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Too Self-Critical?

Active Member
Alessandra B Member Since: Feb 1, 2019
1 of 3

Hi Upworkers, 

I will be very grateful, if you give me a piece of advice. I joined Upwork two months ago. In two weeks I was able to find a client with whom I started to collaborate as a writer, obtaining an excellent feedback. From time to time my proposals (for quite interesting positions related to writing) are answered, but for a reason or another I don't get the job. If you enter my profile, you will see that I have experience as a translator, but mainly in Bulgarian into Italian translation. When I submit a proposal for a translation from English or, more rarely, from Russian into Italian, I never get an answer. I explain it as it follows: 

1) I cannot demonstrate my experience in ENG into IT translation (even if I have posted one or two samples in my portfolio and I have taken the test "Translation ENG into IT" with the highest score) because I have a degree in Linguistics, not in Translation;

2) I am not good enough in writing proposals because of my poor active English and because of my lack of experience;

3) my profile is completed (I am also a Rising Talent), but I suppose there is something wrong that unfortunately I can't  see;

4) sometimes I really don't know how to write a proposal, especially when the clients are very vague, short and unspecific. In these cases I decide to "imitate" client's style and I just simplify, figuring that they don't want to loose time reading. But, is it a good practice? 

Can you see any other reasons for not being answered? Am I right or too self-critical?

Thanks for your answers. 

All the best,


Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
2 of 3

Several very smart, experienced translators frequent this forum and will no doubt have advice for you specific to that discipline. Meanwhile, I can offer a few more general remarks.


It takes a lot of hard work and determination to establish momentum. That said, it's always smart to examine what you're doing and look for ways to improve. With respect to proposals, we all are challenged by clients' tendency to offer vague, incomplete, unclear specifications. Some are inexperienced, some are lazy. 


What works for me is to look at the whole presentation--the specifications, the grammar, the client's hiring history (if available), the tone. If there are no red flags and it looks like a probable good fit for me, then I send a brief proposal that tries to present myself as the expert they need AND asks questions they need to answer before I can know if I'm the right FL for their project.


And once I've submitted a proposal, I never think about it again unless the client responds. If they do, I'm available for limited discussion prior to setting up a contract. They will waste your time if you let them. Part of your professional demeanor is to not tolerate that. I try to limit phone convos to 20 min max, and chat convos to 3-4 exchanges. If we can't hammer out project scope within those parameters, then they need to hire me to consult on an hourly basis. (And often, that's the end of the conversation. But the two times I've let somebody carry on beyond that, they wasted a lot of my time and then never hired me anyway.)


Good luck, Alessandra!

Active Member
Alessandra B Member Since: Feb 1, 2019
3 of 3
Thanks for the advice.
I know it takes time to build reputation. I am going on working and
All the best!