Out of curiosity more than anything else, I was a member of ProZ for a couple of years. Ironically, it did one thing for me that social networks are meant to do: I became reunited with one long-lost friend.
I joined ProZ in order to have a bird’s eye view of what is going on in the translation industry on a global scale. Yes, I mean ‘industry’ in the literal sense. And I was amazed -an understatement. Because I am in the fairly privileged position of having a “slash career“, being both a translator and a conference interpreter, I can afford to be fairly selective. New genuine opportunities are what I am always on the lookout for, not jobs that pay 0.02 US dollars per word (yes, that’s true!). I can volunteer to translate for nothing, and it will get me more personal gratification, and gratitude, than such impossibly low rates.
The questions section of ProZ was addictive. But once I made it to Page 1 of the list of best technical translators, that was it. I knew who my ‘friends’ were, I knew who was friends with whom, the dynamics behind all that striving to be #1 (impossible in my language combination, the position is taken forever: he’s still up there), but being on Page 1 didn’t prove anything. If I got the point, it just meant that those who had developed a liking for my style of translation were 1) online, 2) paying attention, 3) quick enough. But it never gave me any visibility, although, if you google me, you will find a trace left. You would think that when you cease to be a member, all your data and contributions disappear. Well, that’s not true – these things have a strange staying power in cyberspace.
However, ProZ was an eye-opener in this sense too: it reinforced me in the way I define my own performance. I want to give my clients the highest quality I can provide, to have with them professional, clear and cordial exchanges. And I want to be paid in proportion, and on time. And that order sums up the nature of my business relations.