What Does Working As A Translator Involve And Requires [2021]

Whether you are just starting to work as a translator or aspiring to be one, it is a good idea to know what to expect working as one.

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Although to be a freelance translator you don’t need to have a university degree, there are a series of requirements that you must meet if you want to stand out in the market and offer a professional service. 

Being a freelance translator involves continuing to study and learn constantly, getting the necessary certifications for the niche you want to dedicate yourself to, and keeping an active search for clients. 

To boost your freelance career you must learn to promote yourself by different means, thus you will be able to create a reputation and become a recognized translator.

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Translation Jobs And Career Paths


The field of translation is very wide, and its different niches differ greatly from each other. It is also a job that can be very flexible since it can be done remotely, online. 

In general, a translator who works in the legal area will hardly be able to work in the technical area. It is important that you choose your niche and that you master it.

General Translators


They can translate texts of any kind, as long as they do not require highly specialized knowledge. 

It is a good way to be open to different job opportunities, but there is also more competition.

Specialized Translators


They focus on specific subjects, which can be very varied. This has the advantage that not everyone can translate texts in these fields, which makes their work more valued and better paid. 

The downside is that if their niche is very small, the volume of available jobs is reduced and needs to be expanded.

Scientific Translator


These types of translators are in charge of working with texts related to some scientific area, such as medicine, biology, chemistry, among others. 

To dedicate yourself to this niche it is not only necessary to master the language but also to become familiar with the necessary terms. 

In general, these texts will be published on specialized platforms, so they need to be translated with accuracy and fidelity to the original text. 

Technical Translator


In this niche, the freelancer must translate manuals, guides, tutorials, among others. All these documents are usually related to mechanical issues.

Software Translator

In this type of translation, the freelancer must be in charge of adapting software programs, apps, or video games. 

For this you should use special tools since the text to be translated is usually embedded in the code of the software.

Legal Translator


Specializes in legal documents such as contracts, judgments, commercial agreements. 

Added to the difficulty of mastering both languages are the important differences that exist, for example, between Latin law (common in most of Europe) and Anglo-Saxon law.

Literary Translator


Here the translator must adapt literary works to a different language, taking care to preserve the style of the characters, their way of speaking, and even colloquialisms. 

For this job, the translator must be very careful since they must imitate the voice of the author but in another language. 

Sometimes the professionals who are dedicated to this type of translation are also writers by trade, but it is not mandatory. 

Audiovisual Translator


These professionals are dedicated to translating audiovisual content such as recordings, videos, and films. 

These translations can be used in various ways: transcriptions, dubbing, subtitles, and even audio descriptions for the visually impaired. 

In the same way, as in literary translation, audiovisual translator must pay special attention to replicating expressions and colloquialisms to maintain the essence of the original text, so that this is later interpreted by a voice actor.

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The Daily Life Of A Translator


Being an online translator is a very pleasant experience and a job that many want to have. 

The fact of being able to work from anywhere, being your own boss, being able to travel without limitations and continue working, is something that many people cannot afford but that can be the reality of any freelancer who dedicates themself to translation. 

Check Tasks For The Day


To fulfill all the tasks of the day, making a to-do list is an excellent idea to carry out everything in order. 

For that, it is recommended to evaluate which tasks have higher priority and focus on those that need to be delivered sooner or those that are more difficult. 

Meeting deadlines and fulfilling your commitments in the best possible way for each job is key to maintain a good image for your clients. 

Each client trusts that you will deliver what they asked for at the right times, so you should not disappoint them.

Send And Reply Emails


Emails are the most professional way to carry out your communication with clients. 

At the beginning of your journey, it will be wise to check your email to see if a regular client has written to you or if a potential client wants information about your services. 

It is recommended to respond to your emails as soon as possible since clients value the attention and speed. 

If it is an email from a potential client, you will want to respond to their concerns before they decide to contact another translator. 

Attend Pending Tasks


This is the day of freelancers in general, meeting their commitments and fulfilling their responsibilities. 

You will invest a large part of your day doing this, so you should optimize your time to be able to do everything you need on that same day. 

Leaving tasks incomplete can affect your workflow in the following days, your results, and your relationship with clients.

Take A Rest


Although it may sound strange, resting should also be part of every freelance translator’s routine. 

This consists of taking small breaks between hours after you finish certain tasks or every so often. 

These short breaks will help you not to get tired and therefore avoid accumulating stress. 

Doing some stretching or walking around the house for a while, is a good idea that will help you keep your body comfortable. 

Also, by doing this you will prevent the damage that can be caused by spending so much time sitting in a chair or writing on the computer.

Study Or Practice


No freelancer should ever stop learning new things. 

In this work area, you have the advantage that the grammar and language rules, in general, do not change, but you must keep up to date with the terms that are used in your niche. 

On the other hand, if you want to work in a new niche, you must learn the terms and words that are used to master that area. For this, you can take courses on the internet or get some certification.

Plan Routines


This consists of planning what you should do the next day or the following week, to have more clarity about your priorities. 

The more order and planning you have in your work, the better. 

By doing this the freelance translator will know how much time they should dedicate to their work the next day, how much time they have to complete some projects and so the next morning they will not waste time organizing their schedule. 

Being orderly will bring you excellent benefits, such as better workflow and better clarity when deciding whether or not you can accept new projects.

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Helpful Programs And Apps


When you work from home, it is difficult to separate work from your daily life. Sometimes they even overlap and you cannot distinguish the hours you dedicate to each one. 

The problem is, when that happens, your working hours lengthen but your productivity plummets. 

That is precisely why productivity is one of the pending tasks of many freelancers. Maybe it is your case. Time is our best resource and luckily some apps and tools will help you make the most of it.

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This is a powerful task manager with a very clear and simple design. Although we would say that the task manager is somewhat short since this tool includes calendars, lists, reminders, agenda and daily planners, etc. 

It has voice recognition and a list of common tasks that will save you a good time. It is a very complete tool, it is free and is available for most devices.

Déjà Vu


It is a translation program that has a trial version for one month. It allows you to create projects with multiple sections, files, and languages and has compatibility with other computer-assisted translation tools. It is available for Windows.



It is an excellent project manager and highly recommended to improve productivity. It is very easy to use and has a very visual and flexible interface. 

It allows you to control any project at a quick glance. It includes many functionalities (lists, notes, and comments, attached documents, expiration dates, etc.), of which the possibility of integrating it with other tools, such as Google Calendar, stands out.

Transit NXT


It is also one of the most used programs for computer-assisted translation. Its process starts from understanding each of the sentences from all the context. The 3-month license costs approximately $75.

Google Calendar


It is one of the best options to organize your work life. You can add events to your calendar from the mail, you receive notifications and reminders, which makes it easy for you to add recurring events and much more. 

Google Calendar is like having a little person behind the screen ready to help you out with everything.

Job Platforms For Translators


Job platforms are a great tool for freelancers who want to start attracting clients. 

If you do not have work experience, being part of a job platform will encourage you to obtain experience and whatever your level is, you will be able to have access to the same job opportunities as everyone. 

Although of course, to stand out you must offer competitive prices and know how to sell yourself.



In Upwork, it is simple to publish your work in your profile and get personalized offers. 

This website is home to thousands of top-notch professionals and beginners, which means that here you can find work on many translation projects. How does it work? 

On this platform, you can put yourself at the service of clients. You just have to worry about doing a good job, setting your hourly rate, and communicating your skills. 

You should focus on creating a good profile that makes it clear what your skills and experience are.

As you carry out work on this platform, clients will be able to evaluate you and thus you will build your reputation on this page. 

The better reviews and testimonials you receive, the more chances you will have of being selected in job offers or that clients take the initiative to invite you to their projects. 

This platform is a place where translators are in high demand and where you will surely find many attractive projects to apply for.

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On Fiverr, freelancers have to create their profiles and explain the type of services they offer along with samples of their work. 

Hirers are simply looking for the freelancers that best suit their needs and they can visit the profiles of freelancers and transparently view their profiles, work samples, and reviews of previous collaborators making the decision easier. 

On this platform, you can offer your translation services at the initial price of $5 and charge something extra for each correction or change that you must make if you specify it in the information of the package you sell.

Because any digital product or service can start selling for $5, it is a great place for a translator online to start their career. 

The reason is that the promotion of your services can be as creative as you want and that the prices among the competition are usually similar. 

The good thing about the millions of users on Fiverr is that there will always be someone interested in what you offer, and when you make sales you will receive a rating that will make you level up, the more levels you go up, the more sales you can make successfully.



In your Gengo account most of the time you will have work to do, but you decide how many texts to translate. It is not mandatory to do all of them. 

The translations you will need to do are mostly made up of short texts, in addition to being simple topics that do not require as much research. 

This website offers you many employment options, it has vacancies not only in one place but also in several different countries. 

The payment period varies between 10 and 25 days after each month begins. You can choose your own work schedule, as well as choose the number of texts to translate, whether they are many or few, which makes it more comfortable.



It is a professional community of translators. So far, they have managed to get more than 40,000 translators worldwide. 

Furthermore, it supports 28 languages. For a beginner, they pay around $8 per hour. As you grow as an expert translator, you can earn up to $18 per hour.

One of the best things about Unbabel is that it gives you the source and an AI-generated translation to help you. 

Plus, you don’t have to wait until the end of the month to get paid because they follow a weekly payment pattern through PayPal or Skrill.

Translator Town


This is a great place to look for an online translator job. It is a global translation job portal, connecting clients with translators and agencies. 

You just have to publish your translation work and you can easily earn money translating online. 

Basically, it is a network of freelance translators. Once you become a popular translator by delivering quality work, clients will contact you directly about your work.



This platform is an excellent way to earn extra income as a freelance translator. You can earn around $30 per hour while translating general texts. 

If you can translate rarer languages or expert texts (law, medicine, etc.) your income can be even higher. The availability of the texts depends on the languages you translate and your qualification.



Like other pages, it accepts freelancers to translate any type of topic. Any subject, area, such as science, technology, medicine, even personal topics. 

You can register on its page and be part of its extensive community, apart from the fact that it has the advantage of being a platform with quite a reputation in the online translation niche.

Here you can receive your payments at the end of the month, quickly and easily. Hundreds of jobs are assigned to translators every hour and you can decide your own rate per word. 

Another advantage of this platform is that it offers free training programs and resources, with powerful tools to make work easier.

Certifications You Should Consider


Although to work as an online translator it is not necessary to have a university degree, taking an online course or getting any certification is something that can greatly boost your professional career and opportunities. 

It all depends on the translation area you want to dedicate to, for example, if you want to be a legal translator, you are required to have a degree in order to work (court translators take an official exam).

If you want to provide your translation services in a medical area, clients will trust you more if you have experience or verifiable preparation to be able to translate the necessary terms correctly. 

For this, you can look for certification or an online course. On the other hand, to show your clients that you are an expert in the language you speak, you can take an exam that certifies your C1 or C2 level.

Marketing And Sales Tips


Learn How To Sell Yourself


To make yourself known as a translator and capture the interest of potential clients, you must learn how to offer your services, just as if you were the publicist of a business. 

So not only should you worry about perfecting your translation skills, but you should also learn about marketing for freelancers since that responsibility will be all yours. 

For this, you can take an online course that teaches you the best tricks to make yourself known.

Get A Portfolio Website


Having an online portfolio is key for every freelancer. First of all, this will make you look more professional, and second, having a website where you can display your work will increase the chances that potential clients can find you on the web. 

To build a portfolio is not complicated and there you can also show the service packages you offer, work you have done, and client testimonials. 

Also, posting articles that are of interest to the community of translators or clients, can greatly help your freelance translator website land clients.

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Increase Your Online Presence


If you want people to take you into account when they need a translator, you must show them that you are available and that you are the freelancer they need in their project. 

Create profiles on different social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and generate valuable content that the community would like to share. 

If you create this type of content on these platforms, people will perceive you as an expert and are likely to think of you when they need a translation.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Translator


This is something that every freelance translator without experience must know. You must be aware of all that this career entails, for better or for worse, to take this as your profession.


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What It Takes To Succeed


Being an online translator means being an expert in handling a language and how to transform it to correctly transmit information that cannot be misrepresented. 

To succeed in this niche you must make an effort, study and practice translating in the language you use and in the niche you have chosen, be it general or specific. 

On the other hand, although this career does not require a university degree, you should also strive to prepare yourself academically, to have a complete command of the languages you speak, and to be an expert in your work field. 

Working as a translator is a satisfying profession that allows you to have a lot of flexibility, but one that you must also carry out with great responsibility and professionalism.

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