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Generally, young graduates do not have any experience apart from some pro bono assignments. Yet, once they graduate, they need to send their CV to potential employers. What does that CV look like? What kind of information should it contain?

Feel free to answer in FR/ES/IT/PT.

asked 26 Jun '14, 16:37

David's gravatar image


edited 27 Jun '14, 03:32

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

Thank you very much, Gaspar! This answer will help me a lot! ;) And thank you, Julia, for your point!

(27 Jun '14, 05:00) David

I don't fully agree with Gaspar's opening, as it is very much focused on the Institutional or European marketplace. If you are a young interpreter in the US (as I once was...), or are able to find direct clients (even in the EU), you will definitely need a CV. I have been asked for one numerous times, even in Europe. If nothing else, it helps concentrate your mind, and in turn, your presentation of yourself to a potential client.

On the other hand, his description of what should be on the CV is spot on. Definitely tailor it to your potential clients - so if you are giving it to a colleague, don't necessarily add in your translation experience; if to an agency, put in the translation side as well. Once you have gained some experience, make sure to update it quickly, removing student internships and dummy booth programs as soon as possible. If you did a lot of dummy booth in, for example, a financial organization, you could put in "financial topics" under an "Experience" or "Specialization" section (if you choose to have one). And personally, I don't see a reason to divide pro bono work from paid work; as long as the microphone was on, you were working - though I would probably think twice about putting some pro bono clients on my CV at all!

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answered 27 Jun '14, 04:53

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they need to send their CV to potential employers

Potential employers will be out of your league. On the private market, you usually get hired by colleagues who are consultant interpreters. And they will mostly rely on your reputation, i.e. will only find out about your mere existence after your university trainers recommend you.

As for the bigger employers, institutions or organizations, they usually don't give a hoot about your CV and only want to see you pass their test and might ask for a copy of your diploma in conference interpreting.

Direct clients are almost impossible to land and you're unlikely to be able to handle their requests right after graduation. You'd need to know where to rent booths, hire technicians and colleagues with the right languages, etc. Which you usually aren't able to do at that stage.

This being said, you might need to send a CV to colleagues on a few occasions. In that case, mind the following:

  • Client-interpreter confidentiality. Don't mention what top notch meeting you did to conclude the merger between those two petrol companies which discussed how many people they'll lay off in a few months. Don't mention clients names unless they are fine with it. Don't be too specific and don't do a grocery list.
  • Don't try to fool experienced people. Don't give them a grocery list of pro-bono gigs you did either. It gives the impression that you're not good enough to get actual paid work. It would also reflect badly on your negotiationg skills when an NGO that has an annual budget for operations comparable to a small country's GDP uses your services for free all the time.
  • Don't mention your life guard training from high school and your passion for dance (unless it is 'culturally' required to have such a short line in your CV), don't pretend your an expert user of MS Office (unless you really are).
  • In general, don't put down things that are common and don't try to sell such as something exceptional.
  • Adapt your CV to local customs. In some countries you're expected to tell about your marital status and mention your birth date, in some others putting a picture would be a no-no.
  • Keep it simple, don't over do it. If your CV shows that you only graduated 6 months ago, colleagues will know what to expect and won't be looking for a 6 page long annex of clients you had.
  • Professional associations: Mention memberships (or similar things, if the rules allow - AIIC has a 'fight club' policy regarding pre-candidates). If you're member of several, chose wisely which to mention (politics...).
  • Be crystal clear regarding your professional domicile. Which might not be the city actually live in.
  • Mention specific seminars, trainings, etc. you attended after graduation. It shows you're aware that you're in for life long training and that you still care to get better.
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answered 26 Jun '14, 20:45

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 27 Jun '14, 04:18

Thank you very much for your answer, Gaspar. I know that pretty much everything is out of my league right now, but I guess even young graduates need to have a CV. My question is wether that CV must contain any special information or have any special structure. ;)

(27 Jun '14, 04:32) David

"AIIC has a 'fight club' policy regarding pre-candidates" ... actually, not quite: the reference on the forms wherefrom you probably got this (which admittedly could have been better worded) caters to copyright, neither status is meant to be clandestine ;-) and no pre-cand/cand is barred from stating his or her aiic "affiliation", certainly not on a cv... just not by using copyrighted material such as the logo.

(27 Jun '14, 22:28) msr
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question asked: 26 Jun '14, 16:37

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