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How to best describe your qualifications
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 11, 2008

I am trying to figure out the best way to advertise myself when I am inquiring about a project or quoting on one. I've come to realize that the way I write is probably one major reason for getting so little work.

What do you suggest?


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:54
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Respond to what they're asking Aug 11, 2008

Make it clear that you've read their posting. It isn't one size fits all. If they have indicated that they are looking for someone to translate some material on how to operate a machine, don't explain in detail your work on translating tourist brochures.

Also, if you have friends who speak the language you're using for the reply, ask these friends to read one or two of the responses. If your responses are hard to read, you might overlook that but hopefully the friends won't.

And be patient. Often there are many people responding to these offers.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Can we see? Aug 11, 2008

Maybe you could copy a few lines from your applications? It's hard to give advice with no context.

For me, it changed when I started focusing on what I can do and how well - when I stopped focusing on how much it would cost. Then the right agencies started responding to me.

Also, I have contacted quite a few agencies - I went though the Blueboard, picked 3 contries and then I contacted all agencies with decent ratings.

I don't consider jobs posted on proz a source of regular income. But I do apply if there is an interesting job at a good rate and sometimes I get it.


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Jack Qin  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:54
English to Chinese
+ ...
Good suggestions Aug 12, 2008

I always used the same application letter for quoting on various jobs. Maybe that is why I always failed.

After reading Paul and Ivana's postings, I know something to improve when it comes to quoting.

Thanks a million, Paul and Ivana.

Jack


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Samples of Accepted and Declined quotes Aug 12, 2008

First, here's the sample of the accepted quote:

This quote was accepted
Job title: Urgent Spanish to English Translation
Job languages: Spanish to English
Job description: 1400 words of a "general administrative guidelines" regarding a service contract. Delivery within in 2-3 hours. The rate is 0.045 USD. Will be given to 1 or 2 translators.

Quote language pair: Spanish to English
Timing: 2008-07-14
Pricing:
Title: Law Expertise from a USA resident
I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA and specializes in legal translations. I have done many projects lately for a law office, and I will provide a reference if needed. If you choose me, I will do your porject quickly but not at the expense of quality.

Thank you for your consideration.

---------------
Here's an example of a declined quote:

ob title: Sentencia de divorcio
Job languages: Spanish to English
Job description: Hello,
I have a sentencia de divorcio to be translated. It is in Spanish (Spain) to be translated into English. It's approximately 1200 words in PDF format. Payment is per target word since it's a PDF. Document due by 3pm Spain time.
Quote language pair: Spanish to English
Timing: 2008-07-15
Pricing: 0.120 USD per word
Title: USA resident/Experienced translator of legal documents
I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA and specializes in legal documents. I have done numerous projects for a law office recently, and I just completed a similar project for another PROZ.com outsourcer.

If you choose me, I will do your translation quickly but not at the expense of quality.

Thank you for your consideration.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Accepted and Declined Aug 12, 2008

Not much difference can I see except for one factor...

the Price.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:54
English to German
+ ...
Your cover letter Aug 12, 2008

First of all: Paul Merriam's comment is excellent.

Listing your skills and your know-how is easy. Copy and paste? (a little humor, don't take it literally..)

Showing your personal interest in their company, however, is a different thing. I pretty much ignore online job offers. A few times I did reply, though, because the company sounded quite interesting. Either the project was intriguing, or I found out that some of our most respected colleagues left glowing comments on their Blue Board-page. Or their client list is stunning. I mention that in the cover letter. Without exception I received very beautiful replies, usually turning into long-term cooperation, even If I didn't get the advertised job.





[Edited at 2008-08-12 03:01]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:54
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Grammar please. Aug 12, 2008

I would never hire a translator who says: "I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA...".

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Mahmoud Rayyan  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 04:54
English to Arabic
Grammatical error Aug 12, 2008

Hi Tina, though my question seems out of the topic, but it is really very interesting for me to know, did you mean by the grammatical mistake the word "That" and it should be "who"?
Thanks from a non English native speaker
Rayyan


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2003)
French to English
Grammar, spelling, style Aug 12, 2008

Hi Sara,

I'd also picked up on Tina's point about grammar; also remember to double-check spelling (there's a typo in one of your quotes - "If you choose me, I will do your porject quickly ..."), which I'm afraid from my point of view would rule you out immediately. (It's horrible trying to proofread on screen - I tend to write a quote in a word processing document first, spell-check it and then paste it in).

As Paul says, target what you say to the issue at hand - you focus on speed, but that's already a given here because the required deadlines are stated. I'd be more interested in what specific experience you bring: law is a very wide field and "many projects for a law office" might all be irrelevant if they're about property conveyancing rather than family matters. I'd rather know, for example, how much experience you have in the specific area involved. Also "a law office" suggests to me that you don't have a very wide client base, which in turn makes me think you're not very experienced.

Lastly, you don't sound very confident: "If you choose me..." immediately gives the reader the option of not choosing you! Instead I would focus on the positives - your key skills, qualities and experience - all the things a good referee would say about you.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Karen


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Looks fine Aug 12, 2008

Sara, your samples look fine. I guess when an agency posts a job they will choose the cheapest quote. That's why they put it on proz.

I really think you should adopt my approach and start contacting agencies one by one. I do use a template for my applications but I alter it slightly for each applicaion as needed.

If you want. I'll send you my template for inspiration (via the proz message system).


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Flemish to English
+ ...
That-who Aug 12, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I would never hire a translator who says: "I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA...".


Neither would I.

Soy un traductor español-inglés y vivo en los EEUU.
I am an Spanish-English translator, who lives in the USA or living in the USA.... although I doubt whether or not there has to be a , behind translator.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, I suggest rewriting Aug 12, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:
I would never hire a translator who says: "I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA...".


The problem here is that different people feel different things are correct. First, there is the who-vs-that-vs-which crowd, and second there is the pure-vs-implied logics crowd (who/that can't agree on whether it is "live" (because if "I") of "lives" (because of "translator")). For this reason, personally I'd rewrite that line completely to make sure I don't offend anyone's sensitivity.

Williamson wrote:
"I am an Spanish-English translator"...


Something tells me you changed English-Spanish in your post to Spanish-English, in a hurry.


[Edited at 2008-08-12 09:00]


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 03:54
English to German
nonnative thought Aug 12, 2008

Dear Ms. Senft,
as a German n.s. I wonder whether "living" someplace has the same meaning as "working from" someplace to a English n.s. In German I would discriminate between "living" somwhere, which may or may not imply work but certainly includes non-work aspects, and "working" somewhere which makes a clear and active-sounding statement for a business letter.
Perhaps English n.s. will comment on this aspect - I too would love to learn more about it.
Regards.


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xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 22:54
French to English
+ ...
Ditto Aug 12, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I would never hire a translator who says: "I am a Spanish-English translator that lives in the USA...".


Agreed - a glaring error.


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