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Applying For Translation Work – A Guide For The Freelancer

By Nigel Massey

I work as an Italian English Translation Project Manager. Everyday me and my colleagues see larger numbers of enquiries from translators seeking work. I hope that some of my observations will help you be more successfull.
1) Update and scan your computer for viruses
How many translators CV’s get caught by an agencies firewall? I don’t know. It seems to happen in waves. We will have a batch of translators emails in a few days and then none for ages. But generally the email is deleted!
2) Put your details in the subject section of the email
If you are applying for a project posted on the web, put a reference to it in the subject box. The reference number for instance. If you are applying generally, list the languages in which you translate.
Why is this important? Simply translation agencies get a stack of emails each day and you want to be found. The translation project manager wants to be able to pick out the enquiries for their project with ease.
For general enquiries, you want your details to be saved in the right place. If the agency can see your languages they can copy your mail into the right languages section rather then putting you in the dreaded ‘look at later pile’.
3) Don’t apply for something you are not
We always look for translators to translate into their mother tongue and write this in our adverts. But we always get a loads of CV’s for people who do not fit the bill. For instance I post a job for a Italian>English Translation and get a CV from a Dutch native speaker who is fluent in neither language.
4) Don’t forget to provide rates and the rest of your ‘required’ information
When I am looking for a new translator and I have a number of applications, my shortlist will not include anyone who has missing information. I regularly see people who have missed their rates off the application. If a translation PM has opther options, they probably won’t chase a translator for further information.
5) Contact Info
I am not talking about address here. I am thinking of mobile phones.
Once a job has been confirmed the translation PM will wish to have the assignment placed with a translator ASAP. If they can’t find another number for you they will be likely to move further down the list and call the next translator.......your competition.
I hope my short list of tips for translation applications assist not only translators, but also translation PM’s.!