As usual, it is optionalAnd a short time later:
Thanks for the additional posts. To reiterate my position, in the event this feature begins to amount to anything, I believe it will be appropriate to get into the details raised here. In the meantime, there seems to me to be some potential here for a service of some value to some members -- and some members are agreeing -- but the fact is that it remains to be seen, and this feature could just as easily disappear as remain.
If you are not among those who has any interest in this, your position is respected. ProZ.com's mission is to provide tools and opportunities for you, but it will always be up to you which of them, if any, you use.
If you are among those who have expressed grave concerns about an experiment of this nature even being undertaken, I can understand your fears, but really, I think you can relax a bit. 15 to 20 euros of work per day -- with one translator meeting one new translation customer in the process -- is not going to bring down the industry or your livelihood any time soon. (And don't rule out the possibility that turnkey may be a useful thing even for you. Would it be the end of the world to be invited to consider completing a short job, with the potential to meet a new client in the process?)
Jason may post (or may not), but that is all I have to say for now.
But how did it work for you, PRen? Would you ever consider a turnkey job?And then:
...you've managed to "bring down" the industry quite a few notches in the last few years. This should take it down a few more.
Clearly you don't like this idea, PRen. But why are your criticisms still so general at this point? I was being serious, you are now the leading customer of turnkey translations. So if you are going to trash the idea, won't you give some specific details from your experience with it?
I mean, was the work ok? Would you consider working directly with the translator(s) who did your jobs in the future?
Putting yourself in the position of the translator, as you have seen the system work, are you saying you would never like to be notified of turnkey translation opportunities? If not, why not?
As a more general point, PRen and others, if you have specific issues with the way an idea is being pursued, it is more helpful when you express those concerns in such a way that Jason, or whoever is working on a given project, can act on them. Statements like the one above, well, they just don't get anyone anywhere.
Yes, ScottishWildCat, it could turn into that. Or not.
As I now derive it from Henry's posts about the subject, the positive side of TK jobs would be to bring P-certified ProZians in touch with potential clients, at conditions which are not ideal but are better than doing so-called translation tests for free.
I think that is one way of looking at it, one thing that this idea could lead to. Or not. Or maybe it will lead to something else completely, or nothing at all. We really don't know right now, we have to see where the people who use it take it.
If that sort of uncertainty is unsettling to anyone, accustomed as you may be to delivering work only when it is completely done, I am sorry. I wish we had all the answers in advance, but we don't! (Maybe there are more capable sites out there who do.)
As ProZ.com staff members, we do, however, do our best to watch, listen and adapt. And we are working for you all the time -- I promise.
Thanks again, everyone! I would say you can expect to hear more back in a few weeks, either more details, or a simple "there was not enough interest." In the meantime I am closing the thread. Anyone who wants to be involved in the project is invited to contact Jason.
There was a lot of concern expressed by ProZ members regarding the information in the FAQs for service providers and for customers which were posted rather belatedly (something like a month after discussions on this topic began. Considering that a good part of my afternoon today was spent digging up data on income received over three years from two customers for years which had already been filed with tax authorities and approved after careful review of the financial data and preparation of the return by a leading tax consultant in Berlin (not good enough apparently), I think that the boyZ at ProZ are being a bit to cavalier in experimenting with what my local tax office in Oranienburg would surely view as an invitation to tax evasion. I have in fact dealt with income received without an invoice issued by me by issuing a "pro forma invoice" detailing all the VAT obligations, etc., and I have not yet gotten in trouble over this (I am very careful to document all income received in all taxable accounts in all countries), but situations differ drastically from country to country or even from county to county, so I think that the shoot-from-the hip, quick and dirty approach of ProZ to do all this without invoices is, though surely without wicked intent, a terrible, immature mistake.
This recalls very clearly a conversation I had months ago with a former ProZ moderator, a man whose business ethics and expertise I respect enormously. He told me that one of the motivations behind the moderator purge was that Henry D was simply tired of hearing about slippery slopes and potential problems and basically wanted everyone to shut up and go along while boyZ play with their IT toyZ. He characterized many of the problems at the site as deriving from a naïvety one finds sometimes among techies without much understanding of the law, business principles or social ethics. Unfortunately, I think some of that can be read clearly in the tone of the messages quoted above.
I appreciate that Henry is interested in feedback on the mechanisms of what could, under other circumstances, be a very interesting experiment. But blithely ignoring the concerns clearly and specifically expressed on issues such as legality, taxation, rates, dispute resolution while at the same time making disingenious complaints that all concerns expressed are unhelpfully general is really not the way to go.
Despite the bad reputation of ProZ in many quarters of the translation world, I have (had) a generally positive view of the company and its platform. I have met quite a few fine colleagues and clients through it, and it has been a significant contributor to the progress of my business over the years, though the days when I actually depend on it to draw clients are probably past. For my language pair (German to English) I do not perceive it as a price dumping ground, and I have found clients paying very reasonable rates actively by responding to posted jobs and passively by being contacted via my profile or information posted there. I'm not particularly concerned with the ridiculous rate paid for ProZ "quickies" through the Turnkey system, as it simply tells me that the feature in its present form is not interesting to me. I don't have to use or benefit from everything on the site; in fact, I ignore 80% of it and get along nicely with the 20% that fits my needs. I get value for my 100 euros annual membership, and that probably won't change much if I continue as a member.
But there are legal and ethical lines that should not be crossed, and sometimes the company dances a bit to carelessly along them. My partner feels very strongly about data protection laws in Europe, and while ProZ may not be in technical violation of these, the company's conduct regarding user data and Google certainly violates their spirit. She was also very concerned about things like ads for prostitutes being displayed on ProZ pages. I hope that latter issue has been sorted out. In any case, where we formerly had two memberships in the office, we now have one. I'll be migrating my domain (currently hosted by ProZ) for the business web site and e-mail as I find time in the coming months, and then we'll see what happens after that.
In the past I have vigorously defended ProZ against criticism in places like private BDÜ forums, because much of this criticism was based on fundamental misunderstandings of how to use the platform effectively to find paying projects. I have done astoundingly well with that over the years, but I cannot be bought. There is another body of criticism having to do with business ethics, censorship and good citizenship, and I can find little ground to stand on if I want to contradict some of these critics. Among them are some of the finest, most ethical translators whom I have been blessed to make the acquaintance of in the past 9 years. I listen carefully to what they have to say, and they give me cause to consider if I am not in danger of becoming a Mitläufer if I remain a paying member of ProZ.
Oh yes... and in the end, the discussion thread quoted above was locked, though the language used was civil and there was nothing in violation of the platform's many RuleZ. Once again, mature discussion on ProZ has been bound and gagged.
(Apologies to all for the bad formatting - Google's Blogger software really sucks in this regard!)