How to Present Your Freelance Translator Resume to Small Translation Agencies – From an Agency Perspective
Have you sent your freelance translator resume to numerous translation agencies but have never heard back?
Are you starting out as a freelance translator and are trying to market your services to translation agencies?
Would you like to work with a translation agency but find it really hard to get your foot in the door?
How translation agencies process freelance translator resumes
Sending out resumes to translation agencies can be daunting. You’re likely to send out a lot of applications and only receive a few replies. Translation agencies receive hundreds of applications every week and many of them don’t take the time to respond.
When you finally do manage to get in touch with a vendor manager, it’s best you don’t get your hopes up. Your resume may be piled up among many others and you may not hear back with an actual job for a while. Are you wondering why?
The truth is that there may be nothing wrong with your freelance translator resume, expertise, education or rates. One of the simplest reasons why you don’t hear back is that a small translation agency has scarce resources to handle vendor management. Therefore, processing your application may be at the very bottom of their list.
Until they really need somebody very particular for a very specific translation job. And that could be just you! So make your freelance translator resume stand out!
Whilst the purpose of this article is not to source new translators for our company LingoStar in Canada, we wanted to share with you our perspective, having processed numerous translator resumes. However, bear in mind that there could be a myriad of other ways to set up your resume and present yourself as a translator.
So keep an open mind and hopefully, this article will give you a few pointers and inspire you!
A Freelance Translator Working with a Translation Agency
Freelance translators often send their resumes to translation agencies thinking this will get them a translation job. But often, that’s not the case. Building a business relationship with a translation agency takes time.
Find out in this article how to get your foot in the door with a concise resume. If you later become one of an agency’s loyal translators, keep building the business relationship and you will be contracted again, month after month, year after year.
Getting regular work from a translation agency
- Just imagine working with a translation agency on a regular basis, knowing the project managers and becoming familiar with work flows for different translation jobs. A steady project flow can become your bread and butter.
- Picture yourself working on a variety of interesting projects, knowing that project managers will always pick you as the ‘go-to’ translator.
- Then, if one day you’re too busy, on holiday or unavailable because of family commitments, you can decline one or two jobs with peace of mind, knowing that the agency will contact you at a later point. Everybody needs a vacation some time!
Building a business relationship with a translation agency
Most importantly, once you’ve done a few good jobs, a translation agency will trust you. Without a doubt, you need to take on as much work as possible at the beginning to build a solid business relationship. Therefore, be adaptable and open to constructive feedback. If you keep delivering great quality translations, that mutual trust will thrive.
As a result, a translation agency will get in touch with you every time they have a new translation job in your language pair. You’re in their database. You’re THE person to GO TO.
Translation Agency Perspective
Over the last 16 years at LingoStar Canada, we have seen tons of resumes from both amazing and talented translators across the world, as well as scammers, who are, unfortunately, ruining the essence of what translators are aspiring to be.
Be aware that a PM will most likely run a scammer’s check on your profile so be mindful of scammers stealing your identity. You can check the scammers’ directory here >>. If you’re a victim of a scammer attack, resolve it as soon as possible.
Why Have a Concise Translator Resume?
Now, let’s take a look at some starting points. What do project managers look for when browsing through translator resumes?
Small translation agencies of 1-10 employees are busy. They have limited resources, where a project manager is often a jack-of-all-trades: multilingual project handling, translator and client communication, invoice processing, document formatting, quality issue resolution and so much more.
Therefore, there’s not much time left for a project manager to carefully study translator resumes. They need a quick fix, meaning a concise and well-structured resume that shows all the necessary details in order to decide whether or not to sign up a new translator.
So how can you become one of those selected translators that a translation agency is keen to work with?
3 Top Tips on How To Present Your Freelance Translator Resume to a Small Translation Agency
Here are 3 tips to consider so you can convince a project manager in a small translation agency to review your resume and reach out to you.
A PM in a small translation agency will quickly need to:
1. Find your location and time zone, including your email and phone number, along with your website, LinkedIn and Proz.com profile
Since we’re all working globally, it’s essential that you list your location along with your time zone and contact details on top of your resume. We strongly recommend you set up a LinkedIn profile and a website as well so that you can showcase your translation expertise and build trust with potential clients.
Do you have any special skills? Mention them in your profile. This could be professional, as well as personal related. Often, agencies are looking for particular skills, or experience. Do you love yoga? Mention it in your resume. Do you knit at night? Write it down. You never know what translation project might present itself and become your next translation contract.
List your skills
- For example, in our agency, we were asked to source a French Canadian accent coach to train a celebrity in the French Canadian accent. A film industry experience helped the translator get the assignment.
- We were also asked for a Russian translator to record Russian lines for a famous film series. A voice recording experience and a pleasant voice helped the translator become the pronunciation coach.
- On another occasion, we were asked to source a translator for Mixtec, an indigenous language of Mexico that is only verbal, to record a message for a telephone system. An indigenous background got the translator the job.
So list your cultural background, skills, interests, as well as hobbies and your special fun skills, as they could get you the next fun translation job.
A website or a social media profile is another good place to present your skills and interests.
Given your language background, you may consider setting up a website in your main languages.
Interested in learning more about how to set up your own multilingual website to present your expertise to potential clients? Check out our e-book A Beginner’s Guide to Multilingual Website Translation >>.
If you want to get a taster of what building a multilingual website entails, download our FREE EBOOK on how to set up a website in foreign languages. Fill in the form below or visit the free e-book page >>.
2. Identify your main specialization(s) and review your most recent projects that support your expertise and freelance translator resume
A project manager will want to see your specialization and the projects you’ve worked on in the last year or two. So display your most important and relevant projects in your field of expertise in a prominent spot.
- Are you a marketing or a transcreation translator? Showcase your portfolio and share links to websites you’ve helped translate.
- Are you a technical translator? List the technical manuals, reports or projects you’ve worked on that highlight your expertise, e.g. geology, engineering, mining, etc.
- Are you a general-topic translator? List your most important projects that showcase your linguistic skills, expertise and ability to meet deadlines.
- Are you just starting out and not sure of your specialization yet? List your education and indicate in your resume that you’re flexible and adaptable, as well as willing to take on new challenges and opportunities to gain valuable experience. An agency may be looking for new translators to start cooperating with. If you’re open to constructive feedback and happy to work at the agency’s suggested translation rates, you may be able to get opportunities you’ve never even dreamed of.
3. Review your Rates and Payment Methods
- A PM will want to know your rates in the currency they work in. So if you’re applying to an agency in the United States, quote in USD. If you’re applying to a Canadian agency, quote in CAD. Venturing into the European market? Not all countries use the Euro so research the currency of each country you’re targeting.
- Also think of the payment methods you’re willing to accept. Each agency will have a different payment method that is standard for invoice processing in their country. That may very much differ between Europe, North America and Asia. So be flexible with what the agency suggests. If you disagree on the payment method, rate and currency or are inflexible with what the agency is offering you, you may not be able to build any business relationship at all.
What’s important if you want to succeed with your resume in a small translation agency?
Most importantly, adapt your resume every time you’re targeting a translation agency in another country or region. Naturally, there are many more ways a PM can identify who the next best translator for their project is. These additional avenues are beyond the scope of this blog post but we’ll publish more articles on this subject.
Do you have experience promoting yourself as a freelance translator to translation agencies? Please share in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.
All the best and happy translation job hunting!
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