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What can I do more than this?
Thread poster: Alessandro Marchesello

Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:39
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 17, 2005

Hi everybody!
Maybe you can still remember that I started a topic about two weeks ago asking you "what should I do to get a job?" or something like that.
Well, I do need someone who can explain me what's going on now!
I've got my technical up to date education, I'm improving my English day by day, I've got my own website working, I contacted something like 250 agencies, I responded to not less than 50 job offers, I'm spending hours on Kudoz and Forums, I signed in to 3 translators' communities, 6 translators' lists and 5 "proz-like" websites.
What the... should I do to get a job?
This situation is definitely freaking me out! No paid jobs in the last two months!
I know it's not easy to find a job, especially if you're a young not-long-experienced translator as I am, but I'm not asking for tens of offers per week, I'm just asking for one job from time to time, just to begin, in order to show people that I can do it well!
Hey, I'm here, does anybody need EN>IT translations?
There is anything more I can do (without spending money for no results)?
Thanks in advance!

Alessandro Marchesello
www.amtranslations.com


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 19:39
Tús maith, leath na hoibre Oct 17, 2005

(or "a good start is half the work!")

It is still early days yet.
It took me about 2 months before I started getting any work. That is about average, as far as I know, compared to other translators.

Realistically, most agencies will have their own favourite translators for a particular language pair. It is often the way that an agency will first contact you is if their favourite translators are not available and they are systematically going through their database to see if there is anyone else who could do the job. The summer is usually a great time for newbie translators to make contacts and plug the gaps while others are on holidays.

However if you are in financial difficulties, may I suggest (if that is possible where you live) that you sign on for unemployment assistance for a couple of weeks and then when you start earning money from translation, sign off the unemployment register or else get a part-time job in the evenings to keep the wolf from the door.

Keep knocking, the door _will_open

Orla


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:39
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't give up just yet! Oct 17, 2005

Alessandro Marchesello wrote:

I know it's not easy to find a job, especially if you're a young not-long-experienced translator as I am...

Alessandro Marchesello
www.amtranslations.com[/quote]

You've answered the question yourself. It's NOT easy to get a job, especially that all-important first job. Be patient, keep trying, keep studying and don't give up.

I am a relative newcomer to the world of freelance translation myself, and I know exactly how you feel. But getting freaked out and disheartened is not going to help. Keep working at it and eventually your fortunes will change. From what I can see, you're doing all the right things.

My first job came to me from a company whose usual translator was busy - I was basically in the right place at the right time. The same will happen to you!

Chin up!

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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:39
Member (2002)
English to German
Wait Oct 17, 2005

Hi Alessandro,

If you started marketing your services two weeks ago now you have to wait and keep advertising.
It takes agencies quite some time to contact you. An extreme example: I sent an application to an agency and received a job two years later (!)
You have to realize that it is unlikely that they have been waiting for you. So you might get a chance whenever they cannot use one of their favorite translators.

Good luck

Andy
www.interlations.com


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:39
German to English
+ ...
"TLDR" syndrome (resume too long) Oct 17, 2005

Hi Alessandro,

I'm sorry you're having a tough time. You've got a good start: you have a complete profile, you maintain your own website, and you've racked up a solid number of Kudoz points. Sometimes it just takes a while and then jobs start to snowball.

Some things I noticed immediately however:

** your CV is IMO way too long (hence the title of my post: TLDR = too long, didn't read). This is the length of resume I might expect for a PhD in astrophysics, not necessarily someone starting out. You want outsourcers to be able to take one look at your C.V. and bam! get the info they need. I would limit it to one page. For instance is your Legambiente experience relevant to translation?

Since you're a freelancer offering a service instead of looking for employment, you might consider a brochure instead of a CV. I feel this is a better way to sell oneself.

** There are a few non-idiomatic instances of English (e.g. "a freelance linguist that provides", "Specialistic text"). While these are minor and not earth-shattering considering your native language, it may communicate a lack of attention to detail or command of the language.

** What's your daily capacity? 2500 or 3000 words? I understand there is some leeway here but I would strive for consistency between your proz.com profile and your website.

** Have you explored direct marketing? Of course I don't mean mass mailings or anything. But what companies in your vicinity (or even your country) might be interested in your services? Is there industry in your town? Do you have former university colleagues you could target? Direct clients are relatively lucrative in my experience and it's always good to diversify your client base.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2005-10-17 19:53]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:39
SITE FOUNDER
Two things to do before posting this topic a third time Oct 17, 2005

Dear Alessandro,

You are (still) failing to do the two most important things to meet clients at ProZ.com. I recommend that rather than posting the same question a third time, you do the following:

1. If you replied to 50 postings, you are not specialized enough and as a generalist it will be difficult to catch any client's eye. Read this: http://proz.com/translation-articles/articles/79/1/To-win-jobs-online--specialize!

2. If you are serious about growing your business using ProZ.com, you need to take the step and go platinum. This place is designed in such a way that clients meet platinum members.

I don't recommend that you limit your marketing to the online world. But if you do, do the above.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:39
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
A few of things you may want to do to improve your cv Oct 17, 2005

Ciao Alessandro,

I don't think that your cv is really too long, but you should change the layout to fit on one (maximum two) pages (one thing you can do is to single space it)


A few things you may want to do to improve your cv:

- Too many specializations: gives the impression that you do not really specialize in anything

- If you are sending your resume to the States, remove such personal data as your photo and date of birth: since a prospective employer here is forbidden from asking such information (for fear of being sued for age or gender discrimination), any unsolicited resume that arrives with this kind of information is normally thrown out

- Personally I would also omit at least the section on the dictionaries you have (I would assume that a professional translator is fully equipped with the dictionaries for the job, and a list of just four dictionaries may give the wrong impression).

- As soon as you graduate drop the section about your high-school education

- Drop the sections about your artistic skills and about your hobbies (you might add a line about your "other interests" as the very last one of your cv).


best of luck,

Riccardo


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Don't get discouraged Oct 17, 2005

Definitely follow all the good advice given by other members, and don't become downhearted - 8 months after I took the plunge and decided to work full time as a freelance translator, I was desperately searching around for a part time job to make ends meet... and yet a couple of months later it all took off and I've never (or almost never) had a free moment since.

One day, you will get called by some agency (probably on a Friday afternoon with an urgent job for Monday morning...), you'll do a good job for them, and they'll call you again. Sooner or later you'll get regular work from them. Then another, then another. And so it goes.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 21:39
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
Trust me, it works! Oct 17, 2005

Henry wrote:

I recommend that rather than posting the same question a third time, you do the following:

1. If you replied to 50 postings, you are not specialized enough and as a generalist it will be difficult to catch any client's eye.

2. you need to take the step and go platinum.

I don't recommend that you limit your marketing to the online world. But if you do, do the above.


I agree with Henry, I viewed the article he's talking about some months ago, and changed my profile and nickname to indicate my experience in one major field. Guess what, I received job offers although I wasn't even a platinum!

I had some financial troubles, but I managed to become a platinum. And again ... guess what ... my job opportunities doubled!

These two factors increase your client's attention more than you can imagine. The point mentioned regarding your long resume is also worthy, agencies and clients receive tons of quotes and offers once they post a job .. do you think they'll have time viewing ALL resumes they get?

Try again, and be patient. I'm not saying that things are easy, but they just take time. When I first started working online as a freelance translator, I had times even worse than yours, but things can always get better. I've been there too


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:39
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Learn about HTML and SEO Oct 17, 2005

Hi Alessandro,

You asked for tips, so don't be angry with me. Your site is not Google-friendly. It looks good but has nothing to offer to the Google Bots that spider the Internet. Open your site in a proper HTML editor - not Frontpage of course - and see what the bot actually sees and indexes. Teach yourself HTML, now you've got the time for it. I did and I've never regretted it.

Start today and make English Version and Versione Italiana clickable. Then search the Internet for the keywords your potential clients actually use to find your services in Google: the words they type when they're looking for a translator. They might search for: english italian translator, but you don't have to guess, there are free, public resources available for those who care. Use those keywords on your index page and on all other pages, when they are appropriate. Get rid of FrontPage and start all over again. Take care your HTML is lean and validates (in both IE, FF and Opera and check at http://validator.w3.org/), use CSS. When you've finished, you can add HTML to your skills as a translator.

Succes,
Gerard

P.S. If you get it right for Google, you don't have to worry about the other search engines.


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Keep calm, keep smiling Oct 17, 2005

It's extremely unpleasant being unemployed.
Most of us have been there and we know what you are going through. I was there 25 years ago, Alessandro, and I remember the feelings of frustration and sheer FEAR!!!
I took any job available because I had to eat and pay the rent.
My career as a successful full-time translator is oh, all of 5 years long....
The great thing about translating is that you can do it part-time, while you are earning money doing "mundane" but remunerative activities like working in a restaurant or a bar or in a store.
Less time answering kudoz and more time seeking paid employment (even not as a translator) may be needed at this moment.
It will look better on your CV if you say you work as a volunteer with the disabled or do pro bono translations than if you say "I earned 600 kudoz points...."
And you never know who is around the corner ... one lady posted here two weeks ago, she's in my language combination, I liked the sound of her and sent her some work. It wasn't perfect (but then I am a tough taskmaster, as you know from kudoz) but it was good enough for me to recommend her to others ... see? Next time it might be your name that comes to mind.
Angela


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 20:39
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
And, again, about your resume Oct 17, 2005

A resume for freelance work needs a little re-thinking when compared to your "normal" resume for a position.

First of all, keep it as short an relevant as at all possible! Only include stuff that is of relevance to translating jobs (your part time job at Burger King or whatever doesn't have a place here, it's only taking up space and making your resume long and illegible to outsourcers).

Secondly, I really don't think any outsourcer cares much about your hobbies and part-time whatever, unless this has some relevance with regard to translating. Why would they?

Thirdly, leave out your picture, your birth date, your nationality (outsourcers already know this) and desired employment (you're not looking for an in-house position, or...).

Leave out address of employer and all that - only write the dates or the years of employment, and only if relevant.

Leave out the table with your grades ("excellent", "good", etc.) Not relevant here.

Don't mention your social skills like this; use the line below your presentation to do this! Chose one or two of these skills to signify your translations; e.g. 'Reliable and precise' or something, and leave it out of your resume. 'Technical translator' doesn't really catch the eye of anyone. We are many out there ;o)

AND....DON'T be discouraged!!!!
It DOES take some time to get that 'first job'. In the meantime, answer and comment on even more KudoZ questions.

Good luck to you ;o)


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
CVs Oct 17, 2005

Michele Johnson wrote:

** your CV is IMO way too long (hence the title of my post: TLDR = too long, didn't read). This is the length of resume I might expect for a PhD in astrophysics, not necessarily someone starting out. You want outsourcers to be able to take one look at your C.V. and bam! get the info they need. I would limit it to one page. For instance is your Legambiente experience relevant to translation?



This made me laugh. My brother-in-law has a PhD in astrophysics. His CV is not even one page long. No picture, no date of birth, etc., just the bare minimum. After a stint at Harvard, he set himself up as a translator. He does great. It took him five months to establish himself full-time. (This was ten years ago.) Now, he finds it difficult to take a holiday.

The advice you have been given is sound. I would also recommend that you specialise in 4 or 5 core areas. As time goes by, your areas of expertise will grow and you can add some more. You might not want to though since you will probably be too busy coping with the work you are getting

The added bonus of putting just the minimum in your CV is that it will make it stand out and potential customers will contact you to ask for more details. This, in turn, will give you a foot through the door to sell yourself. Instead of giving detailed information on your command of languages, you could just list them. If you are selling yourself as a language professional, your language skills must be at a certain level.


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Alessandro Marchesello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:39
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proofreading Oct 17, 2005

Michele Johnson wrote:

** There are a few non-idiomatic instances of English (e.g. "a freelance linguist that provides", "Specialistic text"). While these are minor and not earth-shattering considering your native language, it may communicate a lack of attention to detail or command of the language.


[Edited at 2005-10-17 19:53]


Thank you for helping me.

I asked a native English speaker to proofread my website and he said it's ok.
Can you suggest more idiomatic expressions?


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Barbara Micheletto
Italy
Local time: 20:39
Russian to Italian
+ ...
my suggestions Oct 17, 2005

Ciao Alessandro,
I think your site is nice and you did a very good job. Nevertheless, in my "humble" opinion, there is a drawback in offering only a language pair (English to Italian). So maybe you could try to team up with some colleagues or to become an outsourcer in order to offer services in different language pairs, or at least from Italian into English. I think that boosting this aspect could be useful for attracting customers. I understand that sitting idle waiting for customers to offer you a job can be very frustrating... maybe you could use this forced free time for studying another language (French or Spanish, for istance) that you could add to your CV. But if you can't stand the pressure of waiting and can't avoid getting anxious, you could follow Angela's suggestion and look for a part-time job. That could be an option to earn some money and put your mind at ease. And in the second half of the day you could do what you like best... translating!
I'd like to give you another suggestion: reading your CV I noticed that you have not included any dictionaries in the economics/business/law field. It's quite possible that a new customer will contact you offering a rush translation in that fields and you could find some difficulties to cope with it without a good specialist dictionary. So I suggest you to buy one (at least) asap.
All the best.
Barbara


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