How to best reply to a job posting..?
Thread poster: Tristan Jimenez

Tristan Jimenez  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
English to French
Jan 28, 2012

Hi everyone,

I have been a member on ProZ.com for less than a month and already applied to a mountain of jobs with NO success.
It seems like these jobs are mainly posted by companies willing to pay a few pennies for their translations..
And to get a job, we must offer a very low rate.. Well that is just disgusting..

Anyway, as a new translator I keep wondering how should look an application letter. Should it be brief, or detailed? Should I attach my CV/Résumé? Should I give a quote per source word? target word maybe? or for the whole translation? Should I include my website?

Quite a serious question: should I reply to jobs on ProZ.com? Is that worth it??

Maybe some of you could help me with some advice...? I do not want to end up offering 0,03 € per word just to have more chances to receive opportunities.. But how can I get any offers on ProZ.com??

Thanks in advance to all of you!


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
Hebrew to English
Don't rely on the job system Jan 28, 2012

I think many other translators will agree with me here that the job postings on here don't really represent the cream of the crop.

....and the very way it's set up encourages bidding wars with the cheapest normally coming out on top.

I very rarely apply for jobs on here anymore (and even on the rare occasion I do - usually because the subject matter appeals to me) I pretty much know that because of what I'm going to quote - it won't get accepted.

That said, you can occasionally find a decent job on here so it's worth just keeping your eye out and being selective, very selective.

I find the benefit of being on here is not the job bidding system, but just being visible so decent clients can seek you out.

..................

If you do decide to bid for jobs, put as much information as you feel is pertinent to the specific job. If your profile doesn't have certain details then be sure to include them, if you feel your profile and website speak for themselves then there really is no need to parrot them as long as you are confident the person behind the job can find them.

- Quoting on source words is more usual than target words, exceptions exist though. I only tend to quote for the whole thing if it is something small (certificates etc), usually when there's only a few words and it's better to charge a minimal flat fee.

- For now, I'd advise patience. Do as much as you can to "pimp" your profile, participate in KudoZ, add some sample translations etc and you will get offers, usually direct messages either through your website or here, either way, it usually takes a few months for you to get noticed. With your language pair though it should happen quicker than most.

Good luck.

[Edited at 2012-01-28 14:46 GMT]


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:19
Dutch to English
+ ...
When I apply Jan 28, 2012

I don't get pennies and I have got jobs that way, in the past.

I usually start very polite, quote for the job asked (mostly per source word).

Then I introduce myself and tell people what they might wish to know in terms of the job they are offering (if it is music, address that, if it is is building go for that).

In short, put all the things in there that matter for someone who has a job to assign and has 50 candidates.

I usually invite them to my profile too.

You don't have to rely on the job board for your work load, but sometimes it is a way to gain access to an agency's database and be contacted again.



[Edited at 2012-01-28 15:19 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Keep it short Jan 28, 2012

Tristan Jimenez wrote:
Anyway, as a new translator I keep wondering how should look an application letter. Should it be brief, or detailed? Should I attach my CV/Résumé? Should I give a quote per source word? target word maybe? or for the whole translation? Should I include my website?


Responding to jobs posts on ProZ.com is often such a waste of time that you should really keep your responses short. Respond to as many as you can, but stick to your chosen rates. In my replies, I usually state my usual rate, plus what CAT tools I own. In my signature I write my web site address. If the job is for a specific field, I might mention whether I have any experience in that field. You can mostly use the exact same reply for all jobs posts, with one extra customised paragraph.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
Hebrew to English
Agree - Keep a template and tweak it..... Jan 28, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Tristan Jimenez wrote:
Anyway, as a new translator I keep wondering how should look an application letter. Should it be brief, or detailed? Should I attach my CV/Résumé? Should I give a quote per source word? target word maybe? or for the whole translation? Should I include my website?


Responding to jobs posts on ProZ.com is often such a waste of time that you should really keep your responses short. Respond to as many as you can, but stick to your chosen rates. In my replies, I usually state my usual rate, plus what CAT tools I own. In my signature I write my web site address. If the job is for a specific field, I might mention whether I have any experience in that field. You can mostly use the exact same reply for all jobs posts, with one extra customised paragraph.


This is also what I do (used to do). Make a basic template then tweak it on a case by case basis to fit the job.


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Phoebe Indetzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
German to English
+ ...
Sample translation Jan 28, 2012

I have found including a translation of the job poster's sample text - even where this is not actually required - to be an extremely effective measure.

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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Quoting on ProZ.com jobs and meeting clients Jan 28, 2012

Hello Tristan,

When quoting on ProZ.com jobs, it is recommended that, as colleges suggested, you keep it short, but most importantly, that you make sure that your quote includes the information the job poster is asking for.

This being said, you should also know that, at ProZ.com, the main channel to get jobs are direct searches outsourcers conduct in the directory.

With this in mind, there are a few easy things you can do to make sure potential clients searching the directory for language professionals see you, and that once they see you, that they remain interested, even when you are just getting started. These few things are what, at ProZ.com, are called winning strategies. ProZ.com winning strategies include:

1. A good profile, as your profile serves as your business card and directory listing, and it is the first impression of you that colleagues and potential clients will have when they find you at ProZ.com and when running web searches.

2. Membership, as members are ranked ahead of non-members in the directory of freelancers and interpreters, http://www.proz.com/translator-directory/ , and are then more visible in searches. Visit this page to check your current directory ranking.

3. KudoZ PRO points in your language pairs and fields of expertise, as this is how directory search results are ranked among the first group (members) and the second group (non-members). A few minutes of effort, a few times a month, may be all that is needed to boost your position in the freelancer directory.

4. Specialization. Let potential clients know what your fields of expertise are by listing fields in your profile in order --your specialty fields must be ordered accordingly, earning KudoZ points in those fields and in your top language pair, providing details in your "About me", etc. More tips on how to show your specialization are available here.

5. PRO status, as becoming a certified PRO will allow you to network and collaborate in an environment consisting entirely of screened professionals, including companies seeking the services of certified PROs only. (it is extremely important though that all previous strategies are put into use, and that all required information is gathered, before applying for inclusion into the Certified PRO Network).

Perhaps you would like to sign up for one of the free webinars on "Meeting clients at ProZ.com" offered on a weekly basis:

http://www.proz.com/guidance-center/additional-resources/#webinars

Also, for more information on ProZ.com winning strategies, just visit http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/ProZ.com_winning_strategies

Or else, watch this short video:

http://www.proz.com/videos/tutorials%20on%20proz.com/607

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,

Lucía


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Tristan Jimenez  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Jan 30, 2012

Hi,

I'd like to thank you all for your tips!
I will take the best out of it, it will help a lot i'm sure!

Good luck!


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:19
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
The Blue Board Jan 31, 2012

It is really worth it checking the Blue Board entry for the outsourcer. I am usually reluctant to quote, if the feedback from translators on a particular outsourcer is below 4.5. Chasing payments accross continents may prove to be somewhat difficult.

Piotr


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Vikki Pendleton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
Member
German to English
+ ...
Language of job post Jun 19, 2012

Is it appropriate to reply to a job posting in the language it was advertised in?

It's not really a problem where, say, the job is advertised in German for German>English, especially having carefully crafted a reply email once which only needs a little tweak each time, but I don't know if this is appreciated or if it would be better to demonstrate my knowledge of the target language.

Where this gets really tricky is outsourcers posting in Spanish or Italian for translations from German or French into English. I don't speak either of these languages, although I can have a stab at applying in them (Italian in particular, as a friend of mine is Italian). Of course that can cause trouble later if they want to speak to me in Italian!

I was just wondering what the etiquette was, if there is one.

Thanks
Vikki


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:19
Chinese to English
Sometimes it's about being the quickest out of the starting blocks Jun 19, 2012

The other benefit to having a template, as Samuel and Ty suggested, is that it's quick. Sometimes a PM will award the job simply by virtue of whose email gets to her first (assuming it's from someone reasonably competent). In your pair, I'm sure it's much harder to guarantee that you're the first. You can't hang around online all day. But when you get that first break, it may well be just from the coincidence of being there at the right time. Mine was.

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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:19
Dutch to English
+ ...
What Vikki Phil said Jun 19, 2012

I have often wondered about what Vikki has mentioned. As my target language is English, I usually apply in English, even if they have asked in Italian. I don't think they would like to see my Italian.

Although, what if a German agency advertises in German? I know Germans are very particular about people not understanding their language, so they might want to know that you really do understand it or they might prefer you to use English because that's what the target language is. Who knows? I don't have enough experience in acceptance rate to judge...

@Phil:

Now that is true. I have no problem with that, but what I do hate is those who have a 'quoting deadline' of maybe 24 hours and have already assigned the job 5 minutes hence. Why do they not close their ad?


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:19
German to English
+ ...
Profile Jun 19, 2012

I would say work on the keywords in your profile and make them more specific to the types of jobs you do. Clients do search, and I get contacted frequently through my profile, though I rarely bid for jobs. Even so, the rates aren't always great, but I have found there is a greater likelihood of decent clients coming from my profile rather than job bids.

As for the other question about language: I also translate DE>EN, and I reply in the language in which the outsourcer contacted me, whether in a bid or when replying to an e-mail.


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Vikki Pendleton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
Member
German to English
+ ...
Language of quote Jun 19, 2012

Daina Jauntirans wrote:

I reply in the language in which the outsourcer contacted me, whether in a bid or when replying to an e-mail.


Thanks Daina

I do this too, and usually that's fine if it's German or English. However there are a few agencies who post in Italian for German-English jobs. What do you do then? Do you just not bid on those jobs or do you put something together in Italian? I've done the latter with the help of a friend and online dictionaries, but have been somewhat thwarted by the agency then expecting ongoing correspondence (including phone calls) in Italian.

Thoughts welcome

Vikki


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