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Getting work when you have little experience
Thread poster: clairemcn

clairemcn
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:08
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How to present myself Jan 20, 2013

Gitte Hovedskov Hansen wrote:

Hi Claire

First of all, sorry for misspelling your name before.

Secondly, I had not read your Proz profile before replying to your post, but now that I have, I would say that it looks to me like you have lots of experience to offer translation agencies. Now it becomes more a matter of how you present yourself. You say in your profile that you have 3 years' experience as a translator. But then you list the translation jobs you have undertaken and it doesn't sound like all that much, so without being untruthful, I would recommend that you either expand on the "several years of ...." or leave out the examples altogether and instead go into more detail about the services you offer, mentioning the fields that you work in, including specific document types (this will show that you know what you are talking about, and that you are aware of what kinds of jobs are likely to fall within your chosen fields). You have to convince outsourcers that you are a professional, not a newbie.

I must admit that I would also skip the bit about having wanted to work with languages since you were a child, because it makes it sound like you have not yet started working with languages, which clearly you have.

All the best

Gitte

[Edited at 2013-01-20 16:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-01-20 16:31 GMT]


No problem - I didn't even notice

I put 3 years' experience because I started translating 3 years ago, but obviously it's only been bits and pieces, nothing approaching full time. I really don't know how to fill in that section because as you say, saying I have 3 years' experience implies that it's full time experience, but then saying I have 0 years' experience isn't true either.

I suppose the issue is that I do have some decent experience, but not an awful lot, so it is a matter of working out how to present myself and make the most of what I do have to offer.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Your ProZ profile is strong Jan 20, 2013

clairemcn wrote:
I'm now contacting agencies. I'm having the typical 'newbie' problem - they all want X years of full-time experience and I just don't have it.

I know that's what they want, ideally - who wouldn't? But are they actually rejecting you out of hand because you don't have more experience?

would it be appropriate to say that I don't have much paid translation experience, but that I have worked on a number of projects?

No, it's not appropriate to say you don't have much paid translation experience. It's appropriate to do what you've done on your ProZ profile: list the experience you have (paid and pro bono having equal status, above translations done purely out of the goodnes of your heart for friends etc). I would say that training translations, such as your dissertation have an equal status, too. Of course, in your case it doesn't add up to much, but you don't need to say that. If you contact a plumber, do you want to be told what he hasn't done and what he can't do? No, you want to be told that your leaking tap will soon be fixed.

It's a shame we can't comment on your CV, but I think your profile is giving the right signals, except in the rates section. The enormous range of rates may well be putting off agencies, as you seem to want to appeal to both bottom-feeding agencies and those demanding quality. I think you need to decide which type you want to work for.


 

Frederik Bossee  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 23:08
Member (2013)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Same situation here Jan 20, 2013

Hi Claire,

your question turns out to be very relevant for me, as I am in the exact same position you are in. I got my Masters degree in 2008 (German & Spanish), have been working in these language-related jobs ever since doing some translation work for a friend (translating a manual of a high-end machine) and translating some texts at work. I am also getting started as a freelance translator (administration in Belgium requires some time, unfortunately). All answers to your question
... See more
Hi Claire,

your question turns out to be very relevant for me, as I am in the exact same position you are in. I got my Masters degree in 2008 (German & Spanish), have been working in these language-related jobs ever since doing some translation work for a friend (translating a manual of a high-end machine) and translating some texts at work. I am also getting started as a freelance translator (administration in Belgium requires some time, unfortunately). All answers to your question were valuable to me and I will surely have a second look at my profile as well in order to optimize it.

Anyway, just want to wish you good luck and let me know how it works out!

Grts,
Frederik
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clairemcn
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:08
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CV Jan 20, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

clairemcn wrote:
I'm now contacting agencies. I'm having the typical 'newbie' problem - they all want X years of full-time experience and I just don't have it.

I know that's what they want, ideally - who wouldn't? But are they actually rejecting you out of hand because you don't have more experience?

would it be appropriate to say that I don't have much paid translation experience, but that I have worked on a number of projects?

No, it's not appropriate to say you don't have much paid translation experience. It's appropriate to do what you've done on your ProZ profile: list the experience you have (paid and pro bono having equal status, above translations done purely out of the goodnes of your heart for friends etc). I would say that training translations, such as your dissertation have an equal status, too. Of course, in your case it doesn't add up to much, but you don't need to say that. If you contact a plumber, do you want to be told what he hasn't done and what he can't do? No, you want to be told that your leaking tap will soon be fixed.

It's a shame we can't comment on your CV, but I think your profile is giving the right signals, except in the rates section. The enormous range of rates may well be putting off agencies, as you seem to want to appeal to both bottom-feeding agencies and those demanding quality. I think you need to decide which type you want to work for.


I'm a bit wary about uploading my CV with my contact details, but I've copied and pasted the 'translation' stuff from it and I might copy across my education info as well. I get what you mean about not playing down my experience - it wouldn't do me any favours!

As for the rates, I just put in some random rates so as not to leave it empty. I will do some research and have a think about how much I should really be asking for.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:08
Danish to English
+ ...
A warning about uploading your CV Jan 21, 2013

Good morning Claire

When I first joined ProZ, I uploaded my CV, thinking it was the done thing. Next thing, I found that my CV was available by simply googling my name! I was furious, as I consider my CV a private document and I want to be the one to decide who gets to read it. I know that others here will feel differently and will consider it an advantage that as many people as possible can see their CV, it's a matte
... See more
Good morning Claire

When I first joined ProZ, I uploaded my CV, thinking it was the done thing. Next thing, I found that my CV was available by simply googling my name! I was furious, as I consider my CV a private document and I want to be the one to decide who gets to read it. I know that others here will feel differently and will consider it an advantage that as many people as possible can see their CV, it's a matter of opinion.
The spreading of any documents uploaded to this site is not ProZ's fault, it's simply that Google's search engine roams wildly across the Internet and stores everything it finds 'relevant'. When I mentioned the issue to ProZ, they kindly explained that I would have to contact Google and ask them to have my CV removed from their system. Which was done within a day or two. ProZ gives you the option of offering your CV on request, and that is what I would recommend.

As for your credentials - you can forward them to ProZ and ask for them to be verified, which will give you an extra tick in the 'professional' image on your ProZ profile.

Have a nice day

Gitte
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david henrion  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:08
Member (2010)
English to French
je serai ravis de vous aider Jan 28, 2013

Bonjour Claire,

Si vous êtes toujours à la recherche d'un coup de pouce et de quelques conseils basés sur mon expérience, je serais ravis de vous aider plus directement par courriel : davitrad@gmail.com ou plus "humainement" par téléphone au 0296780551.

Au plaisir et bon courage
David


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Posting on ProZ.com Jan 28, 2013

clairemcn wrote:
I'm a bit wary about uploading my CV with my contact details

I certainly wouldn't advise you to upload your address or telephone number anywhere on the internet, Claire, but I do believe that your CV will encourage potential clients to contact you for work. Sure, they can send you a message asking for it, then wait for your response, but in reality they'll probably look at the CV on the next profile, and then give them the job. My own CV, the one I upload here, doesn't give personal details, but it does give my experience etc. I certainly understand why you and Gitte are concerned, and I know there's a lot of talk about CVs being stolen, so that's the possible downside. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one, but I don't mind Google (or any web-surfer) looking at it.

Claire, have you considered giving some time to the KudoZ side of ProZ.com? It can be very gratifying to help fellow professionals with their difficult term research, and gaining KudoZ points for accepted answers is a good way of boosting your visibility on the site. Just learn to deal with time-wasters, and don't fall into the trap of chasing every KudoZ point, then it can be a very positive experience. Again, when potential clients look at your profile, they can see what questions you've answered, what you've said, how others have responded... It all helps to create the impression that they're dealing with a professional translator rather than someone who happens to know a bit about 2+ languages.


 
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