The translators' workplace?
Thread poster: Jackie Bowman

Jackie Bowman

Local time: 22:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 5, 2007

Folks,

I trust you are all well.

I have comments about things that are said on the “ProZ.com Connect” page here: http://www.proz.com/connect?_click_=cGZlOmhvbWVwZ190aWxl

The most basic sense of honour, of course, demands that I make some things plain at the outset. First, I am not a paying member of this site. Second, I have never bid for a job advertised on this site. Third, I will never bid for a job advertised on this site unless the outsourcer guarantees a minimum fee of 14 US cents a word.

I visit the site from time to time. When I can, and when I think my contribution might be helpful, I try to help other translators. I join in the forums occasionally, when I think I can contribute something that is neither insulting nor completely boring.

Okay, I’ve said that.

Folks: I’m interested. If you (and you, after all, are “the community”) read the ProZ.com Connect page referenced above, do you feel even a slightly bit marshalled into the service of someone else? Or is this kind of thing fine for you?


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:03
Italian to English
Reservations Apr 9, 2007

Hi Jackie

I share your reservations. I have seen websites in other areas that started out as self-help groups and were then taken over either by client or service supplier groups (in each case the one wielding the financial muscle).
Nevertheless, ProZ.com belongs to Henry. His drive to expand the area of influence is understandable; I just hope he understands that not all his paying freelance members may want to go with him on his journey. He certainly isn't showing much sign of consulting them.
One of the other translation operations on the web has separate sites for freelancers and outsourcers, which provides some sort of Chinese Wall between them.
I am certainly feeling more hesitant about sharing my experiences and difficulties on the site, with the possibility that my clients are using it more widely.

[Edited at 2007-04-09 22:16]


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:03
French to English
+ ...
you know what they say Apr 9, 2007

About bread buttered on both sides...

gets slippery and can fall out of your fingers.

in the interim, it is pretty messy....

Hard to serve properly the needs of both parties to a contract, particularly when one is seeking remuneration from both sides.

But, honestly, Jackie, are you surprised by this development?
The beauty of the recent April fool's joke (aside - why did the poster ask for the thread to be removed? missed a chapter...) is how credible it was.....

Cheers --

Patricia


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Mike Kidd
United States
Good feedback - thank you Apr 9, 2007

Hello All,

Thank you for your comments on this matter. I am heading up the Connect! effort and as such, I very much look forward to the feedback from this thread.

As background, Connect! is a service to which larger outsourcers can subscribe to find translators for their more substantial, premium job opportunities (those paying rates at market or higher) or if they are looking to grow their own translator resource lists. Plus, there are tools included that can help speed up the entire sourcing process.

Thanks to the support of all participants in the community, ProZ.com is uniquely positioned to provide value to both outsourcers and translators so that both players benefit. Revenue derived from providing that value ensures we can continue to do the good work that is enjoyed by so many in the community.

I would be very happy to address any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would prefer.

All the best,

Mike


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:03
English to German
+ ...
Outsourcer's perspective Apr 9, 2007

Having used Connect myself on a couple of occasions, I would like to share my thoughts (even though my business is outside the target group pursued by Mike and his team).

To me, Connect provides an attractive option when I have an assignment that requires very specific skills - usually, such jobs also pay a rather atttractive price. If I were to post a public job, I would run the risk of being bombarded with unsuitable quotes (not everyone cares to read the description...). The open directory, OTOH, doesn't give me the detailed search options I have with Connect (which, BTW, may well identify non-member experts who took the time to complete their profile).

Frankly, I don't see the scope for a conflict of interest - to the contrary, I think.

Best regards,
Ralf

PS Although I'm using Connect in isolated cases rather than on a regular basis, this was a major reason for taking out a corporate membership.

[Edited at 2007-04-09 19:58]


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:03
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Freelancer's perspective Apr 9, 2007

As a freelancer, I've been on the receiving end of a few invitations to submit my resume via Connect! for a couple of *very* specific projects, and for one more general call for resumes. I submitted my resume for the broader call, but didn't really quite meet the criteria of those highly targeted invitations, so refrained from responding.

As a Jobs moderator, I was invited to check out the Connect! software before it went public, and did explore it. It does allow outsourcers to more readily collect and sort through service provider (translators, etc.) data. And it requires *proper* (not "minimum") pricing. I did not, however, notice anything about it that could possibly lock service providers into an outsourcer's conditions. Rather, it looks like a good way to abbreviate all that painful quoting for jobs on the part of service providers and no doubt equally painful seeking of the "right" candidate by outsourcers.

There have long been complaints about ProZ.com not being quality-focused. I don't know how much Connect! will improve the quality of translations, but it should improve the quality of the relationships between participating outsourcers/direct clients and service providers.

I am curious, however, to know what concerns about Connect! other folks may have. Please do give the program a thorough examination first, then, if you find something of specific concern, let's hear about it.

I'd also like to hear from Ralf Lemster, who reports he's an occasional user of Connect!, with some specifics about how he's used it.

And I think we *all* need to know more about what Connect! can deliver. Mike?

Yolanda Broad


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:03
English to German
+ ...
Using Connect to look for experts outside my own domain Apr 10, 2007

Hi Yolanda,

I'd also like to hear from Ralf Lemster, who reports he's an occasional user of Connect!, with some specifics about how he's used it.

As you may know, I normally work with a network of specialist financial translators (German English). There are occasions, however, where an existing client asks for a language pair outside mine, and/or a different subject area. I have used Connect on a couple of occasions so far: in both cases, I was able to narrow down the search to less than ten translators.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 04:03
French to Dutch
+ ...
For Ralf, just one question Apr 19, 2007

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Yolanda,

I'd also like to hear from Ralf Lemster, who reports he's an occasional user of Connect!, with some specifics about how he's used it.

As you may know, I normally work with a network of specialist financial translators (German English). There are occasions, however, where an existing client asks for a language pair outside mine, and/or a different subject area. I have used Connect on a couple of occasions so far: in both cases, I was able to narrow down the search to less than ten translators.

Best regards,
Ralf

Did you succeed in finding someone? I'm just curious about the things you did not say in your post. Because I think (in fact I'm pretty sure) that there are not much specialized translators in your field present here, and if they are, they are not looking for work. But generally they are members of translators' associations such as SFT which, by the way, distribute and publish their adress lists for free.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:03
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
don't see a conflict Apr 19, 2007

Hi Jackie,

I have to say this is a rare case of a topic on which I disagree with you profoundly.

I see no conflict whatsoever between Connect! and the services Proz.com offers to freelancers. After all Connect! is about...uhh, connecting large clients with translators: something that translators should benefit from.

Furthermore, the whole Connect! project is a mechanism for increasing rates and sorting outsourcers who pay well from those who don't.

I understand what Russell says about Proz.com no longer being a place where only translators actively participate in the "community" aspect of the site - I recently answered a Kudoz question asked by a client of mine - but we as translators can't have it both ways. I don't know about others but I am always looking to upgrade my clients and I would suggest that attracting more, better outsourcers to Proz.com is something that should allow me to do so.

I don't really understand why we'd want Chinese walls here. Several of my clients, for example, say that they saw my answers on Kudoz and decided to contact me on that basis. I view that as a very positive thing since, after all, Kudoz answers are a fairly good indicator of translation quality...much better than CVs or profile content, at any rate.

[Edited at 2007-04-19 20:05]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:03
English to German
+ ...
Found candidates, placed a job Apr 19, 2007

Hi NMR (?),
Did you succeed in finding someone?

I did indeed - in the first case, unfortunately, the job did not materialise (this was in one of my pairs, but completely outside my field of specialisation).

I just completed the second search for candidates yesterday, placing the job with a colleague I had noticed around, but I did not really have her on my 'radar screen'.

I'm just curious about the things you did not say in your post.

Well, why don't you just ask me...?


Because I think (in fact I'm pretty sure) that there are not much specialized translators in your field present here, and if they are, they are not looking for work.

Probably - but then I might have some interesting assignments.

But generally they are members of translators' associations such as SFT which, by the way, distribute and publish their adress lists for free.

First of all, membership in an association does not factor in my selection process at all. (This might be due to my personal experience with BDÜ, but there you go...) Still, such lists might be useful, but I have yet to find a list that allows me to combine several search criteria, including multiple fields of experience with a key word search.

Hope this answers at least some of your questions.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 04:03
French to Dutch
+ ...
Thank you for your explanation Apr 22, 2007

I'm glad you found someone. The fact is that a couple of my colleagues and friends with the same language combination as mine and who are able to do all difficult things such as higly medical, legal and financial texts are simply not present here and will never be. So whatever the tool the site invents to find them... it will will be useless. And even for myself, I am only doing marketing texts in a small language and am always very busy, and therefore I am simply not interested by job offers coming from proz.com. Just like Jacky said in the beginning of this thread.

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