Help to start needed
Thread poster: Débora D'Eramo

Débora D'Eramo
United States
Local time: 12:40
English to Spanish
Jul 29, 2005

Hi everybody!
My name's Débora and I'm trying to get started in the translation business. I've been sending cv's to many translation agencies but I've bumped into a problem: almost all of them require experienced translators (some of them even ask for % years' experience!). The thing is: how am I supposed to get any experience if I don't get any jobs?? I'm sure that this topic was posted a thousand times, but, please do help me!
I've read something about mentoring (experienced translators willing to outsource jobs to less experienced ones -like myself- for lower rates). Is that possible or even feasible?
Thanks in advance!
Débora (from Argentina)


Local time: 18:40
English to German
voluntary work & searching old threads for information Jul 30, 2005

Hi Débora,icon_smile.gif

In the past many established people have suggested work for non-profit oeganisations or voluntary (translation) work in general. I've spent a couple of days searching through Google (with different search words/pattern) and found a couple of voluntary work offers that suited me. So, you might want to have in look in that direction.

sure that this topic was posted a thousand times[...][/quote]

Maybe not a thousand times (;)) but certainly very often. I would highly recommend (that is, of course, if you haven't already) that you take a bit of time and read selected threads, i.e. threads whose title suggest a similar question like yours where people have already answered and other threads that might interest you along the way, on this forum. For me "old" threads have proved a rich source of information and I've picked up many things along the way that I found useful when I read it but hadn't thought about before.

Hope, this helped a little bit.

All the best,

[Edited at 2005-07-30 00:55]


Kerstin Mohnberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
Member (Jan 2018)
English to German
Prove your translation skills Jul 30, 2005

Hi Débora,

I work for a large translation agency, and in my current job I am also responsible for recruiting in-house translators.

My company is aware of the fact that there are not many excellent translators around who are willing to work in-house. However, there are many, many people like you who are fresh from the uni and have no proven translation track history but would love to gain in-house experience in the industry.icon_smile.gif

When hiring translators, my company bases its decision mainly on the results of the translation test which all prospective in-house translators have to pass. Of course we also look at the CV, but the most important are very good translation skills and the eagerness to learn and progress.

Some of the agencies you have written to may have been looking to fill very senior positions, so you won't have much of a change with them. But most employers are more than happy to hire unexperienced people with good potential who can be "trained up" to the company's needs.

Some translation agencies also offer internships for graduates. This is a great chance to learn and gain experience in the industry. There's also always a good chance that you're offered an in-house position after your internship.


Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
Swedish to English
+ ...
Make it easier for outsourcers Jul 31, 2005

I had exactly your problem a few years ago. My advice:

Some outsources search the ProZ database for translators. Your page on does not give much information - for example, about your background, your qualifications etc.

There is a spelling mistake - "threapeutic". This does not inspire confidence in your ability to translate medical texts.

The picture of a small furry animal on your page is cute, but not businesslike.

You say you do English to Spanish, and Spanish to English. Some outsourcers will be suspicious that you really can work in both directions, so you need to provide some evidence (on your website).

What do you mean, you don't have a website? This is 2005 !

All this perhaps sounds a bit harsh, but necessary.

By the way, don't look at my CV on ProZ as a model - I get enough work anyway.
So can you - but you need to present a businesslike front.


Débora D'Eramo
United States
Local time: 12:40
English to Spanish
Thanks everybody! Jul 31, 2005

I want to thank everybody for their advice and positive criticism. However, I have a doubt as regards the agencies who offer internships. Do they do that on their websites? I've surfed the web a million times and never seen anything like it.
Thanks again.


Local time: 18:40
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
With Peter some of the way Aug 1, 2005

although I don't agree regarding the 'need to have a website', because personally I don't, and I have tonnes of jobs.

Apart from what you have already done, you should also:

- keep up answering questions. Kudoz points look good to a prospective client;

- add more keywords to your profile - where's pedagogy, for instance? Just list as many keywords as you can possibly think of to describe your fields of expertice;

- Structure your CV for easy overview of your qualifications and experience; e.g. 1. Education - 2. Jobs done - 3. Translation tools - 4. Hardware/software - 5. Misc. Think: What would a prospective client want to know first and foremost, and then put that first in your CV.
Also, I would perhaps gather 'construction' and 'household appliance' experience under one heading (e.g. tech./eng.), and I would put your 'tourism' jobs under a heading saying TOURISM. This would ease a client's overview, because the main subjects are easily found, and the number of jobs done within this field is also easily determined.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Update your CV with everything you have written in your profile!!! Where's e.g. the dvd manual translation?

- Don't forget to list all your CAT tools in your profile (where's WordFast?).

And then...reply to as many job postings as you possibly can. And DON'T write something like: "Unexperienced translator" or "Seeking experience" etc. You have done translation jobs, therefore you have experience! Don't sell yourself short.

I know this was a lot, but IMHO this would help you a lot on your way to find clients.
Good luck to you.


Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 10:40
Work on Open Source for Experience Aug 2, 2005

"how am I supposed to get any experience if I don't get any jobs"

The localization and translation for various FOSS software is a well-organized effort ... show up, pick a project or join a team, and start translating.

They have tools, glossaries, and a very smooth process when you consider the number of projects and persons involved.

Here's places to look:


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