Gaining translation experience
When starting a career as an independent translator, most translation service providers start out by becoming self-employed and applying to a number of agencies to find freelance work.
At the beginning of your career, gaining translation experience – which is necessary to be employed by agencies – can be very hard. Most translation agencies stipulate a minimum of three years translating experience before they will employ a translator. They won’t give you a single translation job if you can’t provide them with the relevant proof of experience, you can’t provide the proof as no one will give you any translation work. Classic Catch 22.
- Find a job as an in-house translator.
- Look for a job that includes some translation/interpreting work.
- Go abroad for a while. Having lived in the country where your foreign language is the main language is a great advantage.
- Volunteer for translation jobs. There are charities out there who work with foreign languages and would be only too grateful for your help.
- Gather experience where ever you can and make sure you can prove that you have done so.
- Start your own marketing campaign for direct clients.
- Gain experience and develop a portfolio by working pro bono for charities. This could be something you do while you are still studying.