Interview
Thread poster: Vassilis Kotsarinis

Vassilis Kotsarinis  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 12:37
Member (2016)
English to Greek
+ ...
Apr 4, 2017

I am preparing for an interview with a large multinational organization in order to work as translator. Does any of you know any relevant books or other material? I would like to be better prepared. I found this https://www.amazon.com/Thoughts-Translation-Industry-Becoming-Translator-ebook/dp/B00CO8X9GS
Thank you in advance


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why do you need a book? Apr 4, 2017

If you've already worked as a translator for a number of years, professionally, and if you already know the marketplace, what you might want to review is how to interview effectively.

None of those books on how to be a better freelance translator are of any help in your situation.

At the risk of belaboring the point, here are some of the things I personally do when interviewed:

a) Bring a copy of my CV (2 pages maximum) for my interviewer and another for myself
b) Assuming I've updated my CV, review the parts that are relevant to the position I'm interviewing for
c) Dress conservatively (formal attire, that is)
d) Rehearse the questions I want to ask the interviewer (Note: the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation)
e) Research the organization I'm interviewing for: kind of company, products and services, how long it has been operating, updated news about the organization, etc. All these things help me 1) see if I like the company and its industry and 2) impress the interviewer

So, forget the books, drop the nervousness. If necessary, ask a trusted friend to roleplay the interview.

Good luck!

icon_smile.gif


 

Vassilis Kotsarinis  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 12:37
Member (2016)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
THANK YOU Apr 4, 2017

Thank you very much Mario, I just have the impression that sometimes in these interviews you are being asked tricky HR-type questions (e.g how to handle negative feedback, what would you do when a client is not an easy person etc) and I think that it is good to explore new ideas!
In any case thank you!

Mario Chavez wrote:

If you've already worked as a translator for a number of years, professionally, and if you already know the marketplace, what you might want to review is how to interview effectively.

None of those books on how to be a better freelance translator are of any help in your situation.

At the risk of belaboring the point, here are some of the things I personally do when interviewed:

a) Bring a copy of my CV (2 pages maximum) for my interviewer and another for myself
b) Assuming I've updated my CV, review the parts that are relevant to the position I'm interviewing for
c) Dress conservatively (formal attire, that is)
d) Rehearse the questions I want to ask the interviewer (Note: the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation)
e) Research the organization I'm interviewing for: kind of company, products and services, how long it has been operating, updated news about the organization, etc. All these things help me 1) see if I like the company and its industry and 2) impress the interviewer

So, forget the books, drop the nervousness. If necessary, ask a trusted friend to roleplay the interview.

Good luck!

icon_smile.gif


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
If a non-profit or government organisation... Apr 4, 2017

To Mario's excellent suggestions, I would add that, if the organisation you plan to interview for is an international organisation of the likes of the UN, EU, NATO, an NGO, etc., it would be good for you to research about their main types of documents, possible books of style, and translation offices.

Reading their parallel documents would help you too, and might give you an idea of the types of challenges they face in their work and how well they are managing to overcome such challenges. This research might help you decide what type of questions you could ask at the interview.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Good list, Mario Apr 4, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:
a) Bring a copy of my CV (2 pages maximum) for my interviewer and another for myself
b) Assuming I've updated my CV, review the parts that are relevant to the position I'm interviewing for
c) Dress conservatively (formal attire, that is)
d) Rehearse the questions I want to ask the interviewer (Note: the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation)
e) Research the organization I'm interviewing for: kind of company, products and services, how long it has been operating, updated news about the organization, etc. All these things help me 1) see if I like the company and its industry and 2) impress the interviewer

I'd agree with those five and I'd add:
f) Think back over the years and dredge up some useful examples to talk about:
- situations you've faced: complaints (unfounded, of course), disappearing clients, technical hitches, praise
- greatest achievements and slight hiccups (of course, at the interview they'll be "learning opportunities")
- notable clients, publications, etc: anything they might heard of or be impressed by
g) Compile lists of major projects, subject areas and an idea of volumes - have the statistics to hand to avoid the dreaded "I don't know"
h) Take copies and originals of all diplomas etc

Vassilis Kotsarinis wrote:
I just have the impression that sometimes in these interviews you are being asked tricky HR-type questions (e.g how to handle negative feedback, what would you do when a client is not an easy person etc) and I think that it is good to explore new ideas!

I agree that you should prepare for such questions. But by identifying them you're well on your way to answering them. The interviewer will want to know how YOU handle such situations, and how you're learning from them, not the stock textbook response.


 

Vassilis Kotsarinis  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 12:37
Member (2016)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
THANK YOU Apr 4, 2017

Perfect, very useful your remarks

Thank you!

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:
a) Bring a copy of my CV (2 pages maximum) for my interviewer and another for myself
b) Assuming I've updated my CV, review the parts that are relevant to the position I'm interviewing for
c) Dress conservatively (formal attire, that is)
d) Rehearse the questions I want to ask the interviewer (Note: the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation)
e) Research the organization I'm interviewing for: kind of company, products and services, how long it has been operating, updated news about the organization, etc. All these things help me 1) see if I like the company and its industry and 2) impress the interviewer

I'd agree with those five and I'd add:
f) Think back over the years and dredge up some useful examples to talk about:
- situations you've faced: complaints (unfounded, of course), disappearing clients, technical hitches, praise
- greatest achievements and slight hiccups (of course, at the interview they'll be "learning opportunities")
- notable clients, publications, etc: anything they might heard of or be impressed by
g) Compile lists of major projects, subject areas and an idea of volumes - have the statistics to hand to avoid the dreaded "I don't know"
h) Take copies and originals of all diplomas etc

Vassilis Kotsarinis wrote:
I just have the impression that sometimes in these interviews you are being asked tricky HR-type questions (e.g how to handle negative feedback, what would you do when a client is not an easy person etc) and I think that it is good to explore new ideas!

I agree that you should prepare for such questions. But by identifying them you're well on your way to answering them. The interviewer will want to know how YOU handle such situations, and how you're learning from them, not the stock textbook response.



 

polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
"HR-type questions" Apr 4, 2017

It is true that interviewers have a habit of asking "odd" questions to see how you respond, your capacity to think on your feet.

They might ask :
- if you were an animal, which would it be?
- if you were a colour, which would it be?

Here you can choose an answer that reflects on your best qualities for the type of job for which you are applying.

Another question might be:
- name one/two/three of your strengths and one/two/three of your weaknesses

If it is an open question, I would recommend starting with the weaknesses but choosing things that can, in certain professional circumstances, be qualities, for example that you are a perfectionist, that you are obsessed with detail. You can then end on your strengths, selected in relation to the job sought.

There are also those who ask "stupid" questions to which there is no set answer to see how rational and unflappable you are. It is hard to predict these questions but remember there is no one reply and you just need to say something intelligent.

Otherwise, prepare your questions for the interviewer on the basis of your research into the potential employer (I read that your company is expanding to such a such a country. What implications will that have for the department for which you are recruiting?)

For the rest, I subscribe to the comments made above.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very good point Apr 4, 2017

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

To Mario's excellent suggestions, I would add that, if the organisation you plan to interview for is an international organisation of the likes of the UN, EU, NATO, an NGO, etc., it would be good for you to research about their main types of documents, possible books of style, and translation offices.

Reading their parallel documents would help you too, and might give you an idea of the types of challenges they face in their work and how well they are managing to overcome such challenges. This research might help you decide what type of questions you could ask at the interview.


That's a great recommendation. One way I would handle that is formulating my own questions to the interviewer, or observations. Example:

"I was reading the white paper on ocean temperatures on your website the other day, and I noticed that your writers favor X style. I particularly liked the way the author listed the causes for temperature rises in the oceans."

Or, if faced with a poorly designed website...

"While navigating your website this week, I couldn't help but notice how challenging it must be for your webmaster and content writers to keep things organized [positive spin, then wait for the interviewer to say "Yeah, we've been having problems of this and that, etc. -- then you know he is OWNING up to the problem]


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sheila to the forefront Apr 5, 2017


I'd agree with those five and I'd add:
f) Think back over the years and dredge up some useful examples to talk about:
- situations you've faced: complaints (unfounded, of course), disappearing clients, technical hitches, praise
- greatest achievements and slight hiccups (of course, at the interview they'll be "learning opportunities")
- notable clients, publications, etc: anything they might heard of or be impressed by
g) Compile lists of major projects, subject areas and an idea of volumes - have the statistics to hand to avoid the dreaded "I don't know"
h) Take copies and originals of all diplomas etc


Thank you, Sheila. The (f) point is quite a doozy, something to think hard about. I'd say it's a better thought-out approach than the Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses, which usually trips the best interviewee among us.

Point (g) betrays another pitfall: the I don't know face. Body language is very important, but not wholly in the sense we see it portrayed in American how-to books. Self-awareness in this case can be a powerful ally. But what do I mean by that mouthful? Put it another way, if I am very aware of how I react, physically, physiologically, verbally and emotionally to a statement, an action, a behavior, chances are that I will be better in handling my own emotions in unexpected situations (such as being asked an unexpected question).

An HR person once gave me a great piece of advice: write down your 30-second introduction: who you are, what you have done. A kind of summary of your work life, and practice it in front of a mirror until you feel confident about it and until it comes out naturally.

I found that it is a great discipline exercise for the mind.icon_smile.gif


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Prepare what you can; wing the rest Apr 5, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:
The (f) point is quite a doozy, something to think hard about. I'd say it's a better thought-out approach than the Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses, which usually trips the best interviewee among us.

I ran a workshop in France for six years, helping candidates get jobs in an English-speaking environment: CV, letter and interview. It was sad to see how fazed people get by that question. I mean, the best answer rarely changes throughout one's lifetime. If you change career paths you may need to tweak it to suit, but not that much. Mind you, it was probably 45 years ago that I had my last "real" interview, with a trained interviewer, so I would probably be useless myself now icon_frown.gif.

Anyway, I see we're all on the same page here icon_smile.gif.


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Interview

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search