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Applying with Agencies
Thread poster: xxxSilkeE
xxxSilkeE
Local time: 13:54
English to German
Jan 10, 2008

Hi everyone,

This is my first official post so hopefully I am not asking anything stupid or obvious.

I am German Linguist in Australia and just started freelancing... business development that is. So far I don't find services like Proz very helpful, considering that I live on the other side of the globe and that I am usually asleep when suitable jobs do come up.

So I was thinking about contacting agencies directly, especially when they are calling for translators. Now that I am not getting any response from these agencies at all I wonder if this is the right strategy or if I am doing something wrong? Am I supposed to get some kind of feedback or would I just one day receive a translation offer from the agency I applied with?

Are there any big no-no's in an application or is there anything I clearly must state and that I was not thinking of before? How did you do it?

Any input in this matter would be highly appreciated!

Thanks.

Silke


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Some points Jan 10, 2008

I haven't looked at your profile, so I don't know anything about you. But if you are a newcomer in English-German without prior contacts, you might have to wait longer than you would hope for.
Unless you are top of the notch, you could have to do low-rate jobs for a while. Many Asian outsourcers offer such jobs. Outside the Euro zone, in Australia, you would have good chances also with customers from the US, because they cannot afford European translators at the current exchange rates.
Others may have better advice.
Good luck!
Heinrich


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to German
+ ...
Ahem, Heinrich :-) Jan 10, 2008

English>German translators in the United States of America are native speakers, born in Germany and we charge German rates and our rates are adjusted to the currency exchange. What exactly makes you think that we work for a donut and a song in this particular language pair? As far as I know, we don't walk around in grass-skirts. Last time I checked.

Seriously.


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Yvonne Gerstheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Japanese to German
+ ...
Hi Silke Jan 10, 2008

I know exactly how you feel. I'm sure almost everyone (who had no solid contacts when getting established) went through this phase. When I started I felt like I was sending my applications into a huge black whole... Nothing was coming back except for an automatic reply sometimes.

Don't give up, is all I can say. If you search the forums you'll see that you are certainly not the only one who went through that phase. It really takes time. Maybe 10 agencies will reply out of a hundred applications you sent out (I made this number up, but really, very few agencies answer) and I've never got an immediate response. On the opposite, it took months.

Make sure that you stress your experiences in translating and why you are an expert in your fields. If you haven't got any experiences yet, stress your abilities and strengths. Read your application and ask yourself "would you hire yourself". This sometimes helps to spot your weak points in your application. Maybe you can also ask friends or family members to read your application and ask them what they would improve.

Just keep on applying and be patient. It does take a long time to build up a solid relationship with clients.

Good luck!
Yvonne


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Kathryn Strachecky  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
French to English
No magic formula, unfortunately Jan 10, 2008

Hi SilkeE

Welcome to the forum!

Unfortunatey, not getting any feedback from agencies is pretty much par for the course. They receive hundreds of CVs and simply cannot answer everyone. However, they do hang on to the CVs and you may well find yourself getting a job offer in one, two or even three years' time.

You obviously should provide information on your experience, qualifications, rates, availability, hard and software and daily output when applying. Also, state the fields you specialise in. There's no magic formula for getting jobs, though- you just have to keep persevering.

Don't forget that there are other agencies elsewhere than Europe- you could also try to contact local agencies or agencies in any other part of the world.

Also, feel free to contact direct clients- agencies are not the only potential customers.

If you have a look through the Getting Established forum, you'll find lots of handy tips.

Hope this helps and good luck!


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 05:54
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
The question is way too general Jan 10, 2008

Hi Silke,

Your question is way too general to get a precise and definitive answer.

Let me first comment of something you say.
:So far I don't find services like Proz very helpful, considering that...

No matter what, isn't it a bit hasty - to dismiss ProZ as a source of jobs based on your experience which is... a few days long? (Your profiles says, "Registered at ProZ.com: Jan 2008")
Now, you say...
I am not getting any response from these agencies at all I wonder if this is the right strategy or if I am doing something wrong?

Yes - this is the right strategy, or rather, one of the many right strategies that eventually may lead to success; the only thing you are wrong about is that that the response rate would be high You'll be lucky to get responses to about 5% of your applications (at the same time, no response doesn't necessarily mean your application found its way into the bin basket!)
Am I supposed to get some kind of feedback or would I just one day receive a translation offer from the agency I applied with?

No and maybe. PM's are usually pretty busy and don't always have time even for a short 'Thank you!' message. No response doesn't mean your application was discarded - just as a very hearty response doesn't mean you'll be getting any jobs from the welcoming client.

I'd guess that first results can be expected in a few months' time. I don't know a single freelancer who was buried under an avalanche of jobs the first day s/he emerged on the Internet. It takes time to get oneself established. and jumping to conclusions after only a few weeks or even months would be unreasonable.

Every strategy is good and none guarantees success if it's not supported by knowledge, experience and reliability. Your CV shows you've been in tourism for quite a while; at the same time. there's hardly anything that proves your translation experience - not to metion "Website & Software translation, Marketing, Business, Technical Translation". Focus on that - maybe that's the "big no-no"?

Cheers,
Oleg


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why agencies? Jan 10, 2008

Clients will pay much more and are generally easier to contact - I am sure there are many companies in your own city that would be happy to contract you directly. Just knock on the door or ring'em.

PS. Have a good presentation ready!


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xxxSilkeE
Local time: 13:54
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jan 10, 2008

Hi all,

Many thanks for your responses. I am aware I can't expect people flooding me with job offers after just a couple of days on the surface. All I wanted to do was to make sure that I am doing the right thing and that I am not blacklisting myself with agencies around the globe by doing something completely silly.
It's certainly interesting to read how high (or rather how low) the response rate from agencies is. It was what I suspected but I just wasn't sure if it means that my application was dimissed right from the start or if your general experience is that this can still turn into a job in the future.
I do have some professional translation experience as an in-house translator, also website translation, when working for an online travel company. The texts I dealt with were mainly marketing based. Your responses show me I need to adjust my resume to make this clearer, also why I am listing my other areas of expertise.
Thank you all for letting me know about these first steps and for welcoming me into the forum. I know I still have to learn a lot and will continue contacting agencies as well as clients and be very persistent indeed!

Cheers,
Silke


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Quinze
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Some Australian resources Jan 13, 2008

Hello Silke,

I am just living in Australia temporarily so I don't know much about the translation agencies here. However, I am aware of a couple of resources:

AUSIT--the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators
http://www.ausit.org/eng/showpage.php3?id=646

You can post your profile on this site, and on the NAATI site:
http://www.naati.com.au/

Also, I am pretty sure Aussie agencies are fairly keen on NAATI accreditation, so you might want to look into this if you haven't already.

HTH


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Right on, Nicole Jan 14, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

English>German translators in the United States of America are native speakers, born in Germany and we charge German rates and our rates are adjusted to the currency exchange. What exactly makes you think that we work for a donut and a song in this particular language pair? As far as I know, we don't walk around in grass-skirts. Last time I checked.

Seriously.



You tell them. If it has to be for a donut and a song (great expression!!), at least rather more up-market donuts and songs.


Mervyn


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to German
+ ...
Hey, Mervyn! Jan 14, 2008

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
You tell them. If it has to be for a donut and a song (great expression!!), at least rather more up-market donuts and songs.

Mervyn


Although, my dentist told me to quit eating those up-market donuts. Diamond-sprinkles are bad for my teeth, he said. I'm also getting tired of having the Rolling Stones in my house. Those guys have no manners.



[Edited at 2008-01-14 13:35]


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