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: 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.

Open road interview series: Eszter Lelik. Interpreter, translator, winner of a new car 2

Eszter Lelik

Eszter Lelik is the subject of this latest installment in the Open road interview series. Eszter is an English to Hungarian interpreter and translator from Hungary, and was also the grand prize winner of a new Nissan Juke. Her win was announced on 10 January, 2017 in a live broadcast from ProZ.com headquarters in Syracuse. Congratulations, Eszter! On to the interview:


Q. First, the most important question: Where’s the first place you will go in your new car?

Well, I wish I could go on a longer trip with the new car but this is a very busy season for me as interpreter and translator so I can think in terms of a short ride only. So I decided to go to Lake Balaton and visit some friends there.

Q. Now, from your website I see that you have over twenty years of experience as a translator and interpreter. What kind of changes have you noticed in your work and in the industry during the course of your career?

In the course of the past 23 years as it is quite understandable many things have changed. When I started my career, a few years after the political transition here in Hungary, very few people could speak and did speak foreign languages. There was a high demand for interpreters and also for translators in my case, as I worked at that time at one of the Big 6 companies mainly due to the privatization processes where all the documents had to be translated into English. Now, more than 20 years later a new generation grew up, these young people, or rather their parents, realized the importance of foreign language skills so the majority of them speak English, but quite often a second foreign language as well. The multinational companies use English as their corporate language (even if it is e.g., a German company), thus the need for translation has greatly decreased. Nevertheless, considering my specific areas of expertise and the fact that I am doing mainly simultaneous interpreting, plus working not only in English but also in German, I am optimistic about my personal perspectives.

Q. You’ve interpreted for some impressive brands and organizations. What do you find most rewarding about your work as an interpreter?

To become an interpreter has always been my dream. Now, more than two decades after the start of my career I am still certain that I have the best job in the world, at least the right one for me. I like independence, intellectual activity, constant learning, and travelling, always meeting new and interesting people. I have worked for/with famous politicians, celebrities, artists and I sometimes I am amused by realizing that most of them have already disappeared from the public life, from the stage, and I am still here.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the language industry?

In my previous answer I have mentioned already what I think of my own future, the future of my career. To be quite honest I am not optimistic at all concerning the future of the language industry in general. With all the translation memories, interpreting gadgets and the obsession with saving money on everything to the detriment of the quality, I think in about 10 years’ time lots of translators and interpreters will be left without any assignment, or paid much less than today.

Q. The theme of this campaign was ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

Open Road for me means new challenges, opportunities and many new things to explore.  I think in our profession constant learning has to be the first priority. Thus, for me, deepening my knowledge in some specific areas, like medical and legal areas, is very important. Learning the use of CAT tools would be also necessary and also modernizing  my website is there on my agenda.

Eszter Lelik 2

 

Thanks Eszter for your time, and congratulations once again.

All interviews in the Open road series can be seen at http://www.proz.com/open-road.

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!

Open road interview series: Carl Brunet Reply

This is the final interview featuring ProZ.com members who have won Apple Watches as part of the site’s year-end membership campaign.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Carl Brunet is the subject of today’s interview. Carl is a translator working in English and French, specializing in international relations, trade, marketing, environment, and finance, among other fields. He currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.


Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the language industry?
I’m optimistic in that people will always increasingly want to communicate and so there is a role for language professionals, but sometimes technology is imposed upon us and does not make the job necessarily easier.

Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your career as a freelance translator?
Having the freedom to call the shots, work as much as I want, where and when I want to. I’m currently on holiday in France.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com helped you meet your freelance objectives?
I have found some interesting jobs on the platform, gained valuable experience with some of the largest companies in the world and it is motivating to see so much work available if I want it.

Q. The theme of this campaign is ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?
I want to keep going down the path I’ve chosen, building my business and work on marketing myself better now that I’ve gained greater experience working for a huge variety of public and private sector clients.