Making a quote (what language should I use?)
Thread poster: fleurdelis

fleurdelis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:33
French to English
Feb 27, 2014

When making a quote to a potential client, should I use the source language or the target language in my message? For example, my language pair is FR>EN, so I apply for FR>EN translations. However, the jobs are usually posted in English. Does it make more sense for me to also write to them in English? Or do I have a better chance of getting the job if I write to the client in their (presumably) native language, French? Or is it better to send my message in both French and English?

Same thing with my resume: should I send it in French or English, or both?

Thank you!


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Darko Pauković  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 06:33
Member (2012)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Win the client Feb 27, 2014

I try to speak "their" native language. If the agency is based in France, I would write them in French. You say you can translate from French (meaning you know French), so you should show it in practice. From my point of view as an outsorcer, I was very surprised to receive few applications in English from translators who live in Croatia (where I live) and they translate into Croatian. I am Croatian, my company registered in Croatia, so why English? For me it means, either they always send the same application or they are to lazy to write few simple sentences.

You know this one?
“If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen” (Willy Brandt)

Good luck!
Darko


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:33
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Quote Feb 27, 2014

Hi, welcome Fleurdilis, I suppose you mean submitting a quote when a job is posted on Proz.com or other sites? Normally, the quote is submitted in the language in which the job has been posted. If the outsourcer wants you to submit a quote in, say, French, it will say so, but, otherwise, no. I hope this helps you and clarifies things. Usually, there is the language set too when you submit a quote via proz.com; if you need to contact outsourcer directly, quote in the language job is posted, otherwise you will be asked to quote in another language.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Do what you would do in a conversation Feb 27, 2014

If a French client stopped you in the street and asked, in French, if you could translate something, you wouldn't reply in English, would you? It's something you might do if your French was lousy - but I'm sure you don't want to give that impression, now do you? In reverse, if they've gone to the effort of speaking to you in English, then it would only be polite to continue in English, unless you found it hampered communication. IMO, you should do the same in writing. You could either send just the CV in the language you're using, or both.

It's a little different if you cold-call an agency. Then you can choose your language although I'm sure, as Darko says, the language of their country is best. But I'd certainly send them a CV in both languages.

In practice, I find I switch languages constantly with some clients, to the point where I sometimes prepare a reply, then check the original email to make sure I've addressed all their points, only to find I've replied in the wrong language! Thankfully, I can usually leave it and just add an "Oops, sorry!" message at that point in my email.

It follows that the description of the job in the invoice should be in the same language; and they must also be able to understand which is the invoice date and which is the last payment date. For that reason, I now send trilingual invoices (as I live in Spain), with the description of the job in just the language we use for communication.


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Ewa Olszowa  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:33
Polish to English
+ ...
Maybe I am cautious but.. Feb 27, 2014

My rule is to use the language of the country where the business is conducted just in case of any potential disputes. Thus, if translating for Canadian company, even if the PM is Polish, we write in English.
I have already translated numerous emails, short text messages copied from telephones, and other business correspondence written in native language of the parties that later had to be translated into English as they tried to prove something in court.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:33
English to Polish
+ ...
... Feb 28, 2014

My pairs are Polish-English and English-Polish. To very obvious Poles I write in Polish, otherwise I use English.

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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:33
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Use the language of the job posting Feb 28, 2014

If the job is posted in your source language, write in your source language. If it's written in your target language then reply in your target language.

Often clients write in the target language (for me this is English) and you can tell from their posting or very brief description that they may be more comfortable communicating in the other language. You can always add a sentence to your quote saying "I can communicate with you in either _____ or _____." More often than not, they switch to the source (or their native language).


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fleurdelis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:33
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Feb 28, 2014

Thank you everyone for your replies! This has been very helpful.

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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:33
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Language of the posting Feb 28, 2014

I agree with others to use the language of the job posting when applying for jobs here on proz. You might consider having a native French speaker edit a few French e-mails or passages you can use when corresponding in French. I know that my Spanish and Arabic can still benefit from the improvement.

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artsipoppa
Russian to English
+ ...
Rare Feb 28, 2014

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

My pairs are Polish-English and English-Polish. To very obvious Poles I write in Polish, otherwise I use English.


You mean by their name? In England and France there are quite a few people with very Polish names who can't speak a word of the language. Ever been caught out?


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