Unexpected approaches by agencies
Thread poster: Ildiko Santana

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Oct 21, 2003

Dear Colleagues,

This is not exactly a life-threatening issue, but I've always been curious to know how others react in a similar situation.

1) You receive a 'request for quote' from an agency, out of the blue. Example: "We saw your name in the [..] directory and we are interested in knowing what your prices are for translation of documents [..] and what your turn-around time usually is. Our company has been in business for [..] years, and we provide translating services to the [..] professions. We [..] would welcome
the possibility of being able to work with you as one of our translators."

Let's assume this agency is not on any known translators blacklist, you find favorable or no feedback on them. Do you respond?

2) Provided you've responded but hear nothing back from the agency in question. Do you just ignore it or do you send a follow-up message?

3) Does anyone keep track of these unexpected approaches?

As usual, I'd be grateful for your input.

Ildiko


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 09:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I received the same message Oct 21, 2003

Szia Ildikó,

I received exactly the same message as you are quoting above. I also responded and heard nothing of the agency ever since.

On a more or less regular basis I am being approached directly by agencies, and most of the time they also specify the directory where they saw my details.

Unless it is a group message sent 100 Prozians, I always respond with my resume and any extra details specific to that particular job. In a busy period I always add that currently I am not available, but here are my details for future reference.

Meanwhile I try to check the credibility of the outfit: Blue Board, Better Business Bureau, general web search, etc.

Recently a certain agency approached me with a specific job. After a short web search I realized that they are listed on a different address than what they wrote to me. What's more, the website that bears their name points to translation agency, but in another country. In my response to them I asked them if they are the same agency as I found on the web. What do you expect? I have not heard of them any more...

In most cases, however, leads turn out to be actual jobs, some of them long-lasting.
If I keep track of these? I used to, but I should be happy if I have enough time to keep track of my actual jobs, deliverables and due payments.

Shortly: Some of these approaches are genuine and may lead to fruitful collaboration, so it is a good idea to respond.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:01
German to English
+ ...
Unexpected approaches by agencies Oct 21, 2003

Let's assume this agency is not on any known translators blacklist, you find favorable or no feedback on them. Do you respond?


If the communication is addressed to me personally, I would consider it very unbusinesslike, not to say rude, not to respond, at least with an acknowledgement of the message.

Whether I actually provide a quote or not depends upon the circumstances. Unknown agencies seldom if ever send me documents with a request for a quote. In fact if they did, I would consider it bad practice. Normally, they want to know "my prices". In that case, a quick call to the agency and brief discussion of my price range is usually the best response.

If the communication is not addressed to me personally, i.e. just part of a mass-mailing, I don't feel obliged to respond and don't normally do so. Companies that mass-mail translators are generally more interested in price.


Provided you've responded but hear nothing back from the agency in question. Do you just ignore it or do you send a follow-up message?


Again, that is unbusinesslike and rude, reflects badly on the agency - and is likely to influence my willingness to work for them or not.

In ten years, I have only ever had one invoice not paid, by a company that went bankrupt. I have never involved solicitors or debt collectors and very rarely send reminders, even though I don't have formal terms and conditions. I think that my positive experience so far has something to do with listening for little "clues" like this before accepting orders.

Marc


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Yakov Tomara  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:01
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
From my experience Oct 21, 2003

(1) In such cases I usually send my rates and a brief version of my CV (resume). However I don't reply to such messages if:
the address and telephone number of the agency are not indicated,
only a free email address is indicated for contact,
the web site (if available) contains data, which arouse suspicion (extremely low rates, porno ads etc),
the company is based in a country where there are problems with law enforcement.

(2) I never send follow-up emails in this situation: in my opinion it would be a mere waste of time. If they didn't answer, they didn't find my reply interesting or actually didn't plan to outsource any job.

(3) I usually save the emails from various agencies in a separate folder on my HDD but the last time when I found the time to look through it and delete obviously useless messages was a year ago

I have to say that once I've got a small job 'out of the blue' and it was timely paid. The company was based in Finland, so maybe the emails from Finnish companies deserve some special attention:-)


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:01
German to English
+ ...
Respond, yes — chase after them, no Oct 21, 2003

ildiko wrote:

1) You receive a \'request for quote\' from an agency, out of the blue. Example: \"We saw your name in the
ectory and we are interested in knowing what your prices are for translation of documents [..] and what your turn-around time usually is. Our company has been in business for [..] years, and we provide translating services to the [..] professions. We [..] would welcome
the possibility of being able to work with you as one of our translators.\"

Let\'s assume this agency is not on any known translators blacklist, you find favorable or no feedback on them. Do you respond?[/quote]

Yes, I would respond. The only potential issue I see here is that the inquiry could be from someone who is not really interested in hiring you but is doing \"market research.\" It might be an individual translator trying to find out how much you charge — which presumably wouldn\'t be a big problem. But it might also be an attempt to find out who your clients are, in order to be able to get on your turf — if they\'re asking for references, client examples, translation samples, you may have a reason to be suspicious. Other than that I don\'t see why you shouldn\'t respond.


2) Provided you\'ve responded but hear nothing back from the agency in question. Do you just ignore it or do you send a follow-up message?


If you hear nothing back it probably means one of the following: (a) they\'re not interested in you after all (for whatever reason); (b) their inquiry was of a general nature and they don\'t have a job for you right now; or (c) their inquiry wasn\'t legitimate (see above).

Following up probably won\'t make a difference in case (a), and in case (b) it will only make a difference after some time has passed and they have forgotten about you.

You may want to contact them anyway if you\'re curious as to what\'s going on, but I doubt it will make a difference.

HTH, Norbert


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Lamprini Kosma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:01
English to Greek
+ ...
It seems normal practice to me Oct 21, 2003

Yakov Tomara wrote:

(1) In such cases I usually send my rates and a brief version of my CV (resume). However I don't reply to such messages if:
the address and telephone number of the agency are not indicated,
only a free email address is indicated for contact,
the web site (if available) contains data, which arouse suspicion (extremely low rates, porno ads etc),
the company is based in a country where there are problems with law enforcement.

(2) I never send follow-up emails in this situation: in my opinion it would be a mere waste of time. If they didn't answer, they didn't find my reply interesting or actually didn't plan to outsource any job.

(3) I usually save the emails from various agencies in a separate folder on my HDD but the last time when I found the time to look through it and delete obviously useless messages was a year ago

I have to say that once I've got a small job 'out of the blue' and it was timely paid. The company was based in Finland, so maybe the emails from Finnish companies deserve some special attention:-)


I'm frequently being approached by agencies who specify the directory where they saw my details. I use to respond to this kind of enquiry and usually this leads to actual jobs and a long-term cooperation.It seems normal practice to me. I respond to these emails stating my rates and sending my CV for future reference, even in extremely busy periods, and this has been proven to be useful until now.
I think that it's logical to do a short web search to check the credibility of the company or to be suspicious if the enquiry is about references or client names. As a freelance translator you don't have to give these details if you don't want to. If the job offer seems serious to you, however, you have to state your rates. I wouldn't contact them again if I heard nothing back, as I believe that it wouldn't make any difference. However, my personal experience is that emails from companies based anywhere in the world (not only in Finland)deserve special attention.


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Helen Johnson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
Member (2003)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Responses to 'out-of-the-blue' enquiries Oct 21, 2003

Hi!
I've had a few such enquiries, and I always respond to them. The details of my response depend on a few things, e.g. whether the company concerned gives all of its details in the email, whether it is asking about a specific job, etc. If a company says, for example, that it saw my details in the Institute of Linguists' directory, I'd certainly have no hesitation in considering working for that company, provided a purchase order with full details is sent. Otherwise, I simply treat enquires as polite enquiries and show willing to cooperate (apologising if I'm busy at the time). Never yet has there been an instance where an enquiry has turned out to be 'bogus'. A couple of times, companies didn't get back to me, and I assumed it was because they wanted a very cheap price.
Basically, only if a company refused to provide all necessary details and be open regarding cooperation would I consider not working for it. Perhaps I've been lucky so far, but at no time have I experienced such an enquiry as anything other than positive or simply an enquiry where either a job was cancelled or a more favourable price was found elsewhere. I personally think such enquiries are worth responding to.
Helen


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:01
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to All Oct 23, 2003

for your input! I believe we've all gained --either something new or reassurance-- from these responses.
A special thanks to ProZ.com for making this chat possible. ;^)


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