Job Application: References on a resume?
Thread poster: Egmont Schröder

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:41
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
May 20, 2014

I am translating for a certain time now, and the list of agencies and customers I am working for is getting longer and longer.

When I am applying for new translation jobs, I want the future customer to know about my successful work in the past and I am thinking to put them on my resume.

I did a bit research, and I found out that it is not common to put them on the resume, but to deliver them with a separate document. It is also not sure whether to send them with your resume or to provide them upon request (see: http://www.mtsu.edu/career/Resumes/ReferencesLitReview.pdf).

I am wondering how to handle this in the world of translations. Since we are applying for little jobs, not for an employment, does it make sense to send the references with your resume? How about the statement "References Available upon Request"? And how many references should you provide?

Moreover, agencies and customers who are in need of translation services are in some kind of "intercultural world". For example, it is uncommon in Germany to provide references with your resume, which is more a habit from Anglo-Saxon countries. But when I am applying for jobs in Germany, I am sending a English CV with three references on it.

I would be happy to hear some opinions from you about this problem, since some of you worked for translation companies or other outsourcers.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You aren't looking for a salaried position May 20, 2014

The PDF you link to is for job-hunters, who have a totally different type of CV. If you've got that type you really need to junk it and start again. A freelancer's CV isn't about who you've worked with. It's about what texts you've worked on. You probably haven't worked with the author of those texts anyway; you probably worked through an agency.

So, (a) you can't cite as references people/organisations who don't know you exist (b) why ask an agency to recommend your services to another (competitor) agency when you're still available to work with them? And (c), most importantly, we're often bound by NDAs in our work, whether or not we actually sign a piece of paper.

What you can do is ask your cloents to leave feedback here on the site, and have it appear on your profile page. Give the link in your CV, mention it in your quote/introductory email and there you are: not references but testimonials to the quality of your work.


 

2G Trad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:41
Member (2000)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mentions May 20, 2014

Sheila Wilson:
most importantly, we're often bound by NDAs in our work, whether or not we actually sign a piece of paper.


Correct.

You can only mention clients who have granted you the permission to do it.

Bye!
Gianni


 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:41
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have the permission May 20, 2014

Of course I asked the clients and agencies before I refer to them.
And all of the agencies gave me their ok, so I think they know what they are doing.



I am also aware of that, so I never mention the name of the customers I got through an agency, only the name of the agency itself.

The competition is a good point, I didn't think about that. But isn't it natural that a translator works for more than one agency and won't they see it from the entries of this page anyway?

It is maybe wise not to give a list of references. But how about a "References Available upon Request"?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
"References Available upon Request" May 20, 2014

Egmont Schroder wrote:
It is maybe wise not to give a list of references. But how about a "References Available upon Request"?

I think you risk coming over as someone looking for a job, not someone who's running a business. That will encourage the less scrupulous agencies to behave in a boss-like role; and will put off the ones who want to collaborate with professional freelance translators.

The other consideration here is the one of frequency. An employee may change jobs every 2-5 years, and normally only gives the last couple of employers as references. So that person can expect to be contacted a few times soon after the employee leaves, and a few times more some years later. How often do you send out your CV? I know I'm asked for mine several times a month, even though it's available online here. If the same clients were contacted every time then they'd soon be very unhappy, and they'd soon be ex-clients.


 

Andrea Diaz
Mexico
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Question. May 20, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

The PDF you link to is for job-hunters, who have a totally different type of CV. If you've got that type you really need to junk it and start again. A freelancer's CV isn't about who you've worked with. It's about what texts you've worked on. You probably haven't worked with the author of those texts anyway; you probably worked through an agency.

So, (a) you can't cite as references people/organisations who don't know you exist (b) why ask an agency to recommend your services to another (competitor) agency when you're still available to work with them? And (c), most importantly, we're often bound by NDAs in our work, whether or not we actually sign a piece of paper.

What you can do is ask your cloents to leave feedback here on the site, and have it appear on your profile page. Give the link in your CV, mention it in your quote/introductory email and there you are: not references but testimonials to the quality of your work.



When would be a good time to ask for feedback? I've been thinking about asking for feedback for a good client of mine, and I figured that after 5 projects it's okay to do so. I imagine that for a short, one-time project, it would be too bothersome. Am I correct in my assumption?

I hope that it's not necessary to have a proz account in order to leave a feedback. I would not want to bother them too much.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No time like the present ;) May 21, 2014

Andrea Diaz wrote:
When would be a good time to ask for feedback? I've been thinking about asking for feedback for a good client of mine, and I figured that after 5 projects it's okay to do so. I imagine that for a short, one-time project, it would be too bothersome. Am I correct in my assumption?

I really don't know when is best, Andrea, as I've never been a client. I agree though that it probably isn't a good idea after just one small job. Apart from anything else, it could well be that the client will suggest you reciprocate (for example if they have a Blue Board record here). I personally prefer not to comment on a client too soon because some agencies do have a vexing habit of paying the first job very quickly and then not bothering so much (or maybe I'm just cynicalicon_wink.gif).
I hope that it's not necessary to have a proz account in order to leave a feedback. I would not want to bother them too much.

I believe it used to be the case, but they made some changes a short while ago to introduce more flexibility and ease of use. I think they can just reply to your request now, though it won't hold the same weight as members' testimonials, as there's less possibility of ProZ.com verifying that they are real clients.


 

Konstantin Stäbler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:41
English to German
+ ...
Article in MDÜ 5/13 May 21, 2014

Egmont Schroder wrote:

I am translating for a certain time now, and the list of agencies and customers I am working for is getting longer and longer.

When I am applying for new translation jobs, I want the future customer to know about my successful work in the past and I am thinking to put them on my resume.

I did a bit research, and I found out that it is not common to put them on the resume, but to deliver them with a separate document. It is also not sure whether to send them with your resume or to provide them upon request (see: http://www.mtsu.edu/career/Resumes/ReferencesLitReview.pdf).

I am wondering how to handle this in the world of translations. Since we are applying for little jobs, not for an employment, does it make sense to send the references with your resume? How about the statement "References Available upon Request"? And how many references should you provide?

Moreover, agencies and customers who are in need of translation services are in some kind of "intercultural world". For example, it is uncommon in Germany to provide references with your resume, which is more a habit from Anglo-Saxon countries. But when I am applying for jobs in Germany, I am sending a English CV with three references on it.

I would be happy to hear some opinions from you about this problem, since some of you worked for translation companies or other outsourcers.



There was an article in the last MDÜ of 2013 (publication of the German association of translators and interpreters BDÜ). One of the reasons given against references (in summary, the author was rather against references and said translators should receive a certain amount of trust, irrespective of provided references) was that they are not verifiable for a long time.

Considering the fact that the translation industry has a high employee turnover, such feedback can become rather dubious after some time. It can easily happen that none of the current PMs knows the colleague who gave the feedback and left the company two years ago. And really, how many translation agencies have the time to check with competitors to find out whether the references provided are indeed true?

I don't want to turn this into a rant, but it seems to me that translators have to provide more credentials than many other professionals. Besides the CV or resumé, the diploma and the certificate, we more often than not have to provide a test translation. Who hires a plumber and tells him to test-fix the sink before he pays him for the next job, if such job ever materializes?


 

gad
United States
Local time: 03:41
Member
French to English
Don't send them unless requested May 21, 2014

First of all, of course always ask permission before using anyone's name as a reference. Then, once you have about 3 or 4, prepare them in a separate document. Generally you do not put on your resume "reference available upon request" as that is kind of self-evident. If you are sending resumes by email, you could include a link to your ProZ.com profile, and links to your profile on other translator sites, if you have them. Other than that, I would wait until they specifically request references, but like I said keep them handy to send. I actually have 4 domestic references and 4 international references, they are all long-term clients with whom I still work on an ongoing basis. Good luck, HTH.

 

2G Trad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:41
Member (2000)
English to Italian
+ ...
References = one way only? May 21, 2014

Konstantin St:
Considering the fact that the translation industry has a high employee turnover, such feedback can become rather dubious after some time. It can easily happen that none of the current PMs knows the colleague who gave the feedback and left the company two years ago. And really, how many translation agencies have the time to check with competitors to find out whether the references provided are indeed true?

I don't want to turn this into a rant, but it seems to me that translators have to provide more credentials than many other professionals. Besides the CV or resumé, the diploma and the certificate, we more often than not have to provide a test translation. Who hires a plumber and tells him to test-fix the sink before he pays him for the next job, if such job ever materializes?


I 100% agree with you.
I prefer never give references. If a client should keep on asking for them, you could ask back for 2/3 references from happy vendors/translators.

Cheers
Gianni


 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:41
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting ideas May 28, 2014

This was quite a long and interesting discussion, but I think the best way to handle references is this:

gad wrote:

First of all, of course always ask permission before using anyone's name as a reference. Then, once you have about 3 or 4, prepare them in a separate document. Generally you do not put on your resume "reference available upon request" as that is kind of self-evident. If you are sending resumes by email, you could include a link to your ProZ.com profile, and links to your profile on other translator sites, if you have them. Other than that, I would wait until they specifically request references, but like I said keep them handy to send. I actually have 4 domestic references and 4 international references, they are all long-term clients with whom I still work on an ongoing basis. Good luck, HTH.


But maybe you can give me a hint about my diplomas:

Shall I send them with my resume when I am applying for a translation job?


 

Andrea Diaz
Mexico
Local time: 02:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
I might as well not. May 28, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Andrea Diaz wrote:
When would be a good time to ask for feedback? I've been thinking about asking for feedback for a good client of mine, and I figured that after 5 projects it's okay to do so. I imagine that for a short, one-time project, it would be too bothersome. Am I correct in my assumption?

I really don't know when is best, Andrea, as I've never been a client. I agree though that it probably isn't a good idea after just one small job. Apart from anything else, it could well be that the client will suggest you reciprocate (for example if they have a Blue Board record here). I personally prefer not to comment on a client too soon because some agencies do have a vexing habit of paying the first job very quickly and then not bothering so much (or maybe I'm just cynicalicon_wink.gif).
I hope that it's not necessary to have a proz account in order to leave a feedback. I would not want to bother them too much.

I believe it used to be the case, but they made some changes a short while ago to introduce more flexibility and ease of use. I think they can just reply to your request now, though it won't hold the same weight as members' testimonials, as there's less possibility of ProZ.com verifying that they are real clients.



Thank you so much for your input Sheila. Your messages are always very helpful.

Even though feedback from an outside source is dubious, I will go ahead and request one anyway. I don't think I can get a proz client without proper feedback, but how am I going to get feedback in the first place? Better than nothing.

That's an interesting question Egmont. I've been thinking about that myself.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:41
English to Polish
+ ...
Testimonials May 29, 2014

References are sweet in their own right, but you can also reframe and use (parts of) them as testimonials and case studies, which look great in portfolios, along with a small collection of sample translations. Using such a portfolio will also help you separate flexible and smartly managed agencies from those that can't rise above asking you to supply the same information first in your CV and then again in their own questionnaire. Chances are the former group might also be higher-paying.

 


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