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 ProZ.com team will be publishing a series of interviews featuring the winners of the site’s weekly giveaway campaign on their experience with ProZ.com, how they got started in the business, and what the future holds for their careers. All posts in this series can be found at: https://prozcomblog.com/tag/open-road-interview-series/

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 ProZ.com 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 ProZ.com member, new clients started to contact me via my ProZ.com 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 ProZ.com. 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 ProZ.com 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: http://www.proz.com/professional-membership 

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 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.

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, ProZ.com will now be offering two distinct packages as part of ProZ.com 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 ProZ.com, and I think it was the beginning of my new career.

Q. How has being a member of ProZ.com 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 ProZ.com, 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 ProZ.com. I’ve learned a lot by listening to ProZ.com webinars, and by attending ProZ.com’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 ProZ.com membership by the end of the year: http://www.proz.com/professional-membership. Don’t delay! The special discounted offer on these packages will only last until November 15th.

ProZ.com Mobile for Android and iOS: the translation workplace anytime, anywhere Reply

Early this year, the ProZ.com team was proud to announce the release of a new ProZ.com 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, ProZ.com celebrated International Translation Day by making ProZ.com Mobile available on iOS, in Beta stage and free of charge to ProZ.com members (see the forum announcement →).

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ProZ.com Mobile – Now available on Android and iOS

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

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

Are you a ProZ.com member?

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

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

Happy translating!

Lu Leszinsky
ProZ.com Mobile team


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


Are you using ProZ.com 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 ProZ.com’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…

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.