First quote for a ProZ Job. What must I write?
Thread poster: Emilie Naudin
Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
Nov 24, 2007

Hello fellow translators,

I intended to quote for a job I saw today, but I realised I had no idea as to what to write in my e-mail. Could you please help me?

And I have another question that might seem stupid but I was actually never confronted with this situation:
The job poster said he would pay in Pounds. Can I accept to be paid in Pounds when I'm living in France?

Thank you very much for any help



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-11-24 22:11]


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CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:18
English to French
+ ...
Welcome ! Nov 24, 2007

Hello Emilie

First, I'd like to tell you that you CAN accept pounds, or every type of currency, even though you live in France. It does not matter at all.
However, keep all the papers from the bank, because you'll need to know the exchange rate for fiscal reasons (you cannot declare this amount in GBP to the French fiscal services).
What I recommend is that you'd better open a PayPal account (it's free), or Moneybooker. When you get your money in GBP on your PayPal account, the money will be transfered onto your bank account in the national currency of your country, that is EURO. It's much easier.
Keep in mind that, if you're paid directly via bank transfert, fees can be high (it's not the same currency). But, here again, you'll have euros on you bank account.

All the outsourcers I work with either accept PayPal or bear the cost of the bank transfer.
In my opinion, you should not accept to bear those fees, and this must be clear at the very beginning of any negociation.

As for what you should write in your application, I'm switching to French.

Je vous conseille vivement, chère consoeur, d'exposer (succintement mais...) précisément en quoi vous êtes qualifiée pour la mission :
* vos études de traduction ;
* vos clients (directs ou en agence) ;
* le nombre de projets que vous avez déjà effectués dans ce domaine-là ;
* vos CAT (même si ce n'est pas le plus important, du moins de ce que j'ai vu) ;
* votre disponibilité (travaillez-vous le WE ? la nuit ? les jours fériés ?) ;
* votre moyenne quotidienne de traduction ;
* vos tarifs. Certes, en principe, c'est la règle du moins disant, mais soyons clairs : à 0.02 € du mot, c'est perdre du temps et de l'argent que de travailler. Donc, demandez des tarifs raisonnables (surtout si vous démarrez), mais ne vous bradez pas, car il est très difficile de monter ses tarifs ensuite (du moins avec des clients qui ont eu l'habitude de tarifs bas).

De ce que j'ai vu, c'est l'adéquation de votre profil au domaine de traduction qui est déterminant.
Alors n'hésitez ni sur les stages que vous avez pu faire (ex. : traduction médicale => le stage de 4 mois en entreprise pharmaceutique, etc.), ni sur vos hobbies pour peu qu'ils aient trait à la matière (je vous concède que, selon le thème, ça peut être difficile...)

Les références clients comptent aussi : si vous avez déjà eu des clients (agences ou en direct), demandez-leur de mettre les observations sur votre BlueBoard.

Voilà, je vous souhaite bonne chance !!

Encore bienvenue sur ProZ, et j'espère que vous y trouverez de quoi faire de bonnes affaires !

Bien confraternellement,

CFK


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Rick Ash
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
How I offer translation services Nov 25, 2007

Bonsoir Emilie,

I usually send e-mails with the following general lines:

Dear -------- (if you know the name add it here),

I am available to translate the ------- document from language A to language B.

My translation credentials are -----, ----- and -----. I also have studies in ----- and -----.

Since 19-- I have carried out translations on such varied projects as X, Y and Z.

My rates are ---- and ----.

Software I work with include A, B and C.

I am serious and thorough in my job and respect agreed deadlines.

Please find attached my CV. (or add a link to your Proz profile)

If needed I am available to make a test translation.

I look forward to working with you.

Sincerely yours,
(your name)

Of course don't take these as a rule, develop your own set of important information, adapt to your own style and, very important, to the job being offered. I never sent two identical e-mails.

As for the currency, don't worry, your bank account will only see the converted amount, in Euros.

a plus et bonne chance,
Ricardo.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What I write when I respond Nov 25, 2007

Emilie Naudin wrote:
I intended to quote for a job I saw today, but I realised I had no idea as to what to write in my e-mail. Could you please help me?


I generally don't bid (sorry: quote) on ProZ.com, so most of my job-seeking e-mails are responses to queries from people who have e-mailed me. But the situation is the same... the potential client tells you a little about what they want, and you tell the client what you think will secure you the job.

Remember several things:

The client will get 100 other mails, so make sure you:
* make a good impression by making no spelling or language errors and write the letter like any Western business letter.
* include all the necessary information needed for the client to make his decision about hiring you.

Clients may choose a translator based on several things, eg first impressions about you, and your qualifications. Do not hide your qualifications -- but by "qualifications" I mean that which you can offer clients. First impressions refer to stuff like being polite -- for example, I only use a client's first name after he starts using my first name.

Refer to the things or requirements mentioned in the client's query. Tell him what your experience is and possibly how it relates to his needs. Say what CAT tools you use and which documents formats you a read and write. You may even tell him your time-zone and how it relates to his.

Some translators do not mention rates until they've seen the text, but I always say what my "usual rate" is, and I write that I must see the final text before I can commit to either doing the work and for what rate (although sometimes I take a chance if I'm confident about what is being offered).

The example below is what I use when potential clients have mailed me... it would have to be somewhat differently when you're bidding on a ProZ.com job.

Start the mail like any other business letter, in which you very briefly summarise the client's query, and say that you want the job.

Be honest about your skills but try to tell the client that you are suitable for his job.

Mention what CAT tools you use, and be specific about it if you don't have Trados.

Mention your usual rates to give the client an idea of what you charge, and mention the currency.

Use your full name at first, and remember to add a "signature" to your e-mail. Mine mentions my name, my profession and languages, my web site address, my e-mail address, and my Jabber and MSN addresses.

The important thing to remember is that this mail of yours will be the only thing a client has to make a decision on, so don't mess it up. This mail of yours is the brochure of your services to the client.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
This is the English forum Nov 25, 2007

FORMATION CFK wrote:
As for what you should write in your application, I'm switching to French.


Well, this is the English forum, so let's write in English:

Mention exactly how you are qualified for the job:
* your studies in translation
* who your usual customers are (direct or agency)
* how much work you've done in this field
* what CAT tool you use
* your availability (weekends, evenings, public holidays)
* how much you can translate per day
* your rates -- mention at least what your usual rates are (weed out low-paying clients but don't scare off high-paying clients).

Also refer to things in your profile which relate to the job. You can also mention non-translation courses you did in the field, or even hobbies that relate to the job.

Finally, clients value references, therefore ask existing clients to add comments to your profile.


[Edited at 2007-11-25 08:05]


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Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much!! Nov 25, 2007

It's really nice from you all to have given me such helpful advice. It feels great not to fell alone anymore.

I was wondering something else: the job poster said how much he would pay for the job, but that is far more than what I would have asked. Do you think I should tell him what are my rates?

Thanks again


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:18
English to French
+ ...
Please don't! Nov 25, 2007

I think that even though you would have charged less for this job than what the client is willing to pay, accept the rate proposed by the client. Firstly, this means more money in your pocket and if the client is willing to pay that much, this means that the work is worth that much to him. Secondly, other people who will quote for the same job will most definitely not offer a lower rate than what the client offers to pay. Thirdly, if the rate proposed by the client is standard or above, this may mean that the client is a serious professional not looking for a bargain translation but looking rather for quality, so if you were to propose a lower rate, he might get the impression that you are selling him a bargain translation and not a serious, quality translation as he wishes. Lastly, if you have the luck to start out with projects that pay at sound or high rates, take advantage of this. When you quote a lower rate, many clients are not prepared to accept that you raise it after a few years, so even with inflation, forex fluctuations and other factors, you will still be making the same money you were making years ago, but the cost of living has since increased. Always keep this in mind.

All the best!


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Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot, Viktoria :-) Nov 25, 2007

I'll follow your advice.

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Konrad Schultz  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to German
+ ...
Paypal account Nov 25, 2007

FORMATION CFK wrote:
What I recommend is that you'd better open a PayPal account (it's free).

If the PayPal policy hasn't changed, opening an account is free; but when an account is perceived as a business account it might be no longer free. (If that is no longer true, that would be interesting o:) ).


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Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
It is still free Nov 26, 2007

Konrad Schultz wrote:
If the PayPal policy hasn't changed, opening an account is free; but when an account is perceived as a business account it might be no longer free. (If that is no longer true, that would be interesting o:) ).


I opened a Paypal account yesterday and it is still free.

Here are all the fees (including fees for payments in foreign currency):

For France and all countries using Euros:
https://www.paypal.com/fr/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-fees-outside

And for UK:
https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-fees-outside


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:18
French to English
+ ...
Suggestion Nov 26, 2007

Hello Emilie,

As you are in France, may I suggest you look into one of the training sessions offered by the SFT (Société française des traducteurs) that aim to assist those starting out in setting up and developing a client base. The next session will be held December 15 at l'Université de Marne la Vallée. It is open to members and non members alike.

Albest,

Patricia


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Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
That would have been a really good idea, but... Nov 27, 2007

Thank you, Patricia, for your suggestion. I didn't know about those training sessions and would have loved to attend one of them. Unfortunately, Marne la Vallée is a bit too far for me (ah, the joys of just getting started and having to pay for some of the URSSAF taxes all the same)

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