话题中的页数:   [1 2] >
Some Beginner Questions
论题张贴者: David Hensley

David Hensley
美国
Local time: 05:20
正式会员 (自2020)
Spanish西班牙语译成English英语
Jan 13

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
... See more
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
jobs.

- 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.
Collapse


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 12:20
正式会员 (自2010)
Spanish西班牙语译成English英语
Advice for beginners Jan 13

IMO the best starting point would be a search of the many previous replies submitted by Sheila Wilson in response to this question. She always provides valuable, detailed information in a clear, accessible style.

Kay Denney
Philippe Etienne
Robert Rietvelt
Joe France
Dan Lucas
P.L.F.Persio
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
英国
Swedish瑞典语译成English英语
+ ...
Direct clients Jan 13

With your qualifications, I would be approaching real companies that could benefit from your subject expertise rather than waiting for agencies to sift through the Kilimanjaro of applications piled up at the back of the cupboard.

Then again, I wouldn't be having this problem as I'd be happily making a ton more money continuing as an accountant

Edit just to clarify: Direct clients are more likely to be impr
... See more
With your qualifications, I would be approaching real companies that could benefit from your subject expertise rather than waiting for agencies to sift through the Kilimanjaro of applications piled up at the back of the cupboard.

Then again, I wouldn't be having this problem as I'd be happily making a ton more money continuing as an accountant

Edit just to clarify: Direct clients are more likely to be impressed by your accounting background and less likely to get hung up on a lack of translation experience - most of them rather naively assume that all translators can actually translate.

[Edited at 2021-01-13 09:11 GMT]
Collapse


Mervyn Henderson
Kay Denney
Philippe Etienne
Robert Rietvelt
Adieu
Sheila Wilson
P.L.F.Persio
 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
瑞典
Local time: 12:20
German德语译成Swedish瑞典语
+ ...
Don't work for free Jan 13

David Hensley wrote:

- 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.



No, that's not a good idea, it signals you have plenty of free time on your hands that you don't put a high value to. Many agencies ask for free test translations, though (usually of dummy documents) - that's different and you should do them (up to 500 words or so).

You could translate a few very difficult accounting-related documents and put them up as samples.

If I was shopping for translators of financial text your accounting degree would be extremely interesting and an immediate attention-getter. I wouldn't even glance at translation-related credentials or volunteer credits.

Not getting any responses is perfectly normal, I'm afraid. But actual practical experience of accounting is very unusual and you should have a much better chance than the average translator of making a go of it. It takes luck, patience and preferably a part-time job while building yourself up.


Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
Vera Schoen
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Philippe Etienne
Heike Holthaus
 

Adieu  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
English英语译成Russian俄语
+ ...
English and Spanish? In America? Jan 13

Dare I say it.... most of them don't ever get to your credentials.

They see your last name and move on (sorry). Seriously. Too many candidates whose names scream "native speaker", those are the ones they look at credentials etc. for.

I personally know of a curious case of a lady named something like Maria Lopez, who managed to teach Spanish in American schools and translate for decades...despite being a Russian immigrant with bad English, basic college Spanish, and a la
... See more
Dare I say it.... most of them don't ever get to your credentials.

They see your last name and move on (sorry). Seriously. Too many candidates whose names scream "native speaker", those are the ones they look at credentials etc. for.

I personally know of a curious case of a lady named something like Maria Lopez, who managed to teach Spanish in American schools and translate for decades...despite being a Russian immigrant with bad English, basic college Spanish, and a last name courtesy of a month-long failed marriage to a foreigner...NOBODY ASKED. Ever.

BTW if you ARE a native spanish speaker, put that in all caps at the top of your resume. And if you are a native bilingual, like raised in America in a Spanish speaker family... make THAT your resume.


PS and sprinkle CPA throughout your resume in bold. Tack it onto your name as a title, etc. Nobody really reads these things, it needs to be eye-catching and negate the disadvantage of a name that doesn't immediately suggest Spanish proficiency.

[Edited at 2021-01-13 10:48 GMT]
Collapse


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 11:20
正式会员 (自2014)
Japanese日语译成English英语
Nothing to worry about Jan 13

Adieu wrote:
They see your last name and move on (sorry). Seriously. Too many candidates whose names scream "native speaker", those are the ones they look at credentials etc. for.

He translates into English. That's his native language. Frankly, "Hensley" would have more immediate appeal for me than "Lopez" if I were looking for someone to write excellent English, rather than excellent Spanish. Good clients care about the quality of the English output.

In the same way, my last name isn't Tanaka, Sato, or Matsubara, but I still get plenty of work from Japanese into English. And the percentage of JP-EN translation performed by native speakers of Japanese (as opposed to English) appears, based on anecdotal evidence, to be falling rather than rising. Perhaps clients have realised that non-native speakers with a poor feel for the nuances of English have been responsible for a good deal of Japan's reputation for terrible English usage.

David - you'll be fine.

Dan


P.L.F.Persio
Sheila Wilson
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Michele Fauble
Veronica Montserrat
Kay Denney
 

Adieu  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
English英语译成Russian俄语
+ ...
Maybe...maybe not. Because 2021/covid. Jan 13

Dan Lucas wrote:

Adieu wrote:
They see your last name and move on (sorry). Seriously. Too many candidates whose names scream "native speaker", those are the ones they look at credentials etc. for.

He translates into English. That's his native language. Frankly, "Hensley" would have more immediate appeal for me than "Lopez" if I were looking for someone to write excellent English, rather than excellent Spanish. Good clients care about the quality of the English output.

In the same way, my last name isn't Tanaka, Sato, or Matsubara, but I still get plenty of work from Japanese into English. And the percentage of JP-EN translation performed by native speakers of Japanese (as opposed to English) appears, based on anecdotal evidence, to be falling rather than rising. Perhaps clients have realised that non-native speakers with a poor feel for the nuances of English have been responsible for a good deal of Japan's reputation for terrible English usage.

David - you'll be fine.

Dan


Lots of people flooding into any kind of remote work they can find these days.

That's sure to make the marketplace for America's second-favorite language pretty crowded on the supply side.


Kay Denney
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
意大利
Local time: 12:20
会员
Italian意大利语译成English英语
Resume Jan 13

David Hensley wrote:

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
jobs.



Your resume looks strong, but you need to tailor it to translation work. Clients need to be able to see at a glance what you can offer translation-wise, how you can meet their needs, and why they should hire you instead of someone else.

Have a look around this site at the resumes of other translators working in your field for ideas on how you could tweak your own resume.


David Hensley
Dalia Nour
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 11:20
正式会员 (自2007)
English英语
+ ...
Scream your assets from the rooftops. Here are some ideas. Jan 13

David Hensley wrote:
- 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.

You would be well-advised to make "CPA" clearer in your About Me text -- capitals, centred, larger font... And your text should be localised into Spanish too. Take out the second sentence as that's just personal but add some beef about your experience. CPA should also be in your keywords, along with a lot of other Spanish and English related words -- even in the hundreds. Restricting your specialisations further would be a good idea too -- accountancy is your forte and your niche market; general texts aren't what you should be marketing yourself as doing. OTOH, nothing should stop you taking on any work that you feel you can do and that pays okay. Attend the Meeting Clients free webinar here and ask them for help.

- 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
jobs.

Frankly, it's a disaster, I'm afraid to say. Where does it mention you even speak Spanish, let alone translate from it professionally? Answer: 3 lines from the bottom, in "other information"! (BTW, your uploaded CV should be in PDF format, both for security and to avoid page 2 appearing with one bullet point, as I see it.) Check out the Wiki article on the site about writing a CV/resume (full disclosure: I wrote it ).

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

I evaluate FR>EN samples from TWB applicants and I can tell you that around 50% are rejected. TWB ask for 2 years' experience because their translators need to be able to work autonomously and accurately. They have no time/money for proofreading or providing helpful feedback. OTOH, Wikipedia, the TED videos and other crowd-sourced sites are a great idea for gaining experience.

- 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.

Never offer to work for free if anyone stands to make commercial gain from your work. Never! But many potential clients will ask for a sample of your work for free. That's fine if you're up for it, but it shouldn't take more than an hour of your time so most of us limit the wordcount to 250 words or so.

- 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?

You have to try anything and everything. Many people here spent weeks or months writing tens of emails a day. The ROI will be very small but you only need a very few jobs to get you on the road. But do make your emails personal -- spamming agencies is not a good way to start. You're also young so you need to be making use of all the connections the internet can give you: LinkedIn, FB, Instagram, Twitter... Try to attend conferences on accounting matters too, talk to stand holders and attendees, and distribute your CV and business card/flyer. Join an accountancy and/or translation organisation and use it for advertising (put it in your profile under Memberships too).

A few random other points:
I see you're a paying member, so you clearly intend to make the site your shop window. Paying is just the first -- very important -- step. Check out your current ranking in the translators' directory. You've leap-frogged thousands of experienced ES>EN translators. But you need to do everything you can to improve your placing further. KudoZ points are the best single way to do that so devote some time to answering questions in your pair.

Include some more samples in your profile. They don't have to have been paid for. Accountancy ones are obviously best, but others would be better than nothing.

No client will doubt your ability to understand a highly technical English accounting text. But what about a Spanish one? You really need to do something to reassure them that you have (a) a high level generally, and (b) knowledge of Spanish accountancy terms. Maybe some training and certification in Spanish, translation techniques, and/or Spanish accountancy would be useful.


texjax DDS PhD
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Veronica Montserrat
Adieu
Kay Denney
Samara Serralheiro
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
英国
Local time: 11:20
正式会员 (自2014)
Japanese日语译成English英语
Knowledge Jan 13

Adieu wrote:
That's sure to make the marketplace for America's second-favorite language pretty crowded on the supply side.

At the low end, sure. After all, there are no barriers to entry in this market. I agree that the world does not lack for casual translators without specialisations. What it lacks, and wants - at least at the top end, which is the market we should be aiming for - is highly professional translators with domain-specific knowledge that cannot be easily replicated.

And that's where David comes in. If he has the sense to leverage what appears to be a decent professional qualification and some real-world experience in that field, he may be able to differentiate himself so as to avoid competing on price at the low end. His post shows that he is aware of this latent competitive advantage and is seeking to use it. That's a positive sign. It suggests that, unlike many starry-eyed translation graduates, he has some understanding of business (as one would hope, given his background).

The posts from Fiona and Sheila are spot on.

Dan


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Adieu
Kay Denney
Teresa Borges
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
意大利
Local time: 12:20
会员
Italian意大利语译成English英语
Mentoring Jan 13

I think that one of the most valuable things an inspiring translator can do is look for a mentor. I've signed up for the Chartered Institute of Linguists' DipTrans exam, and am doing a preparatory course which involves six translation assignments, on which I receive detailed feedback. Even as a translator with nearly 20 years experience, there are still areas where I can improve, and the individual feedback has been incredibly valuable. Obviously this is something you would need to pay for, but ... See more
I think that one of the most valuable things an inspiring translator can do is look for a mentor. I've signed up for the Chartered Institute of Linguists' DipTrans exam, and am doing a preparatory course which involves six translation assignments, on which I receive detailed feedback. Even as a translator with nearly 20 years experience, there are still areas where I can improve, and the individual feedback has been incredibly valuable. Obviously this is something you would need to pay for, but I think it's one of the wisest investments you could make at this stage in your career.Collapse


Sheila Wilson
Dan Lucas
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Teresa Borges
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
波斯尼亚黑塞哥维纳
Local time: 12:20
English英语译成Croatian克罗地亚语
+ ...
Samples. Jan 13

The translation sample on your profile is in Marketing/PR field. Why not in finance/accounting? Can you find samples in this field to translate? It seems you’re focussed on work in accounting/finance field only or excusively. Have you checked the market, what’s the demand for EN-SP accounting projects? There should be a lot od business going on between Latin America and the US for the high demand in this combo. Otherwise, if not, you don’t seem ready or willing to work in any other fields.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
French法语译成English英语
Underlining agreement Jan 13

Agencies - vs -direct clients.
Target direct clients. Clients will notice that you speak the same language, figuratively and otherwise. They will be confident that you will be able to come up with the goods. You should have sound credibility with major accounting firms and management consultants. You already know who they are. Further, while being careful not to run into problems with any agreements that you may have signed with regard to working with/for clients of your former employees,
... See more
Agencies - vs -direct clients.
Target direct clients. Clients will notice that you speak the same language, figuratively and otherwise. They will be confident that you will be able to come up with the goods. You should have sound credibility with major accounting firms and management consultants. You already know who they are. Further, while being careful not to run into problems with any agreements that you may have signed with regard to working with/for clients of your former employees, then you probably have specific experience of specific fields. Target major companies of the type of former clients.

Rates.
Agencies would be lucky to have you but I think your main interest lies in doing work for direct clients. You will be able to charge a much better rate than you would get once an agency has taken out its share. For the client, you would no doubt still be cheaper than an agency. Clients do like to go through agencies for a number of reasons, often, in the case of major clients needing the same piece of text translated into two or more languages. Apart from those situations, you are likely to be of interest to direct clients.

Presentation.
Work on your presentation as a specialist. Arranging to meet is still not unheard of in this virtual era. There are people who are perfectly bilingual but who are not necessarily good linguists. This is where you need to be sure you can stand out in a crowd. Think about how you can present yourself with all the ancillary skills acquired along the way. You will need to demonstrate how you are actually a reliable linguist. Use experience and examples.
Collapse


Sheila Wilson
David Hensley
Dalia Nour
Veronica Montserrat
Chris S
Teresa Borges
 

David Hensley
美国
Local time: 05:20
正式会员 (自2020)
Spanish西班牙语译成English英语
主题发起人
Thank you Jan 13

Wow, thanks for all the great responses, guys. I really appreciate it!

Catherine Lawson (X)
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
西班牙
Local time: 11:20
正式会员 (自2007)
English英语
+ ...
Agencies are good for gaining experience Jan 13

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
Agencies - vs -direct clients.
Target direct clients. Clients will notice that you speak the same language, figuratively and otherwise. They will be confident that you will be able to come up with the goods. You should have sound credibility with major accounting firms and management consultants. You already know who they are. Further, while being careful not to run into problems with any agreements that you may have signed with regard to working with/for clients of your former employees, then you probably have specific experience of specific fields. Target major companies of the type of former clients.

I entirely agree that collaborating with direct clients is where David's future lies. However, it seems that at the moment he has no training and no experience in translation. I think at the moment any relationship with a direct client risks resulting in a dangerous "blind leading the blind" situation. But the big agencies are to be avoided too, IMO. It can be very confusing and time-wasting working for them, with complicated online CAT processes to master, and they are often quicker to pass down penalties than advice. The ones to target are the specialised boutique agencies who are the only party between you and the end client and who are conscious of the need for quality rather than profit at any price. You'll learn a lot from that type of client.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Dalia Nour
David Hensley
Dan Lucas
Chris S
Agneta Pallinder
 
话题中的页数:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Some Beginner Questions

Advanced search







Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • 术语搜索
  • 工作
  • 论坛
  • Multiple search