Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to increase your chances when contacting translation companies - from a translation agency’s point of view

This is a guest post by Aniello Attianese, in response to my post 15 tips on how to increase your chances when contacting translation companies. Aniello Attaniese is a Project Manager at Translation Services 24, a translation company in London specialized in legal and marketing translation services which works with a variety of clients, from UK SMEs to Large multinational organisations.

Reading one of Riccardo’s articles published back in 2014 about "15 tips on how to increase your chances when contacting translation companies", I simply couldn’t help but agree that some of the points he had made sound awfully familiar and accurate. Working for a translation agency myself (Translation Services 24), every day I personally come across translators who wish to join our team, and so they approach our agency in a number of different ways.

Certainly, our agency receives a number of well written and professional emails and those are the applications we pay close attention to. Nevertheless, we also receive applications which, simply put, do not meet our agency’s standards. Sadly, because the translator behind the email could be very talented and professional at what their actual job is, still, due to the number of applications we receive, it is simply impossible to contact each person and so naturally we need to eliminate some.

Referring to Riccardo’s post again, I’d like to talk about some of the tips he has mentioned and look at them from our agency’s point of view.
  1. Running an in-depth research and finding out more about who you’re about to email is definitely an important point and perhaps something that can influence your success rate greatly. As an agency, we clearly state on our website that the preferred way to contact us regarding any job opportunities is by filling out our online application form or emailing our HR department directly. Instead, we receive countless generic emails to our accounts’ email address. Although we sometimes review these applications anyway, they might not be prioritised over someone who actually took their time to find out more about our company and followed our guidelines. Therefore, it’s always important to, for example, visit agency’s website or social media profiles to gather more information prior to initial contact.
     
  2. When receiving applications from translators, it is always extremely helpful to us, as a translation agency, when any specific sector and relevant information beyond languages covered are mentioned in the application. Due to the number of applications we receive, we simply cannot contact each and every person who gets in touch with us. Including such information not only allows our project managers to update their databases regularly, but also increases translator’s chances of being contacted by us if a project within their niche of expertise arises.
     
  3. Creating straightforward and self-explanatory subjects for emails is really important. This can be especially true when emailing agency’s generic email address so that it is not treated it as spam. Nevertheless, our HR department opens every application email regardless.
     
  4. Perhaps similarly to any translation agency, we prefer to work with native speakers of the target language. We do however work with possibly 10-15 translators who translate not only into their mother tongue but also cover other languages pairs. This, nevertheless, is very rare and each of these translators has been working with us for at least 5 years, proving their accuracy time after time and started working with us as native language only translators too.
     
  5. When it comes to the CV itself, Riccardo was quite right advising to keep it simple and straight to the point. From talking to our HR managers, I know they prefer résumés that focus on languages, experience and specialities, rather than rates and irrelevant details. Also, it is extremely important to make sure your CV flawlessly written, without any errors, grammar mistakes etc. If there are mistakes in your CV, which you could proof read a number of times without a deadline and stress before sending it to us, what guarantees do we have that you won’t make even bigger mistakes working with us, which often can be to a tight deadline and under pressure?
     
  6. Of course, all the information you include in your CV must be true. In our translation agency, we do have a small team within our HR department whose main job is to strictly check references, qualifications etc. of any translator with whom we are potentially interested working with.
     
  7. Also, as Riccardo mentioned in his post, it is quite important to mention any relative and industry specific tools and software you can use as well as any professional organisations/institutes you are part of. This really helps us paint a picture of you and will allow our managers to contact you regarding jobs that are more suitable for you and your skill set. A great example of this can be the knowledge of Illustrator/Photoshop. If you also provide DTP services together with your translations, make sure to mention it!
     
I hope this article has given you a little more insight into what translation agencies similar to ours expect from their applicants and what is it that makes a real difference and can help you stand out from the crowd, and believe me, it’s crowded out there!

3 comments:

  1. I agree with all your details here, especially the one about the CV. I think you have listed the details perfectly and it is a very informative post. Recently, we hired Korean translators and I think I can also share the information with them too. The nuances of translation need to be honed perfectly because it is one of the skills that is in a lot food demand. This post will help both translation companies and even the translators as it sets the perspective right. It surely made a great read!

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  2. Thank you to both Riccardo for the original post and for Aniello for the behind-the-scenes perspective! I have been trying to broaden my client list by emailing and otherwise contacting agencies, and both these posts have been incredibly helpful! It was comforting to know that I got a lot of the basics right, but I also found some things I could be doing better. Thanks again!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Eugena,

      Glad you liked the articles!

      Riccardo

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