What the world needs to see in a translator’s CV?

I loved the animation film “Megamind”. That moment when Megamind showed up in the sky, confronting the villain who challenged him that there is no difference between a villain and a super-villain saying: What is the difference? With the energetic intro of Guns N’ Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle in the background. “Presentation!”… Megamind answered powerfully, when the guitar riffs brought the villain to his Na Na Knees!

Resource Management was one of the stations in my journey to the language industry. I screened thousands of CVs from all over the world to allocate translators in translation projects with millions of words and millions of dollars.

That’s why I constructed a vision that we are not screening CVs in the usual HR manner. However, we have to create and develop an image that demonstrates mutual success between the translators and the world. And as i deeply believed that a translator is an artists who takes an important role in the global communication. I wish to share some advice about the translator’s CV should look like.

Perhaps a reader will wonder; who might gain the benefit from this piece of advice? The answer is: EVERYONE!

Clients: Knowing more or less about the language industry, you have the right to learn how to hire a translator.

Translator: To learn what to present in your resume that will attract potential recruits or clients to hire you.

The secret word is: QUALITY. Let us break it down and walk this way:

1. Contact and Personal Information

In a study that I conducted on a sample of 200 CVs. Closer to 30 to 50% of the applicants miss to include the contact details properly. It’s recommended not to waste the recruiter’s time chasing to complete your contact details. Simple details presented in your application such as;

· Active phone numbers.

· Primary and secondary e-mail accounts.

· Social network presence: Linkedin is my favorite for professional profiling, as well as other language portals such as proz.com.

· Place of residence: A key indicator of the time zone, working hours, availability, and rates.

· Date of birth: Some clients request translation by a certain age-group. And truly, a recruiter doesn’t want to end up hiring an old fashioned or out-dated translator. The truth is to be told about the age factor.

· Gender: In a multi-cultural industry with people from different backgrounds, it’s possible for someone not to use a proper communication! For example, knowing who you deal with, a lady or a gentleman. In addition the fact that some clients may request their material to be translated by certain gender who is able to comprehend and compose the target content properly. This is no discrimination! It’s business.

2. Educational Background

It’s the main factor when the client or the LSP (language service provider) will decide to hire you. It is not limited to where you were graduated from. Do not be shy to show-off in your CV. Include your colleague degree(s), post-graduation, courses, workshops you attended, even your TOEFL or IELTS score.

3. Professional background

Some translators may have current of previous positions in other fields. Perhaps you were an engineer, a medical doctor or an academic. This is a valued piece of information. The recruiter would LOVE to make the right decision of employing you. Even though, lately resource allocation and selection are being automated by optimizing keyword matching system to facilitate the shortlisting. So the world needs to know:

· Your current or former employment as a full-time, part-time or a freelance position.

· A brief job description if your occupation does involve translation or language related duties.

· If you are a full-time freelancer, it’s recommended to present your roles. Are you a translator, a reviewer, a language tester or something else?

Today’s competition is aggressive, Show us who you really are!

4. Awards and certifications

As a recruiter, I would recommend to present any awards or certificates in the language field. Since some customers demand to hire only the certified translators in certain fields such as legal translation, medical, patent or government projects.

Remember, that it’s important to stay truthful and honest. Forging or faking your certifications is a dirty job. And in today’s world, you can’t get away with a forged certificate. The world is small, and it gets tighter around cheaters.

5. Work profile or project history

In my opinion, it is different from the professional background. Your project history is a good reference about the translation projects you were participating in. It is recommended to also include some details:

· Brand names: For example, Microsoft, Dell, and Google projects. In addition to the names of the books, magazines, or the websites you worked on.

· Sub-products: For example, translating MS Office 2013 Marketing material or a Dell user manual.

· Type of content: Manuals, Help documents, UI (user interface) or marketing material…etc.

· Produced volumes: A key indicator of the number of words you translated or revised. If a professional pilot’s track record is based on the flying hours, the professional translators must have a production track record.

· CAT tools: (read the CAT tool section below).

· Your role in the project: Translating, revising, testing…etc.

· Production Year: A good indicator of how up-to-date you are.

A translator might say; I have signed confidentiality agreements with some of my clients I cannot disclose the information. The answer is; you can always present your project history in a way that doesn’t preach your confidentiality agreements. Your translation work history is a part of your production profile. It’s one of the marketing strategies when you are applying for a translation job. You need to take pride in using this experience as a value proposition to your potential employer.

Meanwhile, there is no need to insert samples of your previous translation work. In respect to confidentiality agreements and knowing that the customer may need to test your translation quality on his own. A summarized project history is sufficient as a first hand reference to your abilities and experience.

6. Fields of experience

While this can be figured out form your educational background or project history. It’s still recommended to present it in a separate section in your CV. I have always admired the translator’s profile who presented his\her translation subject matters. Presenting that you are specialized in IT, technical, medical or marketing translation will help the recruiters to easily select you.

7. Technical capabilities

Old fashioned translation is on the verge of extension. It’s important to present your technical capabilities and equipment.

· CAT tools (Computer Aided translation): Make sure to present details about your CAT tool knowledge with references to the software versions.

· Quality Assurance tools: Recruiters will be happy to know you are not just translating, but also how you manage your translation’s quality using automated validation tools or spell-checkers.

· Software assets: Tools like Adobe package, multimedia or DTP (Desktop Publishing tools). And if need be, include your coding or SEO experiences.

· Hardware equipment: Your PC specifications and your internet speed and so on.

8. Memberships

Your membership in translation organizations, associations and other communities is an indicator of how up-to-date you are in the translation market, a professional who is communicating, sharing, and participating with others. That includes:

· Translation portals such as proz.com, Translatorscafe.com and others. Giving the recruiter a chance to screen your public references, recommendations and project history.

· Professional Blogs or Vblogs: It’s always nice to include links on your profile as a marketing tool.

· Magazines, publishing houses, book clubs. Places where you participate or publish your translation work or share ideas and help others.

9. Capacity and availability

The old rule says: what can’t be measured cannot be managed. A recruiter is highly interested to know how many words you can translate per day along with your availability status. That helps the clients to be able to clearly manage their\your time. Make sure to indicate in your CV:

· How many words you can translate per day or per hour?

· How many words\pages you are able to revise per hour?

· What is your usual availability and working time zone(s)?

· Do you work during holidays or weekends?

10. Error free CV

How can the world trust you if you have spelling and grammar mistakes in your CV? Not to mention the badly organized and incomplete profile. While I’m not talking about using colored templates, fonts, and infographics, make sure to get to the point and review the content of your CV.

This may sound harsh, but you have to understand that a good recruiter knows when to throw a CV in the trash can!

Finally, I hope I was able to summarize this important matter clearly to my fellow linguists, translators, recruiters, and project managers.

Let us work together to take the translators out of the jungle with excellent “PRESENTATION”.