Tips on using ProZ.com from my personal experience (part two)

In part one of this article, I wrote about some of the more positive aspects of ProZ.com. However, there are also a few factors about the site that you should watch out for. This part of the blog is going to explore these aspects in more detail.

An important feature that should be used carefully on ProZ.com is the job postings part of the website. It has an awful reputation because you often find jobs posted at extremely low rates. The system allows freelance translators and interpreters to place bids on jobs. Although you can see how many bids have been placed in your language pair, you can’t see how much other bidders have quoted. The issue here is that the client may be inclined opt for the cheapest bid, meaning that translators or interpreters wanting the job may attempt to undercut each other, which would in turn force down the price – and ultimately the value – of the translation. So my advice is to stick to your guns: do not lower your rate. Your rate should be the sum that you want to be paid for the job, not the one that you think will win you the job.

Along the same lines as the job postings section, job emails are often sent out via ProZ.com. Some of these are respectable clients, who have taken time to read profiles, who have tailored their email to you, and who are offering acceptable rates, but some of them are not. Indicators to look out for when trying to tell whether or not this is a carefully crafted, personalised email include: the “dear translator” or “hello” salutation, the request for “best rates” (read: “lowest” – I only have one rate for translation, unless it’s urgent, in which case I add a surcharge), and requests that are either in the wrong language combination direction, e.g. EN-DE instead of DE-EN, or the wrong specialism.

I have been writing this post as somebody who has been paying for membership for this site for a few years. If you decide that membership is not for you – and you should take time to think about the purchase as at the time of posting, one year’s membership costs $133 – then you should be aware that free membership on the site is limited. Some of the restrictions include not being able to bid on jobs that are listed as “members only”; only having restricted access to the Blue Board; and not being able to ask as many KudoZ questions as paying members. So some of the tips that I offered up in both this and my previous post may not apply, or may be limited, if you do not have membership.

Those are what I believe to be the negative aspects about ProZ.com. Do you have anything to add to this?

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