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How not to market yourself August 18, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Marketing ideas.

I just received the following e-mail (the details have been removed to protect the clueless):

Subject: English>Arabic / Italian>Arabic freelance translator
Dear sir or Mm,

I am a freelance translator, proofreader and editor based in Egypt. I am very interested to develop long-term cooperation with your esteemed agency. Please find enclosed my cv. All related certificates are available upon your request.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

[Name deleted]

Really? Did you even look at my web site? First of all, I am not an agency, but rather a fellow freelancer. Secondly, I don’t work in Arabic or Italian. I only translate German to English. Thirdly, you couldn’t even take the time to spell out “madam” or “best” in “Best regards,” which is just lazy. On the plus side, there was some grammatical awkwardness, but at least there were no typos (if you don’t count the non-capitalized “cv”). And you attached a PDF of your resume instead of a huge, multi-megabyte file or a Word document that could possibly contain a macro virus. Anyways, thanks for the spam, jack! Better luck next time.



1. Fabio - August 19, 2008

I get that kind of “approach” all the time. Some people even contact me through Skype and MSN offering their services, but usually they come with more questions about me than with information about themselves! Clearly, the only thing they ever read on my website is the contact infos. But the moment I know it’s a clueless translator trying to find a job, and not a potential client trying to find a translator, I just hang up. Same with e-mails: I just ignore them, and I know they won’t last long in the business.

2. Isabel Fernandez - August 24, 2008

I agree. I am in charge of selecting translators from our company. I never select the ones that send us unrequested e-mails with never-ending details about projects that 99% of the times do not have anything to do with our current needs.

If a translator is planning on contacting potencial clients, I would recommend to first learn about the agency and their offerings, send e-mails with no mistakes and résumés that are not longer than one page. And please, no huge attachments with diplomas, grades, etc.

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