A Translators’ Petition Concerning ProZ.com’s Job Policies

(As it appeared on iPetitions: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/translation-industry-jobs/)

To ProZ.com

We, the undersigned, are a group of translators based around the world.

The purpose of this petition is two-fold. Firstly, it aims to protest against the way ProZ.com manages and supervises its job postings made available to both paying and non-paying ProZ.com members on its “Translation Industry Jobs” board. Secondly, it requests that ProZ.com revise its current policies and procedures on job postings, which we believe are harmful to individual translators and to the industry as a whole.

Over recent months, we have witnessed a steady and alarming increase in the number of ProZ.com job offers that contain rates and working conditions we consider totally unacceptable. One recent example of such a post provoked the enraged reaction of thousands of translators and interpreters and was reported in the Italian national press, in addition to being widely discussed by thousands of other translators on translator mailing lists, blogs, Facebook, and elsewhere. The Italian Minister of Tourism ultimately released a statement disavowing the working conditions contained in the job posting that appeared on ProZ.com.

The post in question is only one example of many such job postings that appear daily on ProZ.com. For our part, we are convinced that such posts have always offended and continue to offend the dignity of professional freelance translators.

ProZ.com’s company policy states that it aims to serve “the world’s largest community of translators” and deliver “a comprehensive network of essential services, resources and experiences that enhance the lives of its members.”

Job postings that do not offer translators a living wage or which contain detrimental working conditions clearly fail to “enhance the lives” of translators. On the contrary, they actively harm our livelihoods and our profession.

To cite one specific example: the fact that ProZ.com allows job posters to set prices and conditions is, in itself, a form of “market distortion” and reveals one of the main reasons why we believe the ProZ.com job posting system is fundamentally flawed. When offering translation services, the freelance translator acts as a service provider, not as a client. To this respect, as in any freelance profession, we believe the freelancer and not the client should establish working conditions, prices, etc.

We hope that ProZ.com will take swift action to revise its job posting system to bring it in line with its stated mission to “serve translators” and deliver “essential services, resources and experiences that enhance” translators’ lives. Such action is in all of our interests and would only enhance ProZ.com’s reputation as a reliable, responsible service for translators and translation clients.

Until such time as ProZ.com takes clear, decisive steps to achieve that purpose, however, we shall be committed to taking the following action:

1) we will refrain from quoting on all jobs received through the ProZ.com posting system;
2) we will inform job posters of this protest and of the reasons for refusing to quote on their jobs;
3) we will refuse to join the ProZ.com site as subscription-paying members;
4) if we are currently paying members, we will not renew our memberships when they expire;
5) we will urge our colleagues, through every means at our disposal, to do the same.

Sincerely,

[signed by 844 translators, about 2/3 of them ProZ.com members]

About No Peanuts! for Translators

No Peanuts! supports professional translators & interpreters in demanding & receiving fair pay for their work.
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5 Responses to A Translators’ Petition Concerning ProZ.com’s Job Policies

  1. Joseph Dengler says:

    I agree with your actions, but it would have be interesting to know “this one enraging case”. Not all of us are Italian (even if we would like to be…😉 ).
    J.

  2. To whom it may concern:
    I support this petition and have been trying to warn translators for years about the harm not only to themselves but to the industry as a whole.
    While I don’t agree with Proz posting jobs allowance, there are other sites similar going in the same direction.
    Everyday, no matter what the language pair is, I receive offers from TranslationDirectory.com advertising for very low paying jobs, and thus working conditions. Should this stay at this level wouldn’t be such a problem but like Proz, and others they sell a membership, and more damaging a database of bad and low paying translation agencies. There comes the issue. These companies have no scrupules whatsoever to make money on the translators’.
    My question is. Why would they stop? I know your site is viewed by language professionals, either translators or agencies or both, around the world.
    According to Proz statement about their number of registered translators,
    how many translators have actually sign the petition?
    That’s a sign. There are, and I know quite a few of them, who would sell theirs services much lower in order to get the job and especially when knowing my pricing method.
    I had written an article on Proz, I believe in 2008, describing this as an unacceptable excuse for ‘free market’. For further info, check blog http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/84917-outrageous_low_rates.html#678820
    And see the responses received.
    I just wonder how translators accepting low rates 10-15 years ago can really survive nowadays.
    Please keep me posted.
    Thank you.
    P

  3. I have spread this post on my FB page and on mi twitter account to let all of my colleagues know about it, thank you for sharing this information with us.

  4. Bernie Bierman says:

    A 21-gun salute to “No Peanuts” and to the 844 translators who signed the petition. This is an action that is long overdue. However, its effectiveness will not be felt until that figure of 844 becomes 8844 at the very least or ideally 88,400. But this petition is certainly a beginning and may even send a message to people like Henry Dotterer, President of ProZ.com and subsidiarily to people like Liz Elting, President of TransPerfect, that there are those in the translation community who will not lie down and accept economic subservience. And perhaps this effort will also be extended to include the numerous translator-interpreter associations throughout the world, which in many instances have idly sat by and/or tacitly encouraged or permitted this exploitation and attendant disrespect to thrive.

  5. Inge Gomez- says:

    Ditto, ditto, ditto.
    They will not get any more membership fees from me!!!

No Peanuts! doesn't pretend to be a representative democracy. We don't publish comments that denigrate our movement, attack our writers, or show disrespect for translators. All comments must be signed with first/last name and include a verifiable email address.

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