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Translator Cover Letter Example

Use this Translator cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Translator positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Translator Cover Letter Example
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No matter how fluent you are in any language, a terrific translator cover letter is your best assurance of being heard above the job candidate crowd. 

Translation jobs haven’t been in greater demand since perhaps the time of Squanto. A Patuxet tribesman from Massachusetts, Squanto helped the Mayflower Pilgrims in the 1620s because he knew how to plant corn and establish a dialogue with other Native Americans. And, after several years in Spain and England, he spoke English!

You might think translation jobs would be in decline today because of increasingly sophisticated machine translators, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for translators and interpreters are expected to grow by a staggering 20% from 2019 through 2029. That compares to a projected job increase of 4% for all occupations. 

Among the reasons for this gangbuster growth are the increasing globalization of the world economy and a rising need for translators in military and national security roles.

The median annual pay for translators and interpreters in 2019 was $51,830. 

“Interpreters” refers to those who translate spoken language live and simultaneously, like medical, courtroom and sign-language interpreters. “Translators” convert written text from one language to another. Many translators are self-employed, and many can do their work at home. 

A bachelor’s degree may be required for either type of work, but not necessarily. Some people speak two languages fluently from childhood, by virtue of having parents who speak different languages, or from growing up in foreign countries. 

So, assuming you’re fluent in two languages, how do you get a job in this rapidly growing field? You’re going to need two pieces of paper, or the digital equivalent — a resume and a cover letter. 

Resume.io specializes in providing resume and cover letter templates, a powerful “use anywhere, anyhow” online cover letter builder, as well as occupation-specific guides on how to prepare application letters and resumes. We’ve already posted a detailed guide to resume preparation for translators, which is chock full of great tips and tricks for the profession. 

But let’s talk now about the crucial second part of the job-application package, the cover letter. What we’ll discuss here:

  • Why a cover letter is an essential companion to a resume
  • How a translator cover letter should be structured
  • How to effectively write each cover letter section: header, introduction, body and conclusion
  • Design and formatting of a translator cover letter
  • The psychology of writing a persuasive cover letter
  • Common mistakes to avoid.

Why a cover letter is critical

It might seem that a resume covers all the bases about how you’re qualified for a job, including your work experience, your job skills and your education. And it’s true that a cover letter addresses most of these same issues.

But a resume is an impersonal document that isn’t addressed to anyone, and it doesn’t even contain the words “I” or “you.” A resume is mostly a collection of lists. Most resumes don’t even contain one complete sentence.

A cover letter, on the other hand, is a friendly way of introducing yourself to another human being. It’s a way of starting a conversation, of establishing a personal connection to someone who has the power to offer you a job. 

A cover letter enables you to showcase your personality, your likability, your passion and perhaps your sense of humor. It enables you to tell a story, and to put in a polite request for an interview — two things you can’t do in a resume. 

Furthermore, depending on your job history and career path, your resume may have gaps or facts/qualities that are open to interpretation. The job of the cover letter is to explain these “gaps of understanding”  in your favor. A recruiter or hiring manager may not know whether your skills are driven by passion for your craft. Reading your resume may not explain the why or how of certain achievements. The cover letter allows you to shine a light on these things and leave no doubts in anyone’s mind.

The application letter is also something that’s expected of you in many situations. Not all, but enough to matter in the percentages game that is your job search. Surveys of hiring managers have found that the failure to include a cover letter with a resume closes the list of top 10 reasons job applications are rejected.

Also, good translators are good writers. You may speak perfect French and perfect English, but that does not automatically make you a good translator. The ability to convert one language into another in writing, preserving the nuance, flow and rhythm, is a rare talent.

So your cover letter, in addition to everything mentioned above, is a demonstration of your ability to write — an essential quality in a good translator. 

A few employers may request that you send a resume without a cover letter. But unless you’re specifically asked not to, you should always include a cover letter in a job application.

Best format for a translator cover letter 

A cover letter should be one page, a maximum of 400 words, and it should follow a well-defined structure. 

This structure actually makes your job easier. Some assembly is required, but at least the job comes with instructions. Here are the components:

  • The header
  • The cover letter greeting
  • Cover letter introduction
  • Cover letter body
  • Conclusion / call to action
  • Sign-off phrase.
Adaptable cover letter example

03/04/20

Dear Mr. Orchard,

In 2018, a $300m financial services deal was about to fall apart. The Chinese partner asked me to act as a cultural and linguistic go-between. Their grasp of English was not sufficient to convey the depth of their thoughts to their European counterparts. Ten days of “ah, so that’s what you meant” followed. A $300m disaster turned into a $420m deal.

Translators who are able to interpret between the financial lines can make this a reality. Whether words are written or spoken, what is meant should equate to what is understood.

Having worked as a Chinese-Mandarin translator and interpreter in a range of financial services settings for the past 7 years, I estimate that I have made a difference to over 300 such negotiations. The details of financial services deals can be immensely complicated, and I am constantly working to keep on top of the latest language. On average, every year I have translated over 200,000 words, spending 700+ hours on interpreting duty.

I am proficient with all the leading technology solutions, both hardware and software, and regularly test new features for a number of global providers. Letting tech do the volume of the work allows me to refine the subtleties.

I believe that my experience closely reflects the demands of the role at Shihan Corp:

  • Three years at a global fintech leader – conferences, presentations and sales events.
  • Global employee of the month for my simultaneous translation leadership.
  • Influencer on financial translating on social media – with over 45k followers.

I would welcome an interview to understand the translation projects that you have in your pipeline and have a professional portfolio available should you have an interest.

Sincerely,

Harry Malpelli

Copied!

Cover letter header

The top of your letter is an important piece of real estate containing your name, profession, address, phone number and email. 

It’s also a design element that should give your page an attractive look. The header allows you to exercise some creativity in design, color and layout choices.

It’s also the most challenging part of the page to design. But there are plenty of great options to choose from using resume.io’s free cover letter templates , and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you choose a template where the design is already done for you.Align document styles

Expert tip

Align document styles

Your resume and cover letter should use the same fonts, font sizes and formatting styles, and the headers on both of them should be very similar if not identical. 

Aligning document styles shows your attention to detail, gives you a visual brand, and proves that you understand the importance of coherent design.

Aim of the cover letter header: Provide vital identifying and contact information while visually standing out from other job applications.

Cover letter greeting

“Dear Ms. Jones,” “Dear Mr. Smith” or the equivalent is the traditional and time-honored way to start any business letter, and a cover letter is no exception. 

Nowadays it’s popular to replace “Dear” with something like “Greetings” or “Hello,” followed by the recipient’s name (sometimes the first name). 

If you happen to know the person you’re writing to, there’s nothing wrong with using a first name. Or in studying the company you’re targeting, you may find that it has a very informal style. Use your best judgment about how formal or casual to make your greeting.

But by all means, do attempt to address your letter to a named individual. People like to see their own names in print. In fact, it has been explored by science that there is a neurological response to one’s own name. And it shows good initiative on your part if you’ve gone to the trouble of finding out who the hiring manager is. Sometimes it’s worth researching the company to discover that info (though be careful in your digital sleuthing on Google and social media to not cross the line into inappropriate). 

If you can’t find out the name of the person responsible, find a way to address the entire company (“Greetings, Translation Nation”), or the appropriate department or team (“Saludos, ABC Hiring Team”).

Aim of the cover letter greeting / salutation: Start off in a professional manner that shows initiative in determining who the letter should address and how formal or casual the tone.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mr. Orchard,

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Cover letter introduction

In the first paragraph of your letter, you should introduce yourself, identify the job you’re seeking and highlight your main qualifications. It may also be appropriate to say how you heard about the job.

Try to find language that grabs the reader’s attention and makes him or her want to keep reading. Avoid language that’s boring or full of clichés.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

In 2018, a $300m financial services deal was about to fall apart. The Chinese partner asked me to act as a cultural and linguistic go-between. Their grasp of English was not sufficient to convey the depth of their thoughts to their European counterparts. Ten days of “ah, so that’s what you meant” followed. A $300m disaster turned into a $420m deal.

Copied!

Aim of the cover letter introduction: Focus the hiring manager’s immediate attention on your most important selling point while sparking interest to keep reading.

Cover letter body (the middle part)

In the central two or three paragraphs of your latter, you must make your primary case. This is where you need to talk about your job experience, your education and other credentials.

Experience is king, so you want to start by talking about past translation jobs and projects. If you’ve held a full-time job as a translator in the past, you’re golden, but don’t just say where you worked and for how long. Talk about your specific accomplishments, and use facts and figures where possible — the dollar value of the projects you handled, the number of clients you served, etc.

As a translator, your experience may all be freelance, and that’s fine too. Use anecdotes to tell stories about challenges you faced, the actions you took and how you resolved them to the satisfaction of the client.

As a creative professional, you may have a long list of links — an online portfolio — that exhibits your work. If there’s too much to contain a representative sample of your talents in your resume and cover letter, you may want to consider creating an additional page with links to your published work.

If you have a relevant university degree, or any certifications as a translator, that’s certainly worth mentioning here. If your degree is in a totally unrelated field, you might mention it on your resume but use the space in your cover letter to emphasize your experience as a translator.

Adaptable cover letter body example

I am proficient with all the leading technology solutions, both hardware and software, and regularly test new features for a number of global providers. Letting tech do the volume of the work allows me to refine the subtleties.

I believe that my experience closely reflects the demands of the role at Shihan Corp:

  • Three years at a global fintech leader – conferences, presentations and sales events.
  • Global employee of the month for my simultaneous translation leadership.
  • Influencer on financial translating on social media – with over 45k followers.
Copied!

Aim of the cover letter body: Convey how this employer would benefit from your qualifications as an experienced translator consistently demonstrating excellence.

How to close a translator cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The final paragraph of your letter may contain some kind of summary of what you’ve already said, as well as a thank-you to the employer for taking the time to consider your application. But it should also contain a call to action — a hint that you are eager to talk more about how you can help this employer with its needs. 

Close with a simple “Sincerely,” “All my best” or “Merci beaucoup,” and type your full name below that. If you’re sending this letter electronically, you may wish to add your actual scanned signature, though this extra touch is not essential.

For example:

Adaptable cover letter example of the conclusion & sign-off

I would welcome an interview to understand the translation projects that you have in your pipeline and have a professional portfolio available should you have an interest.

Sincerely,

Harry Malpelli

Copied!

Cover letter design and formatting

While the structure of a cover letter governs what it contains, the format is about how it looks. And that’s just as important as what it says.

An attractive, well-designed cover letter conveys professionalism, attention to detail and respect for your client — hopefully all qualities that you practice in your translation work. Our cover letter samples offer a wide range of design ideas.

Here are some critical guidelines to follow for a well-formatted cover letter:

  • Fonts: Choose a modern, commonly used font that’s easy on the eye and easy to read — nothing avant-garde or weird-looking.
  • Font size: Use a font no larger than 12 points and no smaller than 10. If your letter is too long to fit on one page, trim your text before you resort to reducing your font size to cram it all in.
  • Text alignment: Text should be aligned left, not justified from margin to margin.
  • Paragraphs: In the old days, it was acceptable to indent paragraphs, with no space between them, but those days are gone. Do not indent paragraphs, put a space between them, and don’t make them too long.
  • Margins: Create some white space on the outside of your letter by using a 1-inch margin on the left, right, top and bottom.
  • File format: Unless you’re printing your letter and dropping it in a mailbox, save it as a PDF. The free and universally used Portable Document Format preserves the formatting of your letter so that it will look the same on your recipient’s computer as it does on yours. Otherwise, if you use accents or special characters (¡Así!) or ñ’s (as in mañana), these may turn into garble on someone else’s device.
  • Use a professionally designed template : You can avoid most if not all potential design errors by using a professionally designed cover letter template like those we offer at resume.io.

Psychology tips for writing an effective cover letter

Translators and interpreters have always been useful in global diplomacy. Diplomacy is the art and science of smoothing relations between people from different places, in part by understanding how people from different cultures think. 

The most effective translators understand the subtleties of different languages, and the potential pitfalls of translating one of them crudely and inappropriately into another. 

So as a translator, you should be no stranger to the idea of getting into someone else's head and anticipating how a given message will be received. And that’s exactly what you need to do when you compose your cover letter. Our cover letter example does just that.

Perhaps you know exactly what you want to say in your letter. Now suspend that idea, and ask yourself: “What kind of letter does this company want to receive?” Always remember that this letter should not be about your wants and needs, but about the wants and needs of the company. Remember also that you’re writing to a human being, so don’t write like a robot. 

Psychologists say human beings make a great many decisions on a subconscious, emotional level, not on a purely rational level. Don’t be afraid to use emotional, personal language that appeals to the heart as much as to the head.

Cover letter mistakes to avoid

We once saw a sign in a bathroom in Costa Rica trying to tell people to put their toilet paper in the trash. But it was translated “Deposit the role within the dump”! We all make mistakes. Here are some you need to avoid in your cover letter.

  • Typos: You have ONE PAGE to write — in a letter in which you’re presenting yourself as a linguistic expert. If you can’t write one page without typos, misspellings or bad grammar, why should anyone hire you?
  • Clichés, lazy writing and fluff: If you say you’re a “team player,” we’d say 1985 called and wants its cliché back. If you’re tempted to write something that sounds good because you’ve heard it a thousand times, then delete it and write something nobody has ever read before.
  • Generic, copy-paste letters: Every cover letter should be unique and targeted to the needs of a specific employer. No photocopies needed!
  • Irrelevant info: If you love baking, Labradoodles and scrapbooking, nobody cares. Use the precious space in your cover letter to explain what makes you a great translator, and leave out anything that’s irrelevant.
  • Bad formatting: Ignore all our advice on fonts, formatting and file types at your peril, because any of these design errors can lead to immediate rejection.

Key takeaways

  1. Translators have the rare advantage of facing great job prospects, but to rise above the competition you’ll need a great pitch.
  2. There are no good translators who are bad writers, and your cover letter allows you to demonstrate that you’re a great writer.
  3. Follow the preferred structure of a cover letter to make sure you’ve included what’s necessary and omitted what isn’t.
  4. Follow the guidelines to attractive formatting and design, or else your letter may be an instant turnoff.
  5. Use your cross-cultural talents to peer into the mind of your correspondents, and write a letter that focuses on their needs, not yours.
  6. Use a professional cover letter template where the letter is already designed for you, and all you have to do is write it.

Scroll through the free, professionally designed templates at resume.io , find one you like, fill in your own information, and you’re done!

Buena suerte, bonne chance and viel Glück! Go get that dream job with a cover letter that almost writes itself!

If you’re looking for additional inspiration for cover letter writing, check out these and  other cover letter examples :

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Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
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