So, you’ve decided to start working as a freelance translator. You’ve got your dictionaries and your CAT tool ready and you’re looking for your next translation assignment. For those of you working with regular clients, maybe it’s just a matter of answering that translation request that has just appeared in your inbox but, for the rest, who are looking for new clients and new challenges, it may take some more work on your side.
More and more translation agencies turn to freelance translators, to cover their needs for translation and revision assignments. So, the question is “How does my name get into that PM’s database, so that I become a regular translator for them?”.
Well, sending your CV would be a good start.
No, no. Don’t press the “Send” button yet! Here are some secrets to take into account before you hit that button again.
Prepare a cover letter to send along with your CV. Imagine this as the first impression someone gets when they see you. The first handshake. Make it short and informative, give the reader a good reason to open and go through your CV.
Read carefully the ad you’re replying to or the job specifications. If there are minimum requirements that cannot be covered on your side, then chances are that you are wasting both yours and the evaluator’s time. Use that time to look for something that applies more on your qualifications.
Remove any work experience that is totally irrelevant with the job you are applying for. Having worked as a bartender for 4 years will not add any extra points, when you are applying for the position of a freelance translator. Unless, of course, your offer also includes preparing and serving drinks. (True story!)
When replying to an ad, requesting your CV, make sure you send the CV, ideally in the requested format. You can boost your application by also sending the links to your PROZ or LinkedIn profile, but you cannot send just the links without the actual CV.
Translators and revisers deliver written work. Your CV is the first work sample you are delivering to this PM, so make sure it’s clear, well written, and doesn’t contain any mistakes. A typo or an extra space may not be a big deal, when delivering a 120,000-word translation, but it can lead to the rejection of your application, when it appears on the third line of your 4-page CV. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot write but it may mean that you are not meticulous, or you don’t take this opportunity seriously enough, to invest time on an extra review.
Working as a freelance translator for a translation company means that you may never meet the PM in person. The good thing in that is that you don’t have to worry about dressing in your suit for that job interview. However, in all communication, from job application to work delivery, before you press that “Send” button, make sure you remember that what you write and how you write it, is about all that this PM sees of you.
Author: Elena Rista.