Oct 22, 2012

Another translation jobs portal? No thanks.

After I published my recent note on online proZtitution and the race to the bottom on commercial translation portals, I received a polite e-mail from someone who is working to build a better "jobs board" for translation projects. I've received quite a few messages like this in the past four years since I started this blog.

But I fail to see a compelling case for yet another intermediary site for job auctions or anything of that sort.

There is certainly good sense in professional associations with a vetted membership upgrading their directory sites and making them easier for potential clients to find and use, and for some time now I have felt that the leaders of major organizations like the ATA, ITI, IoL, SFT, BDÜ, etc. ought to link their directories and allow better international searches as a counterweight to the less than optimal listings one finds on PrAdZ and other sites.

There's even more sense in individual language service providers improving their online presence in ways that helps prospects find them and recognize a good fit.

The largest commercial portal for translation job auctions has become increasingly irrelevant to all but the low-end commodity market that is probably better off with Gargled Translate given its expectations. The predominance of Indian, Chinese and Eastern European language sausage purveyors (LSPs) on ProZ has driven many serious brokers and service providers elsewhere; a decade ago, even five years ago, a number of interesting inquiries came through that channel, but today they inevitably find me via the BDÜ directory or other channels I more or less control.

So I wish all the aspiring intermediates success with their planned sites and hope they can in fact make a difference in some useful way, but for the most part, translators should look to "home remedies" for curing what may ail their businesses.

5 comments:

  1. Keven,

    I agree with every word.

    Steve Dyson
    Into-English translation for French naval defence industry
    Blog: http://steve-dyson.blogspot.com/
    Lulu spotlight: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SteveDyson

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  2. Hi, Kevin,

    For months, I have been fighting this cause on BDÜ's forum.
    Fighting pro BDÜ feels like fighting against it.
    As long as BDÜ remains stubbornly opposed to accepting more openness for more visibility, BDÜ's directory has no chance against all kinds of agencies and portals - shady in terms of quality but shiny in terms of SEO.
    It seems that the majority of BDÜ members are adamant about preserving their private, members-only forum, but even the alternative, new BDÜ group on Xing (meant to attract more general public) was also set up as HTTPS. The idea of BDÜ on other social media (like Facebook) is still under debate.
    My only motivation for posting on BDÜ's forum was to make clear the logic that more open content means more visibility means chances to be found by prospective clients, but this is (currently) a lost cause. Well, Qualität will ultimately prevail, but it takes time...

    On the other hand, I cannot help feeling Schadenfreude about ProZ (and I certainly share all your sentiments about this organization): it has become so overbloated that no rational choice with that amount of choice is possible (the filter criteria are useless). Since everyone is there, nobody has an edge, apart from those keen to be picked up by bottomscrapers. ProZ is too big not to fail. And good riddance...
    Cheers,
    Valerij

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, Valerij, I would be personally appalled if the content of mein.bdue.de were publicly indexed and accessible; I value the privacy of that and other forums as you know. However, I agree that it's a bit silly to have restricted the XING group, and the fact that a BDÜ presence in other channels is a matter for "debate" at all is a hoot. The ossified attitudes one finds in some of the major associations cause far too much ground to be given to those who make no *good* use of it. Thus, despite some reservations, I welcome some of the upstart associations I've seen founded in recent years.

    The BDÜ could, of course, expand its directory concept and have decent member pages with SEO but I'll probably be long under the ground before the leadership wakes up to the possibilities. I hope I'm wrong about that.

    I might be. There are a number of interesting initiatives I've heard proposed with the BDÜ, though on the whole I have greater expectations of innovation and progress from organizations not under the stifling DACH.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Kevin

    thanks for a very inspirational article. It made me think about the market situation as a whole, and while I am not very familiar with the BDÜ issues you mention, I found myself coming to a somewhat optimistic conclusion on a general level. Anyways, I would love to hear your opinion about it, I put my thoughts into a short blog post at:

    http://blog.lingohub.com/2012/10/rolling-back-the-race-to-the-bottom-in-commercial-translation/

    Best
    Sebastian, lingohub

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Kevin,
    I agree with your post, but there are a couple of things in your response I'd like to comment on if I may:

    [quote]
    I agree that it's a bit silly to have restricted the XING group, and the fact that a BDÜ presence in other channels is a matter for "debate" at all is a hoot.
    [/quote]
    The fact that the XING group was set up this way was a reflection of the fact that those who did set it up (myself included) needed some more experience to start with. You may of course blame us for that - but please remember that all of those working for the BDÜ have their own businesses as well, and need to make a living... ;-))

    Opening it up to some extent is something we have discussed already - but of course, we will need to ask group members first. (Yes, that's another item on the 'to-do' list.)

    And may I correct the notion that a presence on various social media channels is "under debate": we are indeed discussing how to go about it - but this requires getting a team up and running, defining processes and responsibilities, and so on. This is not just about setting up an account: we need to be able to handle a s**tstorm before we get this running. Again, advocating an idea is one thing - turning it into reality is quite another. (Volunteers: feel free to contact me on lemster at bdue dot de.)

    [quote]The BDÜ could, of course, expand its directory concept and have decent member pages with SEO but I'll probably be long under the ground before the leadership wakes up to the possibilities. I hope I'm wrong about that.[/quote] In fact, we discussed this at BDÜ's semi-annual convention in Bremen just a couple of weeks ago. Go figure.
    ;-))

    Best,
    Ralf

    ReplyDelete

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