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Poll: Do you reply to emails from potential clients to inform them you are not accepting their offer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:07
SITE STAFF
Dec 20, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you reply to emails from potential clients to inform them you are not accepting their offer?".

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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 13:37
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Usually Dec 20, 2014

If it is a reasonable offer which I would have liked to take up but am unable to due to other commitments, then I usually reply explaining the situation. I often also ask if the deadline could be moved around to accommodate my commitments.

But I don't bother to waste my time in replying to all and sundry requests as these are offers with payments of 0.05 USD per word or such pittance (about a third of my normal rate).


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Usually Dec 20, 2014

My practice is:

Always respond when the e-mail is addressed to me personally, the document is attached, and it is a clear request for a specific quote;
Sometimes respond when it is addressed to me but the subject is a large project a month or so down the road (being careful that they don't just want to use my name in the proposal to their client but wouldn't dream of paying my rate);
Never respond to a nonpersonalized e-mail.








[Edited at 2014-12-20 08:29 GMT]


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 10:07
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Muriel has explained the three rules... Dec 20, 2014

... so all we need to do is to follow them! Couldn't agree more.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 20, 2014

I usually try to do so, but sometimes I am just too busy. It take me longer to compose an email in Spanish and sometimes there simply isn't enough time. Sorry folks!

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
10% never reply (at the time of writing)? Dec 20, 2014

That's amazing, and very worrying, IMHO. There's a lot written on this site by freelancers about the despicable practices of some agencies, who fail to give us the respect we deserve as service providers (and fellow human beings). And yet 10% of us are simply ignoring emails. Surely that isn't right.

Once in a while, I ignore what is clearly a mass email, or one from an agency that constantly spams me with ridiculous offers. But all others get a reply. Maybe very short but polite; maybe dismissive if rates or deadlines are crazy or they just want to waste my time, but they do get a reply. Isn't that common courtesy?

I don't get stuck on this idea of using my name for the first contact. Obviously it's far preferable but there are cultural and language hurdles in that for some people. My reply shows them how I like to be addressed. I've had some really god clients who simply addressed me as "Dear Translator" or "Hello" the first time.


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:07
English to Polish
Usually Dec 20, 2014

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

My practice is:

Always respond when the e-mail is addressed to me personally, (...)
Never respond to a nonpersonalized e-mail.



Same here. If it's addressed to me, I assume they're waiting for a answer before finding someone else, so I don't waste their time.

Mass mail senders couldn't care less if I'm not interested. They're interested only in those who want a job.


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Kristian Andersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
English to Swedish
Usually Dec 20, 2014

Sometimes I simply use the delete button!

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Couldn' agree more! Dec 20, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

That's amazing, and very worrying, IMHO. There's a lot written on this site by freelancers about the despicable practices of some agencies, who fail to give us the respect we deserve as service providers (and fellow human beings). And yet 10% of us are simply ignoring emails. Surely that isn't right.

Once in a while, I ignore what is clearly a mass email, or one from an agency that constantly spams me with ridiculous offers. But all others get a reply. Maybe very short but polite; maybe dismissive if rates or deadlines are crazy or they just want to waste my time, but they do get a reply. Isn't that common courtesy?

I don't get stuck on this idea of using my name for the first contact. Obviously it's far preferable but there are cultural and language hurdles in that for some people. My reply shows them how I like to be addressed. I've had some really god clients who simply addressed me as "Dear Translator" or "Hello" the first time.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
If it looks like a serious offer, I answer immediately Dec 20, 2014

I entirely agree with Sheila. It only takes a few seconds to write 'sorry, I'm fully booked until ...' or find some other excuse if more appropriate.
There is no need to explain in detail if you are going to turn down the job anyway.

Good manners cost you nothing, and I have seen how agencies ask their regular translators, then the reserves, and in busy periods have to recruit new translators. Meanwhile the deadline is approaching... so it is not always their fault if a new client sends you a job with a tight deadline.

I consider mails sent to several translators for that reason, because every hour spent searching for a translator means an hour less to work on the job.

That is also why I respond promptly if I can - then the client can cross me off their list and carry on searching. I drop clients later if the relationship does not develop in the right direction.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, always Dec 20, 2014

I assume that if they wrote me, they have reason to believe that I can do some job they need done. If I am not accepting their offer, it's because there is at least one mismatch between what they offer and what I require.

The only exception is when I am the wrong translator for their job, typically wrong language pair and/or some subject area I don't serve. In these cases, I'll refer them to some dependable colleague suitable for that, or suggest that they search on the Proz database.

So I point out any mismatches. The most common are:
  • Impossible deadline - either too short, or when I'm too busy already: I'll tell them when I can get it done (I might refer them to a reliable colleague, and step out, if I see that they are really in a rush).
  • Rates too low: I tell them my rates.
  • Payment term too long: I explain them my payment term (COD) and the interest rates in Brazil (11%/month), tell them the different prices, and explain my priority system (shortest payment terms served first - a long payment term might never be served).
  • Software required unavailable: I tell them what software I use to do what they need, and what they will get from it.
  • Specific CAT tool required unavailable: I tell them I use WordFast Classic.
  • Bad/suspicious/unknown credit - I request payment in advance

If they can iron out the mismatches, we have a deal!
Otherwise we don't, and no time will be wasted in haggling.

However I don't reply to inquires to the tune of "if you are interested" when I am not.


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I rarely reply to "list" emails Dec 20, 2014

It is normally easy to identify emails that are sent out to a blanket list of Proz translators in the same language pair. If the sender has obviously not bothered to check my profile, I often bin the message, but it does depend on the overall attitude that comes over and what I know about the sender.

One agency keeps on contacting me about transcription. After telling them twice that I do not offer this service, I no longer bother to reply. If they don't read replies and/or can't manage a list...

As a matter of courtesy, I reply to emails (unless suspect) when the sender has made some effort to contact me in particular, whether I am interested in working with them or not.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:07
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, always Dec 20, 2014

I simply inform them of my rates, and that usually concludes the issue because mostly my rates are too high.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:07
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Always Dec 20, 2014

I always reply to job offers, which doesn't mean I always accept them, of course.
If I can't accept the job I usually explain my reasons briefly (too busy, rate too low, payment terms not acceptable, usuitable subject matter, etc.) and invite them to contact me again when something suitable comes in. As Sheila says, it's a matter of courtesy and good business practice.


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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:07
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I reply to e-mails addressed to me, not to group e-mails... Dec 20, 2014

I replied "no" because quite a few e-mails are obviously addressed to a group (and not just a few translators). If they've e-mailed 20+ translators, I can't imagine they want to receive a string of "nos"!

As someone mentioned, if the offer is intriguing and I just don't have time to take it, I respond with additional info about my business, etc. And obviously I reply if I have an established relationship with the sender!

[Edited at 2014-12-20 15:31 GMT]


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