How to quote efficiently?
Thread poster: Unchalind

Unchalind  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:47
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
Oct 22, 2014

Hello all!

Please suggest when you submit quotation to clients- how do you write them?

Normally, I use ProZ format, I sometimes send e-mail to clients.
However, I would like to ask for some advice from professionals how to write quotation properly and in a competent manner.

Thank you.
Unchalind


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Templates! Oct 22, 2014

Hi Unchalind,

The most efficient way to quote (and invoice) is to have ready made templates saved as .dotx

With this, all you have to do is enter the job details and rate, and then save as .pdf to send to client.

The template should contain all of your details and have an automatically updating date etc.

Best of luck!

DJ


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Unchalind  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:47
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you DJ Oct 22, 2014

Hi DJ,

Very helpful advise.
I'll do as you suggest.

Regards,
Unchalind


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I have to disagree about automatic quotes Oct 22, 2014

DJHartmann wrote:
The most efficient way to quote (and invoice) is to have ready made templates saved as .dotx

With this, all you have to do is enter the job details and rate, and then save as .pdf to send to client.

The template should contain all of your details and have an automatically updating date etc.

Actually, I agree entirely with this advice when it refers to invoices. There's absolutely no need to reinvent your invoice for every job or even for every customer. You should just be plugging the client details and the relevant one-off information into a standard template.

But I really think that sending the same words to each prospective client will mean that your quote will never be 100% the best quote for the job. I don't know how much competition there is in your pairs but in mine there's so much that the quote needs to be as near perfect as possible. And that means tailoring it to the client, the job, the circumstances, and to what feels best to you at that particular moment. It even depends on the language used in the job posting: Is it formal or informal? Are they writing in a foreign language (so a simple reply) or are they going to appreciate you using the language to the full? Is the poster an agency, a fellow translator cum outsourcer, or maybe a direct client? All these and more need to be taken into account.

Templates are of some use in that they can contain data you're always forgetting, such as dates. But if you aren't tailoring the text somewhat every time you send a quote then you really aren't sending the best quote possible.

As for the content itself, it's a very personal matter. A CV can be constructed by someone else with access to information about your career etc. A letter/quote is really much more personal. But some advice would be:
- write the minimum possible; and never more than a very short page
- make the subject/title as punchy and informative as possible or the quote itself may never get read
- only say positive things; if you're using "do not" etc., then either rephrase in a positive way, or just remove that part
- don't repeat your CV in your quote (though you would normally attach it); just give the most positive, and relevant, bits of information
- don't write a job-seeker's cover letter: you aren't asking for work, you're responding to a client request with your terms and conditions (but you don't want to give them in the first line - get the client interested in your services first!)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A template in Excel Oct 22, 2014

I keep a list of the agreed rates for all customers, and copy/paste from that into a template that is specific for quotes. Maybe you want to number the quotes to avoid any confusion and of course keep copies of any quotes you issue. It is also better to send your quotes in PDF format (not in Excel) so that they cannot be altered easily.

Something else I would recommend is to add a note to your quote template stating a deadline of validity for the quote, and that you shall issue a new quote with a new deadline in case that time has expired by when the customer has accepted your quote. I usually make quotes valid for only 24 hours, since my workload changes very rapidly. If the customer accepts the job after that time, I recalculate the deadline and ask the customer for agreement.

Good luck!


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Unchalind  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:47
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Please give some examples Oct 24, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:
- don't write a job-seeker's cover letter: you aren't asking for work, you're responding to a client request with your terms and conditions (but you don't want to give them in the first line - get the client interested in your services first!)


Hi Sheila.
Can you guide me with example sentences that don't look like a job-seeker, please.

Thank you.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The sentences must be yours Oct 24, 2014

Unchalind Phongsamai wrote:
Can you guide me with example sentences that don't look like a job-seeker, please.

I can't write your sentences for you but I can give some idea of what I see as useful and that serves me well.
a) say why this particular job is right up your street (previous experience with the terminology as translator, in another job or even as a hobby; relevant studies; recent reading...)
b) failing that, or as a second point, some sort of justification for your claim to be able to do the job. Languages: studies, life in countries where they are spoken, bilingual family... Subject area: pretty much as in (a)
c) your ability to meet the deadline, or your proposed delivery date (both of which are subject to getting the go-ahead fairly quickly)
d) your terms and conditions (or a link to them), with the proviso that nothing is contractual until you've received the text and their full instructions. Of course, if it's an agency they may have stated their terms, but I don't let that stop me exercising my right to quote my own and being clear on what is and isn't acceptable to me
e) if it's an agency, you may want to give a bit of info on the tools side of things: CATs, DTP skills... if any (if you don't use/have any then skip this as it's optional unless they ask for specific things in the job post)
f) mention of attached CV, link to profiles, etc

That sounds to me to be far too long. The thing is that one sentence could encompass (a) and (b); another couple of sentences for the important info in (c) and (d); a closing few words for (f), and that's it. The main thing, IMO, is to be business-like. You're not asking for a job, certainly not from an employer. You've got other jobs on the go, but capacity to take on another client, to help them out by offering them your specialist skills. Exude self-confidence, common-sense and professionalism when communicating with this potential business partner.

However, I know for a fact that many agencies are looking for translators who'll be happy to be dictated to and treated like the lowliest of production-line workers, without the perks of an employee. And some translators seem happy with that way of working, too. I can't help with that type of relationship but I imagine it's very different to the one I've painted above.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:47
English to Polish
+ ...
Save time but don't be formulaic Oct 24, 2014

'Optimize' your quote writing. You can have templates, but make sure they don't look like robot speak and can be adapted easily. Always add a personal touch — 'personal' concerning the client and his situation, not you (unless it's relevant experience).

Try to find the tone that matches your business style the best. Imagine your prefer work (your business if you prefer) as a model or even as a human person with certain qualities, nail down down those qualities, no more than 3-4 core ones, but it's good to have a fleshed-out picture and comprehensive description, just don't focus on too many things at once. That will be your voice. Think about your clients, what they need, what they want (other than low prices, of course, but even then what they want is a good bargain rather than low price per se), think what you would like to find in your quote if you were your own client. Make sure your clients can find it.

Don't copy over information from your CV unless you really, really know what you're doing (e.g. if you have some very specific and relevant credentials you want to mention as an 'opener' and/or make sure the client doesn't miss).

For more ideas read Marta's translation business blog here:
http://wantwords.co.uk/school/blog/

And Jim's Marketing Blog here:
http://jimsmarketingblog.com/

Perhaps Alastaire's too (and get his ebook):
http://alldaycreative.co.uk/

I also agree with Sheila on freehand quotes. If anything, in addition to just being more personal with your clients, writing your own business letters will teach you something about doing business and presenting that business to others. It will thus help you understand some things that are important in business and marketing translation. That, and just simply writing.

[Edited at 2014-10-24 10:46 GMT]


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