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How to write an effective translator CV - according to our Vendor Manager

Németh Nikolett
January 30, 2019

Even if you are a freelance translator in need of the first professional order or you have been in the business for some time, it is equally essential to learn how to write not just an average translator CV,  but one that puts you on top of the pile and makes your application stand out in the 8,8 seconds you actually have to grab the reader’s attention.

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Sending your CV to win freelance translation jobs from an LSP means that probably there will be no job interview, your CV has to convince the vendor manager (or the PM) to send you a test translation and if it is successful, then put you on the translation team. 

If there is no immediate project that requires your languages and fields of expertise, you CV will be stored in a database. This means that the agency won't have experience working with you yet, so your CV has to do the work and sell you again when the time comes. This is why keywords are very important.

Our vendor manager shared what she considers absolute essential, good-to-have and unnecessary information in a CV and how she thinks a freelance translator can stand out from other applicants. Here we go.

ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS

1. Contact information

State your phone number, your Skype contact and even a link to your Proz.com profile, because they make it easier for the VM or the PM to reach you.

2. Education and language pairs

List your formal education and any further training which is relevant for the job.
It is important to state which one of your listed languages is your mother tongue, because (hopefully) the agency will make sure to order translation from you into the language you are most fluent in.

3. Specializations

Your specializations are very important as they might be the key to win a job. State your main and some of your secondary specializations. Then state the number of words you have translated so far in each fields. If you have permission, add the name of clients and brands you have worked for in those fields.
Also, you might want to state here the number of words you can deliver / day and your daily availabilty on weekdays and whether you are available on weekends.

4. CAT tools

CAT tools are used by translators all over the world to increase their performance and meet tighter deadlines. For you to be competitive, you should have the necessary technical knowledge, actively use CAT tools and even own licences to them. State all of your relevant technical experiences. If the LSP decides to sends you a test translation, it is a good opportunity for them to also test your technical skills.

GOOD-TO-HAVE

1. Hobbies: who knows maybe your keen interest in robotics will come in handy one day.
2. Prices: it makes things simple to put your prices in your CV, but it is not an expectation. You can also state it in your first contact e-mail you write to the LSP.

BETTER TO STATE ELSEWHERE

1. Photo

It is not necessary to put your photo in the CV as your looks are irrelevant to a translation project. Most freelance translators’ CVs don’t have a photo of the applicant, and if a VM’s work is extensive, they will otherwise see it on your Proz.com profile.

2. Preferred payment method, tax number etc.

If you get the job, the LSP’s contact person will ask for this information to be stated in the invoicing datasheet and the contract. Also, if you prefer a special payment due date, it is good to communicate and emphasise it via e-mail as it might require extra preparation on the LSP’s side.

BONUS: HOW TO SPOT A SCAMMER TRANSLATION AGENCY AND A FAKE TRANSLATOR CV

Good to know that there is a black list of translation companies. You should make it a habit to check if a new possible client is on this list or not.
If you are still wandering whether the translation company that contacted you is fake or not, try this simple checklist for translators.

We see a lot of fake CVs. In almost all cases, they lack a link to the 'applicant’s' proz.com profile, phone number etc. They also can be spotted by the accompanying e-mail address. Also, the vendor manager can check the file properties to see who is the real creator of the document.
There is also Translator Scammers Directory which is a fake CV database.

Now, it is time to start writing your killer CV that helps you win the translation job of your dreams. Don’t forget: less is more and visuals and good organization are equally important. It is best if you choose an easy-to-read layout, list the above essentials first and keep it simple, but professional.

Here are a few great sites that offer free and customizable CV templates: novoresume / my perfect resume / resumeGenius

SOURCES

http://www.iolar.com/good-translator-cv/

https://lionpeopleglobal.com/what-makes-a-great-translators-cv/

https://ciklopea.com/careers/write-perfect-cv-tips-language-industry-professionals/

http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-directory.htm

https://culturesconnection.com/5-cat-tools-that-every-translator-should-use/