5 Tips For A Successful Application To A Translation Agency

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Interested in working as a freelancer for a translations agency?

You’ve come to the right place. The competition can be tough – there’s no doubt about that. Translation companies receive a high volume of applications from freelancers every week. The standard is high, the competition is fierce, and the need to make your application stand out is greater than ever.
So, we thought we’d provide you with some guidelines. Here are our 5 key tips on how to make your application to a translation agency shine.

Research, research, research

When it comes to getting noticed by the agency’s resourcing team, sacrificing a small amount of time to investigate the company’s background will be worth the while.

Augment your chances of success by tailoring your applications for each individual agency, based on the research you’ve conducted. A covering letter which is specific, personalised, and denotes exactly why you want to work for the company will aid progression to the next stage. Demonstrating awareness of the company’s mission, culture and ethos will also stand you in good stead for impressing our recruitment team. Exemplary cover letters clearly state which of the selection criteria is met by the candidate, and offer transferable skills and experiences to make up for any shortfalls. The best candidates also tailor their CV to the positions, highlighting key strengths and skills which are applicable to the role.

Getting the application process correct

The power of getting to grips with the agency’s processes is not to be underestimated. By way of example, a high volume of applicants fail to realise most translation agencies have a designated recruitment area on their website, which details our minimum specifications, and provides a link to contact our recruitment team. Instead, many hopefuls submit their applications to our enquiries email address – an inbox designed for job enquiries from our clients – entirely missing the candidate specifications listed on the recruitment page. Others contact our team members on LinkedIn, often messaging an individual who doesn’t deal with the recruitment process at all.

Familiarising yourself with the company’s recruitment process in order to contact the right team not only saves both parties unnecessary email traffic, but also goes some way to demonstrate astuteness. What’s more, it ensures your application is seen by the intended recipient – a win-win situation for both parties.

Check the requirements

Many translation agencies have stringent requirements for recruiting freelancers. Most companies will require a degree and a solid few years of translating or interpreting experience. Companies which usually translate for clients in certain industries will also often look for their freelancers to specialise. Ensuring you meet these requirements before beginning work on your application is strongly advisable, as it avoids both employer and applicant time being wasted. It makes sense to focus your efforts on companies which have selection criteria matching your experiences, work history, and specialisms. If you have a vast and rich experience of completing financial translations, focusing your efforts on agencies which specialise in financial translation is highly advisable, as is making the most of your past accomplishments in this area.

Subject lines which err on the side of caution

Sometimes, the subject lines of application emails we receive raise a few eyebrows. Claims that the sender is “gifted”, “born with a second tongue”, or possesses “unnaturally exceptional ability” crop up occasionally in our inbox.

Although you might think that entitling your application email ‘Translator application: English to French’ fails to excite, the vast majority of translation agencies are the sort of people who prefer forthrightness, precision, and accuracy. In a word, precision and accuracy are what translation companies do. Subject lines which get straight to the point, and skip the exaggeration or embellishment, will invoke genuine excitement in a recruiter.

Impeccable English

This should probably go without saying, but the body of your application email should be written and formatted well. At translation agencies, writing, formatting and great presentation are of paramount importance. Your CV should follow in the same vein: potential employers will view your CV as a means to scan for excellent English skills, flawless grammar and good presentation.

Personalised cover letters, either making up the email body or included as an attachment, will add to your application, so don’t skip over this vital step. Putting the effort in at this stage means you’re much more likely to impress your chosen company.

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