The Guide to Writing a Successful Freelance Translator CV

Nov 30, 2018

Of the 640,000 or so translators around the world, approximately 25% work on a freelance basis. If you want to join them, you’ll need to create a strong freelance translator resume. When you inquire about a freelance gig or position, your client may request that you send a resume, so it’s important to be prepared. 
You may also wish to write a general CV and post it to your personal website, along with samples of your work. This allows prospective clients to read about your achievements and judge your skills for themselves before making contact. 

As a translator, you will be expected to create clear, concise documents, so you should think of your translator CV as an opportunity to showcase your writing skills. A good translator or interpreter CV highlights your technical knowledge, professional experience, and qualifications.  

Follow these steps when writing your CV:

1. Begin with your contact details

Your translator resume should begin with your name, address, phone number, email address, and a link to your portfolio website. 

2. Write a brief professional summary or objective

Next, you should write a summary that describes your experience as a translator. This is akin to an elevator pitch; it’s your chance to explain why a client should pick you over other freelancers. 

Highlight any special projects you have worked on, draw attention to your strongest skills, and tell the reader how and why you can meet their needs. If you have worked on similar projects in the past, be sure to let them know. If appropriate, tailor this section to your future client’s business model or job posting.

3. Write a list of your skills

With your client’s needs in mind, construct a list of your skills. Keep it relatively short. If you have written more than half a dozen skills, you might need to refine the list to make it more specific to the project. If you are writing a resume for your personal site, you can afford to write a more comprehensive list. 

Don’t forget to list soft and interpersonal skills alongside the languages you work with if you think they will help you secure a gig. For example, if you are reaching out to a busy client who depends on quick freelancers to keep their business running, you should draw attention to your time management skills. To use another example, CV translation services will be more likely to hire freelancers who have already worked in a corporate HR setting.

4. Outline your most important projects to date

This is perhaps the most crucial element of your CV. Your prospective client will want to ascertain whether you have the right skills for the job, and a list of your previous projects acts as proof of your competence.  

In each case, specify the scope of the project, the languages you worked with, and any metrics that illustrate your impact. For instance, if you translated a 150-page employee handbook that was used to onboard 300 new workers, including the numbers to give a sense of the project’s scale.

5. List your relevant qualifications and affiliations 

At the end of your resume, list your qualifications. Include the most recent first. You can also mention any professional affiliations. However, clients tend to base their choice of freelancer on experience before all else, so do not waste time and space on this section.

Be original

Be careful when using a template to build your resume. If you Google “interpreter translator resume” or “CV for interpreter job,” you will come across lots of sample resumes, which can be downloaded and customized. 

Unfortunately, many of these templates are overused, poorly designed, or both. It’s best to keep your CV short and simple. Let your skills and experience speak for themselves, and you are bound to land your ideal gig.