The Language Show 2012 – Frequently asked questions part 2

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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:

 

o Formal higher education in translation (recognised degree)

o Equivalent qualification in any other subject + a minimum of 2 years of documented experience in translating

o 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?

 

Presentation/CV

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

 

Communication

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!

 

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