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No Identity, No Profile
Thread poster: Henry Hinds

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 24, 2014

I am curious to know what people here think of a very common phenomenon, translators who register on the site and do not reveal their identity; that is they hide behind a pseudonym (some of which are quite infantile or silly) and/or fail to provide any profile or concrete information on themselves. I believe that anyone acting in good faith and interested in the field should be welcome to participate. However, it is also my opinion that the above phenomenon does not reflect professionalism and detracts from a serious image for the site to the detriment of those of us who are serious. In addition, I can only see it as a self-imposed handicap when these persons attempt to get work assignments, for who wants to hire someone who is unidentified and anonymous?

Another related matter might be false registrations and profiles, which I think Proz tries to eliminate, but it is not always easy. The solution I propose could help there also.

But in the first case, I think it would be a healthy practice for Proz to require registrants on the site, free as well as paid members, to properly identify themselves publicly by their true name and create at least an accurate though minimal profile including certain basic information. This could be done by allowing a certain grace period that new registrants would have to provide documentation to Proz by mail.

Maybe some have reasons for not identifying themselves, such as avoiding creditors, bill collectors, ex-spouses, law enforcement, etc., or maybe they fear being stalked or harassed which I don't think is much of a problem. Plus, just being in existence means that now and then scammers will attempt to contect you; you just reject them. I do not consider any such reasons to be valid. If you don't want to be identified, then just don't register.

What do colleagues and Proz think of this proposal?


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philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
Good luck to them! Sep 24, 2014

I think it's perfectly reasonable to disguise your identity if you're asking a single question on KudoZ or the discussion forums and can't be bothered to give your entire life history.

Some people are professional translators who use ProZ as a marketing tool; others are just casual visitors.


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:38
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Suspicious indeed. Sep 24, 2014

Dear Henry,

I have had these thoughts as well and what mostly intrigues me is why? If one wants to succeed in a career why play with names, pseudos which you clearly mentioned as '(some of which are quite infantile or silly)'. I do not see people in the market - engineers, teachers, architects, doctors, truck drivers, web designers, etc - using pseudonyms when applying for jobs.

We've got some funny, silly names, and this applies for non-paying and paying members. Yesterday one of my colleagues reported a situation.
He receive a job proposal and in 5 minutes the company replied his email, confirming he had accepted the offer, but he had not, then he checked and it was a scammer using his name with a fake email address.

So precaution is a thing here.

Proz does everything to control the flow, but it's a world full of all kinds of minds.




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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:38
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I think it’s disrespectful. Sep 24, 2014

Hi Henry,

I hate it. It might be OK for a casual user who just wants to ask a few KudoZ questions and then disappear, but I really can’t stand users who hide behind a silly photo of a dog or cat (their dog? their cat? who knows), provide no info on who they actually are (are they a man? a woman? old? young? retired? a student? a child? a lunatic? who knows…), and yet expect you to take them seriously.

Things get even sillier when they expect you to accept their criticism, from behind their wall of mystery. If you ask me, it’s some kind of dumb power trip. It’s particularly annoying when you have to deal with these masked entities on a daily basis in the KudoZ Arena.

Michael

[Edited at 2014-09-24 23:11 GMT]


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 20:38
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Hi Henry Sep 25, 2014

Henry Hinds wrote:

(...)
However, it is also my opinion that the above phenomenon does not reflect professionalism and detracts from a serious image for the site to the detriment of those of us who are serious. In addition, I can only see it as a self-imposed handicap when these persons attempt to get work assignments, for who wants to hire someone who is unidentified and anonymous?


As far as your second point is concerned, I agree.

But if anything "detracts from the site", it's not someone with a false name or daft photo - rather it's the daft answers provided by people with a full profile stating not only name, rank and number, but also a host of "glowing" claims to be God's gift to translating that really bring the site into disrepute, amongst other factors.

Both when they attempt to answer questions where they're obviously out of their depth or try to convince us in the forums that they're actually native speakers of XXX.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:38
German to English
+ ...
I had a stalker when I registered here Sep 25, 2014

Someone from my past was harrassing me, so I had good reasons not to use my real name anywhere on the internet, and even now I'm still cautious. I have also never been hit by scammers via Proz, nor had my identity stolen, knock wood. Is that not a good thing? In my nine years on Proz, anonymity has never been a problem, as is evident from my profile. When I apply for jobs the outsourcers see my real name, as do members with whom I have private communications, which is good enough for me. Obviously, there will be some abusers hiding behind anonymity, but using a legitimate name is no guarantee that that person is who s/he claims to be in any case, so to me that is a non-reason. What I find annoying is narrow-minded people who pass judgment on others for rather irrelevant or completely immaterial things like what name they use on a website. I'm pretty sure most people on this site don't really care one way or the other and the owner certainly doesn't, so why do you? Mind your own business, and I'll mind mine.

May I also remind you that cultural differences play a big role here, and humor (among many other things) is very culture-dependent. What some see as silly may really be innocent fun or hilarious to others. There's no law that says you have to be dead serious about everything in life, and having a sense of humor in regard to my work, for example, does not preclude the seriousness with which I execute it. In fact, in one specialization, my avatar is an advantage, but I won't reveal which! You have to guess.

As Peter Steiner, a former college professor, colleague and friend of my parents once immortalized in an iconic cartoon after he changed professions, "on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Internet,_nobody_knows_you're_a_dog

I'm pretty sure some of you will understand the humor in that classic, and others will not, just as some understand why there are people who prefer anonymity and some who never will. That's life and the diversity of humankind.

Edited to add:
Sorry, the link to the Wiki article won't let itself be pasted properly. It takes you to the wrong page, but the article is there if you put the entire URL into your browser or Google it.

[Edited at 2014-09-25 13:43 GMT]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Thank you Andy, thank you Woodstock. Couldn't agree more. Sep 25, 2014

Andy Watkinson wrote:

Henry Hinds wrote:

(...)
However, it is also my opinion that the above phenomenon does not reflect professionalism and detracts from a serious image for the site to the detriment of those of us who are serious. In addition, I can only see it as a self-imposed handicap when these persons attempt to get work assignments, for who wants to hire someone who is unidentified and anonymous?


As far as your second point is concerned, I agree.

But if anything "detracts from the site", it's not someone with a false name or daft photo - rather it's the daft answers provided by people with a full profile stating not only name, rank and number, but also a host of "glowing" claims to be God's gift to translating that really bring the site into disrepute, amongst other factors.

Both when they attempt to answer questions where they're obviously out of their depth or try to convince us in the forums that they're actually native speakers of XXX.


Woodstock wrote:
I had a stalker when I registered here

Someone from my past was harrassing me, so I had good reasons not to use my real name anywhere on the internet, and even now I'm still cautious. I have also never been hit by scammers via Proz, nor had my identity stolen, knock wood. Is that not a good thing? In my seven years on Proz, anonymity has never been a problem, as is evident from my profile. When I apply for jobs the outsourcers see my real name, as do members with whom I have private communications, which is good enough for me. Obviously, there will some abusers hiding behind anonymity, but using a legitimate name is no guarantee that that person is who s/he claims to be in any case, so to me that is a non-reason. What I find annoying is narrow-minded people who pass judgment on others for rather irrelevant or completely immaterial things like what name they use on a website. I'm pretty sure most people on this site don't really care one way or the other and the owner certainly doesn't, so why do you? Mind your own business, and I'll mind mine.

May I also remind you that cultural differences play a big role here, and humor (among many other things) is very culture-dependent. What some see as silly may really be innocent fun or hilarious to others. There's no law that says you have to be dead serious about everything in life, and having a sense of humor in regard to my work, for example, does not preclude the seriousness with which I execute it. In fact, in one specialization, my avatar is an advantage, but I won't reveal which! You have to guess.


I'd like to add that my dog is far smarter and definitely more honest than many with allegedly upfront profile pages.

[Edited at 2014-09-25 09:46 GMT]


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Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:38
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
No shirt, no shoes, no service Sep 25, 2014

Michael Beijer wrote:

It might be OK for a casual user who just wants to ask a few KudoZ questions and then disappear ... provide no info on who they actually are ... and yet expect you to take them seriously.
Things get even sillier when they expect you to accept their criticism, from behind their wall of mystery ... annoying when you have to deal with these masked entities on a daily basis in the KudoZ Arena.


...accompanied by writing their nick name preferably in CAPITAL LETTERS.

[Bearbeitet am 2014-09-25 07:30 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Agencies Sep 25, 2014

I think there are many Proz members on the site who are actually agencies, although they are registered as individuals. They may want to do this as a way of getting access to the names of translators they want to hire. I don't think their presence damages the site in any way.

Anyway, when I was first starting out on Proz I had almost nothing in my profile for about a year, until I finally got round to filling in all the information requested. So I think it's perfectly legitimate for a profile to be left incomplete.

[Edited at 2014-09-25 07:18 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule
polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
depends on purpose Sep 25, 2014

Each case is different and should be judged on its individual merits.
Personally, I have no intention of giving my real name on this site.
I am not here looking for work (as I state clearly on the profile page). I do not wish to be bothered with requests for work (the people who are looking for translators through this site couldn't afford my prices, which are no more than the going rate for a true and experienced professional who produces quality work!)
I do not ask questions.
All I do is answer questions when they are asked by serious individuals, who have clearly done their research before finally picking the brains of their peers.
I ignore those - usually giving their full names and pedigrees - who are using the site as a crutch. I am not a dictionary nor a free research service. I do offer consultancy services but only against payment.
Apart from my altruistic nature, I have a number of other reasons for remaining anonymous, not least checking that my students don't post their homework here!
I could understand Henry's point if he were talking exclusively about those who use the site to ask a maximum of questions and give nothing in return.
I consider I am doing no harm and could be doing some good.
What's wrong with that?


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Texte Style
Local time: 20:38
French to English
I don't use this website to look for work Sep 25, 2014

Woodstock wrote:

Someone from my past was harrassing me, so I had good reasons not to use my real name anywhere on the internet, and even now I'm still cautious. I have also never been hit by scammers via Proz, nor had my identity stolen, knock wood. Is that not a good thing? In my seven years on Proz, anonymity has never been a problem, as is evident from my profile. When I apply for jobs the outsourcers see my real name, as do members with whom I have private communications, which is good enough for me. Obviously, there will some abusers hiding behind anonymity, but using a legitimate name is no guarantee that that person is who s/he claims to be in any case, so to me that is a non-reason. What I find annoying is narrow-minded people who pass judgment on others for rather irrelevant or completely immaterial things like what name they use on a website. I'm pretty sure most people on this site don't really care one way or the other and the owner certainly doesn't, so why do you? Mind your own business, and I'll mind mine.

May I also remind you that cultural differences play a big role here, and humor (among many other things) is very culture-dependent. What some see as silly may really be innocent fun or hilarious to others. There's no law that says you have to be dead serious about everything in life, and having a sense of humor in regard to my work, for example, does not preclude the seriousness with which I execute it. In fact, in one specialization, my avatar is an advantage, but I won't reveal which! You have to guess.

As Peter Steiner, a former college professor, colleague and friend of my parents once immortalized in an iconic cartoon after he changed professions, "on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Internet,_nobody_knows_you're_a_dog

I'm pretty sure some of you will understand the humor in that classic, and others will not, just as some understand why there are people who prefer anonymity and some who never will. That's life and the diversity of humankind.

Edited to add:
Sorry, the link to the Wiki article won't let itself be pasted properly. It takes you to the wrong page, but the article is there if you put the entire URL into your browser or Google it.

[Edited at 2014-09-25 06:10 GMT]


Thank you Woodstock for saying exactly what I wanted to say.

If you've never been stalked, you're lucky, I suppose it's hard to imagine never feeling safe anywhere. If I have to come across as disrespectful, infantile, silly and suspicious to avoid being stalked, well so be it. If Proz makes me use my real name I'll just go somewhere else. My pseudonym is actually a pun on one of my specialities, so I would say really that it's quite artful advertising actually.

My previous boss was a manipulative pervert and was very successful in damaging the reputation of a former colleague. I do not want him to find anything out about me. I have blocked him on Facebook, I can't block him here, and he could register under a pseudonym anyway, so I prefer to withhold my real name.

Maybe that doesn't look professional but I'm only here to hang out with other translators, discuss translation issues, keep up with new stuff, not to seek work (I have plenty thank you).

Do you really need to know my gender/name/shoe size to be able discuss translation issues with me?


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 20:38
French to English
+ ...
Say what? Sep 25, 2014

Michael Beijer wrote:

...provide no info on who they actually are (are they a man? a woman? old? young? retired? a student? a child? a lunatic? who knows…), and yet expect you to take them seriously.



How do any of these things affect my ability as a translator? Would I be a better translator if I was a young attractive black woman or a late middle-aged white man?

The only classification I see there that might have an impact is "lunatic". If you think you can tell that from a photograph, good luck to you.

My work and my opinions speak for themselves. None of the rest is anybody else's business.

Terry (My real name but just ambiguous enough*)

* I once had a work friend with the same name but completely opposite gender and sexual orientation which, of course, meant that we were attracted to the same gender. This made for some fun conversations but had very little impact on our abilities in our career.


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Texte Style
Local time: 20:38
French to English
how can stalking not be a problem? Sep 25, 2014

Henry Hinds wrote:

maybe they fear being stalked or harassed which I don't think is much of a problem.


Maybe you think that because you're a man? I have been harassed more times than I have fingers and toes. Let me specify right away that I never wear mini-skirts, tight trousers or low-cut tops, nor do I go out late at night on my own, nor do I ever do anything to attract attention or provoke anyone. Yet I have been followed, propositioned, poked, tickled and scratched in private places, attacked with a knife and on another occasion by a gang of skinheads. I have had stones thrown at me, I have had a neighbour ringing my doorbell and whispering obscenities at me because I forgot to draw the curtains and he could see me through the window. Can't count the number of heavy breathers on the phone. On more than one occasion I have had people trying to steal stuff from my bag in a crowded metro. Every single time I have been frightened. I have sometimes gone to extreme lengths to avoid this, like avoiding a particular metro station even though it's the most practical route for me, and it takes a whole lot of spontaneity and fun out of life. I've had to get used to it.

So no, I'm not putting out my real name or a photo of me on my profile here to attract the online weirdos as well! You can use your imagination. If a conversation continues in private, I will disclose my real name provided I am sure the translator is who s/he says s/he is, but out here in public, sorry no way folks.


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