In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.
Something that cannot be said about the translation or interpretation profession is that it is a static one. Translation and interpreting –and the way these two activities are performed– have evolved throughout the years and continue to evolve, allowing language professionals to seek new challenges, inviting them to review their career plans from time to time.
Even if most language professionals feel good about what they have achieved, they may also feel compelled now and then to take their careers a step further. However, this step further may not always be that clear, and there are several options available that go beyond translation and interpreting.
One option translators and interpreters have if they feel like taking their careers a step further is the expansion of the services they offer. Expanding the list of services you offer to clients may involve learning a new language, adding a new field of expertise and even learning additional techniques such as subtitling or desktop publishing (DTP). Of course, adding a new service, like investing in anything else, means devoting time –and usually money– to getting it ready.
The ProZ.com moderator class of 2011-2012 is coming to an end, but before this happens, ProZ.com would like to thank all of those members who have given of their time to help maintain a positive, results-oriented atmosphere on the site. Each person in the class has made valuable contributions to ProZ.com, and some of them even beyond the moderator program.
ProZ.com moderators are volunteer members who have benefited from ProZ.com and have chosen to give something back by playing their part, in turn, in a system put in place to ensure fair play. Their role is to foster and protect the positive, results-oriented atmosphere that makes ProZ.com possible, by:
- Greeting and guiding new participants, and helping them to properly use and benefit from what is available to them at ProZ.com.
- Enforcing site rules in a consistent and structured manner to maintain a constructive environment.
The moderator class of 2011-2012 is certainly a very good example of the role. Thank you mods!
The moderator class of 2012-2013 is scheduled to begin in August. So, if you are a ProZ.com member and would like to volunteer for a one-year term as site moderator, please visit http://www.proz.com/moderators or contact site staff through the support center.
Looking forward to receiving lots of applications!
The ProZ.com Certified PRO Network, an initiative of the ProZ.com community to provide qualified translators and translation companies with an opportunity to network and collaborate in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals, has reached 3,000 members and more and more applications are being submitted every day.
Members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network have the benefit of networking with other screened professionals while distinguishing themselves as PROs. Many program participants view this also as an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the industry. Other benefits members of the program have include:
- a distinguishing Certified PRO seal shown next to their name throughout the ProZ.com site;
- a printable and downloadable certificate available in their ProZ.com profiles;
- a special search option in the ProZ.com directory of freelance translators and interpreters, ProZ.com’s main source of jobs;
- exclusive access to a personal workspace and to a Certified PRO Network private forum;
- special discount on selected ProZ.com training sessions and events;
- a distinguishing Certified PRO seal in in-person event name badges;
- access to periodically organized virtual powwows for members of the network;
- a Certified PRO logo to be used in personal websites, email signatures, blogs, etc.;
- full access to ProZ.com virtual events;
- the possibility to join Translators without Borders without going through their screening process;
- the option to share glossaries with other members of the network;
- the possibility to become ProZ.com mentors;
- and more!
To enter the Certified PRO Network, ProZ.com members must complete an online application and submit it for review to prove they meet or exceed minimum professional standards based on the EN15038 standard for quality in translation and in three screening areas: translation ability, business reliability and online citizenship.
The ProZ.com Certified PRO network is being provided as a service to ProZ.com full professional members only (non-members can still complete and submit their applications for review). If admitted, members pay no additional fees.
More information about the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network is available here.
Congratulations to the over 3,000 ProZ.com members who are further differentiating themselves professionally and taking networking and collaboration to a new level!
Every business type is exposed to risks influenced by numerous factors and the translation and interpretation business is no exception. Regardless of the type of activity involved, everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed so several types of risks that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.
With this in mind, ProZ.com has been creating content and developing new tools with the purpose of helping translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry to learn about the different risks involved in doing business online and how to prevent them.
One of these resources, and probably the most widely used by service providers when assessing risks, is the ProZ.com Blue Board. The Blue Board record is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for assessing the reliability of specific outsourcers before accepting a job offer from them. For outsourcers, being listed in the Blue Board record with a good number of positive entries from service providers represents a great marketing tool. Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board. More information about using the Blue Board record is available here.
Another great source of information in connection with business risks in translation is the ProZ.com Wiki. The ProZ.com translation industry wiki is an ever-evolving collection of articles about relevant, industry related topics, written and updated regularly by translators themselves. In this wiki, there are several articles on risk management, addressed both to language professionals and to outsourcers. Risk management-related wiki articles include the following:
- Risk management for translators and interpreters
- Risk management for outsourcers
- Risk management: Email
- Risk management: the Blue Board
For more information about the ProZ.com industry wiki, visit this page.
A recently released scam alert center is another potentially valuable resource for those seeking to manage risk when it comes to false job offers and other scams. The Translator scam alert center is an area used to provide organized, concise information regarding false job offers or requests and other scams which may be aimed at or are affecting language professionals and outsourcers. Information provided in the center is based in part on reports made by ProZ.com members through the online support system and in the ProZ.com Scams forum, and ProZ.com members have the option of subscribing to receive useful news and alerts of new scams as they are detected. The scam alert center is available here.
Finally, ProZ.com also offers its members a free webinar on “Risk management for translators and interpreters” on a monthly basis. This training session enumerates and explains risk management procedures that translators and interpreters should follow as part of their everyday professional activities. The schedule for these webinars is available here.
Regardless of the number of years a service provider or an outsourcer has been in the translation industry, risks are everywhere when doing business. However, the above-listed resources and tools have been made available by ProZ.com to promote not just professional practices, but also clear and concise information on the steps that should be taken to avoid risks when participating in the language industry. If you have any questions about these tools and resources, or if you need assistance with using them, contact site staff through the support center.
The ProZ.com Certified PRO Network is an initiative of the ProZ.com community to provide qualified translators and translation companies with an opportunity to network and collaborate in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals.
Until now, PRO certification was only possible in one language pair. However, as announced here, since January 23, 2012, members of the Certified PRO Network are invited to submit their applications for certification in a second language pair (certification in more than two language pairs will be possible at some point in the future).
Initially, the screening process seeks to establish that an applicant meets or exceeds certain minimum professional standards in three screening areas: translation ability, business reliability and “online citizenship”. Since only site members who are already members of the Certified PRO Network are allowed to apply for certification in a second language pair, only translation ability is screened in this second phase (business reliability and “online citizenship” having been confirmed during the screening process for a first language pair).
These are the requirements to apply for PRO certification in a second language pair:
- Site members must be members of the Certified PRO Network already.
- A new application must be submitted, but containing only information on translation ability (sample translation in second pair, credentials, references, etc.).
- Willingness to keep on networking and collaborating in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals.
To apply for inclusion into the Certified PRO Network or, if you are already a member, to apply for certification in a second language pair, complete your application with as much information as you can and submit it for review. The screening process may take up to 30 days.
More information on the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network is available here.
Looking forward to new applications!
Do you know Mox? He is one of the main characters in Mox’s blog, a blog with hilarious cartoons depicting the life of a not very successful freelance translator. Mox’s blog is a creation by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, a Certified PRO full-time translator from English & French into Spanish.
This week I interviewed Alejandro to learn more about Mox’s world and to know what the creator of the funniest cartoon about translation ever thinks of his characters and the popularity they have gained among translators.
Here is the interview with Alejandro:
1.- How did you come up with the idea of starting a blog combining cartoons and humor depicting the life of a freelance translator?
Excuse me, … humor? Where did you see any humor in my blog? I only depict the real life of a translator. In fact, readers often complain that the translator’s life is far crazier than Mox’s.
I got the idea for the cartoons from my wife. One day I saw her laughing at some silly cartoons related to her profession as a school teacher. In my opinion, the cartoons were kind of boring.
- “That’s not funny”, I told her.
- “But it’s soooo true”, she replied. “You should come up with a comic strip about translators. Your geeky colleagues would love it.”, she added.
- “But I’m not funny and I can’t draw”, I argued.
- “So what? Just draw stick figures and don’t try to be funny or you’ll definitely mess it up”.
She was right about everything.
2.- Mox’s blog also features other characters who represent the different players in the translation chain? Tell me a little about them, for example, were they all created at the same time? Do you have any favorite characters? Which is the most popular character among Mox’s blog fans?
To be honest, I don’t believe I’ve created any characters. I just discovered them and gave them a voice.
For example, there is Bill, the ignorant direct client who keeps asking for quotes without specifying the number of words, and who expects delivery of a 200-page translation in 24 hours.
I don’t know who’s the most popular character in the blog, but Pam is certainly the one who is most despised. She is a Project Manager at a translation agency. She’s as evil as you can imagine, and enjoys inventing new techniques for turning freelance translators into slave labor.
By the way, did you know that there is a secret worldwide plot to destroy the translation sector and condemn translators to a life of misery? Few people know about this. “Mefisto” is their leader and these people are the evil force behind nightmares such as Google Translate.
My personal hero is Calvo, the senior translator who once was a young, naive translator, but who woke up to the real world and turned to the dark side when he discovered that a translation agency charged their clients 20 times more than they paid him. I wish I were more like Calvo and less like Mox.
3.- What is the general reaction from your readers and why do you think they like your blog so much?
Freelance translation is a great profession but it can have its drawbacks. One of them is the lack of personal contact. How can you complain about or criticize your customers/coworkers/suppliers if you don’t speak to anyone during the day? Examples of this can be seen on ProZ.com forums, where translators are often just looking for some empathy or a means of unburdening themselves.
Mox has proved to be a good companion for translators. The feeling that many express when they visit the blog for the first time is “I’m not alone!”.
4.- Mox also has a book now. What will readers find in this book, how long did you work on it and how has the experience been for you so far?
Basically, readers have to pay EUR 19.95 for a book which contains what is already available for free on the blog.
No, seriously, I’ve spent months of my life working on this book. Most of the content is previously unpublished, there are more than 100 new cartoons. Also, I tricked the, in my opinion, 13 best translator bloggers to each write an article for the book. These articles are truly amazing and, I believe, the best part of the book.
The feedback has been very good and Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation has become a popular Christmas gift. Also, something that makes me especially proud, a number of university professors have contacted me because they want to use Mox’s book on their translation courses to prepare students for “real life”.
5.- What are your plans for the future? Would you like to become a full-time cartoonist?
A full-time cartoonist? I am not sure about that… I already struggle to explain to people that I do have a job, that freelance translation is a real and noble profession.
In any case, I’ll give you an exclusive right here. So far, sales of the book have been so good that I’m already planning a new Mox book, which is due to come out at the end of 2012.
For those who have never enjoyed Mox’s cartoons before here is an exclusive for Translator T.O. blog:
Mox’ book can also be found on ProZ.com books section.
For feedback and suggestions you can contact me at romina at proz.com.
Best wishes to all!