04.07.2017 - Looking for Talent: 5 Reasons to Become a smartCAT Senior Translator

With applications now open for the second session of our peer certification program, we want to explain why you should give it a try and become a smartCAT Senior Translator.

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Posted by Vova.

Note: Complete program guidelines are available here, and you can apply here. The goal of the smartCAT Senior Translators program is to qualify translators providing high-quality service. Successful applicant will get higher search rankings in the smartCAT Marketplace (a part of the smartCAT ecosystem where customers search for freelancers). There’s no shortage in programs offering you to pass a test to get a certain job — or a place in the pool of translators of a given platform/agency/company. But we think that with Senior Translators we are creating something different, and here's why.

1. You get both immediate and long-term benefits

By becoming qualified as a smartCAT Senior Translator, you immediately improve your position in the search ranking🐦. For example, here are the search results for the Spanish to English pair as of today: Senior-Translators1.gif Five of the seven top-ranked freelancers on the smartCAT marketplace had become Senior Translators just a week ago🐦. Now, when any of the 1,000+ agencies or direct clients using smartCAT looks for a freelancer in that pair, they will see these guys in the first place. Given that we have a total of 90,000+ freelancers listed, that's quite a boost! Note the details in the GIF above: On smartCAT, you always work under your own rate and in your own name, raising your profile as you go🐦. You are not a nameless "Translator #123456" with an imposed rate of $0.06 per word (of which only $0.03 goes to you), but a respected professional whose profile is open and transparent.

2. You get to translate what you care about

Unlike most other tests, in the Senior Translators program you choose the text you will be translating. We don't want you to work on something that you don't care about at all. Although the list of eligible sources is limited, it's broad enough to suit almost any interest and specialization. Of course, you can opt not to choose, in which case we will find something for you ourselves. But we advise that you do — trust me, translating something you care about gives an instant +100 boost to your translation skills🐦 (that's also a general tip, by the way).

3. You get actionable feedback from your peers

One other distinctive feature of the Senior Translators program is that here applicants review each other's test translations (more specifically, four of them). Although we do face some challenges by following such an approach (I wrote and talked about them elsewhere), we trust in our community and in its ability to self-regulate — powered by the smart mechanisms we use to clear out the noise🐦. The key takeaway for you from it is that you are not left in the dark after completing your tests, whether you pass or fail them. You get actionable feedback from your colleagues that will help you improve your skills🐦. From comments you will read in the smartCAT document you'll be working on to detailed reviews you will get in the end, this is something you can make good use of — whether you agree with them or not.

4. You learn to be a reviewer yourself

The other side of the same process is that you get to review other people's work. Apart from applicants who are already professional reviewers, this is not something we translators are used to. But helpful it is! The more you read, analyze, and review other people's work, the more you understand about your own🐦. By seeing the mistakes others make, you learn not to make them yourself. And if they are good, you learn to be better, too. Another advantage is that good reviewers are actually as scarce as good translators are. We all heard stories about editors and proofreaders "vandalizing" translators' work. Well, you can make a difference. Who knows — maybe it'll become a path you will want to pursue?In any case, by "wearing their shoes" of a real reviewer, you can understand this job much better.

5. You become part of the ecosystem

(Warning: Emotional speech follows.) What is smartCAT? No, it's not a platform that lets customers find freelancers. Neither it is one that lets freelancers find jobs. We are neither client- nor translator-centric. It is not a one-way street. It is an ecosystem — and an ecosystem can only thrive if all of its elements thrive🐦. We don't want to play the "either-or" game. There are great translators and great customers and agencies, too. Our goal as an ecosystem is to make it easy for great companies and great translators to connect and collaborate🐦. This is the motivation behind the Senior Translators program — and behind everything we do. By joining the Senior Translators program, you are becoming a part of that ecosystem. You are claiming your right to be not a "resource" in others' hands, but a full-fledged participant of the translation industry. You're claiming your right to work in your own name, at your own rates, and without having to pay for tools that are essential for your work🐦. Sounds like a plan? Then apply here.

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