Getting started as a freelance interpreter: How to convince the employers without pro experience?
Thread poster: Mohammad Ghaffari

Mohammad Ghaffari  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 16:36
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Mar 4, 2016

Hi everyone. I do not have any professional interpreting experience, and as a result, it seems that employers would not believe me that I can handle their job. On the contrary, I believe that I am qualified enough to interpret general business talks, at least; we had interpreting training at our university, and I was a good student, I believe. What can I do to prove the employers that I am capable of working with them?

[Edited at 2016-03-04 13:06 GMT]


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 14:06
Member (2005)
English to German
Do some pro bono gigs? Mar 4, 2016

Can you volunteer at some charitable organization who can then confirm your abilities?

Apart from that, if you have grades from your university classes, present them. If not, ask the teachers to write you (informal) evaluations?


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:06
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Free test translations? Mar 4, 2016

I don't do them anymore, but as starting translator it might be a way to proof yourself. One word of advice, be carefull they don't abuse you, that you end up working for for them for free. A normal test consists out of 200 to 250 words!

Furthermore, have patience. Building up a standard client base will take about 3 years.

[Edited at 2016-03-04 16:11 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Employers? Mar 4, 2016

You need to get the right hat on. It might seem nit-picking but if you don't know the terminology of your own job ... It doesn't seem as though you're going for a salaried job as an interpreter, if indeed such a job exists. If you're freelance then you work for yourself and you'll be looking for clients. I don't think you can hope to get any jobs with an employee mindset. If you approach potential clients as a confident service supplier you might have better luck.

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Mohammad Ghaffari  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 16:36
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nice points Mar 4, 2016

Ricki Farn wrote:

Can you volunteer at some charitable organization who can then confirm your abilities?

Apart from that, if you have grades from your university classes, present them. If not, ask the teachers to write you (informal) evaluations?


Thanks Ricki; I will give it a shot. I just assume that charities here do not need interpreting service that much. And about the grades, well, presenting them to the clients is not normal in Iran


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Mohammad Ghaffari  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 16:36
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good piece of advice Mar 4, 2016

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

I don't do them anymore, but as starting translator it might be a way to proof yourself. One word of advice, be carefull they don't abuse you, that you end up working for for them for free. A normal test consists out of 200 to 250 words!

Furthermore, have patience. Building up a standard client base will take about 3 years.

[Edited at 2016-03-04 16:11 GMT]


Thanks Robert; that was very good piece of advice. I adhere to the point you mentioned for the clients who offer big translation projects; however, it seems that for interpreting opportunities, the test phase depends more on the qualification of the resume and interpreting experience as compared to written translation.


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Mohammad Ghaffari  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 16:36
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Precious comment Mar 4, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

You need to get the right hat on. It might seem nit-picking but if you don't know the terminology of your own job ... It doesn't seem as though you're going for a salaried job as an interpreter, if indeed such a job exists. If you're freelance then you work for yourself and you'll be looking for clients. I don't think you can hope to get any jobs with an employee mindset. If you approach potential clients as a confident service supplier you might have better luck.


Thank you so much Sheila. Your are absolutely right. I should be much more concerned with professional etiquette and ethics.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Here, the opposite is true Mar 5, 2016

Mohammad Ghaffari wrote:
I just assume that charities here do not need interpreting service that much

I have no idea what the situation is like in Iran but in Europe charities such as the Red Cross, and others helping marginalised people, are always in need of people who can communicate with those who don't speak (or who no longer speak, in the case of some mental illnesses) the local language. But I can see that may not work for you.


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 14:06
Member (2005)
English to German
Ehm ... Mar 6, 2016

Mohammad Ghaffari wrote:
And about the grades, well, presenting them to the clients is not normal in Iran


But if you don't present your grades, why do you get them? This is a cultural difference I would never have expected in my life

In Europe and in the US, we study to get a nice grade and write it in our CV. Sometimes I even think that the people who study because they actually care about a subject, are a minority compared to the ones who study to get a good grade. But maybe I'm just a cynic.


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