ProZ – A Dirty Word?

ProZ for translators profile-a cattle market or not

ProZ profile – Worth registering (or NOT)

Registering a profile – Should You?

One of the most frequent questions that translators, especially beginners, ask me is whether to register a profile with ProZ is worth it or is a bit like being in a cattle market. This is a very controversial subject.

On the one hand, there are translators who have managed to win over a clientele that pays higher fares find the tariffs offered by some advertisers demeaning on ProZ and think it is like a cattle market. On the other hand, beginner translators or those who work in those countries with the lowest Purchasing Power Parity, for example, benefit from the exchange rate and find these fees to be advantageous.

Advantages in Being a Subscriber – Somewhat Personal

The fact is that we cannot just think of the average value per word offered in ProZ. We have to consider all the benefits and understand how it works. Knowing how to take advantage of what ProZ offers can make a difference in order to achieve this, say, superior customer base. Although most of my bulk customers are direct customers, I work with some agencies, all international, and 90% of them came from ProZ. Therefore, I see advantages in being a subscriber. But that’s my Experience. For other people, it may not be advantageous and I am not going to say otherwise, my proposal here is to explain why I think it is advantageous to be a subscriber.

ProZ – Whatizit??

ProZ is a site where companies, translators, agencies register and offer jobs or services. There are some who call it an auction site, because some agencies offer jobs on the “who charges the least” basis, but that’s not all that happens there. The site has a job offers section, sort of classified. Part of the jobs offered might already have the price that the customer is willing to pay. Some other jobs, on the other hand, have no price mentioned and the customer asks translators to communicate their rate. Some of the offers come with the famous “please provide us with your best rate”, where the lowest bidder likely wins.

How much is the subscription?

You can create your profile for free in ProZ, but if you subscribe, you will have access to more features. As in 2019, the annual subscription costs new members $120. They also offer a semiannual subscription, which ends up being more expensive. They also offer a third subscription mode, which includes a training package consisting of videos and training. If you choose this type of subscription, it will be valid for one year and you can choose one of three training packages: marketing and personal promotion; project management or starter package. These packages can also be purchased separately. On top of that, you can select the various Plus package multi-year options for three years ($450), for five years ($600) or a Standard package multi-year options – 3 years ($330) or five years ($500).

Advantages of Being a Subscriber

The first advantage of being a subscriber is that you will have immediate access to restricted job offers. Non-subscribers can only see most of these offers after a minimum of 12 hours. Many advertisers open the offer to non-subscribers after 48/72 hours. Another great advantage is having access to the Blue Board, a directory that shows how fellow translators rated agencies (from 0 to 5). This directory is very useful when you do not know the agency and you want to know they pay on time, for example. Other advantages of being a subscriber are: subscribers appear listed before non-subscribers to customers; subscriber quotes are viewed first by advertisers; positioning on Google searches (customers are directed to your ProZ profile); discounts on some training offered on site; tracking of visitors to your profile; participation in translation competitions; discounts on some tools, etc.

How to get the most out of ProZ

Don’t make the same mistake everybody does – complete your profile

A big mistake made by translators who claim that they’re not getting anything from ProZ is not investing in their profile. I see many translators who create their profile and leave as it is. If a customer has an English to French job in marketing, he will find hundreds of ProZ profiles and will find it hard to choose. Of course, the more complete, more organised and more detailed profile will stand out, which works in the translator’s favour if the customer is looking for quality. If he is looking for a cheap price, he will go to the cheapest translator straight away. But here, you want to reach that “superior” clientele, right? That’s why it’s crucial to complete your profile, put as much information as possible, present your product in a compelling and attention-grabbing way.

Be specific about your offering

Another important and not much explored resource is the WWA (Willingness to Work Again). With it, you can ask your clients to leave testimonials about your work. So you can show your future clients that you are a serious and respected professional. Equally important is to respond quickly to an interesting job offer. Often than not, the customer is in a hurry, and if you leave your answer at a later date, you may end up losing opportunities. Remember that offers are based on specific criteria (language, area of expertise, CAT tool etc.), so be very specific when creating your profile, to make sure that the ideal offers come to your email.

Receiving Direct Offers

After I improved my profile years ago, I started receiving countless direct job offers, which are not even on the list. Of course, this was not the case at the beginning. I’ve been a ProZ member since 2001 and it took me a few years to get to the current level of rarely responding to an offer on the list unless it’s something very interesting. Customers started sending me messages with direct offers and I grabbed some good translation agencies like that. In other words, it’s not because you’re in ProZ that you need to participate in the “auction.”

Of course, for those who are starting out have the issue of lack of experience to put on their profile. But that is where their personal marketing skills come in, their ability to show that despite having little experience, they are good in their offering. They can demonstrate their zeal in their profile, their willingness to become a professional translator. This is the starting point for success.

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