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Sending unsolicited improvements to published texts as a marketing strategy
Thread poster: Chris S

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sep 2

Has anybody here ever won work/gratitude/respect from a prospective direct client by (tactfully) pointing out how bad their foreign-language texts are and sending them a corrected/improved sample?

While often tempted, I haven’t and probably never will, because it’s hard not to hit a brick wall even with existing clients, but I’ve often wondered what reception you would get. Do you just get ignored?


expressisverbis
 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
See also here Sep 2



Forgot to add the link

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/345562-contacting_a_company_for_the_first_time_after_visiting_its_website-page2.html<
... See more


Forgot to add the link

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/345562-contacting_a_company_for_the_first_time_after_visiting_its_website-page2.html

[Bearbeitet am 2020-09-02 14:17 GMT]
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Chris S
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Done once; won zero Sep 2

Chris S wrote:
Has anybody here ever won work/gratitude/respect from a prospective direct client by (tactfully) pointing out how bad their foreign-language texts are and sending them a corrected/improved sample?

I did once query whether a property advertised on a sales website was really going to attract buyers when described as being "in the bottom of a lime pit". They didn't reply. I sometimes wonder if anyone ever bought it. Or did it just dissolve?

Actually, I have mentioned howlers on menus a couple of times, with an offer to do a proper job, but I've never really expected anything to come from that. If you're in a packed restaurant in France, why would they bother paying to avoid confronting a few English-speaking diners with "rusty squid"? If they can't find their way around the French menu, let them all eat "steak frites".


Mervyn Henderson
Zibow Retailleau
Philip Lees
Jane F
Chris S
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Crusty balls Sep 2

I’ve always found dodgy menu translations add something to the dining experience, rather like IKEA’s silly product names.

I was thinking more along the lines of companies’ websites, press releases and marketing materials, where they might want to make a good impression.

This was inspired by the recent thread on the “premium market”, which linked to an article with a table showing original, machine translation, human translation and superhuman translation.
... See more
I’ve always found dodgy menu translations add something to the dining experience, rather like IKEA’s silly product names.

I was thinking more along the lines of companies’ websites, press releases and marketing materials, where they might want to make a good impression.

This was inspired by the recent thread on the “premium market”, which linked to an article with a table showing original, machine translation, human translation and superhuman translation.

It’s tempting to produce something similar in my own languages to illustrate why clients should shell out big time for a premium job.

Or even just stop f***ing with my masterpieces just before they print them...
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Mervyn Henderson
 

Stuart Hoskins
Local time: 16:12
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes, a strategy that used to work for me Sep 2

I got several long-running clients in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, I am still working with one or two of them. Tried the same tactic about five years ago, but came up against replies in the vein of "we just don't have the budget and Dagmar the intern is doing the very best she can". After a high in about 2010, the standard of Czech and Slovak companies' English-version websites has actually got worse over the years (generalising here), but from what I have gathered they don't really ... See more
I got several long-running clients in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, I am still working with one or two of them. Tried the same tactic about five years ago, but came up against replies in the vein of "we just don't have the budget and Dagmar the intern is doing the very best she can". After a high in about 2010, the standard of Czech and Slovak companies' English-version websites has actually got worse over the years (generalising here), but from what I have gathered they don't really care.

[Edited at 2020-09-02 10:59 GMT]
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Chris S
Christel Zipfel
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Tried twice with the same result... Sep 2

... not even an answer!

Chiara Foppa Pedretti
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:12
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Never tried it... Sep 2

But I guess it's very important to find the right contact at the company... otherwise you'd be wasting your time...

Chris S
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:12
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Trouble is ... Sep 2

The problem with this strategy is that you are targeting potential customers who either don't care very much or have a very limited budget. You might strike lucky, but chances are they aren't going to be the kind of customers you want.

Also, if they don't already know their translations are rubbish, they won't be in a position to judge how much better yours are.


Stuart Hoskins
Christel Zipfel
Zibow Retailleau
Philippe Etienne
Philip Lees
Adrien Esparron
Chris S
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:12
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I got ignored Sep 2

Chris S wrote:

Has anybody here ever won work/gratitude/respect from a prospective direct client by (tactfully) pointing out how bad their foreign-language texts are and sending them a corrected/improved sample?

While often tempted, I haven’t and probably never will, because it’s hard not to hit a brick wall even with existing clients, but I’ve often wondered what reception you would get. Do you just get ignored?


I did once embark on a campaign to attract clients by re-translating their websites when they had been badly translated from Italian into English, but nobody took the bait. In general, including in these forums, I find that people who think their English is good don't take kindly to having their mistakes pointed out to them. Which is not a good way to learn English.


Chris S
expressisverbis
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:12
Member (2008)
Italian to English
So glad Sep 2

Stuart Hoskins wrote:

....the standard of Czech and Slovak companies' English-version websites has actually got worse over the years


Thank you for not saying "gotten". There's a strange linguistic virus abroad, based on re-importing outdated participles into British English that were taken to America in the 16th century, where they continued in use and are now creeping back across the Atlantic.

[Edited at 2020-09-02 11:58 GMT]


Philippe Etienne
Christine Andersen
Jennifer White
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes but... Sep 2

Rachel Waddington wrote:

The problem with this strategy is that you are targeting potential customers who either don't care very much or have a very limited budget. You might strike lucky, but chances are they aren't going to be the kind of customers you want.

Also, if they don't already know their translations are rubbish, they won't be in a position to judge how much better yours are.


A good point, and one of my main objections to the notion of this great untapped “premium market”.

But... we all have clients who pay $$$$$ for expert translation and proofreading and layout for key documents only to blow it with last-minute changes or an accompanying press release in broken English...



[Edited at 2020-09-02 12:09 GMT]


 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:12
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
You can never tell until you try. Sep 2

The thing is that we know almost nothing about your specializations, whom you want to contact, etc. Too many factors to consider in order to tell if is going to be OK.

Just compile a thoughtful list of prospects you would like to contact in this way, and just try it.

And give us the results afterwards ))).


Chris S
 

Peter Motte  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:12
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Yes, that's it Sep 2

Stuart Hoskins wrote:

I got several long-running clients in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, I am still working with one or two of them. Tried the same tactic about five years ago, but came up against replies in the vein of "we just don't have the budget and Dagmar the intern is doing the very best she can". After a high in about 2010, the standard of Czech and Slovak companies' English-version websites has actually got worse over the years (generalising here), but from what I have gathered they don't really care.

[Edited at 2020-09-02 10:59 GMT]


I think that's the problem: they don't react because they don't care. If they would, they wouldn't have used bad translations.


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:12
English to Russian
+ ...
I caused text disappearance once but no thanks:-) Sep 2

It all started with the Russian forum "Translation Pearls" and was offered as a joke - some lawyer advertised his services in four languages, all obviously done by MT. Mind it, it was at least 15 years ago, in times when MT was at its embryonic state and English proverb "out of sight - out of mind' translated into Russian and back was coming out as "an invisible maniac".

I wrote the guy and explained to him, among other things, that Russian term for charging the clients (he meant re
... See more
It all started with the Russian forum "Translation Pearls" and was offered as a joke - some lawyer advertised his services in four languages, all obviously done by MT. Mind it, it was at least 15 years ago, in times when MT was at its embryonic state and English proverb "out of sight - out of mind' translated into Russian and back was coming out as "an invisible maniac".

I wrote the guy and explained to him, among other things, that Russian term for charging the clients (he meant reasonably) was picked by MT as the term that would be used for "charging a weapon", an entirely different word. Even more so, the same Russian term was, and still is, used by crooks and criminals for "overcharging" or "swindling" (заряжать) so our dear lawyer was advertising overcharging left and right.

I didn't even offer my services but directed him to the major Houston agency I was working for at the time, capable of helping with all 4 languages, or the ATA list. At the time I was naive enough to believe that the latter ensured a guaranteed quality
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Chris S
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:12
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
You may feel free to offer your service by sending your marketing documents Sep 2

but you'd be better off if you pretend that you didn't find their poor quality. It is not a good strategy to point out your potential client's weaknesses. You don't want to embarrass them. If they feel ashamed, they may have their materials retranslated, but you could be the last person they want to use.

Thomas Pfann
Carolina Finley
Chris S
Vera Schoen
Patricia Soda
Teresa Borges
 
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