Feb 19, 2010

Dear All
I have recently bid on several job postings in my field that I would have thought I stood a chance of obtaining. When I bid I usually check on my profile page to see if the job poster has had a look at my profile.
My question is this - does the poster have another access to profiles that doesn't show up on the number of visitors feature on our profiles? For these last few bids no visits were recorded on my profile, which leads me to wonder on what basis I'm being eliminated/declined? Admittedly one included a test translation so we could say that my translation wasn't any good or maybe not appropriate for the job. But what about the others - quote too high? I don't think so as I went in really low as they were posts that interested me and I'm keen to build a portfolio in my speciality. That brings me to header - both were arts related jobs so I went with 'Art History Postgraduate', seemed good to me? Anyway, I really don't know, maybe there are just more people quoting for the jobs, but I'd really like to find out why they aren't even checking my profile, unless they can and we just can't see it?
All thoughts, help, or advice welcome
Lisa

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-02-20 08:25 GMT]


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Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:24
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
I haven't checked your fortes and applicant's profile (=what you can offer the job poster), but ... Feb 19, 2010

... even the most proficient, experienced and also qualified linguists here on ProZ report low to completely discouraging acceptance ratios when quoting on invitations to tender.

However, I read both the acceptance ratios and the going rates when being contacted directly, for example thru your profile (in case it looks convincing) are better to much better (depending on various factors), UNLESS they use mass emailing (which, too bad, is becoming increasingly more common among outsourcers).

I think it is a good thing for you to admit having quoted low rates because whereas I am aware of a lot of colleagues doing this when applying with outsourcers, very few of them (publicly) admit doing it. So this shows you're an honest person, which is great.

Sadly, I can't confirm what maybe you would like to hear, viz. that you should raise your rates to increase the likelihood of getting your quotes accepted. From what I read in the forums and according to my own experience, the number of job posters willing to pay Central Western European medium level rates is rather small. As to genuinely high rates - I think these will never get accepted on here - at least not during an invitation to tender ...

Still, let's not forget low rates tend to destroy the market we all depend on! Apart from the fact you most likely won't be able to raise them should they contact you again after your first job for them.

I, too have noticed job posters oftentimes don't take a look at my profile when I believe my quotation to be at least promising or better than that. I don't understand this kind of behaviour either. Maybe they are extremely pressed for time (for example if also being translators) or the whole thing of outsourcing work gets on their nerves?

Being an Art History Postgraduate, thus having ample opportunities to succeed in markets as attractive as the art industry or in universities, why do you work in a market as competitive as ours? That is beyond me. Please advise.



[Edited at 2010-02-19 14:15 GMT]


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Richardson Lisa  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:24
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
why I am translating Feb 19, 2010

Hi Sebastian
Many thanks for your thoughts - and yes, I am honest, maybe too honest in fact!
The reasons I'm trying to establish myself as a freelancer are rather long and probably boring . I came to France to study for my first degree (Art History/French) and ended up never going back to England! Anyway, I settled down here, had two children, decided to stay at home and bring them up so didn't work for a long period. However, I carried on studying and successfully completed my Art History Masters. The kids are bigger now and I wanted work that was flexible, that I could do from home etc. As well as that, and probably the main reason is that I love translating and words/language in general, so it just seemed obvious to me! it also seemed obvious to rest in the field that I love and know - the Arts. However, it appears that it is not so easy to find work in this highly specialised field without years of experience or a translating qualification. This is why I sat the IoL exam in January - fingers crossed for the results
So you see the reasons why I'm bidding for jobs here. I could of course send out my details to more agencies, only to have them sitting in a database with no reply and with the possibility of a future project paid at 0.03 euros a word!! I hate that no-one replies to anything anymore!!
But enough ranting and back to finding work....
Lisa


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:24
French to English
+ ...
Think about other marketing Feb 19, 2010

Lisa -- in your case, I would start by concentrating on other ways of marketing yourself. Invest some time in building a decent, professional-looking web site with some genuine content that people will want to refer to and link to, or that will convince people of your knowledge and skills. Learn about on-line advertising schemes like Google Adwords to advertise your site, targetting it to people searching for "French art translation" and related but fairly specific concepts.

Identify some potential clients (think of all the dodgy translations you've seen in museums and châteaux in France that are just begging for somebody to improve them) and write to them, giving them the details of your web site plus ideally an example of how you can help to improve *their* specific translation. Maybe write to some French tourist boards, cultural associations...

The thing about bidding systems is that they attract a large number of responses (I've regularly outsourced some work and got more than 50 responses to a single job), so that in reality a job poster may pick a particular person just because they happen to have some bit of experience that's relevant to *that* specific job-- without your profile necessarily being bad per se.


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Richardson Lisa  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:24
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
marketing Feb 19, 2010

Hi Neil and thanks for your reply
We're getting side-tracked from the original question and should probably be discussing this in another forum still.....
You're absolutely right on all points and these are all ideas I've been working on, especially the local tourist offices.I'm actually waiting for a reply for the translation of my local tourist office website. And yes, some of the touristic information is really badly translated ! My main concern is the approach to take. I've been trying to make something that's in between a CV and an advert. I need to make the person at the other end realise that they need my services without saying that their existing translations are rubbish!
As for the website - I see from your profile that you're an IT whizz so that side of it seems simple for you. I did look into setting up a website, but a professsional one is costly and I was not quite sure about the free ones, or as you say those where the advertising covers the cost of the domaine name rental. I'm also not convinced that I'd get that many hits - I imagine it's a question of keywords?
All the best
Lisa


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:24
French to English
+ ...
Web site... Feb 19, 2010

Richardson Lisa wrote:
As for the website - I see from your profile that you're an IT whizz so that side of it seems simple for you. I did look into setting up a website, but a professsional one is costly and I was not quite sure about the free ones, or as you say those where the advertising covers the cost of the domaine name rental. I'm also not convinced that I'd get that many hits - I imagine it's a question of keywords?


So obviously I'm biased because of my background, but I would say that a web site is an absolute basic necessity, not a luxury. When I say "professional", I don't necessarily mean something very expensive-- I think there are free services such as Weebly that allow you to produce something quite professional looking yourself because they essentially just let you type in your text and they take care of turning it into a web site (though one step you should probably think about is buying your own domain name-- but again, I think these sites give you guidance on doing this). When I said "professional" I was more referring to the actual content-- I see translators' web sites with rambling personal stories, pictures of their dog/wife/fishing tackle etc, which to a company/organisation will just look bizarre.

In terms of how you get the hits, there are two strategies that you have to work on: (a) getting a small-ish number of "quality" visitors in the short term, and (b) improving your search engine ranking and getting a larger volume of visitors in the long term.

By (a), I mean you need to get a few visitors each day that have some tangible percentage chance of wanting to contract you. (If you get ten hits per day and each hit has a 10% likelihood of contracting you, that's still on average a job per day.) You can do this by paying for clicks based on searches for very relevant, specific targeted keywords (don't waste money bidding on "traduction"-- bid on "traduction anglais art moderne" etc). Then in (b), you need to put content on your web site that will give people some genuine reason to refer other people to it. Your price list and advertising material won't do that, but some art "information" section might.


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:24
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Statistics Feb 19, 2010

I have recently bid on several job postings in my field
'm keen to build a portfolio in my speciality [...] maybe there are just more people quoting for the jobs [/quote]

Hi Lisa & everyone,

For what it's worth, I'll share my ProZ.com job system experience. I've been a paying member for 8 years. There are always many, many bids on the jobs posted (even when the rate offered is ridiculously low). I'm noticing that the more active I am on the site (bidding, posting, answering KudoZ questions, leaving feedback, participating in forum discussions, etc.) the more direct inquiries I receive in my inbox. A fact: most bids I submit are left unanswered. Another fact: most inquiries I receive are not worth responding to (although I always do, with a polite "No, thank you") due to low rates, unreasonable deadlines/payment terms. During a recent dry spell (mostly out of curiosity but also so that I can avoid the embarrassment of contacting someone that had ignored me in the past) I collected in a file all of the names of outsourcers that I have quoted over the past 2 years. I have also typed up a list of those that contracted me and continue to provide me with work ever since. The statistics: since the end of 2007, I have had 47 companies *not* getting back to me on bids, and I have obtained and *kept* 11 clients. So, I'm happy to say my involvement with ProZ.com is worth my time, efforts, as well as 'monetary contributions' on the long run.

My best wishes to you getting established!

Ildiko'


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 04:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Lucky You Ildiko Jul 11, 2010

I have been quoting since mid 2007 (member since Apr 2008). I have quoted to 110 jobs, those that answered, including those declined I can count with my fingers and maybe a few toes. In all this time I have only "captured" one client. And the truth is I didn´t need to look for him, he found me. I have also received unsolicited offers, mostly in the below average sector, which I have promptly declined explaining to them the reasons. One ended up being a Troll.
One of these was quite a good agency, and after a chequered but evened-out start, they started sending me jobs that were far from my specialities, so I had to decline them. Eventualy they stopped sending me any offer.
But what really has been deceitful are those two or three occasions when I was able to post my offer 1st or 2nd in the list, for a job that one could say was created for me, and never even got a "sorry, but thanks". It shows that however good one is there allways will be a whole lot of blokes that are better or have a bigger CV, and getting there first doesn't help.
Its true that these unsolicited offers seem to come in waves allthough I'm not sure if it has anything to do with participation on the site. I thought it might have to do with seasonalities in the translating market. Maybe I should have a look at that.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:24
Italian to English
Pointless Jul 11, 2010

I have long since come to the conclusion that bidding on jobs is pointless. And if you have to work for low rates, what point is there? You will probably end up feeling resentful, with very little to show at the end of the day.

Participate in KudoZ and forum discussions, and build your profile. Let clients come to you.


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Comment on Fiona's statement Jul 11, 2010

Fiona made a good point that the using the job quote system is useless, especially now that you can't use browniz to quote.

However I would just like to make one comment on her remark that you should

"Participate in KudoZ and forum discussions, and build your profile. Let clients come to you"

This hasn't happened in my case. I participate in KudoZ and forums but have had no significant work through ProZ.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some ideas Jul 11, 2010

Lisa,

First, answering your original question, IMO in most cases you are turned down on rates. The truth is that the whole system is built on the idea of a reverse auction. 'Good' clients will select the lowest rate among those clearly qualified for a certain job. 'Bad' clients will select the lowest rate offered, period.

Why should they pay more for something, if they can get it cheaper? The problem is that some - maybe too many - outsourcers haven't realized yet that overly cheap translation - I mean less than half the professional market rate - will provide them a quality comparable to - or worse than - free machine translation!

Richardson Lisa wrote:
My main concern is the approach to take. I've been trying to make something that's in between a CV and an advert. I need to make the person at the other end realise that they need my services without saying that their existing translations are rubbish!


You can't! If you don't say it, and your client doesn't speak the target language, how can you convince them that 'their slip is showing'? Of course, you should be initially euphemic, e.g. say that their translated web site, leaflet, ad, whatever, fails to project the image they'd like their company to have in that market. This should prompt them to ask about what's wrong with it. Then you can give examples. If they don't ask about it, it means that they don't care. It may be a chcken-or-egg situation: do they have little business in your target language market because their message is badly translated? or... have they chosen not to invest in a decent translation because the potential for your target language market is low?

Richardson Lisa wrote:
As for the website - I see from your profile that you're an IT whizz so that side of it seems simple for you. I did look into setting up a website, but a professsional one is costly and I was not quite sure about the free ones, or as you say those where the advertising covers the cost of the domaine name rental. I'm also not convinced that I'd get that many hits - I imagine it's a question of keywords?


You are partially right. Though I know a lot about computers, there is several times that much on the matter that I don't know. Web site development, rock-bottom basic HTML y compris, is something I don't know squat about. On the other hand, my elder son is a top-flight IT professional, hence very busy. It took him 18 months to find some time to build my first web site - with the content I had given him - in two hours. Most people who saw it found it very impressive, technically speaking, yet I saw him quickly writing all that code using Windows Notepad.

I made the second version of my web site myself, and yet without having learned anything new. I used a relatively inexpensive program named WebSiteX5, and you may see the results at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br . Several colleagues told me about other equivalent software, some even free. Worth looking for what you feel is sutable to you.

I don't know how it is in France, however domain registration and hosting were quite cheap. I spend something like USD 20 per year to keep my domain, and some USD 25 per month in hosting and a few e-mail services. My main e-mail is outside that package, it's a premium service from a different provider, that costs me some USD 70 per year.

If you really want to be on top of all searches, this will cost you a lot, as discovered by a colleague who ran a one-woman-show translation, video dubbing & subtitling, and other services outfit. The moment she cut her USD 600/month investment in SEO, customer calls plummeted.

However if you use your web site to say everything useful you have to tell your clients so they'll be able to make a more intelligent translation vendor choice (and I mean NOT just bragging about your offer, viz. I'm faster, better, and cheaper!), and refer to specific pages every time you have to back an argument. Most likely this will build trust among your prospects, i.e. they'll feel secure that they are dealing with a pro who knows the ropes.

Good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree! Jul 11, 2010

Fiona Peterson wrote:
I have long since come to the conclusion that bidding on jobs is pointless. And if you have to work for low rates, what point is there? You will probably end up feeling resentful, with very little to show at the end of the day.
Participate in KudoZ and forum discussions, and build your profile. Let clients come to you.

Indeed. Competing just on price is for people who cannot prove other qualities.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:24
Italian to English
Surprised Jul 11, 2010

Paul Dixon wrote:

This hasn't happened in my case. I participate in KudoZ and forums but have had no significant work through ProZ.


Really? I no longer quote on jobs (and the ones I have quoted on I could count on the fingers of one hand), but get a lot of contact through ProZ.

Have you tried looking at your Visitors tab? That might give you an idea of who is looking at your profile.


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