Time-Saving E-mail Signatures

This weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters Association (CHICATA) annual translation and interpretation conference in Chicago (more on that in a future post). I included some tips about time management and the fact that your time is the only resource you have. You must use it wisely.

What I forgot to mention is that you can program e-mail signature templates to respond to business inquiries that are not even within your approximate range of rates (alternatively, of course, you can just hit the delete button). We received this one this morning:

I need a translator to translate a letter approximately 600 words for $20. Forgive me, I know it is little money, but that is what I can afford. It is relatively simple because it doesn't need a great deal of finesse-- it just needs to be understood. Contact me at any hour. But you must include a phone number and the hours I can call you (please include your time zone.)

We programmed a signature to our outgoing e-mail and saved it as a template, so we can use it to respond to messages of this time in the future with the click of a button. We said: "Thank you for your message. Our professional, highly specialized translation services very significantly exceed your budget." Fair enough, right? We liked the sender's acknowledgement that this was a very low rate, and wanted to at least honor it with a 30-second response (we are feeling charitable today). However, don't even get us started on the "it doesn't need a great deal of finesse" statement. For time-saving purposes, we didn't even address that. We have several e-mail signatures pre-programmed with some text on them so we can respond to the inquiry in question. Try it on your e-mail client -- it can usually be found under options/signature and you can typically have several signatures from which to choose when you compose an outgoing message (choose the one that most closely applies to the message you have received).


Kevin Lossner on May 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM said...

Very, very interesting tip for storing standard text components to insert in a response. I can think of a number of ways to use this, not just to brush off time-wasters.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on May 18, 2009 at 5:01 PM said...

Glad you enjoyed the tip -- and yes, we also use this strategy for lots of other standard responses, such as general inquiries when people ask how the translation process works, how cost is calculated,etc. It's saved us a significant amount of time throughout the years.

Karen Taczyk on May 18, 2009 at 5:15 PM said...

Nice idea! I'll use that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have done this for a while for various canned replies I need (not just to tell someone off fast, but I like that!). Good tool that can be used in a variety of time-saving ways.

Moore Spanish on May 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM said...

As you mentioned at the CHICATA Conference, we are also in the business of educating our clients. I believe that a polite response in the form you suggest is worth the time as it may ensure a future customer--one that is more versed in rates and quality control. Sending you a cool, Chicago breeze, Moore Spanish

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