While helping beginning translators enter this profession by sending their CVs to thousand of translation agencies, to beef up their profile to make them look more professional and legit, and not like some other, inexperienced newbie struggling to enter the market, I often suggest that they set themselves up a free Proz profile, to act as an online resume.
The advantages of having a proz profile:
- it can serve as another means to gaining new clients by bidding on posted projects
- with a good looking profile, especially with a paid membership and Proz Professional Certification, clients may occasionally contact you directly with project offers
- it posts Willingness to Work Again, showing the number of your clients who have endorsed your work, acting as a reference. Ideally these clients are established Proz users with a solid portfolio, but you can also ask for endorsement from your clients who do not have a proz account, whereby they only need to provide and confirm their email address
- if you get involved in Kudoz by helping other translators with terminology, you can gain points, which show your expertise on your profile
- as shown in the picture of my profile above, you can also provide links to your diploma, translation samples, important certificates and other useful documentation.
As a starting translator, having such an online profile, especially if well presented, can go a long way to giving you credibility. The more credibility you have, the more you can charge. Simply charging a low price to get your foot into the door of an agency may not be the best strategy because, in this industry, it is more about quality and keeping customers than about price, and many agencies will simply not want to take the chance with inexperienced translators.
Building up Kudoz points takes time, and is more of a long term project, but as you see from my profile above, once you accumulate 42 points in any language combination, you are awarded Pro status for that combination. It will also give you some credibility in different fields and subjects, as you will see above.
On the other hand, if you use this system to ask for help from other translators (and it can be an excellent tool for this purpose), by adding the terms to the site’s glossary and awarding them points, you yourself are awarded BrownZ points, which you can then cash in to gain access to the BlueBoard records of individual agencies you are considering to work for. You will be able to read the comments posted by other translators concerning the agency’s payment practices, without having to purchase a full, annual membership. No one wants to work on a long project for free!