Skills you must have to be successful as a Freelance Translator

Every success requires much effort and time. If you are on your way to become a freelance translator, you will need to improve these skills.

   1. Language skills

This is the first and decisive condition to be a translator. In another words, you must master your source language and the target language must be your mother tongue.

Language skills include writing, reading comprehension skills and cultural knowledge.

  • Writing skills in your native language

Being good at writing means that you can write well with excellent grammar and different writing styles. If you are only nearly bilingual, you had better translate into your native language as the translatio

n companies do not appreciate the translation from non-native translators. Also, your translations will be read by native speakers who has even more experience in the field than you do, so if you cannot write at the right level, you and your clients will be in trouble.

  • Reading comprehension in your source language

– The skill is important as you have to under the source texts and know what you are translating.

  • Cultural knowledge

As a translator, your job is to help clients know when something does not work in target culture and avoid cultural misunderstanding as much as possible.


  • Spend time in a country where the source and target language are spoken to study the culture and keep up with the evolution of language.
  • Take classes regarding intercultural communication and study on the different cultures.
  • Read newspapers, books and magazines, watch TV and listen to radio in your source and target language
  • Take courses to improve your writing skills and writing style.
  • Study from the feedback of proofreaders on your translation

    2. Computer skills

As a translator, you work on a computer-aided translation tool (CAT tool) and MS Office (or similar) most of the time. Therefore, you must know how these programs and software work. Also, you need to type fast, even use a speech-to-text software program since you will need to edit the texts.

Moreover, knowledge of InDesign and Photoshop will be valuable when you are given a job where Destop Publishing is required. You can also offer the service to clients.

It is not bad at all if you know about HTML. For further details, you can refer these site,,


  • Take a course in computer skills
  • Learn from forums, blogs, Youtube
  1. Business skills

  • Customer service

In order to satisfy your clients, you must prove good customer service. Marketing skills are also valuable.


– Take class or online courses on marketing, customer service and other business skills

– Put them into practice

  • Self-motivation, organization, and discipline

– Working online, you must be motivated to continually market your service. This requires you to be organized and disciplined.


  • Read articles on how you can improve organizational skills and time management
  • Use smartphone to manage your time effectively

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