Showing posts with label Freelance translation tips for Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freelance translation tips for Spain. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Getting Translation Work in Spain and keeping it!

Unfortunately, the C.Vs for Spanish <> English translators arrive thick and fast from an agency point of view! In our experience we tend to average 5 Spanish C.Vs a day and between part time translators and full time translators the supply far exceeds the demand. However, if you are a freelance Spanish translator there is no need to discourage. Being a translation company CEO I have a lot of experience on factors that effect my decision when choosing a Spanish translator. Read the following post for some tips on getting yourself to the top of the pile!

Your C.V.

Spanish C.V.

Send two versions of your C.V. one in English and one in Spanish. From a recruitment perspective you have to bear in mind that some of the recruitment personnel may not have proficiency in both languages. Define your C.V. from the rest. Emphasize your experience and qualifications for your language combinations and specialties. Mention specific projects from Spanish Blue Chip Companies, with word counts. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter, for example if they are looking for a pharmaceutical patent translator and you mention projects from industry leaders such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson you have a better chance than another pharmaceutical patent translator who has just mentioned pharmaceutical patent translation experience. Small additions such as this may even allow you to charge that little bit more. Emphasize your academic qualifications in translation if you have them, there are many translators out there who have fallen into the profession by coincidence and necessity. If you have made a concerted effort to have a career in translation from an early age it's a great selling point.

Your Cover Letter

Cover Letter

As with your C.V. send two versions of your C.V. one in English and one in Spanish. If you are sending your cover letter to a specialized translation company emphasize the skills and experience you have relevant to them, for instance, in the case of a translation company specialized in financial translation do as above and mention blue chip Spanish banks, such as Santander and BBVA and specifics of the projects completed such as word counts

Mass e-mail the Spanish translation agencies and Persistence

mass mai to translation agencies

Lists of agencies can be found via obvious google searches, and the Spanish yellow pages! Be sure to mass mail the same agencies periodically. Depending on the filing system of the agencies the most recent mails may have a better chance, you also have a better chance of being noticed. The mass mail does have it's problems in that you may be inundated with registrations and screening tests such as a translation of about three hundred words on a specific topic which most Spanish translation companies expect for free. This can be very time consuming but one way around this is to suggest providing samples of your work in the related field requested which I think is a reasonable compromise.

Availability and Translation Quoting

Quick translation quote

Always remember that the person recruiting the translator is often under a lot of time pressure. Respond to quote requests within the hour. As soon as you receive the quote request, send a quick mail to inform the agency you will send the quote within the hour! Ring the agency and try to do a little "fishing". You may need to clarify the deadline and subject matter, strike a personal cord with the person sourcing the work, tell them what they want to hear! To speed up the quote process have a bilingual quote template, itemize the costs of the work as specifically as possible, this gives the translation agency an exact idea of what they are paying for and conveys honesty. Download a translation quote template here! Finally, hook your work mail into your smart phone for 24 hours availability!

Your translation targets


A freelance Spanish translator should aim to translate approximately 3,000 words a day. During the translation process don't be afraid to ask questions. It shows the project manager your diligence and can often highlight errors in the source text winning you extra Brownie points with the Translation agency. If you have a large project and a lot of queries per day don't ask each query individually but send a consolidated queries file at the end of the day to save time on your side and the client side. Ask the agency for all the reference material possible such as style guides and glossaries. Say yes to all offered work and never miss a deadline!

Use the latest Translation Tools

translation tools

There are fantastic translation tools on the market such as Wordfast and SDLX (try trial version first) with time saving, consistency and quality features such as translation memories and Glossaries. However, they tend to be expensive and require a lot of time to get up to speed on them but in the long run save time and money on previously translated texts and increase consistency and quality.

Deciding your rate per word


Expect to get between 4.5 to 6 cents per word from Spanish agencies, and 6 to 8 from direct Spanish clients. Rates per word of course, vary for language combinations for instance German translation rates tend to be about 40% higher! If you intend to be a full time freelance translator in Spain you will have to be self-employed or "autonmo".

Tow the line with potential clients on Social Networks

Social Networking is becoming ever more important for being noticed. Get involved with potential client social Networks, like, Share, post and comment on their networks will help you get noticed and will also help your own presence on the world wide web.

Avail of the multitude of online Spanish resources

Spanish tools

There are many Spanish online quality resources such as glossaries, online dictionaries and online translators. Have a look here at some of the Spanish resources at your disposal

Linguistic Quality Checks

linguistic tests

Before submitting your final translation have a routine of quality checks such as a spell check, consistency check, revision or style check. You'd be surprised how many little errors that these can bring to your attention. If you have the time take a small break before the final QA and do it with as fresh a head as possible



Be patient and never give up. It takes a lot of time to build up a regular flow of work. The marketing at the start is very hard to measure at the start but worth it in the long run.

So there you have it, I hope this post has helped you in your quest to becoming a Spanish freelancer. I think if you follow these points as much as possible you should have a long and fruitful career of being your own boss, your own hours and traveling when and where you want!

If you have any queries, please feel free to reply below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can, Suerte!!!!...

About the Author

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

Mark is the CEO of One Stop Shop Translations,a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. When he is not blogging he spends most of his time taking care of the operations of the company.