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How to stop unsolicited applications from freelance translators
Thread poster: Andrew Stucken

Andrew Stucken
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
German to English
Nov 16, 2012

I am a freelance translator and also run a small outsourcing operation.

All year I have been deluged with unsolicited applications from freelance translators. A few are welcome as they are in language pairs I might require, but the vast majority are not.

I would like to stop this flow and have managed to obtain some information as the source.

Three sources have been named but all deny that any reference to my agency was ever posted on their site. The latest applicants mentioned a database of translation agencies which they bought from a well-known translation website, but the site concerned sent me a link to the database and we do not appear to be listed there.

I an wondering whether lists of translation agency e-mails are on sale somewhere, and how I might get myself removed.

Has anyone else had experience of this or heard of this, and/or have any idea how I can stop this nuisance?


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Me too! Nov 16, 2012

I have been flooded with unsolicited applications. I keep the rare ones that might interest me in the future (we only work from and to European Portuguese) and delete immediately all the others.

 

Dusan Miljkovic
Serbia
Local time: 15:32
English to Serbian
+ ...
My two cents Nov 16, 2012

I personally apply only with agencies that say it on their website that it's ok to send resumes, but I guess you can't really blame people for being desperate for work in this economy.

And now that you publicly say that you still keep a few, you're probably gonna get even more flooded, because everyone is hoping to be among those few.

The best thing might be to put a notice on your website (and/or ProZ profile) that you don't accept unsolicited applications at all, or that you accept them only for specific language pairs.

As for the source, it's possible that many of them found you here on ProZ.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:32
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Times have changed Nov 16, 2012

I remember when I had to travel to the nearest university library two hours away, gather names and addresses of translation agencies from the phone books (there was no internet then). Then print cover letters and resumes and stuff hundreds of envelopes, buy stamps for each one of them, and send them off in the mail. Out of each batch of 200, you were lucky if you heard back from ten of them. It took years before I was making enough to go full-time.

Now you can just push a button and - instant translation business.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
That's how the market evolves Nov 17, 2012

Andrew Stucken wrote:

I am a freelance translator and also run a small outsourcing operation.

All year I have been deluged with unsolicited applications from freelance translators. A few are welcome as they are in language pairs I might require, but the vast majority are not.

I would like to stop this flow and have managed to obtain some information as the source.

Three sources have been named but all deny that any reference to my agency was ever posted on their site. The latest applicants mentioned a database of translation agencies which they bought from a well-known translation website, but the site concerned sent me a link to the database and we do not appear to be listed there.

I an wondering whether lists of translation agency e-mails are on sale somewhere, and how I might get myself removed.

Has anyone else had experience of this or heard of this, and/or have any idea how I can stop this nuisance?






There are always companies who are deluged with unsolicited applications griping about it, and there are always freelancers who send unsolicited applications and griping that they have not heard from numerous companies and agencies where they sent their applications once, or more than twice.

This is a natural thing, and if you outsource jobs, you can't avoid it. And if you are a freelancer who's always out on the look for new job opportunites, you can't avoid it.

I have similar experience with Jeff, but in my case, I had to check all the translation companies listed in the phone book, send them my CV by fax. I would get one or two responses from agencies, and that paid my phone bill used for faxing. At least it's cheaper than using snail mail, but that was the only cheapest option I had when I started translating.

And yes, times have changed; now you can push a button, and voila, instant translation business.


 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:32
Danish to English
+ ...
Mention on your website that you are not interested Nov 17, 2012

Still relatively new on the freelance market, I am definitely among one of those annoying people who send unsolicited introductions about my services to a number of agencies in the hope that new contacts will be established. One has to start somewhere, right?

However, I worked seven years as an in-house translator for a translation agency and had to do my fair share of reading such unsolicited applications (fortunately the project managers would deal with ALL applications and I only had to check those that were in my language combination). Yes, it was at times very annoying to have to read through a lot of rubbish, but as you say, once in a blue moon there would be real gem among the many emails, and a new contact would be established.

When I send unsolicited emails or letters now, I always check each potential client's website first, mainly to see whether I think I have anything to offer them and whether they appear to be an agency with which I would like to collaborate. I always look for a direct invitation to submit my details, which is a clear 'go ahead'. However, if an agency proudly announces that it uses umpteen freelance translators, the best of the best, from across the world (or at least in many different languages, including mine), I consider that to be an open invitation to show the agency that I am among the best and that they would benefit from making my acquaintance.

If, however, an agency states clearly that they are currently not accepting applications, I wouldn't dream of writing to them.

Another deterrent I just came across was an agency that asked for applications to be submitted by post. I normally wouldn't waste time and money on posting a letter to an agency (whereas that would be my preferred method of contacting an end client), but this particular agency actually looked excellent, so I might make the exception in their case.

But again: State clearly on your website that you don't want applications, or state clearly that you only want applications in such and such language combinations and that people should mention their language combination in the subject line of any email they send to you. That might sort the sheep from the goats, so to speak.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:32
Russian to English
+ ...
I think you don't do anything -- if you are not interested in them, you just delete them. Nov 17, 2012

This is a legitimate way to look for work, in the United States at least, even suggested by the Labor Department. You cannot forbid people to send their resumes, or CVs rather in the case of freelance translators, anywhere they want. If the same person was sending you his, or her CV, all the time, you should simply tell them to stop, and that you don't have any work in their language pair, so it is really a waste of time.

 

Andrew Stucken
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Lists of translation agency e-mail addresses on the market? Nov 17, 2012

I had assumed that the vast bulk of applications were coming from a single source, perhaps a list of translation agency e-mail addresses on the market. However, I have checked with one the only provider of such a service that I know of, and they assure me that we are not included in it, and given the evidence that they have provided, I have no reason to disbelieve them.

It does indeed seem that the applications are coming from multiple roots, for example job adverts posted on proz.com and similar sites where the translator is able to harvest e-mail addresses. Sounds a lot of hard work.


 

Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:32
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Not much you can do Nov 17, 2012

Since I put up a website, I too have received applications from freelancers, so far only once or twice a week. As harsh as it might be, I simply delete them. I am not an outsourcer; I solely translate into my native language, Finnish. Yet most of the applications are for other languages, not even for the ones I translate from. The only reason I can think of for these applications is that I mention a "contact network" - by which I really mean a small group of translators I know personally. Maybe that part is not clear enough, though, and some see it as an invitation to apply. Needs rephrasing, then.

 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:32
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
There is an email list offered to everyone Nov 17, 2012

This list had even a last opportunity sale a few weeks ago.
I get these mails every day, the last was titled "I invite you to trust on me your needs of translations".
I think there is nothing we can do. Soon I fear mail-providers will add the words "translation" and "translator" their spam filters. Then we'll have to invent some newspeak in order to use email for our business.


 

Andrew Stucken
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
What is the source of this list? Nov 17, 2012

That;s useful information, Heinrich. When you say "this site" I take it you do mean proz.com?

 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
Italian to English
From agencies too Nov 17, 2012

Andrew Stucken wrote:

I am a freelance translator and also run a small outsourcing operation.



I'm in a similar position and, although I don't "run" the outsourcing operation myself, I see the flood of e-mails with CVs.

I don't mind them - they just get "filed" in our Inbox, mostly without being read. What does irritate me is the equal number received from other agencies; I just can't imagine why they think we would want to pass our business to them.


 

xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
It's gotten so bad... Nov 17, 2012

...that I have trained my spam filter to immediately move resumes to the trash bin. That means that every possibly legit mail sent after that ends up in the same trash bin.

Or, as I tend to say: welcome to my sh*tlist.


 

Andrew Stucken
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Filter Nov 17, 2012

I guess that's an idea - set up filter to send unsolicited applications straight to the spam folder...

 

Thomas Deschington
Poland
Local time: 15:32
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Not alone ... Dec 12, 2012

Glad to see I'm not the only one getting these mails.

I totally understand why people are sending them out, especially in these hard times. If these people are so desperate for work, they should at least check to whom they are sending emails. I have done so too, BUT only to agencies, and during a business class way back, we were taught to always try to find out who the relevant contact person is and never write Dear Sir/Madam. These job seekers also need to check their grammar and spelling. Who wants to hire a linguist with poor language skills?

Speaking of sources - one person who sent me an email said she got my email from Proz. I posted one job here five years ago, so maybe that's why. It's really a PITA, but what can you do. I've tried creating filters in Gmail, and it works to some extent, but not well enough.


 
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