I am often asked by students, newly graduated translators and faculty members what factors influence how the hiring decision is made at a translation company like ours.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS
First of all, we clearly want to know if the applicant has the basic skills required for the job. We only hire translators who hold a university translation degree and, since I was a professor for several years at the University of Buenos Aires and know many professors who luckily still teach there and provide significant value-added to their students, we give priority to UBA graduates. That does not mean we will not hire graduates from other universities – actually, we have. But if we only have one position to fill, other things being equal, we usually give priority to UBA professionals, as they are the best trained in legal matters, which is our main area of specialization.
While experience may be an asset, how much professional experience the applicant has had is usually not a deal breaker, unless he or she has had some or much experience in translating specifically the type of documents we mostly work with. For instance, we assist lawyers in many international arbitrations translating pleadings, witness statements, expert reports, laws, decrees, resolutions, court decisions; a translator with experience in that field will definitely have an edge. We also consider any other advanced skills the applicant may have that are relevant to this job.
Before anything else, an applicant needs to get through a resume-screening process. And remember: your resume has less than a minute to catch the eye of the translation company’s owner. Messy, typo-filled, poorly written resumes end up in the trash.
We receive hundreds of resumes every year and most of them look and sound the same. You should manage to create an eye-catching design to stand out from the crowd. So here’s what we look for in an applicant’s resume.
- If you include a picture of yourself, make sure it looks professional.
- Use an easy-to-read font.
- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the importance of details such as proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Lack of attention to such details does set a candidate aside. It is indicative of what we can expect from the candidate as an employee.
- One last but very important suggestion: if you send your resume both in English and in Spanish, that will be the first peek at your work as a translator, so make sure you do your very best in translating your own resume.
- Be sure to include specific projects you have participated in, which account for your expertise, and the names and email addresses of people who would be (informed and) willing to give references about your work. Remember your resume must justify why someone should hire you and not any other translator, so write your resume with that perspective in mind.
You might also find these posts interesting:
- “How to Estimate Translation Cost and Turnaround Times”
- “Who is who in a translation company?”
- “What is a Certified Translation?”
- “Why should translators and lawyers use Dropbox?”
- “Terms Commonly Confused in Legal Documents and Translations (Part I)”
- “Terms Commonly Confused in Legal Documents and Translations (Part II)”