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In an increasingly globalized world, the ability to communicate cross-culturally and across language barriers has never been more important. This has translated (pun intended) into a sharp rise in demand for professional translators and interpreters to grow the reach of business and media.
While translators and interpreters are often conflated with each other, they have several, distinct differences. A translator exclusively deals with the translation of written text, whereas an interpreter translates spoken word in real-time. While the fundamental translation of language is the same, the skill set required to accomplish translation and interpretation is slightly different.
Having the cultural awareness and knowledge of career-specific terminology is highly challenging. Moreover, understanding the context of what someone is trying to say can be incredibly difficult. A good translator/interpreter should be able to parse through these obstacles and provide a clear, nuanced translation, and these skills should shine in your translator or interpreter cover letter when you are applying for any of these jobs.
That said, with the right skill set and a willingness to learn, you can certainly excel in a career in translation or interpretation! Landing a job in this field will require a strong cover letter when applying for an interpreter/translation job.
This step-by-step guide to translator/interpreter cover letters is sure to put you on the right track to securing your dream job!
Here are some examples of translator/interpreter cover letters to give you an idea of how you can structure your own!
9341 Strawberry Court
Fayetteville, NC 28303
July 16, 2022
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Dear Mr. Grizel,
I am writing to express my interest in the Technical Translator job at your company, SpeakUp, as I believe the position is a perfect fit for my experience and qualifications, as you will see in my attached resume. With native fluency in English, Spanish, and French, and six years of translation experience, I believe that my skills and qualifications will bring immediate value to your company and contribute to its developmental objectives and long-term goals.
My undergraduate degree in Foreign Languages with a minor in Translation has provided me with the technical skills necessary to exercise the Translator position. While my language and translation proficiency is evidenced by my ATA certification in English, Spanish, and French, my six-year career in translation can be highlighted through my top achievements:
While linguistic competency is my core strength, I believe that my strong interpersonal communication skills and a consistent ability to produce high-quality results in tight time constraints have allowed me to excel throughout my career. My ability to produce well-developed and nuanced translated content will certainly help your company succeed in its vision of expanding its customer base internationally.
I appreciate the time you have taken to evaluate my application. If there is a need for any further clarification of my attached portfolio or resume, I would be more than happy to provide the necessary information. I look forward to your forthcoming response and welcome the opportunity to further discuss the specific translation obligations that this position requires in the near future.
499 Hillhaven Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90046
September 27, 2022
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Dear Mr. Inaya,
Upon seeing your job listing, I immediately gravitated toward it as it aligns closely with my personal and professional developmental objectives. I am an English native speaker, with native fluency in Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and German. As a working professional with eight years of experience in the interpretation industry, I believe that my skills and qualifications are assets that will contribute immediate value to your company and its projected goals.
In my current position as a Legal Interpreter, I am responsible for the lead interpreting for the top-level administration at my place of employment. I have the responsibility of interpreting German to English, and vice versa, for our international clientele. During this time, I have also taken and passed the National Interpreter Certification for German, Mandarin Chinese, and Italian.
My exceptional work ethic and high standards of professionalism are evidenced by my top accomplishments:
Aside from my professional qualifications, my interpersonal communication, and professional competency are key strengths that lend a strong hand to my results-driven work ethic. I believe that my focused professionalism, strong linguistic knowledge, and ability to work under pressure will certainly meet the requirements of the position and support the company’s goals.
Please take a moment of your time to review my attached resume and portfolio. If there is a need for supplemental information regarding my qualifications and experience, please do not hesitate to ask. I thank you in advance for your time and consideration and anticipate your forthcoming response to further discuss the specific obligations of the interpreter position at your company.
3553 Thomas Street
Cary, IL 60013
July 26, 2022
Cary, IL 60109
Dear Ms. Harolds,
I recently saw your job listing for an entry-level translator position at your company. As an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Foreign Languages, I am looking for an opportunity to enter the translation industry. I believe that this position aligns well with my personal goals and professional development, and I believe that my linguistic skills and strong work ethic will add value to your company and help drive your continued success.
I am a native English speaker, with a certified fluency in Russian and Spanish. My resume will show that I have extensive academic experience in translation as I have worked with my university to create a Spanish version of the university website. Additionally, I am in the process of preparing for the national translation examination, which I anticipate sitting and passing in the coming months.
Where I lack in professional working experience, I make up for in a determination to learn and technical knowledge that can be applied and developed into a professional skill. My resourcefulness, forward-thinking, and ability to produce high-quality results in short time frames make me a highly competitive applicant for this position.
Please take a moment of your time to review my attached resume. I would be happy to provide further information regarding my educational experience and qualifications, should the need arise. I appreciate your time and evaluation and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Now that you have seen practical examples of cover letters for translation and interpretation jobs, let’s break it down! This step-by-step guide will explain the key points to writing a cover letter for a translator/interpreter job.
Before jumping into your translator/interpreter cover letter, conduct extensive preliminary research. Understand the obligations of the position you are applying to, the necessary qualifications or certifications that the company may require, as well as the company and its mission.
If you are a fresh graduate or are writing a translator cover letter with no experience yet, don’t worry! Replace experience with a burning willingness to learn and lean on existing skills (such as language qualifications, any unofficial experience, or other soft and hard skills) to make yourself as competitive as possible.
You can be the most qualified person in the world to translate between French and English. However, you will never land a job requiring Spanish-Italian translation! Carefully read the requirements of the job before attempting to write your translator cover letter.
In the same light, pay attention to the type of translation/interpretation you will be tasked with. For example, a translator for a technology company will require a different knowledge base and terminology than a medical or legal translator/interpreter. When crafting your translator cover letter, keep this point in mind and ensure that you are indeed qualified to apply.
Cover letters follow the standard letterhead format – cover letters for translation jobs are no different.
You should include your information as well as the information of the company/hiring manager you are addressing your letter to. Include your full name, position (if applicable), address, telephone number and email address, and the date.
The information for the addressee should contain their name, position, and company address.
Below is an example of the translator cover letter letterhead format to keep for your translator cover letter:
123 Street, Jerseyville, City 186594
January 1, 2022
Jerseyville, City 12345
Your translator cover letter, like any other, should present a more personalized introduction of yourself in a way that a CV or resume is unable to.
In your opening salutation, take the time to personally address the letter to the hiring manager. This will make a good first impression as they read your translator cover letter because it shows your attention to detail. A good way to open your translator cover letter is:
Start your translator cover letter by showing your passion for the position you are applying to and relate it to your motivation for submitting your job application.
Here is an example paragraph for a cover letter for a freelance translator to illustrate a strong opening:
Dear Ms. Goldson,
I was immediately drawn to your company’s job listing as it closely aligns with my current professional objectives. As a freelance translator with two years in the field, I believe that I have developed the necessary skills and experience to make me a perfect fit for the Freelance position at your company. I deeply resonate with your company’s long-term goals and mission and wish to help drive and support your continued success and development.
This is the main content section of your translation cover letter. Keep in mind the following:
Here is an example paragraph of a medical interpreter cover letter that factors in experience to form a powerful statement of qualifications:
My resume will reflect seven years of experience in the medical interpretation field, where I was the senior interpreter in Chicago’s leading health care law firm. My knowledge of medicine is supported by my medical interpretation certification which I obtained following my Foreign Languages degree in French and Spanish. Throughout my career, my proven consistency and ability to produce highly nuanced interpretations are evidenced by my key accomplishments:
Close off your translator cover letter by thanking the hiring manager for taking the time to evaluate your application and be sure to include a call to action (CTA). A call to action is a way to welcome future communication and a suggestion as to how the interview process could proceed.
In a translator cover letter, for example, you could invite them for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the specific context and content of the work you will be translating. Similarly, in an interpreter cover letter, you could invite them to meet to discuss the obligations of the position and environment/field you will be working in.
End your translator cover letter as strong as you started. Complimentary closes are the best way to sign off on formal letters like cover letters. Here are a few good examples of ways to end your translator cover letter:
A thoughtful and intentional translator/interpreter cover letter is not easy to write, but it is a sure way to elevate your job application above others who did not take the time to write one!
Now that we have covered the sections that make an exceptional translator cover letter stand out, let’s dive into some easy tips that will take your translator cover letter to the next level!
Employ powerful hard and soft skills in your translator cover letter to add credibility to your qualifications and show that your talents lie beyond technical knowledge and extend into a strong addition to the company and its team! Here are some hard and soft skills that you can use to spice up your translator cover letter:
Hard skills for translator cover letters:
Soft skills for translator cover letters:
As a person applying to write (and translate) text professionally, you must display your writing skills at the highest level. Hiring managers will certainly pay extra attention to the writing in translator cover letters in particular, so ensure that yours is of the highest quality!
The layout of a translator's cover letter is equally as important as its content. Keep in mind the following layout before starting to write:
For translator’s cover letters without experience and cover letters for entry-level translation positions, direct attention to your linguistic knowledge, hard and soft skills, and show that you are an enthusiastic learner that is willing to learn on the job as quickly as possible. Support your professional knowledge by linking them to your skills.
Many who start a career in translation begin as freelancers. Freelance sourcing websites such as Upwork provide excellent platforms for freelance translators to gain experience and focus on a specific field.
If you are writing a cover letter for a translator position on a platform like Upwork, find a field you would like to focus on! Niche areas can include: medicine, law, finance, and business, to name a few. Focusing on one or two of these sectors will ensure that you can target a specific client base with the assurance that you understand the associated terminology.
A memorable interpreter cover letter needs to provide the necessary information that will make you stand out against all other applicants. Here are some tips you can consider when writing your interpreter cover letter:
Interpretation, while similar to translation, requires several skills unique to the profession. Here are some hard and soft skills you can include in your interpreter cover letter:
Hard Skills for Interpreter Cover Letters:
Soft Skills for Interpreter Cover Letters:
No experience? No problem! Everyone starts somewhere. When writing an interpreter cover letter with no experience, detail the specific qualifications that make you a competitive applicant, regardless of your lack of experience. Relevant qualifications you can include in an interpreter cover letter with no experience include degrees, training certification, and informal work experience.
The credibility of cover letters for freelance interpreters can be supported by a well-structured portfolio. A portfolio is a compilation of your past work and experiences. By attaching your prior work as part of your interpreter cover letter or CV, a hiring manager can see testimonials and other forms of proof of your interpreting experience, which will elevate your cover letter beyond your competitors’.
CakeResume’s free online portfolio maker is suitable for creative and design professionals. With our user-friendly portfolio-making tools, anyone can make their very own portfolio hassle-free. Create your online portfolio now!
🔑 Key Takeaways
Having a successful career in translation or interpretation extends beyond fluency in two or more languages. A strong translator/interpreter cover letter will accurately reflect your motivation, experience, skill set, and other qualifications that set you apart from other applicants. Let's review some final take-aways for an exceptional translator/interpreter cover letter:
--- Originally written by Alexander Coye ---