ProZ.com professional guidelines - I do not always answer, courteously, inquiries...
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 16:50
Feb 23, 2009

I had to rebuke my endorsement of the professional guidelines of Proz.com. Reason: I do not always answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment. Indeed I don’t give any information to such inquiries as:

Hi there, what’s your rate? Or only a “Rates inquiry" in the subject, nothing more.

Lately I got an email from a project manager, who stated he was so much impressed by my profile and wondered if I could send him my CV?

I think if a client wants to get a courteous answer, he must be courteous and professional in the first place.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-23 14:09 GMT]


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:50
English to German
+ ...
Absolutely! Feb 23, 2009

I fully agree, Bin!
Any business relationship should be based on mutual respect and trust. We reap what we sow.

Best,
Aniello


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:50
English to German
+ ...
Count me in. Feb 23, 2009

The way our professional guidelines are phrased would force me to reply, courteously, to each and every silly 3 cent offer or stuff such as: "Hi! We fount U on Proz.com. Pls send us your CV" or "Dear translator! please fill out this form, we want to add you to our free lancer list"

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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:50
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Agree Feb 23, 2009

Although I do reply to this sort of queries too (e.g., by telling them courteously and very briefly that I am not interested), I also do agree that the wording of this guideline might need revising.

Daniel

[Edited at 2009-02-23 09:12 GMT]


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 23:50
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Courteous communication... Feb 23, 2009

Agency: If you are qualified, please send me your CV and offer me your best price.

Me (seeing where this is going, but having a really slow & rainy Saturday afternoon...) : Here is my CV, and my rate is 0,xx per source word.

Agency: Your rate is extremely high, please offer us your best price and let us know if 0,05 USD ok with you.

Me: Of course, why didn't you say so right away. How much are your Trados discounts, long time cooperation discounts, high volume discounts, financial crisis discounts and discounts for cheap clients? Can I please offer you my winter discount before Easter discount rolls in?

(The first three lines are a short version copied and pasted from my inbox.)


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 16:50
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Or my personal favourite: Feb 23, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:

Agency: If you are qualified, please send me your CV and offer me your best price.

Me (seeing where this is going, but having a really slow & rainy Saturday afternoon...) : Here is my CV, and my rate is 0,xx per source word.

Agency: Your rate is extremely high, please offer us your best price and let us know if 0,05 USD ok with you.

Me: Of course, why didn't you say so right away. How much are your Trados discounts, long time cooperation discounts, high volume discounts, financial crisis discounts and discounts for cheap clients? Can I please offer you my winter discount before Easter discount rolls in?

(The first three lines are a short version copied and pasted from my inbox.)


As for rudeness, I just don't reply. For the ridiculous offers (and one agency in particular comes to mind)I am tempted to respond:

"If 5 cents is your best offer, I would be pleased to offer you my special "4 point" discount, which involves putting Sahar, my four year old, in charge of the keyboard. Mind you...her rates are going up as well."


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:50
French to German
+ ...
Having a template at hand Feb 23, 2009

This is perfectly polite and neutral:

Dear N,
my standard rate per source word in the X to Y pair is so-and-so much euros ex VAT (where applicable).
My WPD output is between A and B words, depending on the difficulty and the format of the source text. Any discounts are to be negotiated on a case-to-case basis before issuance of the PO.
You can find my dowloadable CV by going to this URL.
Please feel free to get back to me should you need any further information.

Best regards


And that's all - in 8 cases out of 10, the entity who contacted me disappears somewhere in one of the multiple Internet black holes.

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-02-23 13:10 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:50
English to German
+ ...
Professional Guidelines Feb 23, 2009

"answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment,"

(And make sure you wash your hands and wear clean underwear.)

What else did we learn in Kindergarten?


We are professional translators, we run businesses. We happily answer all questions - as long as they are appropriate.

We reserve the right to refuse business to anyone at any time.

No shirt, no shoes, no service.


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 23:50
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
I answer them courteously - I wish them good luck in finding a translator Feb 23, 2009

I think these agencies go from hilarious to downright offensive when they get my rate and start whining, and I quote, "that is so expensive, we can't afford that, we will pay 0,02/4/5"... because they suggest that 1) I don't have a rate, but am willing to just go as low as someone has the nerve to offer, 2) this is a bazaar where anything can be haggled and may the more cunning or persistent win and 3) I as a professional would even be willing to do business with someone who starts whining about best offers and how they can't afford me when they are given a very moderate rate.

[Edited at 2009-02-23 18:32 GMT]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:50
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
admiror te paries Feb 23, 2009

Bin Tiede wrote:

I had to rebuke my endorsement of the professional guidelines of Proz.com. Reason: I do not always answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment. Indeed I don’t give any information to such inquiries as:

Hi there, what’s your rate? Or only a “Rates inquiry" in the subject, nothing more.

Lately I got an email from a project manager, who stated he was so much impressed by my profile and wondered if I could send him my CV?

I think if a client wants to get a courteous answer, he must be courteous and professional in the first place.

Maybe it is out of place, maybe a miss of a genius ("genial daneben", improvements on the translation welcome), but the following story crossed my mind while reading the entries - they all show a high dose of respect and self-restraint plus a sound dose of common sense; must be great to be your client -

Anyhow here's the story, from Pompei, a graffiti on a wall written all over with all kinds of "Caius is dumb", "Iulia, I want you", "Cato needs it" etc etc, the graffiti saying

Admiror, O paries, te non cecidisse ruinis; qui tot scriptorum taedia sustineas

I admire you, o wall, for not crumbling down a long time ago under the BS of so many writers.(*)

But we keep standing tall, not to be moved ... and handle in a civilized fashion any border or beyond-the-pale cases as well.

Regards

Vito

*: Wikipedia translates:
I'm astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins,
since you're holding up the weary verse of so many poets.

poetic, but wrong - at least as far as poets and (duh) weary verse are concerned


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:50
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
If you're looking for your prince in the wrong pond, don't be surprised if you kiss a toad Feb 23, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:
I think these agencies go from hilarious to downright offensive when they get my rate and start whining....


Go upmarket at first opportunity and you my encounter this less often. Upmarket doesn't necessarily mean more money, but it certainly means higher class. Better to be turned down by someone you respect than be insulted by a baboon posing as a zookeeper.

I think not replying is very much in line with the ProZ guidelines. For me, it is in fact the polite answer in many cases. Silence expresses my views on the possible working relationship as eloquently as any list of prices or statements of "you've got to be kidding?!" ever could.

I suppose I could, as an alternative, send a list of translators I know willing to work at the proposed rates. I do this for higher end customers - I send a list of the best. So is it a polite response to courteously forward a list of those who will gladly do their best for two or three cents a word? Interesting question. (And yes, I know I've split an infinitive. BFD.) I suppose it would be. About as polite as the lovely Lucretia Borgia pouring a fine wine into a doctored cup and giving it to a guest with a smile. I could get into that I guess.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I keep my commitment Feb 23, 2009

My profile boasts "a consulting approach to translation", and I walk the talk!

So if a prospect's unique objective is to get "it" translated as cheaply as possible, i.e. below my rates - which IMHO are pretty honest for the quality I deliver - I give them the consulting approach, suggesting they use free machine translation and save money. That money will certainly help them afford a competent translator to redo it from scratch when the end-client goes berserk at the quality of the translation delivered. A thoroughly cheap service will not be sooo much better than automatic to be worth the difference in cost.

My consulting lessons say that quality is defined by the client. If all they want is low price, and will accept any level of quality it entails, why not get it for free?


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 23:50
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Agree Feb 23, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
I think not replying is very much in line with the ProZ guidelines. For me, it is in fact the polite answer in many cases. Silence expresses my views on the possible working relationship as eloquently as any list of prices or statements of "you've got to be kidding?!" ever could.


That is very VERY true...

I pick the agencies I approach and the quotes I send, and the decision is always based on whether it looks like they meet my standards. If I see the wrong signs, I don't waste my time on them. They, however, do not do their homework (there is a rate range for all to see on my profile, and one third of the minimum is all they can offer) and instead decide to waste everybody's time with these whiny emails. Well, I guess that is the price we pay for making ourselves easily reachable and available for clients...


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:50
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Grade the homework with an "F" Feb 23, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:
They, however, do not do their homework (there is a rate range for all to see on my profile, and one third of the minimum is all they can offer) and instead decide to waste everybody's time with these whiny emails.


These agencies are probably working on that spammers' hope of getting lucky with the clueless 1% who will bite on any bait. It's no different that all the unwanted Skype messages I get from economic tigers who are desperate to cut a deal with me to sell their defective goods. I almost prefer those letters informing me that I am the beneficiary of the will of some rich fellow I never knew or requesting my help in "processing" a government treasury whisked off to safety in a civil conflict.


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