Getting established and dealing with agencies
Thread poster: Vladislav.

Vladislav.

Local time: 23:05
English to Russian
+ ...
Aug 12, 2014

Since there are many experienced translators on this website, I would very much appreciate if anyone could give advice on the following points:

1) Does it look appropriate to include one's non-native language as one of the target languages in the cover letter/ resume? Are agencies willing to hire translators to do translation into their non-native languages?

2) When making a job application to an agency, is it better to send a cover letter and a resume through the email of the company/ agency or to visit its website and fill in the application form? Will such application through the website seem less personal than when sending a cover letter along with a resume to the recruiting manager through the email of the agency?

3) What suggestions would you give on how to find translation work regularly? Are translation agencies the best way to do that?

Thank you.


 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:05
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Advice Aug 13, 2014

1) I would not include my non-native language or attempt to do any paid work in that pair (in my case, English-Russian). There are a few native Russian speakers on this site who are capable of doing an excellent job translating Russian into English, but you have to be truly bilingual to be able to do this. Most, like me, would not attempt to translate into anything but their native language. There is a widely-held belief among translators and agencies that it is not a good thing to translate into anything but your mother tongue, so it would not create a good impression.

2) If the agency has a website on which applications from translators are invited, use it. Letters through the post are likely to be considered spam, and ignored, as are unsolicited emails. If you apply through the site, you still may not get a reply. But you may have been listed and might hear from the agency years later.

3) Generally speaking, direct clients are better than agencies but more difficult to come by. There are many agencies out there offering ruinously low rates and always trying to drive rates down. There are also good ones. Writing unsolicited to potential direct clients is unlikely to produce a positive result. Direct clients wanting to find translators generally do so from the sites of professional associations such as the ATA (USA), or the ITI or IoCL (UK), so if you can pass the membership exams it is a good thing to belong to at least one such organization. They may also do so from lists on translators’ websites such as this one. There are others which I am not allowed to name here. On this site, it helps to get you known if you answer questions in the “KudoZ” section of the site, and if you contribute to forums.


 

Vladislav.

Local time: 23:05
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translation Rates Aug 14, 2014

Thank you for the valuable advice.
By how many percent are wages from agencies lower than wages from direct clients? Are there websites where proofreading rates for Russian language are given?


 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:05
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Translation rates Aug 15, 2014

Firstly, note that "transcription" usually means you are listening to the original rather than seeing it on paper, so it is one specific form of translation, for which it is preferable to charge by the hour (of your time, not of the recording).

I used to work for an agency which regularly notified its translators of the rates it paid them and the rates it charged its clients. The mark-up was about 100%. I think this is higher than average, but it will be at least 60%. A translator's rates for a direct client should be below what an agency would charge but higher than an agency would pay.

You may find some information on this somewhere in the forums of this site, or on other translators' sites. I always insist on making an hourly charge for proofreading, because the time it takes varies tremendously depending on how good the translation is.


 

Vladislav.

Local time: 23:05
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Transcription, Rates Aug 15, 2014

Thank you for the explanations. Previously, I thought that transcription service is charged by the hour of the recording.

 


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