What kind of material can I showcase as my work samples?
Thread poster: osvirio

osvirio
Panama
Nov 26, 2018

I have been working as a freelance translator for around 2 years now and I want to go to the next level and create a website to have my portfolio.

I want to have some samples of my translations, but the thing is, all my job until now it's been made, naturally, under NDA.

I have worked for a few companies and I'm thinking about attaching their logos and also uploading the logos and links of the works I have translated so far (I've translated online courses, books, games
... See more
I have been working as a freelance translator for around 2 years now and I want to go to the next level and create a website to have my portfolio.

I want to have some samples of my translations, but the thing is, all my job until now it's been made, naturally, under NDA.

I have worked for a few companies and I'm thinking about attaching their logos and also uploading the logos and links of the works I have translated so far (I've translated online courses, books, games and subtitles for tv series). I would do this with the permission from their owners.

But still, this doesn't count as a sample of my work.

Do you think it's a good idea to translate articles from the web and hand them to clients who request samples?
In that case, what sources could you recommend?


Thank you in advance.
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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Nothing Nov 26, 2018

We know nothing about you as the About you section is empty so we cannot help you by pointing out not only from where to get your sources but also what areas might be less competitive and where, therefore, you will stand out and have a competitive edge. You certainly cannot use any of the stuff your clients-whether agencies or direct clients-gave you to translate but you will be able to find some stuff on the internet. Try and find an area which is not so common like patents, or an area in which... See more
We know nothing about you as the About you section is empty so we cannot help you by pointing out not only from where to get your sources but also what areas might be less competitive and where, therefore, you will stand out and have a competitive edge. You certainly cannot use any of the stuff your clients-whether agencies or direct clients-gave you to translate but you will be able to find some stuff on the internet. Try and find an area which is not so common like patents, or an area in which there is quite a lot of stuff to translate or, maybe, a new area like 'igaming' etc. We cannot help you by pointing you in any direction seeing we know practically nothing about you.

[Edited at 2018-11-27 06:40 GMT]
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Emma Page
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Sadly, nothing. Nov 27, 2018

A few things you can do: Ask your agency clients (PMs) who you work with well to give you a WWA rating on your proz profile. That then serves as a public reference for your ability which you can feel free to quote elsewhere (on your website etc.) You could go further and join the proz certified pro network, or a professional organisation in your country, but that does often require a lot of up front cost/test-taking/references, and may or may not give you much more in the way of client credibili... See more
A few things you can do: Ask your agency clients (PMs) who you work with well to give you a WWA rating on your proz profile. That then serves as a public reference for your ability which you can feel free to quote elsewhere (on your website etc.) You could go further and join the proz certified pro network, or a professional organisation in your country, but that does often require a lot of up front cost/test-taking/references, and may or may not give you much more in the way of client credibility than a good solid proz profile with references (for now).

If you find that clients are asking for samples of your work, then yes. You could prepare some samples using available texts on the internet which are in your domain, or you could offer to do a brief (no more than 200 word) sample for them using their own text. I don't think that any client should be put off by the fact that you refuse to share prior work, explaining that it is all under NDA and confidentiality agreements. If anything, it should put them at ease that you will treat their own documents seriously and with discretion!

Look at the websites of other translators. Very few have an actual "portfolio" of work publicly available. It isn't the done thing! Like putting your whole CV on your website, you're asking for someone to come steal it (sadly, a thing that happens regularly). Instead, focus on good references and offer samples privately. The fact that you have clients who are willing to let you quote their name/logo/project on your website (even without the content) is great!
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megane_wang
osvirio
 

Greatservice00
United States
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
+ ...
Thank you for posting this, I am in the same boat. Nov 27, 2018

Hi,

Great post !!! I am am in the same boat, meaning I started on fiverr and did jobs under nda's but with increased competition I wanted to increase my chances. I thought of making a portfolio and getting certification. I have a post, on this website, about it where I was asking what certifications I could take to increase my credibility to potential clients. So when I came upon your post, I just had to give it a read.

Emma your reply seems the wisest, thank you for
... See more
Hi,

Great post !!! I am am in the same boat, meaning I started on fiverr and did jobs under nda's but with increased competition I wanted to increase my chances. I thought of making a portfolio and getting certification. I have a post, on this website, about it where I was asking what certifications I could take to increase my credibility to potential clients. So when I came upon your post, I just had to give it a read.

Emma your reply seems the wisest, thank you for posting. I am also going for the French to English translation field so if you have more advice for me, please feel free to educate me. Thank you for pointing out that certifications are the same as a solid Proz profile. What would be an example of a solid Proz profile ? and thank you as well for warning us that an online portfolio would probably invite people to plagiarize what is on it. I will take the advice and offer private samples of translated work, do you have any recommendations ? French is becoming a very competitive niche, especially at the level of beginners like me. Any more advice for a rookie ?
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Emma Page
osvirio
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
French to English
In my experience Nov 27, 2018

Your CV pointing to your academic and/or professional experience is what will count. Posting logos of companies for whom you have translated is considered by many to be fairly useless. Firstly, if the jobs you have done for them were via an agency, then you may well have to comply with the terms of an agreement signed with that intermediary, such as not disclosing the names of the agency's clients. After all, your client was the agency, not the company who actually received your work. Contacting... See more
Your CV pointing to your academic and/or professional experience is what will count. Posting logos of companies for whom you have translated is considered by many to be fairly useless. Firstly, if the jobs you have done for them were via an agency, then you may well have to comply with the terms of an agreement signed with that intermediary, such as not disclosing the names of the agency's clients. After all, your client was the agency, not the company who actually received your work. Contacting the end client to ask if you can use their logo may even mean you breach the non-disclosure agreement with the agency you worked for. Secondly, saying that you did work for Megacompany X does not say anything of the work you actually did for them.

Moving on to the relevance of posting samples of your work online. This too can be problematic. What is there to prove that what you post is actually your work? It is also risky from another point of view: the work you post may not actually be to the liking of some clients who may decide not to contact you where they might otherwise have done so based on criteria such as qualifications and experience.

I think it best to let your background and experience speak for themselves and to provide details of the type of work you have done generally. If a client requires more, they may ask you to do a small test, or more usually, ask you to do a small job first and if they are happy with that, they may well come back for more!
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Emma Page
KIA59
osvirio
 

Emma Page
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Some tips! Nov 27, 2018

Greatservice00 wrote:

Hi,

Great post !!! I am am in the same boat, meaning I started on fiverr and did jobs under nda's but with increased competition I wanted to increase my chances. I thought of making a portfolio and getting certification. I have a post, on this website, about it where I was asking what certifications I could take to increase my credibility to potential clients. So when I came upon your post, I just had to give it a read.

Emma your reply seems the wisest, thank you for posting. I am also going for the French to English translation field so if you have more advice for me, please feel free to educate me. Thank you for pointing out that certifications are the same as a solid Proz profile. What would be an example of a solid Proz profile ? and thank you as well for warning us that an online portfolio would probably invite people to plagiarize what is on it. I will take the advice and offer private samples of translated work, do you have any recommendations ? French is becoming a very competitive niche, especially at the level of beginners like me. Any more advice for a rookie ?




You can do a few things quickly to improve your profile!
1) Use your real name or a professional version of it, and stick with it. Greatservice00 might work on fiverr, but on Proz it's an instant no from most people.
2) You list a whole bunch of specialisations, which tells me that you don't specialise in any of them. You probably aren't qualified to translate a highly technical document in the fields of both Automotives and Animal Husbandry. You are better off putting fewer specialisations, focusing on things you can demonstrate at least some knowledge on if asked to prove it (have completed a project, have studied at least a little at a university level, are interested in as a genuine hobby, etc.)
3) Fill out all the sections you can, add a profile picture, write something in your bio (tell us why you are translating! where did you learn your language, what are your relevant other interests, etc.)
4) Are you a native French speaker? If not, remove "English to French" as an option. Most people don't want non-native target language translations, and there is no shortage of native French-speaking translators. You won't win customers that way.
5) Ask any client you feel comfortable with to put a WWA rating on your profile (it's an easy process, it does take a few days to appear after they enter one sometimes).

Other than that, as a new translator it's all about getting yourself out there. Put together a good resume/CV which shows your language and writing skills, make a list of 100 agencies which you think could conceivably want to work with you, and send that CV to all of them (making sure to write a nice introductory email, follow their recruitment instructions/fill out their forms correctly, etc.)

When I was first starting out, I applied to 45 agencies in a month or two. About 8 got back to me in any form (asked for a test piece, asked me to register), out of those two were truly scammers, one gives me regular but low-paying work, and one is still my best client. That's 1 out of 45!

As for getting jobs on Proz, after you've fixed your profile: Only bother applying to jobs within the first 5-10 minutes or so that they are posted (otherwise you will be the 30th application, given the French-English combination) and don't expect to hear back from most people.

You will likely get the most clients via proz by working over holidays when others aren't available and picking up last-minute rush jobs from agencies or outsourcers whose regular translators are busy.


Michele Fauble
osvirio
 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 06:25
English to Italian
+ ...
A few ideas Nov 27, 2018

1) Translate part of a Wikipedia article.

2) If you work in the technical/scientific area, translate part of a published patent. Just search on https://register.epo.org/advancedSearch

3) Hire someone on fiverr to write a short article or essay. You and only you would be the legitimate owner.

All of this is perfectly legal.


KIA59
osvirio
 

Greatservice00
United States
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
+ ...
Thank you !!! Nov 27, 2018

Emma Page wrote:

Greatservice00 wrote:

Hi,

Great post !!! I am am in the same boat, meaning I started on fiverr and did jobs under nda's but with increased competition I wanted to increase my chances. I thought of making a portfolio and getting certification. I have a post, on this website, about it where I was asking what certifications I could take to increase my credibility to potential clients. So when I came upon your post, I just had to give it a read.

Emma your reply seems the wisest, thank you for posting. I am also going for the French to English translation field so if you have more advice for me, please feel free to educate me. Thank you for pointing out that certifications are the same as a solid Proz profile. What would be an example of a solid Proz profile ? and thank you as well for warning us that an online portfolio would probably invite people to plagiarize what is on it. I will take the advice and offer private samples of translated work, do you have any recommendations ? French is becoming a very competitive niche, especially at the level of beginners like me. Any more advice for a rookie ?




You can do a few things quickly to improve your profile!
1) Use your real name or a professional version of it, and stick with it. Greatservice00 might work on fiverr, but on Proz it's an instant no from most people.
2) You list a whole bunch of specialisations, which tells me that you don't specialise in any of them. You probably aren't qualified to translate a highly technical document in the fields of both Automotives and Animal Husbandry. You are better off putting fewer specialisations, focusing on things you can demonstrate at least some knowledge on if asked to prove it (have completed a project, have studied at least a little at a university level, are interested in as a genuine hobby, etc.)
3) Fill out all the sections you can, add a profile picture, write something in your bio (tell us why you are translating! where did you learn your language, what are your relevant other interests, etc.)
4) Are you a native French speaker? If not, remove "English to French" as an option. Most people don't want non-native target language translations, and there is no shortage of native French-speaking translators. You won't win customers that way.
5) Ask any client you feel comfortable with to put a WWA rating on your profile (it's an easy process, it does take a few days to appear after they enter one sometimes).

Other than that, as a new translator it's all about getting yourself out there. Put together a good resume/CV which shows your language and writing skills, make a list of 100 agencies which you think could conceivably want to work with you, and send that CV to all of them (making sure to write a nice introductory email, follow their recruitment instructions/fill out their forms correctly, etc.)

When I was first starting out, I applied to 45 agencies in a month or two. About 8 got back to me in any form (asked for a test piece, asked me to register), out of those two were truly scammers, one gives me regular but low-paying work, and one is still my best client. That's 1 out of 45!

As for getting jobs on Proz, after you've fixed your profile: Only bother applying to jobs within the first 5-10 minutes or so that they are posted (otherwise you will be the 30th application, given the French-English combination) and don't expect to hear back from most people.

You will likely get the most clients via proz by working over holidays when others aren't available and picking up last-minute rush jobs from agencies or outsourcers whose regular translators are busy.




Thank you !!!

You are right, there are a lot of things that I need to change on my profile. Thank you for helping me see this. I will use this to build it better. I am also wary of scammers so that is why I am grateful for the advice on the agencies. Thank you as well for tipping me on when I could find more work. I know I have said this a lot but thank you.


Emma Page
osvirio
 

Greatservice00
United States
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
+ ...
Daniel Great advice Nov 27, 2018

Daniel Frisano wrote:

1) Translate part of a Wikipedia article.

2) If you work in the technical/scientific area, translate part of a published patent. Just search on https://register.epo.org/advancedSearch

3) Hire someone on fiverr to write a short article or essay. You and only you would be the legitimate owner.

All of this is perfectly legal.


Daniel, great advice thank you for posting. Is it ok to translate a wikipedia page though? is it not the property of the author of the page ?


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 06:25
English to Italian
+ ...
Licence Nov 28, 2018

Greatservice00 wrote:

Is it ok to translate a wikipedia page though? is it not the property of the author of the page ?


Yes, it is OK, provided that you mention the source. It's under the Creative Commons licence:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

More ideas:

4) Project Gutenberg.

5) CIA World Factbook, and everything else on the CIA website.

Both are public domain.

[Edited at 2018-11-28 08:12 GMT]


KIA59
osvirio
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Anything relevant Nov 28, 2018

If one is to demonstrate his best (for whom?) pieces as a portfolio, many translators forget it's not a matter of WHAT (fragment from completed projects), but HOW he would translate some extract in the field. Shortly, even already translated extracts should do, let alone removing names/dates/places/numbers and other specifics makes almost any passage featureless, but still yours.

However, I consider rewriting, ghostwriting, and transcreation de facto to be a cheat for
... See more
If one is to demonstrate his best (for whom?) pieces as a portfolio, many translators forget it's not a matter of WHAT (fragment from completed projects), but HOW he would translate some extract in the field. Shortly, even already translated extracts should do, let alone removing names/dates/places/numbers and other specifics makes almost any passage featureless, but still yours.

However, I consider rewriting, ghostwriting, and transcreation de facto to be a cheat for it was somebody else who did (sold) the job, transferring the ownership rights
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osvirio
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Common sense? Nov 28, 2018

This obsession with NDAs and so on is getting boring. What ever happened to common sense?

I see no good reason not to use anything you have translated that is in the public domain.

It's already out there, what could possibly be the problem?

And in the highly unlikely event of anyone ever noticing, caring and having a legitimate objection, the worst they'll do is ask you to stop using it.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
Posting samples of your work online ... is also risky from another point of view: the work you post may not actually be to the liking of some clients who may decide not to contact you where they might otherwise have done so based on criteria such as qualifications and experience.

Surely it's even riskier if they give you the job and your work isn't to their liking...


 

Greatservice00
United States
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
+ ...
Thank you Daniel Nov 28, 2018

Thank you !!!

Daniel thank you, great replies. Thank you, Project Gutenberg is a great initiative. I think they are doing something truly useful for the world. I did not know about it but after checking out the website it became clear that they are doing something truly revolutionary. Digitizing books is something that will help just as much as the invention of the printing press. Thank you for introducing me to it.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Wikipedia, etc. Nov 28, 2018

osvirio wrote:
(I've translated online courses, books, games and subtitles for TV series). ... Do you think it's a good idea to translate articles from the web and hand them to clients who request samples?


Yes, if you can find free content on the web, translate some of it and provide it on your web site as samples of your work.

For online courses, it may be better to describe the content that you translated, and perhaps also mention the platforms for which you did translation (e.g. if you mention "Moodle", then people in that field will know at least that you are familiar with that platform, even if they can't see the content that you translated). Alternative, go to online course platforms such as Udemy, search for small, free courses, and offer to translate their notes for free.

For books, translating just one page of a few books could be sufficient. At Babelcube there are many authors who are desperate for translators, but they usually want you to translate the entire book. Still, it may be easier to get their permission to use some of their content as samples.

For games, go join a couple of opensource game projects, translate a few strings in each, and list those projects as projects that you "contributed to". Instead of showing examples of your game translation, write a few paragraphs on the most pressing issues w.r.t. game translation, to show potential clients that you know your stuff.

Finally, for subtitles, there are some portals that need volunteer subtitle translation, e.g. TED Talks as well as various YouTube channels. There are also some independent film makers who won't mind you creating and translating subtitles for their films (get permission first).

Finally, there is the old fall-back option: Wikipedia articles. They're free and you can alter the source text to avoid problematic sections.

[Edited at 2018-11-28 13:53 GMT]


DarwinE
osvirio
 

DarwinE  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks Sam! Nov 29, 2018

Samuel Murray wrote:

For games, go join a couple of opensource game projects, translate a few strings in each, and list those projects as projects that you "contributed to". Instead of showing examples of your game translation, write a few paragraphs on the most pressing issues w.r.t. game translation, to show potential clients that you know your stuff.



Although this wasn't originally my thread, you helped answer a curiosity I've had for a while: how do you break into video game translation? I know that often times the work itself can get repetitive as your translating multiple strings of identical phrases save for one or two words in the string, but there always seems to be work in this field and I'd be willing to take it.

Do you have experience in the field or any other advise that would facilitate breaking into the field of video game translation?


 


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