question about job quote emails
Thread poster: Tai Fu

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
Chinese to English
Jul 23, 2010

Hi

I have been sending job quotes and emails to the companies on the job board in order to respond to a job, but I get about 1 reply for every 10 I send (and there aren't that many jobs). Is this usual?

Is there any opening messages that I can send in the email that will generate more interest? I usually say something like

To whom it may concern (or Dear sir or madam):

We are experienced in translating technical or engineering documents, and I have experiences in software localization. Our rate is xxx (this depends on job). Attached is our CV. Please contact us if you have any question.


Also what is a good rate for Chinese to English? I notice the average is usually around 10 cents a word and I try to quote around 4 or 5 cents a word, is this a reasonable rate?


 

Karletto
English to Slovenian
+ ...
my opinion Jul 23, 2010

I believe your cover letter should be 3 times bigger. You can use standard text and at the end, before regards, i suggest you become more specific about the job, for example the rate, the deadline, "I agree to terms posted on Proz.com.", things like that.

Right now it's short and boring. Sounds like it's an automated quote, not interesting enough.

Don't know your language pair. Rates in my language pairs are +0,07EUR per word,


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
Member (2008)
English to French
um... Jul 23, 2010

Your English though very good is not at a native level (I saw that you were born & raised in the US so I'm not saying that just because you're in Taiwan) - it contains grammar mistakes and the sentence structure is off. If I were a client it would preclude me from taking your quote seriously, no matter the rate...

 

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
please clarify Jul 23, 2010

Arianne Farah wrote:

Your English though very good is not at a native level (I saw that you were born & raised in the US so I'm not saying that just because you're in Taiwan) - it contains grammar mistakes and the sentence structure is off. If I were a client it would preclude me from taking your quote seriously, no matter the rate...


What do you mean by that?

I don't know what you mean by "native level" because I met many native English speakers in both the US and Taiwan, some of whom teaches English in Taiwan whose English aren't exactly perfect either.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 06:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
We? Jul 23, 2010

I do not answer to many offers on proz, because they are searching for cheap. When I do I try to keep it short but personal. If I know the name of the outsourcer, I address him/her according to the preference of the specific country (Sehr geehrter Herr.., Sehr geehrte Frau... for German, Dear Harry, Mary if I write in English).

I state my rate and ask to send the files for final estimate.

I don't see why a freelance translator would call himself/herself "we". It used to be monarchs who talked in that style.

Naturally one usually noticed where a person belongs to culturally, even if the English is otherwise perfect. If there is "the same" instead of "it", you know the message comes from India.

REgards
Heinrich


 

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
clarification Jul 23, 2010

Sorry I did not explain my work a little more...

When I quote I quote as a team with an editor that I work with. He looks over my work and polishes up the grammar and wording to make it absolutely professional, and we split our earnings accordingly. That is why I use "we" in the quote.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are incompetent workers in every industry Jul 23, 2010

Arianne Farah wrote:

Your English though very good is not at a native level .........
it contains grammar mistakes and the sentence structure is off. If I were a client it would preclude me from taking your quote seriously, no matter the rate...


Tai Fu wrote:

What do you mean by that? .........
I met many native English speakers in both the US and Taiwan, some of whom teaches English in Taiwan whose English aren't exactly perfect either.


I know that there are English teachers around the world who do not have a perfect grasp of English - I teach English to adults and I've had some French primary school teachers of English in my elementary classes!

However, that does not mean that it is desirable or even acceptable for anyone with a far-from-perfect grasp of the langage to call themselves a language professional - and that includes real native speakers with poor writing skills.

I'm afraid I have to agree with Arianne that someone who is happy to use a singular verb with a plural subject, and vice versa, should not expect to be assigned jobs. There are so many freelance translators out there who have an excellent command of their target language.

I notice you've now explained that you work with an editor, Tai Fu. That would certainly improve the end result somewhat, provided that he has a very good command of the language and is prepared to completely re-write some sentences - but you should ask him to write your letters too.


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
Member (2008)
English to French
... Jul 23, 2010

Tai Fu wrote:


I don't know what you mean by "native level" because I met many native English speakers in both the US and Taiwan, some of whom teaches English in Taiwan whose English aren't exactly perfect either.


Of course but just because one foreign-language industry has lost all semblance of professionalism doesn't mean that others should follow... I live in Shanghai and there are plenty of people teaching English, of course they really shouldn't and they would never be able to be hired as a teacher back in their home country because they lack the necessary qualifications (and sometimes English isn't even their native language - I've heard Germans with atrocious accents teaching English).

In my opinion, "native level" signifies writing (and speaking) with proper sentence structure, correct grammar and proper punctuation. It doesn't mean simply "being a native", a quick look at twitter, facebook and myspace will show that most people simply can't write.

"A few days ago, I was chopping trees to the west of the village, and I encountered a pack of wolf! I fled in panic, and after I managed to escape I realized that the ax that I earn my living with, a string of bead from my late wife, and a cloth shoe was missing. These things mean a lot to me, so if you can find them and bring it back, I will be eternally grateful."

I'm sorry I simply think that your English writing skills aren't sufficient to write or translate, especially if this is example of what you consider to be your best work. It would explain why no-one has been getting back to you for translations.

From your cv I guess you're around 27, 28 and you got your B.Sc. in 2008, perhaps it would be best to explore other jobs which are more in line with your skills and competencies. I know that you've gotten some work translating in the video game industry but you don't want to become the next "All your base are belong to us".

Sorry.

[edited for a typo]

[Edited at 2010-07-23 08:33 GMT]


 

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you for the criticism Jul 23, 2010

Thank you for the criticism. I understand that translation isn't something I'd spend my whole life doing, and I am now in the process of pursuing a career that is more in line with my passions and qualifications, however I require further training before I can. In the meantime my editor helped me tremendously with works I had gotten since the video game job, and our last client is quite happy with it.

I have edited my sample translation to be more grammatically correct.


 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
Member (2008)
English to French
. Jul 23, 2010

Tai Fu wrote:

Thank you for the criticism. I understand that translation isn't something I'd spend my whole life doing, and I am now in the process of pursuing a career that is more in line with my passions and qualifications, however I require further training before I can. In the meantime my editor helped me tremendously with works I had gotten since the video game job, and our last client is quite happy with it.

I have edited my sample translation to be more grammatically correct.


Your comparison to English teachers makes so much more sense in light of this - simply an occasion to parlay a basic skill into some spending money for a year or two - you have to remember that many people on this forum studied and work in translation for what is now many years (I'm a baby myself and I'm just starting my MA) so we're pretty touchy and comparing translators to English teachers (and I use the term loosely) in Taiwan was not the way to go.

Good luck anyhowicon_smile.gif


 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:57
Italian to English
+ ...
Responses seen as unacceptable Jul 23, 2010

It seems to be a common theme - posters ask for an opinion, whether it be on a profile, CV or why they're not getting work and then are unhappy when they get the often unpalatable but truthful answer. Bit like the Hotel Inspector and Mary Portas (UK viewers) but for translators. Clearly respondents have no ulterior motive and have spent time evaluating and answering the question, so try not to bite their tiny hands. BTW, not aimed in particular at you, Tai Fu, just a general observation.
Perhaps this should be a new thread.


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Must agree with criticism... Sep 20, 2010

New on this forum myself... as a native cantonese and english speaker, I must agree that there is an abundance of english teaching or english translation jobs/needs in the Far East right now, but these positions are often unfortunately filled by less-than-qualified individuals. I understand that the OP asked for an opinion, not criticism here, but OP might also want to consider further improving his skills prior to second-guessing some of the criticism posted. As, honestly speaking, they were rather truthful.

Good luck.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:57
French to English
+ ...
Actual application Sep 21, 2010

Aside from the actual quality of your writing (which in all honesty I haven't look at in detail, but it seems that others have), I think your approach is slightly wrong.

Typically, job posters will get anywhere between 10 and 100 responses to a job. So it's no good just sending a stock message that says "I am a translator. Here is my CV. Please give me the job.", because they've probably received 50 other e-mails with essentially the same content. (As testimony to this, I've even posted a job ad for recording work, and still got numerous stock e-mail answers from people telling me about their translation rates...)

So... you need to give a couple of lines that explains why YOU are the best placed person for that PARTICULAR job (possibly try and include a couple of keywords in your e-mail subject). And if you don't think you actually are the best placed person, then you might be better spending your time in a more productive way.

Unfortunately, it's rare for job posters to reply to applicants that don't get the job, just because there are so many applicants.


 


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