Subject areas in one's CV
Thread poster: Vladislav.

Vladislav.

Local time: 20:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Jul 4, 2014

Hello,

Does anyone know whether it is appropriate to include one's subject areas in one's CV? For example, should I write the following long list in my resume:

Subject areas

Advertising, Agriculture, Animal Sciences, Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Astronomy, Bible and Biblical Studies, Biology, Botany, Buildings, Business Administration and Management, Business General, Business Marketing, Chemistry, Child Care, Computer and Information Sciences, Criminology, Culinary Arts, Data Communications, Data Processing, Ecology, Economics, Education, Environmental Science, Ethnic and Cultural Studies, Film and Cinema Studies, Finance, Food Sciences, Forestry, Genealogy/Family History Research, General, Genetics, Geography, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology, Health, History, Hospitality, Humanities and Humanistic Studies, Information Sciences and Systems, Internet, Islamic Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Law and Legal, Linguistics, Literature, Marine and Aquatic Biology, Medicine — Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, Medicine — Public Health Education and Promotion, Medicine (General), Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Oceanography, Philosophy, Photographic Arts, Photography, Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, Physics, Radio and Television Broadcasting, Religion, Religion and Religious Studies, Science (General), Sociology, Sport and Fitness, Telecommunications, Theatre, Theology and Theological Studies, Tourism and Travel, Transportation, Zoology

Similar long lists of a translator's subject areas are visible in their translatorscafe.com profiles. But I wonder whether it is appropriate to include such list in one's resume.

Kind regards,
Vlad Kotenko


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:43
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Subject areas in one's CV Jul 4, 2014

Hi,

I actually reduced mine after a training I had. Too many fields do not specify what you are good at. It does actually say nothing. This was I heard from trainer and it does make sense to me now.

Kind regards.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
In a word: no Jul 4, 2014

Your CV should be as brief as possible - just the highlights, without leaving out anything really important. What you're talking about is keywords (whether or not that was the explicit purpose) - words that will come up on a search within a site or more generally, so of course they need to achieve the opposite objective and be as complete as possible.

Your CV needs to attract and keep the attention of your reader for about 20 seconds. If 20 seconds haven't got you the job then you've probably lost it.

So you need (apart from education, CAT tools etc)
- your language pairs
- your services
- your specialist areas
- some examples or areas/documents/...

That isn't an absolute rule as there's no absolute rule for any CV, let alone a freelancer's CV (which shouldn't really be called a CV at all, but that's a different matter). But your CV certainly shouldn't include such indigestible lists of keywords. You're writing for a human being, not a search robot (whatever they're called).


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:43
French to English
+ ...
A *realistic* list of specialities is OK Jul 4, 2014

It's fine and relevant-- indeed, I would say necessary-- to list what are genuinely your 2 or 3 areas of specialisation that set you apart from other translators.

But realistically, there's no point reeling off a list of 50 different "specialities"-- (a) nobody will really believe that you're a specialist in all of these areas, and (b) you may as well just write "everything under the sun" than giving a long-winded list.

When comparing to ProZ profiles, remember that subject lists can appear a little inflated on people's profiles because (a) some of the categories are unnecessarily finicky (on my own profile I have 6 specialities which in reality could be summarised as "IT", just that ProZ breaks things down in this way); (b) being exhaustive with your "works in" list is important for appearing in search results.


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Feedback from somebody receiving such CVs Jul 5, 2014

Vladislav Kotenko wrote:
Subject areas
Advertising, Agriculture, Animal Sciences, Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Astronomy, Bible and Biblical Studies, Biology, Botany, Buildings, Business Administration and Management, Business General, Business Marketing, Chemistry, Child Care, Computer and Information Sciences, Criminology, Culinary Arts, Data Communications, Data Processing, Ecology, Economics, Education, Environmental Science, Ethnic and Cultural Studies, Film and Cinema Studies, Finance, Food Sciences, Forestry, Genealogy/Family History Research, General, Genetics, Geography, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology, Health, History, Hospitality, Humanities and Humanistic Studies, Information Sciences and Systems, Internet, Islamic Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Law and Legal, Linguistics, Literature, Marine and Aquatic Biology, Medicine — Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene, Medicine — Public Health Education and Promotion, Medicine (General), Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Oceanography, Philosophy, Photographic Arts, Photography, Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, Physics, Radio and Television Broadcasting, Religion, Religion and Religious Studies, Science (General), Sociology, Sport and Fitness, Telecommunications, Theatre, Theology and Theological Studies, Tourism and Travel, Transportation, Zoology
But I wonder whether it is appropriate to include such list in one's resume.


Vladislav, at our office, I do get about 5 to 10 CVs per day from translators. I actually like the ones with such a long list of subject areas. They speed up my decision to just delete them, I don't even have to read them. By just deleting them, I might miss a real genius, ok this is a risk I am willing to take.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:43
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Specialty & off-limits areas Jul 5, 2014

Vladislav,

I am sure that there are more areas of human knowledge in which you would be able to translate than those on your list. Maybe you are treating your specialty areas as SEO keywords. Keep in mind that your CV will be read by a human being, not a computerized internet search engine.

The point here is to explain which are the areas where your skills would be hard to match, where your likelihood of being the best choice highest. That's what your reader is looking for in your CV.

I have listed on my web page the 10 areas where I have successfully worked over and over again.

Of course, your list is not exhaustive. It won't prevent you from working in other areas too. Though you won't see, e.g. Environmental Science on my list, I have done extensive translation work in this area, on request by people who actually read my list. However I'm sure that there are plenty of more knowledgeable translators to do it in my pair.

The other extreme takes time. Socrates said that we don't know what we don't know. After 40 years in professional translation, I've learned to acknowledge a few things that I don't know, i.e. subjects that I shouldn't ever be translating. So I list them there as off-limits for me.

For instance, there is no point in having me translate technical medical stuff, since I don't understand the content in any language, neither source nor target. The key is in knowing reliable colleagues who specialize in these subject areas, so I can refer queries to them pronto, and get these prospects adequate service, which is all they want/need.

In a nutshell, you should be highlighting what things you are among the best in doing, and not merely listing all you can do to an acceptable level of quality.


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:43
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Keywords Issue Jul 5, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

...
But your CV certainly shouldn't include such indigestible lists of keywords. You're writing for a human being, not a search robot (whatever they're called).


I agree with most (i.e. 80 %) of what has been written here by folks except one major point I exampled above. From what I already know, most organizations process resumes (or CV's) using a computer rather than a human being due to the high number of resumes to be read/processed in today's world. That is why they say we should design our resumes such that they contain the relevant keywords when a computer makes a search among hundreds (sometimes thousands) of resumes. So, what I would recommend is to try to "build" your preferred keywords into the text of your resume rather than making a long list of keywords. This is because a long list of keywords such as the one given by Vladislav Kotenko is dull in a resume. If if you were to provide one, probably nobody would read the list anyhow (except a computer).


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Maybe Jul 5, 2014

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
But your CV certainly shouldn't include such indigestible lists of keywords. You're writing for a human being, not a search robot (whatever they're called).

From what I already know, most organizations process resumes (or CV's) using a computer rather than a human being due to the high number of resumes to be read/processed in today's world.

I don't think I've ever collaborated with an agency that does business that way, nor would I want to, but I suppose it's a valid point. However, I would think that, rather than spraying keywords over a perfectly good CV, you should probably have a separate page for this boring list, marked for non-human use only.

[Edited at 2014-07-05 16:33 GMT]


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Vladislav.

Local time: 20:43
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Subject areas vs. areas of specialization Jul 5, 2014

I appreciate very much the valuable advice given.

What is the difference between subject areas and areas of specialization when it comes to including them in a resume?

Does a person need to have some degrees/ certification in the areas of specialization which they include in their resumes? I don't have any degrees in many fields in which I can do translation work. So can I include some fields under "Areas of specialization" subheading in my resume even though I don't have formal education in those fields?


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:43
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very rich Jul 5, 2014

I have to say it's been a real learning period reading your posts. You all have been pointing out so many important things regarding CV. The level of posts, contributions is excellent.

It's good to know how to exchange knowledge.

Thank you.



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Danik 2014
Brazil
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Specialize! Jul 5, 2014

Hi,
When I filled out the form at Proz, I included as many areas as possible but I got an interesting sugestion from the site: If you want to stick out from the crowd, be a specialist in one or a few areas, even if you are used to work with more.
Regards,


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:43
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Are you a true expert in the field? Jul 5, 2014

Vlad Kotenko wrote:

I appreciate very much the valuable advice given.

What is the difference between subject areas and areas of specialization when it comes to including them in a resume?

Does a person need to have some degrees/ certification in the areas of specialization which they include in their resumes? I don't have any degrees in many fields in which I can do translation work. So can I include some fields under "Areas of specialization" subheading in my resume even though I don't have formal education in those fields?

One can work in a wide range of fields but you can only ever specialize in so many. Can you call yourself an expert in a field? Are you able to function professionally in that field other than as a translator? If you don't have a degree in the field you need to have at least equivalent knowledge, where applicable - you should be able to write on your own at least a Bachelor-level thesis or essay. Are you able to write a proper academic or professional thesis on all of Advertising, Agriculture, Animal Sciences, Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Astronomy, etc.?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It isn't always about the terminology of the subject, though Jul 6, 2014

Areas such as astronomy call for in-depth study of the subject, in both/all languages, so that you are totally familiar with the equivalent terms. Mixing them up could be rather serious and the two texts are normally very close.

Marketing and tourism, on the other hand (my areas), are not necessarily about those industries i.e. it isn't like a thesis. It's about taking a description of a product, region or hotel in one language and reproducing the message in another language so it appeals to readers of another culture. Terminology isn't always an issue, though a tourist guide will probably talk about the area's architecture, flora and fauna, history, industry, activities etc - so you need to be a bit of a generalist with good general research skills. Writing ability is paramount and the source and target texts are not necessarily that close.

That's why I'm always dubious when people claim to specialise in both technical subjects and the more creative writing ones. They are just so different.


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Vladislav.

Local time: 20:43
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exclusion of subject areas from one's resume Jul 8, 2014

Thank you. I have noticed that many translators do not include the list of their subject areas in their resumes. They simply list their education and completed projects. I don't know whether it is better to exclude the list of one's few subject areas from the resume so as not to give an impression that one does translation work in those few areas only and thus is not to be given projects in other areas. So will I limit my chances of getting work if I list a few specific areas only? In other words, will a customer/ agency be disinclined to give me work in an area which is not listed in my short list of subject areas? In such case, is it better not to mention one's subject areas at all but rather to focus on one's education and completed projects?

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