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Do you reply to emails "Hey you, what are your rates"?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 07:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Aug 4, 2008

I mean that it is normal when people have a possible job and need to know ~ how much it can cost. But there should be some kind of logics and etiquette to give some basic info on what the request is all about (just to save each other's time). Do you react to straightforward emails like "Hello, we want to know your rate?" (with 0 info on what they propose, if they, in fact, propose anything at all)?

[Edited at 2008-08-04 02:24]


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Oleg Osipov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:58
English to Russian
+ ...
No way Aug 4, 2008

MariusV wrote:

Do you react to straightforward emails like "Hello, we want to know your rate?"


That was one of the issues discussed at the powow in Boston the other day.
That is the kind of question from a person with the elementary school background at the most, I believe. You know what to expect next and no deeper analysis of the "message" is needed.


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:58
English to Finnish
+ ...
Yes, why not? Aug 4, 2008

MariusV wrote:

Do you react to straightforward emails like "Hello, we want to know your rate?" (with 0 info on what they propose, if they, in fact, propose anything at all)?


I do, with boilerplate, on the assumption that the requestor is interested in purchasing a translation.

I really do not see why one should not answer such requests. My rates are also visible at my web site.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:58
English to French
+ ...
Polite reply briefly explaining my quoting process Aug 4, 2008

I do reply most of the time, except in obvious cases where, for example, the person contacting me uses a Hotmail address while pretending to be an agency.

My reply usually consists of a few paragraphs explaining that I don't have a fixed rate and that the rate I will quote depends solely on the parameters of the job. I tell the prospect that I need to have a detailed explanation of the work at hand, or better yet, a sample of the file. However, I always encourage the prospect to send the entire translatable material (I let them know that if I don't have access to the translatable text, then I will most likely quote a higher rate to cover me in case the job turns out to be more difficult than expected - this often convinces them to send the complete material).

I also ask them questions like the file format, the delivery format, the target audience, whether there is a specific set of terminology to be used, whether they need other tasks performed as well, and I make it clear right from the start what service I will be quoting on once I do get more details.

I let them know what my translation work consists of (for example, that it is highly recommended that my work be reviewed and proofread and that the responsibility for that is not part of my job, unless they are willing to pay extra so I can subcontract to a reviewer/proofreader). If someone contacts me for so-called proofreading, I explain to them in a few sentences what that means to me, and I subtly invite prospects not to confuse reviewing for proofreading.

To sum it all up, I usually do reply to such e-mails - but I also invite the prospect by the same token to comply with my quoting process. Of course, I make it clear that the point is to help me serve them better, not to boss them around, which is entirely true. If there is no clean organization from the start, how can we ever do a good job? If there is no clear understanding of the project, how can I make sure they will be well served by my work?

I had a great experience lately - asking for my rates, but also requiring references, a free translation test, etc. I politely replied with a lean version of my terms of business, which plainly explained why I do not offer free translation tests and references. The prospect ultimately complied and I got the job - and the client seems very happy. Hey, they gave me the means to serve them well and I was able to do a good job. It works out great for both parties.

It is always best to reply even if we don't believe in the prospect's conversion into paid work. It is best to stick to your terms of business and to politely inform prospects of these. Finally, it is wise to show openness in dealing with people who may not be very transparent in the beginning. You never know who you are dealing with - often, a prospect seems serious and professional and they turn out to be amateurs or even frauds. But it can also turn out the opposite way.

However, people who ask for my best rate usually don't hear back from me. In my dictionary, the term best rate means peanuts, and I ain't no monkey...


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:58
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Aug 4, 2008

Yes. I give them my rate in no more than 4 words.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Hey versus hello Aug 4, 2008

MariusV wrote:
Do you react to straightforward emails like "Hello, we want to know your rate?"


Yes. I give people my usual rate. If asked for my "best rate", I say that I don't have a best rate, and I give my usual rate. If people take my rate as if it were a quote, and send me stuff that don't qualify for that rate, then I politely point it out, and I quote a reasonable rate for the job.

Some translators claim that they don't have a usual rate. Well, I'd rather have a usual rate than spend a lot of time calculating several variables for each job.

[Edited at 2008-08-04 05:16]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two of mine Aug 4, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I do reply most of the time, except in obvious cases where, for example, the person contacting me uses a Hotmail address while pretending to be an agency.


Veering off-topic here, but... two of my best clients first contacted me from free e-mail accounts. In the one case, the agency's mail server was down and they used the free account temporarily (they later reverted to their domained account). In the other case, it was a project manager doing a bit of work from home, and he had (accidently?) used his free mail from-address. Good payers, friendly clients.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do tell them my rates Aug 4, 2008

I always get back to them. I give them my standard rate, including if they ask me for my "best rate". I have no "best rate" either, so I tell them also my standard rate, which means my base/regular rate. I also ask them to see the job, so I can give them a more accurate rate. Of course in most cases, I don't get an answer back. In the rare cases when I do get an answer back, basically, if THERE IS an actual job, I see the job and adjust (raise) my rate if necessary.

(usually I link rude with no actual job)


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:58
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
No, I don't Aug 4, 2008

I wouldn't want to work for someone that rude.

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:58
French to German
+ ...
Standard rates, yes - best rate, no Aug 4, 2008

I usually give information about my standard rates, no matter how impolite the e-mail may be at first sight.

But I ignore requests about "your (very) best rate" and "What is your CAT discount?"

Usually such people don't get back to me... Wonder why?


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 06:58
English to German
+ ...
top rates always Aug 4, 2008

Hi! what can you afford to pay, can you take a test of two pages before I know I am good for you. Show me your style . BR Brandis

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Ángel Domínguez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:58
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
*sigh* Aug 4, 2008

If the first thing a potential client wants to know is "your best rate", hmm, that's what I'd call a bad start. I believe it's just rude to ask for a low price before even discussing the specifics of a project.
In my years as a designer, I have had to deal with such clients more than I would have liked; they're usually the most demanding clients while not willing to pay an extra penny for any additional work.

Recently, I found an interesting blog post by a designer, discussing an e-mail that he had received, a textbook example of the rude approach. An interesting discussion ensued in the comments:
www.davidairey.com/approaching-logo-designers/

I, for one, reply most of the time. But only a very low percentage of these messages lead to actual work.
When I am seeking a specialized professional for a particular job, the first thing I want to know is his/her abilities and past work; price considerations come later, what I care is having a pro with a solid work experience/knowledge. But then again, not all prospective outsourcers are the same.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 07:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wold not want to be a friend of a person who cannot even say "Hello" in a polite manner Aug 4, 2008

ScottishWildCat wrote:

I usually give information about my standard rates, no matter how impolite the e-mail may be at first sight.

But I ignore requests about "your (very) best rate" and "What is your CAT discount?"

Usually such people don't get back to me... Wonder why?


About not getting back - you are totally right. It seems that people who send such dumb and rude emails are actually not interested in offering you a job - they only need to know the rates. And our interest is to get a job - why shall we bother with rude people who will not give us any job? Once I replied in the same straightforward manner "Hello. Thanks for your email. Can you tell me if you are interested in my services, or just in my rates?"


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Teresa Duran-Sanchez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:58
German to Spanish
+ ...
When English is a pidgin language Aug 4, 2008

We have to try to think globally: what is rude in one country might not be rude in another.

We also have to take into account that some people have a very rudimentary knowledge of the English language. If they don´t know the polite form "we would like to know your rates", they will use an unfortunate "we want to know your rates".

As an Spaniard I have to admit some of my nationals are simply too rude when they translate literally from my mother tongue, although most times they don´t even notice they are being offensive.

To such a question I would probably write something like:

"Dear X. Thank you for your interest. I would need to see the text before I send you my quote, to see if it is within my speciality, but my rates are normally Y for general texts and Z for technical texts. Best regards."


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:58
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
I like Thor's approach Aug 4, 2008

Although these inquiries are generally a waste of time, sometimes they are legitimate. Since they occur far too often to write a reasonable response each time (which I stupidly often try to do when I have time to respond at all), a boilerplate response is an effective way of handling this. I suppose a signature text in Outlook might be useful in this regard - just hit reply, select the "signature", edit a bit if necessary and send it off.

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