Translation Portfolio: Should You Have one?

Translation Portfolio: Should You Have one?

Should I have a translation portfolio? I’ve gotten this question a lot lately and I usually only have one answer, and it’s “Why not?”.

Honestly, why wouldn’t you have a translation portfolio? What’s the downside? I see very few and they’re easily fixed.

Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of having a translation portfolio as well as what you should include in it and how you should use it to get the maximum benefit.

If you’re interested in getting started now you can head over to my Udemy page to check out the course “Building a Translation Portfolio“.

You can also take a look at what I’ve included in my own translation portfolio or translation website in the video below.

Pros of having a translation portfolio

Look like an Expert

Even if you’re just one person, sitting in your pijamas at home translating texts, having a translation portfolio makes you look like a translation business. In the eyes of potential clients in order to publish a website and take the time to have an online presence you must be good.

translation portfolio expert appeal
Hey everyone! Come see how good I look!

There’s still a stigma that creating a website and only successful businesses have them (even if that’s far from the truth, since we all know your sister-in-laws blog probably wasn’t top in Google’s search results).

However, having your face with examples makes you look legit and if a client is looking at two translator who have the same experience and cost the same, the one with the online portfolio will definitely get the edge.

Resume (on steroids)

Paper resumes are a thing of the past. Most of us have moved onto PDF resumes that we upload, but a translation portfolio is so much more than that.

In a portfolio you can really show of what you know and what you can do. You personality can shine through by the way you write, the text, the photos and every detail you put into it.

arm wrestling
Your resume vs. portfolio

In a translation world dominated by getting jobs online where there’s very little human contact, any sliver of personality you can portray in your portfolio will help humanize you and make it more likely for hiring managers to choose you over someone else.

Work examples

Most resumes nowadays are maximum 1 page. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for examples. That’s why most agencies ask for test translations.

Giving examples of what you’ve worked on in the past (make sure you don’t break any privacy policies) can give you that slight edge over the competition.

You’re trying to make the decision for a translation agency as easy as possible. Giving examples shows them what they’re getting and so they can hire your with confidence.

Cons of having a translation portfolio

The cost

So if we break down the cost it looks a bit like this:

  • Web hosting = $6/month (I use Bluehost and personally think it’s the best)
  • Domain name = $12/year (first year free with Bluehost clicking the link)

If my calculations are correct, that comes out to one bottle of mediocre wine a month (I do all of my math based on the number of bottles of wine).

wine bottle
This bottle is at least 3 months of having a portfolio

So if this translation portfolio helps you land one job that you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, just one job per year, than it’s paid for itself (many times over).

The tech

Ok, I’ll give this one to you. However, it’s easier than ever to create a website/portfolio online. If you have can use Microsoft Word then you are more than qualified to create a blog. It’s just about getting used to the software but it’s not technically difficult.

I actually have a course coming out soon that will teach you how to do this in about 5 hours. That’s no blog and no knowledge to a working portfolio you can be proud of.

Check it out here: Building an Online Translation Portfolio

What to include

There are a few essential as a portfolio is essentialy a beef’d up online resume that makes you look good.

Make sure to include:

  • Header with your name
  • The services you offer
  • Examples of your translations
  • Testimonials
  • Contact Form
  • About section
  • Social Media buttons

I believe the two strongest points in that are the testimonials and work examples. Those are what you can’t fit onto a resume but they’re so strong!

When you go onto Amazon do you check how many stars each product has? Of course, you do! That’s how you know it’s a good product.

translation portfolio testimonial
This is extremely powerful!

It’s the same with your service. People want to know that others are happy with your translations. You can’t show that on a resume, but it’s incredibly easy to do on a translation portfolio!

How to use your translation portfolio

In the world of translation most translators will put a link to their Proz profile on their resume (if you’re not doing that, you definitely should). However, if you’re just one of 100 and you put the same old Proz profile on your resume how do you stand out?

That’s where a translation portfolio comes in. You have to send your resume to translation agencies. Even if they’re the least bit interested in you and they go to your translation portfolio, it will blow them away!

Ooh, what professionalism! This person must be fantastic! etc. etc. (is what they’ll be saying)

This is an extremely competitive industry and anything to give you an edge, in my opinion, is completely worth it!

Creating your own portfolio

Your personal translation portfolio can come in many different shapes and sizes.

I can be a one page template, similar to a resume or you can create a whole website if you’d like.

As I mentioned earlier I’m creating a course teaching freelance translators how to build their own portfolio from scratch in just a few hours.

Translation Portfolio Course!

Building an online Portfolio for Freelance Translators

translation portfolio course header

In the meantime, if you’d like to get started by purchasing your domain name and web hosting, head over to Bluehost to get started right now!

Freelance Translation Portfolio

There really are no downsides to having a translation portfolio. The cost is next to nothing, technology is easier than ever, and if it gives you the upper hand to get just one job per year than it’s paid for itself plus gotten you a new client.

If you use your translation portfolio as an extension of your resume and your business then you’ll not only look professional in the eyes of translation agencies, you’ll also have the opportunity to land bigger and better clients.

Well-paying direct clients want to work with professionals. Nothing says you’re a professional more than having a website with your face right at the top. Check out how to get started here.

If you’re just getting started and stil haven’t quite gotten established as a translator. You can head over to How to Become a Translator without a degree to find out how I became a full-time freelance translator with a translation degree.

Are you interested in creating a translation portfolio? What’s stopping you from getting started? Leave me a comment below!

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