Facing Facts: Coming to terms with the limitations of the Jobs Board
Thread poster: Robert Forstag

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2010

It has now been several years since I have obtained a job through “Proz.com Jobs Systems.” During this time, I have submitted over 120 quotes for jobs that my background, experience, and knowledge qualified me to do, and for which I typically offered what is considered a low rate, at least for experienced Spanish-to-English translators based in (or originally hailing from) the US, UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia (a subset of all proz.com users/members, to be sure, but a fairly large one, I think it will be agreed). These data include bids I made through the “Proz.com Connect” portal and the now-defunct premium system (I forget what it was called, and I don’t have the time to search the archives for the name). The data here also include my responses to postings "to expand our database,” which occasionally appear on the Jobs Board.

Reflection on this experience leads me to express my agreement with an assertion made by other site members and users: that, at least as regards the Spanish-English pair, the jobs portal of this site is essentially a waste of time. The recent steps taken by the site to optionally hide budget information and include notations on posts in which bids fall below the mean for the language pair really do not make a difference, as the posters have their very limited budgets and there seem to be no shortage of bidders who are happy to offer fees that fall well below the surface of a very shallow pond.

My own resolution in response to this state of affairs is to no longer offer “bids” on the Jobs Board, and to limit my interaction with that portion of the site to a quick look every now and then to see if things have changed. I have indicated my non-use of the Jobs Board on my profile page.

I would like to invite other translators who have had similar experiences to consider following my lead. Why? For three important reasons: 1.) Because I think that the message needs to be sent very clearly to those who manage the site that many translators find the Jobs Board to be of very little value; 2.) Translators’ time is precious, and there is a savings in time and mental energy to be gained from dispensing with an activity that has proven to be so thoroughly unproductive; and 3.) I think it important for posters to recognize that if they do choose to post jobs on the site, they will be selecting their contractors from among a very limited sample of site users/members who work within the indicated language pair.

I personally am not making any kind of clarion call for the proz.com honchos to address the matter. My own view is that the Jobs Board “is what it is” and that it is important to just accept the unpleasant reality (unpleasant, I fully recognize, for me and others like me, and not for many others, including those who secure what they consider to be satisfactory labor for rock-bottom rates). I think that there are many other valuable features of the site, and this is why I continue to find value in my membership. I also know that I have obtained work as a result of my presence on the site (i.e., from persons who have contacted me directly and personally, another requirement I have added to my profile page).

Yet the truth of the matter is that if the main reason for my involvement with proz.com were the expectation of using the Jobs Board to secure jobs and expand the network of agencies with which I collaborate, I would certainly not continue to pay for membership.


[Edited at 2010-08-02 18:45 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
How to use the Jobs Board Aug 2, 2010

Robert Forstag wrote:
Reflection on this experience leads me to express my agreement with an assertion made by other site members and users: that, at least as regards the Spanish-English pair, the jobs portal of this site is essentially a waste of time.


I think a translator who stays ahead of the pack is one who adapts to changing circumstances. It may be that the Jobs Board used to be a good place to get jobs, but if you can't get jobs from the Jobs Board anymore, then it's time to use the Jobs Board for something else than getting jobs. Can you think out of the box? I'm not being sarcastic here.

By the way, my own experience is similar to yours, namely that I rarely if at all get jobs via the Jobs Board. I do, however, get quite a bit of interest from people who visit my profile page and contact me directly with jobs. What is your experience in that regard?



[Edited at 2010-08-02 19:14 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
With just a wee smidgen of sarcasm... Aug 2, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:


By the way, my own experience is similar to yours, namely that I rarely if at all get jobs via the Jobs Board. I do, however, get quite a bit of interest from people who visit my profile page and contact me directly with jobs. What is your experience in that regard?



[Edited at 2010-08-02 19:14 GMT]


See the last part of my original post....


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Roberto Lipani  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Italian to English
+ ...
About board jobs Aug 2, 2010

Good evening Robert,
I read through the lines you wrote, and must admit I partially agree with you. The only different is that I have approached the world of proz.com since May and I think I still have many many things to learn.
I understand your idea: in many occasions the budget is very low and sometimes I feel like it does not matter quality but time. And, you're right, time is precious.
I would like to ask you a question: why don't you suggest the proz.com staff to improve what can be improved? (I don't know if there are rules about budget in the posted jobs, I have to familiarize with many features of the website). I am sure the staff will be happy to do something for us all (the users I mean)
I thank you for taking the time to post this job, it's worth reading and sharing
Have a nice evening

Regards

Roberto


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 02:25
SITE FOUNDER
Good approach Aug 2, 2010

Robert Forstag wrote:

My own resolution in response to this state of affairs is to no longer offer “bids” on the Jobs Board, and to limit my interaction with that portion of the site to a quick look every now and then to see if things have changed. I have indicated my non-use of the Jobs Board on my profile page.

That is a valid approach.
I would like to invite other translators who have had similar experiences to consider following my lead. Why? For three important reasons: 1.) Because I think that the message needs to be sent very clearly to those who manage the site that many translators find the Jobs Board to be of very little value;

Thanks, we know. (I guess you are aware of recent discussions in that regard.)
2.) Translators’ time is precious, and there is a savings in time and mental energy to be gained from dispensing with an activity that has proven to be so thoroughly unproductive; 3.) I think it important for posters to recognize that if they do choose to post jobs on the site, they will be selecting their contractors from among a very limited sample of site users/members who work within the indicated language pair.

My impression is that in most cases, they know what they are doing. (Of course some are inexperienced.)
I personally am not making any kind of clarion call for the proz.com honchos to address the matter. My own view is that the Jobs Board “is what it is” and that it is important to just accept the unpleasant reality (unpleasant, I fully recognize, for me and others like me, and not for many others, including those who secure what they consider to be satisfactory labor for rock-bottom rates). I think that there are many other valuable features of the site, and this is why I continue to find value in my membership.

Good. This doesn't happen by accident. There is a team behind the site that works hard to deliver value, and enable people to meet, in many ways.
I also know that I have obtained work as a result of my presence on the site (i.e., from persons who have contacted me directly and personally, another requirement I have added to my profile page).

Exactly.
Yet the truth of the matter is that if the main reason for my involvement with proz.com were the expectation of using the Jobs Board to secure jobs and expand the network of agencies with which I collaborate, I would certainly not continue to pay for membership.

I would say that such an expectation -- and it does exist -- would be misguided. As you have personally experienced, the jobs board is not the primary (or best) way that matching is happening. Matching happens primarily via profiles and direct contact, and membership pays off considerably in that respect. (Since members appear in the first set of results in the directory.)

Thanks for your ongoing membership. It makes the site possible, and for most -- including those who charge normal rates, like yours -- also pays off for the individual.


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Paolo Troiani  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:25
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
How about the kudoz term translation section? Aug 2, 2010

Hi Robert,

thanks for sharing your point of view.
I am quite new here and I appreciate and value the outspokeness of your opinion.
Can you also share your thinking about the Kudoz term translaction section?


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
My experience Aug 2, 2010

Hi Robert
Since I became a member in January, I've submitted bids for about a dozen jobs, all of which I've been well qualified to do. I got one, had a polite refusal from another, and was totally ignored by all the others. But I've had several jobs from people approaching me through my profile, and I shall definitely be renewing my membership.


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
OFF TOPIC Aug 2, 2010

nomade69 wrote:

I am quite new here and I appreciate and value the outspokeness of your opinion.
Can you also share your thinking about the Kudoz term translaction section?



Hi,

Robert can`t do that here. It would be off topic. You should refer to the
Kudoz forum http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz-48.html

And welcome to the site and the fora.


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Roberto Lipani  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
Italian to English
+ ...
Thanks Aug 2, 2010

Robert,
I appreciate your reply and understand your position in this subject. I think we should try and educate job posters onto the fact that a translator is not a beggar (excuse me if I use this word referring to some budgets which are very low).
Anyway, I am sure that we can make our experiences grow up as translators: knowing that all of us invested our time, energy and passion in years of study, with many efforts.
With regard to the kudoz, which someone mentioned above (sorry, I don't remember the name, I think it is a good thing to help other people...I know sometimes it's hard to get stuck into a term you can't cope up with, so I always try to share with the others what I have learnt; and this, many times, is a great help. So, when I help other translators with kudoz questions, I never think of possible benefits, or prizes, I simply try to share what I have been taught, what I have learned. And, most of the times, is something new I learn myself.
You know...my grandpa used to tell me, when I was a child "Always remember you are here not to teach but to learn, not to run but to walk and not to watch but too see. And when you think you are teaching, you learn, and when you learn, you live
Thanks again Robert for sharing your opinions here.
Take care and rest well

Roberto


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