More Metrics to Get Hired by Agencies: Worked Volume
Just a few days ago, we stressed how important it is to let agencies and private clients know (especially the first group, which is more 'accustomed' to such metrics) about our work speed. Today, we're bringing to the table another very significant metric, tightly related to it - worked volume or, for friends, 'how many words you have translated in your career'.
Weight Your Words. Even in Communications.
At this point, we should start realizing (if we didn't yet) that agency recruiters, especially in big agencies, work with data and metrics. Receiving freelance translators' applications from virtually any place in the world, at possibly any given time, they need to quickly assess not dozens, but hundreds of applications a day. That's really a lot!
This is why I keep telling you that being too verbose about your skills, experience, education, and whatnot is effective only if kept short and straight to the point. Of course, if you have a lot of things to say, it makes sense. But in the measure where each sentence actually adds key information for the recruiter.
For that exact reason, one metric that might quickly show how long you've been in business is your total worked volume over the years. Bear in mind that this is not always indicative of your skill, as I know cases of translators with 10 years of experience that are better than translators with 20 years of experience.
What this metric surely tells, though, is your perseverance in the business. The more you've worked, the higher the work count will be. As simple as that. We're always going back to the concept of credibility in the eyes of the recruiter.
Calculate Your Average Worked Volume
Without further ado, let's see how you can formulate your worked volume.
Personally, what I like to do is calculate an 'average' of worked source words and occasionally update the word count in my message wherever I display that amount, such as on social media profiles.
Now, since I work with different services, but I want to show a quick summary of my worked volume with a single number, I calculate it like this:
Translation: 1 source word
Review: 0.5 source words
Post-Editing: 0.75 source words
That's pretty much it. I know that (on average) I'm twice as fast translating as compared to reviewing, so I just did the math, 1 / 2 = 0.5. Same thing for post-editing. You can change these numbers based on your work speed.
Now, you can just add a very short row to your message, such as '1,000,000 words translated'. It might not be super accurate, but I would avoid overloading the agency with information split by service unless they're expressly requiring it in a dedicated sheet. You'll also spend less time on applications as you write less.
I suggest you keep track of all these important metrics in a spreadsheet. It will help you in the long run, and you'll be able to have a quick overview of your improvements. There are both desktop software and web solutions for translators that do just that - keep track of your metrics. We'll talk about it in the future.
For now, let's keep focusing on building our message and resume.