I try my best to help out others. Especially because I have received many helping hands in the past (and still do) – but they were not enough, unfortunately. There are some things I decided when I was starting out that, had I known better (or had I had then the support I have now), I would do differently. For instance, I started charging very little. As you can imagine, the consequence was too much work and too little money, not even covering my monthly bills. But this is a different thing, I want to talk about confusion in this post.
So, I try my best to help out others. I am a mentor in ProZ, and since I have a good knowledge of many tools (including CAT tools), I have volunteered to help out colleagues who are starting out and have no idea what concordance is, or how can they check the word count of a file.
Every now and then, however, there comes someone with a brilliant idea that will make “us” a fortune – yes, they include me in their scheme. Perhaps it is a fantastic idea, but would you trust someone you know nothing about except the info they give you? How about I knock on your email and propose starting a company, would you put your money into it?
Here is what happened not long ago – someone emailed me a few compliments (I had just renewed my website, so I was very excited), that my page was very neat and my experience was very good. I replied with a thank you and a few kind words, and received another message, this time a bit more enthusiastic. He was an American living in Brazil, very enthusiastic about the country, with a great experience in Translation (according to him), and a degree in Linguistics. I replied talking a bit about my home town, asking how he ended up in Brazil. His reply was a bit scary – he said he had a brilliant idea involving Chinese texts (I’m not going to disclose any details because I’m not sure how brilliant it was or if he was/is working on it), and he would “love” to have me on board, since I had a fantastic website, a key to this kind of marketing. I had to re-read that email a few times. Dude, I was trying to be polite here… So I replied I was not interested, and wishing good luck. He tried again – I was too young to understand the brilliance there, and that my work load would be minimum and the profits would be shared equally. And since I was too young, I had to add him to spam, to avoid contaminating him with my blindness.
Other way to end up in my spam list is to email me your CV. No matter how interested your background is, I did not ask, and have no plan to start asking for CVs any time soon. Please, only send your CV if you are requested to. And don’t start with “Dear Sir/Madam”, that only shows how well you did your homework. If this basic thing was just overlooked, why should I trust you with my complex projects?
Something else I really hate, and I know I’m not alone, is being added in social networks or Skype without a proper introduction. Unless I told you “add me”, how am I supposed to know who you are? And afterwards, don’t ask for work, don’t say you’re available, just don’t. That just shows you’re desperate. Oh wait, please do! If you’re desperate, that means you’ll accept any rate I throw in.
If you’re interested in long discussions about the translation industry, I’m your girl, you can email me or add your comments thorughout this blog, so we can talk. But please don’t starting flooding me with messages about your amazing ideas, or your amazing CV. Otherwise, I might steal them…
About Michele Santiago
Translation, localization, editing, subtitling. 7 years of experience in English and Spanish into Braz. Portuguese, specialized in Medical, Pharma and IT. Love rainy days, travelling and gadgets. Not necessarily in that order.