How to Become a Location-Independent Freelance Translator

When it comes to translating a document from English to French, Spanish to German or Cantonese to Afrikaans, it takes a lot more than just heading over to Google Translate and inserting the document for a quick translation filled with spelling and grammatical errors and sentences that don’t make much sense.

Insert a freelance translator.

As the connection between each region of the world continues and flourishes to new levels, more translators are needed to fill the need to convert a Dutch ebook into a Portuguese ebook or an Italian white paper into a Swiss white paper. Rather than adding someone to the payroll, companies will search for professional freelance translators who are experienced and offer a dependable service.

Despite English becoming the ubiquitous language all over the world, Mandarin, French, German and Urdu are still important languages when it comes to business relations and understanding a country.

If you’re quite the linguist and can speak at least two languages fluently then perhaps a career in freelance translation is for you. A freelance translator can work anywhere in the world at anytime and charges any amount ranging from $15 to $250 per hour. It’s an expertise in languages is certainly difficult to match.

Here are five ways to become a location-independent freelance translator:


Just because you may speak three different languages that doesn’t mean that you’re proficient in writing and translating. If a person can utter a conversation in English, French and German then they have an advantage and should gain necessary qualifications to ensure that they are equipped to translate important documents, articles, books and conference calls.

Attaining a specific qualification can improve your odds of gaining lucrative clients. Here are some to consider before venturing into the field of translation:

-  Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)

National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators

American Translators Association (ATA)

Certified Translation Professional (CTP) Designation Program certificates

-  National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)

It wouldn’t hurt to have impeccable typing skills as well.

20 percent discount
20 percent discount

Professional Website

A professional website informs prospective clients that you really do mean business and that you are astute in your area of expertise. When you launch a freelance translation career then you must invest in a professional website that includes a list of important details, such as contact information, services, experience and prices.

Freelance Websites

There are numerous websites marketed toward freelancers that allow clients and freelancers to connect and establish a deal. Freelancers can utilize a wide variety of outlets to locate translation work, including Elance, oDesk, Freelancer, Translation Directory and Simply Hired. Listings are updated every 10 to 15 minutes so be sure to check back on a regular basis and be one of the first individuals to submit a proposal to clients.

Read & Write All the Time

Remember, it’s important to know that great writers are great readers. So whatever your language specialty is be sure to read a lot of articles and books in those specific languages. For instance, if you translate Russian then read a novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky, if you translate English then read the Wall Street Journal and if you translate a lot of French then read Honore de Balzac.


Whether you’re a graphic designer or video marketing specialist, it’s crucial to have top-notch equipment at your home office. When working as a translator, it’s imperative to have great audio equipment, a headset, a professional workstation and a webcam to communicate with clients through Skype or Google Hangout.

By having superb equipment, you are ahead of your competitors by a step or two.

Are you a location-independent freelance translator? Let us know how you do it in the comment section.