When asked if they will accept to do a free trial, many translators, quite reasonably, reply that while pro bono work may be envisaged on occasions, free trials are not good professional practice.
In this age of the internet, there are, however, a number of easy-to-implement solutions.
One is to critique the work of others.
Dominique Jonkers Facebook page entitled Des pépites sur le bout de la langue is a good example in French.
Note, however, that this approach demands expertise and confidence and that the tone of the criticism must be pitch perfect so to speak.
Another is to show 'em what you can do, using the following approach:
- Find an web page of interest in your source language, irrespective of whether it is current or out of date.
- Translate it.
- Post your translation on your blog, website of whatever complete with translation notes, or, alternatively, format your translation as a Word or html document, or whatever format is most convenient.
- Send your link(s) or document(s) to anyone who asks.
What sort of notes?
First, some notes on preliminary assumptions.
Second, notes concerning liberties taken and readily anticipated comments or queries by prospective clients and colleagues.
Third, some miscellaneous notes indicative of the sorts of things that run through a translator's mind while working.