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Advantages of ProZ.com full professional membership - feedback needed
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
Hard to believe but this is the case May 26, 2013

Sarah McDowell wrote:

Artem Vakhitov wrote:

With my first ProZ.com membership year expiring soon, I have yet to receive a single job through this particular channel. Still, at this point I find it worthwhile as part of the overall marketing strategy. This may change, but I plan to renew in 2013 at least.


Artem, I find it hard to believe that you haven't received a single job through Proz.com. Do you mean that you haven't received any of the posted jobs that you bid on? Surely you must have a lot of clients contacting you through your profile directly. After all, how do you have 4 WWA entries if you haven't had any jobs through Proz.com?

Your profile is filled out completely and your website looks great. So I would think that you would be receiving a lot of offers.

By the way, most of the inquiries that I receive come from clients contacting me directly through my profile. I also have had some success applying for jobs posted on the Proz.com website. I hear back from about 50% of the ones that I apply for.

Sarah


Sarah, this is true — I haven't received any posted jobs that I bid on here, mostly without even getting to the test translation stage. Of course, I don't bid on all jobs — only within my specialization areas and at decent rates. My rates are average for the international En-Ru market according to the data I got from my Russian colleagues on this and local forums (they suggest that the published average rates on ProZ are a bit optimistic, which I'm inclined to believe for several reasons).

I've had some very limited amount of requests through my personal profile, but most of them are either from bottom feeders or from people who didn't read my profile very carefully (and some don't even bother to read the replies, continuing to send me job offers that don't apply to me).

As for the the WWA customers, I met *all* of them elsewhere.

I also know that I could boost my ranking in the ProZ directory using KudoZ, and I do have 223 KudoZ points, but I must confess I rather dislike the system as it is.

Thank you Sarah for your compliments about my profile and site. Coming from a native speaker, they are especially valuable to me.

As I said, I still find paid membership useful for marketing, just not yet in a direct monetary way.

[Edited at 2013-05-26 07:20 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:37
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Benefits May 26, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

- Most of my work comes directly or indirectly through ProZ.com.

- It's fairly unusual for me to quote for a posted job as they are generally far from being the best jobs, but I have landed decent jobs that way. I doubt that any of them would have come my way had my quote waited in the queue behind those of paying members; indeed, it's probable that many were only available to paying members.

- Most often, I'm contacted by outsourcers and direct clients through my profile, thanks to my good position in the directory.

- Unlimited access to the Blue Board has proved valuable on more than one occasion.

- A surprising amount of work has come from others who are active on the site: smaller outsourcers and translators who refer clients to me for jobs they can't do for any reason (different pair, different specialisation, holiday relief, etc.).

I suppose some of my clients might have found their way to me anyway, but I know that I personally see it as a mark of a committed professional. I'm not saying that there aren't those amongst the ranks of registered users, far from it, but there must be relatively few possibly-hopeless hobby translators who've paid 100€ for membership.

But the bottom line is that when there are potential clients around, I want to deliver the right message, and I think that paying membership provides that. I couldn't afford to fork out for all the freelance and/or translation sites, but I see ProZ.com as the most relevant site for me.


I couldn't have said it any better than you did, Sheila.

Additionally, the ProZ terminology and the "Ask a Question" features have helped me to deliver top quality more than once or twice. The interaction with colleagues, some of which have also brought me jobs, is invaluable.

As it stands right now, I will continue my full membership until, well, yes, till the end of time.


[Edited at 2013-05-26 13:56 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
I just finished an experiment on this May 26, 2013

I have just renewed my subscription on Proz, after having spent almost 3 months as a free user.

Considering what I read so far on this thread, one of my tenets remains valid: your actual results with Proz will vary sharply, depending on your language pair.

Initially, I no longer remember exactly when - I spent five years as a free user on Proz, until I saw the specific demand for my language pair (viz. EN-US < > PT-BR) gr
... See more
I have just renewed my subscription on Proz, after having spent almost 3 months as a free user.

Considering what I read so far on this thread, one of my tenets remains valid: your actual results with Proz will vary sharply, depending on your language pair.

Initially, I no longer remember exactly when - I spent five years as a free user on Proz, until I saw the specific demand for my language pair (viz. EN-US < > PT-BR) grow to a level that justified investing on Proz membership. When it did, I took the plunge, and became a full member for several consecutive years, until last January (2013). I had a partial membership for a while, then I returned to full membership about the time the PRO-tag came up.

As this forum is members-only, I think moderators will allow my findings on a few other similar sites, specifically to my language pair. It cannot be overstated that this is my personal impression, and strictly limited to EN-PT.

TranslatorsCafe - IMHO this the runner-up. Some translators in other language pairs rate it first, which evidences the difference. Their Blue Board equivalent excels in quality, however loses in quantity and user-friendliness (= conciseness). Specifically, their demand for my pair is not as steady as on Proz, but borders on being interesting only now and then. For the time being, I don't consider its membership a sustainable investment.

Aquarius and GoTranslators - Erratic and sparse demand, I don't recall having seen any serious-looking job offer there for my language pair. Their job offers seem to me like coming from people who are not deep enough in the translation market to have discovered Proz or TC yet.

Translation Directory - The bottom-feeders' meeting spot. Nevertheless, I met two good (direct) clients there. Low rates abound, in spite of their operators' feeble attempts to forbid posting jobs under EUR 0.04/word. This has simply postponed negotiations to after the first contact, when the job poster struggles to force rates to under USD 0.02/word.

Globtra - I mention it because it is interesting. Though they cover all language pairs, they are Polish, and they are strong - perhaps stronger than Proz - in language pairs including PL. This raises the question on whether such a site would be more successful from being language-specific, or at least language-biased, than "universal".


Regarding results from my test as a free user on Proz, as compared to a full membership, I saw several jobs go by, where I would have been 'the best choice' to hire. Fortunately, contacts through my web site and a peak in jobs from my regular clients kept me so busy in this meantime, that I'm not sure I'd have been able to take them anyway.

The fact is that - by being a free user and not a full Proz member - my late bid (most restrict bidding to members for a while) got smothered by an inrush of Proz members' bids. By the time they read my bid, if they ever did, the job would have already been assigned to someone else, so I never got a reply from any of these.

Therefore my conclusion is that a translator should be present - even if as a free user - in all such sites where it is allowed. Those sites that restrict bidding on jobs to paying members only will give you a clue on their specific demand for your language pair: as soon as it shows sustainability, reach for your wallet and take the plunge! And this applies to Proz as well.

Bottom line is that if such a site has indeed a steady demand for your language pair, membership becomes worthwhile. On Proz, while free users will be allowed to eventually reach 'interesting' job posters, by the time they see your bid, the job will be already under way with someone else.

It's two chicken-or-egg things. The first is that a free user is unlikely to get jobs on Proz for time issues, so there will be no payback from the nonexistent membership. Meanwhile a full member has no guarantee that s/he will get jobs from their status alone. All they'll get is the privilege of being among the first options to reach the prospect's eyes. After that, it will be a matter of matching specialized skills, when required.

The second is that if there are few - or no - translators in a specific language pair on a specific site, it's unlikely that a prospect would waste time posting a job there. Correspondingly, translators won't see the demand for their pair there, so they won't enroll. This is where I think translators should take the first step, as free users. Once their presence is noticed, jobs requiring their language pair will start to appear, and a snowball effect may be expected. The first translators moving from free to member status will benefit the most from doing so.

On established language pairs, paid membership is a must for anyone willing to make it work; otherwise they won't be 'seen' as present.


On a final note, when I refer to myself as the best choice for some specific jobs, it's not bragging, but simply stems from having specialized in certain areas, being considered a SME in them by fellow translators.
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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:37
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm quite satisfied May 26, 2013

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Glad for you, Helena! Are you okay with their rate? Were you able to negotiate towards the rate you were looking for?

Bernhard


Yes, I've had no problems at all. If you consider 0.01 - 0.05 as low, 0.06 - 0.10 as average and 0.11 - 0.15 (USD) as high, my rates have been well within average.

Incidentally, before becoming a paid member I contacted a person who seemed really nice (on KudoZ) to ask their opinion. Since then, whenever this person is 'out of the office' for any reason, I 'stand in' for them.

[Edited at 2013-05-26 17:17 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Some suggestions, some questions Jun 5, 2013

The core benefit of being a full member anywhere that makes such a distinction is how it enhances your standing by making you no longer a second category citizen (this includes directory ratings especially). This is in addition to the usual badge effect (shiny badges have a natural link to your perceived credibility). Also, actually having paid a fee to access your fishing grounds means you're serious about your fishing, just like on dating websites, where there are gazilions of junk registratio... See more
The core benefit of being a full member anywhere that makes such a distinction is how it enhances your standing by making you no longer a second category citizen (this includes directory ratings especially). This is in addition to the usual badge effect (shiny badges have a natural link to your perceived credibility). Also, actually having paid a fee to access your fishing grounds means you're serious about your fishing, just like on dating websites, where there are gazilions of junk registrations that pose a problem (scams, multiple accounts belonging to one person, dead accounts that don't reply to mail etc.).

The above is probably hard to calculate, especially considering that as a non-paying member you're still visible and accessible, so it's hard to know if the paid membership was a sine qua non of your new contacts and the work coming your way. If you go on to join the Cert. Pro programme, you probably won't be able to tell how much that badge mattered compared to just being a member. Also, you gain seniority as the time passes, which in itself is a contributing factor in getting work. Bottom line: you never really know, but you should be able to make an assessment on the basis of intuition. I'll certainly be paying attention. But in my case, that'll be easy. I've only ever had one outsourcer contact me specifically through Proz. If I somehow get 10-15 new contacts by June 2014, I will know that the membership probably made the difference.

[Edited at 2013-06-05 17:40 GMT]
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Maria Thompson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:37
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
I agree with Artem Sep 9, 2013

Sarah McDowell wrote:

Artem Vakhitov wrote:

With my first ProZ.com membership year expiring soon, I have yet to receive a single job through this particular channel. Still, at this point I find it worthwhile as part of the overall marketing strategy. This may change, but I plan to renew in 2013 at least.


Artem, I find it hard to believe that you haven't received a single job through Proz.com. Do you mean that you haven't received any of the posted jobs that you bid on? Surely you must have a lot of clients contacting you through your profile directly. After all, how do you have 4 WWA entries if you haven't had any jobs through Proz.com?

Your profile is filled out completely and your website looks great. So I would think that you would be receiving a lot of offers.

By the way, most of the inquiries that I receive come from clients contacting me directly through my profile. I also have had some success applying for jobs posted on the Proz.com website. I hear back from about 50% of the ones that I apply for.

Sarah

25 days before my first full 6-months membership expires - I can second what Artem said - not a single assignment came through this website. As you can see, my working languages are Bulgarian and Russian and I am a native Bulgarian having lived in the UK since 2006. I do phone interpreting in the UK and USA all the time, have a lot of experience - and yet...

I've had fun with the colleagues and meaningful discussions with them about the best translations of certain words and phrases but you don't need to pay to be a full member for that.

I have asked the staff to look at my profile, they were helpful and did suggest a few things but nothing changed. I was even thinking of asking for a refund but decided to just hang on and see what will happen.

Guys with my language pairs - it is not worth your money. I am not planning to renew my membership again. It's a pity this discussion is only visible to the ones who have already paid for their membership.


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 21:37
SITE STAFF
Membership will not necessarily compensate for a profile that is not strong Sep 9, 2013

Hello Mariya,

This forum is visible to everyone, but only ProZ.com members may post here.

I'm sorry to hear about your experience (or lack of) with potential clients on the site. In general, when this happens, it turns out to be profile-based, so I took a quick look at your profile.

Your top pair is English to Bulgarian, and your top field of expertise is Advertising/Public relations (if this is not accurate you should change it). If I look at your profil
... See more
Hello Mariya,

This forum is visible to everyone, but only ProZ.com members may post here.

I'm sorry to hear about your experience (or lack of) with potential clients on the site. In general, when this happens, it turns out to be profile-based, so I took a quick look at your profile.

Your top pair is English to Bulgarian, and your top field of expertise is Advertising/Public relations (if this is not accurate you should change it). If I look at your profile from the point of view of someone seeking an English to Bulgarian translation in Advertising, I don't really see anything that would convince me that you might be the right person for the job. For example, your "About me" says little beyond mentioning your years of experience (which are already shown under "Experience"). You haven't entered any Projects or sample translations which would allow me to evaluate your work.

You can see what visitors to your profile see by clicking on the "Force visitor view" link at the top of your profile. Try doing that, and looking at your profile from a client perspective, or have a colleague look at your profile and imagine they are the client.

If I do a directory search for English to Bulgarian translators in the field of Advertising/Public relations, you are currently on page one of the results , which is good, but you would only need to gain 8 PRO KudoZ points to appear at the very top of that list of results. Looking at the profiles for the members in that list of results who appear before you may also give you an idea of areas of your profile that need improvement; in general they appear to be more reflective of the services and experience being offered.

Whether or not you choose to renew your membership, I would strongly recommend tailoring your profile towards your top language pair and field of expertise. Everything, from your tagline to your KudoZ activity to sample translations, the glossaries your create, etc. should speak to your strengths and to why you are the translator the client should consider for a project in that pair and field.

I hope this helps.

Jared
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