Podcast: interview with Konstantin Kisin about productivity, negotiation and communication skills 1

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).

This week I interviewed Certified PRO member and ProZ.com trainer Konstantin Kisin, who speaks at conferences all over the world on topics like managing relationships with clients, improving productivity and communication & negotiation skills to learn more about these topics.

In this interview Konstantin explains that a good negotiator is someone able to communicate with other people in a way that works for them and knows what motivates them. He describes the concept of “behavioral flexibility” which means being able to do the unexpected — being able to do things other people do not do. In the case of freelancers who are competing in the market with a lot of other freelancers it is important to stand out. From this perspective it is good to be doing things that your clients may not expect and may not get from other people. Konstantin also indicates that a good negotiator should also have confidence and that the way to achieve that confidence is to be certain about your position and of what you want from work and from life in general.

Konstantin believes that negotiation skills can be taught and that they are fun and very easy to learn. In his view, the problem with translators is that most of their communication is maintained via email and that most translators tend to work in isolated environments and are not used to face-to-face interactions with clients.

On the topic of striking a balance between work and life Konstantin mentions that the success of your business or even the quality of life that you have overall when talking about a balance depends on the kind of questions you ask yourself. The first big question that applies to all areas of like is “what do I actually want?” and the second question to ask yourself is “how do I get what I want?”.

On the topic of productivity, Konstantin explains that his approach to how translators can get more done is not so much related to translation technology but to adjusting your daily routine and habits to create a working environment and a working pattern that allows you to achieve very high levels of productivity. He emphasizes the fact that when you talk about productivity you cannot really separate things like work from rest and breaks. He firmly believes that a part of a healthy and sustainable daily routine has to include time off. He indicates that this pattern could help translators achieve a productivity level of 6000 to 8000 translated words a day.

Those interested in learning more about how to achieve high productivity levels and how to strike a balance between life and work should check Konstantin’s first blog post on this topic that will be published next Monday in this blog.

Listen to the interview with Konstantin  here: ProZ.com podcast, 2011-08-19

Feedback and comments are welcome. You can reach me at romina at proz.com or via Twitter @ProZcom .

To listen to previous podcasts, check the podcasts tab in this blog.


Scams targeting translators: the advance payment scam, and how to get the word out? 5

Earlier this year a few blog posts were made here regarding scams targeting translators; I’ll post links to them at the bottom of this post for easy reference. It is interesting to note that these are the T.O. posts with the most views so far, and that among the search terms used by visitors coming to this blog, those which are clearly translators seeking information on possible scams rank highest, daily. I don’t know if scams targeting translators are on the rise, but they definitely do not seem to have diminished much.

In the ProZ.com forum dedicated to sharing news on scams I came across one that keeps popping up: the advance payment scam (you can see the thread here). These involve advance payment for a job, usually by check. The translator receives the check, which has been made out for an amount exceeding the amount agreed upon, and is asked to wire the difference back to the “outsourcer”. The checks bounce later, or turn out to be false, leaving the translator having performed some free work, out of some money, and in some cases, in trouble with the law (in the cases of forged checks).

Many of us can spot these attempts fairly easily, but it seems clear that there may still be a need to better spread the word or educate colleagues in detecting and reacting to these false job offers.

A group of reference links regarding detecting and responding to a potential scam has been posted in the Scams forum, here (reproduced below).  Do you know of other good reference material on the subject that could be added? And just as important, how can this material be spread to colleagues who need it?

A new badge for translators without borders Reply

Translators without Borders is an independent non-profit association established in 1993, dedicated to helping NGOs extend their humanitarian work by providing free, professional translations. The funds saved through the use of volunteer translations can then be used by the NGOs in the field, enabling them to extend the scope and reach of their humanitarian work.

A platform originally designed by ProZ.com to assist Translators without Borders with screening volunteer translators following the disaster in Haiti last year has evolved into an efficient online translation center in which NGOs served by Translators without Borders can post requests for translation, and willing translators can accept and deliver the work on a pro bono basis.

Use of the new platform– and of course the professionalism and the good will of the volunteers– has enabled Translators without Borders to donate more than a million translated words in the first half of 2011.

In the words of Lori Thicke, Translators without Borders co-founder: “Thanks to the community of professional translators who support Translators without Borders, millions of words of translations are being donated each year to worthy organizations such as Medecins sans frontières, Handicap International, Action Against Hunger, GoodPlanet.org and many many more. This contribution is significant because every dollar saved is another dollar that can be spent caring for people in the field.

Now a badge has been created for the volunteers who act as translators without borders as a form of acknowledgment and appreciation for their generous contributions. This badge is displayed in their translation center profile and it displays the name of the translator and the amount of words delivered so far for Translators without Borders through the platform since January 2011. It is visible only if this amount of words is larger than zero.

Badge owners can also click on their own badge to copy the code for use in other places such as their ProZ.com profile, personal web page, profile in a social network, a discussion forum, etc. The badge will automatically update itself wherever it is placed as the number of words translated changes. There is an option to add a link to your ProZ.com profile, so the badge displayed on other sites will also lead to your profile and thus become a more powerful marketing tool.

The code needed may be different depending where the personal badge will be placed, therefore three versions are offered: HTML code, BB code and a direct URL. Feel free to submit a support request if you need help to display your personal badge in a web page.

If you are interested in volunteering for Translators without Borders you should visit the corresponding registration page and provide all the necessary information in English.

Translators without Borders has a strict screening process. However, since the members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network have already been screened against similar criteria, Translators without Borders has agreed to waive this process for members of the CPN. If you are a ProZ.com Certified PRO and want to become a translator without borders, please submit a support request .

Quoting Lori Thicke again:

What I love about the ProZ badge is that it’s a way for the volunteer translators to get recognition for their contribution to humanitarian work around the globe.

We can see the number of words a translator has completed right on the badge, automatically updated in real time. The contributions truly are significant, and are making a big impact. We speak to aid groups every day who share with us how much Translators without Borders helps them in their work.

So I just want to pass on a big thank you to all the ‘translators without borders’!”

Podcast: Interview with Nataly Kelly on her role as Chief Research Officer with Common Sense Advisory and how freelancers can benefit from market research 1

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).

This week I had the chance to interview Nataly Kelly, a respected author, consultant and advisor with a specialized interest in language services and technology and Chief Research Officer at Common Sense Advisory. In this interview Nataly explains what Common Sense Advisory does and describes her role as Chief Research Officer. She also shares some insight on her view about translation technologies and what may be in store for those language service providers who do not embrace technology.

Nataly has recently published a book about Telephone Interpreting, the first book ever written about this topic. In this interview she explains why she decided to write this book and mentions some of the topics covered in it. (To get a free digital copy of the book, click here.)

During the interview, I also asked Nataly to mention the ways in which freelancers could interact with Common Sense Advisory and benefit from its research. Listen to the interview here to learn how.

ProZ.com podcast, 2011-07-29

I hope you find this podcast interesting. You can follow Common Sense Advisory on Twitter @CSA_Research. Feedback and comments are welcome. You can reach me at romina at proz.com or via Twitter @ProZcom .

To listen to previous podcasts, check the podcasts tab in this blog.



Thank you to ProZ.com site moderators, class of 2010-2011 Reply

As most ProZ.com members know, ProZ.com’s KudoZ and forum areas are monitored by a group of volunteers known as “moderators“. Their role is to foster and protect the positive, results-oriented atmosphere that makes ProZ.com possible, by:

  • Greeting and guiding new participants, and helping them to properly use and benefit from what is available to them at ProZ.com.
  • Enforcing site rules in a consistent and structured manner to maintain a constructive environment.

Moderators serve a one-year term, from July to June. This means that the current class of moderators is coming to an end.

I would like to take a moment then to thank the moderator class of 2010-2011 for their year of service to the community. Thank you to all of these members who have given of their time to help maintain a positive, results-oriented atmosphere on the site. Each person in the class has made valuable contributions to ProZ.com, and some have contributed beyond the moderator program. Thank you!

The moderator class of 2011-2012 is scheduled to begin in August. If you are a ProZ.com member and would like to volunteer for a one-year term as site moderator, please see http://www.proz.com/moderators or contact site staff through the support center.

The Translators without Borders Translation Center delivers its first file into Swahili 4

The first file translated into Swahili in the Translators without Borders Translation Center was delivered today.

This file, traslated by TwB volunteer and ProZ.com member Judith Prince, is part of the “Translating for life in Africa” project.

The purpose of this project, launched by the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa – Kenya Chapter (AHILA), is to save lives by creating a ‘library’ of basic healthcare information translated into several African languages.

People who live in rural communities in Africa have particularly fragile health because of factors such as HIV AIDS, malnutrition, lack of access to clean drinking water and tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and cholera. A general shortage of doctors and nurses as well as the distance to travel to government hospitals mean that most healthcare is dispensed by community health workers.

While English literacy is high among city dwellers and well-educated professionals such as doctors, in the rural areas English skills are extremely limited. Community health workers may or may not have a good understanding of English, yet their training and their field manuals tend to be in English. Inadequate access to information is just one more burden for the rural poor in Africa to bear.

Translators without Borders needs more volunteer translators in the English to Swahili language pair in order to continue translating for life in Africa. If you are interested in volunteering please contact us by means of the “Send email” link in our ProZ.com profile.

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 10 3

This is the last post in the ten-part series that provides information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Tenth strategy: Writing a business plan

Freelance translators and interpreters must never forget that they are also running a business. So, as business people, freelance language professionals must never forget to write a business plan.

A well-written business plan is another way of showing professional seriousness, eventually helping to get a loan, form a partnership or gaining access to well-organized corporate clients looking for service providers having this special “difference”.

A good business plan should include a summary of plans, information on competitive market position, a SWOT analysis, details regarding administrative, organizational and financial situation, and risk policies.

How can I write a business plan using ProZ.com?

When writing your business plan, use ProZ.com forums and the ProZ.com Wiki to find out more about the translation market in your country, stay informed on current practices by reading Translation news articles and attending training sessions on translation business development.

Also, read this article on writing your business plan in the ProZ.com Wiki.

Do you have a business plan? What does it include? What other useful resources would you suggest to write a business plan?

The list of strategies outlined in this series is by no means exhaustive, of course, and language professionals can and should keep looking for new means to expand their business and promote their services.

What other strategies to expand your translation business would you suggest?