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How to not find work
Thread poster: Aniello Scognamiglio

Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:43
English to German
+ ...
Feb 10, 2009

Dear Sir/Madam:

Attached please find my CV as a freelance Translator, French to English.

Please consider my services whenever you have need for my language pair,
French -> English

Sincerely,
xyz
City, Canada

Some people don't even know how to write a cover letter, how to market themselves, how are they supposed to successfully run a business? I cannot believe it. Just in case: these applications are ignored without being read.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends Feb 10, 2009

How would you write this message? To me it seems appropriate, no fuss. But I agree it does not help much finding work in common language pairs.
Regards

Heinrich


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Alan R King
Local time: 17:43
Basque to English
+ ...
Have need? Feb 10, 2009

Also "have need" is bad English, a calque on "avoir besoin". Not sure if that was intentional or not, but wouldn't much recommend a would-be French-English translator! Off-topic?

Alan


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Mahmoud Rayyan  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 17:43
English to Arabic
Me too.... Feb 10, 2009

Actually I also find it not bad,
to be honest, I like this style and I used it frequently, and I got reply from some clients whom I am still working with till now,
Can you italengger give us an example from your own point of view for a good cover letter?

Thanks


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:43
English to French
+ ...
Looking for a job, not for freelance work Feb 10, 2009

To me, the person who wrote that e-mail is still in looking-for-a-job mode. They probably work for the client and not with the client, as well.

It is correct, in that it seems to have been spellchecked and there is nothing inappropriate in it - but I don't think this person will find a lot of work with this approach. I would write back, asking how many French to English translators there are in Canada, and what makes this one any different from the rest of them.

Some people just don't understand that prospecting and looking for a job are two very different concepts.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:43
English to German
+ ...
These days you think twice before you open an attachment Feb 10, 2009

I am with Aniello here.

I prefer "fuss" over phlegm, i.e. a short cover letter instead of a dull "My CV. There. Sincerely."

Recently I have received some applications that made my jaws drop:

One guy claimed that he is replying to my job posting on Proz.com.
????????
I wrote back to inquire what particular posting he is talking about (I don't post jobs on the job page) but I never received an answer.

Another one, offering a rare language, wrote: "I am very much interested in this project."
????????
Which project exactly?

Sorry, if an applicant displays such a blunt disinterest in the outsourcer, how is the outsourcer supposed to have any interest in the translator?

If one can't even manage to write a short cover letter, I doubt that the translations will sweep me off my feet.



Edited for typo



[Edited at 2009-02-10 19:31 GMT]


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:43
English to German
Happy medium! Feb 10, 2009

Nicole's right here. If you look for work as a freelancer, you have to put some effort into it! Actually, I think you must find the right balance between a dull (too short or too long) cover letter, prepare it well (that is to read the corresponding posting thoroughly) and make up an individual letter.

On the other hand, you needn't exaggerate. Otherwise, you will be very frustrated sooner or later about the number of agencies/outsourcers from whom you will never receive any kind of answer or feedback.

It would be nice if this thread will lead to more consideration, respect/politeness and efforts on both sides!

Annett

[Edited at 2009-02-10 20:33 GMT]


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Showing a bit of interest might help... Feb 10, 2009

Just to add my two cents:

a) To begin with, I would have addressed the letter as as "Dear Mr Scognamiglio".

b) I think it would have helped to mention that you know a bit about your possible customer. Something like this:

"I notice that you work on the areas of information technology, Economics and technical marketing."

c) As mentioned above, I think by Viktoria: why would this possible customer work with me. Something like this:

"As you will see from my CV, I have XX years of experience on these subject areas. I think my profile would allow you to offer an even wider range of services to your existing customers as well as perhaps expand you market base to new customers."

d) How about even some potentially useful information addressed specifically to your prospect's needs?

And then you could include a link to an article on terminology, or project management, or something that you think can be interesting for the prospect.

I don't know, these are just very basic ideas that you get reading about basic self-promotion... Things that might prompt the possible customer to keep your contact information in case they need an EN-FR translator.

It can also be argued whether a CV is the most adequate way of selling professional services. An electronic leaflet plus an electronic business card might take you further, I think...

Comparing with other professional activities, I find it difficult to imagine a lawyer sending out CVs to their customers... I don't know, I guess it is also a cultural thing.

Daniel


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RieM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
Then, how to not find good translators Feb 10, 2009

Hi,

more consideration, respect/politeness and efforts on both sides!


In relation to Annet's suggestion, these are actual messages from the other side (agency, outsourcer).


I received this a week ago or so. This is not a subject line, by the way.

*********************

Japanese into English translation quote

*********************

No name was given, though from the address this was sent from a well-known language service provider based in Europe.

Then, to top this off....


*******************

how much

*******************

This threw me off -- until I found a "xxx words, J>E ...." in the subject line.

For some reason, these tickle my funny bone, and I fantasize to strike back to these "pay no courtesy" idiots, by giving them unsolicited replies...

Have you received anything like these?

Regards,
Rie






[Edited at 2009-02-10 22:23 GMT]


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Bentext  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:43
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Brilliant Feb 10, 2009

I like the "how much" approach - that's lean management par excellence!

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chica nueva
Local time: 03:43
Chinese to English
it might make me wonder Feb 11, 2009

italengger wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Attached please find my CV as a freelance Translator, French to English.

Please consider my services whenever you have need for my language pair,
French -> English

Sincerely,
xyz
City, Canada

Some people don't even know how to write a cover letter, how to market themselves, how are they supposed to successfully run a business? I cannot believe it. Just in case: these applications are ignored without being read.


Yes, it should be 'a need', if it's written by a fluent English speaker -> needs a proofreader. But then again, some agencies have proofreaders... maybe it's OK, technically...

But then again, 'my CV as a freelance Translator' seems to me a bit curious and idiosyncratic as well... I think if I were a client it might make me just wonder ...

what the writing quality will be, whether this is a good risk/or a high maintenance person, how to use/train this person, can/do they check their own work , ...

my 2c

1 It's somewhat repetitive.
2 'sincerely' should be 'faithfully'
(although perhaps these conventions are going by the board these days ... what do others think)

Is this what you are driving at, italengger?
(I hesitate to comment on the topic heading...unless you would like me to, privately)

[Edited at 2009-02-11 09:48 GMT]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't see the problem here Feb 11, 2009

If you are looking for translators in this language pair and you ignore potentially talented candidates because of some superficial idea of what a cover e-mail should look like, it's your loss as much as the applicant's.

The message you quoted is concise, clear, respectful and correctly written. That's all I want from an applicant's cover letter. Anything I really need to know will be in the CV.

[Edited at 2009-02-11 01:26 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:43
English to German
+ ...
Yes, IF you are looking for translators Feb 11, 2009

A reply to a job posting can be as concise as it gets.

However, when it's about unsolicited applications, a thoughtless style will decide if the CV is kept on file or not.

Or looked at and read, for that matter.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 11:43
German to English
With Nicole Feb 11, 2009

The e-mail text should contain enough information to make the reader want to consider the applicant, but doesn't need to be a novel. For me it suffices if the cover statement says:
"I am a to translator specializing in and . I've been a translator for . I can receive payment via , or < name of possible third payment transfer agent>. Please keep me in mind if you receive inquiries in my language combination and specialties."

Although I rarely have jobs outside my language combination, people who send inquiries such as the above receive a polite reply. Others are deleted.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Pedantic antics Feb 11, 2009

Alan R King wrote: Also "have need" is bad English...

Au contraire, mon ami!

Have need "for" is definitely bad English in this context, but "have need of" is quite correct.

See my good buddy Merriam-Webster,
want (transitive verb)
3 a: to have need of : require

And then there's the Immortal Bard:
"...for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will." (Much Ado About Nothing)

Any relevance here?


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