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What’s Wrong with the Résumé?

I’m always confused when I receive a résumé from a Russian translator claiming he/she has major Russian translation agencies among his/her clients. To me, this kind of name dropping on a client list has always been a red flag. If you’re a great translator working for several big companies, why would you look for another job? Read on to see what I mean exactly.

High-Quality Translators Are in Demand

When I was just starting off in this industry, I worked as a freelancer for a huge Russian translation services company. Because they found my translations quite good, they gave me much more work that I could handle. Later on, they even wanted me to become an editor. This was the first time that I realized that big single-language vendors hold on to good translators because it’s brutally hard to find one. And they hold on to translators by giving them a lot of business. As a result, good translators who work for them don’t have much time to look for other jobs.

The translation agencies we occasionally work with struggle with the same problem, too. Judging by the translations they ask us to review, finding an excellent translator can be next to impossible when their clients’ budgets are limited. Just a few days ago, we revised a translation where a translator couldn’t even follow the project instructions.

Last but not least, a recent survey confirmed that most translation providers feel that translation talent is becoming increasingly scarce.

Reasons to Be Suspicious about Translation Experience

Now, whenever a translator’s résumé says he/she works for some of the major players, I am starting to have doubts. If he/she is so good, why would those agencies let him/her look for work elsewhere instead of making him/her busy with tons of projects they need translated? Here are three reasons I believe to be most common:

  1. A translator does work a lot for these companies, but he/she is looking for better-paying clients.
  2. A translator specializes in a field where these companies can’t provide enough work.
  3. A translator did work for these companies, but they’re no longer happy with his/her work, and his/her workload decreased as a result. I think this is the most common reason.

Summary

Whenever a translator says on the résumé that he/she works for a big translation services company, I become skeptical because you’d expect that company to give him/her so much work that he/she wouldn’t need to look for other clients. To clear my doubts, I either ask this translator to clarify why exactly—given such a great background—he/she is looking for work or review his/her résumé and samples more thoroughly because I feel something is wrong here.

Do you agree that big names on a résumé are incongruent with the fact that a translator is looking for a job? You might also like another post about how translators can market their services.

7 comments

  • Егор says:

    Крупные бюро переводов зачастую не хотят делать хорошую ставку нормальному переводчику. Их интересует вал и переводчики среднего уровня, которые согласны работать по обычной ставке.

    • Здравствуйте, Егор! Спасибо за комментарий. Немного не понял, какое отношение это имеет к резюме.
      Если говорить собственно о сниженной «обычной» ставке, то да, крупные бюро переводов всегда будут платить меньше своему регулярному переводчику, просто потому что сниженная ставка является своего рода платой за постоянный и большой объем работы. По-моему, для переводчика это часто все равно выгодно.
      С уважением,
      Роман

  • Егор says:

    Добрый день, Роман. К резюме это имеет прямое отношение. Если переводчик указывает крупные БП в списке своих клиентов, то это не значит, что они его закидывают заказами, и вообще он с ними продолжает сотрудничать в данный момент времени в силу многих причин. БП тоже стараются в своем так сказать “резюме” блистать громкими именами, но это не значит, что эти организации работают только с ними. Поэтому относится скептически к переводчикам,у которых в резюме присутствуют громкие бренды, весьма поспешно, на мой взгляд.

    • Спасибо за пояснение, теперь понял. То, что причин не работать сегодня с теми, кто указан в резюме, может быть несколько, — бесспорно. В записи перечислены три возможных. Низкая ставка, не устраивающая переводчика, — среди них. То есть здесь наши взгляды сходятся. Только я считаю низкое качество самой главной причиной, а вы, получается, — нет.

  • Alena says:

    It is a nice topic. However I do not agree with some points.
    You say that a good translator who works for big-name agencies doesn’t have much time to look for another job. I doubt this statement. I do work with some good agencies and I do have some direct clients, but every week I send 3-5 new proposals to other agencies and direct clients. Why? Well, freelancing is my business, and proposals are my marketing. I do this because I plan my activity and I want to make sure that tomorrow I will be as busy as I am today. Most freelancers argue claim that they are unhappy with inconstancy of assignments, but it wouldn’t happen if they concentrate on self-marketing even in busy days. So, to my mind, you judgement about red flag is inconsistent.

    • Good point, Alena. We were not saying that our findings were necessarily correct. We just shared what we personally found to be true in our dealings with freelance candidates—statistics, you might say. However, your perspective is definitely valid, so those who judge people by big-name clients like we do to a certain extent should exercise even more caution about this “red flag.”

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Alena says:

    In my turn, I was thinking how many other agencies think the way you have stated. It is another food for thought for us, translators)
    Thank you for posts.

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.