A Career as a Professional Translator Has Longevity Potential

This article is in partnership with Day Translations.

In the second issue of The Linguist Magazine compiled by Day Translations there is a feature about working as a remote professional translator. More specifically, author Alejandra Fonseca, who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Day Translations, shared some insights about the opportunities for digital nomads with expertise in translation to work in the UK, making the most of good earning potential coupled with the ability to work remotely and travel. The UK was chosen as one of the countries where professional translators can access numerous projects.

The UK translating industry was estimated at £1.35 billion in 2019 and it has been calculated that there are about 1,600 translating companies in the UK. The same report also saw the video games sector as the one with the fastest growth for translation and localisation services.

The Linguist Magazine article on remote translators ends on an uplifting note, encouraging the reader to “embrace the nomadic linguistic lifestyle”.

The career of a professional translator, who works remotely and who can organise their schedule to accommodate further training and networking, has the potential to be a long and successful one with adequate planning. While the majority of people wait until retirement to start travelling, remote workers and digital nomads can strike the right balance between working and travelling. With careful budgeting, they can maintain this lifestyle for years to come, if they so wish, providing translation services in the long term.

How To Make Your Professional Translator Career Future-Proof

While it’s difficult to predict how any career will look like in only one year’s time (we are looking at you, AI, “stealing all our jobs”!), there are a few factors to consider to ensure you have a long-lasting career that can take you to a comfortable retirement or that can be an activity you can continue after retirement to keep your brain engaged.

If we look at the average career of a professional translator, it takes at least five years to become established and have a steady income from reliable clients. After five years, translators tend to specialise in a niche field and also become tutors and trainers to more junior translators.

Here are three main factors to have a long career in translation services:

  • continuous professional training
  • keeping up to date with technology
  • networking.

Continuous Professional Training

The work of a translator never stops: even during your downtime, you need to invest in further training to stay competitive. A good way to keep track of your achievements including all qualifications gained in your career is to have a comprehensive online portfolio that demonstrates your expertise backed with client endorsements. LinkedIn can be an option for this as it displays feedback from former and current clients/employers.

Keeping Up To Date with Technology

There is no escape from the constant development of new translation apps and software tools. Translators are expected to be familiar with the most popular tools as well as having an understanding of new tools, which can be a requirement for specific projects.


Nothing quite beats in-person networking, but realistically most of your networking to find new clients is going to be online.

What companies are the industry leaders in your chosen sector (medical, legal, gaming etc)? Once you have created a shortlist of global companies with a track record of having multilingual content, you can research who the key decision-makers are within such organisations. Approaching them with a short message containing a proposal with your translation services can be an opener for further discussion. Of course, you need to be prepared for a few rejections: it’s a numbers’ game.

You Shape Your Own Future as a Translator

Ultimately, it is up to you to create the future you want. While most translators work in isolation, especially when they choose to be remote/nomadic, it is important to speak to colleagues on a regular basis as they can be a valuable source of information about developments in the industry, current projects and potential referrals.

Also, having years of experience can benefit you in the long term for highly complex projects and senior roles that have added requirements such as a previous background in a specific sector (this could further need special clearances to access sensitive information).

Working beyond retirement can provide valuable intellectual stimulation to keep your mind sharp while also getting to read foreign books and watch foreign movies as “homework”.