Sending off aplications/job offers (as a newb :)
Thread poster: Przemyslaw Podmostko

Przemyslaw Podmostko  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
English to Polish
+ ...
Dec 20, 2007

Hi all!

I'm in the process of getting established, just finished brushing up my ProZ profile (

I just thought that except for translation agencies, I'll send applications to companies that go along together with my specialised fields (music, IT, etc.). But here a problem emerges: my CV is not remarkable, really, I don't have any special translation acheivements to boast of, and I doubt my potential employers will be impressed just by my good intentions and promises of hard work. What's the role and significance of the ProZ profile in the 'outside world'? Does it mean anything to a person who'd like me to translate for him/her? Anything I should do concerning CV?

Any advice will be of tremendous value to me!

Thanks in advance

[Edited at 2007-12-20 10:24]

[Edited at 2007-12-20 10:25]


Jim Tucker (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
supplement this strategy with something more active Dec 20, 2007

The CV/application is a waiting game. Might work, might not. I would recommend a more active strategy as well: when you see a job listing on proz that asks you to translate a sample text - do it. Then at least the co. will have something solid to judge you by.

For a good translator, jobs that require a short sample translation are a real advantage at the bidding stage- the company sees how good you can be, at least ideally.


Przemyslaw Podmostko  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
English to Polish
+ ...
E-mail/post? Dec 20, 2007

One more question. Is it better to send the CV and cover letter by e-mail or traditional post? The former is more economical, however the latter is a bit more official. What do you think?


Maayan Steinberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:11
English to Hebrew
since so much of the work Dec 20, 2007

in translation, especially with agencies, is done by Email (i only met ONE client, and i'm working as a translator for 3 years...), fell free to use Email.

that's my opinion anyway...

Good Luck!


Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Brushing up your profile Dec 20, 2007

Since you're starting out and might have some time to spare, one of the best suggestions I've read on this site would be to translate Wikipedia pages in your language pairs and fields of expertise. Even if you don't contribute your translations to Wikipedia - but why shouldn't you - you can be sure you haven't infringed on anybody's rights. Clients want to have a taste of your talents when you're a new kid on the block.



Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:11
Swedish to English
+ ...
Two suggestions Dec 20, 2007

First, follow Gerard de Noord's excellent advice to prepare some translations in your target language and fields of expertise (but decide which language it is -- many potential customers will be suspicious that you claim to do both Polish to English and English to Polish). But I suggest a variant -- do two translations, one straightforward and literal, the other your own superior translation. That will enable people to see that not only can you translate from the source language -- you can also do a superior translation.

Second, and this may surprise you, I would advise applying only to agencies, and not to seek direct customers at this stage. As you say, your CV is not that compelling yet (your statement that the "impossible is impossible" is a turn-off). Spend a couple of years doing bread and butter translations for agencies. That will give you the experience and examples of translation that you will then be able to show to direct customers.


Przemyslaw Podmostko  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:11
English to Polish
+ ...
Thank you :) Dec 21, 2007

All help is greatly appreciatedicon_smile.gif Thank you very much.


Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
Member (2007)
German to English
Comments on comments Dec 21, 2007

...translate Wikipedia pages...

That's what I did and still do now and then. It's a really great way to showcase what you can do.

...Is it better to send the CV and cover letter by e-mail or traditional post?...

I used to attach copies of my CV to my email messages. But someone mentioned that agencies could view email attachments as virus carriers. So I started inserting links to my online CV instead. You don't really need your own website to do this, just an online copy of your CV somewhere (like in your proz profile).

I've sent a CV and cover letter exactly once by traditional post only because the agency specifically asked for it that way. I wouldn't do it voluntarily again.

...I would advise applying only to agencies, and not to seek direct customers at this stage...

After trying unsuccessfully to attract a couple of private customers, I agree with this advice. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a convincing argument why the customer should hire you. Then I strongly suspect that the whole thing gets consigned to the spam folder without even being read.

...The CV/application is a waiting game. ...

Exactly. I've found this to be true for freelance work in other fields as well. You actually have two jobs. One is working in your chosen field. The other is looking for work in your chosen field. If you can find it in your heart to enjoy both of these activities, your professional life will be much happier.

Finally, I don't want to forget to mention that answering Kudoz questions probably won't harm your reputation with potential customers.


Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:11
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
In freelancing, the beginning is the toughest part Dec 22, 2007

Indeed, Przemyslaw, it's going to be pretty difficult - securing clients who evidently prefer translators with proven experience. So that's the focus point of your efforts for the near future - gaining experience wherever and whenever possible. Emailing applications with a CV with nothing eye-catching in it would probably be a waste of time (sorry!)...

On the other hand, why not try visiting a few agencies that are nearest to you? The manager will be able to see (hear) your English and assess it; lack of demonstratable experience doesn't necessarily mean they won't be interested if you show proficiency in the language and describe your intentions.

Take care of your profile here; it's by far and large the main instrument. Make yourself visible via KudoZ and other means. Be prepared to wait - getting your first client may take up some time. Try to view your profile through the eyes of potential customers: what will be looking for? Will they find it there?



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