How to submit a convincing quote - suggestions needed
Thread poster: Mahdieh Kandoei

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
Jul 17, 2013

Dear all,
I have submitted several quote recently; however i haven't got any of the projects.
I think maybe my quotes are not convincing enough to help me win the outsourcers' attention.
Are there any especial tips to make a better quote and win the project?
or are there any templates to know how to make the best quote?


 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:35
English to Russian
+ ...
What you can do is... Jul 17, 2013

Make sure you understand and meet all the requirements specified in the job description.
Make sure your application is grammatically correct and contains all you need to say to the customer to let them know that you're the best match for the job (if you really are!). Nothing guarantees that you will be selected though: some requirements are often not known to the applicants, so during the selection process the customer might think that your price is too high or too low; that you are not perfectly qualified to translate in this particular area (because you're not a pilot or because you are too young, you name it...). Don't be discouraged and keep trying. Your goal (I suppose) is attracting customers that find you, not vice versa.
Good luck!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Templates Jul 17, 2013

Mahdieh Kandoei wrote:
are there any templates to know how to make the best quote?

Templates are examples of the worst quote. They may have been the best quote for the person writing them, for the job they were going after, but they are NEVER the best for what YOU are going for TODAY. Your experience and your skillset are unique. In fact, your uniqueness is what might, notice the word, get you the job.

I have no idea of the numbers who quote for jobs you go for, but occasionally there's one posted here on the public job board for FR>EN that gets 50-100 applicants. Even with the very best text, you don't have a very great hope of getting it. We don't know what happens when posters ask for email quotes, but I wouldn't mind betting it's more.


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Natalia Jul 17, 2013

Natalia Mackevich wrote:

Make sure you understand and meet all the requirements specified in the job description.
Make sure your application is grammatically correct and contains all you need to say to the customer to let them know that you're the best match for the job (if you really are!). Nothing guarantees that you will be selected though: some requirements are often not known to the applicants, so during the selection process the customer might think that your price is too high or too low; that you are not perfectly qualified to translate in this particular area (because you're not a pilot or because you are too young, you name it...). Don't be discouraged and keep trying. Your goal (I suppose) is attracting customers that find you, not vice versa.
Good luck!



The note you made about not to make a low price bid was very useful. I try to take them into account an make some imaginary quotes for practicing. Thanks a million Natalia, your advice was a great help.


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sheila Jul 17, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Templates are examples of the worst quote. They may have been the best quote for the person writing them, for the job they were going after, but they are NEVER the best for what YOU are going for TODAY. Your experience and your skillset are unique. In fact, your uniqueness is what might, notice the word, get you the job.

I have no idea of the numbers who quote for jobs you go for, but occasionally there's one posted here on the public job board for FR>EN that gets 50-100 applicants. Even with the very best text, you don't have a very great hope of getting it. We don't know what happens when posters ask for email quotes, but I wouldn't mind betting it's more.



I think you are right, however sometimes after not getting the project I ask myself maybe there are some important requirements for making a great quote that i'm not meeting. I think the best way to go through is experiencing and trying to take a step further so that at the end of the day i know it has got better. Thanks a lot Sheila.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:35
English to German
+ ...
Describe which services are included in your rate Jul 17, 2013

For example:
- "My translation rate includes a minimum of two rounds of editing and proofreading by myself before delivery"
- "I adhere to ISO 9001 standards"
- "My rate includes final proofing of PDFs after typesetting, which means checking for errors that may have occurred during the typesetting process and ensuring proper typography"

... and such.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:35
English to Polish
+ ...
No templates Jul 19, 2013

Mahdieh Kandoei wrote:

Dear all,
I have submitted several quote recently; however i haven't got any of the projects.
I think maybe my quotes are not convincing enough to help me win the outsourcers' attention.
Are there any especial tips to make a better quote and win the project?
or are there any templates to know how to make the best quote?


Dear Mahdieh, the key to being convincing is to skip templates. Originality or the benefit of it is subjective, but in order to be convincing you need to be sure of what you're saying. You can't have and project that certainly if you're essentially replicating someone else's ideas. I would ask other translators how they write quotations that win, and I'd ask agency staff (PMs and others) what quotations they choose and especially what quotations are best received by their clients.

To gain attention in the West, you need to be confident and professional, and you probably need to cut down a little on the eastern politeness and flowery language. You definitely need to speak the outsourcer's lingo unless you can get away with imposing your own. Bottom line is always confidence. As a Chinese wise man said, the best warrior is not the one that handles his sword the best but one that doesn't even have to draw it; in that concrete example, the best warrior was a stone—try to beat one in a sword fight. You need to be that stone in your professional image.

I usually find a blend between language that comes natural from my pen and the language that sounds natural to the reader, which usually results in more grammatically and syntactically advanced English than most native speakers get to read (or write), but at the same time I rely a lot on confident use of informal, even colloquial language, to the point that I don't shy away from writing several paragraphs in a conversational tone (that, and the fact I tend to avoid Latinate words in favour of Anglo-Saxon ones whenever viable, so my quotation would sound very different from e.g. Nicole's). When those guys aren't native speakers, I look at whatever culture they come from and adjust accordingly. (For example, PLEN for German customers is a separate pair in its own right.icon_razz.gif)

Bottom line, you need to find your own style. Probably a blend of projecting your own (particularly splendid) culture and fitting into theirs. It needs to work for you. What works for you is not the same that works for other translators, partly because they're selling a different kind of translation, as there are as many kinds of translation as there are translators (minus the boring guys).

[quote]Mahdieh Kandoei wrote:

Natalia Mackevich wrote:

The note you made about not to make a low price bid was very useful. I try to take them into account an make some imaginary quotes for practicing. Thanks a million Natalia, your advice was a great help.


You probably already know that there's a huge difference between the East and West in the approach to price setting and arguing. This said, I'd probably rely on the expertise of the East, while taking account of the mentality of the West. I think in the next couple of days, I'm going to come up with an article on this subject, based on some of my experience from Fes and Marrakech ('Lessons from the souk' or something along these lines). Those guys taught me a lot of useful thinks over the last week. The West is a fine of price-based competition right now, while the more sophisticated business minds are looking for a sweet spot wherein competition does not exist, which basically means carving out a niche for yourself (the 'finding way or making way' being something the West is quite good at doing, despite being overall inferior in terms of trade negotiation workshop).

I'd quote respectable prices, not the inflated kind that will go down to 25% if the customer keeps insisting, but the kind that goes hand-in-hand with your image of a respected and self-respected professional (again, I've found eastern traders to be quite good at setting the right 'fixed prices' when they apply themselves). High average pulls you out of the bottom-feeding sector of the market, which is where so many problem jobs are located. Higher-paying customers may be more demanding, but at the same time they're more likely to know what they're doing and what they're buying. They might require a lot, but they should also give you less grief (such as some dude with conversational Farsi trying to correct your writing). This is something I've been told by a fellow translator with impressive business acumen, who operates her own successful agency that usually skips the lower paying companies as clients.

At any rate, from an international point of view, your rates should probably be fixed, and fixed on a level that gives a fair reflection of your education, skills and talents, as well as the work time and effort you put in those translations (which is something difficult for any sort of customer to see, down to carpet selling, and yeah, it was a carpet seller who finally convinced me to use it). I can't really talk about clients based in the Middle East, though, for whom a different approach might be necessary unless you can justify and defend your fixed prices.

Also, I'd look up Marta Stelmaszak (website, Facebook fan page, YouTube channel and all the rest) for general business tips for translators, which include most of all relating to your clients, but also some general strategy of your translation businesa and your branding concerns.

[Edited at 2013-07-19 17:46 GMT]

EDIT: Spelling (sorry, I had a nasty headache after a night on the plane).

[Edited at 2013-07-19 21:57 GMT]


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for being specific Jul 19, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

For example:
- "My translation rate includes a minimum of two rounds of editing and proofreading by myself before delivery"
- "I adhere to ISO 9001 standards"
- "My rate includes final proofing of PDFs after typesetting, which means checking for errors that may have occurred during the typesetting process and ensuring proper typography"

... and such.


Thanks Nicole for being specific, all posts are looking from a particular viewpoint, however your post is really specific and that is really helpful.


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A sample can be very useful sometimes Jul 19, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Dear Mahdieh, the key to being convincing is to skip templates. Originality or the benefit of it is subjective, but in order to be convincing you need to be sure of what you're saying. You can't have and project that certainly if you're essentially replicating someone else's ideas. I would ask other translators how they write quotations that win, and I'd ask agency staff (PMs and others) what quotations they choose and especially what quotations are best received by their clients.


I can't thoroughly agree with what you say, when I say template I don't mean some set of magical sentences that can convince any outsourcer, but some tangible guidelines to follow, some steps to be taken toward realizing our capabilities in making a quote. It's like saying that if you want to write a book and you have no idea of where and how to start, the first step to take is to read some magnificent books by some great writers to take out the major steps and guidelines of being a successful writer. You are from Poland and you have some legendary film directors, I can claim that the best university for a student of cinema is to watch Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieślowski films and learn from them, not copy them.


[Edited at 2013-07-19 21:34 GMT]


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cultural differences Jul 19, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

To gain attention in the West, you need to be confident and professional, and you probably need to cut down a little on the eastern politeness and flowery language. You definitely need to speak the outsourcer's lingo unless you can get away with imposing your own. Bottom line is always confidence. As a Chinese wise man said, the best warrior is not the one that handles his sword the best but one that doesn't even have to draw it; in that concrete example, the best warrior was a stone—try to beat one in a sword fight. You need to be that stone in your professional image.

I usually find a blend between language that comes natural from my pen and the language that sounds natural to the reader, which usually results in more grammatically and syntactically advanced English than most native speakers get to read (or write), but at the same time I rely a lot on confident use of informal, even colloquial language, to the point that I don't shy away from writing several paragraphs in a conversational tone (that, and the fact I tend to avoid Latinate words in favour of Anglo-Saxon ones whenever viable, so my quotation would sound very different from e.g. Nicole's). When those guys aren't native speakers, I look at whatever culture they come from and adjust accordingly. (For example, PLEN for German customers is a separate pair in its own right.icon_razz.gif)

Bottom line, you need to find your own style. Probably a blend of projecting your own (particularly splending) culture and fitting into theirs. It needs to work for you. What works for you is not the same that works for other translators, partly because they're selling a different kind of translation, as there are as many kinds of translation as there are translators (minus the boring guys).


These words of yours are fantastic, they are really invaluable, the difference you make about cultures and trying to fit in the outsourcer's culture reminds me of NLP and rapport, I think you should be really good at this. But sometimes there are problems in this part too, when most of the projects are posted by eastern people who live in Western countries, we see an eastern name who is posting from England for example. Defining this clear cut difference between the posters of jobs is sometimes near impossible so we should count on the chance to do its part (and that is a great part).
So far When quoting I was trying to be as much specific and short as possible. I thought maybe the poster of the job wants to go over the quotes very fast, so they are more happy with posts which are short and to the point; however the results have been disappointing. This makes me think of long and elaborated quotes.

[Edited at 2013-07-19 21:36 GMT]


 

davidfw1866  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Quote US$0.01 per word Jul 20, 2013

Just quote a rate of US$0.01 per source word...that's really the only way to get a project on this site.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:35
English to Polish
+ ...
My point was... Jul 21, 2013

Mahdieh Kandoei wrote:

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Dear Mahdieh, the key to being convincing is to skip templates. Originality or the benefit of it is subjective, but in order to be convincing you need to be sure of what you're saying. You can't have and project that certainly if you're essentially replicating someone else's ideas. I would ask other translators how they write quotations that win, and I'd ask agency staff (PMs and others) what quotations they choose and especially what quotations are best received by their clients.


I can't thoroughly agree with what you say, when I say template I don't mean some set of magical sentences that can convince any outsourcer, but some tangible guidelines to follow, some steps to be taken toward realizing our capabilities in making a quote. It's like saying that if you want to write a book and you have no idea of where and how to start, the first step to take is to read some magnificent books by some great writers to take out the major steps and guidelines of being a successful writer. You are from Poland and you have some legendary film directors, I can claim that the best university for a student of cinema is to watch Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieślowski films and learn from them, not copy them.


Mahdieh, the point I had in mind was not the originality of the quote but rather its focus on the concrete, specific addressee. When I write from scratch, it's an expression of my respect for the reader, pretty much the same way as I always type out the 'best regards' and my name, I never append them automatically through an automatically generated signature. In paper letters, I write them by hand, not in print. 'Tailoring' those application documents to their target reader is a similar thing, but it's also more efficient in actually reaching the addressee.

Let me cite an oriental example. Well, it's farther west than almost all of Europe but anyway. In Fes, Marrakech, Agadir and other places, I was definitely on those guys' turf, and they might as well have told me to go and learn darija if I wanted anything from them, right? But they actually made the effort to guess where I was from. They listened to voices, looked at faces, guessed the nation (usually right), said a couple of words in my own language, which they had no reason to single out above plenty of other European languages, so I guess they did the same for people from other countries. Heck, one pharmacy owner in Rabat rounded us up in an improvised conference room and delivered a long speech in Polish, complete with idiomatic jokes. One would think, what the heck is an Arab or Berber from Morocco is thinking, learning the language of a second-tier European country 3,500 kilometres away.

... But, he got some of those Poles to walk out of his shop with two or three bags of his stuff and few, if any at all, bought nothing. He probably made quite a big buck on that day, as a reward for the extreme step he'd taken. If one reaches out to his prospective client like that, one's efforts are rewarded sometimes in a spectacular fashion. Writing a targetted, brand new application letter or quotation each time is really a small step compared to that.icon_smile.gif

Thank you for the kind words, by the way.icon_smile.gif And I definitely believe in learning from the best but adapting the lesson to one's own style.


Mahdieh Kandoei wrote:

These words of yours are fantastic, they are really invaluable, the difference you make about cultures and trying to fit in the outsourcer's culture reminds me of NLP and rapport, I think you should be really good at this. But sometimes there are problems in this part too, when most of the projects are posted by eastern people who live in Western countries, we see an eastern name who is posting from England for example. Defining this clear cut difference between the posters of jobs is sometimes near impossible so we should count on the chance to do its part (and that is a great part).
So far When quoting I was trying to be as much specific and short as possible. I thought maybe the poster of the job wants to go over the quotes very fast, so they are more happy with posts which are short and to the point; however the results have been disappointing. This makes me think of long and elaborated quotes.


Thank you! You're too kind. Call me superficial, but if I found myself doing business with someone from the Muslim world (which is rare but happens), I'd look at the language he used, primarily the degree of formality of it. If he cast the image of a gregarious, outgoing jokester, I would play it on a pals footing. There would be some English there that would make a UK agency owner choke on his gin tonic. On the other hand, if he projected the other eastern way of talking, the somewhat solemn, flowery and flowing style (e.g. beginning from one or two sentences of praise and ending in a religious tiding), I would – again – use some English I'd never address a native speaker with (other than when I wanted to make a point because, after all, Poles are different). In any case, it would probably take a couple of paragraphs. If I had to keep it shorter, I would probably use more elaborate, celebratory language to compensate. I would definitely not use the standard way in which native speakers of English communicate modernly.

[Edited at 2013-07-21 19:04 GMT]


 

Mahdieh Kandoei  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a billion!!! Jul 23, 2013

Thanks a billion, you helped me a lot!!!!!!

 


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