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 »

Guest post: 10 things translators need to know about machine translation 2

Meet Gwenydd Jonesa freelance Spanish to English translator and professional trainer. She has two MAs, the first in Translation Studies and the second in Legal Translation, and the DipTrans (CIOL). With 10 years’ experience, Gwenydd specializes in business, marketing and legal translation. She is also a copywriter.

Learn more about Gwenydd and some of the courses she offers by checking out her blog, translatorstudio.co.uk.


I don’t know about you, but I spend much of my life going from one translation project to the next. I want to learn about translation technology, but am always putting it off. Not my idea of fun. For me, m1074712_r55e018418b6a3achine translation is like the hologrammatic elephant in my home office.

Last June, I had to prepare a talk for the ProZ.com conference in Stockholm. Finally, an opportunity to confront the elephant. I set out to find answers to my questions, hoping to put my worries to rest. I wanted to find out: what is going on with machine translation? Is it a real threat to human translators? And if it is, what should we be doing about it?

In my webinar Your Essential Machine Translation Briefing, on 8 Feb, I’ll share what I found out. From the perspective of a technically challenged freelancer. In the first half, I’ll give you a summary of what is currently going on in machine translation. Then, I’ll share the strategies I’m employing in my work, to make sure I develop alongside automated translation. See you there!

In the meantime, here are a few things freelance translators need to know about machine translation.

  1. ‘Machine translation’ isn’t the same as ‘translation memory’ or ‘CAT tool’

Sometimes translators get these terms muddled up, which is understandable. A computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool is an application where you can write your translations. It uses translation memories (TMs) to keep a record of all your past work. Don’t confuse that with a machine translation (MT) engine. An MT engine is an application that automatically translates a text. You can integrate MT with your CAT tool, but they are two different pieces of software. They have different functions.

  1. Machine translation is more effective with certain text types

Since computers rely on data and rules, the more predictable a text, the better the output will likely be. Formulaic and simple texts work well. Creative and complex texts don’t. Life sciences, finance, IT and other technical genres lend themselves to machine translation. But while financial accounts are formulaic, an accountant’s blog is far less predictable. With the second, you may well be faster on your own, particularly if you use voice recognition.

  1. Machine translation engines get better results when they’re customised

Translators and companies that are serious about machine translation aren’t using Google Translate. They get their own machine translation engines and train them for a specific domain. They do this by inputting their translation memories. After that, they input more data on an ongoing basis, so the machine keeps adapting to them. This is how they get more accurate output. Then they post edit it and feed the final translation back into the machine. With a suitable text type, this helps them finish the translation faster than if they did it from scratch.

  1. Neural machine translation is a major change in the translation industry

The world of machine translation is starting to harness deep learning. This is based on neural networks. Neural networks have lots of uses in artificial intelligence. Language processing is one of them. So, computer scientists can use them to improve machine translation. Companies that are using neural machine translation include: Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

  1. Google Translate is now using neural machine translation in some language combinations

Google recently announced that it is using neural machine translation in Google Translate. For now, it is limited to certain language combinations. They rolled it out with a total of eight language pairs. All are to and from English, combined with French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish. It’s free, but remember the data is public, so you can’t use it if you’ve signed a confidentiality agreement. Google Translate isn’t customised (see point 3), but it has lots of data. The jury is still out on how good the updated tool is.

  1. You can subscribe to your own machine translation engine and train it

You may not realise that companies that develop machine translation engines sell subscriptions. You can even pay to train your own engine using your translation memories. Post-editing isn’t just about an agency sending you texts. You can learn how to post edit, get a customised engine and then do whatever you want with it. The profits and control will be all yours.

  1. Companies that sell machine translation are battling for your business

If you want to try machine translation, you have to go shopping for a provider. The different companies that offer machine translation solutions (including SDL, Lilt and Systran) publish data to show how effective their software is. It’s all quite technical and confusing. And it can be biased. You can go to TAUS and the eMpTy Pages blog, for unbiased information.

Perhaps, like me, you prefer to see for yourself. One way of doing this is to observe yourself for a month in your work, and see how many words you average per hour. Then, pick whichever machine translation software takes your fancy and use it for a month. Track your turnover to see whether your hourly average gets faster or not. Then you’ll have your own data to tell you whether it’s worth continuing to invest.

  1. Machine translation isn’t currently replacing human translators

Improvements in machine translation don’t mean we’re all out of a job. But, it may mean our jobs will start to change. Commercial translation is often about getting an acceptable translation as quickly as possible. You can complete some texts faster by using customised machine translation and post-editing. And sometimes that is what the customer wants. As machine translation continues to get better, we can expect demand for post-editing to grow.

  1. Machine translation pricing isn’t set in stone, yet

While machine translation has a long history, it’s still being consolidated in our industry. Lots of translators and translation agencies are struggling to get their heads around it. Some translators are concerned that post-editing means lower pay. Certainly, ruthless agencies will try to use it as another way of driving prices down.

But, that doesn’t mean smart translators can’t use it to increase their profitability. Why shouldn’t we earn more on the days we work as post editors? If we learn about it, and talk about it, we’ll soon know how we want to price it. We’ll know when to refuse a job. Translators can choose to accept post-editing jobs only when they’re going to make more money for their time.

  1. Freelance translators have options regarding machine translation

We don’t all have to go running for the hills before the robots attack. Becoming a post editor is just one option open to us. If you like the idea of it, you could post edit for agencies. But, you could also subscribe to your own engine and use it in your work. If you don’t want to post edit, there are a host of specialisation and diversification options.

Whatever path you end up choosing, now is a good time to get informed and come up with a plan. If major changes do take place in our industry, I for one will be ready for them. Ready to adapt. To continue being the one who controls my career. To protect my rates, serve the direct customer competitively, and understand the jobs (and prices) agencies offer me.

I encourage you to join me at my webinar on 8 Feb, Your Essential Machine Translation Briefing. I’ll share everything I’ve found out about machine translation, in simple, unbiased terms. I’ll also tell you the strategies I’ve come up with, and am now employing in my work. Sign up here!

Making the right motions at industry events Reply

“One needs to make the right motions in order to get the right emotions.”

– Hans Fenstermacher


It is always advised to attend in-person industry events in order to sharpen one’s skills and recharge. Establishing relationships with potential clients and other translators at in-person events will always prove to be mutually beneficial. Networking gives translators the chance to exchange experiences, ideas, and support each other, not to mention it can also be another source of jobs. There is no way to move forward in one’s career without learning, networking and enjoying one’s life.

This summer, translators had the opportunity to learn, network, and relax at the Ukrainian Translation Industry Conference al fresco.

As one of the participants, I also enjoyed my stay at the conference, meeting translators who I only knew from Facebook or blogs, and learning from experienced translators and established business owners.

One of the first ideas that really resonated with me personally was shared by Hans Fenstermacher. In his talk, Hans raised a question about the changing landscape of the language industry. His presentation touched on the needs of the industry and its customers, as well as the need for translators and other language professionals to adapt and work together in new ways to meet those needs. He emphasized that having the best or newest tools does not necessarily mean you have something really special, as only humans can make decisions, analyze, and have empathy.

Speaker Inga Michaeli at UTIC-2016

Speaker Inga Michaeli at UTIC-2016

Trying to navigate among three tracks, I finally chose to attend the Art of Translation track, which featured one especially great talk with Inga Michaeli on the topic of specialization. It’s amazing how easily and humorously Inga touched on painful situations in the life of a freelancer, like when a translator stops getting new projects and an important questions comes up: “So what now, despair or diversify?” Inga translates fiction, non-fiction, DK and LP travel guides and is always ready to share outstanding ideas with those who are ready to diversify their language services.

Oleg Rudavin, another notable speaker present at the event, shared his vision on freelancing as a business form, a way of thinking, and even a philosophy. Freelancing is quite often viewed purely and solely as a business organization form, and in that respect it hardly deserves any special attention. What is much more interesting and worthy of investigation, as Oleg noted, are those relations – often conflicting ones – that emerge when the freelancing approach seeps across the borders of business and into other spheres or attitudes, such as those relating to government, or even to oneself.

All presenters – teachers and mentors, agency owners and freelance translators, and software developers – shared their best knowledge with fellow colleagues in order to develop the industry and bring it to a whole new level.

Thanks to everyone for a great time spent at the conference! After getting the right emotions, I hope we are all ready for the right motions.


If you’re ready to continue developing your skills and networking internationally, please join ProZ.com on September 3rd and 4th for the site’s 2016 international conference in Stockholm, Sweden, where presenters will be shedding some light on the human side of the translation industry. Inga Michaeli and Oleg Rudavin will be there to share their knowledge with us, as will a host of other fantastic participants like keynote speaker Maya Hess, DVÜD e. V. president Tanya Quintieri, Erik Hansson of the Things Translators Never Say Facebook group,  and many, many more.

I will be giving my own presentation at this event on effective ProZ.com strategies to develop your business online.  Find out more on the session page, and in the video invitation to the event below. I hope to see you there!

Translator training: You have the knowledge, ProZ.com has the tools Reply

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Translators and interpreters make intercultural communication possible through language, sharing ideas and concepts with people throughout the world. It is important that they understand the substance of translated material, use up-to-date software and platforms, and keep an eye on new tendencies in the industry.

The ProZ.com training platform helps beginning and  experienced professionals alike to develop their skills and reach new levels in their careers. Sessions are offered one-on-one, live, or on-demand for greater flexibility in delivering content to translators, interpreters and language professionals. ProZ.com trainers are experienced freelancers and outstanding members of the ProZ.com community who have decided to share their knowledge and expertise with their colleagues through the site’s training platform.

More than 30,000 site users have participated in training sessions proposed through the ProZ.com training area. One of the most beloved training formats – webinars – are always of interest to translators as they allow site users to communicate with the trainer directly and get answers to their questions live. Webinar attendees also enjoy unlimited access to the video recording of the session as well as any course materials. Participants are awarded certificates of attendance after these sessions, some of which can be verified as credentials at ProZ.com.

Another great source of knowledge for translators and interpreters are tutorials on ProZ.com, as well as videos recorded during the site’s free webinar weeks. You only need an Internet connection and a headset/speakers to attend, and videos, can be watched in your free time and at your own pace.

“Being a trainer helps me in my own professional development. It is a great opportunity to share what I know with other translators.”

Over the past few years, trainers from 45 countries have generously shared their knowledge and expertise through ProZ.com’s training platform, on topics ranging from business skills and marketing to software and translation tools, services and specialization, project management, industry trends, and more. Among these trainers are experienced and well-known conference speakers; experts in medical, legal, technical, literary, and environmental fields; experienced marketing specialists; and technology aficionados. Despite their varying backgrounds and specialties, these trainers all share a passion for the translation profession, endless curiosity, readiness to take a risk with a new service, and a willingness to share what they have learned with their colleagues.

“I have been a trainer at ProZ.com since 2010 and have enjoyed it immensely. The ProZ.com Training Department provides an intuitive webinar platform as well as feedback and ideas for trainers to ensure success.”

Becoming a ProZ.com professional trainer requires no previous knowledge or experience with e-learning technologies, and the course creation process offers helpful tips and comprehensive guidelines on how to create an effective promotional page for a new training.

“The amount of support I get from the ProZ.com team is what has kept me as a trainer here for 5 years, even though I have my own web-based school.  I love the ease of the communication, the extraordinarily good suggestions, the initial in-depth discussions we had when I was just starting, and the intelligent comments I receive today. Thank you for encouraging me to  become a trainer, making it possible afterwards, providing the specialized platform and technology support, creating the marketing packages, and – best of all – giving me the opportunity to work with an amazing team!”

The new year has come bringing a lot to the translation industry. Let’s learn together about new tendencies and tips for translators through training at ProZ.com.


About HelenHelen

Helen Shepelenko is a ProZ.com staff member working out of the site’s office in Kharkiv, Ukraine. As the manager of ProZ.com’s training area, Helen oversees the recruitment of new site trainers, and reviews proposals and suggestions for courses offered through the platform. If you are an experienced language professional and are interested in sharing your knowledge with the ProZ.com community, please contact Helen through the Trainers section of the site: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/trainers/

Charity event raised funds for Concern Worldwide education programs Reply

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This is the second time ProZ.com has hosted a charity event benefiting education programs for children in need. During the month of June, the site held four free translator training webinars to help raise funds for Concern Worldwide education programs. 72 million children around the world are not enrolled in school, and Concern Worldwide focuses on providing basic education to those who need it most. For over 30 years, this organization has been working to improve access to basic education among the poorest people in the world. Concern Worldwide currently spans 12 countries, benefiting 215,888 people last year alone.

Access to education is not only a basic human right, but also a key factor in reducing poverty and child labor in the world.

By attending the event, donating, and conducting sessions, ProZ.com translation professionals have helped to ensure that children learn basic literacy, numeracy, and life skills in school through the Concern Worldwide education programs. Concern Worldwide supports teacher training, school materials supply, and strengthening school systems. Their aim is to improve access to primary school for marginalized children throughout the world, especially among young girls.

ProZ.com trainers Anneta Vysotskaya, Irene Koukia, Gwenydd JonesSuzanne Deliscar, and Claudia Brauer generously offered their time and experience to conduct online sessions for free in support of this cause. Four online sessions were held for freelance translators to help them in developing their skills, choosing an education program and learning how it can assist them in their careers, expanding their horizons through volunteer programs, and developing strategies to grow their businesses and stand out from the crowd.

Here is some feedback from attendees of these sessions:

“It was an amazing and brilliant training – thank you so much!”

aKuranFernandez

“The content was full of many simple and concrete examples of what to do step by step in order to become a recognizable translator.”

Małgorzata Smorąg

“It was great that the presentation was well organized and was, therefore, easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your insights.”

MR Language

With more than 150 registrants for each session, attendance increased sixfold in comparison with the charity event held in 2013. It is amazing how people throughout the world gathered together in support of children in need.

ProZ.com matched each donation made, and together we reached the donation drive goal.  Thank you to all who contributed to this great cause. Special thanks goes to James Xia for his support of this event.

If you couldn’t participate in the charity event, or if you were unable to attend a particular session, you can still watch the webinar recordings available on ProZ.com (you need to be logged in to watch these videos):

Thanks to all the trainers and attendees for their fantastic fundraising efforts which made a big difference in the lives of children! We hope to see you all at upcoming ProZ.com training sessions and charity events to be conducted in the future.