Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Blog post: Getting the attention of a freelance translator
Thread poster: Mike Donlin

Mike Donlin
Local time: 00:41
SITE STAFF
Sep 18, 2018

I recently posted a blog on 3 tips to get the attention of a freelance translator

If you could tell an outsourcer how to get your attention, while cutting down on all the noise, what would you suggest? I would like to follow this up with more tips in another blog.

Mike


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Mike Sep 18, 2018

A potential client will get my full attention if:

1. He/she doesn’t ask for my “best rate”
2. He/she doesn’t send a NDA before we have agreed on rates
3. He/she doesn’t include any clause about auditing in the NDA or any other contractual document.
4. He/she doesn’t ask for a photo

(to be continued)


Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)
Jacek Sierakowski
Dan Lucas
José Henrique Lamensdorf
Christophe Delaunay
John Fossey
Tradupro17
 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 12:41
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Free trial translation Sep 19, 2018

Teresa Borges wrote:

A potential client will get my full attention if:

1. He/she doesn’t ask for my “best rate”
2. He/she doesn’t send a NDA before we have agreed on rates
3. He/she doesn’t include any clause about auditing in the NDA or any other contractual document.
4. He/she doesn’t ask for a photo

(to be continued)


My additional views regarding this topic now are
"5. He/she has no free trial translation before actual jobs
6. He/she does not ask for translation education certificates or credentials
7. He/she does not insist to inquire me by quoting the ISO quality standard on translation"

Soonthon L.


Jacek Sierakowski
Christophe Delaunay
John Fossey
Tradupro17
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
Member (2018)
French to English
attention Sep 19, 2018

"Dear Kay, I am contacting you further to a recommendation from {any of my favourite clients}. Please could you give me an estimate for translating this file into English and let me know how long it'll take you?" followed by a signature including full corporate contact details and a direct telephone number, with no spelling mistakes, will certainly get my attention.

Sheila Wilson
Ivana Kahle
Christophe Delaunay
John Fossey
Melanie Maiwald-Meylahn
Jennifer Forbes
Helen Shiner
 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:41
German to English
+ ...
It's about the job you want to have done Sep 19, 2018

I don't know about "getting attention". My business involves translating text for customers. So if you are a customer, tell me what you want to have translated, including a copy of the text, and any pertinent information. That's all I need.

If you don't have a translation request, why are you contacting me? Information about how successful your company is, or what big clients you have landed don't interest me - I'm not investing in your company: I'm providing a paid service.

Do you have an urgent request for translation?

Actually, the word "urgent" tends to be a red flag. If an agency keeps posting urgent jobs, then I wonder about their time management and planning abilities. Will working for them turn out to be a disaster? Actually, I wonder if it's urgent because they're competing against other agencies on the basis of being 'faster' (which often goes together with 'cheaper').

"We need to have the attached document translated. Are you available? What is your timeline and fee?"

This is a message that gets to the point, and is practical in nature.

"Hi,
We are a successful company operating in twenty countries ..... (on and on about themselves)

This style doesn't, and isn't.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Call me by my name Sep 19, 2018

Mike Donlin wrote:
I would like to follow this up with more tips in another blog.

In your blog post you rather obliquely say that clients should talk to translators "directly". I would state this more explicitly: be sure to use the name of the translator.

Unless an email includes my name, I ignore it. I also have a strong preference for some indication that they have at least considered the areas in which I specialise. Please don't ask me about tourism, or medical, for example, because that's not what I do, and it shows that you haven't taken the time to look.

Like many here, I have plenty of existing business. There is no point in me diverting my resources away from established sources of earnings to respond to potential new customers who don't have the hallmarks of high-quality clients.

My other red flags are as per Teresa's post.

Regards,
Dan


Christophe Delaunay
Tradupro17
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No mention to CAT tools Sep 19, 2018

Imagine this scene...
It's raining, someone standing on the sidewalk hails a taxicab. The cabbie stops by, opens the door, and says, "C'mon! Hop in! You're gettin' all wet there!"
However the soaked prospective passenger doesn't move. He asks through the open door, "Does your car have a ZF Friedrichshafen automatic transmission?"
The driver gets apprehensive, "Hey, pal, you're gonna catch a cold, I mean, if you don't drown there!"
"You don't understand, I only ride cars fitted with ZF automatic transmission, absolutely no other."
"Well, this one is just like any other; I put it on D and drive all day. I can use a stickshift too."
"If you are not sure you have a ZF automatic transmission, I'll wait for another car."
"But I can drive you safely home with this one!"
"I couldn't care less how you drive. I just want to ride a car with a ZF automatic transmission."

That's how some translation prospects approach translators, regarding specific CAT tool brands.
They don't care about translation skills, experience, nothing beyond the ownership of some specific brand of CAT tool. So translators who don't have that specific CAT tool won't read beyond this most vital requirement.


Tradupro17
Teresa Borges
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to Italian
Research, BS Minimization, Willingness to Negotiate Sep 19, 2018

How to "break through the noise"? Research. Trying to find the right person for the job, instead of sending the same message to an unspecified number of service providers. Unfortunately, features you have implemented, such as the "job board", "lists", "Translation Workspace", etc. all seem to promote and be naturally suited for this approach, often based on the imposition of already preset (low) rates and conditions, on the research of "best rates" or simply aimed at "databases expansion"...

Other than that, I personally appreciate it quite a bit when bureaucratic and legal BS are cut down to a minimum and the client doesn't expect me to spend hours going through their (sometimes mind-boggling) procedures and agreements (more or less filled with unilateral, unreasonable, unrealistic, unfair and unnecessary clauses).

Linked to the above, if a client does have boilerplate documents and procedures, they should at least be willing to discuss them in order to reach a compromise, instead of expecting the other party to act as a subservient tool.

I am writing this because unfortunately that's my experience with a lot of prospective clients (especially agencies), that ultimately brought me not to work with them, despite otherwise satisfactory conditions.


 

Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to German
+ ...
Not pretend more than they are Sep 19, 2018

They are an absolute no-go if they claim to be a company, but then give a Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. email address as their contact mail address and no further mentioning of the place they are from.

 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 00:41
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Ignoring messages may be the fun post too Sep 19, 2018

Thank you for the insight so far.

It is interesting that your personal filters that ignore messages look for red flags.

Seems like some of those are: not using a company domain email account, too much emphasis on CAT tool brands, not addressing you by name (or username?), asking for best rates too early, selling your LSP more than the job, and unpaid tests.

Mike


 

Mike Donlin
Local time: 00:41
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Right person for the job, and noise Sep 19, 2018

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

How to "break through the noise"? Research. Trying to find the right person for the job, instead of sending the same message to an unspecified number of service providers. Unfortunately, features you have implemented, such as the "job board", "lists", "Translation Workspace", etc. all seem to promote and be naturally suited for this approach, often based on the imposition of already preset (low) rates and conditions, on the research of "best rates" or simply aimed at "databases expansion"...


Well said, Mirko. How much of a chance do you give someone to tell you that they have done their research? Do you go past the subject line of the email? Or first 3 sentences?

How would you adjust any of the features mentioned (job board, lists, translation workplace) to create targeting (research) to limit some of the noise?

Mike


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
NDAs Sep 19, 2018

NDAs that go on and on and on and then you never hear a single word from that agency. I have now decided that agencies that send NDAs with loads of terms and conditions are the ones you then never hear a word from so I have decided not to sign and consider this a red flag and a mark against an agency, that is, a serious agency will only send me an NDA with some con-compete clauses, confidentiality, payment terms, what happens if the translation needs to be revised, maybe competent authorities of which countries.

Ryan Saxon Montcalm
 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:41
German to English
+ ...
Why "done the research"? Sep 20, 2018

Mike Donlin wrote:
Well said, Mirko. How much of a chance do you give someone to tell you that they have done their research?

Why should I care about how much research a prospective client has done on finding a translator? That would matter if I were hiring someone for my own translation company. As a translator, what interests me is information on the material to be translated and anything else that is pertinent. If I am to consider doing work for someone, I need to know about the WORK. Not the entity wanting to get the work done.

I get messages that go on and on about how successful the company is, what big clients they have, and then hardly any information about what needs to be translated. The only thing I need to know about the client is:
- will I get paid in full and on time for work rendered
- are they difficult to work with?

When I don't get a simple message that lets me examine the text to be translated, and gives me info on the text, this also suggests that it may be a client who is not easy to work with.


Michele Fauble
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to Italian
Time invested in research as an additional piece of info about the client Sep 21, 2018

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Mike Donlin wrote:

Well said, Mirko. How much of a chance do you give someone to tell you that they have done their research?


Why should I care about how much research a prospective client has done on finding a translator?


Because, IMHO, it shows they're not just looking for "anybody" for a quickie, but for the best match for a project, or a long term collaboration. If you're looking for someone to build your website, do you just google "web designer" and pick the first hit you get, or do you try to do some research and contact the one(s) that seems more reliable/capable to you? I believe there's a big difference, that also tends to reflect how serious, reliable, committed and interested in quality a client might in its turn be.

As a translator, what interests me is information on the material to be translated and anything else that is pertinent.


I thought that was a given, already mentioned in a previous post of yours... although, considering what you wrote here, I guess the definition of "pertinent" may be rather subjective...

If I am to consider doing work for someone, I need to know about the WORK. Not the entity wanting to get the work done.


Really? So... you would work for anyone, as long as the "material to be translated" fits your expertise/tastes, even if, say, they have a 3 on the BB or non payment reports on PP? (Because that's info about the "entity", not the "work", right?)

Besides, knowing you have been specifically selected and contacted by someone who found you has nothing to do with "messages that go on and on about how successful the company is, what big clients they have, and then hardly any information about what needs to be translated", although, unlike you, I really got nothing against that either, as long as everything else is there and is OK. Actually, I believe that presenting yourself is a basic act of courtesy...

The only thing I need to know about the client is:
- will I get paid in full and on time for work rendered
- are they difficult to work with?


Right... wouldn't we all like that? But pray tell, how exactly would the very first message you receive from a client tell you all of that?

When I don't get a simple message that lets me examine the text to be translated, and gives me info on the text, this also suggests that it may be a client who is not easy to work with.


And what if it's a message about a long term collaboration, without a specific "text to be translated"?


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:41
Member
English to Italian
Reply Sep 21, 2018

Mike Donlin wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

How to "break through the noise"? Research. Trying to find the right person for the job, instead of sending the same message to an unspecified number of service providers. Unfortunately, features you have implemented, such as the "job board", "lists", "Translation Workspace", etc. all seem to promote and be naturally suited for this approach, often based on the imposition of already preset (low) rates and conditions, on the research of "best rates" or simply aimed at "databases expansion"...


Well said, Mirko. How much of a chance do you give someone to tell you that they have done their research? Do you go past the subject line of the email? Or first 3 sentences?


All the chances, really, after having looked them up on the BB, PP, etc. If they look reliable, I have no problem starting a discussion about the work, rates, agreements, etc. as long as they're willing to discuss and negotiate on potential divergences, of course.

How would you adjust any of the features mentioned (job board, lists, translation workplace) to create targeting (research) to limit some of the noise?


Well, that's something that should be up to you, I guess... but one thing that should be easy to implement would be, for instance, an indication of how many people were contacted. As things stand now, we have no idea about how many recipient are sent a notification about a "job" (board, workspace, etc.) or a message (lists, etc.). If a client decides to fish for a translator among 1,000 others, then I might very well not be interested in wasting my time reading up, searching about them, and replying at all...

Even when a job is posted and it says (something along the lines of) "the outsourcer has decided to restrict... and you are on that list", you are none the wiser.

Other than that, and if this isn't already in place, I guess you could implement some sort of guide, plus contextual help/hints to guide clients (especially end clients) toward this kind of approach rather than just writing "We need 4k done by tomorrow SOB" and firing it away to tens of thousand people with one click. Then again, there will always be clients who just want the cheapest/fastest solution, so they won't care less anyway... (and ideally, I would just like to be able to filter those out entirely to, you know, "reduce the noise"...)

Loosely linked to the above, obviously, in order to persuade clients to "do their research", they should also be put in a position where they can reasonably expect that the time spent doing that research will actually bear fruits. In other words, you should be able to provide them with a means of finding really good matches for their needs, not just random people with random declared fields of specialization, language pairs, years of experience, "certifications", etc. I think that's what proz's mission is (or should be) about, after all...

That would probably be harder (and probably more expensive) than just attaching a random "pool" tag to those very same random people, or some other zero-cost shortcut like that, but if your aim is really that of helping clients find the best match for their projects, and translators find good clients, then perhaps it's (past) time you rethought your driving paradigms...


Josephine Cassar
Mike Donlin
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Blog post: Getting the attention of a freelance translator

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search