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Should I apply anyway?
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 8, 2008

I just saw an assignment for my main language pair, and it's in one of specialty fields. The one problem is that they are looking for translators with at least 10 years experience. However, when I looked on the company's website, it said nothing about minimum experience length.

Should I apply anyway? The ad said they need translators immediately and I would love to get more projects.


Added:

Here is the draft of the message I am sending to them. What do you think about it?

Dear Project Manager:

I recently came across your listing on www.proz.com. Here is my resume and other pertnient information, as I am offering my assistance with your projects.
Recently, I have done numerous projects for an immigration law office. Also, my history with www.proz.com includes translating half of a legal contract. More details are available in my profile.
Although I have less experience than you prefer, I am confident in my ability to do well on project. In addition, I am always eager to learn something new.
Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Edited at 2008-08-08 16:54]


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xxxsavaria
Hungary
Local time: 03:20
English to Hungarian
+ ...
You should give it a try Aug 8, 2008

Of course,you should try! You thould think like this: What can you loose?Nothing.Really nothing.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Go for it Aug 8, 2008

I'm sure you have at least 10 years experience in life, maybe they did not specify too clearly what kind of experience.

That's according to the "you've got nothing to lose" theory.

Unless, of course, they turn out to be non-payers.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:20
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Why not? Aug 8, 2008

They may say no, they may totally ignore you, but it can't do any harm to ask.

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Romina Fanzini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:20
English to Italian
+ ...
Give it a try! Aug 8, 2008

I think you should try anyway!If they really need at least a 10-year-experience, then they won't give you the job, but maybe you can be inserted in their database anyway!

You say their website doesn't give any information on mimimum experience, so why not try and apply? Who knows, maybe their IDEAL candidate has 10 years of experience, but what if no-one with those characteristics applies?
So, go for it, and good luck!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two points... Aug 9, 2008

Sara Senft wrote:
The one problem is that they are looking for translators with at least 10 years experience. However, when I looked on the company's website, it said nothing about minimum experience length.


The fact that what they generally require from translators (as stated on their web site) and what they require for this particular assignment (as stated in the Proz mail) are different, is irrelevant. Why would you think that what they say on their web site should have any bearing on what they require from the assignment?

Should I apply anyway? The ad said they need translators immediately and I would love to get more projects.


Yes! Feel free to quote! IANAL, but IMO from a legal perspective, the ProZ mail is simply an invitation to quote. It is not a contract, and you are not making any specific claims merely by responding to it.

Does the client offer max USD 0.10 per word? Feel free to quote USD 0.25 per word. Does the client require a native speaker? Feel free to state in your quote that you're a third-language speaker. Does the client require Trados? Feel free to state in your quote that you've never even heard of Trados, let alone use it.

Anything goes in a quotation. The key thing is honesty. If the invitation mentions certain requirements, and you don't say in your quote that you don't meet those requirements, it may be said that you implied that you do meet the requirements. So, if you don't meet the requirements, say so honestly, and do the best you can to win the job!

"I recently came across your listing on www.proz.com."


This sounds very generic. Be specific -- it helps the client realise that you're not sending out a bulk mail here. Mention the client's profile URL in your letter. Or, if the client doesn't have an active profile, mention the job that you're responding to.

Recently, I have done numerous projects for an immigration law office. Also, my history with www.proz.com includes translating half of a legal contract. More details are available in my profile.


Too many "recently"s to my taste. And what is the URL of your ProZ.com profile?

And don't call the profile page a "profile" -- call it a profile page. The client may have a ProZ.com profile himself that but doesn't mean he is intimately familiar with the jargon used by ProZ.com to refer to or describe their user account pages. If someone were to ask me "What is your ProZ.com profile", my first reaction would be to say "I'm quite active on it, thanks".

Personally I respond better to an invitation to read than a statement that reading is possible. So "please see my profile page for a more detailled translation project history" might be more successful in getting me to read it than "more details [about what?] are available on my profile page". But perhaps that's just me.

Although I have less experience than you prefer, I am confident in my ability to do well on project. In addition, I am always eager to learn something new.


Never, ever say "I'm eager to learn" to someone who wants to buy a professional service. What you're really saying to the client is "You look like the ideal guinea pig for my practice session, and I hope the outcome will be interesting for both of us".

And, "less experience than you prefer" is never a good selling point. The whole reason you're applying for the job is because you believe you *are* sufficiently experienced in practice, even though it may not look like that on paper. Be confident. The client wants a product, not a lapdog.


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Aug 9, 2008

Thank you for your honest feedback. Hopefully, this will work in my favor.

Come to think of it, I've realized why I've gotten so few projects. I will take these suggestions in to account next time I quote on a project or inquire about one.

Thank you again!

Samuel Murray wrote:

Sara Senft wrote:
The one problem is that they are looking for translators with at least 10 years experience. However, when I looked on the company's website, it said nothing about minimum experience length.


The fact that what they generally require from translators (as stated on their web site) and what they require for this particular assignment (as stated in the Proz mail) are different, is irrelevant. Why would you think that what they say on their web site should have any bearing on what they require from the assignment?

Should I apply anyway? The ad said they need translators immediately and I would love to get more projects.


Yes! Feel free to quote! IANAL, but IMO from a legal perspective, the ProZ mail is simply an invitation to quote. It is not a contract, and you are not making any specific claims merely by responding to it.

Does the client offer max USD 0.10 per word? Feel free to quote USD 0.25 per word. Does the client require a native speaker? Feel free to state in your quote that you're a third-language speaker. Does the client require Trados? Feel free to state in your quote that you've never even heard of Trados, let alone use it.

Anything goes in a quotation. The key thing is honesty. If the invitation mentions certain requirements, and you don't say in your quote that you don't meet those requirements, it may be said that you implied that you do meet the requirements. So, if you don't meet the requirements, say so honestly, and do the best you can to win the job!

"I recently came across your listing on www.proz.com."


This sounds very generic. Be specific -- it helps the client realise that you're not sending out a bulk mail here. Mention the client's profile URL in your letter. Or, if the client doesn't have an active profile, mention the job that you're responding to.

Recently, I have done numerous projects for an immigration law office. Also, my history with www.proz.com includes translating half of a legal contract. More details are available in my profile.


Too many "recently"s to my taste. And what is the URL of your ProZ.com profile?

And don't call the profile page a "profile" -- call it a profile page. The client may have a ProZ.com profile himself that but doesn't mean he is intimately familiar with the jargon used by ProZ.com to refer to or describe their user account pages. If someone were to ask me "What is your ProZ.com profile", my first reaction would be to say "I'm quite active on it, thanks".

Personally I respond better to an invitation to read than a statement that reading is possible. So "please see my profile page for a more detailled translation project history" might be more successful in getting me to read it than "more details [about what?] are available on my profile page". But perhaps that's just me.

Although I have less experience than you prefer, I am confident in my ability to do well on project. In addition, I am always eager to learn something new.


Never, ever say "I'm eager to learn" to someone who wants to buy a professional service. What you're really saying to the client is "You look like the ideal guinea pig for my practice session, and I hope the outcome will be interesting for both of us".

And, "less experience than you prefer" is never a good selling point. The whole reason you're applying for the job is because you believe you *are* sufficiently experienced in practice, even though it may not look like that on paper. Be confident. The client wants a product, not a lapdog.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
French to English
Devil's advocate here Aug 9, 2008

In general, the general thrust here - give it a punt, what have you got to lose, etc. - is valid enough.

Job posters DO post requirements they don't mean.
However, they do say 10 years, and you have 2.
That is a big difference.

More generally:

a) you could simply annoy the poster, who could blacklist you, and when they get a job they think does only need 2 years experience....

b) if everybody who didn't meet the requirements applied anyway to anything they felt like, it would be chaos. More important, job posters could have trouble sorting the wheat (the people they want) from the chaff (in this case, you). In this particular instance, not a big deal for you. However, suppose there is a job that you are ideally suited for (you are the wheat), now how much chaff do you want to apply for that job, reducing your chances of being noticed? Do as you would be done by.

Last, if every tom dick and harry on this site applies for every job irrespective of the posted requirements, I would imagine that clients might decide to go elsewhere to find people.

So, it ain't that clear cut.

[Edited at 2008-08-09 16:18]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The time it takes will balance the scales Aug 9, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:
Last, if every tom dick and harry on this site applies for every job irrespective of the posted requirements, I would imagine that clients might decide to go elsewhere to find people.


True, but quoting on a job takes time, and the time involved makes it implausible that anyone would quote on all possible jobs, unless he does very little customisation on his quotes (which will lead to more quotes being deleted on the spot).


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
French to English
I wasn't being literal :-) Aug 10, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
True, but quoting on a job takes time, and the time involved makes it implausible that anyone would quote on all possible jobs, unless he does very little customisation on his quotes (which will lead to more quotes being deleted on the spot).


I didn't mean literally "every" although I confess that was the word I used (neither did I mean only those with three specific forenames).

However, even your "unless" clause is bad enough, IMO - the point is not that the quote will get deleted on the spot, but that the poster received it in the first place - a quote that has blatantly ignored their stated requirements(**).
Is this not somewhat akin to spam?
Or if you place an advert looking to buy a second-hand fridge and get pestered by people wanting to sell you a second-hand washing machine?

I would simply contend that some job posters (and not all) might (I have no evidence, but it seems plausible) feel some frustration (or a similar emotion) at the results (i.e. quotes from freelancers clearly not meeting their stated requirements) of posting jobs here to such a degree(*) that they decide to go elsewhere. I do know that I have personally posted 2 or 3 jobs on here and been immensely frustrated by respondents' apparent inability to read.

(*) that degree might be only half a dozen for some people, others might tolerate a 1,000 such quotes with perfect equanimity

(**) of course, we should not overlook the fact some requirements are (or appear to be) pretty unrealistic, as has been discussed on the forum before, in which case I would suggest you could add a statement such as "I know your job posting requested 30 full-time experience translating rubber-tapping manuals from Icelandic to Lithuanian, but..."

Enjoy your Sunday


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:50
German to English
+ ...
Some advice should be taken with a pinch of salt Aug 10, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Sara Senft wrote:
The one problem is that they are looking for translators with at least 10 years experience. However, when I looked on the company's website, it said nothing about minimum experience length.


The fact that what they generally require from translators (as stated on their web site) and what they require for this particular assignment (as stated in the Proz mail) are different, is irrelevant. Why would you think that what they say on their web site should have any bearing on what they require from the assignment?



In fact, what they say they require from this particular assignment would have far more relevance than what is stated on their website in general as far as quoting for the job is concerned.



Should I apply anyway? The ad said they need translators immediately and I would love to get more projects.


Yes! Feel free to quote! IANAL, but IMO from a legal perspective, the ProZ mail is simply an invitation to quote. It is not a contract, and you are not making any specific claims merely by responding to it.


Absolutely not. I wouldn't waste my time quoting. You would probably anger the outsourcer for making a quote that does not meet its requirements.


Does the client offer max USD 0.10 per word? Feel free to quote USD 0.25 per word. Does the client require a native speaker? Feel free to state in your quote that you're a third-language speaker. Does the client require Trados? Feel free to state in your quote that you've never even heard of Trados, let alone use it.


Surely the advisor jests. Outsourcers do not create job listings to have freelancers make quotes that blatantly do not meet their criteria. Such quotes could end up alienating the outsourcer and reducing your chances of working with them in future.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If chances are already reduced... Aug 10, 2008

Anil Gidwani wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Does the client offer max USD 0.10 per word? Feel free to quote USD 0.25 per word. Does the client require a native speaker? Feel free to state in your quote that you're a third-language speaker. Does the client require Trados? Feel free to state in your quote that you've never even heard of Trados, let alone use it.

Such quotes could end up alienating the outsourcer and reducing your chances of working with them in future.


If chances that the outsourcer will work with you, are already reduced, what harm can it do to quote anyway? Your chances can only improve...


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
French to English
Other way round? Aug 13, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Anil Gidwani wrote:
Such quotes could end up alienating the outsourcer and reducing your chances of working with them in future.


If chances that the outsourcer will work with you, are already reduced, what harm can it do to quote anyway? Your chances can only improve...


Wasn't Anil saying that IF you quote THEN your chances are reduced in future?

Or are you assuming that you have already applied once, so your in your case, "reduced chances = true", and therefore you might as well apply again.

Sorry, but I'm not sure of the logic.

I am, however, reasonably sure of the logic behind:
a) those with a need specifying it
and
b) only those able to meet it responding.
It is, after all, the way much of the world works, when advertising to meet a need. One assumes that the accepted convention as outlined in (a) and (b) above has developed because of its fitness for purpose.

Otherwise:
a) Ads would just say "Wanted" - nothing else. This would be cheap, I suppose...
or
b) Advertisers would be inundated: "Dear Sir/Madam, I saw your recent advertisement in The Times for the position of secretary. I was just wondering if you needed a shed. Or I could lay a carpet for you. I look forward to hearing from you...."

No, sorry, people really should only apply if they meet the requirements. Else it all collapses....


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:50
German to English
+ ...
Don't get discouraged Aug 15, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Anil Gidwani wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Does the client offer max USD 0.10 per word? Feel free to quote USD 0.25 per word. Does the client require a native speaker? Feel free to state in your quote that you're a third-language speaker. Does the client require Trados? Feel free to state in your quote that you've never even heard of Trados, let alone use it.

Such quotes could end up alienating the outsourcer and reducing your chances of working with them in future.


If chances that the outsourcer will work with you, are already reduced, what harm can it do to quote anyway? Your chances can only improve...


Seems to me Samuel was probably just having a bad hair day!

Aw Samuel, it ain't that bad, is it? The ´What does one have to lose' attitude does not befit a professional translator, methinks. What's important is to keep the chin up and apply with professionalism, and if you are confident of your work, outsourcers are sure to appreciate and respond positively.

[Edited at 2008-08-15 07:43]


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