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Some Beginner Questions
Автор темы: David Hensley

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:12
Член ProZ.com
английский => турецкий
Don't Jan 14

David Hensley wrote:

- Any advice on my resume?

I suggest that you don't post it on publicly accessible websites such as this one. Identity (CV) theft is a nasty thing.

David Hensley

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:12
Член ProZ.com c 2007
голландский => немецкий
+ ...
Most important Jan 14

Sheila Wilson wrote: KudoZ points are the best single way to do that so devote some time to answering questions in your pair.

That's the most important advantage you can make with this site to attract first agency customers to get a foot into this domain, to survive the first time before you will be able to concentrate on direct clients elsewhere (i.e. on fairs and/or specific business events).


Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:12
Член ProZ.com
английский => турецкий
Fairs? Business Events? Jan 14

Matthias Brombach wrote:

(i.e. on fairs and/or specific business events).

I keep hearing that particular advice in threads like this, but never could wrap my head around it. Why would a company deal with an individual translator who translates from one language (or a few languages) when the company can strike a bargain with a translation agency that can arrange translations from virtually all languages? Don't the companies participating in fairs send their sales and marketing people who have no idea about the 'linguistic side' of their business? And -this boggles my mind the most- if you're (as a translator) going out of your way to participate in such events and have the social skills to actually network and schmooze with business execs and people in general why do you engage in a solitary and not-so-profitable job like translation in the first place? Surely, if you're able to talk and charm your way into striking deals with business/corporate people like that you can do 'consulting', or at the very least 'outsourcing', rather than sitting in front of your computer and typing away for 6 to 9 hours a day. I'd really like to know if there is any translator (not a translation agency/LSP/outsourcer) who's landed a corporate client (as in mid to large size company) to work with them on a continuous basis in their language pair(s) after having attended a fair or business event.

Chris S
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Jorge Payan

Chris S  Identity Verified
шведский => английский
+ ...
But... Jan 14

Baran Keki wrote:
landed a corporate client (as in mid to large size company)

I largely agree with you Baran, but I imagine a translator would normally attend such a fair looking to network with small businesses, where the stand might be manned by the owners themselves. Like a real-world LinkedIn.

And remember that for those of us who translate into English, we may be the only translator even a fairly large company ever needs.

Baran Keki
Sheila Wilson

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:12
Член ProZ.com c 2014
японский => английский
Perhaps Jan 14

Chris S wrote:
I imagine a translator would normally attend such a fair looking to network with small businesses, where the stand might be manned by the owners themselves.

Or indeed a larger company that is only just beginning to think about overseas markets and localisation, and wants to dip its toe in the water without being given the full-court press, including a good deal of legal paperwork, by a major international LSP.

My general sense is that many people - such as heads of department - would shy away from that sort of company-level commitment and would prefer to deal, at least initially, with one or two people they have personally met and feel they can trust.


Sheila Wilson
Chris S

WS McCallum
Новая Зеландия
Local time: 00:12
французский => английский
Some advice Jan 19

David Hensley wrote:

Hi Proz,

I am trying to get started as a Spanish to English translator. I have a master's degree in accounting and over 5 years of experience as a CPA in the US. My plan is to use my background in accounting to specialize in translation of business and financial documents. I've been applying to jobs and agencies for about a month now without getting many responses, and I thought it was time to ask the community if I'm on the right track. Basically, I'm stuck in the "can't get a job without experience and can't get experience without a job" trap, and I'm interested in any advice about how to break out of it. I have the below list of specific questions and am also open to anything you'd like to add.

- Is there anything I can do with my degrees in accounting in my Proz profile? It seems the Credentials section is strictly for translation credentials.

- Any advice on my resume? Given that I haven't been able to get translation work yet, I'm still using basically the same resume that I've used to apply to accounting

- I've just heard about possible volunteer opportunities with groups like Translation Commons and Translators Without Borders. Do you recommend pursuing these?

- Is offering to work for free a good idea? I have mentioned in some of my pitches that, as a new translator, I'd be open to doing a small job or a certain number or
words for free, but this has yet to make a difference.

- If an agency doesn't have an official application section on their website, is it a good idea to "cold email" them with an inquiry anyway?

Thank you for any input and advice you may have.

In light of your experience as a CPA and lack of experience as a translator, my suggestion is to target accounting firms with Spanish and Latin American subsidiaries (the big boys like KPMG, Deloitte, etc.). These are the companies that still have in-house translation staff and can offer you a work environment where you can learn from in-house mentors. You are less likely to do freelancing work directly for them though, as they tend to use translation agencies. The Websites of these sorts of firms can be labyrinthine, but hunt through them looking for key personnel and job postings pages. Also, if you are not on it already, get on LinkedIn and start making friends with people in the sector. LinkedIn allows you to see peoples' roles and connections within large corporates and enables you to establish direct contacts with people in their hierarchies behind the anonymising wall often set up by corporate websites.

Most translation agencies won't be interested in you because of your lack of experience, and often they want translators with broad experience. General translation agencies tend to get accounting work only on an erratic and periodic basis (annual accounts for that corporate customer, for example) - this is a reason why finding direct accountancy translation clients can be difficult btw. You might get more traction with specialist financial/legal translation agencies, but be aware that your 5 years as a CPA do not necessarily make you able to fathom the vagaries of Spanish language corporate accounts from country to country, sector to sector or even from company to company and they will be aware of the learning curve involved in taking you on. Above and beyond that, these sorts of agencies tend to do a mix of financial, corporate management, legal and accounting work, so you need to have the ability to translate in all of those areas to be of real use to them.

As a final note, a month may seem long, but you have not actually been applying for jobs that long, and we are in the midst of a major global economic recession, so be prepared for a long slog. Avoid any form of working for free - it's not necessarily going to do anything much for your CV or your chances of becoming a paid professional further down the track.

Good luck with your endeavours.

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