New graduate needing advice
Thread poster: Nicole Cayer

Nicole Cayer
Canada
Local time: 09:57
English to French
Jul 31, 2009

Hi,

I have completed a Certificate in Translation (Eng/Fr) over six months ago, but I still have not found work. I have applied to many job postings, but it seems that my lack of experience is keeping me away from great opportunities. But how can I gain experience if nobody is ready to give my a chance ?

This is actually why I am writing today. I would like to hear about your experience as a new comer in the translation word. How did you get your first job ? Any tips on what I should do to get started in this business would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Nikki


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
You have come to the right place Jul 31, 2009

My advice is for you to carefully read everything you can find here at the site. The topic has been discussed in depth, and the way to find those back discussions, as well as the articles for newbies, is to type "beginner", into the "Search ProZ.com" box up on the right. Then use other related key words to keep on researching. Also, read the Canada forum and the French language forum. I should add that it won't hurt to do some pro bono translations when they appear.
I myself have learned a great deal from perusing the site carefully since I started free-lancing, and continue to glean little tips and profound insights. Despite my serious misgivings about some of the new policies here, I couldn't have gotten where I am without studying all the resources at ProZ.
Good luck!


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Julie Dion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
English to French
With a certificate you already have experience Aug 1, 2009

Without lying, you can say in your CV that you "translated documents about [insert subject here]", you may have written a "mémoire" and done terminological research for it, include that in your CV. If you play an instrument or were a figure skater, then these can become your specialties if you feel knowledgeable enough. Don't lie but don't sell yourself short either.

Go to the UN volunteer site and apply for jobs. Once you get a couple of those, you can add them to your CV. Keep in touch with old school pals, see what they are doing, maybe they can share some work with you.

Get yourself a small website and a domain name, start a blog, so that people can get as much info about you as possible, a well written web site/blog shows your skills.

Don't wait for Proz job board to present you with the perfect match, apply to as many agencies as you can, one is bound to send you a test. There are many reputable agencies in Canada looking for good translators.

Bonne chance!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't trust your knowledge -> try to learn more Aug 1, 2009

Indeed this is a very competitive market, and you have started offering your services at a rather tricky moment: companies have lower translation budgets and when they spend their money they want experienced translators. Instead of trying to find translators with lower rates, they try to make experienced translators lower their rates a little bit, which many are doing to keep their volumes of work.

Having said this, I'd say you should not feel desperate about this. Your situation is completely normal.

Our colleagues here have mentioned some very good things you can do. May I also recommend that you seek some specialisation? For instance, if you are particularly fond of animals (maybe also the human species), why don't you do a course in medical translation, veterinary translation...? Of if you like nature and the outdoors, how about a course in environmental translation? You will very probably find this kind of specific, short courses around your area, given by translation associations or translation schools. This kind of training will give you some extra edge and will also open up your mind about the specialisation possibilities in your career. Of course they cost money, but most have reasonable fees.

And a little piece of advice for your first job: don't take anything for granted. When you get your first job, try to learn more about the subject by spending some time in the local library, visiting manufacturer websites in the source/target languages, looking for special dictionaries on the matter... Just try to grasp what the matter is all about. It will help you translate better, in context, and with better terminological results. Working this way you will deliver a good, accurate translation that will bring you more jobs.

Good luck! You will be translating sooner than you think!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Complete your Proz profile! Aug 1, 2009

I see that your profile is nearly empty. As many companies come to Proz.com for translators, you might want to:

- List your certificate in the Credentials section and have it verified by Proz. I think they charge for credential verification if you are not a member, but it is probably worth the investment.

- Fill as many fields as you can, making a profile that is attractive. You can also talk about your interests in the free text part.

- Use your real name: nicknames don't look professional...


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
If you want to pick up projects here, present yourself seriously Aug 1, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
I see that your profile is nearly empty.
- Use your real name: nicknames don't look professional...


Profile's don't get any emptier than yours right now. Have a look at other profiles and get to work there, and at least potential clients will be able to get some information about what you offer. And Tomás is right. Nicknames are generally unprofessional and will not serve you well for drawing clients. People like to deal with people who have faces and names where possible.

There's lots of work out there, even for those starting out. But to get it you may have to let people know that you exist and have something to offer. While you're doing the profile overhaul, you might add some samples. These can show that you are capable of translating accurately and writing coherently.


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 09:57
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Get a position as an internal translator Sep 5, 2009

Easier said than done, though, because these are few and far between. I know because I was a recruiter of translators for close to seven years. I am part of your problem, Nicole, because as now chief cook and bottle washer of the Freelance Management Team, I would be reluctant to give you a translation assignment. Why?
The turnaround for our clients is often very short and not optimal for a junior translator. Mostly I have to use a translation tool so that you can follow the terminology already established by the client over the years. Did your training at university prepare you for real life translation with a tool? I doubt it. What did they give you to translate? Did you do an internship?
Stick to Proz.com, read everything and get a few jobs with a reasonable deadline and ask a colleague to re-read your work. Work in a team with a more experienced translator: they are often swamped and would welcome the help in exchange for sharing their experience. This is done formally through the OTTIAQ mentor program.
In any case, you can also drop me a line elsewhere.

Bon courage et don't give up!

Paola
Freelance Management Team
CLS Lexi-tech


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Marie Springinsfeld  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:57
English to French
One year later... Sep 4, 2010

Hi Nicole and hi anyone reading,

One year later, how is it going for you? Did you find translations, maybe regular clients?

I'm in the same situation you were a few months ago and I'd be curious to know how you're doing now.

Marie


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:57
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Exposure to more webboards Sep 6, 2010

Now we are in the growing Internet age where nothing can be done unless through the Internet. Read and participate to many web-based discussion on translation business. You will meet clients who are badly in need of your specific talent.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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