Gaining freelance work experience
Thread poster: Gemma Bouchereau (X)

Gemma Bouchereau (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 13, 2012


I'm currently studying for an MA Translation at London Met Uni and I've been advised that I need to find work experience which equates to (or exceeds) 100 hours. I've begun emailing lots of translation companies but so far not heard anything back.

The problem I have is that there are a lot of companies who will only offer full-time in-house internships. However, I'm unable to take up one of these internships because I have recently signed a 6-month contract at work and also I'm unable to fund 3 months unpaid work experience. So I've decided to stay working full time and try and get freelance work experience.

Understandably I'm not going to email every single company offering unpaid work because I do not wish to undermine the translation profession. However, the only way I can afford to do work experience is freelance so I feel a bit lost as to what to do. Please could somebody point me in the right direction and I will be very grateful for any advice offered,

Thank You



David Hayes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:40
Member (2009)
French to English
Translators without Borders Apr 13, 2012

Try and see if an organization seeking voluntary translators will take you on. Translators without Borders is one such organization:

They do normally want people with qualifications and about two years experience, but you may be able to convincingly big up what you've already achieved. If they are interested, they will give you a test. And if you pass the test, you're in!
The big advantage with such work is that it is very flexible and so you can fit it into the demands of a day job.

[Edited at 2012-04-13 09:34 GMT]


Natalia Moreno  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
UN (United Nations) Volunteers Online Apr 13, 2012

I agree with David. Something that worked for me was volunteering for UNV :

You can sign up to receive job alerts for your language combination. Subjects are varied and normally not too technical (development, refugees, human rights, micro-credit, etc.). Jobs are posted by either UN agencies or non-profits from around the world. At the end, you get a thank you letter acknowledging your services, which serves as a reference.

It is also very rewarding!

Good luck,


Richard Foulkes (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
German to English
+ ...
Kiva Apr 13, 2012

Also uses voluntary translators, I think. Not sure whether it will be suitable for your purposes though.


Gemma Bouchereau (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you! Apr 13, 2012

OK thank you all for your advice. I think I should start looking at more voluntary organisations, at least that way I'm not undermining professional translators too.

Much appreciated!


Carolyn Yohn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:40
French to English
+ ... Apr 13, 2012 has a regular need for volunteer translators to work on op-ed pieces from foreign papers into English. The CEO works with student translators often, and loves to offer feedback on your work. Plus, he'll put your name on the published piece.

Translations for Progress and The Rosetta Foundation are two other good sources for pro bono work to build up your portfolio/round out your experience hours. Good luck!


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