Freelance Translation Work
Becoming a Freelance Translator

It probably goes without saying that you do need to have a good grounding in English and at least one other language to become a translator. Unlike interpreter work, almost all translation work can be done from home. In many cases companies transmit the work electronically so the work can be carried out anywhere in the world. Although you do not need any specialist knowledge, you will have a greater chance of obtaining translation work or getting a translator job, and commanding a higher rate of pay, if you have expertise in a particular field, say medical or legal training.


There are hundreds of translation service bureaux and agencies across the world, who will gladly add an extra translator to their books. Expect to be given a test piece of work to assess your ability. Register with as many companies as you can to increase your chances of being offered work.

In the UK, you can contact the Translators' Association at 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB. Telephone 0171 373 6642

In the US, you can visit American Translators Association at

In Australia try Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Incorporated

In Japan use Japanese Association of Translators

For more international organizations, visit

Verbatim Solutions provider of translation services to companies of all sizes, including Nokia, HP, Pfizer and Volvo have produced an excellent guide designed to help you get started in a career in translation.

Nor only do you get the excellent guide, "Bilingual? Make Money!" you also get a translator/interpreter starter pack which includes contact information for the leading translation agencies across the world, links to dozens of translation reference resources in over 20 languages, form templates and entry into the weekly drawing for a one year free subscription to Multilingual magazine.

If that's not enough, they even guarantee to provide you with your first paying translation job.

And all of this is available for under $20! Full details available here


Unless you're fortunate enough to be signed up with an agency that keeps you fully employed with work, it's highly likely you'll need to find ways of building a client base yourself. As most translation work now involves translating documents already in electronic format, geographical location becomes less of a consideration and the Internet is an ideal place to both find work and promote yourself. See for a list of online freelance project databases where you can register your services and bid on projects.

An increasing number of freelance translators are now finding that creating their own website is bringing in business they would never have found otherwise. An excellent free 10 part e-mail course, The Service Sellers Masters Course, explains how to do this. Also available as an immediately downloadable free eBook. See for information.

For a good example of translators who've done just this, take a look at the following sites: - Written by an Irishman living in Berlin, it not only promotes his services but is also an educational website for students, translators and people looking for translations. - Created by a very successful translator, this site provides free reports (including a Free marketing ebooklet for Freelance Translators), message board, and the chance to subscribe to a free monthly newsletter of tips for translators. You can also purchase a copy of Tranmail, a list of 1700+ translation agencies around the world, or the highly recommended eBook "How to Earn $80,000/£50,000+ per year as a Freelance Translator". (Chapter 1 can be downloaded free)



Click here for a list of US companies believed to be looking for translators worldwide

Or try the following websites (in no particular order):

Live Translation provides professional translation in minutes from only $1.99. If you are a native speaker of the language you want to translate into, hold a degree or other linguistic qualification and have at least one year's commercial experience then they would like to hear from you to become a translator for their unique online translation service. Live Translation pays it's translators a fixed price of $0.08 / £0.05 / Ä0.06 per word depending on your location, and paid through Paypal. The agency does not accept projects over 300 words so is ideally suited to fitting around existing work. Simply login when you have some spare time and you'll be allocated the next available job. No software to download or formatting required - just simple text. Full details available from - subscribe to a free monthly newsletter of tips for translators plus free reports, message board, and more. Get your copy of Tranmail, a list of 1000+ translation agencies around the world, or " How to Earn $80,000/£50,000+ per year as a Freelance Translator"

Roevin Translation Services - Roevin is a leading language translations and interpreting company, providing a international translation services in over 60 languages including English to Russian Translation in a range of technical fields, including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, legal, financial and medical. They have exclusive access to a global network of linguists with specialist qualifications and skills in their native language.

It is a Roevin requirement for all their translators to be educated to degree level, holding a recognised post-graduate Translation Qualification and / or membership of an official Translation Body such as the Institute of Translation & Interpreting. A certain level of experience in the field of translation is preferred. If you wish to be considered email your CV to connects job seekers with better Spanish and Portuguese jobs, mainly within the US. They provide access to the most progressive, high-growth companies, using personalized tools to make the process effective and convenient. Candidates can post resumes anonymously free of charge, receive emails instantly announcing new job opportunities that match their profile, join their 'industry standard' discussion lists/forum, and read expert advice on job-seeking. In some fields, LatPro.comís free newsletters are the leading online communication! offers employers and recruiters free and effective recruiting solutions, including free job postings and instant resume searching for thousands of high-quality professionals. Free directory and job posting service for translators, translation users, and translation agencies, free for both potential translation buyers and translation providers. a free list of translators, as well as resources and products for people needing translations. - Institute of Translation and Interpretation, United Kingdom Searchable database of translators, based in the Netherlands. Add your own details. Lots of useful links, Database of NCTA translators and translation companies, dictionary reviews, etc., etc. Translatorsí On-Line Resources - dozens of links to useful sites, including several mailing lists to join

For the most comprehensive directory of translators links, take a look at Neotext


Translation agency, Lingo24 provide articles on translation, including the language translation industry from people in the know and a light-hearted look at languages and the translation industry. You'll also find the latest news from the translation industry and a career guide for linguists interested in finding out more about the translation industry.

 The following books are all suited to the beginner. Click on the titles to go to to order, or if you are in the UK, check out for the UK selection, available through Amazon UK.


The Translator's Handbook, Sixth Edition by Morry Sofer

The writing in this handbook for novice technical (as opposed to literary) translators may be workmanlike, but the information is invaluable.

The author, Morry Sofer, has been translating for 30 years and has run a translation service contracting with hundreds of translators for the last 15 years. Among the many fields requiring technical translation are automotive, computers, engineering, law, medicine, and telecommunications. The Translator's Handbook includes chapters on the history of translation, sources of translation work, and the quirks of translating in various languages (for instance, in four different U.S. Hispanic communities, there are four different words for "eyeglasses").

More than half the book is composed of appendices, one more useful than the next. The first features 64 pages' worth of dictionaries and reference volumes for a whopping 64 languages. Others list agencies, organizations, and companies likely to require translation work; information about translation courses and accreditation; and periodicals for professional translators.


Becoming a Translator: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Translation by Douglas Robinson

Paperback - 320 pages. Routledge; 2nd edition (October 1, 2003)

Becoming a Translator has been specifically designed for introductory undergraduate courses in the theory and practice of translation. It will also be of interest to professional translators and students of translation and language. This innovative book integrates translation theory and the practical skills required by the working translator. Highly recommended by several translation agencies.



Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications by Jeremy Munday

Paperback - 224 pages. Routledge; (June, 2001)

Jeremy Munday is lecturer in Spanish Studies at the University of Surrey and is a freelance translator, lexicographer, and materials writer. His publications include Spanish vocabulary books and translations of Latin American fiction.

Introducing Translation Studies is an introductory textbook providing an accessible overview of the key contributions to translation theory. A very wide variety of text types is analyzed, including a tourist brochure, a children's cookery book, a Harry Potter novel, the Bible, literary reviews, a technical text, and a football report.

Translation and Translating : Theory and Practice (Applied Linguistics and Language Study) by Roger T. Bell

Price: $31.03

Paperback (October 1991) Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0582016487


Introduction to Spanish Translation by Jack Child

Price: $29.50

Paperback - 236 pages (April 1, 1992) University Press of America; ISBN: 0819185892


The Art of Translating Prose by Burton Raffel

Price: $35.00

Hardcover - 169 pages (May 1994) Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (Txt); ISBN: 0271010800




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