In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.
There are frequent questions and discussions about whether to use one translation portal or another, or this portal vs. that portal. A translator looking to invest in his or her business or seeking to gain new clients is presented with various sites and resources in general to this end. The same is true for any resource, be it in risk management, terminology, discussion groups, software, etc. Here are some pointers on evaluating and using these portals and other resources to your advantage.
But I want something for nothing!
If this is the case, it may be a good moment to reflect on your freelance career. As a freelancer, you are also running your own business, whether you call it that or not. It is difficult, if not impossible, to operate any successful business without investment of some kind (and it will usually take investments of various kinds– a time investment, a monetary investment, etc.). Don’t expect opportunity to come your way on its own. If there are tools and resources which help improve your business, invest in them. Sometimes this investment involves simply taking the time to evaluate and learn how to use the resource.
Other investments require your credit card! Hardware and software are an example. Training or other kinds of education can be another. And memberships, whether they are in professional associations in translation or in your field of expertise, or in portals or for services designed to enhance your business somehow, are another. If we can’t agree that you cannot operate successfully on a something-for-nothing basis, go no further! If we can agree, read on!
Something that cannot be said about the translation or interpretation profession is that it is a static one. Translation and interpreting –and the way these two activities are performed– have evolved throughout the years and continue to evolve, allowing language professionals to seek new challenges, inviting them to review their career plans from time to time.
Even if most language professionals feel good about what they have achieved, they may also feel compelled now and then to take their careers a step further. However, this step further may not always be that clear, and there are several options available that go beyond translation and interpreting.
One option translators and interpreters have if they feel like taking their careers a step further is the expansion of the services they offer. Expanding the list of services you offer to clients may involve learning a new language, adding a new field of expertise and even learning additional techniques such as subtitling or desktop publishing (DTP). Of course, adding a new service, like investing in anything else, means devoting time –and usually money– to getting it ready.
The ProZ.com Certified PRO Network, an initiative of the ProZ.com community that has the purpose of identifying qualified translators and providing them with the option of networking and collaborating while distinguishing themselves as professionals, is now open to translation companies willing to demonstrate their unique capabilities in keeping with published industry standards.
Allowing translation companies to apply for inclusion into the network is expected to have, among others, the following benefits:
- Network expansion.
- More successful service provider-outsourcer working relationships.
- More room for direct communication and collaboration between service providers and companies.
- A better understanding on the part of outsourcers of what being a Certified PRO means.
- Extended network promotion.
Translation companies willing to enter the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network will be required to prove that they meet or exceed minimum professional standards in two screening areas: (1) business reliability and (2) good citizenship.
Information that screeners will check when reviewing company applications includes Blue Board record history and payment practices, number of years in the translation industry, client feedback, standards or certifications, quality processes followed and ProZ.com activity. Other data, such as services offered and capacity, may also be taken into account.
If you run a translation company, consider applying for inclusion into the Certified PRO Network by completing your online application.
More information about PRO certification is available in the Certified PRO Network FAQs section (recently updated).
Application from freelancers are also being reviewed on a daily basis. So, if you are a freelancer and you would like to enter the network, apply now.
Every business type is exposed to risks influenced by numerous factors and the translation and interpretation business is no exception. Regardless of the type of activity involved, everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed so several types of risks that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.
With this in mind, ProZ.com has been creating content and developing new tools with the purpose of helping translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry to learn about the different risks involved in doing business online and how to prevent them.
One of these resources, and probably the most widely used by service providers when assessing risks, is the ProZ.com Blue Board. The Blue Board record is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for assessing the reliability of specific outsourcers before accepting a job offer from them. For outsourcers, being listed in the Blue Board record with a good number of positive entries from service providers represents a great marketing tool. Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board. More information about using the Blue Board record is available here.
Another great source of information in connection with business risks in translation is the ProZ.com Wiki. The ProZ.com translation industry wiki is an ever-evolving collection of articles about relevant, industry related topics, written and updated regularly by translators themselves. In this wiki, there are several articles on risk management, addressed both to language professionals and to outsourcers. Risk management-related wiki articles include the following:
- Risk management for translators and interpreters
- Risk management for outsourcers
- Risk management: Email
- Risk management: the Blue Board
For more information about the ProZ.com industry wiki, visit this page.
A recently released scam alert center is another potentially valuable resource for those seeking to manage risk when it comes to false job offers and other scams. The Translator scam alert center is an area used to provide organized, concise information regarding false job offers or requests and other scams which may be aimed at or are affecting language professionals and outsourcers. Information provided in the center is based in part on reports made by ProZ.com members through the online support system and in the ProZ.com Scams forum, and ProZ.com members have the option of subscribing to receive useful news and alerts of new scams as they are detected. The scam alert center is available here.
Finally, ProZ.com also offers its members a free webinar on “Risk management for translators and interpreters” on a monthly basis. This training session enumerates and explains risk management procedures that translators and interpreters should follow as part of their everyday professional activities. The schedule for these webinars is available here.
Regardless of the number of years a service provider or an outsourcer has been in the translation industry, risks are everywhere when doing business. However, the above-listed resources and tools have been made available by ProZ.com to promote not just professional practices, but also clear and concise information on the steps that should be taken to avoid risks when participating in the language industry. If you have any questions about these tools and resources, or if you need assistance with using them, contact site staff through the support center.
Here’s a new ProZ.com podcast. These podcasts are designed to provide an opportunity to hear the week’s news, highlights of site features, interviews with translators and others in the industry, and to have some fun (see announcement).
As you may know already, the International Translation Day celebration at ProZ.com (Sep 26 – Sep 30) is around the corner. This year there will be a big celebration under the theme “Small changes, big results!” There will be five days dedicated to this virtual event — the Certified PRO Network virtual conference (Sep 26) , the ProZ.com site guidance day (Sep 27), the Recruitment day (Sep 28), The Great Translation Debate (Sep 29) and the traditional Freelance translator virtual conference (Sep 30). This week, I interviewed Lucia Leszinsky, ProZ.com site staff member devoted to site guidance activities and ProZ.com Certified PRO Network coordinator, who is in charge of the organization of the Site Guidance Day and the Certified PRO Network Virtual Conference to learn more about these events.
I was specially curious about the site guidance event and Lucía explained that the ProZ.com site guidance event will be a day of presentations on how to get the most out of ProZ.com. It will include sessions and discussions on ProZ.com’s most popular features, tools and benefits, and attendees will be able to learn how to customize their profiles to meet clients in and outside the site, know more about getting started in translation or expanding their businesses by using the site effectively. During the event attendees will be able to also discuss about the most effective way to use the Blue Board to assess risk and how to use the KudoZ term help system to receive and give help with the translation of tough terms. This event will be about learning how to use ProZ.com for the attendees’ benefit and what is very important is that all ProZ.com’s registered users, members and non-members, are invited to participate.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Small changes, big results” so I asked Lucía what big results could attendees to the event expect by simply participating in this event. She explained that attendees will see how applying small changes to their ProZ.com profiles, or attending a short training session, or even checking potential clients’ contact details before taking on a project makes a huge difference when it comes to client contact and improving their businesses.
I also asked Lucía about the Certified PRO Network Virtual Conference planned for September 26, 2011 and she mentioned that this event will also be a day of presentations on professional promotion, translation tools, translator training and more. This is an event planned for professional translators so access will be restricted to members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network only.
Members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network who wish to attend this event can register also by clicking on “Register now” in the event page. Those site members that are not yet members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network are still on time to apply for inclusion into the network and take part in this event.
At the end of the interview I asked Lucía to mention three benefits that attendees can get from participating in these events and she did not hesitate to assert that ProZ.com virtual events in general offer attendees unparalleled access to educational content, networking and recruitment opportunities, and more, all within a rich and engaging online environment. She thinks they are a perfect opportunity to network with colleagues, meet clients, expand the knowledge of the translation industry, CAT tools, and other translation and interpretation-related topics. Attendees to virtual events can also meet the site staff virtually and receive personalized assistance with using the tools the site offers to network, improve their work, expand their businesses and have fun.
Listen to the interview with Lucía here: ProZ.com podcast, 2011-09-15
Don’t forget to sign up for the events planned for the free ProZ.com’s virtual event series 2011. All these events are designed to celebrate International Translation Day so you cannot miss them!
Thanks for listening and see you at ProZ.com’s virtual event series 2011
This is the eighth post in the ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.
Eighth strategy: Building an online presence
In addition to social networking, language professionals are encouraged to build their online presence through their own professional websites.
Creating a website geared towards building or expanding your business means creating a professionally designed website that attracts visitors, optimized and updated regularly to beat competition.
Professional translators should approach their website with a client’s eyes and make sure the essentials are there (language pairs, services offered, contact information, testimonials, sample translations or recordings, important clients, past projects, formal training, among other details). A distinctive and unique domain name showing seriousness about the services being offered will set any professional translator apart.
How can I create my own website using ProZ.com?
ProZ.com members enjoy comprehensive web hosting services for free. Professional translators can register their domain or subdomain name and create their professional-looking website in minutes without knowing any HTML. The ProZ.com website creator assembles a fully functional website in minutes using the content from profiles. Find out more about ProZ.com hosting service here.
Do you have your own website? Share it below! Did your business improve after you set up your website? How?
Don’t forget to check the next post in this series on Attending translation industry events, to be posted shortly.