How to Build up a Translation CV that Will Make Clients Notice You How to Market Your Language Services translation jobs
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How to Build up a Translation CV that Will Make Clients Notice You

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If you are relatively new to the field of translation, chances are you are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. As more companies take their operations global, the demand for language service professionals has increased on a massive scale. This is excellent news for anyone looking to make a career out of professional translation, as it represents a tremendous opportunity.

A translation CV is essential if you want to be successful. In fact, the art of CV translation itself is a whole sub-niche of the translation industry. As a beginner, you want to find a way to be noticed so you can develop a client base quickly.

This article will focus on how you can build up your translation CV so that it gets more attention. A well-crafted CV is the first piece of work a potential client will see from you and is your chance to make an excellent first impression. To engage a prospective employer, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

Your Translator CV: Where to Begin

Your translation CV is usually the first piece of information someone is going to see about you, and first impressions count for a lot. Before you begin, think about the intent of the document. Are you trying to land specific clients? If so, customize the document so that it accurately reflects the needs of the agency or client you want to work with. If you plan to submit multiple CVs, customize each of them so that they are tailored to each potential employer.

While you don't want your CV to be too long, you should make sure that it provides enough information about your translation skills to give a good overview of your abilities. Everything you include should make it easier on the reader. Each translator is different of course, but essential points that you should cover include:

  • Clear and concise contact details. Make sure these are easy to find and right at the top.
  • The specific language pairing(s) you offer
  • Detail on your education or specific, relevant qualifications
  • An overview of the computer assisted translation (CAT) tools you have mastered

Highlight Your Translation Specialties

Every translator has different abilities and areas of specialization. Because most recruiters are super busy people, they are likely to scan your CV in under 15 seconds, so you want to capture their attention right away. One way to do this is to highlight your specialisms.

Somewhere near the top of the CV, prominently display your best qualifications/skills to ensure you stand out. If you have specific industry-related expertise (like legal or medical translation, for example), list that first.

It is likely that, along with your translation skills, you have other abilities – “complementary skills” that may be valuable to a potential recruiter. If you are well versed in WordPress, coding, or specific software, include these skills as well. Many niche industries are looking for translation professionals with more than one skill and would welcome the opportunity to hire someone who can multitask.

Avoid using terms that label you as a translation generalist. You are looking to stand out, not blend in. Include anything about your skills and experience that is unique. If you have a keen interest in a particular culture or niche, talk about it engagingly so that the recruiter knows you enjoy learning and expanding your abilities.

What If Your Translation Resume Is on the Lean Side?

No matter who they are or how skilled they may be now, everyone has had to start from scratch without experience. Nobody was born a professional translator. If you are just starting out in translation and don't have a long list of clients (or perhaps no list at all) there are a couple of ways to beef up your CV and get noticed.


Many non-profits and charity organizations are in dire need of translation specialists but do not have the funds to support the required tasks. This is where you come in. You can offer to do some translation work in exchange for a glowing reference and the ability to use the work in your portfolio. Volunteering is not only the ideal place to start in the translation field; it is something that you can feel good about.

Independent Studies:

Taking on coursework just for your own enrichment in the translation field is another idea. The more you learn about the industry you want to specialize in, the better. There are hundreds of online courses where you can learn more about different cultures, industries, or ideas.

Create a Website to Show off Your Best Work:

You can easily create your own translation website to promote your freelance business. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. This is the ideal option for allowing potential clients to get a deeper look at what you are all about and how you can help them. A website can also double as your online portfolio, as you can continually add to it as you complete each project you take on.

If you have the initiative to take on unpaid activities like creating an eye-catching website, volunteering and independent studies that are fueled by your passion for the translation field, you will stand out. There is nothing more impressive to a recruiter than to see someone who is proactive about their future.

Exhibit Your Translation Knowledge

Providing potential clients with a robust and eye-catching CV is the first step in reaching your career goals. But while your resume may look fantastic, how does a translation agency or client really know if your skills are as excellent as you claim?

One way to convince them is to demonstrate your translation knowledge right up front by providing your CV in two

languages. If you can provide a flawless translation that exhibits accuracy and reads well, you are showing that your knowledge is not just rooted in education, but in practical experience.

Providing other examples that display your fluency in your language pairing(s) is helpful as well, so include links to any completed translation projects to offer potential recruiters something of substance.  


Just starting out in the translation industry can be challenging, but it doesn't need to be complicated. If you set yourself up using some of the tips above, you will be well on your way to building an active career as a freelance translator.

Author Bio

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes, an agency with a global presence that provides translation and localization services in over 90 different languages.

Published in May 2019.

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