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Agencies: Do you REALLY read & file unsolicited translator applications received via e-mail?
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Feb 9, 2014

Having visited several hundred translation agency web sites, I've seen mostly two types of recruitment messages:

a) Online enrollment form
I assume these feed directly into a structured database, so that when a PM has a project, by querying on a specific set of requirements, they'll have a list of possible translators. If these are too many, they can enter additional requirements to shortlist them to a manageable number, to check one by one. Were it not the case, why would they bother to include a Captcha in most of them?

b) Send us an e-mail with your CV to (address)
My question is addressed to translation agencies that chose this approach.

The book publishing industry has coined a name for the destination of unsolicited manuscripts: the slush pile.

My take is that most of these agency site pages requesting a CV via e-mail are merely to prevent staff and management from wasting time in sorting these among legit work requests, before deleting them, or moving them to a "slush inbox" that gets deleted periodically by the system. Of course, before doing it, the system replies with a thank-you message, so the applicant won't bombard them with the same message until they get some receipt confirmation.

After all, there are sites (Proz rules wouldn't let me name them here) that thrive on selling lists of such e-mail addresses to translators, therefore spamming there should be colossal.

So my question goes to agencies that have adopted (b) above:
Does anyone there bother to read them, and file them per language pair?


(On a last note, some agencies request that appliants MUST mention on the message subject their rates per word in some currency, usually USD/EUR. I suspect that their system is programmed to automatically delete any message received by their recruitment address where the subject line contains a number higher than 0.05.)


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Our database Feb 9, 2014

I don't know if we would technically count as an agency yet. There are only five of us so most of our projects are still carried out in-house and we only rarely outsource work. Though that doesn't stop the endless stream of CVs that we receive everyday (mostly directly to my email, not through the site).

When we request information for specific bids, like the job I posted here last year, we do read and categorize every email, by hand. We received about 700 responses to that particular job.

I typically don't read the emails sent directly to my email, I believe the majority of them are stolen and most have really weird language combinations. The ones that we receive through the site are filed in case we ever need backup.

We don't ask for them, but we do make a note of rates should the translator mention them. We use this information so we can bid appropriately on projects in language pairs outside of our own. I believe a well paid/fed translator is a happy translator, and a happy translator is a productive translator.


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Texte Style
Local time: 01:44
French to English
Direct delete! Feb 9, 2014

When I was a PM, unsolicited CVs didn't even make a slush pile, they were all simply deleted straight away.

Once or twice a CV would arrive just at the right moment but the translators rarely turned out to be any good, so we would then go back to our tried and tested methods (mainly asking those we already knew and trusted and respected whether they knew anyone anywhere near as good as them but also looking on places like ITI).


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 18:44
German to English
+ ...
Yes, but... Feb 10, 2014

Texte Style wrote:

When I was a PM, unsolicited CVs didn't even make a slush pile, they were all simply deleted straight away.

Once or twice a CV would arrive just at the right moment but the translators rarely turned out to be any good, so we would then go back to our tried and tested methods (mainly asking those we already knew and trusted and respected whether they knew anyone anywhere near as good as them but also looking on places like ITI).

These are requests by agencies. They contact you without having any specific project in mind, because they are "recruiting" for their database. I share the doubt that the requested information is read. Such requests usually go into my slush pile aka stuff to delete.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
No. Feb 10, 2014

Q. " Do you REALLY read & file unsolicited translator applications received via e-mail?"

A. No. They go straight in the trash.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Treated as spam Feb 10, 2014

Although we never outsource, for almost a decade we have been receiving unsolicited daily emails from translators in language combinations we never do.

Any unsolicited email is treated as spam. No mercy. Sorry!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My point here Feb 10, 2014

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

These are requests by agencies. They contact you without having any specific project in mind, because they are "recruiting" for their database. I share the doubt that the requested information is read. Such requests usually go into my slush pile aka stuff to delete.


Though I am merely a freelance translator, NOT an agency, not even a wannabe agency, possibly because my web site is larger than some agencies', I often get applications from translators. There is nothing I could possibly do with them, and there is absolutely no section in my web site that could be construed as 'recruitment', even after having ingested a considerable quantity of alcohol.

If I get a request I can't serve, most likely I'll refer the client directly to a colleague/friend that I know for sure that can handle it properly, or tell them I don't know who could do it.

Now many agencies have a recruitment, join us, careers, whatever page, where they ask translators to write them to a specific address, attaching their CVs. Though I acquired some great clients this way, I suspect that most agencies discard these before reading. They just want to provide some e-mail address different from the main one, where they gather job requests.

Other agencies don't have a recruitment page at all. Either they'll only use their time-proven freelancers (which is quite safe) and bounce any request they can't fulfill, or their policy is "don't apply to us; we'll find you if and when we ever need your services".


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:44
English to Polish
+ ...
They do Feb 10, 2014

And they write back. Also, no applications are unsolicited if the agency provides an e-mail address specifically for applications.

Anybody who encourages applications on his website but deletes them without reading is wasting other businesspeople's time. And trashing such applications publicly does not make anybody look like a more successful entrepreneur anyway, sorry to break it to ya, guys. In fact, it even sounds rather declassé. Instead, be happy that translators want to work with you. Agencies relying exclusively on in-house staff, but outsourcers can't live without external translators.

Finally, it's okay for you to write to translators uninvited but not the other way round. Really?

[Edited at 2014-02-10 19:18 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:44
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What happens if... Feb 10, 2014

...you receive an unsolicited cover letter and brochure/resume by regular mail? Does it also go straight to the trash?

Unlike the old days, we wouldn't dream of sending out 800 letters by mail (I did this back in 1993 - print/fold/stamp/mail), but would a small (under 100) targeted snail mail campaign get you noticed due to its novelty? Or do you get a lot of printed resumes as well?



[Edited at 2014-02-11 13:59 GMT]


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Terese Whitty
United States
Local time: 17:44
Member (2004)
English to Swedish
No Feb 11, 2014

I receive a lot of applications, despite being a one-woman-band and they clearly show that they have only gotten my email address from somewhere, without checking my website to see that I am only working with Swedish and English and that I am not an agency. They also clearly indicate that they have not even bothered to find my name, which is everywhere. The emails usually start with Dear Sir/Madam...

Needless to say these go straight into the trash and I assume they do so for "regular" agencies too.

Tip! A little research goes a long way for getting new clients. Most agencies want you to fill out an online form these days too.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:44
Member (2008)
French to English
Yes, they do Feb 11, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Having visited several hundred translation agency web sites, I've seen mostly two types of recruitment messages:

...

b) Send us an e-mail with your CV to (address)
My question is addressed to translation agencies that chose this approach.

...

So my question goes to agencies that have adopted (b) above:
Does anyone there bother to read them, and file them per language pair?



My answer from experience is, Yes, they do. No doubt there are some disorganized agencies that solicit email inquiries and CVs with no intention or ability to process those sent in response, but there are enough who do take note and result in orders and new clients that it's worthwhile sending them.

[Edited at 2014-02-11 16:29 GMT]


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Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
. Feb 23, 2014

I'm quite disappointed to hear that some people have shamelessly and openly admitted that they deleted applications straight off the bat. (I'm referring to those who are/were part of AGENCIES, not individual freelancers getting unrequested spam!)

I wonder how they would feel if that was THEIR application that was being considered trash or that of their freshly graduated son/daughter. Now that wouldn't feel so good, would it?

Some people, once they get their own career going and have a steady income, find it easy to look down on others, mock aspiring translators and ignore their attempts at making a living doing what they love.

They conveniently forget that if they got to where they are, it is because one day, someone kindly decided to give them a chance.

[Edited at 2014-02-23 16:37 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is BUSINESS, my dear Feb 23, 2014

Simona Micutari wrote:

I'm quite disappointed to hear that some people have shamelessly and openly admitted that they deleted applications straight off the bat. (I'm referring to those who are/were part of AGENCIES, not individual freelancers getting unrequested spam!)

I wonder how they would feel if that was THEIR application that was being considered trash or that of their freshly graduated son/daughter. Now that wouldn't feel so good, would it?

Some people, once they get their own career going and have a steady income, find it easy to look down on others, mock aspiring translators and ignore their attempts at making a living doing what they love.

They conveniently forget that if they got to where they are, it is because one day, someone kindly decided to give them a chance.


Simona,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is business!
While I'll give a chance to a colleague, referring him/her to a prospect, I give no chances to my suppliers, and I don't expect any chances from prospects.

The issue involves merely finding an adequate supplier for an identified need.

I know for sure that as long as any unknown prospect has someone reliable and available to fulfill their needs, they won't look around. Likewise, my frequent clients won't give chances to - nor take chances on - new providers, as long as I can fulfill their current needs.

Nevertheless, new needs come up every day, so now and then I visit translation agencies' web sites, and feed my info on their online enrollment form, when they have one. I acquired several new clients this way, as they had never needed services like mine before.

Some agencies state that they don't recruit translators "just in case". Their message is, "if we ever need the services you offer, we hope to find you or someone else through a web search".

Others post on their web site a pleasantly written "join us" invitation to translators, asking them to send their CVs via e-mail. I was wondering if any of them has/keeps the manpower to actually read these applications.

I sent just a small bunch of applications this way. To make a long story short, the few agencies that responded promptly to this approach were agonizing, jobless. They were overly eager to get translator references they could use as prospects for their ailing marketing efforts.


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Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
Uhm... Feb 23, 2014

Of course translation is a business, I completely understand that. And it's a very competitive one too!

To clarify my point through the power of example: I don't expect an agency would break a fruitful working relationship with you to create one with me, a person they don't know. But if they have a page inviting me and other people to send in CVs, I do expect the minimum decency of someone taking a look at what we've sent in. If they're going to delete it right away, why invite me to waste my time filling out forms etc.? If they don't want to recruit, that's ok, but it's more ethical to state it upfront as you mentioned that some agencies do.

Another point I was trying to make is that at some point you were also an ''unknown supplier" to these clients you now have such a good relationship with. So they had to take a chance and hire your services without knowing you that well. Or maybe when you were just starting out and had zero experience and zero references, someone took a risk and gave you work. In business you have to take chances sometimes, whether you like it or not.

I also think it's bad business to simply delete applications from new ''prospects''. Things change and they might need to recruit someone new sometime. What if you move on to better paying clients? Or for whatever reason you have to break off the business relationship? It will suddenly be useful to have a list of go-to professionals handy. Nobody is irreplaceable, especially not in business.

Finally, it's just plain silly to ignore and treat people's applications like trash. Among them, there may be very talented, well-prepared translators that can bring their flair, fresh ideas and energy to a business. You can't know without giving them a chance. It makes sense to renew, grow, develop and move forward - by sticking to the same old, same old, an agency may find itself stagnating in stale formulas.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:44
French to English
+ ...
The practicalities of recruiting... Feb 23, 2014

Simona Micutari wrote:
I also think it's bad business to simply delete applications from new ''prospects''. Things change and they might need to recruit someone new sometime.


This was probably logical in 1990. But in 2014, it just turns out that it's much easier and more practical to solicit at least medium-quality candidates for specific jobs (indeed, via platforms such as ProZ) then it is to sift through thousands of unsolicited e-mails in the hope of stumbling across a high-quality candidate.

Like another poster above, I'm essentially a freelancer and do not have any open job advertisement for collaborators, yet receive so many unsolicited e-mails a day that I have had to set up filters to move them into the trash folder automatically let alone moving them there myself. I shudder to think what an average agency's e-mail inbox looks like...


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