In this era, when most people think that Google Translate is enough to get the job done, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a job as a translator. That’s why you need a good translator resume when applying for work.
This document can single-handedly impress recruiters, secure you an interview, and even get you the position that you’re going for. However, you need to know how to highlight your skills and experience properly for your job application to be successful.
For this reason, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to teach you everything from the basics of resume writing to expert tips that will help you stand out among the competition. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
The most common translator resume format is the chronological one, which focuses on your latest jobs and achievements.
You should begin your document by writing a catchy resume objective or summary to grab recruiters’ attention right off the bat.
The language skills section is one of the most important parts of a translator resume, so you should consider putting it right below your resume header.
A personalized cover letter that matches your resume lets you convey more information to recruiters and show your willingness to go the extra mile.
What is the Right Format to Use for a Translator Resume?
The most commonly used resume format by the majority of candidates is the chronological resume format. It highlights your most recent professional achievements and lines up the rest in reverse-chronological order. Moreover, it’s ATS-proof, and recruiters prefer it, too.
However, if you’re an entry-level candidate who lacks professional experience, you might want to go with the functional resume format. This one puts your skills front and center, making up for any lack of work history.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned veteran writing a translator resume, you might want to use the combination or hybrid format. As its name suggests, this format combines the features of the previous two formats and emphasizes your skills while backing them up with relevant professional accomplishments.
Making your translator resume look good visually is just as important as choosing the correct format. For starters, your document should be one page long in most cases since recruiters often spend mere seconds skimming through them. These guidelines will help you achieve that:
Choose a resume-friendly font (e.g., Arial or Tahoma) with a 10–12 pt size for the body and a 14–16 pt size for section headings.
Have at least 1-inch margins on all sides with plenty of white space between different sections.
Use bulleted lists whenever you need to convey a lot of information, as they are brief and concise.
What Sections Should a Translator Resume Contain?
Let’s start with the basics and figure out which sections your translator resume should contain:
Hobbies and interests
By following this list, you’ll ensure your resume has all the important information as well as optional but highly valuable bits. Another thing that you could do is take away all the guesswork from your resume-building process by using our software.
It comes with professionally done templates that you can adjust and customize however you like before filling them in with your information. This means you can have a finished resume in minutes without running the risk of forgetting to include something important!
Translator Resume Contact Information
This part is as simple as it gets. You just add your contact details to the header of your resume and call it a day. Here’s what information to include:
Job title (this part should match the job ad)
Optionally, you could include your location if you’re applying for a position abroad, as well as your LinkedIn profile. Here’s what that looks like in practice:
Contact Information Example
+ 423 462 5585
Oklahoma City, OK
The most important thing about this section is to make sure that there are no mistakes. Also, you want to keep everything professional, which means no funny job titles or juvenile email addresses.
Translator Resume Objective or Summary
Your translator resume sometimes has as little as 6–7 seconds to grab recruiters’ attention before they move on to the next document. That’s why you need a catchy introduction in the form of a translator resume objective or summary.
Which one you should write depends on the amount of professional experience that you have. If you’re new to the industry, you’ll benefit the most from an objective, as its goal is to highlight your skills and career goals. On the other hand, if you have a lot of experience under your belt, you should use a resume summary to make your most notable achievements prominent.
Translator Resume Objective
A lack of professional experience shouldn’t stop you from writing an irresistible introduction to your translator resume. In 2–4 sentences, your objective should highlight your strongest skills to portray yourself as a competent candidate who shows potential.
Here’s a good example:
“Talented translator with a focus on translating legal documents in English, Spanish, and German. Impeccable attention to detail while proofreading, editing, and translating. Proficient in legal terminology while continuously learning idiomatic expressions.”
However, if you don’t give any concrete information to recruiters, you’ll end up with a vague resume objective like this one:
“Proficient translator looking to get in the industry.”
Translator Resume Summary
When writing a translator resume summary, you want to showcase your key strengths by presenting concrete accomplishments achieved in the workplace. Here’s a good example:
“Capable interpreter with 7+ years of experience translating in Spanish and the English language. Adept at leading big multilingual teams and taking on large-scale projects. Proficiency in working with written text, audio files, live speaking presentations, and more. Looking to bring a strong work ethic and commitment to perfection.”
For comparison, here’s a bad example where the candidate provided no information of substance to recruiters:
“Experienced translator with years of providing interpreting services looking to join your team.”
Translator Resume Work Experience
What better way to prove your abilities to recruiters than through actual work experience? Let’s see how you could make this section top-notch.
Creating a work experience section of your translator resume can be as simple as including the following details:
The company you worked for
Start and end dates of employment
List of responsibilities and achievements you had within the role
Follow the formula for each previous job that you had while listing them in reverse-chronological order, and your work history section will be better than the majority of candidates out there.
Still, there are ways to truly make this section pop. These tips will help you accomplish that:
Instead of listing your everyday tasks and responsibilities, focus on the outstanding achievements and moments when you exceeded expectations to show what you’re truly capable of.
You should use bulleted lists over paragraphs of text as they are more readable while conveying the same amount of information. Having 3–5 points per each previous job is usually the sweet spot.
When possible, use numbers, statistics, and percentages in combination with your accomplishments. They add value to your achievements and make them more concrete in the eyes of recruiters.
Similarly, by including memorable action verbs and power words such as “interpreted,” “arranged,” or “translated,” you’ll make your accomplishments truly stand out and grab attention.
Here’s an example of a brief and concise but information-packed work history section written by an experienced translator:
Experienced Translator Example
ABC Translation Services
San Francisco, CA
March 2018–April 2022
Translated over 500 legal, technical, and medical documents from English to German and vice versa.
Collaborated with a team of translators to ensure 100% accuracy and maintain consistency with the original document.
Worked closely with more than 70 clients to understand their needs and provide customized translation, resulting in a 95% customer satisfaction rate.
Translator Resume Education Section
While a professional history section is generally the most important in your translator resume, recruiters will want to check out your education section to verify your credibility. This part is all the more important if you’re writing a translator resume with no experience, as you’d want to emphasize your skills and education instead. Here are the details to include:
The institution that issued it
Dates of attendance
(Optional) Notable achievements, relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, etc.
Here’s what that looks like in practice:
Education Section Example
Bachelor of Science in Spanish Translation and Interpretation
University of Nebraska Kearney, Kearney, USA
Relevant Courses: Translation Theory, Terminology Management, Legal and Business Translation, Interpreting, Cultural Studies, Computer-Assisted Translation
Translator Resume Skills
Properly demonstrating your translator resume skills requires a bit of nuance. Since you’re in a complex field where each new position might require something different, you want to research the job description to figure out which abilities in particular recruiters are looking for.
Once you have a list of abilities favored by hiring managers, start by adding the ones you possess to the skills section of your resume. That way, you’ll give both recruiters and the ATS quick access to your skill set without presenting irrelevant abilities that would only take up extra space on your resume.
However, you should also try to substantiate your skills whenever possible.
Mention some of your key skills throughout your translator resume. Your resume summary or objective and your work experience section are perfect places for you to include a skill or two. Add them next to relevant accomplishments or results obtained, and you’ll make them more concrete and meaningful.
Here are some job-specific, hard skills that a translator could include in their resume:
Analysis and research
Additionally, recruiters often look for valuable soft skills in resumes, which is why you should consider adding some of the following:
Verbal, non-verbal, and written communication
Translator Resume Language Section
It goes without saying that proficiency in foreign languages is a must for a translator. However, you can’t just say that you’re a bilingual translator in your resume and expect recruiters to believe you—you need to demonstrate that. That’s why this section is so important that you could even place it before all the other sections—right under your resume header.
When listing foreign languages, you want to be precise and specific. Start with the languages that you’re most proficient in and go down from there. Moreover, you want to use a standardized framework that’s recognized by your peers in the industry.
The CEFR, for example, uses six levels—A1 to C2—with three broad groups of users that go as follows:
If the company that you’re applying to uses a specific framework, you should go with the recommended one in your resume.
Lastly, if there are regional variations of a language that you’re adding to your resume, you should specify which one you are proficient in. You can do that by adding the variation in parentheses next to the language, e.g., Arabic (Egyptian).
Here’s an example of how you could create this section:
Language Section Example
English (American): Native Proficiency (CEFR C2+, ILR 5, ACTFL Distinguished)
German (Swabian German): Limited Working Proficiency (CEFR B2, ILR 2+, ACTFL Advanced Mid)
French: Elementary Proficiency (CEFR A2, ILR 1+, ACTFL Intermediate Mid)
Translator Resume Optional Sections
Adding some optional sections to your translator resume is a great way to personalize it and add more valuable information to it.
Similarly to your degree, certifications add credibility to your skills. Some certifications can even be a must-have for certain positions. Here are some examples of the certifications you could include:
Core Certification Health Care Interpreter
Federal Court Interpreter Certification
If you have relevant memberships to showcase (e.g., The International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies), you could demonstrate them on your resume to show dedication to the craft.
Hobbies & Interests
A section about your hobbies and interests can help you stand out among the other applicants and portray yourself as a captivating candidate. It allows you to talk about something you’re truly passionate about, even if it doesn’t relate to your position as a translator.
By listing volunteer work, you showcase passion and drive. This section can be all the more important if you lack professional experience, in which case you can use volunteering to display your workplace competence.
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Translator Resume?
There are multiple benefits to submitting a cover letter with your translator resume:
You display diligence and the willingness to go the extra mile.
You get to address the recruiter directly and include a call to action, asking them to contact you for further discussion.
You get more real estate to talk about all those skills and accomplishments that didn’t fit your translator resume.
Expert Tips for Creating a Translator Resume
Let’s wrap it up with a list of expert tips that will help you get the most out of your resume:
You could add your degree to your education section even if you haven’t obtained it yet. You can either put “expected” next to a graduation date or “current” instead of it.
Unless specified otherwise, consider submitting your resume as a PDF file to avoid any layout inconsistencies on different devices.
For the best chances of success, you should write a new, personalized cover letter for every position that you’re applying for.
Demonstrate your precision and attention to detail by writing an error-free resume. You could ask a friend to help with proofreading, too. This part is all the more important since you’re a translator whose work revolves around strong language skills, impeccable grammar, and flawless punctuation.
Crafting a winning translator resume requires careful attention to detail with just the right amount of focus on your language skills, translation experience, and cultural competencies.
In this article, we gave you everything from general rules on how to do that to expert tips and specific examples to help you create a remarkable document.
Feel free to save the article if you ever need a refresher course, and don’t forget to give our resume builder a shot, as it can help you take your career to the next level. Good luck!