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What stops translators from thriving?
Thread poster: Andrew Morris

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Re Michael’s post Jun 5

I think that Michael’s post clearly describes why the Jobs Board generally doesn’t work for professional translators based in developed countries - not even as a way of picking up an occasional decent job, and certainly not as a way of establishing long-term relationships with clients.

I also agree with his take on why some translators who are actually very good “fail to thrive.”

I would only add that the group mailing lists which this site facilitates function
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I think that Michael’s post clearly describes why the Jobs Board generally doesn’t work for professional translators based in developed countries - not even as a way of picking up an occasional decent job, and certainly not as a way of establishing long-term relationships with clients.

I also agree with his take on why some translators who are actually very good “fail to thrive.”

I would only add that the group mailing lists which this site facilitates function in much the same way as Michael describes, creating a kind of ideal situation for buyers who can quickly obtain scads of cheap offers for a particular project and then choose what is (theoretically) the absolute cheapest and best of the offers. The dynamic seems to be exactly the same.
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Michele Fauble
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Where/how do you get your jobs, then? Jun 5

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Thus I don't bid on any jobs posted on job boards anywhere.


I assume you do work as a translator, so you must have found other ways to get jobs that allows you to earn the income what you want/need to earn, right? Care to share how you do it?


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 15:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Job board vs. directory Jun 5

I can see a direct proportion between restrictions (?) on directories (when there are no visitors via directories for months) and the number of posted jobs on job board. In the last 2 months there were almost no visitors via Proz Find but there were extremely many posted jobs.

The huge problem with job board: clients (translation agencies and end clients) dictate on that market.
I saw an end client there that posted a job for about 0.06 Euro/word. This is an end client. Eithe
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I can see a direct proportion between restrictions (?) on directories (when there are no visitors via directories for months) and the number of posted jobs on job board. In the last 2 months there were almost no visitors via Proz Find but there were extremely many posted jobs.

The huge problem with job board: clients (translation agencies and end clients) dictate on that market.
I saw an end client there that posted a job for about 0.06 Euro/word. This is an end client. Either he/she was convinced that they would get a very good translator for this rate, or he/she had no clue about rates.
Obviously some agencies and end clients should be banned to post jobs there that/who undermine translation market. If somebody visits this site first time, he/she will think these appalling rates and this bidding type "my rate is lower, pick me!!" attitude is totally normal. This will be normal for new clients and for fresh beginner translators. This way proz.com is not different than any other translation sites: magnetizing clients who don't care about quality but want cheap rates and it is also distorting the market.

On the other hand: directories seem to be put on hold? Or I don't know what is going on there because sometimes for a month (or a few months) no visitors are received by many translators. It is also a very unfair tactic that the sorting can be reviewed and changed only by business members.
Does proz.com guarantee that business members see directories the same way as we freelancer see it?
Is the default sorting the same as what we freelancers can see (by Kudoz)?
Transparency should be evident.
We freelancers should be able to do the same searches in directories what clients can do.

Also this is new (at least I didn't see this before):
Does anyone know why there is a "Post a job" sign in the Proz Find directory with a vivid orange color?
I don't know what happens when somebody writes there the details of the job.
I really hope this does not mean that proz.com wants to navigate clients to job board or translation workspace.
Finally a client is smart enough to find his/her own candidates then sees "Post a job".
Proz should not intervene into businesses between translators and end clients/agencies.


Clients and translation agencies are not stupid. They could do their own searches, the way they want.
And with giving all the information they need, they could find their translators.
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Dylan Jan Hartmann
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
TOPIC STARTER
All feeding in Jun 5

Robert Forstag wrote:

I think that Michael’s post clearly describes why the Jobs Board generally doesn’t work for professional translators based in developed countries - not even as a way of picking up an occasional decent job, and certainly not as a way of establishing long-term relationships with clients.

I also agree with his take on why some translators who are actually very good “fail to thrive.”

I would only add that the group mailing lists which this site facilitates function in much the same way as Michael describes, creating a kind of ideal situation for buyers who can quickly obtain scads of cheap offers for a particular project and then choose what is (theoretically) the absolute cheapest and best of the offers. The dynamic seems to be exactly the same.


As I said to Bernard above, that message is clear, important, and also well received. It's feeding into my thinking in the various ideas I bring to the table at ProZ.com. As one of the few people within the team (including Henry and Lu) with significant experience as a translator, all this is helping me come up with ideas which are designed to enhance the translator's experience of ProZ, not only the client's experience. Because we clearly need both sides around the table, and it's mostly the translators who pay.

I would simply qualify Bernard's and Michael's excellent points by pointing to the fact that, while ProZ.com is an important part of searching for work, it doesn't (or perhaps shouldn't) represent our only channel. I'm not talking about rival platforms of course, but about the fact that a translator who is both good at their job AND willing to get out from behind their desk now and again has many potential ways in which to find a client...


Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Some sneaky "features" - for our disadvantage Jun 5

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

Also this is new (at least I didn't see this before):
Does anyone know why there is a "Post a job" sign in the Proz Find directory with a vivid orange color?
I don't know what happens when somebody writes there the details of the job.
I really hope this does not mean that proz.com wants to navigate clients to job board or translation workspace.
Finally a client is smart enough to find his/her own candidates then sees "Post a job".
Proz should not intervene into businesses between translators and end clients/agencies.


Clients and translation agencies are not stupid. They could do their own searches, the way they want.
And with giving all the information they need, they could find their translators.

Holy cow! That is new and was added without announcement. I am sorry to say that this "feature" clearly undermines the initiative of clients to proactively select translators based on criteria they see fit.
This is NOT a good idea.

Another thing that I have mentioned in the forums and also recently when I received a survey from ProZ about the mobile app, that when you look up people in the directory using the mobile platform, you cannot contact them! Clicking on the little mail icon causes an error. If more outsourcers are using the mobile platform, and the directory is useless for them, what are they going to do? They will resort to the job posting form. When I discovered this and brought it up on the forum, the only answer we got was that this is not a bug, this is INTENTIONAL.

I think there is a place for the job board (even in its current form) in the market, because there is a segment that finds that format to be the best for their needs. However, the other avenues for contact should not be compromised, i.e. traffic should not be driven AWAY from those contact forms towards the job board.
ProZ always claimed that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact between outsourcers and freelancers facilitated by the directory search. This is why people pay for membership, this is why people want the red Pro badge, this is the motivation for participation in KudoZ: to stand out in the directory.

Messing with the directory and the initiative of outsourcers to use it for contacting people (by putting up hurdles like the block on the mobile platform or offering an apparently easier way - that orange button on the search page to post a job instead) is going completely against our interests.


Katalin Szilárd
Michael Wetzel
Christel Zipfel
Sheila Wilson
 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Question for staff Jun 6

Could you comment on Katalin Szilárd's observation and Katalin Horváth McClure's additional comments and concerns regarding the orange Post a Job sign/button linking to the job board page in ProZ Find? Thank you.
Bernhard


Elizabeth Tamblin
Michele Fauble
Jorge Payan
Michael Wetzel
 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 09:05
SITE STAFF
Orange post a job from find button Jun 7

I was not following this thread. Thank you for bringing up this feedback. I do not know if I can answer all concerns, but I will include the original post here to try to cover all and give some background on the "orange" button.

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

I can see a direct proportion between restrictions (?) on directories (when there are no visitors via directories for months) and the number of posted jobs on job board. In the last 2 months there were almost no visitors via Proz Find but there were extremely many posted jobs.


Katalin - I presume this statement is based on data from your profile. I cannot speak for your views, but usage of ProZ Find has increased. We may need to see if the data you are seeing personally is counting correctly. It is an interesting observation.

For the numbers I have viewed, there does not seem to be a proportionate change in job posts vs. other recruiting at ProZ.com.


The huge problem with job board: clients (translation agencies and end clients) dictate on that market.
I saw an end client there that posted a job for about 0.06 Euro/word. This is an end client. Either he/she was convinced that they would get a very good translator for this rate, or he/she had no clue about rates.
Obviously some agencies and end clients should be banned to post jobs there that/who undermine translation market. If somebody visits this site first time, he/she will think these appalling rates and this bidding type "my rate is lower, pick me!!" attitude is totally normal. This will be normal for new clients and for fresh beginner translators. This way proz.com is not different than any other translation sites: magnetizing clients who don't care about quality but want cheap rates and it is also distorting the market.


Rates, whether on the job board or in message received from your profile, are up to the end client in your example. I would note, the difference with a job post is that you personally may not get annoyed by a low-rate opportunity being sent to you if job filters are used.


On the other hand: directories seem to be put on hold? Or I don't know what is going on there because sometimes for a month (or a few months) no visitors are received by many translators. It is also a very unfair tactic that the sorting can be reviewed and changed only by business members.


I am not sure what put on hold references, but I will try. There have not been any recent changes to the directories to my knowledge. In 'Find' there are a few options available to business members to sort, but it defaults the same as the traditional directory. None of those options have changed in the 2019 year.


Does proz.com guarantee that business members see directories the same way as we freelancer see it?
Is the default sorting the same as what we freelancers can see (by Kudoz)?
Transparency should be evident.
We freelancers should be able to do the same searches in directories what clients can do.


The default is same in directory as in Find. Business members have some additional tools for searching - they can change the sorting to "years of experience" for example. These features have not been meant as a secret, especially those that may want to become a business member so we should promote them more.

Business members are supported in achieving their business objectives, just as professionals are. It helps both to build options that help them find the best person or people. A better experience should bring more opportunities to ProZ.com.


Also this is new (at least I didn't see this before):
Does anyone know why there is a "Post a job" sign in the Proz Find directory with a vivid orange color?


The Orange button was added this week to get more businesses to consider posting jobs. Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts - believing that will result in continued growth for more job posts and overall activity at ProZ.com. The orange button setup takes the search, and all its filters, to start a job post for that outsourcer. It seems to be a natural, and expected step from a directory.

Each outsourcer comes with a different mindset. Some may be looking for one translator to build a lifetime relationship with, others may need a specific job filled, and others are looking to fill some sort of database.

Given the choice, I believe most people would want to take their time, send a message to the best fits for the opportunity and wait for a response. However, that is not always the case - or possible.

The "post as a job" reminds of an additional option for contacting professionals. Instead of sending 15 messages, or bulk messaging 100 profiles, this allows the outsourcer to have professionals respond to them. This seems to be improving the experience for outsourcers.

It is orange because we wanted it to get noticed, to get usage and feedback. Will it remain orange? I do not know. I am happy it was noticed and brought up for discussion here.

Job posts seem to be a way to eliminate some of the bulk message mail going out since notifications should be taking into account individual settings.


I don't know what happens when somebody writes there the details of the job.


This form is a new way to post a job. It would have all the necessary filters setup based on the search, and again hopefully cuts down on the blasting of emails to hundreds to fill an opening.


I really hope this does not mean that proz.com wants to navigate clients to job board or translation workspace.
Finally a client is smart enough to find his/her own candidates then sees "Post a job".
Proz should not intervene into businesses between translators and end clients/agencies.


I have not been here as long as others, but do not think ProZ.com has ever wanted less job posts. Those that find posting a job helps achieve their objectives best will do so. I do not see this as conflict or as intervention. The bigger problem from a community standpoint might be someone leaving the site to use another service because they were not able to fill their need.


Clients and translation agencies are not stupid. They could do their own searches, the way they want.
And with giving all the information they need, they could find their translators.


Clients and translation agencies are giving feedback, not often in the forum, and these features are often in response to their requests. The vendor managers looking for translators are quite savvy as you have noted.

Thank you again for the feedback. I hope this helps a bit.


 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 09:05
SITE STAFF
Post search as a job feature Jun 7

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
Holy cow! That is new and was added without announcement. I am sorry to say that this "feature" clearly undermines the initiative of clients to proactively select translators based on criteria they see fit.
This is NOT a good idea.


Hi Katalin - The feature actually is not new and has been a part of the traditional directory for some time. I suggested to our developers that we make the link a little more prominent, but it has been there. I do not know when it was created (perhaps others do).

The feature was enhanced in 'Find', where there also has been a link to Post as a job. Now it is part of the modernized job posting form and hopefully a bit better user experience.


Another thing that I have mentioned in the forums and also recently when I received a survey from ProZ about the mobile app, that when you look up people in the directory using the mobile platform, you cannot contact them! Clicking on the little mail icon causes an error. If more outsourcers are using the mobile platform, and the directory is useless for them, what are they going to do? They will resort to the job posting form. When I discovered this and brought it up on the forum, the only answer we got was that this is not a bug, this is INTENTIONAL.


I wonder if this was understood when brought to our attention. I can check on this, or others will who are reading the post.


I think there is a place for the job board (even in its current form) in the market, because there is a segment that finds that format to be the best for their needs. However, the other avenues for contact should not be compromised, i.e. traffic should not be driven AWAY from those contact forms towards the job board.
ProZ always claimed that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact between outsourcers and freelancers facilitated by the directory search. This is why people pay for membership, this is why people want the red Pro badge, this is the motivation for participation in KudoZ: to stand out in the directory.


I understand your point, but a button to make job posting easier should not compromise this individual contact. As noted in previous post, one of the goals is to suggest job posting rather than making noisy requests via direct message to hundreds of profiles. That sort of contact seems to be inefficient for both sides.


Messing with the directory and the initiative of outsourcers to use it for contacting people (by putting up hurdles like the block on the mobile platform or offering an apparently easier way - that orange button on the search page to post a job instead) is going completely against our interests.


To be clear, there is no hurdle or change to contacting people based on a job post suggestion. We are monitoring usage of the job post button and your feedback is helpful to keep in mind. I was not aware of the mobile error mentioned, so will be posting something internally after this post.

The objective is to have more individual contact that you want, more job posts and really more recruiting and hiring at ProZ.com from more business members.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 15:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
One more question Jun 7

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your detailed answers.
The 'no visitors via directories' experience was based on not only my profile but on more top (also in the directory ranking) expert specialized translators' experiences.

After reading all your answers I have 1 more question:

You wrote now: "Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts."

VS.

On the other hand (as Katalin Horváth McClure wrote):
... See more
Hi Mike,

Thank you for your detailed answers.
The 'no visitors via directories' experience was based on not only my profile but on more top (also in the directory ranking) expert specialized translators' experiences.

After reading all your answers I have 1 more question:

You wrote now: "Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts."

VS.

On the other hand (as Katalin Horváth McClure wrote): "ProZ always claimed that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact between outsourcers and freelancers facilitated by the directory search."


So what is the (new?) ultimate goal for proz.com?:
To make expert specialized translators with good business skills let their profiles to be expired and then leave their profiles abandoned to make more space for fresh beginners or for low rate/low quality translators with 0 business skills?



Best regards,
Katalin

[Edited at 2019-06-07 16:19 GMT]
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Mike Donlin
Local time: 09:05
SITE STAFF
Ultimate goal for ProZ.com Jun 7

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

You wrote now: "Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts."

VS.

On the other hand (as Katalin Horváth McClure wrote): "ProZ always claimed that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact between outsourcers and freelancers facilitated by the directory search."


So what is the (new?) ultimate goal for proz.com?:
To make expert specialized translators with good business skills let their profiles to be expired and then leave their profiles abandoned to make more space for fresh beginners or for low rate/low quality translators with 0 business skills?


I do not believe the two concepts have to be pitted against one another.

Site staff can work to increase efficiency for job posts - so that businesses have a better experience when posting a job. I would agree with Katalin that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact using search.

If an outsourcer comes in to post a job and has a positive experience, I believe they are more likely to come back and explore more. Then might make more direct contact through search.

The opposite likely holds true as well - those who succeed through direct contact and then have less specific (or quality) needs on a translation, may use the job post to get the word out rather than bother the specialized expert for something below their rates.

The ultimate goal is in the new mission statement: https://www.proz.com/about
Empower language industry professionals to achieve their business objectives and realize their full potential.

Mike


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 15:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Empowering which segment of translators and outsoucers? Jun 7

Mike Donlin wrote:

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

You wrote now: "Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts."

VS.

On the other hand (as Katalin Horváth McClure wrote): "ProZ always claimed that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact between outsourcers and freelancers facilitated by the directory search."


So what is the (new?) ultimate goal for proz.com?:
To make expert specialized translators with good business skills let their profiles to be expired and then leave their profiles abandoned to make more space for fresh beginners or for low rate/low quality translators with 0 business skills?


I do not believe the two concepts have to be pitted against one another.

Site staff can work to increase efficiency for job posts - so that businesses have a better experience when posting a job. I would agree with Katalin that the better jobs are being offered through direct contact using search.

If an outsourcer comes in to post a job and has a positive experience, I believe they are more likely to come back and explore more. Then might make more direct contact through search.

The opposite likely holds true as well - those who succeed through direct contact and then have less specific (or quality) needs on a translation, may use the job post to get the word out rather than bother the specialized expert for something below their rates.



Mike, can't you really see the contradiction?
Obviously if you navigate clients to use the job board and posting jobs, this way less direct contacts will be made (as you mentioned: "better jobs are being offered through direct contact using search").
This is one of the reasons why many top translators get no visitors via directories recently.
So basically you are navigating good clients away from good translators.

Mike Donlin wrote:
The ultimate goal is in the new mission statement: https://www.proz.com/about
Empower language industry professionals to achieve their business objectives and realize their full potential.


Empowering someone can be a very dangerous thing because this way you can influence them.

Do you mean that you want to empower fresh beginner translators who can be influenced very easily since they are not experienced yet and translators with low quality/low rates with 0 business skills, on the other hand giving less space and less power for specialized expert translators with business skills?

We have seen so many questions recently on forums about beginners, and helping beginners, and "learn, practice and give back" motivations. So it seems everything is about beginners on proz.com now. On the other hand those who are expert translators and have good business skills are meeting "newly built barriers" every day that hinder them to meet quality clients.

So what is this mission is really about, Mike? To reorganize the translation market to "empower" beginners and/or translators with less business skills (for example who work for low rates) to get more jobs, so this way reducing labor costs for outsourcers?

I'm not a veteran, I'm an expert. Many of us worked extremely hard on our knowledge, credentials, educations, marketing etc. So many of us won't leave our profiles and leave this profession, just the opposite: for many of us it is the right time/period to harvest for what we have worked so hard. And quality clients will always find the way to expert people, because quality clients know that knowledge can be achieved only through hard work (and of course talent).

[Edited at 2019-06-07 18:14 GMT]


missdutch
 

James Heppe-Smith  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:05
Member (2010)
German to English

Moderator of this forum
Opinions welcome, but not speculation on others’ Jun 7

All,

I have been following this topic with interest, and value many of the points raised. However, please remember that others may have different views, and keep your responses collegial.

Thank you.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 15:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Thank you James Jun 7

Thank you for approving my post. I appreciate it.

 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 15:05
Member (2016)
English to German
And the other direction? Jun 7

Mike Donlin wrote:

The Orange button was added this week to get more businesses to consider posting jobs. Site staff has been working to increase efficiency for outsourcers in job posts - believing that will result in continued growth for more job posts and overall activity at ProZ.com. The orange button setup takes the search, and all its filters, to start a job post for that outsourcer. It seems to be a natural, and expected step from a directory.



Does this work in the other direction too? You could also add a big orange button to the "post a job" section, suggesting to the potential job poster that there is a huge directory of pro translators and that they could simply use the directory instead of posting a job. You could even use the filters the poster already entered and show something like: "152 translators found for these criteria - open directory now?" That would seem equally natural to me.


Michael Wetzel
Katalin Horváth McClure
Bernhard Sulzer
Katalin Szilárd
Jean Dimitriadis
Baran Keki
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 09:05
SITE STAFF
Empowering and more Jun 7

Katalin Szilárd wrote:
Mike, can't you really see the contradiction?
Obviously if you navigate clients to use the job board and posting jobs, this way less direct contacts will be made (as you mentioned: "better jobs are being offered through direct contact using search").
This is one of the reasons why many top translators get no visitors via directories recently.
So basically you are navigating good clients away from good translators.


Hi Katalin, Thanks for the conversation on this topic.

Yes, by offering better ways to post jobs, I believe there will be more activity and more opportunity for all.

I do not have the data to support visitors via the directory, but this change to better highlight posting of jobs from a directory search or find is very recent. I would like to see if there is a way to review your concerns with our team to see if your profile or one of others is getting less activity from directories (and maybe why).


Empowering someone can be a very dangerous thing because this way you can influence them.

Do you mean that you want to empower fresh beginner translators who can be influenced very easily since they are not experienced yet and translators with low quality/low rates with 0 business skills, on the other hand giving less space and less power for specialized expert translators with business skills?

We have seen so many questions recently on forums about beginners, and helping beginners, and "learn, practice and give back" motivations. So it seems everything is about beginners on proz.com now. On the other hand those who are expert translators and have good business skills are meeting "newly built barriers" every day that hinder them to meet quality clients.

So what is this mission is really about, Mike? To reorganize the translation market to "empower" beginners and/or translators with less business skills (for example who work for low rates) to get more jobs, so this way reducing labor costs for outsourcers?



The mission is to empower language professionals. There is not a distinction between experts and beginners.

The only labor costs we would like to lower are in efficiency for the LSPs. That is one of my areas, and if we can help there, I really do believe you will see more recruiting and hiring across the board.

It would be a positive for the site staff that you perceive a change from the past - in that there has been an effort to help - and there is more activity. I hope you will notice some of the items that are being presented for the established experts as well.


 
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