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A ProZ.com success story: the Cannes International Film Festival
Thread poster: Andrew Morris

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 19:47
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
To the point May 15

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

Henry Dotterer wrote:

Folks, this thread was about a chance meeting that led to an interesting assignment... can we keep it on that?

I'm going to post regarding the forums in general.


Positive, uplifting posts do not appear to go down well on this forum, so it's understandable that people are put off contributing their success stories.


I'm not at all sure, Henry, that calling it a "chance meeting" isn't counterproductive.

In fact, you're supposed to gush "And it all began by clicking on a ProZ.com advert."

I believe Angela's point is that "uplifting" posts have their place and have appeared here for as long as I can remember.
And while yes, they're "all warm and fuzzy", they're unnecessary unless you're feeling suicidal.

I might well be wrong but I believe most people, especially those new to the trade/art/profession/industry/etc... are looking for practical advice. After all, such an invitation to join ProZ will only be read by someone already reading this forum.

The original post might have proven more useful with Andrew explaining what "pitch" he used to win over the client; what features, strengths this type of client is seeking and how to respond convincingly; why the client thought him a good fit for this type of work in the first place; how to handle such on-the-spot situations* etc.... I'm sure there'd be many good tidbits there....

But if you're starting out, you want hard advice, not "warm and fuzzy"
And if you've been around the block more times than you care to remember, ditto.

(* I also found myself in the same situation during the '92 BCN Olympics at the Main Press Centre - it's real time so you're permanently on call, watching monitors, checking results, bios, etc...there's instant turnaround, and remember what the Internet was like in 1992....).


DZiW
Robert Forstag
Angela Rimmer
Fiona Grace Peterson
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
TOPIC STARTER
Happy to engage May 15

I'll happily engage with Fiona and Andy's points in their posts.

Back when this 'break' first happened I had one year's experience. So I didn't have an array of sales techniques to win over the client. Looking back, there were some things I could point to which maybe helped:

a) I answered the client's ad in French, not in English. Even though my interlocutor turned out to be English, he was impressed and remarked on that in his response. That's about as far as my "pitch" went – I didn't have that much else to show.
b) I did their free test, without moaning. I never do free tests any more for agencies (although I am delighted to do paid tests for them and even free ones for potentially important new direct clients, when they ask), but at the time, it seemed like an investment of half an hour which might pay off. And 9 years on, I'd say it was worth it.
c) I did work that was as good and as well-researched as I could manage over the first year with them. Looking back, I'd probably run a mile from those translations, but they passed muster.
d) I know soft skills are frowned upon here, but yes, I was efficient, punctual, flexible, enthusiastic, keen to learn, always willing to accept feedback and had a sense of humour.
e) I also took the initiative to travel to Paris to meet them from my home in Provence

I guess it was based on a combination of these things that they then offered me the Cannes work, as part of a multilingual team, a year later.

In terms of handling the situation now, it's certainly a sprint each day. You're on call for 6 hours at a time, for any number of days throughout the 11-day Festival. This year I'm doing 8.

The translation itself all takes place from home, working in the Festival's back office. Texts pop up, usually up to 600 words max, and you have to turn them round as quickly as possible so that they hit the website or the app. In terms of technique, you go into a kind of freeform trance – translating as you read, almost as if you were interpreting, but with a keyboard. Given that the texts are accessible and well-written by professional journalists, and for the general public, they are enjoyable to do and you never find yourself complaining about the standard of writing.

You then copy and paste to a Word doc (as the back office has no spellcheck) and review once (still in the back office) before finalising and sending.

If you have time to look back the next day, of course there are words or phrases where you might revise or change things, but just as often, you end up thinking "Hmm, that wasn't too bad." During the day itself, you have no time as the next text isn't too long in coming.

You need plenty of water, preferably a light meal that you can eat quickly, and best of all a standing desk.

Hope that answers your questions.

***

PS Can we sort out some minor nomenclature issues for future reference? I am amused and flattered by the term "top translator" but it's one I have never dreamed of applying to myself. I'm not really given to shows of such ludicrous arrogance. "Successful"? Only in the sense that I hope many of us are: I have enough money coming in to live the life I want, in a lovely home, and to go on holidays and eat out in nice places. I like my clients, I enjoy my job, I have time to do the things I want to do, and I feel generally happy in my life. And "Influencer", only in that I've written a bunch of stuff over the years to share my experience, and people have chosen of their own free will to engage with it, without the slightest coercion. And in latter years, they've opted to pay to do so. But I am deeply aware that people can just as easily opt out at any time, so it's up to me to keep engaging them.

PPS Loathe as I am to have to give anyone a lesson in basic arithmetic, 600 words an hour at €0.20 per word is not $80 dollars an hour. It is €120, which works out at $134 per hour, or €480 ($538) for an enjoyable evening's work spent translating a highly engaging event, of worldwide significance and whose texts are read by millions of people, once a year. No doubt there are better rates out there, but in a context where people complain at great length about bottom feeders paying €0.02 per word, I am intrigued to find that ten times that rate – from an agency – is also unable to satisfy.


Elizabeth Tamblin
Eliza Hall
Tanya Quintieri
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:47
German to English
+ ...
a cool opportunity May 15

That is how I saw it - and congratulations. It's a lovely thing to be part of, and the pay is at a good level. Being able to have a repeat every year is a lucky break, and you must have done a good enough job if they welcomed you back.

Andrew Morris
Teresa Borges
Mr.Q
Katalin Horváth McClure
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
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Thanks Maxi May 15

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

That is how I saw it - and congratulations. It's a lovely thing to be part of, and the pay is at a good level. Being able to have a repeat every year is a lucky break, and you must have done a good enough job if they welcomed you back.


Thanks Maxi for your generosity.

No doubt this will be dismissed as "fluff" once again, but if we characterise other people's successes as "bragging", i.e. if we deny them permission to succeed, then it follows in my view that we deny ourselves permission to succeed.

In all the groups I've been involved in either as a manager or as a participant, people have been actively encouraged to celebrate others' successes at whatever level (nice feedback, first direct client, certification, ten years in the business), to derive inspiration from them and to go out and try harder themselves.

Shocking idea, I know.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Elizabeth Tamblin
Eliza Hall
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Useful post May 15

Andrew Morris wrote:
I'll happily engage with Fiona and Andy's points in their posts.

That second post made for an interesting read. Thanks for sharing, Andrew. I gathered from your first post that you had to travel to the event and I'd hate that (I'm not a big-event person at all). But a few years back, when I was living somewhere that was dead in the evenings, I'd have loved your annual job as it sounds challenging and rewarding. Now I live in a place full of live music and I enjoy my leisure time far too much to work in the evening.


Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Andrew Morris

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ProZ.com team
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We choose our shifts May 15

Sheila Wilson wrote:

. Now I live in a place full of live music and I enjoy my leisure time far too much to work in the evening.



Haha I don’t work evenings either apart from the closing ceremony. We choose our own shifts. This time because of my temporary role at ProZ.com I am doing mornings only...


 

Eliza Hall
United States
Local time: 13:47
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
Besoin d'aide? :) May 15

Andrew Morris wrote:

Haha I don’t work evenings either apart from the closing ceremony. We choose our own shifts. This time because of my temporary role at ProZ.com I am doing mornings only...


If you need anyone to help pitch in during the evenings, I'm available

And am a huge movie buff. I once kept track of every movie I saw while a student in Toulouse, and it was over 300 movies in one year (while also studying art history, so watching movies had to be fit in around study time...).


Andrew Morris
 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:47
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Shocking indeed May 15

Andrew Morris wrote:

No doubt this will be dismissed as "fluff" once again, but if we characterise other people's successes as "bragging", i.e. if we deny them permission to succeed, then it follows in my view that we deny ourselves permission to succeed.

In all the groups I've been involved in either as a manager or as a participant, people have been actively encouraged to celebrate others' successes at whatever level (nice feedback, first direct client, certification, ten years in the business), to derive inspiration from them and to go out and try harder themselves.

Shocking idea, I know.


I feel this needs to be addressed, but after I say my piece here, I'll take my leave and be done with it, because my intention is not to pile on and attack anyone.

Not once have I EVER seen someone in any translator group/community/forum/website/whatever share their personal stories of success and been derided or otherwise shut down with negativity. And I resent the implication you present here, Andrew, and in other side comments you've thrown out in recent posts on this forum, that the translators in these groups don't encourage each other or celebrate each others' successes.

The issue is, Andrew, that at least part of your income comes from making money off of us, or at least the ones among us who buy into your brand and pay you for your insights. I've got no issue with you deciding to monetise your brand, but it does mean that we all have to look at your input through the lens of "this guy ultimately sees me as a target for his own moneymaking ventures". You have an ulterior motive, whether you really want to see it that way or not.

On ProZ, this is actually doubly true. You get to advertise your own brand on a platform that reaches hundreds of your target market, AND you get paid by ProZ to do it. But the thing is, I don't pay membership fees to ProZ so that I can read fluff pieces and be marketed at. It is different if you are adding value and even better if you include some sort of disclaimer or full disclosure note about how you're being paid to post that stuff, but your initial post, in this case at least, did not do that. People don't like to feel that they are being exploited.

I hope I've made sense. I don't know you personally, Andrew, and I'm sure you're an OK guy, but because you do make money off of translators and you are being paid to post on ProZ, your posts cannot just be treated like contributions from any other normal member. It's like getting home security advice from a security alarm company. They might have really great advice for you, but ultimately their aim is to sell you one of their systems, so you have to take their information with a pinch of salt.


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Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
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Mixed messages May 15

Andy Watkinson wrote:

The original post might have proven more useful with Andrew explaining what "pitch" he used to win over the client; what features, strengths this type of client is seeking and how to respond convincingly; why the client thought him a good fit for this type of work in the first place; how to handle such on-the-spot situations* etc.... I'm sure there'd be many good tidbits there....



Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I'm sure most people would consider a job like the one Andrew describes as being a pretty major gig, especially after only a year of professional translation.
Perhaps Andrew could share some insights for newbies on what he thinks contributed to landing the job? After all, we all know that replying to any job advert involves more than just one click. Any advice maybe for newcomers looking to get that all-important foot in the door?


I read these first thing this morning, and duly obliged at 7am. Whether you think the quality of my answer is up to the mark or not is not really the point.

And now I see the (Edited to read:) TWO people who raised these questions agree that there is zero value to what I write here because it's all a sales pitch, basically.

I wish I'd known that earlier. Would have saved me a good half an hour trying to gather my thoughts and address what I perhaps mistakenly took for sincere advice.

(Edited to add:) I am sorry, but that is appallingly hypocritical behaviour. I am genuinely sickened, for the first time in this forum.

Over and out.


Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 19:47
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Well. May 15

Samuel Murray wrote:

A lot of it was caused by the newcomer suffering from "must have last word"-itis

[/quote]

When Samuel's right, he's right.


writeaway
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:47
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
I cannot possibly let that slide! May 15

Andy Watkinson wrote:

When Samuel's right, he's right.

Well, what happens when he's wrong? Huh? HUH? Answer me!!!!!!!!!

[Edited at 2019-05-15 16:35 GMT]


Andy Watkinson
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:47
Member (2012)
French to English
. May 15

Andrew Morris wrote:

Andy Watkinson wrote:

The original post might have proven more useful with Andrew explaining what "pitch" he used to win over the client; what features, strengths this type of client is seeking and how to respond convincingly; why the client thought him a good fit for this type of work in the first place; how to handle such on-the-spot situations* etc.... I'm sure there'd be many good tidbits there....



I read this first thing this morning, and duly obliged at 7am. Whether you think the quality of my answer is up to the mark or not is not really the point.

And now I see the person who raised this issue agrees that there is zero value to what I write here because it's all a sales pitch, basically.

I wish I'd known that earlier. Would have saved me a good half an hour trying to gather my thoughts and address what I perhaps mistakenly took for a sincere piece of advice.

Over and out.





It's strange, isn't it? But becoming very predictable.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Lincoln May 15

Lincoln Hui wrote:
Andy Watkinson wrote:
When Samuel's right, he's right.

Well, what happens when he's wrong? Huh? HUH? Answer me!!!!!!!!!

I have a special scrape-egg-from-face tool for that.

[Edited at 2019-05-15 18:45 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Calm down, Andrew :-) May 15

Andrew Morris wrote:
And now I see the two people who raised these questions agree that there is zero value to what I write here because it's all a sales pitch, basically.


That is not correct. The two people clicked the "Agree" button under posts that contained statements that they agree with. If someone clicks the "Agree" button, it does not mean that they agree with everything in that post. They might agree with the general sentiment expressed in that post, or they may agree that the post makes valid points. Angela's post contains at least three distinct points (forum rules disallow me from summarising them), and any of those points could have triggered an "Agree" even if the person did not agree or had any specific opinion about any of the other points.

Your post from 07:41 was very good and interesting. 100% on-topic.

What prompted the thread to derail again (after it nicely returned to topic) was the sarcasm and innuendo in your post from 13:04. Why?? after such a good return.

Perhaps you intended your remarks about "fluff" and "shock" to have a humorous effect, but as you know, rule #1 of e-mail groups, Usenet and forums is that humour often misses its mark. In the current climate, these types of jokes can trigger strong, emotional responses.

As for responding to such responses: ignore it if you feel that people attack you or criticise you unfairly. Don't fight back or try to explain yourself or denigrate in return. Focus on the friendly bits. As you can see from the several positive responses in this thread, your good posts are taken at face value and appreciated by many here.

[Edited at 2019-05-15 18:44 GMT]


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