Attracting language companies and direct customers with your CV

Attracting language companies and direct customers with your CV

CVs come in all shapes and sizes, as anyone who has ever worked in recruitment will know. But it’s well worth putting a little extra effort into making it perfect. So what should a CV include in order to appeal to those of us who recruit freelance translators? And what things do we sometimes see, even though we’d rather we didn’t?

Published 4/13/2015

A CV should give an honest overview of you, your skills and your experience. You should tell us why we should choose you, and why you are interested in working with us.

What we want to see

  • You’ve done your homework – you know what our basic requirements are, and you clearly show how you meet these (education, experience, technical skills, etc.).

  • Details of the languages you translate to and from. This might sound obvious, but in actual fact many translators’ CVs lack this basic information.

  • You summarise your work experience, and the jobs you’ve had other than working as a translator.

  • You tell us what your native language is, and if this language is spoken in a number of different countries we would like to know which variant you speak, and which country you live and work in.

  • You list the software you use, the versions, your knowledge of this software and how you have acquired this knowledge.

  • You are interested in developments within our industry, and in new technology and new solutions.

  • You give examples of subject areas that you specialise in and explain how you have gained this knowledge (volumes translated, the types of text involved – manuals, press releases, annual reports, etc. – and for which industries).

  • You use the language service industry’s specific terminology – you know what terms such as CAT, matches, source language and MT mean.

  • You list referees we can contact to find out more.

What we don’t want to see!

  • Spelling mistakes! If your CV contains spelling mistakes, how can we rely on you to deliver an error-free 10,000 word translation? As soon as we find a spelling mistake, your CV will end up in the bin.

  • Grammatical errors! A good translator is thorough, and doesn’t send out anything containing linguistic errors.

    ... but of course, we can accept some spelling and grammatical errors if you’re not writing in one of the languages you translate into.
  • A long list of customers you have worked for, without stating that you have their permission to do so. How can we be sure that you won’t add our customers to your CV without getting permission? How can we rely on you not to breach our confidentiality requirements?

  • Mass e-mails sent to a large number of translation agencies and spamming us with enquiries.

  • A lack of skills needed to be a translator, and your only experience being that you think “working with languages sounds fun”. This devalues an entire industry and its combined knowledge, by failing to understand what it really takes to work as a translator.

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