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TRIAL-BY-FIRE | Getting a Translation Job in the International Market

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Let's take a look at how you can get a job in translation in the International Market to boost your income.

Opening the doors for the international translation market might seem like a pipe dream for many of us without any international work or study experience but let me assure you, it is not that difficult. There are many companies out there that might be suitable for you to work with as long as you are the right person for the job. Of course, at the end o the day, it boils down to your skills, overall and specific experience, and whether you have the proof for the quality of your work.

In this post, I'll share my experience and knowledge as best as I can to let you help with your first steps into the international market and hopefully increase your income to live better and invest in yourself even further. How you are going to go about this or in what order you'll take these steps are totally up to you.

  1. Build A Personal Brand

I shouldn't even preach to you about the importance of building a personal brand & profile for yourself as a translator. This is common knowledge for all those out there in the freelance translation industry. But some might underestimate the importance and the impact of marketing yourself or your services in a professional and accessible way. In fact, while trying to expand my network, I totally forgot about this simple step as well and I should thank Sonia Simone & Brian Clark and their wonderful course on The Strategy of Content Marketing for reminding me of this.

The first step for you to build your personal brand can be creating a website of your own. This will surely help you in promoting yourself as a translator and any other skills that might be useful. As long as you spare time, think things through, and come up with a good design and good content, I'm quite sure that this will have several advantages in securing yourself more work as a freelance translator. You can think of this as an investment in your business that does not cost much. In fact, the cost in terms of money will probably be insignificant but I recommend you to spend an ample amount of time on designing your website.

To create your website, I can recommend or They are quite easy to use, manage and although the services they provide are marvellous, the cost of building a website and buying a domain for your name or brand is also affordable.

It might be a good idea to start a blog of your own as well. You should also share your knowledge to help others out and show people that you are an authority in your field that they can trust. But don't forget! Whether you are just building your website or creating a blog, what you do is essentially content marketing so there are certain things that you should seriously think about while creating the content.

If you are wondering what is content marketing and how to develop yourself further in this field, I recommend reading the following awesome website.

2. Customize Your Resumes and Cover Letters

Even if you are not seeking a job in the international market, it is always important to have a resume and a cover letter that fits the bill. Most people out there usually have a single resume and a single cover letter that they send in every job application they make or just copy and paste to every job-seeking website they can get their hands on.

I'm well aware writing a good cover letter and a resume is no easy task yet you should refrain from using the same copy at every turn. It is always a good idea to tailor the documents you use in your applications according to the application itself. Of course, you have had a lot of experience maybe not only in the translation business but also in different fields such as education, just like myself.

How about putting yourself in the shoes of the person who would potentially hire you? What would you be seeking in a translator that you might wanna collaborate with? Would you be interested in any information other than things related to the job description? Probably not. So what you need to do is to take a look at the job advertisement and understand what kind of person they are looking for and write your resume accordingly. I also recommend reading a few things about the company that you are applying to. Especially if they have clearly stated their mission and vision. By reading these two, incorporating such information when you apply, will help you look like the employee that fits their bill.

Feel free to take a look at these guides on how to prepare a good resume.

Keep in mind that there are thousands of beautiful and smart resume templates or websites for generating resumes out there available for you for free. You should choose one that suits you the best and use that instead of spending too much time and effort preparing one. You can take a look at a few examples of those resume templates from the links below.

3. Get Educated Even Further

As an educator myself, I can say with ease that learning is a non-stop process that must be kept up throughout one's life. There is always more to learn. There is always a better self. So no matter who you are, where you are from, what kind of education you have received, keep yourself up-to-date with new and further education.

It might seem like a hassle to study. Especially with what little time you have in your busy schedule. Most of us are barely able to afford some decent amount of time for ourselves while being grounded in the gears of life but the types of courses that I'm about to recommend can easily fit into your schedule and guess what? Most of them are affordable!

There are tons of platforms on the web that are at your disposal to keep you going in terms of training and education. Showing not only experience but also a good educational background on your resumes and profiles is also a good contribution to your chances of getting more freelance translation jobs. Here are two of my favourite platforms that I occasionally use to learn more and keep myself up-to-date.

There are a lot more platforms like these out there but considering the contents, these two are the ones that I love the most. I should also let you know that these platforms also offer financial help up to 100% for those who might not be able to afford the courses but of course, this financial help is not available for every course. Oh, and on top of that, they offer certifications which you can proudly present in your profiles and resumes as well.

4. Some Platforms That Might Be A Good Start

The translation business has witnessed sharp changes over the past 20 years due to technological, political, and commercial changes. Now, there are platforms where maybe tens or hundreds of translators collaborate on the same project under certain platforms such as Motaword or One Forma.

You might want to apply to such companies to taste the international translation industry and see how fierce is the competition. Another advantage of such platforms is that there are other projects that you might be eligible for and earn extra cash such as data collection, transcription, copywriting, etc. Is everything just perfect? Of course not. Due to the nature of these companies, as they are housing hundreds of freelance translators, copywriters, etc., they are more likely to have problems such as late replies to correspondences, late payments, communication problems, etc. And their processes such as recruitment, evaluation, and payment might be different from each other so make sure to learn all there is to learn about them before you start.

5. Don't Use Fake Information

I have seen some people trying to use fake information on the internet to create profiles, resumes and other things that they think could be helpful for them to get more jobs. I agree with the fact that the country you are based in can be an advantage in getting more and better jobs, I also believe that the risks are not worth it.

Let me tell you something that I personally experienced recently. I made an offer on a writing project on a famous platform recently. The client's project was profile creation on various tutoring platforms. When I first saw the project, I automatically assumed that the client would provide me with basic information about himself, such as educational & occupational background, etc. But in fact, while we were discussing the details, I realized that this person wanted me to use my personal information, such as my address, my educational & occupational background. As you might have guessed, the project was cancelled as I wasn't willing to do something that was fake and unethical. What would have been the bad outcome? First of all, imagine a person acting with your personal information and god knows doing what. This is simply unthinkable.

As such, while creating a fake portfolio for yourself, no matter how small the chances are, you risk using real information that belongs to someone else. This might result in legal action taken against you.

The second problem is, almost all of the platforms have tools to detect where you are logging into, so it is actually quite easy for them to realize whether the information you have provided is correct or not. And you might get banned from the platform permanently.

Besides, I don't even have to tell you that lying on your profile or resume is something utterly unethical and must be refrained. You reflect yourself on those profiles and resumes and you don't want to introduce yourself as a liar. Stick to doing the right thing, always!

I'll keep adding more information to the blog whenever I come across something worth adding so please subscribe to my blog and stay updated. Also, feel free your thoughts and experiences on this matter so that everyone can benefit from your expertise.

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