How to Craft a Stellar Freelance Translator Application
Standing out with your freelance translator application is no easy task. Most Vendor Managers (VMs) working for midsize to large Language Service Providers (LSPs) may receive anywhere from dozens to hundreds of applications from freelance translators each week. On a busy day, a VM may only have a few seconds to scan an application and swiftly assess whether there is a match between the profile at hand and a current recruitment need.
If you’re a freelance translator and you’ve spent time researching the agency you want to work with, put in the effort to perfect your résumé and perhaps even wrote a cover letter or prepared translation samples, then the above is understandingly a frustrating reality.
So, in order to maximize the potential of those moments a VM will spend looking over your application, below are some tips on how to write a good CV and submit a stellar freelance translator application.
Be efficient with your words
Your email application acts as the VM’s first impression of you. Instead of spending time on a lengthy introduction, make sure the key features of your profile are highlighted and easy to spot.
- Your native language
- Your working language pairs
- Your main fields of expertise and years of experience
- The services you provide (Translation, Editing, LQA, Voice Over, etc.)
Summarize the above in the subject line of your email as well, i.e: “EN > FR | Medical & Life Sciences Specialist | Translation, Editing, & QA.” Having these criteria clearly displayed will give a VM time to actually look through your CV instead of fishing out these details from a wordy introduction.
We also recommend that you add:
- The CAT tools you work with and whether you are willing to learn how to work with other ones
- If you are accredited by any Translation Association, such as ATA or BDÜ
Having your rates listed can be a plus as well. If you do list, you should clarify whether you are willing to negotiate.
Your CV is your business card
Your CV acts as a Vendor Manager’s first insight into how you would manage a real project.
Start yourself off with a solid summary or profile. Your profile should encompass your overall qualifications and experience, but it is also a chance to showcase your unique writing style. You can allow your personality to shine through, especially in the closing sentence(s) of your introduction.
Additionally, you want to make sure your CV is well-structured, and visually-pleasing. This doesn’t mean your CV needs to have flashy visuals, but things do need to be organized and consistent. You will need to be organized and consistent in real projects, and your CV can demonstrate these qualities.
It is an extension of your application, allowing you to go into more detail into the fields of your expertise and the types of projects and clients you’ve worked with. Don’t forget to be strategic about the information you present when you go into more depth.
Keep it simple and use keywords
A VM will likely be looking for specific specializations, so make sure to keep things simple. For instance, if a VM is looking for translators with experience in localizing Human Resources (H.R.) management software, they will use several keywords to do a quick search to see if there is a match.
They might look for any of the following variations, i.e.: “Human Capital Management Software”, “HCM”, “H.C.M”, “ERP”, “E.R.P.” “H.R. software” etc. Make sure to use universal language and common abbreviations when describing your experience. A term like “I.T. ninja” might sound catchy, but it won’t be a keyword a Vendor Recruiter/Manager will ever enter in a search – neither in an online database, nor in your CV.
Close eye on the details
This point should go without saying, but your CV should be free from any typos, grammatical errors, and with the correct names of any institutions listed. Errors in a CV generally reflect poorly on a candidate, and in the language industry, such errors are looked at even more seriously.
Once you have your core CV in place, you can always add a few lines specific to the job you’re applying for. Consider adding an “Additional Details” section in which you can easily add or remove information.
For instance, if you’re applying for a localization project relating to developer support content and you’re an amateur coder – that’s relevant information and should be included. If you’re bidding for a social media content localization project, you can mention the social media platforms you use and if there are any professional outlets among them, you can include a links to the pages.
The above will take a few minutes of effort, but will demonstrate a holistic thinking process on your part for the VM looking at your CV, and increase your chances of sparking an LSP’s interest in your profile.