Getting started
Thread poster: Andrew Cvetkovich

Andrew Cvetkovich
United States
Local time: 17:56
Spanish to English
Mar 18, 2015

I am a new translator just about to graduate. Im looking to acquire work in order to further my knowledge, skills and experience and was wondering if anyone could give me some advice.


Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
getting started Mar 19, 2015

Look for an intern job, work for good causes / charities, work for people you know (friends, familiy, etc...)

DO NOT work for low(er) rates

IF you absolutely want to work for low rates on Elance, odesk and such -- create a profile with some alias (not your real name) and get some experience there... - later when you have enough experience - create a profile here and start in the real world (although you'll always be competing for low prices in your language pair....)



Kitty Maerz  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
English to German
+ ...
Tips for your profile Mar 19, 2015

Andrew, I took a quick look at your Proz-profile and while I think your honesty is commendable I to think it needs a bit of a rewrite.

Now, I am definitely not advising you to lie. But I think it would be beneficial if you would emphasize what you can do, not what you can't. A client doesn't want to hear that you plan to hone your craft and learn to be a great translator. They don't really care what you intend to study in the future. That is of course wonderful but most clients don't want to be the one you "practise" on. Of course everyone has to start but there is no point in mentioning it yourself repeatedly.

Instead concentrate on what you CAN do already:
- How long did you spend in Spain/what did you do there? If it was an extended time or if you attended classes there etc. I would talk a bit more about it.
- Do you have any work experience/internships etc. you could mention?
- Do you have any specializations in your business studies?
- It sounds like you have at least done some translations. If they were at all significant, mention them in more detail (e.g "translated a 2,000 word academic paper" or whatever)
- Do you have any knowledge of CAT tools? If so, mention it (if not it might be something for you to work on)
- Mention positive aspects about yourself (creative, reliable, etc.)
- Add in a sample translation

Do not harp on about your lack of experience (clients will be able to tell anyway) but focus on what you have to offer.

Good luck!


Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:56
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Job Mar 19, 2015

I'd advise you to look for a job for a while before you launch yourself as a freelance. This will give you more experience of the world of business, which will prove invaluable later on and may help you build a specialism.

When I was a new graduate I worked for 18 months in an engineering company with a German parent company - this gave me the beginnings of a specialism in engineering, an idea of the needs of an end client and also just a general idea of how things work in the world of business. I was also able to do some translation work for them (although I wasn't employed as a translator), and had access to engineers who could explain things to me when I got stuck and sometimes even show me the component in question. I also spent a while temping as a secretary, which seemed like a bit of a come-down at the time (I wanted a "graduate job") but actually gave me a lot of experience of the business processes in various companies, which has been very useful.

This approach would also give you the chance to build up your freelance work part-time while you have some money coming in, and to invest in the tools you need.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
Member (2007)
+ ...
Great advice! Mar 19, 2015

I agree wholeheartedly with all the advice you've been given.

I just want to add that one of the most important skills you need as a translator, and as a freelancer, is the ability to research. So, although you've come to the right place - and I'm not criticising you for this thread - I think you should find a lot of the answers for yourself. There's a vast amount of information on this site. Pay particular attention to this Getting Established forum and to the Site Guidance Centre, but there are interesting articles, Wikis, site tools, discussions on other forums, etc.

When you get to the point of having specific questions, come back here and we'll try to provide answers.

Happy researchingicon_smile.gif.


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