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What goes in your CV?
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
CV/Resume/marketing brochure Jul 9, 2017

I can see a problem with your "CV".

After your name and contact information, you need to clearly show:

Native language

Language(s) you translate from > to

Services you offer


This is essential information that the client needs to find easily. Then you can follow with education, previous jobs/employment, other CV items.

[Edited at 2017-07-09 21:07 GMT]


David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
Experience Jul 9, 2017

Your profile on PROZ indicates that you have 1 year of experience so you should correct it.

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 23:47 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-07-09 23:48 GMT]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some agencies... Jul 10, 2017

Inez Ulrich wrote:
...and that my CV was so short and that they prefer to know more about their translators as they are working really closely with them.

For some translators, their CV is essentially a brochure of their services, and not truly a "course of my life" (which is what "curriculum vitae" means). When a client asks for my CV or my résumé, I reply by calling is my it my "CV/résumé", since the one-page document would be a CV to some clients but a résumé to others.

Some agencies want a CV to contain more detailed information about one's experience --
something that shows that the translator kept detailed records of what work he has done over the past decade or so. I don't mean names of specific clients, but subject and sub-subject fields, number of words translated, and that sort of thing.

And as is the case with your client, yes, some clients prefer to "get to know" the translator through their CV. This means that the CV should tell them briefly everything you did with your life since high school.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 17:05
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This might be of interest to you... Jul 10, 2017


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
Member (2007)
+ ...
I think you answered your own question, Thomas Jul 10, 2017

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
are we supposed to send a brochure when asked for a CV? They are two different things, and if we send a brochure masquerading as a CV, isn't there a risk that the client will think "he doesn't even know what a CV is"?

And later:
CVs should be short! If you think of it, ads (your CV is basically a special genre of advertising) are really short, and yet they achieve what they were devised for. The trend today is to have a one-page CV where the critical information (your education, other credentials, and main areas of experience) stands out clearly by the means you prefer, e.g. larger font, colour, highlights...

In my opinion, a translator CV with more than two pages gives information that is not that critical and obscures the main facts. It can also be used as a trick: some people write very long CVs adding all sorts of little courses and seminars when they lack relevant higher education, or list all little jobs they did when they feel that their expertise is not that big yet. A shorter CV that packs a punch is definitely the way to go.

I wasn't saying anything different, Thomas, either in this thread or in that Wiki. I think we agree entirely .

What I am saying is that we shouldn't try to give every fact of our lives so far. We should be selective - giving the potential client only what they need and want to hear. I mean, if I - at 61 years of age - were to include everything I'd done, it would read like a book! Secretary, admin assistant, records clerk, retraining as a computer programmer, analyst/programmer, change of country and retraining as a teacher, change of country again, job coach, café manager/cook, and ... finally ... translator, and change of country to specialise as a proofreader and copy-editor. I mean, who wants to plough through all that? But that's what the original CV was, although more often in reverse chronological order. That is still very much the order and content imposed by the Europass CV, for example, where languages have to be relegated to the bottom. And still job-seekers are having to worry about "career gaps" and how to explain them away. It's all totally irrelevant to our professional lives. How many "jobs" have most of us held for years? Just one: freelance translator, working for yours truly. That isn't what's important. What counts to clients is the texts themselves, the subject areas, and how come we claim to be able to do a good job of translating those words (i.e. our studies, experience, family background in some cases, etc).

@ Inez: Nice to see that you're now showing your own name. As you've come to know, this site isn't just a forum with avatars etc. It can be your shop window if you decide to use it that way. I think you should probably transfer some more factual data to your CV, organised in a "marketing" way, and just emphasise in the quote those few facts that will most interest this particular client, along with things they need to know such as availability, tariffs, taxes, payment methods, etc. As for the WWA, more is always better, but if they'd been interested enough they'd have asked about other references rather than rejecting you.

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