Job application series: Part one – ‘Hier me?’

December 16, 2014 by Alison Tunley

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“Perfection level is not to high from me…”

Believe it or not this is from an application for a job…

We receive between 40 and 60 unsolicited translator applications every day. A lot are professionally presented and to the point. Quite a few are not, though. Here are some of the most entertaining from genuine email applications received this week. Names have been removed to protect the innocent (or clueless). In a follow-up post, I will be dealing with some of the issues that may be slightly less obvious.

The quote in the title is a subject line of an email. These subject lines are particularly crucial. A good one can encourage an agency to think of you as a truly professional translator. A bad one lands you straight in the bin. Or here. Which is worse.

Here are a few more:

“Professional Naive French Tanslator 24/7 available”

Naïve indeed. Professionally so. But then, what do I know about professional tanslators? Cut the guy some slack: he tanslates 24/7.

“Ability to establish and maintain good working.”

I know, I know: not everybody is a native English speaker. On the other hand, this one also proposes to translate INTO English.

“Contact me to provide you with my special services”

Hmmm….. I waited to open this one until I was sure nobody could see my screen. Imagine my relief (disappointment?) when I realised the woman was only selling translation services after all, just very, very special ones.

And talking about special:

“Translation is my special world”

Yes dear, that’s really nice. Is it time for your meds yet?

“German father and an English mother”

Yes, great, I have such a set of parents, too. Now, why exactly did you email me?

And then there are the plain cryptic ones, like:

“I offer bestowal without confines …”

Limitless gifts? I’m in!

And sometimes one wonders if it’s a case of near total ignorance of the English language, or great comic genius:

“I am ensures accuracy of the service provided…”

Yes sir, as long as it’s not translation services, I might even believe you.

And along the same line, one that I receive most weeks, one way or another:

“Spanish<>English transltor”

Along with its even more confused sibling:

Shanghai Interpreter Trasnlator”

I am often told I should be kinder. So here is my attempt: well done for including all the right letters. The next stage is to try and assemble them into what we call ‘words’!

And, yes, sometimes, quite occasionally, I actually make it past a – well-written- subject line, open the email, and then something like this happens:

“Hello,

Sorry, I am not a native speaker of Spanish, but, nevertheless, I can provide quality translations from English to Spanish.”

And a bit further down:

“I have not obtained an official translator / linguist degree, but I still provide high-quality language services.”

By which time I obviously wish the title had been as wrong as the above. I will never get those five minutes back that I spent reading that email.

For help on what to do and what not do when applying for freelance translator positions check out our next articles!

 

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