Improving my ProZ.com profile - suggestions needed
Thread poster: Randy CUI

Randy CUI  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
Jun 18, 2013

Hello, my dear fellow translators. I'm Randy Cui, a self-employed freelance translator based in China, but a newcomer to proz.com or any other international forum of translators and interpreters. So I'd like to have your ideas about the revision of and improvement to my profile at prom.com, so that it may seem more attractive to prospective clients.

Thank you for you time and consideration.




[Edited at 2013-06-18 09:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-18 12:13 GMT]


 

Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
Hi Jun 18, 2013

Welcome to the website!

I'm new here too, but I've worked hard on making my profile as good as it can be.

As for your page, I'd start by adding a picture of you (a professional-looking portrait), getting your identity verified and I'd edit the About me section to make it look more readable (that is to say, I'd use bullets to break down the information, so that readers find it easier to see your personal information by just skimming over it quickly, rather than reading so much text).


 

Randy CUI  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful tips Jun 18, 2013

Thank you very much, Ms. Micutari, for your prompt reply, which seems to me both helpful and informative.

Wish you success in your career of translation right here at proz.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:52
English to Polish
+ ...
My two fēn Jun 18, 2013

Hey, Awakening. You project some really powerful academic impression with your English and the multiple solid credentials you have. Speaking of which, I'd report:

CATTI
Diploma in Interpretation, In-service Training Program
Qualification Certificate of Translation Proficiency Translator Level II

... as your credentials, and actually even B.A. and M.A. degrees or plain memberships in associations are being reported and verified as credentials by users of the site (verification is done via a support ticket; you will likely need to send a scan or something like that to the staff member who responds). A long list of credentials does enhance credibility.

I'd also put memberships in your profile if technically possible (I'm not sure if only predefined associations are available or freehand is also possible).

Next, I would include a Chinese into English sample. Judging by the English of your profile and CV, that should be a powerful tool. As a non-native speaker and someone whose native language is far from being related to English, you have some presumptions and prejudices working against you (or even sheer statistics), so how about you diffuse them with some live, hands-on evidence (plus a bunch of verified credentials like I said before).

As far as my opinion goes, your profile is all right, but this is because I'm used to reading 'plain' text, and I don't expect pictures, bullets or varied typography as much as your typical western reader is likely to. This said, I would maintain the solid academic style and look for methods of presentation that are compatible with it. Unless you're really prepared to embrace bright colours, fancy bullets, pictures etc. As for the content itself, I'd say you're doing it right.

Edit: And yes, picture. Doesn't have to be you, actually. An ideogram could work if you don't feel comfortable using a real photograph. I'd also consider disclosing your real name to enhance your reliability.

[Edited at 2013-06-18 12:30 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:52
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You come across fairly well to me Jun 18, 2013

The only points I have to make are quite small:
> add a photo, logo or whatever
> use a better username - either your real name or something invented but business-like ("first-name China" or whatever)
> upload a CV in PDF format so it displays correctly for everyone
> maybe change your specialisations? I know many of us work on all sorts of different things, but our specialisations are best if they're a fairly logical set. Education, Legal, Finance, Engineering, etc isn't giving a coherent message to your clients about why they should choose you for each of these areas.


 

Randy CUI  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Engcouraging and Enlightening Jun 19, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Hey, Awakening. You project some really powerful academic impression with your English and the multiple solid credentials you have. Speaking of which, I'd report:

CATTI
Diploma in Interpretation, In-service Training Program
Qualification Certificate of Translation Proficiency Translator Level II

... as your credentials, and actually even B.A. and M.A. degrees or plain memberships in associations are being reported and verified as credentials by users of the site (verification is done via a support ticket; you will likely need to send a scan or something like that to the staff member who responds). A long list of credentials does enhance credibility.

I'd also put memberships in your profile if technically possible (I'm not sure if only predefined associations are available or freehand is also possible).

Next, I would include a Chinese into English sample. Judging by the English of your profile and CV, that should be a powerful tool. As a non-native speaker and someone whose native language is far from being related to English, you have some presumptions and prejudices working against you (or even sheer statistics), so how about you diffuse them with some live, hands-on evidence (plus a bunch of verified credentials like I said before).

As far as my opinion goes, your profile is all right, but this is because I'm used to reading 'plain' text, and I don't expect pictures, bullets or varied typography as much as your typical western reader is likely to. This said, I would maintain the solid academic style and look for methods of presentation that are compatible with it. Unless you're really prepared to embrace bright colours, fancy bullets, pictures etc. As for the content itself, I'd say you're doing it right.

Edit: And yes, picture. Doesn't have to be you, actually. An ideogram could work if you don't feel comfortable using a real photograph. I'd also consider disclosing your real name to enhance your reliability.

[Edited at 2013-06-18 12:30 GMT]


Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Furmankiewicz, for your encouraging and enlightening reply.

I will scan and upload my credentials for verification, and upload an ideogram instead of photograph perhaps, as instructed by you.

I cannot agree with you more when it comes to presumptions and prejudices against non-native speakers of English with regard to into-English translations. Perhaps the best solution, just as you suggest, is providing sample translations and verified credentials. That I will do later.

As far as the “About me” section is concerned, I have the same preference as you, i.e. plain, solid academic style, although uncertain whether or not clients like it. I even doubt that busy clients do not care to read it.


 

Randy CUI  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice Jun 19, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

The only points I have to make are quite small:
> add a photo, logo or whatever
> use a better username - either your real name or something invented but business-like ("first-name China" or whatever)
> upload a CV in PDF format so it displays correctly for everyone
> maybe change your specialisations? I know many of us work on all sorts of different things, but our specialisations are best if they're a fairly logical set. Education, Legal, Finance, Engineering, etc isn't giving a coherent message to your clients about why they should choose you for each of these areas.


Thank you very much, Ms. Wilson, for your reply, which is of great help to me.

I will add a photo or logo, and use a business-like username. I can upload a CV in PDF format, but what confuses me is that a CV needs to be updated sometimes, and one in PDF format cannot be easily modified. Definitely, I need to learn how to convert between PDF and DOC formats.

Just as you point out, my set of specializations does not seem logical, coherent and convincing, although I have been working on these sorts of different things and more. It is a great idea that I pick and focus on a couple of them.

Gracias!


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:52
English to Polish
+ ...
A little more perhaps Jun 19, 2013

awakening16 wrote:

Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Furmankiewicz, for your encouraging and enlightening reply.


Thank you, sir. It's an honour and pleasure to be of any assistance to someone with so much more academic and other professional experience than I have.

I will scan and upload my credentials for verification, and upload an ideogram instead of photograph perhaps, as instructed by you.


I don't have any concrete basis to think so, but I just think ideograms work for European-Asian translators. Either that or perhaps translators working in European-Asian pairs generally like to use ideograms. At any rate, ideograms are nice and presentable and instantly convey the right idea to a westerner, as well as setting the translator apart as an expert much more clearly.

I cannot agree with you more when it comes to presumptions and prejudices against non-native speakers of English with regard to into-English translations. Perhaps the best solution, just as you suggest, is providing sample translations and verified credentials. That I will do later.


If I may suggest anything further, I'd proofread each of the samples like three or four times, just to make sure nothing slips through. If you have the native speaker badge, people will think: 'oh, well, he was just tired or something.' And they will be generous with the 'something'. On the other hand, as a non-native speaker, if you get a single comma wrong or forget an 's' or 'ed' somewhere in a hurry, the presumption will be that you haven't mastered the language to a sufficient level yet.

Since you have a mixed academic-military background, I think this book written by a British intelligence officer could be a good basic reference for your everyday needs: link. He has worked under American generals and is familiar with the differences; in fact, he acknowledges alternative conventions within either British or American usage, too, and gives them fair treatment.

As far as the “About me” section is concerned, I have the same preference as you, i.e. plain, solid academic style, although uncertain whether or not clients like it. I even doubt that busy clients do not care to read it.


That is very likely, actually, although less so in Chinese languages English, where translation and translation needs are more complicated, and translators aren't as numerous as in European languages (or at least I think so). I'd expect your potential clients to be more inclined to spend time reading than even the same clients would be when looking for German English, Spanish French or other such popular European combinations.

Otherwise, clients vary. In the European and American world, some clients have full-blow ADHD and will spend 10 seconds max on your profile, others will read (and possibly even analyse) every single word of it. Some of those who do read actually like reading, others just feel compelled to do it. I'm probably not going to be caught red-handed confabulating when I say that academic clients or clients in need of translations with somewhat of an academic bent will likely be among those who read and like reading.

On the other hand, aggressive business go-getters on tight schedules might be more appreciative of large fonts, bold headers, some colour-coding and short, concise text... then again, they might as well think it's worth stopping for a while to read a reasonably long biographical note such as yours. Additionally, its overall conservative style might appeal to them.

But this is all hard to say. I'd consider some typographical options made available by the fact that Proz.com's 'About me' sections allow in-line styles, so you can put a 'style' attribute on every single HTML tag you use. If you need to put a style on a single word, just wrap that word in SPAN tags. If you need to apply some styling to the entire 'About me' section, you can just wrap it in a DIV. One of the typographical tweaks that styles allow you to use is the leading, i.e. 'line-height' in CSS. Larger line-height makes text lighter on the reader at the price of appearing longer. Blogs often use 14 or 16 font size with large line-heights, e.g. 1.2, 1.5. That's perhaps too much in comparison to the text in tables that list your standardised content, but a little tweak (e.g. slightly larger font, slightly larger line-height) could improve the legibility and visual attractiveness of your presentation. It's certainly possible to make it look like a respectable conservative newspaper or an academic paper rather than a gaudy website.

Another trick webdesigners use is to pick an off-black (e.g. #404040) instead of solid black. That also makes the text resemble a book visually. In fact, Proz.com background is an off-white, or appears off-white due to the effect of the surrounding colours, which should enhance the book feel if you opt for off-black. Just food for thought! Whatever you choose should make you feel comfortable that you are projecting the right professional image to your visitors (some of whom will become your clients).


 

Randy CUI  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:52
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to Lukasz and Sheila Jul 6, 2013

Hello Lukasz,

Dzien Dobry, Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I’ve made some modifications about my profile according to your and Sheila’s suggestions, in hope that it’ll seem a little bit more readable, logical and business-like.

Have weighed the pros and cons of me doing into English translation, I decide for now not to seek the jobs of this type, especially with creative writing. For normally I do into Chinese translations more efficiently before I can rightly claim I can communicate in English as well as most native speakers. Thank you very much, though, for your advice regarding into English translations. And I’ll submit a couple of samples for certification sometime.

“Link” is a good idea for translators and interpreters, and the book should be great. Only if it were available right here on China’s market. Actually I also can tell the differences in spelling and pronunciation between American and British English, but not so sure about the differences in terms of usages. That’s part of the reason why I opt not to venture into translations of creative writing into English. In other realms, there aren’t that many differences. Sometimes I fancy that we might as well have International English instead of so many Englishes.

In Chinese language pairs, we’ve already too many translators. Remember that Chinese mainland alone has a population of 1.3+ billion, and this year some 7 million college graduates are mass manufactured, almost seven times as against 2000. Every year quite a large number of newly graduated students enter the translation industry, but not many are well qualified. As a result, by offering or accepting sweatshop rates, they’re really poisoning real professionals, not a few of who are already driven out of the industry actually. On the part of translation agencies based in China, I’d say CVs generally count for much less than lowest rates when it comes to outsourcing translation jobs. I’d rather my potential clients thought otherwise and were more patient with my profile.

Regarding the “about-me” section, I’ll stick to the overall conservative style if I'm able to, hoping to occasionally attract the attention of a few like-minded potential clients. Still, I’ll further improve it typographically while struggling to grasp the technical means available at proz.com.

A piece of good news: I submitted my first quote, for a rather large project posted at proz.com a few days ago. And I have been communicating with the resource manager, although it is not yet decided who will win the bid. Aware how busy resource managers usually are, I read it as an encouraging sign, one that I am not among the losers yet. Perhaps a well written profile is sometimes an open sesame to a translation assignment.

Thanks,
Randy


[Edited at 2013-07-06 03:54 GMT]


 


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