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Hire a Professional Translator by Starting out on the Right Foot - Part 2

Hire a Professional Translator by Starting out on the Right Foot - Part 2

In Hire a Professional Translator by Starting out on the Right Foot - Part 1, Nate summarized advice on what to do (and what not to do) when making an enquiry to a potential translation service provider. In this second part I'll provide a sample annotated form email that you can use when messaging a potential service provider for the first time. Feel free to use it or modify it to fit your needs.

Please note that there is no "one size fits all" enquiry, this is merely one example. The goal of this post (and the last) is to help move away from what we currently see as a typical enquiry (a short email of "We need an English to Spanish translator, send me your best rate.") to something that is more beneficial for both parties.

Dear Jane Translator,

My name is John Doe, I represent ABC Company, a specialized agency focusing on German to English medical translation based in Munich.

We currently have a German Internal Medicine research paper (attached) of 4,000 words that we need translated into English to be published in an American Medical Journal. It is a Microsoft Word document with limited formatting; however there are a few tables.

The final translation needs to handed over to the client in 4 weeks time so we would need your translation returned within 3 weeks in order for it to go through our final QA process.

ABC Company pays service providers net 30 through PayPal. We can also accommodate wire transfer if the fee is borne by the service provider.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this potential project. I look forward to hearing from you.

John Doe
Project Manager at ABC Company
81829 München Olympia Park
Munich, Germany
{ProZ.com Blue Board link}

Be sure to address the translator by their name. Translators receive a lot of mass email blasts directed at ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Personalize the email and make it clear that this is not just another mass email fishing for the lowest bidder.

A quick introduction of yourself and your company. It is good to say where you are based as this may have tax implications for freelance translators. A quick note on your company's specialization will also help pique the translator's interest.

Remember to always include the source language, target language, document length, document subject matter and the intended audience / purpose of the translation.

Make sure to state the deadline. If it’s a rush job, expect to pay more or lower your expectations on quality.

Provide the payment method you prefer, with a backup option. Additionally you should clearly state the payment schedule / terms.

Sign the enquiry with your full name, with other details about yourself or your company below the signature. If you work for a company, make this known by providing the company name, as well as additional contact methods where questions could be directed on weekends or after office hours. Link to your Blue Board rating if you have one on ProZ.com.

If this was helpful, you can download a blank template here. Remember that the above sample includes not only what you should do, but also leaves out all the things you shouldn't do (e.g. tell a translator to send their "best rate"). Be sure to reread part I for all the email "don'ts".

Thanks for reading and please be sure to share this with any clients or agencies who you think might benefit from this post.

kevin dias at tm-town

About the Author

Kevin Dias
TM-Town Developer
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Comments (3)

sirajul Sirajul Islam
Posted almost 7 years ago.

Clear and concise! Though it is targeted to the people and companies that hire translators, I liked it. Thanks Kevin for the post.

rainrzawadzki Rainer Zawadzki
United States
Posted almost 7 years ago.

Looks good, thank you Kevin for producing it. It assumes that English will be involved in some way in the process. As a suggestion, you may want to have equivalent documents translated into Spanish, Arab, Chinese, French and/or other languages with high volume of activity. On the one hand, not every client may understand the English document you provide, and may want to use its equivalent in another language to hire a translator. Other clients may want to use English translation as the “buffer” target to later translate into another target language. On the other hand, English may not necessarily have to be involved.

diasks2 Kevin Dias
Posted almost 7 years ago.

Hi Rainer - great idea, thank you for the feedback. :smile:

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