The shape of an ideal translator’s CV

There is no doubt that acquiring the talent is a key factor for success in any domain, translation is one strong example. Talent, experience, word-craft, and an instinct feeling for languages are some qualities that make you the sought-after translator.

Need a freelancer?

Hire freelance talents from over 150 specializations on

There is no doubt that acquiring the talent is a key factor for success in any domain, translation is one strong example. Talent, experience, word-craft, and an instinct feeling for languages are some qualities that make you the sought-after translator.

However, the way you present yourself in the market as a talented translator can make all the difference in either standing out from the crowd or keeping you in the shadows. Your CV is your voice to your potential clients; make your voice clear and confident.

That is why we offer you some important points to heed when writing your CV.

General style?

When answering this question, you need to ask yourself another one:

What is common among all recruiters out there, heeding the diversity of their fields and positions, where my CV will end up laying in their hands (or their desktops or desks for that matter)?

They all have little time to waste!

You want the hiring manager or recruit officer to consider your application among the numerous ones they receive, and they want you to be as concise and straight to the point as you can be.

You can never economize on certain elements in you CV. For example, your recruiter wants to know a lot about your experience, your strongest points and specialization. However, he/she is less interested in some information like your hobbies, interests or the instruments you play. Exclude any irrelevant information your client is not interested in, unless you know it is a bonus with added-value.

In general, your CV should not exceed two pages in length.

One very important criteria to consider when tailoring your CV is the destination your CV is going to fly to. When your CV lands in a legal translation agency, the last thing a recruiter is going to look at is your previous experience in medical translation, or the creative ads you are most proud of creating. His/her eyes will immediately jump off to your legal translation experience that must occupy the largest part of your experience section, along with the names of previous recruiters. Credible references make a great proof of your experience.

It is beneficial, especially if you are a multi-experienced translator, to have several copies of your CV, each focused on the field a certain recruiter care most for.

The one who is going to view your CV wants to know who you are, your education, experience, specialization, your previous work experience, among other things. Use bullets and subheadings for more organized structure, and put in bold the key points or headlines in your CV.

Your style of writing tells a lot about your personality. Show your future employer how smart and dynamic of a person you are, but without losing your professionalism, after all he/she is technically going to be your boss, you know!

Other qualities any employer wants to find in an employee are merits like punctuality, reliability and respect of work ethics. Shed light on these points in your CV, and depend on your credible references, if you have any, to confirm these qualities in you. However, be moderate about this part, for any employer expects those merits to be in the employees they are going to hire.

Let us not forget the whole design and formatting of your CV. A good neat layout can tell your recruiter about your organization skill and attention to details. A unique, but not over the top design can always do the trick to win you an extra glance from recruiters.

Elements to include?

First off, your CV needs a title. A few words of introduction are more than enough, and that includes your full name, job title, and the number of years in the field. Here is a good example of a translator’s CV title:

CV of Word Smith
10-year Arabic to English Translator

It is best to start your CV with a brief introduction about you, describing your translation fields, education, and the languages you master and translate. Pay great attention to the style and contents of your introduction, as it is most probably the first thing your recruiter is going to read. It must be attractive enough to invite your audience to continue reading.

Personal information

Name, address, contact number, email, your website or portfolio. Your recruiter may call for an interview, so it is smart to include your Skype account if you are a freelancer.


Write down your educational qualifications, including the names of your university and institute. You do not need to include secondary qualifications that are probably not relevant to the employer.

Start from the most recent qualification to the oldest. For example, your Master Degree in linguistics that you earned in 2004, should come before your Bachelor Degree of 2001.

The education section in your CV should also include the relevant courses and trainings you had, as well as any certification and memberships. Mention this information with a brief description and dates.


State your mother tongue and second languages. Clarify the level of proficiency in each language.

Fields of specialization

Let the specialization most important to the recruiter be at the top of the list.

Work experience

In other words, the spinal cord of your CV. What is written here is what draws your shape as a translator in the mind of your potential recruiter.

As we said above, each recruiter seeks the experience that matches his field of industry; try to include the relevant information for each recruiter, the one that makes him say, “hmm…interesting!”

Start from the most recent experience to the oldest one, with to/from employment history, and the name of your previous recruiters. Here you can briefly explain the responsibilities you took on each previous position.

This section can also be a chance to bring up the relevant projects you did in a given field. It is a bonus to concisely describe the length and size of the projects you did, like specifying the number of words you translated in a certain project, which is an important point for some employers.

Even if you have many projects you had done, or many clients you worked for, you do not have to include all of them in your CV, after all, you want to impress you’re not overwhelm your recruiter.

Thus, include the work experiences you know they availed your career the most, and the ones you know your future employers most appreciate.

Having published works is an excellent and a huge bonus to your CV as it is a credible proof of your experience. Share copies and hyperlinks of your work in your CV.

Additional services

What services you offer besides translation? Proofreading, editing, creative writing, localization, transcription, subtitling …

Computer skills and Software

A good knowledge of CAT tool (computer-assisted translation) is a great asset for your translator’s CV. Specify your proficiency level in each tool and other depended on software programs.


Being a translator is not only about being a walking-talking encyclopedia. There are a number of skills and qualities you need to enjoy, and include in your CV. Personal skills, as well as business skills are as equally important to your future recruiter as your translation skills. Some of the skills recruiters want to find in your CV are:

  • Writing skills
  • Professionalism
  • Communication skills
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Cultural knowledge
  • Attention to details
  • Research skills
  • IT skills

“What skills not to include in my CV? “

“Skills you do not have.”

Your rate

Actually, this a debatable point. Some professionals prefer not to come near this subject until later. While others prefer to state their prices from the start.

Elements to exclude?

Being a talented confident translator, you want to tell your recruiters everything great about yourself and let them know that YOU are the one they are looking for!

Well, that is possible if translators are chosen based on their autobiographies. However, being bound to less than two pages complicates things bit.

When you want to know what is needed in your CV and what is not, it is helpful to ask yourself:

Does this information make me a more eligible candidate for the job than the rest of the applicants?


Your age, date of birth, gender and marital status (unless the job specifically calls for it) religion, political views and other personal details are most probably unimportant information for a recruiter officer.

This is also applicable for your irrelevant hobbies and interests. It is very nice that you play soccer, or that you visited the Great Wall of China; but unless you can translate from or to Chinese very well, this information means very little to your future employer.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Keep reading...