Questions about writing a translation CV with no work experience
Thread poster: Nidhi27

Japanese to English
Feb 10, 2016

I'm an Indian student currently studying to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Economics, and I have passed the JLPT N2 in Dec.2015. I am writing a CV for the first time to apply for a Jap-Eng translation job with an IT services company, but I have zero work experience.
So far I have written the following in the extra-curricular activities section :
•Won the 1st prize in the Senior Group of the West Zone Japanese Language Speech Contest, 2015 and proceeded to participate in the 28th All India Japanese Language Speech Contest.
•Participated in the Workshop on Japanese Language Education organized by the Japan Foundation in January 2016.
•Participated in ESPN Spelling Champs, a national level spelling bee, in 2009.

Are there any changes required? What more can I add to make my resume appear attractive? I am currently helping a Japanese person with his English while he helps me with my Japanese, and we speak almost on a daily basis since Nov.,2014. Besides this, I have an account on the popular language exchange site, Lang-8, on which I sometimes post in Japanese. Would it be acceptable to add that?

[Edited at 2016-02-10 15:07 GMT]


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:21
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Some Feedback Feb 10, 2016

1. Do not exceed one page.
2. Try to elaborate on your education a little. It does not matter if it is not relevant.
3. Do not call it "extracurricular activities", just call it "experience".
4. Do not forget to use action verbs.
5. "Participated" sounds a bit passive. See if you can find an action verb there.
6. There are millions of documentation on writing a CV/resume on the Internet.
7. Americans call it a resume, others call it a CV. You can use both words.
8. Your last paragraph above fits under "extra-curricular activities". Include them as well.
9. I would write all acronyms explicitly, e.g. JLPT N2.
10. Do not put any personal information, e.g. your age, DOB, marital status, sex.


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Freelance translators do not need a CV. Feb 10, 2016

We are not applying for a job. Concentrate your efforts on creating a brochure advertising the services you offer.

When asked to provide a CV, just provide a copy of your brochure and/or a screenshot of your website. In 99.9 percent of the cases, your CV will never be read anyway (it's just a formality to request and receive it). Even if you do submit a CV, you will still be asked later to enter all of the same information (language pairs, experience, etc.) into a database / information sheet, on-line portal, etc.

[Edited at 2016-02-10 23:08 GMT]


Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Translator and boxer Feb 11, 2016

Not all persons with two hands can be a professional boxer.
Not all persons with two feet can be a professional runner.
Not all persons with two languages can be a professional translator.

You get it?

To be a professional in any field, we needs one of these or both:
1) Deep science (including methods, techniques, philosophy, analyses, etc)
2) Long experience (generally 10 years or 15 years with or without major in translation, respectively)


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Make it relevant to the client Feb 11, 2016

What was your contest winning speech about?

In an employer's eyes, those who came second, third or fifth will also have made excellent speeches, but how is it relevant to the subject areas he is working in?

What do you talk to the Japanese person about?
Industry, trade, culture?
Working actively at your language like that is a great asset, so mention it in detail.

I learned a lot of French and German at school - but it was highly literary, and when I started studying 'German for the Scientist' and commercial French at college, it was a very different experience.

Write about any technical and IT-related Japanese you have read and translated, as this is relevant to the job. Show your knowledge and interest in that field.

Are you applying for employment or an assignment as a freelancer? - You do say employment, so I assume you are aware of the differences, but as general advice to anyone else reading this, it is important.

Try to look at yourself from the employer or client's point of view: how can you do the work that is offered, and what makes you the person they should choose?

Coming straight from college may also mean you have just been studying the latest new theories and developments, and have them at your fingertips. It is not the same as experience, but if you can work with experienced colleagues, you can share knowledge and use it to advantage.

Be honest, but say why you have studied this or that, what you think you are good at, and how you think it will be relevant. Employers do not always know the details!

Remember, we have all been beginners once - and good luck!


Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:21
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
volunteer translation Feb 15, 2016

Doing some pro bono translation might be a good way to add some "meat" to your resume.
See for example this:


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:21
Member (2007)
+ ...
TWB is for experienced translators only Feb 15, 2016

Susan Welsh wrote:
Doing some pro bono translation might be a good way to add some "meat" to your resume.

Doing some work on the cloud, for example on the TED videos, might be appropriate. Other pro bono work is not appropriate for the beginner as it gives zero feedback. Neither is it appropriate for the organisation. Their translations are not proofread and so have to be perfect. As one of many TWB evaluators, I can tell you that less than half of all applicants in my pair (who must have two years' experience) produce acceptable test samples.


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