Main Requirements to Work for International Agencies or Language Service Providers (LSPs)
– Translators should have complete profiles in several websites such as proz.com, translatorscafe.com, etc. Members who pay for their membership appear first when clients search databases. The order sometimes depends on the number of terminology questions that the translator has replied to (such as Kudoz). Jobs that are posted on the home page are sometimes not the best ones, since the LSP will choose the translator who offers the lowest rate. LSPs can contact translators directly and such jobs will often have the best rates and deadlines.
– LSPs often ask translators to work with a specific CAT tool. (CAT is the acronym for Computer-Assisted-Translation.) The main purpose of such tools is to store what translators have translated. These tools are not machine-translation software. The main CAT tools are SDL Trados Studio 2011 or 2014, Swordfish, Wordfast, Deja-Vu, MemoQ. They also have terminology management components, which are often needed when many translators will work on the same project.
• PayPal (www.paypal.com). We believe that it is a good idea to associate this account with a banking account in Europe, the US, or the countries accepted by PayPal. This will allow us to withdraw money from ATMs. Otherwise, a check can be sent to any address that the user will specify. Fees charged by PayPal to receive payments: 5% of the amount sent plus US$ 0.30.
Advantage: The translator does not need to provide banking information to clients. Such information is quite confidential. Disadvantages: you have to pay US$ 11 to receive a check, if your country is not included in the list.
• MoneyBookers (www.moneybookers.com). This is similar to PayPal, although it is the preferred payment method of European LSPs.
• Bank wires – This payment method should be avoided due to high bank fees.
• Checks – Advantages: The fees that are charged are not so high. Disadvantage: Some LSPs do not like or cannot send checks, especially if their country does not have the same currency as your country.
Warning: Please read this before accepting checks: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Detecting_and_reacting_to_false_job_offers_and_other_scams
Do not accept checks from unknown persons and never refund money if a check has not been cleared by your bank. It is safer to accept PayPal payments.
• Western Union – This is another method that works well. Payments are received within a few days. Translators only have to provide their name and city to the LSP. The only disadvantage is that you have to pick up the money yourself.
How Can We Work for LSPs?
There are three main factors: experience, education, and professionalism.
Experience. This is the main factor. We learn more about operating systems, software and tools such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, MAC OS, etc., if we use them often. Our writing skills will also improve. If we have sufficient experience, we can determine how long it will take to complete a job, how we can translate charts and drawings, how to convert PDF files into Word, etc.
Education. Ongoing training, specialization, excellent writing in the target language, and reading newspapers, magazines, literature, manuals, reports, etc., in our source and target languages.
We should also contact the local translators association, in order to find out about courses and events. The School of Continuing and Professional Studies, New York University, has excellent training courses: http://www.scps.nyu.edu/academics/departments/foreign-languages/academic-offerings/noncredit/certificate-in-translation.html
Professionalism. Translators should also frequently check their email, and respectfully answer all messages. They should never disseminate the contents of confidential documents. Translators should stay current on technology issues, and access forums and blogs for translators.
Some social networks such as LinkedIn and Xing can help us send our CVs to LSPs and contact our main clients.