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Thread poster: Aija Balcere

Aija Balcere  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
French to Latvian
+ ...
Mar 23, 2013

Hello,

I'm an English-Latvian translator. I purchased the membership at the end of November 2012, though now I see that I didn't have the results I expected. I was contacted directly to my profile maybe once a month and after sending my CV and rates, I never received a response. I think that the reason for this could be my rates which are normal for France, my country of residence, but could be too high for Latvia, my country of origin, because there the translators accept jobs for lower rates.

Nevetheless, I had more luck with jobs posted on Proz.com. Therefore I'm thinking to get a refund, though now Proz.com offers me to become a Certified PRO network member.

I would like to know what is your experience in this matter, does becoming a Certified PRO network member helps considerably to increase the chances to be visible in the translator's list? I'm thinking that anyway all that matters for an employer are the lowest rates possible.

Thank you in advance,

Aija


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:04
Member
English to French
What did you expect? Mar 23, 2013

Aija Balcere wrote:
... now I see that I didn't have the results I expected.

If you expected to get work just because you have a Proz.com membership, then I'm afraid it's not the way things work. Membership will help you get feedback on outsourcers or put you higher in the directory ranking, but it won't give you work.
If you were contacted more through your profile after you bought your membership, this is already a positive result.

To answer your question, I don't think that the P badge changes anything in terms of contact.

I'm thinking that anyway all that matters for an employer are the lowest rates possible.

To a certain extent, yes (don't call them employers if you're freelance). But aren't we all as customers.
Besides, there shouldn't be as much work available compared to mainstream target languages. However, a lot of customers are more interested in getting a good translation than getting rubbish for half the price. Remember that however low your rate, there will be a competitor (and a competitor can be anybody knowing your source and target languages) with an even lower rate.

So you must have something that differentiates you from the crowd if you want to command higher rates. And one of your first differentiators is that there shouldn't be many Latvian translators living in France. Knowing that some end customers love close proximity with their suppliers, I'd suggest to look for companies based in France who export to Latvia as a first step.

Don't expect people or subscriptions to do the legwork for you.

Philippe

[Edited at 2013-03-23 14:43 GMT]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:04
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Too soon Mar 23, 2013

Hello Aija,

I think it is too soon to decide to give up your membership. First of all, if you joined only because you expected to see immediate results in the form of jobs, you may indeed initially be disappointed. It doesn't work like that, like everything else it takes time to become known. Complete at least the full term of your membership before you make that decision and find out what this site and this community have to offer.

Secondly, you need to look also at the advantages: you do get more exposure. If people are looking on the internet for a translator in any of your language combinations, they will find you. Then there are the services proz.com offers, such as webinars, articles by other professionals, and virtual conferences, where you can network with others. There is the opportunity to ask Kudoz questions when you are stuck and forums where you ask other questions or learn from others how they have handled some difficult situations. And one very valuable thing is the Blue Board, where you can check out an agency before you start working with them.

Finally, you need to be prepared to also put in something: start answering Kudoz questions (it's also very educational), write an article, communicate with others in your language combinations. Then, if they have too much work or a job they can't handle, they may contact you. All these things will help you in the long term.

I looked at your profile and it looks good overall but in my opinion you have too many specializations. Maybe you think this will help you get more jobs but I don't think so. If I was looking for a legal or medical translator, for example, I would look for a translator who has this field as number 1 or among the top 3. Having too many specializations gives the impression of a "Jack of all trades but master of none." My suggestion would be to narrow it down to those fields that you are really proficient in.

I hope you will soon begin to see some positive results but be patient and don't expect things to happen automatically!

Comment added: yes, I believe it helps to be a certified pro but it's not essential. Keep in mind that you will need the recommendations of others who know you and have worked with you, so that may take some time as well.




[Edited at 2013-03-23 15:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-23 15:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-23 17:07 GMT]


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Gad Kohenov  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 03:04
English to Hebrew
+ ...
How about translating in the opposite direction? Mar 23, 2013

Hello fellow translators!

Aija,

Most translation are from the "smaller" languages like Hebrew and Latvian into "big" languages like English and French.
Agencies will look for Latvians living in Latvia for cheap translations into Latvian.
I had little work when working only English>Hebrew. When I learned how to do well Hebrew> English translation, the situation changed dramatically. And as Philippe said look for Western companies doing business with Latvia.
I do Spanish, italian and even Portuguese into Hebrew for companies from those European countries that want to work in Israel. Don't seat and wait for your Proz profile to do all the work for you. I send e-mail and CVs to possible clients all over the world. The percent of positive answers is low? send them reminders every year.
In the early 2000s people from Israel studied with a Latvian university by "distance learning". Many hundreds of diplomas + transcripts had to be translated back then.
Such opportunities can happen anywhere in the world. You just have to stay of the alret and react fast. Fortuna (the Godess of Luck) passes by fast on her horse. You have to grab her by the hair, otherwise somewone else will be the "early bird that catches the worm".
Those who look for the "best price in the fastest time!" are people to ignore. In Japan they say "What cost's cheap, costs twice". Look for quality agencies and individual clients.

Good Luck,

Gad Kohenov


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Aija Balcere  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
French to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your time and replies Mar 23, 2013

Thank you for all the information and your advice.

Nevertheless, I wasn't expecting the membership or anyone to do the work for me (I don't know why you had such an impression). As I said before, I have had more luck by contacting the clients myself than expecting the agencies to contact me. It's just that before purchasing the membership, I was told that it really pays off and I wasn't sure what exactly was I doing wrong.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Or translate the opposite way Mar 23, 2013

I like the things you all suggested to Aija. Maybe it is an idea for me too, as I live in Malta, so not much opportunity on ProZ in that language whatever the combination. There are plenty in Malta. I am unsure what subjects you suggested writing about as only just started and have not had a mentor so just used the forum site which is extremely good & people are so helpful and clear things for you, suggest. I welcome any feedback and ideas as I am in the same situation as Aija. Many thanks to all. PS: I have decided I do not want to work for a miserly 0.04-5 Eur as my efforts, though still novice, deserve more. Good night

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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Aija Mar 23, 2013

Good luck, don't lose heart. It is a difficult time, see the number of jobs & questions which have decreased. Take the time to practice & persist as nothing comes easy. Gl

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 05:34
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Fringe benefits of membership are actually more valuable Mar 24, 2013

While most people take proz.com membership with their eyes firmly set on giving a boost to their translation business, what is more valuable to me are the fringe benefits it offers.

Freelancers often tend to miss out on people-to-people interactions and life can actually become too hermetic for us. The forums of proz.com provide a refreshing reconnect to the human-world which is a value in itself and comes cheap according to me for the hundred dollars or so a year that proz.com charges its members.

So don't give up your membership, but learn to leverage it for purposes other than your translation business.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 05:34
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Watch out! Mar 24, 2013

Gad Kohenov wrote:

How about translating in the opposite direction?



and

Joesephine Cassar wrote:

Or translate the opposite way



Watch out for the native-only brigade, it will land upon you like a ton of bricks!

[2013-03-24 01:15 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:04
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
The native-only brigade Mar 24, 2013

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:

Watch out for the native-only brigade, it will land upon you like a ton of bricks!


Gad Kohenov wrote:

How about translating in the opposite direction?
When I learned how to do well Hebrew> English translation,


There is every reason for the native-only brigade to get on its high horse.

Seriously, translations into your non-native language should only be offered if you can get a native person to edit your translation. Otherwise, no way.

There are other ways of becoming more visible on Proz and moving up in the directory ranking. Tina has given you some excellent advice and I definitely agree with her about moving up the ranking by answering Kudoz questions.


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Orsolya Bugar-Buday  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
Member (2013)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
improve visibility Mar 24, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

The advice you gave to the topic-starter are extremely useful for everyone. I joined proz.com to improve my visibility as a translator/interpreter. The more agencies/outsourcers I get into contact with, the better.

All the best to you,
Orsolya


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Aija Balcere  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
French to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Native-only Mar 24, 2013

I could agree with the fact that it's always a risk to translate into language which isn't your mother tongue. Therefore I would like to avoid that, at least for now. I have done such translations but only for simple texts, though I know that the quality might not be the best.

As for purchasing the membership, don't we all expect immediate results when we buy a service or anything else? Though, it's actually not that difficult to proceed when you know what to expect. I also know translators who have never been paying members and have found good clients through Proz.com anyway, so that's an option, too. I agree though, that the yearly price isn't very high and there are a lot of other advantages to benefit from.


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Alexandra Schneeuhr  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 03:04
Member (2012)
English to Russian
+ ...
the value of membership Mar 24, 2013

I personally did not regret one sec the decision to invest money into my ProZ.com membership (and time into joining the Certified PRO network): apart from higher visibility, you get more credibility when applying for jobs or contacting potential customers. I found out that there's no need to write lengthy application letters and list all your credentials any more - it is quite sufficient to state that you are interested in the job advertised and are currently available. The link to your profile does the rest ))

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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:04
English to Polish
+ ...
Translating into a non-native language Jun 5, 2013

Aija Balcere wrote:

I could agree with the fact that it's always a risk to translate into language which isn't your mother tongue. Therefore I would like to avoid that, at least for now. I have done such translations but only for simple texts, though I know that the quality might not be the best.

As for purchasing the membership, don't we all expect immediate results when we buy a service or anything else? Though, it's actually not that difficult to proceed when you know what to expect. I also know translators who have never been paying members and have found good clients through Proz.com anyway, so that's an option, too. I agree though, that the yearly price isn't very high and there are a lot of other advantages to benefit from.


As long as you really have the requisite proficiency, translating into a foreign language isn't more risky that translating from one. In fact, it may as difficult or even more difficult to understand profoundly idiomatic writing in a foreign language than to write well in it yourself. The While your English is probably not 100% perfect, neither is that of native speakers, including professional writers and linguists. It is only that as a non-native speaker you have a bunch of presumptions and prejudices working against you whenever someone doesn't like or understand what you wrote (or doesn't bother to learn the actual rules of his own language). If you can find a client who will not start out thinking that you probably meant to say something different than you really did, then you should be fine.


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