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Agency Contact Strategy
Thread poster: Whisper9999
Whisper9999
Local time: 00:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 1, 2008

There is a lot to read when you are getting started! I have my CV mostly ready and a cover letter as well that I believe would be appropriate to send to a translation agency. However, I have noticed that quite often you can find the agencies phone number and their email. So my question is this: based on your experience, is it okay to just send an email with the CV and cover letter attached or should you send it by regular mail or both?

I am planning on sending out a large number of mailings and so I would prefer to send via email if possible as it is quicker. But I don't want to focus on that if it is taboo or inefficient for some reason. Most of my contact will be to agencies in Latin America, the U.S. and possibly Spain if that makes a difference.

You know a couple of other related questions come to mind as well if you don't mind: 1) should I include both the English and Spanish versions of my CV and cover letter in all correspondence? and 2) should I include sample translations and references or should I just state "references and sample translations supplied upon request"?

Thanks in advance for any advice...

[Edited at 2008-11-01 19:33]


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Valery Kaminski  Identity Verified
Belarus
Local time: 11:53
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
There is no 100% win-them-all strategy... Nov 1, 2008

There are thousands of agencies listed on Proz and elsewhere. They are all different.

Just my personal experience:
- no mass mail
- find names
- invest time into making each letter individual


Do not limit your geography.

In my pair, English - Russian, I got work from Germany, Holland, Belgium and many other countries where neither English nor Russian is spoken. Besides, what about Canada, GB, Australia, NZ, Ireland?

Best,

Valery



[Редактировалось 2008-11-01 19:38]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Are you really serious? Nov 1, 2008

Before you flood agencies with your CV and rates, you might want to consider the latter carefully. Even at your low word rate, I suspect that you would make quite a bit more than the hourly rate you list on your profile. Ten to fifteen US dollars per hours is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone worth working for. If you really want rates like that, you might want to consider working for agencies in China and India.

Have a look at the ProZ rate calculator. It is basic, but it may provide you with some basic information you need.


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:53
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Advertised rates Nov 1, 2008

Maybe Cristina got her idea about rates from job advertisements for in-house translators in the U.S. A $10.00 - $12.00 per hour rate is usual, very much so. Of course, I am talking about cases like an attorney looking for a receptionist to translate legal documents and wash windows (I am kidding but it is not far from those extremes). Just two days ago I had a judge reject my "steep" fee of US$120 to translate a personal five-page power of attorney into Spanish. To think that I was being kind to him because we work for the same government agency!

I hope Cristina follows your advice. It would be one less person contributing to the rate declining trend we so often discuss in the forums.


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 10:53
English to German
+ ...
Rates with agencies Nov 1, 2008

Don't quote rates when approaching agencies. They fix the rates. Il your rate expectations are too high, they will even not reply to your application. That's the system.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
At that rate I hope the applicant can make coffee! Nov 1, 2008

Luisa Ramos wrote:
Maybe Cristina got her idea about rates from job advertisements for in-house translators in the U.S. A $10.00 - $12.00 per hour rate is usual, very much so. Of course, I am talking about cases like an attorney looking for a receptionist to translate legal documents and wash windows.


Sounds like something from a Barbara Ehrenreich book I read recently. But then in California, doctors from south of the border can earn more by picking onions I'm told, so nothing surprises me any more. Nonetheless, the hourly rate should be pegged to her average earnings per hour translating at whatever word rate she typically gets. It's idiotic to offer to work hourly for what may be a third of your actual earnings if paid at a piece rate. As to what her per word rate should be, I won't venture any suggestions. Not my language pair, so I don't have a clue.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The slush pile Nov 1, 2008

Cristina Coronado wrote:
I am planning on sending out a large number of mailings and so I would prefer to send via email if possible as it is quicker. But I don't want to focus on that if it is taboo or inefficient for some reason.


Quite frankly, do you think they keep people to read that?

Literary agents have something they call "the slush pile". That's the landing area for the few hundred manuscripts each of them gets every week from unpublished writers. I guess some of them make more money from selling paper to recyclers than from agenting itself.

Use the Proz directories (as well as some others, whose names I'm not sure that can be mentioned here) to visit their web sites. There, go check the "careers", "opportunities", "work with us" and similar pages. If they have an online application form, fine! Fill it in. At least it might go to a database. When they need your language pair, you'll be on that list, most likely sorted by ascending rates.

If they ask you to send your CV by e-mail, necessarily mentioning your language pair and rate on the subject line, unless you are filthy rich and stinkin' cheap as a translator, don't waste your time. For them, spam is not a message about drugs for erectile dysfunction, but from any translator who charges 5¢/word or more.

Cristina Coronado wrote:
You know a couple of other related questions come to mind as well if you don't mind: 1) should I include both the English and Spanish versions of my CV and cover letter in all correspondence? and 2) should I include sample translations and references or should I just state "references and sample translations supplied upon request"?


If you visit the agency's web site, you'll know what languages they "speak" in the office. If they have their site, say, in EN, DE, FR, and NL, it's useless to send them a CV in ES.

The purpose of your CV is to let them know and get them interested in what you CAN DO for them. The faster they reach this conclusion, i.e. the less extraneous material you send, the better. If later they need evidence that you can really do it, they'll ask for it.

Good luck!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This is the real problem in the translation market Nov 1, 2008

Rolf Kern wrote:
Don't quote rates when approaching agencies. They fix the rates. Il your rate expectations are too high, they will even not reply to your application. That's the system.



Rolf,

With all due respect, what you say is equivalent to telling stores not to put price tags on the merchandise, otherwise consumers won't buy anything. Let the clients make their offers? Great! I'll pay 99¢ for that 50" plasma TV.

If the agency wants'em really cheap, they'll find a fly-by-niter who will wing it for peanuts.

If they want professional work, they'll hire the cheapest competent professional who applies. This is the point, the competent professional has his/her price, and is fully aware that there are other equally capable pros in the market, so s/he must keep a competitive but fair price to get jobs.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Swedish to English
+ ...
Excuse me, but Nov 2, 2008

Rolf Kern wrote:

Don't quote rates when approaching agencies. They fix the rates.


As the vendor, i.e. the person offering to sell a service, I declare the rate for which I'm willing to sell my time/service. The clients (agency or direct) can then come back with a counter proposal. Maybe we eventually agree, maybe not.

This is exactly the same market system which applied when I bought a digital camera last weekend. The vendor had put a price tag on the camera, I wanted it for less. Knowing the current financial climate I figured I could get this price down (vendors of physical objects sit on expensive stock which they need to convert to cashflow). End result I got a very good price for the camera I wanted.

The difference between me and this poor vendor of physical objects is that I mainly sell my time. You can try to beat me down on price, but don't forget that I'm not sitting on any expensive stock that needs shifting. My "stock" is my time and, as a generally resourceful person I'm sure that I can come up with a number of more lucrative ways of using this time than working for $0.03 less taxes and social security fees.



[Edited at 2008-11-02 00:31]


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Whisper9999
Local time: 00:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rates Nov 2, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:


Before you flood agencies with your CV and rates, you might want to consider the latter carefully. Even at your low word rate, I suspect that you would make quite a bit more than the hourly rate you list on your profile. Ten to fifteen US dollars per hours is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone worth working for. If you really want rates like that, you might want to consider working for agencies in China and India.

Have a look at the ProZ rate calculator. It is basic, but it may provide you with some basic information you need.


I was going to bump up my rates but haven't done it yet. Thanks for the comments though.


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Whisper9999
Local time: 00:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 2, 2008

Luisa Ramos wrote:

Maybe Cristina got her idea about rates from job advertisements for in-house translators in the U.S. A $10.00 - $12.00 per hour rate is usual, very much so. Of course, I am talking about cases like an attorney looking for a receptionist to translate legal documents and wash windows (I am kidding but it is not far from those extremes). Just two days ago I had a judge reject my "steep" fee of US$120 to translate a personal five-page power of attorney into Spanish. To think that I was being kind to him because we work for the same government agency!

I hope Cristina follows your advice. It would be one less person contributing to the rate declining trend we so often discuss in the forums.


Again, I was going to raise my rates. Thanks for the comments - very interesting.


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Whisper9999
Local time: 00:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I Didn't Mean Mass Email Nov 2, 2008

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Cristina Coronado wrote:
I am planning on sending out a large number of mailings and so I would prefer to send via email if possible as it is quicker. But I don't want to focus on that if it is taboo or inefficient for some reason.


Quite frankly, do you think they keep people to read that?

Literary agents have something they call "the slush pile". That's the landing area for the few hundred manuscripts each of them gets every week from unpublished writers. I guess some of them make more money from selling paper to recyclers than from agenting itself.

Use the Proz directories (as well as some others, whose names I'm not sure that can be mentioned here) to visit their web sites. There, go check the "careers", "opportunities", "work with us" and similar pages. If they have an online application form, fine! Fill it in. At least it might go to a database. When they need your language pair, you'll be on that list, most likely sorted by ascending rates.

If they ask you to send your CV by e-mail, necessarily mentioning your language pair and rate on the subject line, unless you are filthy rich and stinkin' cheap as a translator, don't waste your time. For them, spam is not a message about drugs for erectile dysfunction, but from any translator who charges 5¢/word or more.

Cristina Coronado wrote:
You know a couple of other related questions come to mind as well if you don't mind: 1) should I include both the English and Spanish versions of my CV and cover letter in all correspondence? and 2) should I include sample translations and references or should I just state "references and sample translations supplied upon request"?


If you visit the agency's web site, you'll know what languages they "speak" in the office. If they have their site, say, in EN, DE, FR, and NL, it's useless to send them a CV in ES.

The purpose of your CV is to let them know and get them interested in what you CAN DO for them. The faster they reach this conclusion, i.e. the less extraneous material you send, the better. If later they need evidence that you can really do it, they'll ask for it.

Good luck!




Sorry - I think I overstated something in my first email. I really didn't mean a mass mailing. I just meant that I planned to do a lot of mailings, as I have read posts in ProZ and elsewhere that that is a requirement for breaking in, but didn't mean that they would not be targeted or somewhat agency-specific. But thank you for the emphasis and some of the insights on better ways to get in the front door. Or maybe the back?


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Whatever you do... Nov 2, 2008

Cristina Coronado wrote:.... I have noticed that quite often you can find the agencies phone number


whatever you do, don't make mistakes like that in your professional documents


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 11:53
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
the system Nov 2, 2008

Rolf Kern wrote:
Don't quote rates when approaching agencies. They fix the rates. Il your rate expectations are too high, they will even not reply to your application. That's the system.


If my rate is too high for an agency, why would I ever want their reply?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The most sensible phrase ever on Proz forums Nov 2, 2008

Roman Bulkiewicz wrote:
If my rate is too high for an agency, why would I ever want their reply?


If there were a common sense competition on Proz, Roman, you'd win the first prize with this one.


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