Translator Resumes & Writing Guide

When you are seeking a job as a Translator, it is essential first to review a top-notch Translator resume sample. Translators are viewed as language and communication fundi’s who read and reviews written messages and then rewrite them into another language.

Their main goal is to generate text or script in the next language that still carries the same context as the message in the original language without using the same words or direct translation. The latter is what you would find when using Google Translate, an often humorous affair clearly reinforcing the message that bots cannot do everything correctly, and jobs for translators of humankind are still vital.

Being a wordsmith doesn’t mean that your resume would be perfect the first time around or stand out from the crowd. Scroll along because we have packed all the ins and outs of a fantastic Translator resume in the write-up below to help get you started.

Translator Resume Examples

(Free sample downloads are at the bottom of this page)

Translator Resume Writing Guide

Resume Sections

1. Contact Information: The apparent details such as First Name, Last Name, Email address, and phone number goes without saying. Instead, these in bold as the header on the first page. Feel free to add social media URL’s too, giving recruiters and hiring managers a bit of extra personal and professional contact into your candidacy.

2. Career Summary: An introductory synopsis or career summary has more impact than a resume objective. Include or two essential translation skills, languages you have experience with, mention a most recent project, add your highest qualification and sprinkle in a powerful personal adjective. Your career summary should be about 3-6 sentences in length to represent an adequate brief to your resume.

3. Qualifications Summary: To get a job in this field requires solid academic credentials, most often Masters and Ph.D. Degrees in creative wiring, linguistics or the translation field you are in (medical, legal, engineering). It is possible for High School students to also land junior translation jobs by completing multiple courses that focus on English Writing, comprehension, and foreign languages. Note that translator jobs are also available in sign language environments, and there are numerous courses one can do via the American Sign Language Association to gain academic credibility.

4. Relevant Translation Experience: You may have volunteered as an interpreter at the community college while at university, or had a temporary side gig translating from your native language, for example, French or Spanish into English for documents at the local church or nursing home. This type of experience regardless of whether it is direct formal employment is imperative for recruiters and hiring managers to know of. If you have been previously employed formally at a translation consultancy of government department even better. Or, you may have au paired in another country where the native language is not English and picked up some of the tongues during your time abroad, which will increase your chances of landing an interview.

5. Other Employment Experience: This will include permanent work history outside of translation but still relevant to your resume to show career progression. If you are a technical professional, for instance, an engineer, lawyer, or worked in the medical field previously, there are numerous translator roles available for expertise in specific industries, so be sure to add these jobs to your resume as well.

6. Skills Summary/Key Skills: This section will determine whether your resume pops or flops. Review the job advertisement and align your skills and competencies with those mentioned as opposed to using generic keywords like ‘’Multilingual Skills’’. The more your skills section resonates with the vacancy, the better your chances of circumventing the screening bots and applicant tracking systems. Make sure to list every single language that you are familiar with and assign a rating to it, for example, Russian – Native, Korean – Bilingual, Chinese – Competent. If the UN is your career target, then you have to be fully proficient in a minimum of three languages!

7. Licenses/Certifications/Relevant Coursework/Training: As a translator, you are not required to hold any formal licensing or certifications, but that doesn’t mean that further education and training are not crucial to your career longevity. The American Translators Associations and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters are examples of translator bodies that offer professional courses and certifications that are highly regarded in the industry. Also, CPD (continuous professional development) is required by most states, especially in the medical, pharma and legal sectors. List any professional development courses, workshops, or programs you completed that better prepared you to work as a translator. The National Virtual Translation Center is an example of an organization offering CPD courses.

What to Highlight in a Translator Resume

Regardless of your experience as a Translator and being a language Jedi, your resume should highlight certain crucial aspects that will showcase your suitability for the role, to recruiters and hiring managers reviewing your application. In essence, you are a communication specialist of the ‘’written word’’, now prove it by adding the following points discussed below:

As an intro, remember to distinguish between interpreting and translating. Although linked together as converting communication from one language to another, interpreters do it in the moment, while the person is speaking. As a translator, you will receive scripts and written messages to convert into the required language.

Next up is the setting in which you work. Translators typically work from home, and if this is you, make sure to mention the infrastructure available to you, for example, internet connectivity, cellphone, laptop as most translators have to submit their work electronically. Also, mention your available hours if you work for multiple clients at a time and your average translation project duration for example, how long it takes you to translate x number of pages. You may also be working full-time at a university, academic or research institution where you have to meet specific deadlines regularly or during certain periods of the year, so add a little info about that. Translators are also employed by interpreter and translator companies servicing clients in the public, government, or private sectors.

Then move onto your industry expertise, for example, being competent at translating medical documents, pharmaceutical proposals or legal transcripts. Translators also work in academics, for instance, at sciences and humanities or engineering faculties, translating white papers, journals, or course curriculums from one language into another. You may also be employed by a publishing house full time where you have to translate fictional and non-fictional literature into foreign languages or vice versa. To beef up this section if needed, have a look at examples of documents you may mention for your specific expertise:

  • In Healthcare: Translators would work with patient records, presentations, and conference transcripts given by foreign medical experts and specialists, journals or course materials, informational brochures, regulatory documentation patient consent documents, and website information. Feel free to provide as many examples as you need. Translating full medical trial studies for the FDA is very different from translating the speech of a keynote speaker at an international pharmaceutical conference.
  • In Legal: Also referred to as judicial translators, employers would like to know that you can translate depositions, arraignment records, court scripts or contractual agreements used for litigation and conveyancing purposes. Remember to emphasize your understanding of legal terminologies by areas such as criminal, civil, estate, intellectual property, or financial services.
  • In Literature: Are you responsible for converting books, poetry, short stories, or encyclopedias into other languages. How do you manage to capture the original tone, meaning, and writing style of the author's work?
  • Localization: A very demanding field of translation where you have to understand and be aware of semantics and culture when translating a service or product description containing graphics into a meaningful message for the foreign country in which the service or product will be sold. Recruiters would look for verbiage explaining your familiarity with country-specific cultures, uses of proverbs or idioms, perceptions of graphics, being respectful to the country’s history and even the sense of humor that differs from nation to nation. Typical translation of websites, software, promotional materials user guidelines are the focus in this role and most often occur in manufacturing, information technology, and scientific sectors.

The next point is crucial: List all the languages you are familiar with and have performed translation projects in. Now a small technical note to be aware of, merely suggesting that you are competent at translating English, Russian and French text is not sufficient. You need to explain whether the translation is from English to French or from French to English for example. The great idea is to indicate your competency level next to each language as well broadly categorized as Native Speaker, Fully Bilingual, Highly Adept, Competent or Basic to provide an indication of your fluency for each language. Employers generally prefer translators that can translate more than one langue into a native language like the United Nations, for example.

Finally, Translators require avid competencies in tech, tools, and digital applications, for example, CAT (computer-assisted translation) MemoQ for efficiency and Grammarly for proofreading and editing. List all the tools you use daily in a Tools and Tech Matrix in your Key Skills section (more on this later).

* Cool Tip for a stellar resume: You can really create an excellent first impression by including a project list of your ten most prestigious or highly challenging translation assignments indicating the nature of the project, for example, a white paper for an international congress or translating a website into six different languages, timeframe of completion and languages used plus the area of expertise (medical, legal, literature).

Your Translator Career Summary

How do you ensure that your resume doesn’t get “lost in translation”? There are many translator roles available, and your resume will probably be viewed by academics, research professionals, marketing experts and of course, general recruiters. Therefore, the career summary is of utmost importance and should appeal to readers with intricate knowledge of translator duties as well as someone who knows nothing about the industry.  Added to that, you have about 2 seconds to grab the attention of the reader and if successful, 6 seconds to impress them with the rest of your resume. Let’s start with the blueprint for an eye-catching career summary first.

Start your career summary with and powerful personal adjective summarizing ‘’you’’ in a singular word. Then folly with years of industry experience and two or three special skills about translation activities (use the job description as your guide and customize this section for each job that you apply for). Top it off by mentioning up to 6 languages that you have translation experience in and also listing your academic credentials.

The career synopsis should consist of one paragraph between 4-6 lines in total and convey the message that you are an excellent fit for the role.

Three Example Career Summaries:

Career Summary 1

Professionally astute and experienced Translator with a decade of experience in Japanese to English translations of Auto Engineering product specifications and regulatory guidelines for US Manufacturing Facilities. A purist approach in guaranteeing technical accuracy and proper context of written content, including numerical mathematical calculations, graphic representation, and report analysis. Completed a Masters in Engineering, is a native Japanese speaker, and currently pursuing a Masters in Linguistic Fundamentals and Grammar Comprehension for Asian Languages.

Career Summary 2

Highly-experienced and deadline-driven French-English Translator with five years’ experience in localization of French content for the UK Market. Exposure to culinary, tourism, business, and hospitality-based content which includes, websites, brochures, promotional materials as well scripting French video content from Youtube and Vimeo into English subtexts. Bilingual in five French dialects and a native English speaker. Holds a Masters Degree in Advanced French Creative Writing, as well as a Masters in Business Administration.

Career Summary 3

Highly adept multilingual Japanese to English Translator with 15 years experience in converting scientific research documents and whitepapers for the Automotive Industry. Able to leverage fundamental and thorough translation skills from foreign text, maintaining context and tone of voice from the original script. Graduated with a Masters Degree in Automotive Engineering and proficient in the following computer-assisted translation software: SDL Trados Studios, Smartcat, and MemoQ.

Translator Job Descriptions, Responsibilities and Duty Examples

Translators convert written text from one language to the next, ensuring that original context and meaning are maintained. However, being a word warrior of sorts does not guarantee a translation job without showcasing the specific experience that the job advertisement asks for. Recruiters and hiring managers would be looking for these ‘’specifics’’ when scanning your resume, and you may need to customize your job duties from time to time to align with the advertisement. To help you get started, we have listed a few examples of translator tasks and responsibilities below:

Generic Translator Duties may:

  • Review original written material and convert scripts into another language preserving original meaning and context
  • Create glossaries and term dictionaries for a specific language used during the translation process
  • Translate audio, video and online media into a written script for subtitle texts
  • Frequently consult with experts in particular subject matter to comprehend specialized concepts as to translate them appropriately
  • Use online translation tools to automate, edit and proofread conversion process and draft documentation
  • Generate quotations for clients as per project length and complexity rating of the script to be translated
  • Adhere to quality, legal and ethical standards set out by the Association of Translation Companies
  • Continually review written translation drafts against industry-specific terminology
  • Conduct frequent research exercises to stay abreast of industry updates and trends about themes of topics of scripts to be translated
  • Conduct cross-referencing on all projects using specialized dictionaries and translation applications to ensure that quality standards are maintained

Scientific/Technical Translator Duties may:

  • Translate instruction leaflets, user manuals, financial reports, minutes of proceedings for a niche audience in a particular field
  • Understand specialized terminology in areas such as IT, Engineering. Mechanics. Electronic and industrial texts and journals
  • Use dictionaries, whitepapers and industry-specific glossaries specific to the industry in question to translate text

Financial Translator Duties may:

  • Translate documentation, reports, formulas, data sets, articles, study reports and presentations in the domain of finance and investments
  • Conduct translation projects for banking, investment, insurance, and corporate entities
  • Understand financial formulas, calculations, and comparisons to translate financial statements, budgets, and cash flow projections
  • Translate company annual financial reports into multiple languages
  • Review daily stock exchange reports and translate these into other languages
  • Convert financial packages such as payroll user guides and manuals into other languages

Legal/Judicial Translator Duties may:

  • Translate legal documentation from one language into another including summons, warrants, conveyancing, and litigation material
  • Convert administrative-legal text such as corporate statues, remittance drafts contracts and registration certificates into multiple languages
  • Convert court documentation such as minutes of proceedings, witness and plaintive statements and jury rulings into prescribed languages

Literary Translator Duties may:

  • Render semantic text from the original script into a different language taking care to maintain context and meaning
  • Translate fictional and non-fictional books into multiple languages
  • Translate online content including websites, landing pages, and social media pages into various foreign languages
  • Translate script of television shows and popular movies into the subtext of the prescribed language

Medical Translator Duties may:

  • Convert medical content such as labels, usage instructions, and packaging into different languages
  • Translate medical research papers, clinical trial reports, and patient records into prescribed language
  • Convert medical journals, peer reviews, articles, conferences, and presentations notes into various languages

Highlight Your Accomplishments

Time to shine!. A Translator resume without accomplishment statements is like a text without punctuation. You want the reader to pause and read through your entire resume script because your achievements and accolades have caught their attention. Basically, give them something different in your resume that will make you stand out from the application pack.

Think CAUSE and EFFECT. How did you positively contribute to your client's needs? Your goal is to think about what sets you apart, what you are most proud of, or what you achieved in your previous roles. Make sure a proven example accompanies every statement. So don’t just say you’re great at translating, quantify it with numerical values. Here are some examples of quantified accomplishment statements:

  1. Successfully converted offer 300 translation projects in the last 12 months with a zero edit request rate
  2. Landed Translator of the Year award for Mandarin and Japanese translators out of 300 contestants
  3. Achieved an A+ grade from the American Institute of Linguistics for Eastern European Language translation expertise

Translator Education Section

A Translator’s academic tenure is essential to the hiring manager or recruiter, and providing as much detail as you can (without writing a book) would be in your best interest because translation is such a specialized field.  List the What, Where and When regarding your qualifications, certifications or industry licenses obtained.

A Translator’s education section example:

2016 – 2018 Ph.D. in Asian Linguistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
GPA: 3.9
Accolades: Completed Summa Cum Laude

2013 – 2015 Master of Arts in Spanish Translation and Interpreting, New York University, Manhattan, NY
Coursework: Spanish Phonetics, Advanced Linguistics, Business Spanish, Spanish Composition, Translation and Interpreting for Business,

2012 – Certified Interpretive Host, National Association for Interpretation, Alexandria, VA

2011 – 2013 Advanced Membership, American Translation Association (ATA), Tampa, FL

What to Write in a Translator Resume Skills Section

What should I write in my Translator Resume Skills Section? If you are applying for jobs, you have probably asked this question many times.

A skills section provides purpose to your resume and will persuade the reader of your suitability and credibility to do the job successfully. A skills section should consist of hard skills (these are technical competencies, language proficiencies, for example) and also soft skills (referring to personality traits).

Use a skills matrix to showcase your most prominent attributes. Be sure to review the job description again before writing this section so that you may align your key skills to those listed in the advertisement.

Language Proficiency

English (Canadian):Native Proficiency (ILR 5, CEFR C2+, ACTFL Distinguished)
Spanish (Latin American):Native Proficiency (ILR 5, CEFR C2+, ACTFL Distinguished)
Portuguese (Brazilian):Limited Working Proficiency (ILR 2+, CEFR B2, ACTFL Advanced Mid)
German:Limited Working Proficiency (ILR 2, CEFR B1, ACTFL Intermediate High)
French:Elementary Proficiency (ILR 1+, CEFR A2, ACTFL Intermediate Mid)

Technical Competencies

Word Processing Programes (CATS)SyntaxesPunctuation
Content Management SystemsGrammar RulesSpelling
Ace TranslatorSimultaneous TranslationTenses
MemoQSDL TradosEditing
Interpreting InformationSpeed ReadingLinguistic continuities
Conversion of technical conceptsExcellent writing abilityResearch
Grammar StructuresTechnical TerminologiesProofreading

Interpersonal Traits

Communication SkillsCultural Awareness and SensitivityMultitasking
Time ManagementAnalyticalVersatile
ProfessionalResponsibleIndependent Worker
Detail OrientatedAccountableStress Tolerant
Deadline DrivenTrustworthyCompliant

Qualifications/Certifications associated with Translators

ATA-Certified Translator SealCertification in LinguisticsDefense Language Proficiency Test
American Literary Translators AssociationAmerican Translators AssociationNational Board of Certified Medical Interpreters (CMI)
International Federation of Translators (FIT)Translators Without Borders (TWB)National Association of the Deaf external site
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and TranslatorsThe International Association for Translation and Intercultural StudiesInterpreters Guild of America

Professional Information for Translators

Sectors:  Professional, Scientific, Educational
Career TypeTranslation, Linguistic, Content Writing, Text Conversion, Editing, Proofreading
Person type: Translator, Terminologist, Foreign Scripter, Linguist Localizer, Reviser, Interpreter
Education levelsAssociate’s Degree, Bachelors’ Degree, Master’s Degree, Doctorate Degree
Salary indication: $49,930 per year or $24.00 per hour (BLS)
Labor market: Estimated 19% growth projected between 2018 – 2028 (BLS)
Organizations: Schools, Hospitals, Courts, Private Companies, Freelance, Public Companies, Conference Centers, Translation Consultancies, Government, Universities, Colleges

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