CV advice
Thread poster: Lisa Roberts

Lisa Roberts  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 18, 2006

Hello,

After receiving much (extremely useful) advice on getting myself started, it became apparent that my CV was not quite as good as I seemed to think!

I have since had a re-think - and a sneaky peek at a few others as a guide - and have replaced my old CV with what I hope is a slightly improved version.

If anyone could spare a minute or two to have a quick perusal, any comments or suggestions as to how it could be further improved would be much appreciated!

Many thanks!

Lisa


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Specialise Aug 18, 2006

Hi Lisa,

I think you should draw more attention to what you think are your specialist subject areas. Some of the best advice for translators who are relatively new to the business is to specialise in a subject with which they are comfortable. In your case nothing seems to stand out.

Let's see if anyone else can offer some further suggestions!

Good luck!

Becky.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 12:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
You get only one chance to make a 'first impression' Aug 18, 2006

Hi Lisa,

May I suggest you have a fresh look at your sample translation? (especially the last paragraph)

MediaMatrix


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:38
English to French
+ ...
Rates Aug 18, 2006

Not everybody will agree, but as your CV is about your services and not that much about rates and such, maybe you should leave the rates out of your CV. This is especially useful since it will leave you more freedom to negotiate rates on a case-per-case basis. Some clients are willing to pay more than the rates in your CV, but after seeing your rates on paper, they will of course only offer your stated rate - and you might lose a substantial amount of money just because of this (think of large projects).

Also, if your CV this year states these rates, and next year, you raise your rates, your estbalished clients will not want to switch to your new rate - they already have this one on paper.

Also, in general, I would not put the information in the same order as you did. Start with the most important information. Nobody likes reading through a profile - you can still add one, but not at the beginning. Your specializations, your software, your daily output and such will be more crucial to your clients. I would start with a bulleted list of these basic pieces of info, and then move to the "optional" part - that is, the part clients don't necessarily need to read in order to decide that you are the right person.

Finally, a website is a great thing, and you can expand more on a website, to which you can then add a link in your CV.

I hope this helps - and do keep checking other people's CV's, without necessarily thinking they are good CV's - there are many, many bad CV's out there.

Good luck! May your CV help you catch some great contracts!

[Edited at 2006-08-18 16:40]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:38
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Remove the Cooking/Culinary category from your profile Aug 18, 2006

This would leave Law and Business, which can be grouped together, initially at least, as a broad speciality.

After translating a few menus you may find out that Cooking/Culinary is a very highly specialised subject, with a vast wealth of possible menu items, needing a great deal of experience in order to be listed as a speciality. I remember well the menu I once did, for which I got paid practically nothing for a word count of 40 or 50 words, but which took me an entire weekend to do! EUR 1.00 per hour? I think that is a gross over-estimate - at least in the case of that menu that I did! The agency took about 4 months to pay for it, too!

Astrid


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Lisa Roberts  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you to all Aug 19, 2006

Thank you all for your suggestions.

Mediamatrix - thanks for bringing my attention to the slightly lees than perfect aspects of my sample translation - I will indeed have a re-think.

I happen to agree with the majority that rates on my CV - particularly given my lack of experience - will definitely hinder my chances of securing freelance work. However, as some of you may have noticed, my rates are not quite what they should be on my profile, and as I am unable to change them until November I thought it important for the correct rates to appear somewhere - perhaps on my website when I get round to doing it?

One thing I'm still a little unsure about is the issue of specialisation. I find it quite difficult to categorise my level of experience and worry that I will either under- or - worse - oversell myself. Also, the subjects that I feel I am truly specialised in (I was once a sailing instructor) there is little demand for, and therefore not really worth citing.

Anyone else having similar troubles?


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:38
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Choosing a specialisation Aug 19, 2006

Hi Lisa,

When choosing a specialisation, you have to consider who all these people are, in the world, who actually want to pay for the luxury of a translation. Mostly it is large companies. Since companies broadly divide into industrial types of company and companies who offer services, most translations required will be either commercial or technical. As an alternative, they could be of a legal nature, if the translation is needed for legal reasons. The most money comes from being able to do a combination of legal and technical (e.g. patents), and there is also profit to be made from the combination of commercial/financial/legal. Besides this, there is also the field of medical/pharmaceutical translations. There are other types of translation as well, but they are not in demand by big companies and therefore not as well paid either. I would recommend that you look at the categories mentioned above. Maybe at a later stage you may become involved in a sub-category of one of these, according to the experience that you end up acquiring.

Astrid


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 12:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
€1 an hour? - 4 months to get paid? Aug 19, 2006

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I remember well the menu I once did, for which I got paid practically nothing for a word count of 40 or 50 words, but which took me an entire weekend to do! EUR 1.00 per hour?


I've also done a few menus - but only after I've actually come across mistakes in a restaurant, usually caused by Babelfishing.

One I liked, in a translation from Spanish, was 'mashed Popes'

On finding such things I suggest to the owner that I'll provide him with a corrected version - in exchange for a free lunch. It works every time!

MediaMatrix

[Edited at 2006-08-19 23:51]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:38
English to French
+ ...
Rates part II Aug 20, 2006

If the issue is not being able to change your rates in your profile, you can simply hide them - I hide my rates as I consider that each job should have its own rate. A general, easy translation job will cost less than a highly technical one that requires lots of research. If you display your rates, potential clients will expect this rate each time they will give you a job and they will not accept higher rates than this when you feel you deserve a higher one depending on each job.

Once again, this is one of several reasons why you should not have your rates in your CV either. The best thing to do is quote clients on jobs and not have an overall rate - or, if you really want to display a rate, you can specify that it applies to general texts and that specialized, highly technical texts, as well as texts in file formats requiring more work, will cost more than this basic rate. You could call it a starting rate - and say that highly technical texts will cost 20% more.

In any case, in my opinion, it is best to mention rates only once you have seen at least a sample of the work at hand.

Good luck!


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