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What should I do if my recommender is not fluent in English?

Having a recommender who isn’t fluent in English doesn’t have to be a significant hurdle. Here are some proactive steps you can take to navigate this situation:

Explore Alternatives: Ideally, your recommender should be comfortable writing a strong letter in English that effectively showcases your skills and potential. If possible, consider alternative candidates who can provide a well-written recommendation in English.

Translation Options (if necessary): If a non-English speaking recommender is your best choice, explore translation options:

  • Professional Translation: A qualified translator can professionally translate the letter into English. This ensures accuracy and maintains a professional tone. However, be aware that this can incur additional costs.  
  • Recommender Provides Original + Your Translation: Your recommender can write the letter in their native language and provide you with the original copy. You can then translate it into clear, professional English, ensuring accuracy and capturing the essence of their recommendation.

Clear Communication is Key: Regardless of the chosen method, clearly communicate expectations with your recommender:

  • Provide Information: Share details about the program/position you’re applying for, including any specific requirements or areas the recommender should highlight.
  • Offer Resources: If opting for translation, consider providing your recommender with resources like program descriptions or relevant vocabulary lists to aid their writing.

Proofreading and Editing:  Whether the letter is originally in English or translated, politely ask your recommender if you can proofread the final version for any typos or grammatical errors before submission.

Program Requirements:  Double-check the program or position requirements regarding recommendation letters in a non-native language. Some institutions may accept translated versions alongside the original, while others might have specific guidelines.

~ By being proactive, exploring translation options, and maintaining clear communication, you can ensure your recommender, regardless of their native language, can still provide a valuable and impactful recommendation letter that strengthens your application.

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