Interview with Mac Sharkawy: New technology leads to new opportunities on the open road Reply

This is the third post in the Open Road interview series, this time featuring Arabic translator Mac Sharkawy. Mac specializes in legal and financial translations and currently resides in New York City. For all posts in this series, visit

mac_sharkawyQ. I see from your profile that you specialize in accounting, finance, and law. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in these fields?
A. Well, I was a lawyer in Egypt for 12 years and worked as an arbitrator as well, and this gave me a lot of experience in legal terminology. When I moved to the United States, I switched to a career in finance, spending another 12 years in different banking positions, in finance and in financial advising within both the commercial and credit arenas.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a freelance translator?
A. With the new tools and technology in the industry now, my job is so much easier than it was before. Every day there is something new. It’s exciting to see technology advancing in such a way that makes my job easier and helps me save time, which is wonderful to have in this business. I also enjoy helping other freelancers get into the field. My goal is to take advantage of these new technological developments to outsource work to my colleagues in other countries. Right now I work closely with other freelancers in the Middle East and Latin America, which enables me to add more language pairs to what I offer as a company.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for I would not have gotten into translation. The site provides me with clients who are in need of my services, as well as helpful training courses and substantial discounts on CAT tools. has also given me a community of fellow language professionals. For example, sometimes you get stuck on a word or a phrase – you know the translation, but you’re unsure of how to phrase it in the situation – so you ask a KudoZ question. Within minutes there are people helping you and providing their opinions. It’s a unique community and I participate as much as I can. I believe is a great service and a really helpful platform for both freelancers and companies.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. For me, I plan to keep expanding my business and marketing myself as a freelance translator. I intend to take advantage of new training and opportunities, and to stay up-to-date on the many technological advances in the industry.

I want to thank Mac for taking the time to do this interview with me (while in the airport waiting to board a flight, no less!), and congratulations on your prize!

Stay tuned for the next #OpenRoad interview with Apple Watch winner Nigel Greenwood.


Ranking your profile: A tutorial by panelist Triston Goodwin 1

I recently had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion entitled “What makes a great profile” during the Marketing & Recruitment day of’s annual virtual event series. During the session, co-panelists and outstanding members Fernanda Rocha and Triston Goodwin provided many tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of your presence on the site in order to attract more clients and find work. But, for as much as we were able to cover during the discussion, both panelists still had a lot more to say on the subject.

In the video below – made shortly after the panel – Triston describes other strategies to leverage your presence on to find work both on and off the site. What he describes is the concept of parasite ranking – which is, in Triston’s words, a technique used “to rank a page from another website that has really good metrics for a keyword that you want to rank for, then use that ranking to send people back to you.” Learn more in this tutorial:

Profile sections mentioned in this video:
About Me
Search Engine Optimization tab:

Title tag
Keywords (Focus on long-tail keywords!)
Preferred URL format

Suggested resources:

Many thanks to Triston for this great tutorial on how to harness the power of effective SEO to improve your chances of meeting more (and better) clients!

Interested in learning more? Be sure to keep an eye on Triston’s newly-created YouTube channel aimed at helping language professionals grow their businesses online.

Interview with Marjon Pijl: Staying on the right side of the open road Reply

Welcome to the second post in the Open Road interview series! As announced here, the team will be publishing a series of interviews featuring the winners of the site’s weekly giveaway campaign on their experience with, how they got started in the business, and what the future holds for their careers. All posts in this series can be found at:

This week’s interview features Apple Watch winner Marjon Pijl. Marjon is a Spanish to Dutch translator operating under the company name ‘Hasta Luego.’ She is also a professional psychologist, and is based in the Netherlands. 

Q. What inspired your love of languages?
A. In high school I had a wonderful, enthusiastic teacher for French literature. I loved his lessons and he made me think of language in a different way. He opened my eyes to languages in general. Later, when I was a university psychology student, I took a course in Spanish, a language that I immediately started to love. I couldn’t get enough of it, and absorbed all the knowledge I could get and never stopped wanting to learn more.

Q. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your career as a freelance translator?
A. As a freelance translator, I am free to choose the jobs that I am interested in. It makes me happy working on a project that is a challenge for my translating skills. Having to think for an hour about a sentence or even a word and finally finding exactly what I was looking for is very satisfying. Sometimes I am so absorbed in a translation project that I suddenly realize that my stomach is rumbling with hunger because I have forgotten to eat for hours. Once I read a translation after finishing it and I see that it fits in all respects, it feels like I’ve successfully conquered a tall mountain and I’m standing at the top, enjoying the view. That is what translating is about for me!

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. As a beginning translator from Spanish into Dutch, I needed to find clients. That wasn’t easy. First I worked as a volunteer for several NGOs, acquiring practical experience. Later, I was asked to work as a freelancer for a translation agency in my country. They provided me with jobs on a regular basis, which was a great start. But still, I needed more jobs. After about two years of being a member, new clients started to contact me via my profile. Nowadays I can say that I have a very satisfying number of clients in Spain, as well as in several countries in South America, thanks to The positive client feedback I have received in the Willingness to Work Again section of my profile has also seemed to help me stand out to potential clients. Finally, the webinars offered by help me to become more and more professional in my work.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. Like the term says: the future is an open road, and that goes for me too. My principal purpose has always been and will always be to have satisfied clients. The way in which I try to achieve this is to keep getting better and trying to excel among the enormous number of translators working in my language pair and fields of specialization. In any case, feeling happy in my translation work is the best criterion of being on the right side of the Open Road.

Many thanks to Marjon for sharing her story with us!

For more information about this campaign – including how you can qualify to enter the giveaway and be featured in this interview series – please visit: 

Stay tuned for next week’s interview featuring another Apple Watch winner to be announced this Friday! Questions, comments, and feedback can be posted in the comments section or via Twitter @ProZcom

The translation center now offers in-platform invoicing and communications during the assignment of tasks Reply

Two important features have been added to the translation center powered by and made available to Business members.

In-platform invoicing

The translation center now includes the tools needed for you to assign a purchase order to each task in the translation center. These purchase orders can then, once the corresponding tasks have been completed, be used by the service providers to submit you the corresponding invoices through the system. The company can them approve or reject invoices, keep track of the accounts payable, mark invoices as paid and be notified of late payments.

Purchase orders

A purchase order (PO) can be easily created for each task to be assigned to a service provider, including:

  • Information such as preferred currency, payment terms and payment conditions can be entered in the translation center settings and taken automatically from there for each purchase order
  • Service provider and date of assignment, taken directly from the workflow information
  • Scope of the assignment, taken from the job information
  • Information on rate, units, volume and total amount, selected when the PO is created. Units can be selected as source or target words, source or target lines, pages, hours and minutes. It is also possible to import an SDL Trados analysis, as displayed below.

Example of TC PO


The purchase orders menu

The Finance → Purchase orders menu option will present to the service providers all the purchase orders associated with tasks assigned to them, with information that includes PO number, date of assignment, scope, assignment status, invoice (when issued) and associated amount. There are menus for searching among the POs and also to locate assigned tasks that do not have a complete PO associated with them.

When used by the company that manages the translation center, this option will present the same information for all service providers that have or had tasks assigned to them.

The invoices menu

The Finance → Invoices menu option will present to the service providers all the invoices they submitted through the system, including the invoice number, due date, included POs, approval status, payment status and money amount. There is a tool for searching invoices and a button to submit an invoice.

This last tool will enable the association of several POs in a single invoice, provided that all are expressed in the same currency and have the same payment terms. A due date will be automatically calculated. The service provider will also be able to submit an actual invoice in digital format.

When used by the company managing the translation center, this option will present the same information for all service providers. In this case there are no provisions for the creation of an invoice. By opening the page corresponding to any invoice it will be possible to edit the approval status (approve, edit, reject) and to mark it as paid.

Communications during the assignment of tasks

At the critical moment of assigning tasks to service providers, the translation center had only two options:

  1. Offering the task to a team of providers, and let any of them to accept the task and have it assigned
  2. Manually assigning the task to a provider

In none of these cases was it possible for service providers to communicate with the job poster, and this translated in an operation with little flexibility and that had to rely on communications managed outside the platform.

This has changed. When you create a work order and you define the conditions to post your jobs in any of the selected language pairs, you will find the new options (the default selection is stored in the translation center settings to save you time when creating the work orders):

Task assignment options

The first condition corresponds to the current situation, where any invited service provider will be able to accept a task. This is the best alternative when you have a tight deadline and want the file accepted as soon as possible.

The second option is totally new. Instead of an acceptance button, the invited service providers will be only able to post messages (for instance letting you know about their availability and interest) and you will be able to manually assign any of the tasks to any of your qualified service providers.

In both cases invited translators will be able to communicate with you even when they have still no task assigned (this is also new) and you will be able to post messages visible to all invited translators or to any particular provider, and to follow a conversation as seen by any of the invited translators.


If you are a Business member, or consider becoming one, and want to learn more about the translation center powered by, please contact me via email or submit a support request.

Interview with Biljana Stojanovic: Leaving your “safe” job and following the open road 1

As announced at last week’s annual virtual conference in celebration of International Translation Day, will now be offering two distinct packages as part of professional membership: a Standard package and a Plus package. To help spread the word about this, the site team is launching a special “Open Road” campaign during which both packages are being offered at a significantly discounted price.

Those who purchase or renew their membership before the end of the year will be eligible to participate in a weekly giveaway for an Apple Watch, and one lucky translator will be chosen for the grand prize – a brand new Nissan Juke – in line with the “Open Road” theme of the campaign.

The following is an interview with our first giveaway winner of an Apple Watch – Biljana Stojanovic. Biljana is an English into Serbian translator specializing in chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and engineering.

Q. How did you get started in your career as a freelance translator?
A. I started as a freelance translator when I was almost 50. After 25 years of work in the Pharmaceutical industry, participation in scientific projects, development of new drugs, a lot of analytical experiments and document creation, I decided to change careers and to do something that I always wanted: to translate. So I left the “safe” job and finished the one-year seminar for scientific, technical and court translators. It helped me to gain confidence, but not to find jobs. I started translating various materials for my friends and acquaintances, but it was far from enough to make a living.

Almost two years passed, with very meager results. Then I realized I had to change something. I browsed the web and discovered very useful posts, podcasts, and webinars (Thank you very much, Corinne McKay, Tess Whitty, Marta Stelmaszak, and, of course, Dmitry Kornyukhov!) That was it, I was not alone anymore… About a year ago I discovered, and I think it was the beginning of my new career.

Q. How has being a member of helped you meet your freelance objectives?
A. As we all know, marketing is a vital aspect of a freelance career. Some of us are capable of making new connections easily, finding customers by meeting people and making phone calls. But, like the majority of translators, I am an introvert. I became a member of, I made a profile, and I became a Certified PRO. In the beginning, nothing happened. However, after only one year, I must say that the results are very visible. I have had some interesting jobs, and I’ve acquired at least five very good clients through I’ve learned a lot by listening to webinars, and by attending’s 2016 international conference in Stockholm.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
A. I have many plans for the future. Because of my age, I have no time to lose. I have to use all possible shortcuts and to apply the experience of seasoned translators. I am planning to attend at least two conferences every year. It is an excellent opportunity to meet other translators. And it is fun, too! I have to learn a lot, to find better clients. My dream is to create glossaries for my fields of expertise (chemistry, pharmacy, clinical trials, etc.) and my languages (Serbian – English – French – German).

Congratulations to Biljana for being the first giveaway winner, and a special thanks for sharing your story here!

Interested in entering the giveaway drawing and sharing your own story in this Open Road interview series? Simply visit the campaign page to purchase or renew your membership by the end of the year: Don’t delay! The special discounted offer on these packages will only last until November 15th. Mobile for Android and iOS: the translation workplace anytime, anywhere Reply

Early this year, the team was proud to announce the release of a new Mobile app for Android. Since then, the app has had over 3,000 users performing more that 60,000 job actions, posting more than 3,000 votes on Quick Polls, setting their availability to take on new projects in real time and more.

On September 30th, celebrated International Translation Day by making Mobile available on iOS, in Beta stage and free of charge to members (see the forum announcement →).

ios_no_backgrounds Mobile – Now available on Android and iOS

The mobile app offers members on the go easy access to the following core services:

  • Jobs
  • The Blue Board
  • Term Search
  • KudoZ
  • Forums
  • and more!

Are you a member?

Download the app today, login using your existing account and continue getting the most out of anytime, anywhere!

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Thanks to all members for making Mobile possible with your membership investment.

Happy translating!

Lu Leszinsky Mobile team

Subscribe →           Report mobile information →           Rate Android app →          Rate iOS app →

Are you using Mobile? Share below…

Learn the secret of the strange case of Hodor at upcoming event in Matera, Italy Reply

Matteo Amandola and Leonardo Marcello Pignataro – veterans in the fields of audiovisual and literary translation – will be sharing their extensive knowledge on the subject of film adaptation with attendees at’s upcoming regional event in Matera, Italy.

Below is a video introduction of the last topic that they will discuss in their session entitled “La filiera del doppiaggio: Dalla casa di doppiaggio al prodotto finito (Breve excursus)”. The strange case of Hodor, as described in the video, illustrates the choice that many language professionals have to make: should you betray the source content or remain faithful to it? More below!

A message from the actors:

Provate a visualizzare questo filmato. Sembra un dialogo surreale senza senso… eppure ogni parola ha un suo significato ben preciso fino ad arrivare alla rivelazione finale.

Matteo Amandola e Leonardo Pignataro sono pronti a raccontarci tutti i segreti di uno degli episodi più complessi da tradurre della saga de Il Trono di Spade: il caso di hold the door.

Venite a incontrarli a Matera il 22 ottobre. La porta, per questa volta, rimane aperta solo per voi…