Agency process - rate of reply
Thread poster: schallinor

schallinor

Local time: 03:29
Swedish to English
+ ...
Aug 23, 2011

Just a question for fellow translators: in your experience, what is the rough rate of reply as a % on the following activities?

- Sending a CV off to an agency
- And if subsequently asked to complete a sample translation, being accepted

Do you find there is a discrepancy between the two i.e. a high rate of initial interest which later doesn't come through?

Thanks in advance for thoughts!


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:29
French to English
+ ...
Maybe an additional % to consider... Aug 23, 2011

You may also want to consider: of those agencies that actually "accept" you, in how many cases does this actually translate into work, and what percentage of those cases are regular, reasonably paid work?

In my experience, the agencies/clients that end up offering regular work aren't necessarily the same as the ones initially making a lot of "noise" about tests, contracts etc.


 

schallinor

Local time: 03:29
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's very true... Aug 23, 2011

That's very true. It's just that without finding others share the same frustrations, it can be easy to feel actively "rejected" rather than simply part of a system which unfortunately can't use everybody...

 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:29
German to English
Don't feel discouraged Aug 23, 2011

schallinor wrote:
it can be easy to feel actively "rejected" rather than simply part of a system which unfortunately can't use everybody...


I can't provide a ratio of resume submissions to tests to actual offers; it's like buying a lottery ticket, so don't take it personally. But like a winning lottery ticket, some of the successful applications have paid off nicely for me.


 

Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 04:29
French to English
It gets better with time Aug 24, 2011

I suggest that you keep a list of the agencies that you contact, along with dates, method of contact, tariffs quoted, etc. - and note whatever reaction you get.

You'll see that it gets better with time. Don't be put off by more experienced translator's excellent response ratios - only compare your own over time and be encouraged by your progress, which will come if you work at it.



 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
It's usually random Aug 24, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:
In my experience, the agencies/clients that end up offering regular work aren't necessarily the same as the ones initially making a lot of "noise" about tests, contracts etc.


I definitely second that!

A PM from an agency I've been working with all the time for almost 5 years recently asked me, after I finished a long project on DVD if I had put the names of the dubbing cast as well as my own on the credits. *I* had to remind her that our NDA forbids it! So much for the paperwork; we did it once, and they filed it away.

Some agencies will have permanent clients, and assign somewhat permanent translator, reviewer, DTP operator, etc. teams to each of them. Others don't have the faintest idea on what kind of a job they'll be requested tomorrow, so they try to have an array of the most varied specialists standing by.

Yesterday morning I had no specific assignment, took some time to improve my web site. By lunchtime I was working on 5 completely separate jobs, none of them small, struggling to assemble a a sequence that will enable me to meet all deadlines. By the end of the day I had turned down two more jobs. Yet my mushrooming web site (havent uploaded the new stuff yet) is evidence that not all days are like this.

A freelance translator's life, workload-wise, is like a rollercoaster ride. Right now I'm studying what I've named "managed availability", trying to build an equation that will enable me to never have to say no or maybe later to my best clients, while being able to keep myself busy with some of the second-rate ones.

The fact is that all outsourcers expect all the translators they trust to be available all the time, even if they need them, say, only twice a year.


 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:29
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Rate of reply Aug 24, 2011

Consider this: When I first started I had to search national phone books at the university to find agency addresses, print out over 300 CVs, stuff them into envelopes, address and stamp them (at my expense) and then wait several weeks for a reply. About 20% responded with a thank you letter and about 1-2% (1-2 agencies for every 100 I contacted) responded with an actual job. I am still working with two of these agencies 18 years later.

I have never done a translation test and I neve
... See more
Consider this: When I first started I had to search national phone books at the university to find agency addresses, print out over 300 CVs, stuff them into envelopes, address and stamp them (at my expense) and then wait several weeks for a reply. About 20% responded with a thank you letter and about 1-2% (1-2 agencies for every 100 I contacted) responded with an actual job. I am still working with two of these agencies 18 years later.

I have never done a translation test and I never applied a lower rate because I was a beginner (by the way, rates were in the .08 - .10 a word range 18 years ago, but no one seems to care about that fact).

Honestly, I think your rate of .03 is turning people away. When you see a cheap product in a store, you cannot help but question its quality. Agencies may question why a good translator would be willing to work for so little and why he/she is so desperate. Better to multiply this x 4 and then negotiate down if necessary. It seems counterintuitive, but the higher your rates, the more (and better) work you will receive and you will be a more satisfied and happy translator. When you offer rates like .03, you attract disorganized bottom-feeders and scam artists that always seem to want things in a rush, but are never in a rush to pay.

That having been said, I think it would be an interesting "experiment" to send out CVs to different agencies with different rates (for example, .06, .12, .16, .20 a word) and track the responses.



[Edited at 2011-08-24 13:42 GMT]
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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Translating Jeff... Aug 24, 2011

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
Honestly, I think your rate of .03 is turning people away. When you see a cheap product in a store, you cannot help but question its quality. Agencies may question why a good translator would be willing to work for so little and why he/she is so desperate.


The truth is that some agencies offer 3¢ trying to hire a 12¢ translator desperate enough to accept them. No agency would be willing to hire a 3¢ translator, ever.


 

schallinor

Local time: 03:29
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think you're right... Aug 24, 2011

I think you're right. To overvalue your product is generally accepted as a Bad Thing is most circumstances, but perhaps to undervalue can be equally detrimental. It's a balancing game that some have seemingly mastered!

 

yanadeni (X)  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:29
French to Russian
+ ...
... Aug 24, 2011

When I last time sent out my CVs (2 years ago), I sent about 600 CVs, received a dozen of polite replies that they put my CV in their base and one tiny 15$ job. Since then no one re-contacted me.
Sorry, I'm not good in mathematics, count the rate yourself


 


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Agency process - rate of reply

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