how can I get started?
Thread poster: Felipe Cuervo

Felipe Cuervo
Local time: 14:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 2, 2007

Hi, my name is Felipe Cuervo, i'm from Colombia but currently studying a business major in Pamplona, Spain. So far i've been working as a private english teacher , and I'd like to become a translator as a way to complement my income and not rely exclusively on giving classes. I've done some occasional jobs in my country plus one here, but I haven't worked regularly in this industry, nor do I have a client base or relevant studies. What can I do in order to get started? Where can I contact a mentor, and how should I approach him/her.

Thanks for your help.


Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:09
German to English
+ ...
It takes time and persistence Jun 2, 2007

Hi Felipe,

It takes time and persistance. Are there any good translation agencies where you are right now? Could you present yourself in person and talk to them?

I sent out over 1000 resumes in the first year, after developing a good one. I only sent them to agencies who had published specific email addresses for receiving resumes, however. No spamming. You should look at each agency you send a resume to (check them out on the Blue Board or another payment practices list). With 1000 resumes, even if .5% become a client, then you have 5 clients.

On another note, translation is a serious business. Even if you do it part-time, you should always be a professional about it. Read the other posts here about getting started and look at Alex Eames' website Go through the article knowledge base - there's lots of good stuff there.


Nizamettin Yigit  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:09
Dutch to Turkish
+ ...
Make yourself reachable Jun 2, 2007

I agree with previous tips.

Lets say you contacted a number of companies or people but you had no response or no clients. The reason is probably you did not contact enough number of prospective clients.

Make a nice, short, informative CV and profile.
Let people contact you as well.
Get back to them within a reasonable amount of time. Dont let your e-mail rest for a week before you check again.

Good luck!

N. Yigit


Dawn Montague  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:09
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Nizamettin Jun 3, 2007

A strong second to answering in a timely manner. If you're really serious about translating, you need to check your email several times a day after you start sending out those CVs. Clients appreciate a rapid response.


Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
Specific advice Jun 3, 2007

I agree with the advice given above. I would edit your profile on ProZ.

For example:
You wrote:
Despite my lack of experience in this area, I am hard-working and willing to learn as much as I can. I can also work as part of a team

Customers are looking for professionals, are often pressed for time and do not have the time to teachicon_smile.gif

A possibility could be:
Despite my lack of experience in the translation world, I have been translating material related to my studies [or something else] for the past xx years. [This is more positive and not a lie]

You could continue with something like:
I am hard-working, always respect deadlines [very important in this business] and am willing to work as part of a team.

Under keywords you could also include some related to your study programme or other areas of expertise [basket weaving, politics, electricity or whatever].


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Buy Alex Eames' book Jun 4, 2007

Felipe Cuervo wrote:
What can I do in order to get started?


Kootvela (X)
Local time: 15:09
Lithuanian to English
+ ...
Advertise on the Internet Aug 6, 2007

That's how I got some of my private students. There are many Internet sites where you can post an add for free. Just make sure you use good keywords to make your add spring up whenever anyone types 'translating from x to y' intheir search engine. Creating a website also helps.



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