Applying to Translation Agencies - Part 1
Our suggestions on how to increase your chances of success when applying to translation agencies.
When you’re applying to translation agencies to offer your services for various language combinations, you need to be sure that your application doesn’t end up in the agency’s junk mail folder.
Here are our suggestions on how to increase your chances of success when applying to translation agencies –
Who Are You Writing to?
You need to know who you’re addressing your message to. It’s highly likely that your message will be treated as spam if you send your message without specifying whom it’s addressed to. If the majority of your work prospects are translation agencies, then it’s your responsibility to find out if these agencies are happy for new translators to contact them by email, because many agencies prefer that candidates complete a form on their website. And if that’s how agencies prefer to gather information from freelance translators, then contacting them by email will most likely be a waste of your time.
What Kind of Translations Do They Do?
Do your research! Find out what specializations the agency requires from their translators. With this information, you’ll be able to create a more targeted, and thus more successful, message. A translation agency would much rather receive a message that says ‘I’m an English into French translator with a degree in Engineering Surveying and more than 12 years’ experience translating survey manuals for the survey industry, than a generic ‘I translate from German, English, and Portuguese into French.'
Keep Your Subject Line Brief and to the Point
An appropriate subject line might be ‘English to French translator with 12 years’ experience, specializing in Engineering Surveying’. Certainly much better than ‘French freelance translator/proofreader’, and much better than ‘Seeking better working opportunity at your respective company,' which, unfortunately, was an actual subject line from a beginner translator.
Check, Then Re-Check Your Message Very Carefully
If the language you’re writing in is not your native one, we strongly suggest that you have a native speaker edit it. You must remember why you’re writing this message in the first place, and that is to entice the reader to open your résumé.
Are You a True Bilingual?
If you write that you translate from your native language into a foreign language you’ll be treated as an amateur, and if you are a true bilingual, meaning a native speaker of more than one language, then you should say so, but include how you came to become a true bilingual. It’s not sufficient to say that you traveled and studied in so-and-so country; however, it would be impressive if you were to say ‘My mother is French, my father is English, and each of them only speaks to me in their native language. While living in France, I studied at an international school with the majority of classes being taught in English’.
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International Translation Day is held in celebration of the feast of St Jerome, the Bible translator widely considered the patron saint of translators. The International Federation of Translators is the promoter of International Translation Day, and has been since it was first held in 1953.
The translation industry is a relatively small one but it’s also a highly competitive one. Basically, do your research on a translation agency prior to making initial contact and it will certainly pay off; perhaps not immediately because there may not be any work available at the time, so just be patient. Your application must stand out above the rest, and by following these simple steps you should have no problem whatsoever in achieving your translation goals.