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"Natives ONLY"

Ace Contributor
Mariam Fatima Z Member Since: Feb 24, 2015
1 of 17

I've noticed that clients are increasingly posting article writing jobs with the condition that only native english speakers can apply. That's a bit unfair to non-natives who have perfect command over the language. Clients should give everyone a chance and then decide whether the applicant is capable enough through the cover letter and any additional questions. I often find myself unable to apply to even a single job I want because of this condition.  

Community Guru
Ramon B Member Since: Jan 11, 2015
2 of 17

They don't really mean it, I'd apply for any job you see saying this and not even think about it., I'm sure you'll get more than you'd think.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 17

Totally agree with Ramon.

Just ignore it.


Clients are not going to check your birth records. They don't care. They want somebody with a native-level command of the English language, somebody who can use the language well at a professional level. MANY native English speakers DO NOT QUALIFY.


If you qualify, go for it. The clients will love working with you.


But for those contractors who do not speak English fluently, stop claiming that you do! Especially if you are applying for jobs writing or editing English.

Active Member
Kit M Member Since: Feb 27, 2015
4 of 17

Personally I'd politely suggest that clients have the right to decide what they do and do not want.  They're the ones paying the bills.  Freelancers are welcome to their opinion and can choose to ignore job specifications if they wish, but they should understand that they are doing so at their own risk.  There are many reasons why people might want genuine native speakers, one of which being the ability to create rapport with customers.  In the UK, we went through a period where call-centres were moved offshore as standard.  The people who staffed them could often speak excellent English and were generally quite capable of doing their jobs, but people didn't like dealing with them.  They switched to companies which had onshore call centres and bit by bit companies gave up on offshoring.  Some clients may ask for native speakers when all they need is someone who can speak English decently well, but some clients will be asking for native speakers because that is exactly what they need for the job in question.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 17
Kit, I totally agree with what you are saying.

I also agree with the other posters on this thread, and I would point out that the original poster was specifically referring to writing jobs.

I think the situation for writing jobs is quite different from the dynamic you eloquently described for call service representatives.
Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
6 of 17

I'm one of those who hire a native writer for two reasons:


Bad experiences with those whose English is not their first language, and I have specific working hours that do not match with those in other areas of the world.


That being said, improve some of your test scores and put up a portfolio item that is readable. That rewrite you have is VERY difficult to read in that state. Consider a "after" and a before version. Then maybe I could read it. 


Also add more items. One item in that state does not give me much confidence in your ability.


Your into to you:


I love reading and writing the English language and would like the chance to earn while fulfilling my passion. My interest is primarily in short story writing, re-writing and editing. I'm highly irritated by grammatical mistakes and often annoy people because I just can't help correcting their English. Smiley Happy


does not do much to inspire confidence in you. Refine it and expand. If you can, click on my picture and look at my's basically my cover letter and gives lots of information. Your first sentence is not gramatically correct so you need to fix it. If you want article writing jobs then don't say you like short story writing. Instead of being irritated by grammar mistakes, say you strive for perfect grammar. Sounds more like a positive. Don't tell a potential employer who may not have English as a first language that you annoy people.


Also, please remove the emoticon. It looks very unprofessional.


Work on it and you should get more positions.

Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
7 of 17

@Jean (and Mariam - I'm writing it to Jean but for you as well - it's hard to direct to two peopl at once):


With respect, there's a glaring grammatical error in the second sentence of your profile, and another in the third sentence. I'm not talking "non-native subtleties", but just plain wrong errors which I find much more jarring than any errors in Mariam's profile.


I'm only saying this to balance things out, not to get into a grammatical war. I think you've given her some very sound advice in places.


Mariam is asking should she apply for "native speakers" jobs although she's actually non-native. As Preston pointed out, very few native speakers have the required level of grammar and overall knowledge of the language to do a good job - what clients are really looking for is a native speaker with extremely good lingusitic skills. Occasionally there is someone who isn't native but has extremely good linguistic skills. There are some ( a very few) regular non-natives on this forum whose English I would class as "as good as native".


I think my point is that clients have to specify things to narrow down their level of bad applicants; but strict imposition of such restrictions means that they will inevitably lose out on a few otherwise-perfect candidates. I regularly apply for jiobs requiring US native speakers, because I know that over half of my clients are North Americans and they are entirely happy with my use of ther language, because I've made it my business to be very good at it. I am successful in several of these applications, because I point out that they want a proofreader before an American.


Regarding Mariam's portfolio piece, she is selling herself as a copy-editor and proofreader, and a Word document with tracked changes is the number one tool of this particular trade, and anyone can read before and after versions by clicking the appropriate buttons - that's the whole point of it. I think the problem with the piece is that it's a full re-writing rather than an edit or a proofing, and the problem is that for a re-writing job it inevitably gets much more cluttered, as by definition there has to be a lot more changes made. My personal opinion on these types of jobs is that Mariam is doing herself no favours by doing them, and could set her sights higher by concentrating on proofing and editing and raising her rate accordingly. Personally, anything that mentions "plagiarism" or "Copyscape" I'd run a mile from, because there's only really one reason  that would be an issue to a client.



Community Guru
Natasa M Member Since: May 8, 2014
8 of 17

 I think that client is entitled to his preference and yes sure, while there might be some future Joseph Conrad on oDesk waiting to be discovered,  I think the reason why  you  need to be a native speaker is kind of obvious, so I would have  nothing to add. (Except  maybe that even being a native speaker would not make one qualified to be a writer/editor, so I don't quite understand why people are surprised when they get some rubbish written by a [or is it  actually 'the,' or omission? ha, ha] native speaker.)

I think Stephen meant 'understand(s)'  and 'readers'/reader's (both correct)' Jean but he probably didn't write that because he likes to keep us all intrigued.

Community Guru
Natasa M Member Since: May 8, 2014
9 of 17

But also to add Miriam (because I can't edit my first post) by no means I wanted to say that you should get discouraged. If you are a good writer, editor or whatever for every client who doesn't want to work with you for whatever reason there will be one (or ten of them ) who does -so if you are great at what you do, you can count that as their loss and feel sorry for them because they are missing out on the awesome writer you are.Smiley HappyP.S. Also hide that lower test score and take it again.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 17
Little known fact: non-native English speaker Joseph Conrad was a truly great writer, but he never even got hired once on oDesk. Some critics believe that "Heart of Darkness" was based on what he experienced while using the platform.