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How to get some translation jobs on this platform?
Thread poster: Diego Sibilia

Diego Sibilia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Member (2014)
English to Italian
+ ...
Feb 23, 2014

Hi there,

I spent about one month on this platform and I noticed that it's almost impossible for me to get any job. Anyone has some tips? I guess there are too many translators that handle my pairs of languages. Any idea? Searching for more experienced members to have more opportunities to get good (or bad) jobs.

Thx in advance to everybody.

Diego


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Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
Member (2013)
English to Italian
Why? Feb 23, 2014

Well, I can't honestly see why should we help someone who's charging €0,03/word.

It took me a lot of time to build my proposal template, to get to know what to write when I apply for a job on the job board, not to even mention how to write a profile copy that works. If I told you how to do that, you'd have the same credibility as me, charging way less than I do. Sounds like a suicide, don't you think?

The way I see it, it's great you are not getting jobs on Proz - it means some clients here want to pay a realistic fee to get their job done.

First step: raise your fee to €0,06-7 - AT LEAST - to sound more credible.

I realize this may sound harsh, but I think it's the only possible approach.


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Diego Sibilia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Member (2014)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
domenico Feb 23, 2014

Ciao Domenico

sicuro un po' harsh è...

però se metto 0.06€ come te e tu hai 10 anni di esperienza in più non ha molto senso. Inoltre con 0.06€ per parola diventerei troppo ricco, non so quanto può guadagnare un traduttore con queste tariffe. Se traduci 1000 parole all'ora (testi semplici) sono 60€ euro all'ora per 5 ore al giorno fa 300 € mi sembra un po' troppo. o sbaglio?

anyway

i clienti credo abbiano scelto chi offre rates ancora più bassi.

Grazie del tuo tempo e dei consigli spassionati.

take care


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I think clients may not take you seriously if you have such low rates. Feb 23, 2014

The first step may be to polish your profile and your CV, plus upload some samples.
You should also change your rates to something more average--what most professionals charge in your pairs.

[Edited at 2014-02-23 18:43 GMT]


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TranslateThis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Maybe a bit harsh, but it will help you in the long run! Feb 23, 2014

Domenico Trimboli wrote:

First step: raise your fee to €0,06-7 - AT LEAST - to sound more credible.

I realize this may sound harsh, but I think it's the only possible approach.


Hi Diego,

I must agree with Domenico. Undercutting other translators by offering lower than average rates is not the way to go. It might seem counter-intuitive, but from my experience good outsourcers pay good rates and very often don’t even consider hiring low-rate translators. The assumption is that a specialist needs to invest in specialized tools, training, courses, etc., so he/she cannot afford to charge low rates. Finding clients who pay good rates requires more effort, but it is not impossible. On the other hand, if you start with very low rates, you may find it very difficult to raise them.

You say that the rates proposed by Domenico are too high. What do you mean? They are probably just average rates in your language pair (please check out the proz.com rate information). For most of us, translation is not a hobby. It is our career. We need to invest a lot of time, money and effort to become excellent translators, which means that we need to charge accordingly. Of course, you will need to make your own calculations and see what works for you (proz.com rate calculator might be useful), but please remember that as a freelancer you cannot assume that you will have continuous work (8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week). There will be dry spells, so your rate should reflect that. You should also include all costs and expenses (hardware, software, dictionaries, training, continuous education, membership dues, taxes, health insurance, etc.) as well as vacation time and sick leave.

Take a look at this link. It touches on this subject and might be helpful:
http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/264727-low_rates_from_outsourcer_with_good_blueboard_reputation.html

So, yes, polish your profile and CV and try to find better clients (BTW, you need to actively look for them if you want to be successful!). I will send you some ideas and links by email.

Good luck!

TT


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Mark Benson  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
0.03 Feb 23, 2014

Why not? You learn as you go. As you understand, every Italian speaker who knows English is a potential competitor. If you don't have anything in particular to offer, you're probably realistic to set 0.03, which is half of what I have understood is a common Italian rate.

0.03 is also a rate that's not at all uncommon in many highly serious and professional contexts. This is because some languages can be regarded as 'worth less.' But let's not go into all that now.

In the long run, it won't work to work for that rate, just as it won't work to rely on ProZ.com for finding jobs. So my first piece of advice is to be aware of that from the beginning.

Networking and talking with translators about what you might have or lack is what I would see as fundamental. Then there are a lot of books to read. I got into ProZ.com (although you can see that I registered over 10 years ago) through their book list, but I don't have the link at hand right now. Hopefully someone else can help with that.

While 1,000 words per hour is possible and maybe becoming less queer than it most definitely used to be to talk about openly, you'll find that 300 words per hour is good enough when you're making sure the translation turns out as it should.

That way you'll be making 9 euro per hour, but then you have taxes to pay. So while starting at 0.03 might give you some first chances to do something professionally, with clients who will probably know more than you do about what you're able to offer, you should try to get a feeling for when you can ask a higher rate.

Finally, I want to say that if you're now looking into finding jobs on ProZ.com, sorting your profile and getting into the Certified PRO Network might prove very helpful. Especially if you can offer a service at 0.03, or similar low rates.

The way it looks to me, you have more or less everything to get started. If you want to work 'via' ProZ.com you have to work on your profile and status on the site. So get your credentials verified, work on a translation sample, apply to the CPN and make sure you get this status. Don't miss it, because it seems to have some potential of being helpful in getting jobs - this is of course hard to evaluate.

The reason why you're not getting some jobs is probably that you emphasize your memberships on other sites. There is no site that's more respectable than ProZ.com, and the sites you mention are known for being places where it's hard to get even 0.03 per word.

And the 24/7 part doesn't look good in my eyes. When do you sleep? I'm joking of course, and I'm also available more or less constantly (being an LSP is my only occupation and source of income) but it's not something I would say, even though I actually considered doing so and might even have had it on my profile.

Simple solution to your references on other sites: Copy and paste the feedback and say that it's 'what others say about my services.'

Also, don't worry about making too much money. You can't make too much money as a freelancer. And translators form a part of the most comfortable professionals in the world, even though that's maybe just a small fragment of the whole of the situation.

Hope that helped/
Mark


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Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
Member (2013)
English to Italian
Suggestions Feb 23, 2014

Diego Sibilia wrote:

Ciao Domenico

sicuro un po' harsh è...

però se metto 0.06€ come te e tu hai 10 anni di esperienza in più non ha molto senso. Inoltre con 0.06€ per parola diventerei troppo ricco, non so quanto può guadagnare un traduttore con queste tariffe. Se traduci 1000 parole all'ora (testi semplici) sono 60€ euro all'ora per 5 ore al giorno fa 300 € mi sembra un po' troppo. o sbaglio?

anyway

i clienti credo abbiano scelto chi offre rates ancora più bassi.

Grazie del tuo tempo e dei consigli spassionati.

take care


Ciao Diego,

If you have ten years of experience, I think you should charge (way) more than €0,07 for En->It, that's my answer to the first question.

Second, sorry, but I can't deliver 1K words if I want to produce a quality translation, not even on simple texts.

In one hour I can do the first draft for 1K words, maybe. If that's what you deliver, I can see how you're making it profitable. But be careful, cause you'll be delivering a so-and-so-translation. And this market share is going to die in a few years, as soon as MT becomes better.

I don't want to be misunderstood, I'm not saying you are not able to produce a quality translation, I'm saying you are not doing it now (I don't think you can deliver any GREAT translation at 1Kwords/hour).

You should set higher standards for yourself and your clients (in oher words: raise the quality of the service you offer and look for different clients, who are interested in quality, more than money).

You'll find yourself in a totally different world, much more enjoyable.

I'd suggest you to read some books and blogs which you may find helpful: the business school for translators by Marta Stelmaszak is a great blog, and you may find it useful to read "how to begin as a freelance translator' by Corinne McKay and 'The prosperous translator' by Chris Durban.

When I started out, I found myself working on Elance too, and worked there for a few months for rates which were even lower than yours, but managed to make it to a totally different 'tier' and I'm so much happier now (and hey, I even earn thrice as much)!

Buona fortuna!

Domenico

[Edited at 2014-02-23 19:10 GMT]


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 20:35
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
it depends Feb 23, 2014

Diego Sibilia wrote:
I spent about one month on this platform...


I'm a member here since 1999 and a paying member since 2008.

I actually got about 10-12 clients that lasted for years on the average.
Anyway it is worth it.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:35
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Rethink your pricing philosophy Feb 23, 2014

Domenico Trimboli wrote:

Well, I can't honestly see why should we help someone who's charging €0,03/word.
...
I realize this may sound harsh, but I think it's the only possible approach.


I always judge my peers by their per words rate versus their hourly rate. Your hourly rate is equal to mine. At your stated source word rate of 0.05 per word you have to translate at least twice as fast as I do.

Gerard

And get rid of the sunglasses and the cap.

[Edited at 2014-02-23 20:58 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
French to English
+ ...
ProZ is *one* platform to get *clients*, not jobs Feb 23, 2014

Diego Sibilia wrote:
I spent about one month on this platform and I noticed that it's almost impossible for me to get any job. Anyone has some tips?


As a freelancer primarily, I also occasionally post jobs on ProZ when I'm looking for colleagues with particular specialities to help me on particular jobs. So I've seen "both sides of the fence", as it were.

Firstly, the reality check that you need to be aware of is that in response to a given job posting in a common language pair, it is not uncommon for 50 or more translators to reply. At one end of the spectrum of those responses will be several "serious" candidates with specialist skills and experience for that particular job, and at the other end of the spectrum will be a whole cesspit of wannabes whose only selling point is that they promise to charge 0.025/word rather than 0.03/word. This means that even for contractors looking to hire from the bottom of the gene pool, if your grand selling point is charging 0.03/word, for every job there'll be a plethora of others joining you in that race to the bottom.

So in my experience, you need to turn things round:

(1) To stand out, you need to re-brand yourself in terms of your unique selling point for *specific* jobs. Realistically, for a "translation of a general letter", neither you nor anybody else in the universe probably has any unique selling point whatsoever and your odds of being allocated the job are effectively 1:50 or worse. And for a translation of, say, an engineering text, your chance is negligible if you have no actual knowledge of engineering. So concentrate on putting in a quality application for those few jobs where you actually have some unique experience to contribute and your chance is more like 10:1. [If you're new to translation, that 'unique experience' may not be linguistic: maybe you have a good contact in that field, or you studied that subject at night school, etc.]
(2) Following on from that logic, you shouldn't see the ProZ job board primarily as a place for "getting jobs". You should see it, along with you other outreach activities to potential clients and agencies, as *one* means of acquiring *clients*. You're hoping to get a "foot in the door" on a handful of "10:1 jobs" that might lead on to the client liking your work and deciding to hire you for further jobs.

That's definitely how it's worked for me: the number of jobs I have actually won on ProZ is possibly in single figures or not much more. But I have concentrated on applying to jobs in some way related to my specialisations from serious-looking clients, and in almost all of these cases, that one job has then resulted in an ongoing working relationship spanning many months or even years.

So the good news is that means you also shouldn't give up on the job board: you just need to understand how to use it.


[Edited at 2014-02-23 21:20 GMT]


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Diego Sibilia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Member (2014)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thx Feb 23, 2014

Ok thx a lot. You are more than right. But I guess the rates are generally too high in my opinion and the cost for a translator are minimum. Software? Hardware? 300€ a year. It's not a big deal, is it?

Maybe I am mistaken. I am not sure about it.


TranslateThis wrote:

Domenico Trimboli wrote:

First step: raise your fee to €0,06-7 - AT LEAST - to sound more credible.

I realize this may sound harsh, but I think it's the only possible approach.


Hi Diego,

I must agree with Domenico. Undercutting other translators by offering lower than average rates is not the way to go. It might seem counter-intuitive, but from my experience good outsourcers pay good rates and very often don’t even consider hiring low-rate translators. The assumption is that a specialist needs to invest in specialized tools, training, courses, etc., so he/she cannot afford to charge low rates. Finding clients who pay good rates requires more effort, but it is not impossible. On the other hand, if you start with very low rates, you may find it very difficult to raise them.

You say that the rates proposed by Domenico are too high. What do you mean? They are probably just average rates in your language pair (please check out the proz.com rate information). For most of us, translation is not a hobby. It is our career. We need to invest a lot of time, money and effort to become excellent translators, which means that we need to charge accordingly. Of course, you will need to make your own calculations and see what works for you (proz.com rate calculator might be useful), but please remember that as a freelancer you cannot assume that you will have continuous work (8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week). There will be dry spells, so your rate should reflect that. You should also include all costs and expenses (hardware, software, dictionaries, training, continuous education, membership dues, taxes, health insurance, etc.) as well as vacation time and sick leave.

Take a look at this link. It touches on this subject and might be helpful:
http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/264727-low_rates_from_outsourcer_with_good_blueboard_reputation.html

So, yes, polish your profile and CV and try to find better clients (BTW, you need to actively look for them if you want to be successful!). I will send you some ideas and links by email.

Good luck!

TT


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Diego Sibilia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Member (2014)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thx Feb 23, 2014

Thx a lot for the suggestions. Non amo leggere però. Magari se avrò tempo ci darò un occhio.

Grazie ancora

Domenico Trimboli wrote:

Diego Sibilia wrote:

Ciao Domenico

sicuro un po' harsh è...

però se metto 0.06€ come te e tu hai 10 anni di esperienza in più non ha molto senso. Inoltre con 0.06€ per parola diventerei troppo ricco, non so quanto può guadagnare un traduttore con queste tariffe. Se traduci 1000 parole all'ora (testi semplici) sono 60€ euro all'ora per 5 ore al giorno fa 300 € mi sembra un po' troppo. o sbaglio?

anyway

i clienti credo abbiano scelto chi offre rates ancora più bassi.

Grazie del tuo tempo e dei consigli spassionati.

take care


Ciao Diego,

If you have ten years of experience, I think you should charge (way) more than €0,07 for En->It, that's my answer to the first question.

Second, sorry, but I can't deliver 1K words if I want to produce a quality translation, not even on simple texts.

In one hour I can do the first draft for 1K words, maybe. If that's what you deliver, I can see how you're making it profitable. But be careful, cause you'll be delivering a so-and-so-translation. And this market share is going to die in a few years, as soon as MT becomes better.

I don't want to be misunderstood, I'm not saying you are not able to produce a quality translation, I'm saying you are not doing it now (I don't think you can deliver any GREAT translation at 1Kwords/hour).

You should set higher standards for yourself and your clients (in oher words: raise the quality of the service you offer and look for different clients, who are interested in quality, more than money).

You'll find yourself in a totally different world, much more enjoyable.

I'd suggest you to read some books and blogs which you may find helpful: the business school for translators by Marta Stelmaszak is a great blog, and you may find it useful to read "how to begin as a freelance translator' by Corinne McKay and 'The prosperous translator' by Chris Durban.

When I started out, I found myself working on Elance too, and worked there for a few months for rates which were even lower than yours, but managed to make it to a totally different 'tier' and I'm so much happier now (and hey, I even earn thrice as much)!

Buona fortuna!

Domenico

[Edited at 2014-02-23 19:10 GMT]


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Diego Sibilia  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:35
Member (2014)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ok perfect Feb 23, 2014

It sounds fair to me. Thx for all your idea, but I guess I will need to much time in order to get some clients on this platform.

best


Neil Coffey wrote:

Diego Sibilia wrote:
I spent about one month on this platform and I noticed that it's almost impossible for me to get any job. Anyone has some tips?


As a freelancer primarily, I also occasionally post jobs on ProZ when I'm looking for colleagues with particular specialities to help me on particular jobs. So I've seen "both sides of the fence", as it were.

Firstly, the reality check that you need to be aware of is that in response to a given job posting in a common language pair, it is not uncommon for 50 or more translators to reply. At one end of the spectrum of those responses will be several "serious" candidates with specialist skills and experience for that particular job, and at the other end of the spectrum will be a whole cesspit of wannabes whose only selling point is that they promise to charge 0.025/word rather than 0.03/word. This means that even for contractors looking to hire from the bottom of the gene pool, if your grand selling point is charging 0.03/word, for every job there'll be a plethora of others joining you in that race to the bottom.

So in my experience, you need to turn things round:

(1) To stand out, you need to re-brand yourself in terms of your unique selling point for *specific* jobs. Realistically, for a "translation of a general letter", neither you nor anybody else in the universe probably has any unique selling point whatsoever and your odds of being allocated the job are effectively 1:50 or worse. And for a translation of, say, an engineering text, your chance is negligible if you have no actual knowledge of engineering. So concentrate on putting in a quality application for those few jobs where you actually have some unique experience to contribute and your chance is more like 10:1. [If you're new to translation, that 'unique experience' may not be linguistic: maybe you have a good contact in that field, or you studied that subject at night school, etc.]
(2) Following on from that logic, you shouldn't see the ProZ job board primarily as a place for "getting jobs". You should see it, along with you other outreach activities to potential clients and agencies, as *one* means of acquiring *clients*. You're hoping to get a "foot in the door" on a handful of "10:1 jobs" that might lead on to the client liking your work and deciding to hire you for further jobs.

That's definitely how it's worked for me: the number of jobs I have actually won on ProZ is possibly in single figures or not much more. But I have concentrated on applying to jobs in some way related to my specialisations from serious-looking clients, and in almost all of these cases, that one job has then resulted in an ongoing working relationship spanning many months or even years.

So the good news is that means you also shouldn't give up on the job board: you just need to understand how to use it.


[Edited at 2014-02-23 21:20 GMT]


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 19:35
German to Swedish
+ ...
Yes Feb 23, 2014

Diego Sibilia wrote:

How to get some translation jobs on this platform?


$0.00000001 and a five-year payment term.

[Bearbeitet am 2014-02-23 22:42 GMT]


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