Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Writing a translation CV with no experience
Thread poster: Mike Alizade

Mike Alizade
Local time: 01:30
German to English
+ ...
Jan 28, 2010

Hello all

I've recently started on the long and difficult path to becoming a freelancer - as yet I haven't done any commercial translation work (was concentrating on taking Dipt Trans exam among other things) and am reaching the point of contacting agencies/companies. The problem is that I need to send them a CV of course but I dont have anything to put in it! The only translations I've done are for the course in the lead up to the exam and that's about it. I have been working as a web developer for the last 12 years and have a perfectly good CV for this industry, but none of the info there is transferrable or relevant.

I'd really appreciate any ideas, suggestions or even standard practices as I cant be the only new translator who has found himself in this position.

Many thanks

Mike


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:30
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Writing a translation CV with no experience Jan 28, 2010

Hello Mike,

I would suggest to rewrite your CV. I mean, maybe reduce the detail on previous work experience and highlight language/translation related qualifications and detail work (even if only or the exams) that you have done.

As far as I know, there is a shortage of German into English translators and so you may not have to struggle as much as other translators with popular language combinations.

Having said this, there is no skipping the arduous initial process. Polish your CV and some letter/text of application and start contacting agencies and potential direct clients on a systematic and organised basis.

Hope this helps,
Myriam


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Focus on your skills, not your experience Jan 28, 2010

Mike Alizade wrote:
The only translations I've done are for the course in the lead up to the exam and that's about it.


So have have done very little real-world translation work, which is unfortunate, but you have gained a recognised qualification, which is good. That takes care of one line or possibly two lines in your résumé already.

I have been working as a web developer for the last 12 years and have a perfectly good CV for this industry...


There must be some skills that a web developer has that will be useful for your job as translator. These skills may not be related to experience on certain packages, but could nonetheless be used to create the impression with a client that you are better than someone without those skills.

For example, doing web development gave you experience in dealing with a wide range of clients and taught you the skill of understanding clients' specific needs. Web development taught you to work in an efficient, organised manner, so clients won't have to worry about deadlines not being met. The visual aspects of web development taught you to have an eye for detail, so clients don't have to worry about getting sloppy work from you. In addition, you have learnt that you have a knack for learning new programs and procedures quickly and effortlessly.

Apart from the above, you should focus on what you can do. What programs can you use? What types of documents can you translate? What is your translation speed? What language variant do you use and which style guide do you adhere to? These things all take up space on a résumé, you know.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Els Hoefman  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:30
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
You do have experience - think harder Jan 28, 2010

Hi Mike,

You may have more experience than you think. Think of papers for school, translations you did for friends, texts you may have written for several purposes... all this is relevant.

I myself was hesitant about mentioning in my cv that I had written song lyrics for a friend who happens to be a composer - I would never have expected that so many people would offer me creative translation jobs as a result!

Think! You love languages, you're bound to have done relevant things in the past.

And don't think your experience as a web developer is not relevant. It shows that you are good at using computer technology, which is very important for translators. We are always asked to use new translation environments without a manual, skip the tags and coding in texts, localize, zip files, download files... Not everyone is comfortable with these increasing demands.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:30
German to Spanish
+ ...
Writing a translation CV with no experience Jan 28, 2010

Mike Alizade wrote:

Hello all

I've recently started on the long and difficult path to becoming a freelancer - as yet I haven't done any commercial translation work (was concentrating on taking Dipt Trans exam among other things) and am reaching the point of contacting agencies/companies. The problem is that I need to send them a CV of course but I dont have anything to put in it! The only translations I've done are for the course in the lead up to the exam and that's about it. I have been working as a web developer for the last 12 years and have a perfectly good CV for this industry, but none of the info there is transferrable or relevant.

I'd really appreciate any ideas, suggestions or even standard practices as I cant be the only new translator who has found himself in this position.

Many thanks

Mike


Hi, Mike: Since translation agencies will not provide you with a fixed work on a contractual basis, I do not see why you should send them a full CV. As you are an indivdual entrepreneur - something that only a few translators would really assume - I suggest you to contact the agencies by means of a well studied specific marketing plan (mailing, follow-up, other possible sources of clients, etc). Take the necessary time to think about it, but neither too much time (risk of procrastination ). I guess this will be your best ROI to the beginn.

In your marketing plan you should at least:

a) put emphasis in what you can offer to them (warranted quality, detail-oriented and so far)

b) the comparative advantages that supposes working with you, instead with any other translators (for example, engineering knowledge or any other specialised knowledge you may have). By the way, I guess you should think some hours more about your real knowledge and on how to transfer it to the translation arena. I am sure you will find a lot of transferable you have omitted or you did not thought enouh on how to benefit from.

c) center on clients benefits (expand your market, avoid understanding mistakes, etc.)

Good luck!


[Editado a las 2010-01-28 13:54 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
EngFrench  Identity Verified

Local time: 02:30
English to French
Things that worked for me Jan 28, 2010

Hello Mike,

I started my own translation business a few months ago and I, too, was in this situation where I did not have much to put into my CV, though I had a degree in languages.

- I did as many volunteer translations (for NGOs) as I could in the months before the launch of my business, which was a great way of polishing my skills and getting to know what clients expect. I do not know about the demand for volunteer translations in your fields, but you may give it a try. These first translations were the first I put into my CV, gradually replacing them with the new jobs I got.

- Visibility in KudoZ (which I first did for fun and to get feedback on my answers) has led to clients contacting me for interesting jobs.

- Networking; try to establish a network of trusted colleagues who could subcontract work to you.

These things worked for me; I was really anxious before starting my business, as there are so many forum posts with people saying how hard the first few weeks/months are. To tell you the truth, I got my first paid assignment on my very first day as a translator! ProZ has been instrumental in launching my career, and I certainly don't regret becoming a (paying) member. I have been lucky enough not having to work for low rates.

But while ProZ has certainly been useful for me, it's not intended to be your only way of getting work. I would say a good personal website could attract new clients, especially with your profile.

As regards your CV, try to emphasize the "translation" part of your profile, but give enough details about your former jobs to let clients know what makes you so special in your field of expertise. Maybe you could start your CV with "12 years as a..."?

Hope this helps,

Sandrine


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:30
German to Spanish
+ ...
Writing a translation CV with no experience Jan 28, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

There must be some skills that a web developer has that will be useful for your job as translator. These skills may not be related to experience on certain packages, but could nonetheless be used to create the impression with a client that you are better than someone without those skills...


Completely agree!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree Jan 28, 2010

I agree with Myriam. Highlight what you DO have so far and elaborate a little bit on how that makes you stand out from others.

I have done that myself. For example, I mention my experience tutoring children in basic academic skills and mention that it would prove advantageous if, say, I were interpreting at a parent-teacher conference. In your case, you could highlight your experience as a web developer and that it would be helpful when translating websites--an increasingly popular kind of project.



Myriam Garcia Bernabe wrote:

Hello Mike,

I would suggest to rewrite your CV. I mean, maybe reduce the detail on previous work experience and highlight language/translation related qualifications and detail work (even if only or the exams) that you have done.

As far as I know, there is a shortage of German into English translators and so you may not have to struggle as much as other translators with popular language combinations.

Having said this, there is no skipping the arduous initial process. Polish your CV and some letter/text of application and start contacting agencies and potential direct clients on a systematic and organised basis.

Hope this helps,
Myriam


Direct link Reply with quote
 

jaymin
Canada
Local time: 20:30
Member (2009)
German to Korean
+ ...
in the same boat Jan 28, 2010

hi Mike

I guess I was in the same boat like you a few years ago. I had been working in IT sector for some years and at the same time, was trying to have a second job in translation and interpretation. At that time, I didn't have anything to write in my resume since my previous work was mostly web-related work. In my first year, luckily I was able to take a government exam and get certified as an interpreter and translator. ...Still slowly moving into it. I am not sure what you are planning presently. One thing I can tell you for sure is that in the biginning you might have difficulty in working with agencies but don't get disappointed when you get rejected. It is just a matter of time. Perhaps you could start with a small project and build up your career as a pro, eventually.

Cheers

Jay


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:30
Flemish to English
+ ...
Localisation Jan 28, 2010

I really don't understand why all those IT-persons want to move into translation?
Aren't there any freelance, well-paid (500 euros per day), long-term IT-projects on a contract basis any more?
IT+Translation= localisation. Why don't you specialise in that market-niche?

[Edited at 2010-01-28 17:23 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mike Alizade
Local time: 01:30
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jan 29, 2010

thanks everyone for your suggestions, they've been very helpful as always and given me some good food for thought

Mike


Direct link Reply with quote
 

paulkrida  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 07:30
English to Thai
Very helpful idea Jan 1, 2011

Thanks to asker and people who answered. This is great help to get ideas for new translator and to see how each experience translators have been through in their first day. I believe as continuos effort, people can become successful, sooner or later..

Direct link Reply with quote
 
philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Send them a sample translation. Jan 2, 2011

It says far more about you than a CV.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Sullivan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:30
Spanish to English
I agree Jan 2, 2011

I agree with Williamson. Localization is perfect niche market for you, Mike. You will get a lot of response to your CV if you market yourself as a localization expert.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Aline Pereira  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Try browsing ProZ profiles for ideas Jul 23, 2013

Browsing ProZ profiles is also a very good way to see how different people market themselves, and how they make the most of their previous experience (whatever they may be). I believe people come to translation by lots of different routes, so you're bound to find others with a similar background.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Writing a translation CV with no experience

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search