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It might be easy to assume that if you can speak two languages you can be a translator, but of course, it’s never that simple! You have to be able to write as well. Have a look at our section on freelance writing and you’ll see what we mean when it comes to writing properly. As a translator you can’t just translate ‘word for word’ as what you end up with might make no sense at all. You have to look at the meaning of the text and to make changes where necessary, so that it reads well, but still says what the original writer meant it to say.

On top of that, if you’re translating documents which are very industry-specific – for example something IT-related – you have to have knowledge of that particular industry if you’re going to make a good job of it. If you don’t know the finer detail of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL) and Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) in English, you don’t stand much chance in a foreign language!

To become a freelance translator you’ll need a significant amount of translation experience, excellent language skills and ideally a degree in translation as well. So, assuming that you have all of this, what comes next?

Many translators start off doing a little freelance work in their spare time whilst still holding onto a full time job. If you’re doing this or thinking of doing this it’s probably a good idea to have a chat with an accountant as there may be tax implications you should be considering and maybe also allowances you aren’t taking advantage of.

There are numerous benefits of freelancing, for example the freedom and flexibility to work for as many different types of client as you like as well as the obvious benefit of increasing your take home pay. In fact our freelancer take home pay calculatorshows you how much you can expect to take home as a freelancer.

Having made the decision to give it a go, whether full or part time, and whether to set up as a sole trader or limited company, you’re going to need a wide range of tax and accountancy advice and support in the early days when setting up as a freelancer.

Good luck on becoming a translator, we hope you found this page helpful. You may also find the following pages helpful:

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