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Translating CVs
Thread poster: David Howard

David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
French to English
+ ...
May 28, 2008

I'm translating my first CV from French into English, and the French version uses the third person - [name] obtient son premiere poste en entreprise...

Is this standard practice or unusual in French? Should I keep it in the third person or change it to the first?

Thanks for your suggestions.

David

[Edited at 2008-05-28 15:30]


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Portuguese to English
it's probably usual in French... May 28, 2008

It's certainly standard in Portuguese and Spanish. I always turn them into the first person in English - anything else would seem odd to the English speaking reader.

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David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 28, 2008

Thanks lexical, that's great.

My inclination was to change it to the first person. You've just confirmed it.

Cheers,
David


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Portuguese to English
though it has to be said that... May 28, 2008

...some 'owners' of CVs are surprised by the change and have to be reassured that it's proper practice in the Anglosphere.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Localize May 29, 2008

I don't translate CVs/resumes often, but when I do, especially if I know the person in question is applying for jobs here in the US, I localize the resume and cover letter as much as possible. That means taking out references to marital status, etc. and putting the document into US resume form. Usually this process involves changing the order of information, too, so I keep the customer fully apprised of what I am doing. Sometimes customers need to be educated about the differences in style between the countries. No point in translating a CV if it isn't going to be effective.

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David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Adaptation May 29, 2008

Hi Daina,

Thanks very much for your useful reply. Looking at the CV, I've had to adapt large parts of it, including the style, information and layout. When the agency sent me the document, they did instruct me to adapt it accordingly.

Thanks again,

David


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
French to English
Couple of points May 29, 2008

1. Is it for active job application, or just a "potted history" as you might find on a website about a company founder, say?

2. Employment agencies in the UK produce 3rd person CVs on the basis of the info provided. I would give them "I have some experience of Cobol" and it would become "Charlie is a superlative Cobol programmer".... For CVs from agencies, rather than direct applications, I believe this is not unusual at all.

3. You could consider not using a subject pronoun. "Started as tea boy, became chairman of the board within 6 months. Considered a role as Leader of the Known Universe, gave it all up to run a donkey sanctuary."
Y'know, when English has features that allow us to avoid making decisions, I think we should take advantage

Just some ideas, to muddy the waters still further.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Charlie's right May 30, 2008

Charlie Bavington wrote:
2. Employment agencies in the UK produce 3rd person CVs on the basis of the info provided. I would give them "I have some experience of Cobol" and it would become "Charlie is a superlative Cobol programmer".... For CVs from agencies, rather than direct applications, I believe this is not unusual at all.


This is true for the US also - all resumes, not just those coming from agencies. You have to walk a fine line and sell yourself without going too far. It's good to emphasize your skills, but even better to talk in terms of specific accomplishments - "responsible for budget of $XXX and staff of 10; team generated sales of $XXX in 2007" rather than "good management skills."

[Edited at 2008-05-30 15:53]


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David Howard  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CV Translation May 30, 2008

Thanks for the replies, I would have responded sooner but haven't stopped!

Charlie, thanks for pointing out that some agencies here do use the 3rd person, in fact, I sent a short e-mail to the agency querying this and they wanted me to keep it the way it was, so very helpful. And I'd love to meet this guy whose CV you described, sounds like quite a character!

Thanks again,
David


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