Rules of etiquette when asking for a quote - are there any?
Thread poster: Alexandra Goldburt

Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 15:07
English to Russian
+ ...
Jun 12, 2010

I checked my e-mails last night, and there one e-mail from a person completely unknown to me. The subject line read "Quote".

The e-mail had three attachments - and nothing else. No "hello", no "I found your info on ....", no "I need it to be translated from X to Y" - nothing at all. Just the word "quote" in the subject line - and three attachments, nothing else.

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's rude. Is this person extraordinary busy? It would take her less time to type something like "Hello, can you please quote on this?", than it would take me to open the attachments, read them, decide whether I want to accept the job and e-mail back to her. Or am I being old-fashioned, and e-mails like this one are normal nowadays?

I decided that I'm not going to give this person any quote at all. In fact, I will delete her e-mail without even opening the attachments.

I'd like to hear your thought on this.


 

imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
LOL LOL LOL Jun 12, 2010

You're absolutely right. I think I'd do the same.

There's no reason for a person not to even say hello to you!

Your irritation would be mine, that's why I've laughed a lot.

God bless us and protect us from those...


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 16:07
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Delete Jun 12, 2010

I delete any e-mail - sight unseen - that does not start with "Dear Tina".

 

Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:07
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Good idea! Jun 12, 2010

I agree with you: a minimal respect should apply. If this is the whole care a person can give to establishing a business relationship, what can you expect of the future? I would have deleted the email too.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:07
English to German
+ ...
Listen to your instincts Jun 12, 2010

Several years ago I received one of those cryptic emails. Usually they go straight to the bin - however, something kept me from hitting the "Delete"-button on this one. I did some research and it turned out to be one fine French agency. The owner who contacted me didn't speak neither English nor German. Gruesome. Together with my teams (which I could choose by myself, yesss!) we must have translated a million words for this beautiful client. I once had to hire a colleague to translate one of his job inquiries from French to German because it was undecipherable. One of those rare clients who will pay like a clockwork before you even sent the invoice.

His PM was even worse. He sent emails containing three English words max. "Do at Thursday?", and such. Once the owner called from his vacation site to say thanks for a particular job - we didn't understand each other, so he sent kisses over the phone. A translator's life can be quite fascinating. icon_smile.gif


Edited for typo

[Edited at 2010-06-12 16:37 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Most likely it was a virus Jun 12, 2010

I often get e-mails with attachments from unknown people, the subject being "Request for quote", "Your payment", "Your invoice", etc. - no text at all, not even translation is mentioned.

Now and then I pick one of these, save to disk, NEVER open it, and have AVG scan it. Never missed one: all were infected.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:07
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Send her a quote Jun 12, 2010

From here:
http://www.quotationspage.com/qotd.html

;-D


 

Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:07
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
You are so right... Jun 12, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Several years ago I received one of those cryptic emails. Usually they go straight to the bin - however, something kept me from hitting the "Delete"-button on this one... A translator's life can be quite fascinating. icon_smile.gif

Edited for typo

[Edited at 2010-06-12 16:37 GMT]


Once in a while, it seems that "everything" goes wrong and I forget that the exception makes the rule ("l'exception confirme la règle"). Most of the time, people are kind, and even kind enough to reply an email, answer the phone, be true to their word and... pay the bill! Listening to my instincts, I learned years ago that there is no such thing as a "little" client... amongst other things! Thanks for the reminder!


 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
One (perhaps unlikely) possibility: technical glitch Jun 15, 2010

Sorry to jump in a little late, I've been traveling.

I just thought I'd mention that I once received a business eMail (from someone I knew) that appeared to have no message. I almost deleted it, thinking that the person had hit the "send" button by mistake, but then I saw that it had attachments, and I didn't recognize all the formats.

After quite a bit of head-scratching and fiddling around, I finally figured out that because of the display settings in my eMail program, the body of the eMail had been transformed into an attachment - I believe because the person's "signature" was his company logo, which is in a special format. This was then recognized by my program as a separate entity (because of my settings).

It's not necessarily likely that this happened in your case, but it's one possibility. Another slightly more obvious possibility is that the person actually did hit "send" before the mail was finished and/or without noticing that they had accidentally deleted the body of the eMail.

It does happen. Occam's razor, and all that.


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
It's probably a scam Jun 16, 2010

My idea is that it is probably a scam - especially if the attachments are of the "exe" variety - just like those e-mails starting "From the desk of Dr. so-and-so".

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:07
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Treat it like a potential client Jun 16, 2010

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:
I checked my e-mails last night, and there one e-mail from a person completely unknown to me. The subject line read "Quote". The e-mail had three attachments - and nothing else. No "hello", no "I found your info on ....", no "I need it to be translated from X to Y" - nothing at all. Just the word "quote" in the subject line - and three attachments, nothing else.


There can be any number of explanations for this, but the question you should ask yourself is whether or not you need more clients. If yes, then treat this mail as a mail from a potential client, and do not take offense at the very first sign of non-standard business behaviour.

Open the attachments to see what they are, and work out a preliminary estimate (not a quote) for the client, based on general assumptions. Write to the client and explain (apologetically) that their message seems to have disappeared from their e-mail, but that you had looked at the files and that you would estimate a quote of XYZ euros or dollars or whatnot.


 

Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 15:07
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Diversity of opinion Jun 20, 2010

What a wonderful diversity of opinion we have here: from "no doubt a scam, or a virus - delete sight unseen", to "potentially a good client".

I really liked Samuel's suggestion: "Write to the client and explain (apologetically) that their message seems to have disappeared from their e-mail..." It seems to me to be a tactful way to point out to this person that this is a non-standard business behavior, but to allow her, in the same time, to blame it on a "technical problem" (I don't believe it was a technical problem - but, let's be tactful here!)

Thank you, everybody, for taking your time to answer.


 

3ADE shadab
Local time: 03:37
Hindi to English
+ ...
agree with Janet Jun 24, 2010

Janet Rubin wrote:

Sorry to jump in a little late, I've been traveling.

I just thought I'd mention that I once received a business eMail (from someone I knew) that appeared to have no message. I almost deleted it, thinking that the person had hit the "send" button by mistake, but then I saw that it had attachments, and I didn't recognize all the formats.

After quite a bit of head-scratching and fiddling around, I finally figured out that because of the display settings in my eMail program, the body of the eMail had been transformed into an attachment - I believe because the person's "signature" was his company logo, which is in a special format. This was then recognized by my program as a separate entity (because of my settings).

It's not necessarily likely that this happened in your case, but it's one possibility. Another slightly more obvious possibility is that the person actually did hit "send" before the mail was finished and/or without noticing that they had accidentally deleted the body of the eMail.

It does happen. Occam's razor, and all that.


I do agree with janet as it happens sometime you did not recognise the mail but because of your own computer settings it goes to SPAM or show some different information, eg : some one send me a mail in Japanese and i could see only a boxes in my inbox because of not installed that font


 

Lola007
United States
Local time: 18:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
re: suggesting that the e-mail message has disappeared Jul 20, 2010

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

I really liked Samuel's suggestion: "Write to the client and explain (apologetically) that their message seems to have disappeared from their e-mail..." It seems to me to be a tactful way to point out to this person that this is a non-standard business behavior, but to allow her, in the same time, to blame it on a "technical problem" (I don't believe it was a technical problem - but, let's be tactful here!)


I actually have had similar e-mails from clients and people I've worked with repeatedly (not translation-related). I also found it extremely rude to ask a question in the subject line and not take the time to write a short e-mail. At the same time, I also know that at least one of the individuals who contacted me this way isn't at all confident in his English writing skills. Still, I didn't care for that approach. I ended up writing back and telling him that something must have happened to his e-mail because I didn't receive the message.

Regarding "quote etiquette," I have a client who I've worked with who has asked for a number of things such as review of botched translations, rate quotes, etc., and either takes an extraordinarily long time to get back to me or doesn't get back to me at all. It seems that some translators don't expect responses, but I think when you have an established working relationship with a client, it seems appropriate to get a timely response or acknowledgement. My two cents.


 


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