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

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
May 14

Reposted because a technical glitch prevented comments earlier. Apologies.

************

One of my first ever clients, in 2009 (my first year as a translator) came from ProZ.com – a smart agency in Paris who began to send me a steady stream of texts over the years.

Some time into my second year, they asked me if I'd like to be part of the team translating each year for the International Cannes Film Festival, which begins again today.

Naturally
... See more
Reposted because a technical glitch prevented comments earlier. Apologies.

************

One of my first ever clients, in 2009 (my first year as a translator) came from ProZ.com – a smart agency in Paris who began to send me a steady stream of texts over the years.

Some time into my second year, they asked me if I'd like to be part of the team translating each year for the International Cannes Film Festival, which begins again today.

Naturally I jumped at the chance, and I've returned to the team every year now for 8 years. Worth celebrating, as it's very well paid, (the closing ceremony, which goes on till midnight, is paid at €0.20 a word, for example) fascinating, and exciting at the same time.

You're working in the back office (unfortunately not on the red carpet), translating film reviews, press conferences and the like, in real time. (400 words in 40 minutes, anyone?), so that they can go out on the website, the app and all the other various outlets.

Luckily they're written in accessible journalistic language and the only real research involved is on the various directors' filmographies and the official titles of their films...

Not for the faint hearted, as you work in 6-hour shifts and are constantly on call, but nevertheless a thrill every year.

And it all began by clicking on a ProZ.com advert.
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Elizabeth Tamblin
Teresa Borges
 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:35
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Please no marketing spam May 14

Andrew Morris wrote:

And it all began by clicking on a ProZ.com advert.


This whole post feels like a ProZ advert. MASSIVE eye roll from me.

This is the Business Issues forum, not a marketing forum for ProZ to ask its employees to post nice things about it on. I would appreciate it if we could use the forum to discuss actual business issues.


writeaway
Rob Grayson
Fiona Grace Peterson
Barbara Carrara
Robert Forstag
Andy Watkinson
Birte Mirbach
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:35
SITE FOUNDER
Sharing what worked for you, for others' benefit, is permitted here (In fact, Andrew is hired to) May 14

Hey folks,

I understand this reaction but let's step back a bit. Sharing what worked well for you, for others, is permitted here. Not everyone knows how to use the site in effective ways, or even that the site can be used effectively. In fact, Andrew is hired to share what has and has not worked for him. I posted a video that explained the rationale behind Andrew's role (in response to another forum posting) here: ... See more
Hey folks,

I understand this reaction but let's step back a bit. Sharing what worked well for you, for others, is permitted here. Not everyone knows how to use the site in effective ways, or even that the site can be used effectively. In fact, Andrew is hired to share what has and has not worked for him. I posted a video that explained the rationale behind Andrew's role (in response to another forum posting) here: https://youtu.be/DwMuaKoq6Pw (13 minutes -- for a summary of what I say, see: https://www.proz.com/post/2794156#2794156)

I agree that "Business issues" might not be the right forum for this thread. We'll move it to "Translator Coop" or something like that.
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Elizabeth Tamblin
Olavo Nogueira
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Angela May 14

Angela Rimmer wrote:
This is the Business Issues forum, not a marketing forum for ProZ.com to ask its employees to post nice things about it on.


The thread was originally posted in the "Translation agencies" subforum. I thought that was not the most appropriate subforum for it, so I asked the moderator to move it to a more appropriate forum (and I suggested the "Getting established" subforum, since it's a story about getting established).

I agree that it seems odd for this thread to be in "Business issues" (i.e. running a business requires skills in a variety of areas... swap know-how here). It does kinda look like an advert, but let's give Andrew the benefit of the doubt, and wait for him to post some know-how.


[Edited at 2019-05-14 17:17 GMT]


Teresa Borges
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Success stories and success stories May 14

I do worry when a successful translator, agency owner and influencer considers working until midnight for a Western client on a high-profile project at 20 cents a word “very well paid”.

This is absolutely not a pissing contest, as it sounds like a fun and interesting job and I might well accept those rates myself for something similar, but I really don’t think it’s well paid for such unsocial hours.

So while it is a success story in terms of job satisfaction,
... See more
I do worry when a successful translator, agency owner and influencer considers working until midnight for a Western client on a high-profile project at 20 cents a word “very well paid”.

This is absolutely not a pissing contest, as it sounds like a fun and interesting job and I might well accept those rates myself for something similar, but I really don’t think it’s well paid for such unsocial hours.

So while it is a success story in terms of job satisfaction, for me it underscores the wider issue that ProZ seems to have helped, and be continuing to help, set a new norm for translation pricing, which is well below what it was 20 years ago.

Is it really just a result of technology and market forces? Is there really nothing the site can do to promote higher rates for the professional translator?
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Mirko Mainardi
IT>EN Legal
Robert Forstag
Kay Denney
Baran Keki
Bernhard Sulzer
Margarita
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
When $80 per hour is not "well paid" May 14

Chris S wrote:
I do worry when a successful translator, agency owner and influencer considers working until midnight for a Western client on a high-profile project at 20 cents a word “very well paid”. ... I really don’t think it’s well paid for such unsocial hours.


So, what is your premium for working such unsocial hours?


Natasha Ziada
Emma Page
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
All relative May 14

Samuel Murray wrote:
When $80 per hour is not "well paid”

This isn’t about absolutes, Samuel. Even at today’s low average rates, I believe an established French translator can get 10 cents a word from an agency, so I would expect a top translator working directly on a prestigious project to be commanding 20 cents or more even without the unsocial hours.

I charge double to work at 6 pm. At midnight I’d be looking for a lot more than that. OK, I’m a known mercenary, but we mustn’t sell ourselves short!


Robert Forstag
IT>EN Legal
DZiW
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:35
SITE FOUNDER
Has anyone maybe had a similar experience? How about the one that got away? May 14

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.


Elizabeth Tamblin
Teresa Borges
DZiW
Eliza Hall
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:35
Member (2012)
French to English
... May 14

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.


Andrew Morris
Andriy Yasharov
Teresa Borges
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Isn't a forum a place for debate? May 14

Sorry, I thought this was a discussion forum.

I'm sure we all have our own success stories but wouldn't want to come across as bragging.


writeaway
IrinaN
Gina Centanni
Kay Denney
Jennifer White
Jane F
Ester Vidal
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:35
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Going against the tide... May 14

When I became a member in 2007 I already had a solid client base but I must say that 80% of my new clients have come through Proz. My best experience with Proz (I don’t like calling it a success story as it sounds like a sales pitch) was being contacted in 2016 by an international human rights organization to translate EN-PT a first course (circa 40,000 words) and then a second one (circa 110,000 words) at the highest rate I've ever been paid.

Gareth Callagy
Tanya Quintieri
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:35
Member
Italian to English
Yes we... Cannes? May 14

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?


Rachel Fell
Michele Fauble
writeaway
Andy Watkinson
DZiW
Philip Lees
Jane F
 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nice stories and nasty realities May 14

I have had a number of very positive experiences with the proz.com Jobs Board. The best of these stemmed from a response to an offer in 2010 from a university press. This led to translating a couple of dozen book chapters, two partial books, and three entire books. Total gross income from all these projects over the course of four years was something on the order of $75,000.

The other items on my Jobs Board All-Time Hit List mainly involved extensive but one-off rush jobs for clien
... See more
I have had a number of very positive experiences with the proz.com Jobs Board. The best of these stemmed from a response to an offer in 2010 from a university press. This led to translating a couple of dozen book chapters, two partial books, and three entire books. Total gross income from all these projects over the course of four years was something on the order of $75,000.

The other items on my Jobs Board All-Time Hit List mainly involved extensive but one-off rush jobs for clients for a higher rate than they are typically willing to pay (this explains why they were one-offers).

For every one of these “hits” there are at least 15 or 20 instances in which my response to an offer went unanswered. And to that must also be added (in order to properly round out the picture) the fact that, for every one of the successes, there had to have been at least 20 listings that I read on the Board that were jaw-dropping in their effrontery.

So yes, I have had some “nice experiences” from accessing the Jobs Board. But these clearly were the exceptions rather than the rule. I do not think that making this obvious point (about an experience that must surely be widely shared) makes me negativistic in attitude or grudging in my praise of this feature of the site.

More broadly, the problem that I see with these prompts to take a jaunt down Memory Lane is that the trend for many of us in recent years has involved being offered lower rates and being expected to accept conditions (use of a particular CAT Tool, payment in accordance with a Trados grid, payment after 60-90 days, etc.) that we would have considered unthinkable just 5-10 years ago.

In short, I think it understandable that a lot of people find it hard to swallow being encouraged to share cheerful memories of days gone by without at least some acknowledgment of recent disturbing trends.

All this means that the following pointed comments and question are in my view most certainly relevant to the present discussion:

Chris S. wrote: So while it is a success story in terms of job satisfaction, for me it underscores the wider issue that ProZ seems to have helped, and be continuing to help, set a new norm for translation pricing, which is well below what it was 20 years ago.

Is it really just a result of technology and market forces? Is there really nothing the site can do to promote higher rates for the professional translator?



[Edited at 2019-05-14 22:23 GMT]
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Mirko Mainardi
IrinaN
Baran Keki
Kay Denney
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:35
SITE FOUNDER
Good one, Fiona! May 14

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Yes we... Cannes?


Ha ha, good one, Fiona. Cue the cannes-ed laughter...


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:35
SITE FOUNDER
Let's try to change that, Elizabeth! May 15

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:
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.

Let's try to change that -- let's try to make this a more welcoming place! Thanks for being positive yourself, Elizabeth.

For those interested, I posted concerning my hope that we can nudge the forums in a friendlier direction here: https://www.proz.com/topic/334723


 
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