What's with the obssession with resumes?
Thread poster: Yehezkel Tenenboim

Yehezkel Tenenboim  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:12
Member (2018)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Sep 12

Why do agencies often require resumes from translators?

I'm a novice, inexperienced translator who's until recently been a science researcher. I've sent my non-updated resume, which says absolutely nothing about translation, to any agency that requested this, and nobody ever complained. I'm working now for dozens of agencies.

Agencies have many ways of assessing your fit and capacity: questionnaires, tests, interviews... What exclusive information should anyone find in
... See more
Why do agencies often require resumes from translators?

I'm a novice, inexperienced translator who's until recently been a science researcher. I've sent my non-updated resume, which says absolutely nothing about translation, to any agency that requested this, and nobody ever complained. I'm working now for dozens of agencies.

Agencies have many ways of assessing your fit and capacity: questionnaires, tests, interviews... What exclusive information should anyone find in a resume?

I find it exceptionally funny when a new agency approaches me through ProZ and asks me for an emergency translation of 15 words. "Please reply URGENTLY with your rate and resume". Really? Very incongruous.

Well, what is this all about?
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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:12
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Funny world Sep 12

Yehezkel Tenenboim wrote:

I find it exceptionally funny when a new agency approaches me through ProZ and asks me for an emergency translation of 15 words. "Please reply URGENTLY with your rate and resume". Really?


I find it funny too, I think we are experiencing a lot of clumsy/weird communication with agencies.
A funny one I recently received: If you can do XX euros I can categorize you to low tier vendors and promote you to a higher vendor level "qualified" or "authorized" as your current level is "translator".
In other words, if you reduce your rates you become qualified and/or authorized.

BTW, kol hakavod for your language pairs! I only translate from English/Hebrew into Italian, so I am really impressed!

Laura

[Edited at 2019-09-12 11:53 GMT]


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:12
Member
Italian to English
Well... Sep 12

When you work as a translator, you need to know what your strengths are, what you can offer a particular client or agency. There is this staid, turgid belief that resumes have to follow a certain template, invariably starting with your name and address. Nothing could be further from the truth. A resume is a marketing document, that gives you a massive amount of freedom to showcase your skills. And it's this very freedom that tends to trip people up. A well-put together resume, where a freelancer... See more
When you work as a translator, you need to know what your strengths are, what you can offer a particular client or agency. There is this staid, turgid belief that resumes have to follow a certain template, invariably starting with your name and address. Nothing could be further from the truth. A resume is a marketing document, that gives you a massive amount of freedom to showcase your skills. And it's this very freedom that tends to trip people up. A well-put together resume, where a freelancer has been able to assess their own skills, highlight and prioritise what makes them the ideal candidate, is a compelling and valuable asset (in my humble opinion).

Of course there are many more all-singing, all-dancing ways to showcase your skills. But not much beats a good ole resume for giving an agency an instant appraisal of what a certain freelancer can offer.

[Edited at 2019-09-12 11:23 GMT]
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Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
yam2u
Michele Fauble
Thayenga
Philip Lees
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A résumé says so much Sep 12

Yehezkel Tenenboim wrote:
Why do agencies often require resumes from translators?


Because the résumé or CV tells the client much about you. It tells them if you are the type of translator who cares about spelling and grammar and good-looking layout if they have enough time to spend on it. You'll be amazed how many translators' résumés look like they were written in 5 minutes. At least such a résumé tells the client what sort of contingency plans he might need to have in place if he chooses to use that translator anyway. A sloppy résumé will not necessarily cause you to be rejected, but it may cause you to be tagged "use caution" or "negotiate hard" in the database. (-:

Also, the résumé typically contains a lot of information that the client would want to know in order to add you as a service provider to their database, and information that they are able to use to do a quick background check about you.


Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
yam2u
Morano El-Kholy
Philip Lees
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Why do agencies often require resumes from translators? Because they're efficient. Sep 12

Yehezkel Tenenboim wrote:
Agencies have many ways of assessing your fit and capacity: questionnaires, tests, interviews... What exclusive information should anyone find in a resume?

Each of those methods involves us in expending time and effort on that one agency client. I don't want to have to fill in lengthy and all-too-often totally irrelevant questionnaires if I can help it. Interviews? Aren't they for employees and for full-time contractors? I've never done one in all my years as a freelancer. I do provide samples of my work (they aren't tests, IMO) occasionally, but only as a last step in the process. I need us to be in agreement on T&C before I'll do one; but they'll want to know quite a lot about me before they'll talk about T&C. So, IMO it's best if the agency can get a really good idea of what we have done in the past and what skills we claim to have before the negotiation starts. And the least effort on our part comes from providing that information in our CV, resume, brochure, or whatever else we like to call it.

I'm a novice, inexperienced translator who's until recently been a science researcher. I've sent my non-updated resume, which says absolutely nothing about translation, to any agency that requested this, and nobody ever complained. I'm working now for dozens of agencies.

Your own CV tells them that you're highly experienced in the terminology of your specialisation. That's good to know and luckily it's been enough so far but I'm sure you will find agencies who actually want to know about your translation experience as well. As you imply, your CV is totally unsuited to that purpose.

It's always best to have a short (max 2 pages) text that excludes everything except a very high-level summary of those facts that are non-translation but relevant, with some details about your ("your" = "one's" here) translation experience. If it isn't 100% relevant to a translation client, leave it out. It follows that, roughly in order of importance -- and therefore on the page -- you're going to want to facilitate the initial contact (which won't be by post), then specify your languages and your specialisations, plus give details of (some of) the experience and/or other information that backs up your claim to be good at what you do. Bringing up the rear will be any specialised training, relevant IT and other skills, and maybe interests -- but only if they're 100% relevant.


Fiona Grace Peterson
Teresa Borges
Philip Lees
 


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