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 »  Articles Overview  »  ProZ.com Site Features  »  Getting the most out of ProZ.com: A guide for translators and interpreters

Getting the most out of ProZ.com: A guide for translators and interpreters

By Jason Grimes | Published  02/9/2006 | ProZ.com Site Features | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://pol.proz.com/doc/596
Jason Grimes
afrikaans > zuluski translator
View all articles by Jason Grimes

See this author's ProZ.com profile
This article is intended as a guide to help translators and interpreters get the greatest possible benefit from ProZ.com. If you are a translation company or an outsourcer of language jobs, please see Getting the most out of ProZ.com: A guide for outsourcers and translation companies.

What is ProZ.com?

The term "ProZ.com" is used to refer to the translation workplace at www.proz.com, the community that uses it, and the (for-profit) company behind it. The ProZ.com community is the largest translator community in the world.

The workplace concept: The Internet + cooperation + expertise

ProZ.com describes itself as a "workplace". The term "marketplace" is sometimes used, but that is a misnomer; it describes only a small part of what happens at ProZ.com.

The ProZ.com workplace uses Internet technologies to facilitate cooperation among translators, and to distinguish and highlight their expertise.

We are all better off if we work together

Translators once worked alone and in solitude. At ProZ.com, translators collaborate for mutual benefit. We help each other, and the combined knowledge and expertise of the entire community becomes accessible to all. As that knowledge gets archived, it also becomes available to others in the future.

Through collaboration, expertise becomes apparent--to colleagues and potential clients

By collaborating within a structured system, individual expertise can be revealed. Over time and with the proper tools it becomes possible to see who is good, and what they are good at. This distinction allows a meritocracy to form. Translators can be distinguished on the basis of their unique skills.

Because the workplace helps to identify expertise in this way, it can aid outsourcers and clients seeking qualified language professionals.

As a consequence, ProZ.com has become the #1 place for translators to meet new clients.

ProZ.com services meet translator needs by facilitating collaboration

A collaborative translation workplace naturally lends itself to the provision of certain services. For example, see the following list of some ProZ.com services. (For a more complete list of ProZ.com services, please refer to the site map.)

Terminology help

The KudoZ terms help network provides a structured way for translators to give and receive help with difficult and specialized terms.

Knowledge sharing and archival

ProZ.com provides extensive glossary resources; translation-related articles and related contributions; searchable language-related discussion forums; the ProZ.com Blue Board, a database of outsourcers and associated feedback; databases of organizations serving the translation industry; quick polls of (and by) the ProZ.com community; aggregate data about translation rates; etc.

Directories and match-making resources

ProZ.com furnishes directories of translators, interpreters, and outsourcers; job listings and related services; a world map showing member locations; etc.

Communication tools

To facilitate direct person-to-person communication, ProZ.com provides public and private discussion forums; profile mail (a way to receive mail without disclosing your email address); intra-site ProZ.com messaging; access to third-party instant messengers, Skype, etc.


Powwows are informal get-togethers of local translators; ProZ.com also organizes national and international conferences.

Combined purchasing power

Translator Group Buying (TGB) allows translators to buy together in bulk and receive steep discounts; the ProZ.com store sells language-related products.

The first step: register with ProZ.com and become a member

To get started, you should first register with ProZ.com. This will provide you with a site user account and password, and your own ProZ.com profile.

After registering, to get the most out of ProZ.com you should join as a full member. (Although membership is advisable, it is not necessary to become a member immediately. It is possible to experiment with many of the site features described here before joining ProZ.com, although some features are restricted to members only.)

Create your ProZ.com profile 

Every registered user has a ProZ.com profile.

Your profile serves as your business card and directory listing

Your profile is your public face at ProZ.com. It serves as your business card and directory listing, and is the first impression of you that colleagues and potential clients will have when they find you at ProZ.com.

By making your profile complete and keeping it up to date, you help to ensure that you get the most out of your ProZ.com experience. To make it easy for you to keep your profile up to date, the following page is available: http://www.proz.com/quick_profile

ProZ.com profiles have the highest Google "page rank" of all human translation portals. This means that in addition to finding your profile via ProZ.com, there is also a good chance that potential clients will find your ProZ.com profile when seeking language professionals using search engines such as Google or Yahoo!--provided that you optimize your profile accordingly.

For these reasons, it is extremely important that you complete your profile carefully, and that it presents you accurately and professionally. A few hours or days invested in filling out your profile now will pay dividends for the rest of your career.

Your profile must clearly indicate your specialty

In order to get the most out of ProZ.com, you must specialize and clearly indicate your specialty. Even if you can work in a wide range of languages and fields, at ProZ.com you must target only a narrow and carefully chosen area of expertise.

The workplace model makes it possible for those with expertise to stand out from the crowd. Many people market themselves simply as good all-around translators. But this may not be as effective as presenting your unique specialisties, because you cause yourself to blend back into the crowd. The best advice is to plan on getting general jobs offline; online you need to target carefully.

For more information about the importance of specialization when presenting yourself online, please read this article.

Essential profile information

  • Enter and order your language pairs - Enter up to 5 language pairs in which you work, and the services you can provide in those languages. Use the "order" column to sort them in order of your specialty. If you speak more than 5 language pairs, enter them as well, but indicate that you do not wish to show them in your profile. Remember: specialize!

  • Enter and order your fields of expertise - Enter both "general" and "specific" fields. You will not appear in the directory or be eligible to receive job notifications, apply to outsourcers, etc., until you complete this information.

  • Enter keywords, describe your specialization, and enter other professional information - Having relevant keywords is important to ensure you appear in search results. Enter a tagline and the number of years of professional experience you have. Edit your background and specialization information so that your profile clearly reflects your specialty and experience. Many service providers also choose to show their real first and last names (rather than just usernames). Uploading a profile photo will help distinguish you from other site users, and is required to be considered for the featured slot on ProZ.com's home page. Consider uploading your CV/resume as well.

  • Enter your full name and location (click the map!) - Entering your location enables clients to find you when they search for service providers in a specific area. While on this page, also ensure that your "account type" is set to "freelancer" so that you appear in the freelancer directory.

  • Declare your native language - Some clients prefer translators to translate into their native language. Once your native language has been set, it cannot be changed. (See the native language FAQ for more information.)

Recommended profile information

Review the profile checklist

Finally, the profile completion checklist will help you find additional profile features you may have overlooked.

Distinguish yourself through participation

In order to stand out at ProZ.com, you must participate in ways that make it possible to recognize your unique skills.

Contribute to KudoZ in your areas of expertise

In your KudoZ dashboard, subscribe to receive notification of KudoZ questions in your specific niche. Note that the volume of KudoZ questions can be quite large if you do not target carefully. At first, try subscribing only to "PRO" questions in your "specialty" fields in your top working language pairs.

Try to participate in answering a few KudoZ questions per week in your areas of expertise. Suggest answers, and comment on the answers of others. Over time, you will not only earn points and accumulate a body of sample work that helps to showcase your skills; you will also get to know the other experts in the field.

Publish online articles in your field

Share your expertise by publishing online articles in the areas in which you have special knowledge. People will contact you to discuss, or when they need help and/or your services.

Publish a personal glossary in your field

Publish a glossary of your own in your field. Make it available to the general public.

Participate in other ways that interest you

There are a number of other ways to participate in the ProZ.com community. Review the available ProZ.com services, and experiment with those that interest you.

Try participating in discussion forums that appeal to you, or attending (or proposing) a ProZ.com powwow in your area. You may wish to form a translation team, or participate in translator group buying. Look around and experiment, and participate in ways that work for you.

Meet and evaluate clients

If you are interested in meeting clients via ProZ.com, it is important to be a full member. The site is designed to direct client traffic to members whenever possible. If you are not a member, you should not expect to meet clients at ProZ.com.

Assuming you are a member, the most important things you can do to meet clients at ProZ.com are described above: specialize, carefully complete your profile, and distinguish yourself by participating in the workplace in your area of expertise.

In addition, the following tools are available.

Review job listings

In your jobs dashboard, subscribe to receive email notification of jobs in your field. Review the job listings and submit quotes on jobs that interest you.

Evaluate potential clients using the Blue Board

Before you begin to work with a new client, check the ProZ.com Blue Board to learn about other translators' experiences.

Fill out your project history

Use ProZ.com's project history service to track your past projects and showcase feedback from your clients.

Submit applications to outsourcers via the Blue Board

Blue Board outsourcers can indicate that they wish to receive applications from translators who match specific criteria. Visit the Blue Board applications page to review those outsourcers whose criteria you meet, and to submit applications to them.

Run targeted directory text ads

Take out directory text ads in your fields, being sure to write text that highlights your expertise.

Additional information

The following documents provide additional information about some of the topics discussed in this article.

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