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Posted on3 December 2012

The Language Show 2012 – Frequently asked questions part 2

Director Clare Suttie recently spoke at the Language Show 2012 in London, in October 2012. Language Show 2012 Live is the UK’s largest event for people passionate about languages. It’s free to attend and a great chance to join over 10,000 language learners, teachers, translators, linguists, jobseekers and language professionals.

Clare made some notes about questions she fielded, so that she could blog about them for those who didn’t attend… Here’s Part Two:

What are you looking for in terms of qualifications, skills and experience?

We look for one or more of the following:

  • Formal higher education in translation (recognised degree)
  • Equivalent qualification in any other subject + a minimum of 2 years of documented experience in translating
  • At least 5 years of documented professional experience in translating

Qualifications – AITI, MITI, MIoL, AIoL, MA in Translation, Dip Trans, NRPSI…. and from other countries membership of similar organisations such as BDU, AIIC….

How do beginners get clients?

If you’re doing a translation qualification of any kind, seek some commercial experience sooner, not later. Try charities, local companies, networking – and some translation companies. Everyone has different criteria. Find an experienced translator and ask if they will let you proof work or even do small pieces for them, which they then check and feedback. If you are working for free or a low rate, explain that this is because you are gaining experience. Be up front that you’d like a written reference (and ask for one!).Work will not come to you – you will have to go out and find it. Consider working as a Project Manager for a translation company – to learn about the business and see how the translation world operates.

SORT OUT YOUR CV – this is crucial! Not what you think is important…. seek advice from other professionals.

How can translators and interpreters increase their chances of employment?


First impressions count. If your CV has errors or does not show you at your best – frankly, you’ve blown it.


Don’t just send your CV off to 500 companies, sit back and expect work to arrive. Posting letters and CVs is also a waste of time and money (unless requested) as people want to cut down paperwork. Target five a day. Call them. Find out do they need your language combination, and if so what do they pay? Ask them if they’d like your details and how you should apply. Start with the larger companies, any you have a contact with, and if you have a specialism, those working in the same subject area.

Be polite, keep it brief (unless they are chatty!), follow it up to thank them for their time. Make your application. Follow up – allow some weeks to pass. If there is a translation company on your doorstep, make an appointment to pop in and see them. Take biscuits or a local treat!

Offered work?

Respond quickly with a polite yes or no. Clarify any points you are not sure of. Deadline, rate of pay, payment terms –don’t start work from a new client without a PO or full confirmation in writing. This may change with regular clients but keep good records of conversations and always send an email confirming your understanding.

Doing the work?

Raise queries, but be prepared to do some research of your own too. Deliver on time, check it has arrived safely. Follow any instructions regarding invoicing.

Look out for the final Part Three of this series in the next few days!

ATC – Full membership of the ATC (Association of Translation Companies).

CIEP – Corporate membership of the CIEP (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) since 1993.

Corporate membership of the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) since 1994. Corporate Member of the Year 2021.

ISO 17100 – ISO 17100:2017 for Translation Services (since this standard began, in 2008, externally audited annually).

ISO 9001 – BS EN ISO 9001:2015 (certified since 2003, externally audited annually).

Living wage employer – As a living wage employer, we believe our staff deserve a wage which meets every day needs.

Mindful employer

Mindful employer – We are a mindful employer, working toward achieving better mental health at work.


Disability confident committed – We are Disability Confident Committed, ensuring our recruitment, communications and support are inclusive and accessible.

4-day week

4-day week employer since 2019


Good Business Charter Member since 2022

The Slator Language Service Provider Index (LSPI) is a ranking and an index of the world’s largest translation, localization, interpreting, and language technology companies.


The Patient Information Forum promotes access to trusted and high-quality health information for the public and healthcare professionals.

Federation of Small Businesses and the Self-Employed

Member of the Federation of Small Businesses and the Self-Employed

Prompt Payment Code

Signatory of the Prompt Payment Code since 2023.

Accredited with the Fair Tax Foundation since February 2024