On Applying to Translation Agencies

Crumpled Frustration

Photo by Aaron Jacobs, used under attribution license

I’ve spent most of the day applying to translation agencies in one of those sporadic marketing pushes that most freelancers have from time to time, and it can be a thoroughly dispiriting exercise.

Agencies, if you want good quality applications, please make it as easy as possible to know your requirements in advance. I don’t want to get 6 pages through a 7-page application process only to discover that I can’t continue until I have acquired PDFs of two employer references on headed paper and signed. Yes, I’ve got references. I haven’t got them in exactly that format and it’s going to take a day or two until I can get them.

If you’re going to have such exacting requirements, please make it possible for me to save your application form until I can meet them! Or I may decide not to bother. And then you’re missing out on my wonderful abilities, though I say so myself.

On the one hand, a preset application form makes sure you get exactly the information you require, and I’ve read enough posts from agencies saying “freelancers, if you want work, at least tell us which languages you translate between!” to know that you probably do need to be that specific. On the other hand, a simple form, or an email address with precise information about what you need to know makes the process much pleasanter all round.

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About forwardtranslations

I'm a freelance literary translator from German and French to English. The title of my blog comes from Mary Schmich's description of reading: it struck home with me, and seems especially apt for translated fiction. Here are some of my musings on what I'm reading, re-reading, reading to my children, and translating.
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