Freelance Translator Resume Guide: Step-by-Step Tips to Land More Projects & Clients

Freelance Translator Resume Guide: Step-by-Step Tips to Land More Projects & Clients

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Freelance Translator Resume Guide: Step-by-Step Tips to Land More Projects & Clients

Volen Vulkov Avatar
Volen Vulkov
8 minute read
Updated on 2020-08-31

Want to land more freelance translation gigs?

You may be able to translate the most complicated of documents from one language to another faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

You’re ready to impress with your language degree, translations certifications and association memberships.

But a truly stand-out freelance translator has a set of skills beyond just the technical requirements.

They can land more clients, maintain excellent professional relationships, and be a breeze to work with.

The hiring manager tasked with finding a freelance translator is on the hunt for that person who has it all.

Your resume is the best place to show off both your language expertise and your admirable work ethic.

This guide will help you write an impressive resume that stands out from the crowd and lands you more business.

Let’s get started.

What you’ll learn here

  • How to prove your language competency as a freelance translator
  • The key questions that potential clients want to see answered in your resume
  • How to write a freelance translator resume if you’re lacking experience

Freelance Translator Resume Example

Looking for Related Resumes?

How to write a Freelance Translator resume

A good Freelance Translator resume delivers confidence that you’re a wizard with spelling, grammar and formatting.

After all, no one wants a translated document that’s gibberish instead of English (or French, Italian, Japanese, etc.).

The best way to prove that you’ll deliver perfect grammar is by starting with your resume.

Here are a few tips on how to format your freelance translator resume:

Freelance resumes are different from traditional employment resumes. You’re not looking to be hired as a long-term employee for a company. You’re self-employed and on the hunt for new clients to work with.

Your resume format needs to reflect that.

The functional resume layout is perfect for freelance translators because it highlights your skills and abilities, rather than your work experience.

You should still talk about your previous projects and translating experience to back up your claims, but the prospective client will be most interested in your skills and qualifications.

Regardless of the format you decide to use for your resume, organized formatting is essential. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial
  • Organize information with bullet points
  • Export your resume as a PDF

With these basics out of the way, let’s move on to writing the content of your project-winning freelance translator resume.

Top resume sections for freelance translator resume

  • Aresume header with up-to-date contact details
  • “Elevator pitch” stylesummary that highlights your expertise
  • Detailed experience section, outlining translation projects you’ve worked on
  • Youreducation, certifications and association memberships
  • Your hard and softskills,including industry-specific knowledge

What recruiters want to see on a freelance translator resume

  • Industry-specific expertise and knowledge of the terminology
  • Excellent client management skills, including communication and meeting deadlines
  • Proof that you have exceptional proficiency in 2+ languages
  • Up-to-date qualifications and memberships to official translation associations

How to write a Freelance Translator resume header (with right and wrong examples)

Your resume header houses your contact information, as well as links to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile.

It’s essential that all the information in your header is up-to-date. Otherwise, you may miss out on a call or email from your dream client.

Let’s take a look at two examples of a Freelance Translator resume header.

2 Freelance Translator resume header examples

Jake Stevens
Freelance Translator
+359 88 888 8888
help@enhancv.com
Montreal, QC
WRONG

This header section is in the bad books. Why?

The title “Freelance Translator” is too broad. It doesn’t reference what languages you can translate, what industry you specialize in (if any), or what type of translation you do.

Prospective clients reading your resume will not spend the time digging for more information.  That’s why it’s essential that you’re as descriptive as you can be with your title.

Other than the weak title, the rest of this header is passable. But there are some more improvements that can be made.

Let’s explore them in this next example.

Jake Stevens
Freelance French Editorial Translator
+359 88 888 8888
help@enhancv.com
linkedin.com/in/jake.stevens
Montreal, QC
RIGHT

This example really shines.

The title is a huge improvement from the last one. Whoever’s reading this resume will instantly know that this freelance translator specializes in French editorial translations.

There are so many different styles of translation, from live interpretation to medical translations and more. That’s why being descriptive in your title is so important.

This header is also upgraded with the inclusion of a LinkedIn profile URL. You can only say so much in a one-page resume, so give the client an option to learn more about you with a portfolio, website or LinkedIn URL.

And finally, the actual contact information is thorough and up-to-date, including the:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • City and state/province

Tell your story in your freelance translator professional summary

Your professional summary is the “elevator pitch” on why you’re perfect for the job. These few sentences should summarize your career highlights, while showing how you can make a positive impact going forward.

For freelance translator resumes, these professional summaries need to show your translation areas of expertise and have quantitative data to back up your claims.

2 Freelance Translator Resume Samples - Summary

Summary
Freelance English-Italian translator seeking a new opportunity with a thriving company.
WRONG

This summary says nothing specific about your specialties, years of experience, accomplishments or aspirations.

It won’t get a call-back for an interview.

Let’s take a look at a better example.

Summary
Freelance English-Italian translator with over 10 years of experience translating 2000+ legal documents. ATA Certified.
RIGHT

This example is still short and to-the-point, but it delivers a much bigger impact.

First, it mentions the number of years of experience, which helps to boost credibility.

It also uses quantitative data to stand out, including the number of translations the candidate has completed.

Finally, the summary is specific about the industry expertise (legal) and boosts credibility once again by mentioning the esteemed certification.

Prove you have what it takes in your translation experience section

As the saying goes, “no one likes to go first.”

That applies to business as well. A prospective client wants proof that you’ve completed successful translation work before. They want to be confident that hiring you will be a positive move for them.

The main thing that companies want to know when bringing a new freelance translator on board is:

Can they provide accurate translations within the deadline, while being easy to work with?

Also, do they have relevant experience translating in this industry? Or will this medical/legal/technical document go way over their head?

The best way to answer these questions is by detailing your past experience.

Let’s look at some samples.

2 Freelance Translator resume experience examples

Experience
Independent Contractor - French TranslationABC Solutions Inc.
02/2012 - 11/2013
Translated documents from English to French for clients
WRONG

This example would have a hard time standing out.

It’s too vague.

Like we said before, prospective clients want to be confident that you can deliver accurate translation, on-time, while being a pleasure to work with.

They’re reading your resume looking for clues that you check the boxes on these necessities.

Here’s a better example that does just that.

Experience
Independent Contractor - French Marketing Content TranslatorABC Solutions Inc.
02/2012 - 11/2013
Translated 1000+ product descriptions from English to French, ensuring accuracy and conforming to guidelines
RIGHT

This experience section would make any client want to meet you.

Here’s why:

  • The position title is more descriptive, including the type of translation that you specialize in
  • The description of your work proves that you’re the expert they need to hire

Adding quantitative data, like how many translations you’ve completed, backs up your claims. It also shows that your client enjoyed working with you enough to keep giving you more projects.

Real numbers like that add more assurance to your resume and your competence.

What skills are clients looking for on a Freelance Translator resume?

The skills section is your place to shine.

It’s here where you’ll detail your hard skills like your translation expertise, industry knowledge and language proficiency.

It’s also important to highlight your soft skills as a successful freelancer. Being self-employed requires a unique set of skills. You must be great at managing your client relationships, being self-motivated, staying organized, and managing your time between projects.

Clients want to work with freelance translators that make their job easier. They want you to communicate with them and stick to deadlines.

The best way to get inspired when writing your skills section is to read the job description or project proposal that you’re applying for, and then mirror the same keywords that they use.

For example, have they mentioned specific tools they want you to know how to use?

Are they looking for someone who can master both translation and live interpretation?

Or is it necessary that you have a strong skill-set in marketing and copywriting? Are your MS Office and Adobe PDF markup skills up to scratch?

If you have the skill sets they mention, use those keywords in your resume to boost your chances of getting hired.

Here’s a list of the top hard and soft skills freelance translators should have. Use this list as inspiration, but edit the details to match your specific experience.

13 top soft skills for Freelance Translators

  1. Strong written communication skills
  2. Detail-oriented
  3. Can meet strict deadlines
  4. Self-motivated
  5. Client management
  6. Juggle multiple projects at once
  7. Computer knowledge
  8. Research skills
  9. Versatile writer
  10. Provide feedback
  11. Compliance to standards
  12. Quick learner
  13. Ability to work cross-functionally

6 top hard skills for Freelance Translators

  1. Proficient knowledge of 2+ languages (list the languages)
  2. Mastery of grammar and spelling
  3. Industry-specific technical knowledge & terminology (example: medical, marketing, gaming, fashion, etc.)
  4. MS Office
  5. Adobe
  6. Copywriting

Does your freelance translator resume need an education section?

Yes, absolutely!

Most clients want to see that you have a Bachelor’s degree or translation certification.

List your educational background, including:

  • The name of the institution you received your degree or certification
  • The name of the program you completed
  • The date of completion

This is also a great time to list any association memberships that you have. The translation community has a huge variety of associations and communities that boost your prestige.

They’re usually country-specific, so Google “translation association [country name]” to find the right one for you.

How to get translation jobs with zero experience

Just starting out and lacking any formal experience? No problem.

Start by emphasizing your educational background and any translation certificates that you’ve completed.

Then, in your experience section, highlight any language experience that you have.

Did you do language tutoring in college? Or are you transitioning to a career in translation from another industry? Mention your experience in that industry, and aim to get translation experience that is within that same field.

Start building your portfolio of projects by working with your current network, and then reach out to new prospective clients once you’ve completed a few successful translation projects.

Wondering where to find new clients once you’ve built up your portfolio and boosted your resume? Here are the top freelance translation job boards to discover projects.

Top 9 freelance translation job boards to get more clients

  1. oDesk
  2. Proz
  3. Translators Cafe
  4. Gengo
  5. Smartling
  6. TextMaster
  7. Unbabel
  8. One Hour Translation
  9. Upwork

Key Takeaways

  • Be specific about your translation expertise, including the language and industry that you’re most proficient in
  • Highlight a mix of soft and hard skills on your resume, and use the same keywords and phrases that are listed in the job description or project proposal
  • Include an education section that lists your degrees, diplomas, certifications or association memberships

* Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com. Use this Freelance Translator resume sample as a base to create a unique resume for yourself.

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