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Thread poster: Erzsébet Czopyk

Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
Jul 9, 2015



[Edited at 2015-07-10 09:41 GMT]


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
To use an Americanism: "You're Awesome!" Jul 9, 2015

Yesterday, I was asked how much I would charge to transcribe and translate a 180-minute video?

I asked for a copy of the video. They said they didn't have it yet - just give them a rate.

Was this a business meeting with constant talking or an action film with very little dialogue?

How much is a red car?

Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:



[Edited at 2015-07-09 23:01 GMT]


 

Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
time is money Jul 9, 2015

Dear Jeff, I still have to learn how to use a simple shortcut Shift+Delete

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My new way to respond to ridiculous offers is just... Jul 9, 2015

... a short and sweet message: "Very funny".

This results in the new, inexperienced PM asking a colleague (and maybe even the company owner): "What does that mean?"


Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:

Dear Jeff, I still have to learn how to use a simple shortcut Shift+Delete


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:50
English to Japanese
+ ...
I don't see anything wrong here Jul 10, 2015

Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:

I received this e-mail today via ProZ.com system.

You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: (ProZ.com Member)
Author's Profile: http://www.proz.com/profile/*******
Author's IP address: ***********
Message type: Job-related
-----------
Hi,
We’re searching for translators and proofreaders for a long term project in the language pair EN to Hungarian. The project would be about hundred of thousands of words distributed throughout the year.

1- How much would you charge for translation?
2- How much would you charge for proofreading an already translated work?
3- Is your CAT tool compatible with Trados? Your CAT must be able to count the repeated word.
4- Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?

Regards,
S***** L*****
O*****-L*****

See my response.

2015-07-09 13:40 GMT-04:00 Czopyk és Társa Fordítóiroda :
Dear Mr ****,

First of all, my name is not "Hi," but Elizabeth.

We’re searching for translators and proofreaders for a long term project in the language pair EN to Hungarian. The project would be about hundred of thousands of words distributed throughout the year.

Sounds TOO IMPRESSIVE TO BE TRUE.

1- How much would you charge for translation?

The question is totally unprofessional.
I always ask such clients: how much would you charge for a red car?

2- How much would you charge for proofreading an already translated work?
Depending on its quality. How much would you charge for a red car?

3- Is your CAT tool compatible with Trados? Your CAT must be able to count the repeated word.
Yes, I do have a Trados.

4- Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?
I have 23 years of experience. In case of a serious offer, why your company is not capable to invest my minimum fee (EUR 10)?

Why I do have a feeling you will likely not respond my message?

Regards,
Liza Czopyk

And just few minutes ago I received a response:

Hi Hi,

Do you act like a bitch with every start up you cross?

Me and my associate laugh a lot with your answer, thank you for the good timeicon_wink.gif

S***** L*****
Représentant commercial
Sales representative
s*****.l*****@o*****-l*****.com
Tel: *****

I let the community to make a decision about (t)his style.

See my response.

Dear Mr *****,

You asked „How much would you charge for translation?”

I sent you the answer.

I called you Mr ***** and you calling me Hi Hi and a bitch.

I understand a lot of cultural differences but I think it is unacceptable.

I wish you success in your future business and hereby ask you: please, never contact me again.

Regards,

Liza Czopyk

[Edited at 2015-07-09 22:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-09 22:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-09 22:55 GMT]


I don't see the point why you get so upset with the message sent to you.

I too sometimes get an email starting with "Hi" (in fact I received one yesterday).
And the most mysterious part to me is that they are asking you how much you charge for a English into Hungarian translation. That's way much better than saying "We have a Eng-Hungarian" translation. We can offer you 0.05 USD per source word."

There's nothing wrong with how much you charge for translation/proofreading. And asking you if you use a CAT tool is very normal.

And if they are asking you to do a free test of 350 words, I would tell them I don't do free tests. Just tell them you charge XX Euros.

There are even worse messages where they don't even sign their name at the end and starting the message with "Hey!" I'm not a horse. I'm a human being.

Or am I missing something?


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:50
Romanian to English
+ ...
Same message Jul 10, 2015

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Or am I missing something?


Well, Liza never insulted the "client", even if her reaction to a legitimate request for quote could sound a bit offensive. But I do agree that a message starting with "Hi" cannot be taken seriously. Really, it takes just a few seconds to type the translator's first name, and they should do so, if not out of politeness, then simply to avoid sounding fishy.

I received the same message, but I didn't reply specifically because it was addressed to "Hi," and not me. I see that saved me the nuisance of what Liza had to go through.

I really don't think a serious client would handle a project of that size with this kind of a recruitment message. Do you really think someone who has a such a major project would not even state a general field?

The sender mistyped his own name (Séabstien), at least in the message sent to me, and no contact information was provided in the initial message. Their website is not working either.

"Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?"
"What you're capable of" sounds offensive enough to me to warrant Liza's reaction. I would never say that to a professional whose services I am seeking "send me a list of your history with cases, so that I can see what you're capable of" (to a lawyer), or "send me your portfolio, so that I can see what you're capable of" (to an architect). Liza's reaction wasn't more offensive than that and it really did not call for that kind of response. Only a stupid and uneducated person would use that tone (the b-word) in reply to what was Liza's legitimate concern, considering the scarcity of information provided to her about that laaaaaarge project.

[Edited at 2015-07-10 06:15 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:50
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
What's wrong with you? Jul 10, 2015

I don't know how you think you're in a position of accusing someone of not being professional.

Sounds TOO IMPRESSIVE TO BE TRUE.

So you don't believe their claim. You might well be right. If you don't think it's a legitimate offer, stop reading at that point and walk away. Why do you bother responding to something that you perceive as a scam? Are you going to give a clearly sarcastic response to any offers that may be untrue or unsubstantiated?

First of all, my name is not "Hi," but Elizabeth.

Emails are often sent to a group of potential translators in a language pair. I don't know whether this is the case but it's hardly something that a person of normal EQ would get riled up about. If you don't want to answer mass emails, you don't have to. That you chose to respond at all and in such a manner does not speak well of you, and I'm not just talking about as a professional.

The question is totally unprofessional.
I always ask such clients: how much would you charge for a red car?

Seriously, what is wrong with you? If this is your response to somebody asking you for your rates, what are you going to do when someone tries to state the rate they're looking for? Burn your house down?

So not all translations are equal. Whatever. Nothing stops you from stating your minimum rate or not so minimum rate. Things may slip minds. Maybe it's a junior recruiter who doesn't know turd. A professional would simply state as such and does not feel the need to "show up" the correspondent.

Depending on its quality. How much would you charge for a red car?

Same thing. You feel the need to add a completely unnecessary second sentence when the short answer would have sufficed, which means you're going out of your way to say, "Oh, and by the way, you are stupid".

Yes, I do have a Trados.

And you somehow managed a measured response to what really should have set off some alarms, with regards to repetitions.

I have 23 years of experience. In case of a serious offer, why your company is not capable to invest my minimum fee (EUR 10)?

Whether you accept free tests or not is your own business. You need to recognize that opinions are divided on this matter and it is not your business to dictate that. Thus, the question did not deserve such a caustic response.

By the way, your reponse also implies that you are willing to do a 350 word test for 10 EUR.

Why I do have a feeling you will likely not respond my message?

Why indeed? If someone responded like that to me to the face, they would shortly end up in the nearest hospital, but this is email, so joy. My conclusion would not have been much different from theirs, except they chose to say it out loud. I would come to my conclusion, set my case and delete the email, because I am not interested in dragging myself through the dirt in a juvenile exchange over somebody who is clearly not worth dealing with.

Scams

If this was indeed a scam, you've just painted a big glowing neon sign on your back that says "Easily Baited".


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:50
Romanian to English
+ ...
Right or wrong Jul 10, 2015

Lincoln Hui wrote:

I don't know how you think you're in a position of accusing someone of not being professional.

Sounds TOO IMPRESSIVE TO BE TRUE.

So you don't believe their claim. You might well be right.


I do agree that her reaction may sound offensive to a real offer, but come on, in a legitimate and sincerely offended client it would have triggered something equally sarcastic (e.g. "but your reaction doesn't sound too impressive, so I revoke my proposition"), and NOT that foul, uneducated language. Using the b-word is inexcusable.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Ha ha ha Jul 10, 2015

What a fantastic response, exactly what you asked for. First belly laugh of the morning!

I must admit I sometimes write snotty replies to such emails, but these people still deserve to be treated with respect.

[Edited at 2015-07-10 07:33 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:50
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
I'm not saying that I have much sympathy for the original sender Jul 10, 2015

Annamaria Amik wrote:


I do agree that her reaction may sound offensive to a real offer, but come on, in a legitimate and sincerely offended client it would have triggered something equally sarcastic (e.g. "but your reaction doesn't sound too impressive, so I revoke my proposition"), and NOT that foul, uneducated language. Using the b-word is inexcusable.

I'm saying that two children are slinging turd at each other, and one of the children goes around telling people "look at me, I threw turd at that kid" as though it was something that they should be proud of, and some of those people are giving them backpats and praising them for it.

What you do in your own emails can only harm yourself. To take it to an open platform and brag about it like it's a good thing is a real problem.

A turd is a turd by any other name. Doesn't mean that the word should be used in business communication, but that also doesn't change what lies beneath.

[Edited at 2015-07-10 07:55 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
You can't use that sort of language Jul 10, 2015

Annamaria Amik wrote:
NOT that foul, uneducated language. Using the b-word is inexcusable.

Agreed. Lincoln may have a point about the original poster's rather sarcastic attack - surely better to just ignore such emails? - but their response to her is utterly unprofessional. I would never work with an outfit that thinks it acceptable to use language like this.

An anodyne corporate-speak response along the lines of "We are sorry to hear you are unable to be involved in this project but we hope we will have a chance to collaborate with you in future" is the professional way to go.

Regards
Dan


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Not a scam, and you got what you asked for Jul 10, 2015

1. I find nothing wrong with their message. It has a salutation (albeit without your name), an opening paragraph, a numbered set of simple, reasonable questions, and an ending that ends with the sender's full name. The only criticism is the fact that they didn't include your name, but I think that it should be obvious that this message was sent to many translators and not just you.

2. Your reply uses the wrong tone with a business contact if you want to receive a professional, business-like reply from them. I'm sorry the customer called you a "bitch", but you did ask for it. I'm not saying you are a "bitch" -- I'm saying that since your message was deliberately offensive, you should not be surprised if the recipient does take offense and responds in anger.

Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:
1- How much would you charge for translation?
The question is totally unprofessional.
I always ask such clients: how much would you charge for a red car?


The question is simple and its meaning is implied: they want to receive an indication of what you charge for translation. If you have a single rate for all types of translation, then simply say so. If you can only determine the rate after you've seen the text, then say so. It serve no useful purpose to be sarcastic if you think the question implies something that you dislike.

Remember, in business correspondence, always assume that there is a simple misunderstanding if at first you suspect that the client is being rude or unthoughtful.

2- How much would you charge for proofreading an already translated work?
Depending on its quality. How much would you charge for a red car?


Your reply here is slightly more helpful than that of the first question, i.e. you mention that you don't charge a single rate for proofreading. But you're still not telling the client what he wants to know, i.e. to get an indication of how much proofreading would cost him. I'm sure even you have a lower and an upper limit to the rate when it comes to proofreading. It costs nothing to tell the client what that range is.

3- Is your CAT tool compatible with Trados? Your CAT must be able to count the repeated word.
Yes, I do have ... Trados.


Which version of Trados, and how skilled are you at using it? Elizabeth, you remind me of the story about a buyer asking for the price of a specific car, and the salesman answering "I'll give you a clue -- it's an even number". You have a fantastic opportunity to make a great impression on this client by providing useful information, and you completely blow it (sorry for having to say so).

4- Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?
I have 23 years of experience. In case of a serious offer, why [is] your company ... not capable [in investing in] my minimum fee (EUR 10)?


How many years of experience you have is irrelevant to whether you'd be willing to do a free test translation. Test translations only test the translation quality of the translator, and not e.g. the profesionalism. Professionalism can be gauged from the e-mails that you receive from a translator.

If you want to offer to charge EUR 10 for translating 350 words of a test translation (i.e. less than 3c per word), then you can simply say so without having to be rude. Clients prefer to work with friendly, polite and efficient translators.

Dear Mr *****,
You asked „How much would you charge for translation?”
I sent you the answer.


If you truly believe that you did give him an answer, then I strongly suggest that you take the criticism in this thread to heart.


[Edited at 2015-07-10 09:35 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
On taking offense and assuming good faith Jul 10, 2015

Annamaria Amik wrote:
Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?

"What you're capable of" sounds offensive enough to me to warrant Liza's reaction.


This just supports my opinion that if something appears to be offensive or unthoughtful in the message, it's best to assume that the person didn't mean it, for different expressions bring up different emotions in people.

I would personally not have taken offense at the expression "what you are capable of" -- and it would not have occurred to me to do so, and therefore I would be a great surprise to me if a service provider flipped out because of it.

How would you have rewritten "to show what you are capable of" to make it less offensive? "to prove that you are a good translator"? "to show that you are not a scammer yourself"? "to give an indication of your translation style?"


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:50
Romanian to English
+ ...
Tact Jul 10, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Annamaria Amik wrote:
Would you be willing to do a free test of 350 words to show what you’re capable of to our client?

"What you're capable of" sounds offensive enough to me to warrant Liza's reaction.


This just supports my opinion that if something appears to be offensive or unthoughtful in the message, it's best to assume that the person didn't mean it, for different expressions bring up different emotions in people.

I would personally not have taken offense at the expression "what you are capable of" -- and it would not have occurred to me to do so, and therefore I would be a great surprise to me if a service provider flipped out because of it.

How would you have rewritten "to show what you are capable of" to make it less offensive? "to prove that you are a good translator"? "to show that you are not a scammer yourself"? "to give an indication of your translation style?"


Yes, the third version would be much less offensive. I am really not into political correctness and I'm all for naming things and habits using the good old terms, but you can't expect a professional translator (or at least someone you approach because you assume she is a professional translator) with probably more experience than the sender's age to be happy to show what she's "capable of" - what would the opposite be? Say the client wants a different style and chooses someone else. Would that mean that she's incapable?

The facts as I see them:
- Liza gave an emotional and sarcastic, but in no way dirty-worded response to what she perceived as an offensive, if not fraudulent inquiry. She had all the reasons to assume it was a scam: 1) huge quantity offered, 2) absolutely no contact data in the initial message, 3) non-functioning website, 4) no blue board record, 5) absolutely no source to confirm this is a legitimate agency which can handle a project this large, 6) (my favorite one) the sender mistyped his own name.
- the client gave an emotional and dirty response to what he perceived as an offensive reply.

How come one (the dirtier one, for that matter) seems to be excused, but the other (the insulting, but never foul) not?
Lose your temper, fine, insult the unprofessional reply using the *same* style, fine - but don't be vulgar. The client's filthy language was not an ear-for-an-ear, eye-for-an-eye reaction, but an eye for a single hair.

I am not justifying her, and I do admit I may be over-sensitive to gross language.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
There was no need to reply like that Jul 10, 2015

I agree with many others who have said there was no need to react like that.

That you are offended by a simple "Hi" is probably a cultural problem. Maybe people are more formal in your culture, but there is nothing unusual or offensive about it in English-speaking countries. When you work with translation and thus by definition with more than your own culture, it would be wise to try to understand other cultures or at least be careful before feeling offended by something that isn't offensive, and simply because you don't understand it. I prefer "Hello" instead of "Hi" myself, but you also have to take into account that English is perhaps not the native language of that PM, and that when they are writing to a selected group of translators, they cannot address each one by name.

I'm not saying I would have been enthusiastic about this kind of offer. I wouldn't. When an agency can't even be bothered to write a brief outline of what sort of subject we're dealing with, it's for me a warning sign that they are poorly organised, and that there will probably be trouble ahead. The vast quantity of words they mention is also a hint that they will try to obtain a heavy volume discount. If I'm not interested, I just explain politely why, or I simply decline politely. If they have a poor Blue Board score, I don't reply that I don't want to work with them because they seem to behave like a**holes but that I don't feel quite comfortable with the payment and working practices reported.

You got what you asked for, in my opinion. Perhaps you were having a bad day, but that's not the PM's fault, and it would not be an excuse.


 
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