Community choice awards: Have you voted yet? Reply

Voting is open in the 2017 ProZ.com community choice awards through the end of July. If you haven’t seen the great people and resources nominated this year, you can do so here. Be sure to cast your votes for your favorites. And check out this short video about the awards, by ProZ.com member and CCA nominee Fi2Pro:

Thank you to ProZ.com site moderators, class of 2016-2017 Reply

The ProZ.com moderator class of 2016-2017 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 2016-2017 is certainly a very good example of the role. Thank you mods!

Now, the moderator class of 2017-2018 is scheduled to begin in September. 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 hearing from you,

Alejandro

Managing your clients in the translation center powered by ProZ.com Reply

Your clients in the translation center

The translation center will let you define the clients on whose behalf the useful work is done on the platform.

Clients in these pages are just information in the database, but it is also possible to invite representatives, called client contacts, for one, several or all your clients, with a configurable level of access.

A setting parameter will let you define the client visibility towards service providers. Depending on this setting, the identity of the client will be visible or invisible  to the providers working on a job.

Several standard fields are provided for the client contact information, and you can add any number of custom fields for additional data on the client.

Providers options

You can also define the team invited to jobs created on behalf of this client. The following options are available:

  • No preferences: The default value, will have no impact on the invitations
  • Default to members of a team: When a job for this client is created, the team selected in this setting will be the default choice of providers, but it will be possible to overrule this setting.
  • Force members of a team: the selected team will be invited to the job.

The last option is useful in cases where you let the client contacts create a work order, but you want complete control on the providers invited to the corresponding jobs.

Reference information for clients

There are a couple of cost-effective tools for uploading reference information to be later assigned to several jobs.

  • Projects can be associated to one or more work orders, and you can use them to post instructions that will be entered once for the project and then will be displayed in all jobs created for the client that are associated with the project.
  • Client files can also be upload for the client, and then be automatically presented as reference information in all jobs created for the client. Each file can be associated with a category (glossary, reference, style, TM and other).

Client contacts

Client contacts are actual people who are optionally invited to the translation center in order to represent a client in the platform.
A setting parameter will let you define whether client contacts, if invited, will be able to create work orders and have access to jobs and clients. If this access is not granted, client contacts will only be able to access work orders and monitor their status
There are two possible roles for client contacts:

  • Administrators: have access to all jobs created on behalf of the client
  • Users: have access only to the jobs created by them, or where they were specifically invited

The translation center powered by ProZ.com is used by Translators without Borders and several commercial translation companies to deliver millions of translated words every month. This platform is made available to all ProZ.com Business members. If you want to learn more about this platform, please submit a support request and I will contact you.

Guest post: What to do when clients ask for an impossible deadline Reply

Every once in a while, you get to encounter translation projects who want to tie you to impossible deadlines. They ask you to complete the project or a part of it within a timeline that is clearly unrealistic. Worse, there are those who ask you to expedite a project for earlier submission even when a deadline has already been agreed upon earlier. What do you do in these situations? How do you deal with the clients?

Consider the following pointers:

1. Be sure to clearly inform the client about the deadline problem, present the reasons, and state what you can realistically do.

Obviously, if you are made to work on a project that you reasonably cannot do, you have to make it clear that it is not doable. Never commit to doing something you are not capable of doing. Give your reasons and let the client know the realistic output you can offer. It’s very important to clarify this to avoid problems later on. You also need to cite concrete parts or aspects of the project that make it difficult to work within the given deadline.

2. Negotiate and try your best not to lose the project.

As you explain to the client that the deadline is just too difficult to meet, you also have to offer a compromise. Break down the different components of the project to carefully propose adjustments. More often than not, you will be able to convince the client that you can submit some considerable partial output within the “impossible deadline” instead of having to extend the deadline for the entire project. There could be tasks that can just be finished later on as long the core part of the project is completed. Moreover, don’t think that you should immediately drop the client because they are “impossible to work with.” Often, these clients just need some explaining for them to understand that their demands are impossible to meet.

3. Make sure there is a written agreement stating all the terms of the project.

After negotiating and coming up with a workable agreement, make sure that you have all of the terms in writing. Usually, clients who don’t seem to have a realistic sense of project completion times easily change their minds. You can’t afford to be whimsically dragged to a new deadline or be forced to submit some things earlier than the appointed date.

4. Take control and work efficiently.

Once a compromise is reached, proceed to completing the project mindfully and efficiently. Avoid acting like a victim or someone being made to work beyond your capabilities. Have the mindset of someone who is in control.

5. Be open to suggestions.

This is not a contradiction to being in control. Being receptive to ideas from others can help you tweak processes to do things more efficiently and quickly. “Sometimes other people have great suggestions that can help you see things more clearly. When you’re under pressure, it helps to have the backing of a supportive team,” says Sean Hopwood, President of Day Translations. “We’re often asked to complete projects earlier than agreed, and we often do. It helps that we have such a diverse team of talent to contribute and come up with creative ways to solve the problem.”

6. Learn from the experience.

Be sure to learn something from the experience. There’s always something the challenge imparts. These will help you deal with the next similar impossible client demands in the future. The experience will let you gauge your or your team’s actual capacity to handle demanding projects. A failure lets you see your mistakes (including the possibility that you may have underestimated the difficulty of the task) while a success gets you motivated and serves as a good credential useful for attracting more clients in the future.

When faced with an impossible deadline, it only makes sense refusing to work within such an impossibility. It’s, after all, impossible. You have to ask for compromises or adjustments and then work on the compromise as efficiently as you can. Also, don’t forget to learn from the challenge of working on a project with an “impossible deadline.”


Today’s guest blog post is by Bernadine Racoma – an experienced blogger, writer, and researcher who particularly loves working on topics involving the Internet, online solutions, app development, and translation services. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.

Guest post: Counting volumes in translation projects Reply

Nancy Matis is the author of the book How to manage your translation projects, originally published in French and translated afterwards into English.

Nancy has been involved in the translation business for around 20 years, working as a translator, reviser, technical specialist, project manager and teacher, among other roles. She currently manages her own translation company based in Belgium and teaches Translation Project Management at three universities. She also ran seminars at numerous universities across Europe and was involved in some European projects, designing and evaluating training materials for future translators and project managers.

You can find more information on her website.


Nancy is a ProZ.com professional trainer and the author of this guest blog post

I recently added a section on counting volumes to my Translation Project Management courses. During the two-hour session, we review the countable production unit types that can be taken into consideration for linguistic tasks (characters, words, lines, pages) and for technical tasks (pages, illustrations, animations). We also discuss the challenge of estimating hours, especially for some specific production steps. I feel future professionals should master this subject so they can analyse their own projects properly and work on a good basis for budgeting and scheduling. Although counting volumes does not generally pose many issues, in some cases it can turn into a finicky task that needs to be examined carefully.

Highly common projects, such as documentation localisation, sometimes include technical tasks, for instance desktop publishing and illustration localisation. All the unit sub-types should be meticulously counted, since productivity is not usually the same when working with different programs. For example, quantify the number of slides to reformat in Microsoft PowerPoint on the one hand and the number of pages in the Adobe InDesign files on the other. As the production effort will probably vary between these two tasks, unit rates and metrics must be adapted to arrive at a correct budget and schedule. Besides this point, although some discussion might arise on whether to include blank pages in the count, most of the time, counting pages is not a big deal. As far as illustrations are concerned, the first step is to identify those that need to be changed, since some might not require any translation or adaptation. We divide images containing text into those whose text can be extracted or overwritten and non-editable illustrations, which are more time-consuming. Screenshots are counted separately as the task involved is not the same as illustration translation.

Technical tasks that cannot easily be associated with countable source units, like software testing and debugging, multilingual website creation, animation rebuilding, etc., might become problematic as time estimates vary based on many factors (source material, clients’ requirements, guidelines, context, resources involved, etc.). This can sometimes lead to endless discussions with clients or subcontractors as everyone tries to justify the number of hours or the budget arrived at. Unfortunately, no single process can calculate the volume of working hours needed for those specific tasks. While underestimating will result in profitability issues, overestimating might frighten clients away to seek proposals with lower costs and shorter timeframes. Only in-depth analyses, assistance from senior staff and experience can help paint a realistic picture. But it is hard to prevent misestimates on technical tasks. If you have established a trusted relationship with your clients, you can potentially make an approximation, talk openly about it with your requestors and propose to fine-tune the planned working time after performing a certain percentage of the task.

When it comes to text to be translated or revised, however you quote, at some stage, you need to check the volume you have to deal with. You might use this information to prepare your quote, plan the time you’ll need and even assess your profitability. Or you might have to share this data with your clients, employees and sub-contractors. Even though counting characters or words is fairly easy in most cases, in some projects, this task can become quite complex. If you receive the source text on paper or in a scanned format, some pre-processing might be needed to determine the volume. Rough estimates could sometimes be enough, for you or the other stakeholders, but in many cases, an accurate count is preferred. On some occasions, source programs don’t contain any statistical features displaying the number of words or characters to process. Some translation requests might also involve audio or video files, for which the amount of text is not easy to count. Some text files might contain content not to be translated or not directly accessible, like scanned sections or embedded documents. Finally, when using the analysis features in Translation Memory (TM) tools to count words or characters, you might face problems such as document corruptions, lack of support for specific file formats, or even content not well processed or tagged. All this could cause some confusion and make you lose time or money.

During the course on volumes, I also explain to my students that people using different tools or methods, or even working on other computers, can get inconsistent results. To exemplify the problem, I created a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, adding lots of shapes, frames, effects and animations and used various methods to count the source words. I launched an analysis on my own machine with a TM tool and asked some colleagues to do the same, using other TM tools or the same as mine. One of them even used the same version as my own tool. The results were not surprisingly quite varied. The table below shows the figures we obtained, considering only final word counts:
TM tool 1: 537 words
TM tool 2: 473 words
TM tool 3, version 2011: 648 words
TM tool 3, version 2015: 619 words
TM tool 3, version 2014 – on machine 1: 648 words
– on machine 2: 621 words
MS PowerPoint statistics: 553 words
Manual word count: 524 words

Due to the variation in the tools’ word counts, I decided to count the words manually, slide by slide, since, in my opinion, a manual word count could represent reality better. It was rather intriguing to see that one tool, whatever the version, was far above my own word count (from 18.1% to 23.6% more). I also found it interesting that the results of the MS PowerPoint statistical feature were close to the manual figure. In fact, I remember cases in which the TM tool analysis was much higher than the statistics shown in the layout program, which caused some conflicts with clients referring to the MS Word feature.

When I tried to understand the reasons for these differences, I found that (not exhaustive):

  • The Master slide in my .PTT file contained 10 words to be translated which had been extracted 12 times by TM Tool 3.
  • The translatable content of 2 frames had not been extracted by TM tool 2.

We know that tools use different word counting schemes. Nonetheless, when faced with a client asking us to justify why we have quoted 648 words when they counted 553, explaining that this is due to the tools we have chosen to use is tricky. Especially if we previously convinced them that those tools increase productivity and reduce quotes ;-). Obviously, this mainly occurs for files with heavy formatting, but it could still prove annoying.

You could overcome this problem by removing volume details from your quote, quoting per hour or indicating a lump sum. Nevertheless, you should be aware of potential issues that might, at times, create uncomfortable situations or erroneous estimates. Similarly, when using TM tools, making sure that all the translatable content has been properly identified is critical. You can double-check the target file to make sure nothing has been missed, but it is by far preferable to spot this before launching the translation process. Some file preparation might consequently be needed and, in some cases, I even recommend comparing the source text appearing in the TM tool with the content displayed in the source format to make sure everything has been properly extracted. Last tip, if available, cross-check the statistics in the source program against the final word count displayed in the TM tool.

Regardless of our role in a project, counting or checking volumes is essential in our daily management tasks. If you are the only person responsible for this task, being considered reliable is preferable, so you should ensure your counts are fair and the methods used easy to clarify. Being aware of potential issues is equally important. If you receive count data from end clients or translation agencies, be cautious and double-check them all before starting any work. Not everyone is trying to fool you, but they might have left out some important aspects of the project, failed to spot some file corruptions or were simply distracted. Whatever your case, knowing how to estimate volumes for your own work and possible pitfalls should normally help you deliver as promised and, hopefully, remain profitable.


Interested in learning more from Nancy about translation project management? Check out her following upcoming sessions (available in French):

Making an appealing “About me” section to win more projects on ProZ.com Reply

Anastasia Kozhukhova is a certified English to Russian translator specialising in legal, marketing and website content and member of the Union of Translators of Russia, the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network and IAPTI. Her work with high-end clients in different countries and partnership with UK-based marketing experts has given her invaluable insights into international marketing and current business trends, which she actively implements in her translation business. Anastasia also runs business training for translators, helping them to increase their income and boost their professional standing.


ProZ.com can be an invaluable tool for freelance translators. From start-ups to established agencies, from individuals to multinational corporations, it can be a significant source of both one-off and regular clients. Knowing this is one thing, but making sure you stand out from the crowd can be quite another. Why should a client choose you over another translator with the same languages? Your profile is your virtual shop window, and it needs to make an impact.

When I started out, I had no idea what clients were looking for in a translator profile. It is no big surprise, then, that my quote response rate was not what I was hoping for. I attended marketing conferences, took courses, signed up for coaching with a London-based specialist and put all of this knowledge to the test in the translation industry.

I wanted to make my About Me page really stand out, as this is the first thing a client sees when he or she clicks through from my quote, so I decided to structure it as a landing page.  This included using HTML, which I was not at all comfortable with – I’m sure you know the feeling. I enlisted the help of a web designer, who suggested a number of ways to make working with HTML much easier. I will explain how to get started, what to avoid and how to overcome technical difficulties in my webinar, ‘How to Make an Appealing “About me” Section to Win More Projects on ProZ.com’.

Once you have some basic HTML skills, it’s time to think about the appearance of your About Me landing page. A successful landing page is visually striking with high-quality marketing content. Professional, relevant images also have a big impact, as they create a connection with your potential client. It is always a good idea to break up larger chunks of text, too, and use icons and maps to highlight statistics and make your message clear and easy to read.

Putting all of this into practice resulted in an average of a response for every 5-6 quotes in my own translation business: a huge improvement on my previous untargeted, uninspired profile.

Are you ready to supercharge your About Me page and boost your quote response rate?


For more tips on creating a stunning and successful About Me section on ProZ.com, be sure to check out Anastasia’s webinar on this subject which will take place on May 30th.

Learn more here »

Improved messaging and invitations in the translation center powered by ProZ.com 1

New features and tools have been added to the translation center powered by ProZ.com and made available to ProZ.com Business members

Improved messaging

  • Messages can now be posted from a work order or a job, addressed to all players or to administrators or even to individual translators. You can also filter the messages exchanged based on their visibility.
  • It is also possible to reply to messages directly from the “last messages” tab in the dashboard, including the messages posted by translators from the page where jobs are offered to them.

blog_messages

Improvements to invitations

  • Several improvements were introduced to the pages used for inviting and assigning translators to accept a posted job, including a more intuitive navigation among them.
  • When a team or a set of providers are picked for the queue of a job, all other eligible providers can now be added to the queue, in case the originally selected translators did not accept the invitations.
  • You can have invitations sent manually to this team, selecting how many invitations should be sent at time and the minutes between batches of invitations. Translators can also be manually invited from the pool.
  • You can modify the order of translators in that pool by clicking and dragging their names up or down, send messages to translators, manually add or remove translators to the list of candidates for invitation and even deactivate an invitation already sent.
  • Invited translators will access a page where they will have access to the available information and will be able to exchange messages with the job posters.
  • Depending on the configuration selected when the job was created, invited translators will be able to directly accept a task, or the assignment will be manually done by the job posters (generally based on the messages received from the invited translators).

blog_invitations

Clients and teams

  • Teams are a powerful feature in the translation center, that lets you group your service providers in accordance to whatever criteria you select, in such a way that any service provider can be in none, one or many teams. Whatever is needed for your operation.
  • It is now possible to associate a client with a given team, either as a preset value or as a forced option, so that when a PM (or even a contact from the client) creates a work order, the translators contacted will belong to the team pre-selected for the client in particular.

blog_job_options

Other improvements

  • It is now possible to upload files of up to 25 MB, up from a previous 10 MB limit.
  • Instructions can now be posted in projects, work orders and jobs, and they will be also presented to translators in the page where the assignments are offered to them.
  • Providers are now presented in a tabular format, alphabetically sorted, with page sizes of 15, 50 or 100 translators per page. A link to the translators’ ProZ.com profile is provided.

The translation center powered by ProZ.com is used by Translators without Borders and several commercial translation companies to deliver millions of translated words every month. This platform is made available to all ProZ.com Business members. If you want to learn more about this platform, please submit a support request and I will contact you.