13 Useful Tips to Succeed as a Home Translator

Being a translator from home is a great advantage : you can do your job more comfortably without having to travel , you save money because it is not necessary to rent an office … But what is the key to success? Here are 13 helpful tips for you to succeed as a home translator.

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    1. Become a qualified translator
    2. Check if in your country you need to be registered or if
       you must pay taxes
    3. Evaluate the situation of your house
    4. Build your own workspace
    5. If you do not have a home suitable for receiving 
       customers, this can be a problem.
    6. Create a good working environment
    7. Make sure you have everything you need
    8. Organize your time
    9. Translate only into your native language
    10. Specialize in a subject
    11. Establish competitive prices
    12. Choose from the beginning if you are going to charge by 
        word or by hour
    13. Charge a small percentage in advance
  The best places to be a home translator
       1. Translation agencies
       2. Internet

1. Become a qualified translator

This is evident. If you want to be a professional translator, ideally you should obtain a degree (or a combination of studies) in translation and interpretation, linguistics , comparative literature, or intercultural communication. If you have studied another type of career but prefer to dedicate yourself to the translation, introduce yourself to one of the official exams of the language with which you wish to work.

Become a qualified translator

For English , the most common are TOPIC , which certifies the level of English in the workplace, IELTS general training , to justify the command of the English language at work, or Cambridge University – First exams , Advanced and Proficiency – that guarantee the general English level of the person).

Check if in your country you need to be registered or if you must pay taxes

Some countries have different laws and require different things based on whether you work from home or not.

Evaluate the situation of your house

Do you have plenty of space in your home ? Do you live with someone else? Can you receive potential clients in your home? These issues are very important because there are translators who prefer to communicate with their clientele only by email or telephone.
Or going directly to the workplace of the company that hires them. But others prefer to come to their home to negotiate working conditions or talk about possible projects that arise.

Evaluate the situation of your house

4. Build your own workspace

Do you have a room at home that you almost do not use, or where you only keep old junk? Use it as your own office . Choose a room and put there your computer and other materials you need instead of taking your laptop from one room to another.

This will also help if you live with other people (your parents, siblings, partner, or roommates) know that they should not bother you when you are inside that room working.

Business from home

5. If you do not have a home suitable for receiving customers, this can be a problem.

If you choose to deal with the person who hires you at home , try adapting it so that it really looks like a place of work (although this requires time and money) or meeting them somewhere outside (which is less comfortable).

6. Create a good working environment

Set up your office from home in a separate room where no one will bother you when you work. Install a comfortable desk where you can concentrate, decorate that place to your liking and organize space well. Choose well because, if you succeed, it is the place where you will spend many hours.

Home Translator

7. Make sure you have everything you need

As a home translator, you probably do not need a lot of things: a computer, internet connection, a printer, dictionaries , and some office supplies will suffice. But make sure you have everything you are going to use, and, if possible, within reach of your hand so you do not waste too much time looking for these things.

Translator Tools

Organize your time

This is always important, but especially when working from home because you can create the illusion that you do not have to work and start leaving work away easily. Do yourself a schedule, be sure to work efficiently and meet deadlines .

Organize time

9. Translate only into your native language

It does not matter if you think that you speak like a native of another language, because you will always escape some subtleties in that language. Translate is not simply transferring texts from one language to another, each language is also linked to their culture .

Only a native speaker will be able to adapt certain concepts of their culture and find the appropriate expression to avoid literal translations or misunderstandings.

Translate to English

10. Specialize in a subject

When you are a translator from home or in a company, it is very frustrating to work with texts on topics you do not know. If you are not a lawyer , doctor, or computer scientist, how will you be able to understand the technical concepts of these professions in another language?

Specialize in a subject

That is why it is necessary that when translating is only about a topic that you really know about . Are you a computer engineer? Then he accepts only jobs to translate things related to computing.
You will not make less money , on the contrary: people who hire a translator from home values ​​and pays more to those who specialize in only one or two specific subjects .

Establish competitive prices

If you have little or no translation experience , you should start by charging very little or doing volunteer work (free of charge) before doing it professionally . After this training period , it is better to have lower rates because you will not have enough experience to charge more. Over time, and as you build up more translations done, you can increase your translator rates from home and earn more money.

Translator prices


Choose from the beginning if you are going to charge by word or by hour

Sometimes the person who hired you will establish that for a translation you will be paid a fixed money (here you will have no possibility of negotiation, and if you think that there are too many pages for a ridiculous amount of money , you can reject the work). But on many occasions they will ask you to tell them the budget you want to establish: or charge for hours , or charge for each written word . It is best to decide this from the beginning to establish your rates and know how much you will earn exactly.

Translate by words

Hourly charge: this option is the least used in general. It is true that translators earn more with this method (if you charge $ 50 an hour and work 10 hours, you will earn $ 500).

But people who hire a translator from home do not like it because they do not know exactly what the final price of the service will be; And for that reason, the translator does not have his salary insured either.

Sometimes the client can not afford this payment and when they finish the job they will tell you that they will pay you much less money (if your translation has taken you 10 hours and the final price is $ 300 ,

Collect by word: this is the most popular method for the translator from home . The customer knows from the beginning how much he will pay (and whether he can afford it or not) and how much you are going to earn .

If you also translate novels, you will gain even more because you have to use more poetic and elaborate sentences (which means more words ) than for example when translatinga medical or computer study .

Charge a small percentage in advance

Ideally in this world no one would take advantage of others, but unfortunately this is not so. Be cautious with the person you hire (especially if it is through the Internet). There are people who will ask you to translate a text , you will send it, and you will never know anything else about them ( or your money ). So if they give you the option, ask them for a percentage of the money in advance (30% is usually normal). That way you will avoid (at least in most cases) being ripped off and losing money and time.

Charge in advance


The best places to be a home translator

Translation agencies

In all countries and cities, there is always at least one translation agency . Many of these agencies receive a large volume of documents, emails, and letters that need to be transcribed . And send them to a translator from home who specializes in that language to translate them in a certain time. Send your resume to these agencies to hire you and with which you can work from home ; If you do not know how to contact them or locate them, put in Google “translation agencies” and your city or country, and you will see how they appear more than you thought.

Translation agencies


Sometimes translated documents are needed so quickly that the Internet has become the perfect tool for this. In the network there are thousands of jobs as a translator from home , from temporary where someone needs a translated text urgently, to some more stable and lasting.

Search for translator offers from home on sites like Upwork , Freelance Work , ProZ , or Translators Café , the most famous on the net .

Here you will find all kinds of offers , from simple ones that will not require you to have experience, to other more complex ones like long translations of books or scientific studies .