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How much should you invest financially to begin with?
Thread poster: Rachael Clayton

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (Jun 2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. May 9

Phil Hand wrote:

Rachael C wrote:

I'm particularly trying to decide whether or not to buy Proz membership, I'd prefer not to at the moment but it seems to be the way to start getting jobs rather emailing CVs everywhere.

Those two shouldn't be an either/or. They should be a both and! And use social media, and use university contacts, and use face-to-face meetings with whoever you can get...

I used Proz membership to boost my client base when I needed to, and it paid for itself very quickly. If you're going to translate professionally, there's no reason not to aim high. So don't sweat the small expenses, because they're help you earn more.

(Another example: I recently re-upped on SDL Studio, which was a bit expensive, but I can't live without it. It saves me hours on almost every job.)


I'll keep at it
Don't you find that you get a lot of bugs in SDL Trados?

[Edited at 2019-05-09 15:03 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Never used a CAT May 9

I've never used a CAT tool in my life. I do OK.

DZiW
 

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (Jun 2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 9

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Rachael C wrote:
I'm particularly trying to decide whether or not to buy Proz membership, I'd prefer not to at the moment but it seems to be the way to start getting jobs rather emailing CVs everywhere.

Just to summarise:
- You need a "shop window" somewhere in the translation high street; ProZ.com is the biggest department store in the street with the highest number of customers.
- You need to occupy a prime spot and present a quality front, so even just paying isn't enough. You need a full quality profile and lots of KudoZ points to elevate your stall to customer eye-level.
- You need to obtain various items of software (e.g. CAT tool) and you need skills (I.e. training) so go for the PLUS membership for best ROI.
- You need to bring customers to your stall by sending your CV/brochure (not a jobseeker's CV) to potential clients, being active on social media where you display a link to your profile, and printing and distributing business cards (among other things).

Applying for jobs that get posted here is just one way to land clients, and not the best way.


They're on my to-do list and a website as well.


 

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (Jun 2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 9

Kay Denney wrote:

I suppose I was lucky in that I had people asking me to do translations before I had even set up my business. I then reached out to my LinkedIn contacts and was given work straight away by a former colleague now working in another agency. She knew the quality of my work and she remembered especially that I was one of the few colleagues who didn't go in for biting and stabbing in the back.
If you don't have contacts like that, well Proz was my next stop once I'd made the most of LinkedIn. I have had several jobs, the subscription paid for itself with the first one. At least two clients there are turning into regulars, which I'm delighted at. I'm now at the point where I can raise my rate for those who pay the least without it being a problem, indeed it will free up more time to concentrate on the better clients.


I'll do some more LinkedIn enhancing. Glad you're getting regular clients.


 

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (Jun 2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 9

Rita Pang wrote:

I am a forum mod and have been on Proz for a while now, so some may argue that my views are biased (and they are), but truth of the matter is, Proz is a business and a business has to make money. If they are selling memberships they need to offer something unique to the people who paid for it, and site ranking is one of the things you'd get when you purchase a membership. Proz doesn't hide this fact either; look up the tutorials and numerous posts about this and you'll see that whatever language pair/fields of interest/work etc you pull up with your research, members always rank higher than non-members. Most clients likely won't click past the first 3 pages of search results (if not even page 1), so you can do the math and see if it's worth it.

Back when I was just a wee member on Proz, there used to be something called a jobs only membership, which was considerably lower in price than the full membership, and that's what I got started with. I believed I paid USD 70 per year which was a lot more affordable - I totally understand your concern about investing and getting your money's worth. Soon enough because of my own activities on Proz, getting a full membership appeared to be a natural next move to me, so I did it and it paid off every year. I don't actually get a lot of new clients these days, but the 1 or 2 that come through to me from Proz usually paid off my yearly membership dues with 1 or 2 projects. Long story short, investments like these paid off, but the return may not be immediate. That being said, you do need to invest to make yourself more visible, whether it is a membership on Proz, a website (hosting fees), social media or whatever else. The choice is yours.


Good to hear another positive experience.


 

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:17
Member (Jun 2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
0 May 9

Tom in London wrote:

I've never used a CAT tool in my life. I do OK.


They can be a blessing and a curse I suppose.


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:17
Member
English to French
+ ...
CAT tool requirements May 9

Some agencies do have specific requirements and some do mind what CAT tool you use.

Generally, stating that you work on a CAT tool which handles SDL Trados files and packages (or files from other CAT tools, as CafeTran Espresso does) is enough. But yes, this might be a limiting factor to take into account.

However, in the beginning, you have to understand that you do not need to be able to accept all jobs under the sun.

For example, if you apply an appropri
... See more
Some agencies do have specific requirements and some do mind what CAT tool you use.

Generally, stating that you work on a CAT tool which handles SDL Trados files and packages (or files from other CAT tools, as CafeTran Espresso does) is enough. But yes, this might be a limiting factor to take into account.

However, in the beginning, you have to understand that you do not need to be able to accept all jobs under the sun.

For example, if you apply an appropriate pricing, you are more expensive than what (more than) half the agencies are prepared to pay.

As a freelancer, you just need enough jobs and clients to keep you busy, while you continue developing your skills/business, and likely improving your income and rates.

Don't base your choices solely on what others want. Take into account the market realities, but then make your own informed decisions.

That said, not using a CAT tool at all is also a decision. It may be a limiting factor for some, but others may still strive. I wouldn't know, as I use one.

[Edited at 2019-05-09 16:24 GMT]
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Rachael Clayton
Angie Garbarino
Kevin Fulton
Rita Pang
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:17
Chinese to English
Life is buggy... May 10

Rachael C wrote:

Don't you find that you get a lot of bugs in SDL Trados?


I do, but to be honest, I have bugs in every bit of vaguely hi-tech kit I've ever owned. Even the fabled iPhone sometimes dies in my hands. My computer randomly disconnects from Wi-Fi and refuses to reconnect every now and then. The sexy fingerprint lock we have on our front door every now and then refuses to recognise my finger... I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, or what! So I make sure there's always a workaround. I like Trados, but I'm not reliant on it. Anyway, good luck!


Rachael Clayton
Christine Andersen
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:17
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I never invested anything financially when I started out May 10

I had Internet connection and a desktop computer back then, which were the only things I paid that had something to do with my translation work, but I would have had them anyway even if I didn't do translation.

Gitte Hovedskov
DZiW
Rachael Clayton
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:17
Dutch to English
+ ...
Invest 2,000 EUR May 10

Buy full Proz membership, at least to get you started, a CAT tool, an Office subscription, a good computer with decent sized screen and the best wireless mouse/keyboard you can find, mobile data, maybe some subscriptions to online bilingual dictionaries, and a spare laptop.

A CAT tool is absolutely essential unless you have direct clients with one foot in the past. Half my work comes in the form of xliffs or packages, so pay the money and get Trados, memoQ or similar or you'll lose
... See more
Buy full Proz membership, at least to get you started, a CAT tool, an Office subscription, a good computer with decent sized screen and the best wireless mouse/keyboard you can find, mobile data, maybe some subscriptions to online bilingual dictionaries, and a spare laptop.

A CAT tool is absolutely essential unless you have direct clients with one foot in the past. Half my work comes in the form of xliffs or packages, so pay the money and get Trados, memoQ or similar or you'll lose out. Mine, acquired 5 years ago, paid itself back in about 2 weeks.
The advantages are that it makes your workflow uniform, there are no worries about formatting or forgetting boxes in Excel etc., it improves the quality of your work by making inconsistencies easier to detect, you can build up termbases (useful) or translation memories (not that useful for me in fact), line up translated documents, and get assigned texts with reps (which you'll have to give a discount for, even so it's worth it as there's virtually no work involved) etc, etc. Working without one would be a bit like going back to a typewriter!
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Emma Page
Kevin Fulton
Josephine Cassar
Rachael Clayton
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Minimum/maximum: Not every investment makes money May 10

I'm afraid, it's far too jolly when translators or other non-businessmen discuss financial terms and questions as mere laymen.

Let's assume most translators (1) are aware of business mechanics, (2) can tell different types of investment, (3) know how to calc and follow the business plan, and (4) run their biz, managing the risks.


Richard, could you tell us how exactly you plan to return the €2000 investment--with gains--the next two-six-nine-t
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I'm afraid, it's far too jolly when translators or other non-businessmen discuss financial terms and questions as mere laymen.

Let's assume most translators (1) are aware of business mechanics, (2) can tell different types of investment, (3) know how to calc and follow the business plan, and (4) run their biz, managing the risks.


Richard, could you tell us how exactly you plan to return the €2000 investment--with gains--the next two-six-nine-twelve months? Two years? Three? Just show me your biz plan, please)

However, I agree that $120+ investment at ProZ may be worthy for those, who have established their rankings, targeting this audience... Why only here? Why €2000, not €200 or €20,000? So many awkward questions, you know. If one understands the risks (cons/pros), then it's ok.

IMO, the problem is not only lack of planning or mindless copycating, but rather what the investor is ready to do to for achieving the clear goals.
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Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:17
Dutch to English
+ ...
jolly business plans May 10

DZiW wrote:


Richard, could you tell us how exactly you plan to return the €2000 investment--with gains--the next two-six-nine-twelve months? Two years? Three? Just show me your biz plan, please)




I'm delighted you're all jollied up.


It's not a business plan, but if someone gets 0.07 a word and translates 3,000 words a day, that's 4,000 a month so not bad for a 2,000 investment (which always has some risk associated)

And then I'm talking about a paltry 0.07 a word, not the 35 cents you get for translating from English to Russian with free purebred albino unicorns thrown in for good measure.


DZiW
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Little volatile pony May 10

Richard, I'm also glad you're glad too)

The minimum is minus €2000+ and a year of efforts lost, whereas the maximum could be roughly estimated and correlated, considering the real averages. For a profit one should make at least €2001 net + inflation ratio.

While the word "investment" is muddily abused, you are forgetting about (1) your investments in education/preparation, (2) individual skills/exp/goals, (3) pairs/specialization, (4) audience/nich
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Richard, I'm also glad you're glad too)

The minimum is minus €2000+ and a year of efforts lost, whereas the maximum could be roughly estimated and correlated, considering the real averages. For a profit one should make at least €2001 net + inflation ratio.

While the word "investment" is muddily abused, you are forgetting about (1) your investments in education/preparation, (2) individual skills/exp/goals, (3) pairs/specialization, (4) audience/niches, (5) contacts, and the rest.

Not to mention making a good name or how long it took you to get 629 PRO points and establish the biz, positioning your ranking pretty high and leveraging your investments at least tenfolds. It's very different.

What makes you believe that your relative success is re/duplicable?

As for me, without earning 100+ Pro points and making at least to Page 5 (Top 100), I wouldn't consider investing at ProZ.

No sarcasm, I just can't see why it bothers you so much that my direct clients pay me $0.25+/word flat for emails and some $0.35-$0.50/w for re/copywriting, drafting, and grants--without extra requirements. I find it ok, yet I still prefer interpreting, making $800+/hour net. Besides knowing my value (not "price"), one of the reasons my absolute minimum rate is $0.25/word is I'm not doing biz via the ProZ.
Many are called, but few are chosen.

Unfortunately, agencies (middlemen) have subdued the market, imposing fuzzy/repetition/grid and other "discounts" and virtually paying under $0.0125/w, far from the declared $0.07+/word. It's not a problem for--by hook or by crook--they did agree... to pay for ignorance.

Don't get me right--I'll be also happy if a new member (A) is willing and (B) will be able to repeat your success soon--or do even better)

Cheers

[Edited at 2019-05-10 17:12 GMT]
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Off topic then on topic... May 10

DZiW wrote:
I still prefer interpreting, making $800+/hour

Dizzy, is this some kind of obscure Caribbean dollar trading at 10 to the US dollar?

I agree with lots of your points and your general mindset, but the rates you claim can be hard to believe. Extrapolating the latest set for interpreting, you must translate 2000 words an hour. Or do you simultaneously act as an enforcer for your mafia employers???

I don’t think even Putin’s interpreters will make that much...

On topic: I have major reservations about this site as a source of work, but £100 isn't much of an investment so it’s not much to lose. One job and it pays off!


Rachael Clayton
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
on and off without dizziness May 10

Chris, I agree that (A) with proper preparation, (B) planning, and (C) persistence a $120+ investment will be repaid soon, making it a little closer to the goal. That's why I noted if one really knows and wants what the ProZ may offer, then it's a steal. How true)

It's ok that you can't believe there're people getting 0.25+ USD/word while I don't want to believe so many even decent (unaware?) translators agree to petty $0.07/w with "discounts", what often makes less than $0.01/w fl
... See more
Chris, I agree that (A) with proper preparation, (B) planning, and (C) persistence a $120+ investment will be repaid soon, making it a little closer to the goal. That's why I noted if one really knows and wants what the ProZ may offer, then it's a steal. How true)

It's ok that you can't believe there're people getting 0.25+ USD/word while I don't want to believe so many even decent (unaware?) translators agree to petty $0.07/w with "discounts", what often makes less than $0.01/w flat--let alone insane contract/NDA clauses. Let it be.

Checking the ProZ and other places, you may find there're prospects/clients who are ready to pay a competent party (a translator or an agency) $0.25+/word to have the job done timely and properly. Therefore, without middlemen a translator can easily directly get $0.25+/w gross (before taxes and costs). No prob.

Frankly, disregarding late parties (after which I often have a bad head and cannot drive a car!), I prefer interpreting to translation. For now, when it comes to mid/big rewriting/copywriting projects or drafting, my clients prefer making biz with me--the one they know best both as a person and a translator/ interpreter/ specialist, with reasonable rates and logical results. Why, I've got very many contacts, yet I still remember that one good turn deserves another. Little wonder my people and I don't mind doing free* little favors now and then. Nothing criminal though.

I admit, there're very few similar companies/clients for my pairs and specialization. That will do. However once you proved yourself worthy, your clients will value you, taking your opinion into consideration and dealing on your terms--in any field.
How come your clients still don't know, nor value you? Oh, yeah--others' "standards" in your* biz.

Shortly, unlike most translators, I'm a business party.
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