Boilerplate rejections
Thread poster: Robert Forstag
Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 23, 2014

I just received an e-mail informing me that a quote I submitted several hours ago for a posted job was declined. The message contained the following text:

Thank you for applying for our job, at this time we have selected to go with a different linguist. Please continue to quote on jobs we post in the future.

Given that this is at least the tenth such message I've received over the past year, I am assuming that this is intended as handy (if ungrammatical) boilerplate text supplied to posters by this site in the interest of allowing them to politely and efficiently let down rejected quoters.

The problem that I have with the using of such text is that it simply perpetuates the impersonal and unhelpful communication that freelancers are all too familiar with (e.g., mass e-mails, invitations to take tests and complete significant paperwork that more often than not result in no actual offers of paid work, notifications of corporate changes and Christmas greetings from agencies to translators that they've never actually contracted, etc.).

My suggestion:
Eliminate this option of sending a boilerplate rejection from the Jobs Board. Posters who want to really communicate with bidders can take the trouble to do so personally.

For that matter, I would not have a problem with eliminating the "decline" option altogether. After all, I don't think too many translators are anxiously awaiting responses to jobs they've bid on through this site, and that they typically interpret non-response as a "decline." At least that's how I operate.

In other words, I would much rather have no communication at all than receive an e-mail with an utterly meaningless potted statement (that the original drafter couldn't even manage to put in correct English).

[Edited at 2014-02-24 00:46 GMT]

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Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:28
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Set your own boilerplare Feb 24, 2014

A job poster can set an own message to decline quotes. You can save it and use it again. Or use the preset message Proz provides.

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Angelique Feb 24, 2014

I don't think any boilerplate messages, from whatever provenance, have a legitimate place in the communication between job posters and bidders, and for the reasons I described in my original post. And I find it especially offensive that this site facilitates meaningless communication of the kind reflected in the message that I've quoted (and that apparently thousands of site members have received during the year or so since this "utility" was introduced).

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Boilerplates in practice Feb 24, 2014

Even if officially they are not boilerplates, messages like that do get very stereotyped.
I very rarely bid for jobs directly from this site, but I do get messages from outsourcers who have obviously sent them to more than one translator.

I don't know how many times I have writtten

'Sorry, but I cannot take on more work before [next week]. I hope I can help another time.'

As I rush to meet a deadline.
And the more desperate, the more typos in the mail... I do tailor those mails occasionally to the client, but not much.

A correct and polite boilerplate really is useful in a standard situation, and I don't mind them. Then I can stop wondering whether to keep a slot open for that job, or just forget it, or whatever the message is.

Of course, it does give a better impression if the message is correctly written!

[Edited at 2014-02-24 10:14 GMT]

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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 05:28
Chinese to English
+ ...
One man's medicine Feb 24, 2014

There are also people who are very offended when they get no response. So whose poison do we pick?

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
On dropping the other shoe... Feb 24, 2014

Some job posters simply forget to close their jobs, leaving them until they expire. They may never tell applicants to get some sleep; no point in staying awake, waiting for that assignment any more.

For me it's OK if they just send me a one-liner to say "We hired someone else."
This means that the time I had mentally allocated to do their job is mine again, so I can use it for anything else.

I use a rather tight time management system, so I must weigh the risk of bidding for two or more large jobs, when I know that I would only be able to handle one of them.

I don't consider a prospect hiring someone else as a "rejection". They need just ONE person to do something I can do, and they chose someone else.

Of course, I must remain market-conscious. If I didn't get enough bids accepted to keep me busy, something must be wrong with them.

Rates too high? Turnaround too slow? Poor image in the marketplace? Insufficient qualifications? Inadequate resources (hardware/software)?

I should ask these and other questions, and adjust my business offer to market demand, in order to keep me selling as many of my working hours as I can. Conversely, if I had too much demand, I should ask the opposite questions to make my working hours more profitable. It is indeed a very delicate balance.

So it's a matter of devising - and continuously adjusting - a business proposal that will balance 'assignments' and ' rejections' as you call them, in a way to make the best use of my working hours.

As soon as a bid is converted into a 'rejection' - no matter how bluntly stated - it clears time for taking more assignments. Otherwise it will result in poor time management. On its turn, poor time management may cause late deliveries, which will eventually snowball in an impaired image, disrupting that delicate balance.

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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:28
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Better than nothing Feb 24, 2014

I do agree that a personalised and more informative response would be the best of all, but I would rather receive a standard response than nothing at all. At least if I have received a rejection I know to cross that job of the list of quotes submitted instead of wondering how long I should wait in front of this wall of silence before ruling something out. Like Christine I do find myself writing my own standard emails, though: how many ways are there to say 'Please find attached the completed translation. Thank you very much for your order', or 'Unfortunately I am already working on a project at the moment and would be unable to meet the required deadline for this translation'? If you have to write the same thing many times over, it is easier to use the same words each time.

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