A Freelance Translator’s CV



There’s one thing we have to bear in mind:
A freelancer’s CV is different from the CV of an in-house. And I say different, not only in terms of professional experience, but also in terms of the graphics and even the content itself. The reason for this is, more than anything, that they are completely different roles and different markets that require different skills. But let’s focus on what matters:

It’s important to start by understanding who is receiving CVs from freelance translators. Generally, they are:
A. Translation companies, or
B. End clients (usually small businesses or individuals).
and these are the ones we’re going to focus on.

Design

Imagine being a director of human resources at a large translation company. Do you know how many freelance CVs you receive per month? Maybe a few hundred. So, in an aquarium with so many fish and so many sharks, we have to try to be the Nemo. This is achieved, first of all, with an appealing design. (note: appealing does not always mean complex. Often, even the contrary).

Don’t use Europass. Europass is where it all begins to go wrong. Recruiters are fed up of seeing Europass CVs. The design isn’t so appealing and the information on it may not be appropriate because it’s standardised. Sometimes this is the first exclusion criterion. If the translator didn’t bother to make an outstanding CV, will he bother to present me with an outstanding translation?

Include graphics. Yes, we are about words and we hate graphics, but the fact is that graphics are a good way to deliver information in a visually appealing and fast way. You can make graphs with various information such as work areas, languages, software, personal skills, etc. Here are two examples:

Divide the CV. Yes, divide and conquer. We can have three parts. One with personal and contact info, another with professional experience and academic background (always keep these two together) and a final part with areas of work, prices, skills, etc. This way, whoever is looking at our CV is seeing the information in blocks and quickly knows where to find what they are looking for.
There are several ways of dividing into blocks that are “pleasing to the eye”. I’ll give a few examples. Try to identify the blocks and the way the information is organised



Organise your content. Basically, make sure the content you’re displaying is well organised. Divide it into general areas – leave bio, contacts and personal info in one area and professional experience and academic background in another (like the examples I showed above).
Pay attention to colour. Don’t take it literally when I said we should be Nemo in the aquarium. To begin with, let’s keep the number of colours to a maximum of three. And let’s not forget that we are talking about a CV, or rather, something that will present us to the professional world. So let’s avoid the hot-pinks, reds, yellows, and all those garish colours that could make us look unprofessional. If you don’t have any ideas for colour, look for schemes or palettes.

Don’t use more than two fonts. There are hundreds of thousands of font types on the internet, and of course not all of them are appropriate for a CV. I advise you do a quick search to find out which fonts are most used on CVs and then just download the ones you like the most. Still, my thinking is that we shouldn’t go too far out of the box with fonts.

Not too big, not too small. Yes, size matters. It’s simple – what’s bigger is seen first. Try increasing the font size of the block titles so that the recruiter knows where to find certain information. Never force a potential client to squint or to have to stick the sheet on the other side of the room. Above all, play with the font size to highlight information and make the document simple and pleasing.
I’ll give an example of two font types and 3 different sizes:

Don’t use more than two fonts. There are hundreds of thousands of font types on the internet, and of course not all of them are appropriate for a CV. I advise you do a quick search to find out which fonts are most used on CVs and then just download the ones you like the most. Still, my thinking is that we shouldn’t go too far out of the box with fonts.

Not too big, not too small. Yes, size matters. It’s simple – what’s bigger is seen first. Try increasing the font size of the block titles so that the recruiter knows where to find certain information. Never force a potential client to squint or to have to stick the sheet on the other side of the room. Above all, play with the font size to highlight information and make the document simple and pleasing.
I’ll give an example of two font types and 3 different sizes:


A photo? What for? I think photos on CVs are becoming obsolete. Instead of a photo, think about putting the link to your professional LinkedIn/ProZ/Facebook/website, etc.

Use a template! Right, we’re not designers, but there are several free templates that we can use for both Word and Photoshop and Illustrator (I’ll try and do a tutorial). Of course the final result of a CV designed in Photoshop or AI is better than one created in Word. It all depends how much time you want to invest in your CV.

Content

Despite the importance of design when getting your CV to jump out at even the blindest recruiter, no one hires a translator based on their design skills.

Cherry-pick your content. When a fisherman goes fishing, he chooses the bait for a certain type of fish. The same goes for the content of your CV. There are some things that any potential employer needs to know, and these are mandatory:

1. Name
2. Email*
3. Telephone
4. Address

Please, put only ONE phone number and ONE email. We don’t want to make the recruiter waste time calling 10 numbers and sending 10 emails, right? They want to look at the CV, get the number, call it and hear “Hello” within the first 10 seconds. In other words, you need to make sure that the number that’s on there is always with you in your pocket, that the email is refreshed every 5 minutes and that the notifications are activated on your mobile phone.

*let’s try not to put the email address “catiaizzzkool@hotmail” – nothing against Catias, but we’re not 15 years old.
In addition to this mandatory information, we have to consider that someone looking for a translation service provider is interested in knowing the following:

1. Professional experience – Short and concise. You can use graphics, yes. It is important for the recruiter to know how long you have been a translator, your largest clients and the types of text you work with. E.g.: 2012 – 2015 translation of technical texts. Client: Volkswagen. Total: Approximately 250,000 words.
2. Working languages – List the languages you know and the ones you work with. Please don’t include languages that you don’t know well.
3. Academic background – Course, University, year. Keep it simple. Include extracurricular courses like online courses, etc.
4. Areas of work – The areas you are most experienced in. You can also use graphics for this one.
5. Tools used* – Although end clients don’t care much about it, companies do, so it may be important to list the software you work with. Not only CAT tools, but also any other software that may be useful like OCR, Photoshop, word, etc.
6. Availability / output/day* – May also be important so that the client knows how many words you are able to do per day.
* applies mainly to translation companies.

However, someone looking to hire a linguist isn’t going to be interested in what you CAN’T do. Therefore, there is no point in telling your potential employer that your Arabic level is B1. Do you work with Arabic? No? Then don’t tell the world about it. Perhaps in the interview you can go for the “I also know a little bit of Arabic, but it’s only B1. I don’t feel it’s advanced enough to work with it” (and this even reveals some modesty and professionalism). The same applies for software or any other skill. If you don’t do it well, then maybe you shouldn’t do it.

And last but not least, don’t be scared to have several CVs. You can have different CVs for end clients, translation companies and subtitling agencies (I had 4 versions, back in the day). Some of the elements will be the same of course, but the rest of the content can be employer oriented. Try to put yourself in their heads and think what you would expect from the perfect CV.

Also, when sending a CV via email, “Dear John Wick” is always better than “Dear Sir or Madam”. Try to make it personal and create empathy.
And I think that’s it. If you have any suggestions, let me know via email or Facebook. We may be talking about CVs on our helpdesk. Stay tuned.


by Bernardo Calhanas in The Translation Guy blog


Brought to you by www.sierra-editing.com , at your service. January 17 2019