Is my profile too daring?
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
Jun 8, 2011

Working on my profile, I wonder if what I have posted so far is not too daring.
I tries to prevent all problems and issues which appeared on the proz.com fora during the past decade.
Would you put these items on your profiles. Mind you, the profile is not complete yet.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Perfectly reasonable Jun 9, 2011

Williamson wrote:

Working on my profile, I wonder if what I have posted so far is not too daring.
I tries to prevent all problems and issues which appeared on the proz.com fora during the past decade.
Would you put these items on your profiles. Mind you, the profile is not complete yet.


Everything you say is perfectly reasonable IMO, Williamson.

The only problem is that even if clients would accept your conditions, they're going to read that lot and go straight to the "X" in the top right-hand corner. I'm sure you know exactly how confrontational you are being but, whatever!

Mind you, do you really believe you can say this:
The language used is the Standard Language and its rules shall not be questioned.


Wow! I'm a 100% native speaker of English and I would NEVER dare say that of my writing. Not only must I admit that I can make mistakes, it is commonly believed that there is no "Standard Language" when talking of English. You translate into six languages and you know absolutely every rule of every one? Wow, again!


 

Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
"Meeting clients at ProZ.com" webinar Jun 9, 2011

Hello Williamson,

I would say you are doing a great job with your profile. You have a lot of information in there and I see that you completed most of the required and encouraged fields.

If you are in the process of completing your profile, perhaps you would like to attend one of the free webinars on "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" offered by site staff on a weekly basis:

See more
Hello Williamson,

I would say you are doing a great job with your profile. You have a lot of information in there and I see that you completed most of the required and encouraged fields.

If you are in the process of completing your profile, perhaps you would like to attend one of the free webinars on "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" offered by site staff on a weekly basis:

http://www.proz.com/translator-training/format/webinar-presentations

This webinar will show you how to apply ProZ.com winning strategies, including tips on how to complete your profile to attract and keep clients interested.

Next webinar is tomorrow, Friday, June 10 at 4:00 PM GMT:

http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/4991

Hope to see you there!

Kind regards,

Lucía
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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Prevention and Standard Reference Works. Jun 9, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Williamson wrote:

Working on my profile, I wonder if what I have posted so far is not too daring.
I tries to prevent all problems and issues which appeared on the proz.com fora during the past decade.
Would you put these items on your profiles. Mind you, the profile is not complete yet.


Everything you say is perfectly reasonable IMO, Williamson.

The only problem is that even if clients would accept your conditions, they're going to read that lot and go straight to the "X" in the top right-hand corner. I'm sure you know exactly how confrontational you are being but, whatever!

Mind you, do you really believe you can say this:
The language used is the Standard Language and its rules shall not be questioned.


Wow! I'm a 100% native speaker of English and I would NEVER dare say that of my writing. Not only must I admit that I can make mistakes, it is commonly believed that there is no "Standard Language" when talking of English. You translate into six languages and you know absolutely every rule of every one? Wow, again!


It may be that I take a defensive stand.
However, it is better, healthier and often less expensive to prevent than to cure. Better to click on X and get no work than having to have many sleepless nights over non-payment, late payment, low payment, ... Proz.com is not my only source of jobs.

Or is the only cure lamenting on forums?

There is such a thing as
Standard English, also known as Standard Written English or SWE, is the form of English most widely accepted as being clear and proper.
Publishers, writers, educators, and others have over the years developed a consensus of what standard English consists of. It includes word choice, word order, punctuation, and spelling.
Standard English is especially helpful when writing because it maintains a fairly uniform standard of communication which can be understood by all speakers and users of English regardless of differences in dialect, pronunciation, and usage.
This is why it is sometimes called Standard Written English.
Does 100% native speaker equals 100% full command of the written language required for translation? Interpreting (speaking) and translation (writing) are not the same.

There are a few minor differences between standard usage in England and the United States, but these differences do not significantly affect communication in the English language.

There is also Standard French, Standard German (Hochdeutsch), Standard Dutch and Standard Spanish.

Who am I (and who are others who sit isolated behind there pcs) to question the rules made up by the horourable members of the Académie française, the Real Academia, the Institut für Deutsche Sprache and the Taalunie (Dutch regulatory language institution).

Do I make mistakes? Everybody does.

Do I know all rules of those Dutch,English,French,German and Spanish? No, I don't.
Can I consult the Grévisse, the Esbozo de una nueva gramática de la lengua española,the Deutsche Grammatik, Regeln, Normen, Sprachgebrauch and the Algemeen Nederlandse Spraakkunst.
Yes, We (for some combinations, I don't work alone) can.
Will I refer to those reference works when a nitpicker comes along. Yes, I will. Well-founded feedback is always welcome, nitpicking and inventing mistakes to reduce the amount on the invoice is not.


[Edited at 2011-06-10 06:42 GMT]


 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
An honest answer Jun 12, 2011

Williamson wrote:
Would you put these items on your profiles.

In the spirit of answering honestly, I would have to say no, I would not put the "rules" that you state in my profile.

As Sheila stated/implied, the content (and/or perhaps the manner in which it is portrayed) is rather confrontational. You state that you'd rather not get work than have sleepless nights, etc., which is a perfectly valid stance - but if that's the case, are you actually interested in a response that doesn't confirm your own feelings on the matter?

As far as the profile in general, it is lengthy and full of commanding language - this could easily turn prospective clients off.

For one thing, I can imagine they might lose interest in reading through it - and yet because of your qualifications, they may still contact you, which means you may end up fending off inappropriate inquiries and explaining all your "rules" all over again.

But more than that, I would think (IMHO) that the commanding tone will really get prospective clients to click on that "X". There is nothing necessarily wrong per se with the terms you are trying to set, but there is something to be said for "appropriate delivery".

Given the fact that there are a few errors (not trying to be critical, just an observation), you may want to ask a colleague who is a native speaker not only to proofread, but also to modify the tone to something more palatable, perhaps even more friendly (if that's possible). As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

For example, you could change this:
If you want to avail of my services , there are a few simple rules, I expect you to observe

to this:
When you request my services, there are certain terms that apply, which I will ask you to acknowledge before starting any work on your project.

or:
You will send the file and give me an hour to go through the original.

could be changed to:
When considering a potential project, I need one hour to to review the original file and prepare my quote.

However, as stated, I personally wouldn't put most of these terms on my profile at all. I would probably put them somewhere else with a link to them, or state (as above) that certain terms apply, and will be sent to the client for their acknowledgement prior to negotiations/job confirmation.

With regard to payment concerns, at most I would probably add a short notice about payment terms ("Payment net 30 days, sorry no exceptions") and then mention that other terms apply and will be sent upon contact/are available for review.

- - - - - - -
There are a few minor differences between standard usage in England and the United States, but these differences do not significantly affect communication in the English language.


Ooooh, as a native speaker of American English who has seen a bit of the world and the people in it, I respectfully have to disagree with that statement. But that's probably a debate for another time.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There's English and there are the other languages Jun 13, 2011

Other languages, yes, all the definitive rules are set out somewhere.

Williamson wrote:
Who am I (and who are others who sit isolated behind there pcs) to question the rules made up by the horourable members of the Académie française, the Real Academia, the Institut für Deutsche Sprache and the Taalunie (Dutch regulatory language institution).


Do I know all rules of those Dutch,English,French,German and Spanish? No, I don't.
Can I consult the Grévisse, the Esbozo de una nueva gramática de la lengua española,the Deutsche Grammatik, Regeln, Normen, Sprachgebrauch and the Algemeen Nederlandse Spraakkunst.


But English doesn't figure in either of those lists. Standard English is the English that most professional wordsmiths agree on (as you say "Publishers, writers, educators, and others have over the years developed a consensus of what standard English consists of. It includes word choice, word order, punctuation, and spelling") - but a consensus, and one that isn't documented anywhere as far as I know, isn't the same as having the Académie Française rule on every word.

Well-founded feedback is always welcome, nitpicking and inventing mistakes to reduce the amount on the invoice is not.


Certainly. I agree 100% with you on that.

That gets us back on topic.


 

Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 10:46
French to English
Communication skills Jun 15, 2011

Hi Williamson,

Please don't take this badly... You did ask what colleagues here thought of your profile, and I'm offering my opinion without wishing to cause a stir.

Rather than correct you on the details, I'd just like to say that from an outsider's point of view - someone who has never met you, worked with you, or heard of you - your profile (and I do mean the bottom part featuring the "rules") makes you sound like a very bitter person, and clients (honest, fair clien
... See more
Hi Williamson,

Please don't take this badly... You did ask what colleagues here thought of your profile, and I'm offering my opinion without wishing to cause a stir.

Rather than correct you on the details, I'd just like to say that from an outsider's point of view - someone who has never met you, worked with you, or heard of you - your profile (and I do mean the bottom part featuring the "rules") makes you sound like a very bitter person, and clients (honest, fair clients offering interesting work and good rates) will most likely not call upon you after such a negative first impression.

From my point of view, a profile is a chance to reel potential clients in. Once I'm contacted, I then use my best communication skills to sell myself in other indirect and direct ways before "laying down the law". That doesn't keep me from being firm... But it means that I get requests regularly from new clients of all types, and I can choose from the greatest possible number. I can then narrow down the selection once I "get to know them" a little, and my choice will largely depend on whether they respect me, my work and my vision of collaboration.

That doesn't mean that you should junk your rules, which have obviously taken a lot of thought. But why not work them into a later stage in the recruiting process, under the form of sales conditions or a contract? Agencies do it all the time. If not, at least work on your tone of address, which for the moment doesn't showcase your positive communication skills.

As Janet and others mentioned, you may be creating exactly the type of conflictual relationship that you apparently wish to avoid.

It's fine to have rules - we all have limits - but don't forget that your job as a translator is to use expression effectively and - whenever possible - with finesse, and that starts with the promotion of your own services.


[Edited at 2011-06-15 12:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-06-15 12:53 GMT]
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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In a more diplomatic way Jun 18, 2011

verslanglais wrote:

Hi Williamson,


That doesn't mean that you should junk your rules, which have obviously taken a lot of thought. But why not work them into a later stage in the recruiting process, under the form of sales conditions or a contract? Agencies do it all the time. If not, at least work on your tone of address, which for the moment doesn't showcase your positive communication skills.

As Janet and others mentioned, you may be creating exactly the type of conflictual relationship that you apparently wish to avoid.

It's fine to have rules - we all have limits - but don't forget that your job as a translator is to use expression effectively and - whenever possible - with finesse, and that starts with the promotion of your own services.


[Edited at 2011-06-15 12:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-06-15 12:53 GMT]


No, there are no standard rules as laid down by the Académie française.
However, there are good grammars like Longman English Grammar,A Practical English Grammar (Thomson & Martinet - 4th Ed.) and these grammars contain rules of English, don't they.
Of throw shall the out door I syntax of, because the is no Standard Language as laid down by an authority like the Académie française?
AFAIK, English syntax remains English syntax and English spelling-rules remain English spelling-rules or should I write Englisch speling rulz.

I don't understand why I should be bitter?
Maybe, I am blunt and defensive, but not bitter.
Those rules are based upon complaints which appeared on these forums over the past decade. Yes, I'll should formulate some in a more diplomatic way and have a print out of the others on my desk.
However, I think it is reasonable to ask for payment 30 days after delivery according to a guideline, which is valid in the EU-27.

Do I leave the movie in the profile?
How would you go about formulating its the message of the film to the customer.



[Edited at 2011-06-18 10:56 GMT]


 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:46
German to English
Who needs the natives? Jun 18, 2011

Williamson wrote:

No, there are no standard rules as laid down by the Académie française.
However, there are good grammars like Longman English Grammar, A Practical English Grammar ... and these grammars contain rules of English, don't they.

AFAIK, English syntax remains English syntax and English spelling-rules remain English spelling-rules or should I write Englisch speling rulz.

Those rules are based upon complaints which appeared on these forums over the past decade. Yes, I'll should formulate some in a more diplomatic way and have a print out of the others on my desk.


Hi Williamson - with respect to "complaints which appeared on these forums", you may find this thread instructive:
Who Needs the Natives?

Lia Fail
But "native intuition" (= it sounds right) is not about knowing/not knowing, it's gut feeling, and you don't need to be a translator, but you do need to be a native, to decide whether something sounds right or not.

Writeaway
English does seem to suffer from this 'anyone can do it' syndrome more than most other languages….
Why does English make non-natives feel so sure? Is it because the grammar does not stand in the way of saying a few words correctly in the first lesson? Is it a hidden disrespect of English as a language? I wonder about this a lot, since so many feel they have it 'mastered' and don't seem to question their ability at all.
Whatever, there is a big difference between writing IN English and writing English. And it is a very visible difference, despite what some may think.

Robin
English "rules". Most European languages are heavily rule-based, like much in their cultures (a well researched and documented phenomenon). You learn the rules, you're a long way towards learning the language. Somebody complained that we can't be bothered to teach the English "rules". We don't have those sort of rules; English is a principles-based language. You learn the principles, you're a long way towards learning the language. But if your mindset is fixated on rules, you'll have problems.

It's like dictionaries: the English tradition is for dictionaries to be descriptive, whereas the continental European tradition is for dictionaries to be prescriptive. So often, non-natives will cite a dictionary as some sort of allegedly authoritative source ("if it's in print it has to be right"), while native English speakers tend to be much more sceptical about relying on dictionaries.

http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/21666-english:_who_needs_the_natives.html


 

Glenda Janssen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:46
English to Italian
+ ...
WAYYY too much information! Jun 19, 2011

Hey Williamson! I commend you on doing your homework so thoroughly, and taking the time to formulate exactly what you won't put up with. However, I would not put all this in my profile. Apart from the tone, which, as some others have pointed out already, is quite a bit confrontational and probably likely to turn away clients, it's just too much information.

It's okay to have all these things, a sort of "fine print," in your contract, but I think it is way to much up front.
... See more
Hey Williamson! I commend you on doing your homework so thoroughly, and taking the time to formulate exactly what you won't put up with. However, I would not put all this in my profile. Apart from the tone, which, as some others have pointed out already, is quite a bit confrontational and probably likely to turn away clients, it's just too much information.

It's okay to have all these things, a sort of "fine print," in your contract, but I think it is way to much up front.

Here are my reactions to your profile:
-Oh my, this guy has been through the wringer! He has had so many terrible experiences in his translating career, he must have terrible luck!
-Considering all his bad experiences, how can I prove to him I'm not one of those horrible people that rip him off all the time?
-Gee, how many rules are there? Which ones apply to me?
-Man, really, people questioned your English skills? How are your English skills? (and then, sorry to say, I read your reply on here and see several errors, and I immediately jump to conclusions. Now I know we type these messages here without thoroughly checking them, but I assume that if some of these mistakes slip into your forum postings, they may slip into your emails to your clients)
-Are you sure you are okay? I'm worried about you. I mean, seriously, how bad have you been hurt?
-So, you have problems, we all do.
-I know what all you won't put up with. I know you're bitter (or blunt and defensive, but it does sound bitter to me). So how about all the wonderful things you have to offer?
-Who are you? What are your strengths?
-What great things are you willing to give? Why should I put up with all these rules when there are plenty of good translators out there who don't have a laundry list of demands?

You may not think you are bitter. But you asked for feedback. I think you sound bitter, and so do some other people on this thread.

You also say that you have based this on what you've read on the forum. How about your own experiences? What it sounds like is that you have been messed with a few too many times. Or are you just defensive because you heard all these horror stories on the forum? I say: pick your battles. Is your profile there to attract clients or to scare off difficult clients? Is your problem you have too many clients, or do you need more?

Oh, and... thank you for distilling so many of the "known issues" on your profile. While I don't think this information belongs on a profile, I think it is a very comprehensive and clear list, and I will take it as a starting point for my own little checklist/contract.

Good luck on creating the best profile for you!
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