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Saying No feels empowering
Thread poster: Mikhail Kropotov

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:02
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 2, 2014

I felt great this morning. I came up with an innovative way to respond to ridiculously misguided emails.

A new potential client (yeah, right) came through with the following apologetic request:

==========
Hello,

I'm contacting you as I found your profile on Proz.com.

We're a videogame localization company and are looking for translators for a 22.000 words project from English to Russian.

We can only offer 0,04€ per word and there would be a 200 words test to pass, would you be interested and available?
==========

At first I thought I would not waste any time replying to this. But then it hit me. I got busy writing up my genius reply. It went like this:

==========
No
==========

All I can say is, it felt great.

If you've never tried it, you should.


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ibz  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Perfect Sep 2, 2014

Just perfect

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:02
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Well, yes, but not really Sep 2, 2014

I used to do that when I just started working as a freelancer, and it indeed felt empowering, but soon I realized that there is absolutely no need to be rude to potential clients, as it doesn't bear fruit. There's just nothing to be gained from such approach.

Some of them might not even know what it is in their message that made you typewrite a plain "no". Is it the source text's subject? Or you are busy at the moment? Or maybe the rate is too low? Who knows?

Ultimately, there is no need to be rude to anyone at all. That's just how I see things.


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Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:02
Member (2013)
English to Italian
What's to be gained here? Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:
There's just nothing to be gained from such approach.


I can see your point, Max, but still - is there anything to be gained from this contact? I mean, do you think a different reply would generate some potential work at a different (decent) rate? I don't think so.

In similar situations, I usually just avoid to waste my time and reply. Still, I think those who send us these ridiculous 'offers' are those who are insulting us, and not the contrary.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:02
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Is it a waste though? Sep 2, 2014

Domenico Trimboli wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:
There's just nothing to be gained from such approach.


I can see your point, Max, but still - is there anything to be gained from this contact? I mean, do you think a different reply would generate some potential work at a different (decent) rate? I don't think so.

In similar situations, I usually just avoid to waste my time and reply. Still, I think those who send us these ridiculous 'offers' are those who are insulting us, and not the contrary.


The problem here is that sometimes you don't know whether or not the person you are talking to actually knows how ridiculous his or her offers is. That person might very well not mean to insult you in any way, even if you take the message as such. But you lash out with your "No", feeling all high-horsey and powerful. "That will teach him!", you think. (Well, not you personally, but a person with an attitude of the OP.)

There is little to be gained from such a contact, it is true—although I have had clients increase their rate after getting acquainted with my reasoning to do so—but there is something to be lost. Being disrespectful to potential clients can damage your reputation via word of mouth.

Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:02
English to Croatian
+ ...
Another point Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

I used to do that when I just started working as a freelancer, and it indeed felt empowering, but soon I realized that there is absolutely no need to be rude to potential clients, as it doesn't bear fruit. There's just nothing to be gained from such approach.

Some of them might not even know what it is in their message that made you typewrite a plain "no". Is it the source text's subject? Or you are busy at the moment? Or maybe the rate is too low? Who knows?

Ultimately, there is no need to be rude to anyone at all. That's just how I see things.



It also says to the client that you are not busy at the moment and you are eagerly waiting for a job.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:02
English to Croatian
+ ...
Not quite Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:
Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


The type of clients the OP is referring to are usually sending mass emails (addressing hundreds of translators), so what makes you think they are waiting for your reply specifically?


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:02
Member (2013)
English to Russian
usually <> always Sep 2, 2014

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:
Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


The type of clients the OP is referring to are usually sending mass emails (addressing hundreds of translators), so what makes you think they are waiting for your reply specifically?


Is there a way to know for sure that the email you've received is part of a mass mailing?


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:02
English to Croatian
+ ...
Yes, there is... Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:
Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


The type of clients the OP is referring to are usually sending mass emails (addressing hundreds of translators), so what makes you think they are waiting for your reply specifically?


Is there a way to know for sure that the email you've received is part of a mass mailing?


You were referring to politeness in business correspondence, so the way to know is if they don't address your name specifically in the opening line, ie. "Dear XY"...


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:02
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Not 100% accurate Sep 2, 2014

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:
Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


The type of clients the OP is referring to are usually sending mass emails (addressing hundreds of translators), so what makes you think they are waiting for your reply specifically?


Is there a way to know for sure that the email you've received is part of a mass mailing?


You were referring to politeness in business correspondence, so the way to know is if they don't address your name specifically in the opening line, ie. "Dear XY"...


I've had clients write me personal emails without addressing me by name. Your way of making out whether it is not a mass email you're reading is quite reliable, but it is not 100% accurate.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:02
English to Croatian
+ ...
Logic Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:
Not replying at all is, I believe, rather inconsiderate, as you waste much more time of that person waiting for your response (especially if the job is urgent) than you would writing a short answer. Let's be honest here—spending a couple of minutes writing a response is not that much of a waste, even if you have things to do.


[Edited at 2014-09-02 09:10 GMT]


The type of clients the OP is referring to are usually sending mass emails (addressing hundreds of translators), so what makes you think they are waiting for your reply specifically?


Is there a way to know for sure that the email you've received is part of a mass mailing?


You were referring to politeness in business correspondence, so the way to know is if they don't address your name specifically in the opening line, ie. "Dear XY"...


I've had clients write me personal emails without addressing me by name. Your way of making out whether it is not a mass email you're reading is quite reliable, but it is not 100% accurate.


You must have your reasons why it's so important for you to prove points using logic while the OP is quite emotional...

[Edited at 2014-09-02 10:13 GMT]


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xxxdeleted.
Australia
Local time: 22:02
English to Chinese
+ ...
Well done! Sep 2, 2014

I got a vicarious thrill out of reading OP's response.

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:02
Member (2013)
English to Russian
:) Sep 2, 2014

Good point, Lingua!

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I direct them to machine translation Sep 2, 2014

I have a boilerplate text that I use whenever I'm offered rates below half my standard.

I tell them to use machine translation instead, remarking that now and then I get hired to proofread/fix/salvage overly cheap human translation, so I've seen what it looks like. Quite frankly, though the flaws differ in their nature, the overall quality is roughly the same. If their client accepts the raw MT output, they'll make a higher profit; otherwise there will be more funds left in the budget to afford professional translation work.

This feels as empowering as for the bartender in this scene:
"Hey, pal, I'm thirsty, but your water on the menu is just too expensive."
"Well, if you can't afford it, go to the restroom at the end of the corridor, and help yourself from the tap."


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A full reply is better in the long run Sep 2, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:
I used to do that when I just started working as a freelancer, and it indeed felt empowering, but soon I realized that there is absolutely no need to be rude to potential clients, as it doesn't bear fruit. There's just nothing to be gained from such approach.

I agree. A full reply as to what made you reject the proposal is better for the industry. It helps teaching the customer what is wrong about their proposal. Even if it does not pay to you personally in a short run, gradually educating and advising customers against a low-rate-low-quality world does pay in the long run to the translation community as a whole.


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