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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

ProZ.com Business membership as a promotional tool Reply

The corporate badge

ProZ.com Business membership includes the benefits associated with Professional membership, such as unlimited Blue Board access, plus a set of tools and opportunities available exclusively to Business (formerly Corporate) members.

As is the case with the Professional membership, the Business membership keeps evolving to provide more value to the translation companies that chose this path of growth.

Many of these tools and opportunities provide operational advantages, such as the translation center currently used by several members to deliver millions of words to their customers, the employee profiles and improved risk management tools.

Other advantages have to do with premium service, such as the immediate posting of jobs, Blue Board arbitration and priority response to support requests, including phone support.

This note will deal with a separate set of tools and opportunities aimed towards providing promotional opportunities, based on the principle that all promotional tools for outsourcing companies will be focused on ProZ.com Business members.

A first tool is the privileged positioning given to Business members in the Translation agency and company directory, the industry’s busiest directory for finding language service providers (over  400 daily connections between language services buyers and providers).

Also, only Corporate members may apply for inclusion in the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network, giving them increased credibility,  visibility and promotion

Among the tools already released, a new promotional box (displayed below) is now  presented in the Blue Board records of Business members, as well as in the jobs posted by them.

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As another example, currently being developed, is a code for a portable badge will be provided to Business members in order to let them display on other pages, such the company’s corporate web page, the average Likelihood of Working Again with them entered by its service providers. This is similar to the badge provided to Translators Without Borders volunteers.

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The above are just a few instances of many changes to come, where the logo of Business members will be presented every time the companies are displayed on ProZ.com, and relevant ranking tables will be made exclusive for Business members.

An investment in ProZ.com Business membership  provides value today and well into the future. Let’s all grow together!

 

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

An approach to risk management in the language industry (part 5 of 5) Reply

This last part of an article first published in the June 2016 issue of the MultiLingual magazine, presents some practical examples of the application of risk management policies in the language industry. 


Some practical examples

A few concrete cases are included here as example of risks to be found, as well as their possible remedies. Non-linguistic examples have been selected, as experience shows that people in the language industry tend to overemphasize the linguistic aspects of life.

Area: Commercial / marketing

Risk: A new client request comes from a scammer

Remedy: Scams are a typical case for avoidance. Check the fraud-prevention information available at http://www.proz.com for a comprehensive coverage, but in a nutshell you should possess a general knowledge on how scammers work, always request verifiable contact information from any possible client or provider, and take steps to verify those details yourself.

Area: Commercial / marketing

Risk: A key client goes bankrupt, damaging your business

Remedy: To reduce the probability, keep an eye on signs of impending problems within the customer (comments from the client, news, social media comments) or lack of client satisfaction (client wants some service you do not provide, comments about your service, quality or prices). To reduce the impact, no single client should represent more than 25% of your work.

Area: Commercial / marketing

Risk: “Feast or famine” market fluctuations can severely affect normal operation

Remedy: Keep money reserves or a line of credit for dry periods. Develop a network of trusted providers to outsource extraordinary peaks of demand. Consider collaborating with colleagues (if you can turn a competitor into an ally, they may also share with you their own overflows).

Area: Infrastructure / technology

Risk: Catastrophic infrastructure failure affecting work and deliveries

Remedy: Create redundancy in your infrastructure. Contact an additional internet provider. Keep an active policy of information backups. Define, in advance, contingency procedures and train your people to follow them.

Area: Infrastructure / technology

Risk: Hostile hacker steals confidential information belonging to your organization or your clients

Remedy: Hire a consultant to devise the technological and procedural tools needed to ensure information security. Train your staff in the corresponding procedures and monitor them.

Area: Project management

Risk: Some critical requirement from the client was not recorded in the scope definition of a project, resulting in low customer satisfaction, rework and negative impact on the time and cost objectives.

Remedy: Scope management is your responsibility. Even if the client failed to communicate a project parameter, you (the language service professional) should have asked about it. Develop a checklist with the elements to consider in all projects (tool requirements, CAT tool analysis, input and output formats, language register, expected audience, requirements for partial deliveries, cultural considerations, etc.)

Area: Project management

Risk: Provider fails to deliver

Remedy: Rely on trusted translators. Keep a strong vendor management policy. Maintain good communication channels with them in order to detect problems as soon as possible. Provide and request feedback. Have backup providers to activate them if the designated one drops from the project.

Conclusions

Risk management is the tool to proactively manage the uncertain nature of life and work, and it should be part of the toolbox of any organization (including unipersonal ones). Consider the simple approach suggested in this note or deliver your own. Risk awareness and preparation, sensible processes and a focus on learning lessons from errors and problems should be part of any definition of professionalism.

This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of MultiLingual magazine. Reproduced with permission.

The translation center powered by ProZ.com offers new features to ProZ.com Business members Reply

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


Improved reference information

Several new features have been added to improve the availability of reference information available to the service providers assigned to any given job. Among them:

Projects

Projects can now be defined for any given client, and they can include one or more work orders. Among the information in a project you have a field for project instructions, and these instructions will be displayed in all jobs associated with the project. This is a very cost-effective way of conveying your reference information. A project can also be used, for instance, to coordinate the several interpreting and translating activities associated with an event.

Reference files

Reference files can be added when a work order is created, or to an already created job. These files used to be located in a separate tab on the job page, and they have been now to the main job page for improved visibility.

Client files

Client files are files that can be associated with any of your clients, and they will be offered as reference files on the main page of every job created on behalf of that client. A category (glossary, reference, style, TM or other) can be associated with each file.

Improved communication features

New interaction and messaging features

It is now possible for a company to decide if the service providers sharing a job will be able to see each other and interact among themselves. Also, managers can post in any job messages addressed to a particular provider in the job, or to all providers in the job, or only to other administrators. Administrators can also view all comments or only the comments visible by any given translator in the job.

New options for sending emails to providers

The list of providers that can be reached by selecting “Providers → View providers” has several search criteria for defining a subset of translators, and at the bottom of the page there are buttons for sending emails to the translators in the whole search (in particular, to all translators in your system) or only to those in the page in front of you. It is now possible to attach a file to these mails, and to select the particular translators you want to reach within the selection.

 Improved vendor management features

Simplified experience for providers

The translation center as seen by service providers was greatly simplified, eliminating all elements that were not needed for their role of accepting an assignment, getting information and delivering their service. This will facilitate adding extra features and information and move into mobile operation.

You can now leave feedback on providers

Two new job settings will make it possible for your PMs to leave feedback on the providers in your system for each delivered task. You can also decide if this information will be visible only for your administrators, or to share it also with the providers. Posted feedback can range from unacceptable to excellent, and a comment can be also entered. This information is stored for each translator, and it is a very useful tool for documenting the experience a company has with a given translator, especially in multi-PM companies. You can read more about this feature in a dedicated article.

Multiple language pairs in invitations to providers

If you invite translators to the translation center by email, using the options available at “Providers → Invite via email”, you can now select several language pairs associated with each translator. If you prefer to use the directory features to be found at “Providers → Invite from ProZ.com”, once you select the translators to invite the system will offer you for each provider the language pairs they declare at their ProZ.com profile, and you will be able to select one, some or all the language pairs offered. In both cases, the provider profiles at the translation center will be created with the language pairs selected by you.


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

An approach to risk management in the language industry (part 4 of 5) Reply

This fourth part of an article first published in the June 2016 issue of the MultiLingual magazine, deals with the application of the previous considerations to the language industry. 


Risk management in the language industry

Both the PMI and the ISO 31000 provide generic, high level frameworks that should be adapted to the realities of each organization. This is usually done by project managers and, in some organizations, by a Project Management Office (PMO).

Several factors conspire against the organization-level implementation in the language industry, starting with the small average size of the actors (many small companies and even more freelancers). Smaller organizations have fewer resources to dedicate towards the professional management of risks.

A second factor is the role of the project manager. While in other industries project managers are trained and empowered to plan and manage areas such as scope, scheduling, cost, risk and stakeholders, PMs in the language industry have little time for planning, and spend a significant part of their time in activities such as finding (and tracking) vendors, reviewing, DTP and firefighting. Moreover, the flat structure of most small organizations provides little in terms of career path, with the corresponding impact on staff rotation and the associated loss of learned skills.

A third obstacle is the relative small size and short duration of the average language-related project, leaving fewer resources and less time to dedicate to planning in general and to risk management in particular. Short projects also mean less time to recover from problems.

All these factors become extreme in the case of the freelancer, who must include risk management among the many activities performed by his or her one-person company.

On the bright side, the projects performed tend to be similar, thus enabling the use of risk management templates that can be improved with experience and briefly reviewed for validation at the beginning of each project. This reuse means a lighter impact on each project.

Another factor to be explored is cooperation. You don’t need to go it alone, as attested by the exchange of information and advice found at http://www.proz.com and other similar sites. Fraud prevention and credit-risk management are two hot areas, but a lot more should be done by professional associations and language-related communities.

A simple 6-step program

It is hoped that the following approach to risk management will be solid and yet simple enough for a freelancer to implement, yet comprehensive enough to benefit a small language service organization.

  1. Understand and communicate risk management: make it part of your processes and thoughts. Train your people to become proactive risk managers. Don’t do it alone: share and ask, teach and learn from others. Share vertically with clients and service providers. Give that “stitch in time”. Get (and remain) ready.

  2. Identify your risks: list your critical activities in two broad categories: projects (work with a beginning and an end) and processes (everyday work). For each activity create a list of risks that could affect it. Be creative and inclusive at this stage. Ask others.

  3. Qualify each of your identified risks by assessing their probability and impact, to help you select the risks that will be managed and those that will be recorded and accepted.

  4. Create a risk response plan by defining and recording a response for each of the risks you decided to manage. This can include additional checks, the setting of contingency reserves of time, money or resources, modified procedures, etc.

  5. Control your risks. Include risk control in every aspect of your professional activities. Modify procedures to avoid risk; for instance, by getting verified contact information to prevent the risk of being scammed, or by getting an automated backup system to prevent the loss of project data. Include checklists in your projects to include, for example, a list of issues to be considered at the time of defining their scope.

  6. Learn and apply lessons. Consider all of the above as a work in progress. Each error or problem found should be considered a lesson learned, and should be documented in such a way that benefits the whole organization. Encourage your people to suggest new ways to resolve issues that arise, and move back to step 1 to make your risk management get even better.

This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of MultiLingual magazine. Reproduced with permission.

NEXT: READ PART FIVE >>

An approach to risk management in the language industry (part 3 of 5) Reply

This is the third post in a five-part series from an article first published in the June 2016 issue of MultiLingual magazine and reproduced here with their permission. 

The second part already published presented the the Project Management Institute (PMI) approach, while this deals with the generic framework provided by the ISO 31000 standard.  


The ISO 31000 approach

The standard ISO 31000 : 2009 ‘Risk management — Principles and guidelines’ was issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) with the purpose of providing “the principles and guidelines for managing any form of risk in a systematic, transparent and credible manner and within any scope and context. ” It is, therefore, not specific to any industry or sector.

This standard describes risk as the effect of uncertainty on objectives. Uncertainty is defined as a deficiency of information, understanding or knowledge of an event, its consequence, or likelihood.

Risk management includes the coordinated activities to direct and control an organization with regard to risk. It is based on a risk management framework, the purpose of which is to integrate the process for managing risk into the organization’s overall governance, strategy and planning, management, reporting processes, policies, values and culture.

The standard describes the relationship among:

  • a set of principles that need to be satisfied to make risk management effective,

  • the project management framework, and

  • the risk management processes displayed in figure 3 and defined below.

ISO 31000 processes

Communication and consultation with external and internal stakeholders should take place during all stages of risk management. They should address the risks, their causes and consequences, and the measures taken to treat them. Stakeholders make judgements based on their perceptions of risk.

Establishing the context enables the organization to articulate its objectives, risk management parameters and the scope and risk criteria for the remaining process. This is similar to the PMI’s plan risk management process.

Risk assessment is the overall process of risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation. Each one of these processes is described below:

Risk identification is very similar to the PMI’s Identify risks described above.

Risk analysis involves developing an understanding of the risk in order to provide an input to risk evaluation. It is similar to the PMI’s qualitative and quantitative analysis processes.

Risk evaluation aims to assist in making decisions based on the outcomes of risk analysis, defining which risks need treatment and the prioritization of treatment implementation.

Risk treatment involves selecting one or more options for modifying risks and implementing those options. It is similar to PMI’s plan risk responses process.

Monitoring and review is similar to PMI’s control risk process.

This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of MultiLingual magazine. Reproduced with permission.

NEXT: READ PART FOUR >>