ProZ.com Business membership as a promotional tool Reply

The corporate badge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From the corporate corner: Let’s tell our story 5

Meet Lori Thicke: founder of Lexcelera and the non-profit organization Translators Without Borders. In this guest post from the corporate corner, Lori speaks on why translation is under-appreciated and what we can do about it.


New York City at the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa. I am speaking about language to a roomful of high-level executives from the largest aid groups, convened as part of a series of UN focus meetings.

I cover communications in the Ebola crisis, and how utterly unhelpful it is to tell people how to avoid Ebola in a language they don’t understand. After all, you wouldn’t go to France with public health posters in English: why would you do so in Liberia?

Afterwards, the Executive Director of one of the world’s top aid organizations (you’d know the name) says to me, “We really hadn’t thought about that.”

Hello, what? You didn’t think that it was important to talk to a rural villager in her own language? That language wouldn’t matter much, even when you’re trying to stop an epidemic as perilous to the world as Ebola?

Here’s a news flash: communicating in the wrong language is not communicating at all.

Lori Thicke: CEO and founder of Lexcelera

Humanitarian groups not getting that simple fact is the main reason I founded the translation charity Translators without Borders. Yet the same ignorance about how important language is also bedevils anyone who earns a living in the translation industry.

Before Translators without Borders, I founded a language company, which I operate to this day. Lexcelera began life in Paris, France, and we have a few small offices now on three continents. But operating in a different world, in business, in communicating B2B and B2C, we still face the same issues as in the humanitarian sphere: translation is wildly, crazily undervalued.

It may seem strange to make the leap from humanitarian translations to the business world, but I believe the same core problem affects both: people outside our industry, whether nonprofits or companies, think they can get by just some token translation. I mean, have you ever seen how most companies do their international customer support sites? You might see the menu items in a few main languages, but the information itself is in English.

The assumption there, of course, is that everyone speaks English. Talk about wishful thinking!

In the commercial sense, this wishful thinking translates into undervaluing our services – and that in turn leads to commodity (read low) pricing. This commoditization springs from the idea that what we do isn’t worth very much, so any old provider will do as long as the cost is cheap enough.

I can’t think of another industry where prices go down, year after year.

This may be a contrarian view, but I see the huge investments that are being made to improve machine translation (MT) as the one acknowledgement that speaking to people in their own language is the only way to go, and that technology is needed because there are too many languages and too much content.

Wait, investing millions and maybe billions in machine translation is actually recognition of the value of our work? Yes, that’s what I believe. But as I said, that is no doubt a contrarian view.

In any case, MT is really an aside to the bigger issue: the lack of recognition of the value that professionals bring to multilingual communication.

I believe the only way we can fix this is by telling a better story. A compelling story. Somewhere along the line we stopped being visible. When was the last time you saw a translator in a movie? In the press? We are one of the professions you don’t see or hear a lot about. And that hurts us.

We need to take control of the narrative.

ProZ.com and other professional bodies could help here by relentlessly passing the message that in our increasingly borderless world, companies need our services in order to communicate better – and to sell better.

Our trade associations could make headlines with stories about how people are more likely to buy products and services when addressed in their own language and how companies grow more when they get language right.

These stories could be backed up by hard numbers, compelling statistics that tell the story of happy customers and engaged employees. For example, the Common Sense Advisory tells us that people are 6 times more likely (duh) to buy from a website when addressed in their own language.

Citing facts like this can make the case that translation is not a commodity but an investment where quality pays.

I believe we need to tell our story as publicly as we can to raise awareness and appreciation for our craft. Translators need to be linguists, they need to be subject matter experts and they need, almost above all, to be good writers. This is a unique and valuable skillset that allows professionals to craft a translation that does the job it’s supposed to do: communicate a message that will be understood.

Now, is that so hard to understand?

 

Do your employees have the right profiles for your work on ProZ.com? Reply

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ProZ.com Corporate members enjoy all the benefits granted to freelance professional members, plus several other exclusive tools and opportunities. The prestige associated with the corporate badge and the positioning and visibility of Corporate members in the ProZ.com Translation agency and company directory are obvious advantages. This post will deal with other, lesser-known benefits.

Employee profiles: Corporate members may designate other profiles as belonging to their employees. These employee profiles will have member benefits without the need to purchase separate memberships themselves. For instance, they have full access to the Blue Board and can quote on member-only jobs (provided that the other requirements are met).

Search by email feature:  An exclusive tool enables ProZ.com Corporate members to enter an email address (received, for instance, in an application page or email message) and to search for the matching ProZ.com profile. This is an additional risk management tool to face the threat of scammers who impersonate translators to scam translation companies.

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Job posting notifications: Corporate members now have the option to receive notifications based on the fields declared in their company profiles. Company profiles are not bound by requirements that only make sense when the service provider is just one person, such as “Native language”. With this tool, Corporate members can choose to be notified of all the job postings that they can submit a quote on. This is done by comparing the requirements in the job posting with the working languages they have declared that their company provides services in.

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Use of the ProZ.com translation center:  Corporate members can use a dedicated instance of the translation center powered by ProZ.com to manage their projects. Several Corporate members are actively using this platform, and they delivered a cumulative total of over 2.5 million words in May 2016 alone. The platform is actively evolving. User interfaces have been improved and the next releases will include the import of CAT tools analysis and new vendor management tools.

This Corporate Corner is a section of the blog dedicated to conveying the voice of corporate members, to help them contribute to the growth and maturity of the language industry and to become better known in the process. If you are interested, please contact us by submitting a support request.

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

From the corporate corner: New benefits for Corporate members Reply

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Translation companies are an essential segment of the industry, and one key objective of ProZ.com is to better understand their needs and to provide them with tools, opportunities and resources which will help them achieve their objectives.

And of course this also means providing better opportunities for good translators and good companies to meet for their common benefit.

In line with this goal, ProZ.com Corporate members enjoy all the benefits associated with the site’s professional membership package, such as unlimited Blue Board access, plus several other tools and opportunities available exclusively to Corporate members, such as:

  • Increased visibility through privileged positioning in the Translation agency and company directory, the industry’s busiest directory for finding language service providers
  • Full access to both the traditional and advanced directories for finding service providers and collaborators, including premium job posts and vendor management tools
  • A corporate membership badge for added credibility among service providers and clients
  • Access to a dedicated instance of the translation center to manage translation projects, assign tasks and keep all communication and data in a single platform
  • Only Corporate members may apply for inclusion in the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network, giving them increased credibility, visiblity and promotion
  • The ability to extend the Corporate membership benefits and access to employee accounts
  • Immediate job posting (no vetting required)
  • Risk management through exclusive access to a scam prevention tool that allows them to verify the contact email address of potential service providers
  • In the event of feedback or payment disputes on the Blue Board, Corporate members have the ability to work closely with ProZ.com support staff in resolving issues quickly
  • Priority response to support requests, including phone support

The ProZ.com team is currently working on new Corporate-only features such as Classic jobs notifications, a mechanism for corporate members to report feedback on non-delivery by translators, and improved features for employee accounts.

Further down the road we plan to provide better risk management tools – especially for fraud prevention – as well as advanced vendor management features for recruiting, qualifying and managing service providers.

Several channels are used to learn about the needs of translation companies, including through the site’s support center. A survey is also being conducted in order for ProZ.com to better assess the needs of translation companies and learn how it can add value to Corporate membership. If you have not yet participated in this survey, please taking a few minutes to share your concerns and feedback.

Last but not least, I would like to open acorporate corner in this blog, and extend an invitation to all ProZ.com Corporate members to share their views on industry-related issues through a series of guest blog posts. If you are interested in contributing to this initiative, please reply in the comments section below.

Let’s all grow together!

Platform developed for Translators without Borders now available to ProZ.com corporate members 12

After delivering over 25 million words, the translation center used by TWB is now being offered for use by ProZ.com corporate members in their own work

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“ProZ.com built and maintains the ‘translation center’ platform for the humanitarian organization Translators without Borders.”

Created as a Humanitarian Tool, then Improved Organically

In the days following the Haiti earthquake of 2010, we at ProZ.com, together with many others in the industry, tried to help in any way we could. The Paris-based organization Translators without Borders had been overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of volunteers (many of them ProZ.com members). TwB requested that we create something to help them process applications. In response we built a screening tool, and it proved useful enough that TwB decided to standardize on it.

That screening center helped right away, but it began to be clear that the manual approach to project management that the organization had been using (i.e. email) was going to limit its ability to scale. We were asked (and inspired!) to do more to streamline operations. One-by-one, in response to requests from Translators without Borders, we added features that enabled them to automate all aspects of their processes: translator sourcing, client communications, and so on were improved.

Now, five years later, the platform that we built — what Translators without Borders calls their “Translation Center” — is somewhat mature. A single Translators without Borders project manager can now handle about ten times as much work as was possible before.

The “Translation Center” is Now Available for Use by ProZ.com Corporate Members

While the objectives of Translators without Borders may differ in some ways from those of translation companies, operational procedures may in some cases be quite similar. Basically, like TwB, a translation company receives work from clients, passes that work along to translators or translator teams, they do the job, and the work gets delivered. There is some form of quality control and ideally, feedback, and the various parties — clients, project managers and translators — are able to communicate as necessary and appropriate at each stage of the workflow.

Given that, it occurred to use that the translation center platform might be useful to others.

Since we built the translation center from scratch for Translators without Borders, and now we have it, we are able to allow others to use it. Given that it is fairly mature, we felt we would be able to do that without incurring a great deal of additional expense. We decided to make the platform available to corporate members of ProZ.com at no charge.

This translation center is not a comprehensive TMS system, but a tool that enables companies to efficiently route work to translators with whom they already have a relationship. One person described it as a “messaging bus”. It does a bit more than that (files can be moved, for example), but that is the basic idea. It has a nice interface and good communications features, project managers and translators, and optionally clients, can all be in one place, and all the information around a given job is centralized. The platform also integrates with ProZ.com profiles. And with the help of some beta testers, we have added some of the accounting features, etc., that companies require (but TwB never needed.)

This platform can save time and hassle for companies that are doing a lot of emailing back and forth with clients and translators. It can be even more useful for translation companies that put clients and translators into direct contact and communication. To describe more about it…

A “White Label” Design

A key concern in the design was that, even though the translation center was powered by ProZ.com, Translators without Borders is the real force behind the whole operation and the organization’s identity had to be carefully preserved.

To this end, a “white label” philosophy was followed in the design of the platform in such a way that all players or visitors to any instance of the translation center will see the name, logo and colors of the organization managing it, thus preserving their corporate image. White labeling means that the whole operation will be perceived by all actors as an integral part of the managing organization.

Management of Translators

The managing organization will invite their trusted translators to the translation center, where individual information can be stored on language pairs, fields of expertise, rates and any other data, in the form of administrative messages. Files can be attached to such messages (for example a signed NDA).

Messages can be exchanged with the translator through the platform, and they will be stored and associated with the translator’s profile, thus avoiding the hassle of sending and tracking emails.

The translation center can support the operation with in-house or freelance translators, or with a mixture of both categories.

Job posters can provide feedback to each task when a job is completed, entering a comment and selecting among the following options:

  • Excellent: Surpassed expectations
  • Good: In line with expectations
  • Satisfactory: Below expectations but usable
  • Unacceptable: Not usable

Average and detailed feedback for each translator is visible to the administrators, and a notification is sent to the support email each time a feedback is posted in any of the two lower levels above.

Work Orders and Jobs

The translation from one source into many target languages is supported by a work order / job / task structure, where

  • A work order (W.O.) is the common section, including source and reference files, deadline, field of expertise required, notes and special instructions, etc.
  • A job is the application of a work order to a defined target language, so a W.O. can include several jobs into different target languages.
  • A task is an individual file offered to the volunteers for translation. A job can include several tasks, both independently added by the client and as the result of the splitting by the PM of larger source files.

Jobs can be posted directly by clients, as is the case with Translators without Borders. This could be useful also for large agencies that need a way of effectively handling many small document that can’t be refused because they come from large clients, but that are processed at a loss because of the heavy overhead of their complex workflow.

An agency will most probably have their own PMs posting jobs on behalf of clients. Client identity and associated documents will still be present in the translation center, but the isolation between clients and translators will be preserved.

Basic Workflow

A project manager from the translation company will post a work order with at least one job. Reference files such as glossaries, translation memories or style guides can be added as reference to a job, or to all jobs of a given client.

Release of notifications to translators can be automatic, or manually handled by the PM. With automatic operation the notifications are sent out in batches, inviting translators to a job posting page, where they can evaluate the tasks offered and eventually accept one or more of them. The first notified translator who accepts a task will receive the assignment. Once all tasks have been accepted or manually assigned by the PM, a job is no longer available to other interested translators.

In a job page the translators with tasks assigned, the PM and the client (if given access to the page) will be able to communicate and to exchange files. All information stored in a single page, no need to send emails or keep track of files.

Translators will upload their translations to the same job page. Once all tasks in a job have been delivered, the job is complete and deliverables can be downloaded by the client or by a PM acting on their behalf.

Editing tasks can be added in the same page once the translations have been delivered, and they are assigned and delivered just like a translation task.

Automatic notifications are sent to the translator and the PM when a task is behind schedule. PMs are also notified when a task has not been accepted 48 hours after being offered to translators.

You are Kindly Invited to Try this Tool

If you routinely outsource translation work, we invite you to experiment with this platform, and to use it within your company if it suits your business. If after trying it out you find you have questions or feature requests, we would be happy to hear from you. You can contact me at enrique at proz dot com.

ProZ.com Certified PRO Network: applications from translation companies now accepted Reply

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.

ProZ.com Certified PRO Network

The ProZ.com Certified PRO Network keeps growing.

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.