RE: For translators’ sake!

This morning I received an email from an individual wishing to make the first steps to the world of translation. I always recall my days, when I was sending my CV right and left, up and down to get new clients and advertise my services. And so, I accept such emails with a welcoming smile. This one, though, made my smile fade while reading it and here is why:

Same email sent to me twice in the same month

As soon as I saw the name, I knew I had received an email from this individual before. What annoyed me the most was that in the subject line I could see the RE: (reply), which means that you, the sender, had once written this email and then simply pressed the reply button to send the same email to many potential employers. The first thought that came to my head was if you do not respect me, then I will definitely not respect you! FAIL.

Subject Line: To Whom It May Concern

What do you mean, To Whom It May Concern? OK, I know that sometimes it is difficult to find the right person to send your emailed CV to, but my name is clearly mentioned on my website. So, what is your excuse? To whom it may concern? Well, it does not concern me at all! FAIL.

Grammar & syntax

Dear Sender, Do you really want to become a translator? Seriously? Then, why is your email in English so full of grammar mistakes and syntax errors? Cummon! I can tell you why! Because in this unsteady economic environment, you woke up one day and with a light bulb lit above your head you remembered that once upon a time you had taken lessons in a foreign language and thought that you can become a translator (don’t forget, anyone can be one, after all!) In the email all it is mentioned is that you have taken lessons in the foreign language. Do you actually know how much sweat and sometimes, tears it takes to be a translator? Where is your experience? Where are your academic qualifications? Have you lived in the country where this foreign language you have learned is spoken? FAIL.

CV attached

You send me an email and you expect me to take you seriously. You mention in your email that you have attached your CV for me to look at. No, you have not! Where is it? Of course, I will not reply to you and ask for it. FAIL.

I know I sound harsh and you probably would take offence, but please consider that you undermine my profession, you undervalue my degrees and experience and you are probably going to be employed on a freelance basis by agencies in India, paying you 0.02-0.03 Euros per word (you are categorized as a bottom-feeder in our world, by the way!) and you throw me off the market ladder that I have so hard tried to climb. Please, consider a different career, PLEASE!

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Hi,

    I feel your pain as I receive more than 20 resumes each day, most from zombie translators or other fake identities. I am setting up rules in Outlook to send them directly to the trash. I only check those that mention a particular reference so I know they are answering a job offer.

    Another annoying thing is when translators send huge attachments.

    1. Mike,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I really do not mind receiving CVs, even though I am a freelancer not an agent. I would prefer if potential translators took more care to what they write and to how they justify their ability and skills to become a translator.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  2. I am both a freelancer and an agency (although I tend to be more of the second over time).

    I don’t mind getting resumes either, it’s just the amount of CVs we get and the low quality which is annoying.

    Sending resumes to agencies is often a question of luck as you may be contacting an agency which is looking for your profile at that very moment. I put myself in the freelancer’s shoes who doesn’t want to personalize their CV since the response rate from agencies is very low. I find that applying for a job in particular increases your chances of being contacted again by the agency more than applying out of the blue, but maybe it’s just my impression.


    1. Wow! Both! I always admire people like yourself! And I do agree completely with what you are saying!
      Haha, yes I did edit it, but as you see, I take your comments into consideration! Two sets of eyes are better than one!
      I have started a series of blog posts (So, graduation! Translator? And then what? My story!), and I would like you to write yours, if you so wish! In fact, it will be an honour! Please, think about it and feel free to email it to me!
      Have a great weekend and thank you again for all your comments!

  3. Hi Konstantina,
    I enjoyed reading your post (even though I am one of those translators sending emails and CV, which however I always attach). I have seen so many examples of bad grammar and spelling from people claiming to be translators and (god forbid) proof-readers and each time it drives me mad. I don’t think I am being pedantic because after all our job is all about words AND grammar AND spelling (and many other things that can only be learnt by actually studying translation and through practice). I feel that these ‘self-made’ translators belittle and actually undermine our profession. I have been a translator for over 20 years, but that does not mean that I can do without a spellchecker…. 😉

    1. Hi Federica,

      Thank you for your email! This is exactly what I mean. Please, do not get me wrong, sending CVs is how I started a lot of collaorations. What I mean is that if one wants to be taken seriously, one needs to be a little more careful!

      Thanks again for your comment! Greetings from Crete!

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