Since you already know that your resume should be error free, we won’t bore you with saying that your resume should be error free. What we will say is that translators need a resume for translators; you really shouldn’t use the same CV you used to get hired at all of your other jobs.
Here’s a little secret though: See how an experienced translator has done it first and model yours after the pros.
2. Focus On Marketing Your Services:
Search the Yellow Pages on and offline to find translation agencies to send your resume to.
- Register with consulates, embassies and chambers of commerce.
- Advertise in expatriate associations’ publications.
- Use headhunters or placement services to find positions in translation agencies.
3. Be Likeable
Despite the fact that translation is often pigeonholed as a solitary profession—which it very often is—successful translators are able not only to negotiate several languages, but cross social and cultural borders with dexterity. Translators like language, but they also like people and know how to collaborate, take direction and please clients and employers.
4. Do not accept work that is beyond your expertise
If your specialization is not medical terminology or legalese, know your scope and breadth; don’t oversell your skills. Turning down work does not automatically disqualify you for other projects. It simply demonstrates that you know your field and limits, and understand that taking on a too-difficult task slows everyone down, and reflects badly on everyone involved as well. Knowing your limitations helps people trust you.
5. Keep Your Ear to the Grindstone
Once you make contact (and are taken in) by an agency, it is wise to continue reaching out to other translation agencies.
The downside of working with more than one agency is, of course, that you may be bombarded with work from all three agencies at once. You may be tempted to accept all of it, but taking on more than you can handle will potentially destroy your relationships. Be sure that you establish an understanding with your agencies.