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Making the most of my membership
Thread poster: Louise Souter
Louise Souter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 30, 2009

I am just starting out as a freelance translator and have become a member of Proz. I am already planning to add sample translations to my website but I need advise on how else to make the most of my membership.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Start here... Jan 30, 2009

Louise Souter wrote:
I need advise on how else to make the most of my membership.


http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/597/1/Getting-the-most-out-of-ProZ.com:-A-guide-for-outsourcers-and-translation-companies

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/596/1/Getting-the-most-out-of-ProZ.com:-A-guide-for-translators-and-interpreters


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
English to German
+ ...
Colleagues will tear me into pieces in midair Jan 30, 2009

Your cat is beautiful - those little white paws are truly adorable.

However - Are you sure that the kitty will represent you and your business in an appropriate and professional manner? Your profile is your business card.


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Louise Souter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Profile photo Jan 30, 2009

I understand what Nicole is saying about the proz profile as my business card but I'm not sure I want to put a photo of myself up there (If I am smiling then some potential clients might decide I do not take life seriously enough and if I am not that I take it too seriously) Also the only vaguely recent photo I have that is appropriate in terms of creating a professional image is of my graduation, and I just think it would be a bit pretentious to use that. I know other translators on this site use images they feel represents them and their work, but I cannot think of such an image for my profile.

I would be grateful for any suggestions.

p.s. thanks for the compliments on my cat.

[Edited at 2009-01-30 16:07 GMT]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree with Nicole about the picture Jan 30, 2009

I love pictures of cute dogs, cats, etc., but I don't think they're appropriate for a business shot. Surely you must know someone who has a digital camera that could take a head shot of you?

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Louise Souter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am not sure at all about the photo Jan 30, 2009

Amy Duncan wrote:

I love pictures of cute dogs, cats, etc., but I don't think they're appropriate for a business shot. Surely you must know someone who has a digital camera that could take a head shot of you?


I have a digital camera but I am really not sure about putting my own photo on the profile. I have heard too many horror stories about employers/clients who look at a candidate's photo and make their decision ("very young looking; must be immature", "looks startled"; obviously cannot cope with pressure") without even bothering to look at the rest of their CV/profile. I would prefer it if there was no photo option in the profile, but since there is, I feel that not putting one on implies that I cannot be bothered. I think the best solution would be to choose an image (not a photo) that represents my work and I but I cannot think of one that is professional without being pretentious.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
My thoughts Jan 30, 2009

As Amy says, I'd make a big effort to get a recent photo. Even in a cyber business like ours, people want to think they´re dealing with someone on a personal basis (especially here in Spain where much work comes through someone you know or who knows someone who knows someone, etc). If you're not sure how much to smile, I'd recommend a closed-mouth smile. It makes you look friendly and approachable but not like you're posing for a toothpaste commercial. It's like the difference between this: and this:

Once you've got that straightened out, my advice would be that you participate regularly in as many areas of proz.com as you can. I know many newbies here think that it's enough just to check the job postings here and they'll magically find work.

My personal experience is that the more you participate (forums, kudoz, quick polls, etc) the more offers you'll receive without even having to look. I posted for one job on proz.com a long time ago, but didn't get it. Meanwhile, I've received innumerable offers and the majority of my current clients approached me using a personal email sent through proz.com.
Good luck!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:08
French to English
Right enough! Jan 30, 2009

Louise Souter wrote:

I would prefer it if there was no photo option in the profile, but since there is, I feel that not putting one on implies that I cannot be bothered.


Believe it or not, I haven't got one not because I'm in the running for "Laziest man in Europe", but simply because no suitable digital photo exists.
I should maybe add "yet", because I think one will in the none too distant.
I know the forum is postively panting to know what I look like....

Seriously though, this subject has been discussed a few times - do a forum search on profile pictures or photos or something along those lines. There are valid pros and cons on all sides, I would say.


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K Donnelly  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:08
Italian to English
+ ...
Suggestions for your profile Jan 30, 2009

As you can see from my "photo", I am also uncomfortable about adding a picture of myself to my profile. However, I think that if you do choose to display an image, it might be a good idea to choose something relating to one of your specializations. In my case, I specialize in art, so I added a photo of a painting.

I took a quick look at your profile, and I have another suggestion. You list a few different specializations (Electronics, Government, Finance), but the only education that you mention is an MA in French and Hispanic Studies. This is great for proving your advanced knowledge of Spanish and French, but it makes me, as well as potential clients, wonder why I should entrust my electronics or finance translation to you. What experience do you have in these fields? If you don't have any formal education in your fields of specialization, try to highlight how you learned about these fields, the volume of work you have translated, etc.

Good luck!

Karla


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
English to German
+ ...
Food for thought Jan 30, 2009

Louise Souter wrote:

I am just starting out as a freelance translator and have become a member of Proz. I am already planning to add sample translations to my website but I need advise on how else to make the most of my membership.


Welcome Louise,

there are two useful things to do: read the forum posts and participate in KudoZ. That will get you up and running.

Then, change your picture. NO picture is better than your current one.
It cries "I am not a professional" (even you are the best translator around the globe). Nobody will buy your services because of a nice cat. If you do not want to display a picture of yourself, that's ok. You can use a logo or a beautiful landscape instead (I can send you a couple of pictures to choose from, if you like - free of charge).

Some colleages or potential clients may think that my current picture does not reflect professionalism either. That's true, but it's me, and I keep changing my pictures frequently. Sometimes I wear a tie.


[Edited at 2009-01-30 20:35 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-01-30 20:38 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:08
English to French
+ ...
Photo optional Jan 30, 2009

A photo is not necessary to make a good impression. Also, some people are plain ugly and it is natural that they prefer not to distract potential clients by their unfortunate appearance. Some people prefer for others not to be able to identify them by their faces - I am not aware if there are any porn actors or celebrities moonlighting as translators, but they would probably agree. All of these are perfectly acceptable reasons not to post a photo. In short, I am pretty sure nobody will judge you if you simply don't add a picture at all.

If you do post some kind of an image, you can either use that to help people visually identify you or to make sure your marketing is at the forefront. In the former case, if you have a good headshot, you can use that, or you can use a logo or an image that is representative of who you are and what services you offer (nothing personal, though). For the latter case, you can use a famous quote, a picture that expresses your specialization (e. g., if you specialize in cinema, you can use a film reel) or any picture that distinguishes you from the crowd (think marketing).

My profile picture is a flag. It says two things: that I am perfectly comfortable translating into Canadian French and that clients who want translations into European French should not waste their time and mine by contacting me. Not everybody recognizes the Quebec flag, but most of those who want Canadian French translations do. In any case, it is nothing personal and it isn't cheezy.

As you can see, you have many alternatives to a headshot - including no picture at all.

[Edited at 2009-01-30 22:17 GMT]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Self-confidence Jan 30, 2009

Louise Souter wrote:

I have heard too many horror stories about employers/clients who look at a candidate's photo and make their decision ("very young looking; must be immature", "looks startled"; obviously cannot cope with pressure") without even bothering to look at the rest of their CV/profile.


So what do you suppose they think when they see a picture of a cat?

Seriously, though, I think you're exaggerating a bit. I'm sure that most prospective clients aren't analyzing our pictures that closely. I know when I look at the various photos of translators here I just get an initial first impression, and most of the time it's a good one. I think it's a matter of self-confidence.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
German to English
Disagree Jan 31, 2009

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

Also, some people are plain ugly and it is natural that they prefer not to distract potential clients


Apart from the fact that I don't think anyone is really ugly, I'm not really interested in clients who judge people by their looks. A working relationship is also a human relationship, and apart from professional qualifications and experience, reliability, sincerity and other personal character traits are just as important, both on the part of the translator and the client.

That said, I agree that Louise should change her profile photo


[Edited at 2009-01-31 00:33 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:08
English to French
+ ...
Still - some people do judge based on irrelevant criteria Jan 31, 2009

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

...I'm not really interested in clients who judge people by their looks.


I agree with you here. However, let's be honest - people nowadays judge quick and easy, even when it is totally irrelevant to do so. I agree with you that a person's translating ability and level of professionalism have absolutely nothing to do with their looks, but unfortunately, not all translation buyers would agree. If looks didn't matter to the general public, the couple in Titanic wouldn't have been so beautiful (and costly).

I wouldn't mind posting a picture of me as I don't consider myself ugly - but I don't want people to decide whether they contact me or not based on the colour of my hair or the symmetry of my smile. As for my regular clients, some of them have pictures of me - and I have theirs as well.

Besides, I don't really mind if a client is of the judging type, as long as they are also the professional, trustworthy and promptly paying type. I don't need them to be perfect - I just need them to give me the opportunity to do my job and pay me for it (and to respect me). We can choose clients based on whether they pay promptly, are courteous and give us interesting work, but if we start getting too picky...


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Kai Döring  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 16:08
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
I would like to "see" the one I work with Jan 31, 2009

Hi!

I just followed the conversation here. I would say a picture is not really necessary, but personally I would like to know how the persons looks, I am communication with. Especially since we do not have personal contact most of the time. Not if somebody looks beautiful or if he/she is fat etc. Just imagine you go to a store and all people who work there wear a plastic bag?!?

But maybe it is because, I cannot remember names very good.

I do not think clients are making a decision on a job on your profile picture, but for sure on your profile.


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