How to be a Successful Freelance Translator
4.6 (111 ratings)
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How to be a Successful Freelance Translator

A beginner's guide to earning a living through translation
4.6 (111 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,156 students enrolled
Created by Robert Gebhardt
Last updated 5/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 14 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Use your language and translation skills to earn a living working for yourself!
  • Earn a living through freelance translation
View Curriculum
  • This course is not limited to any specific language (although it is taught in English). It also doesn't teach you how to translate. Rather, it teaches you how to use translation to earn a living.

This is an introductory course that teaches you how to use your language abilities to work for yourself. You will learn how to earn a living on your own terms, so you can work on projects of your choosing, and can still be available for life's moments.

Learn How To Earn A Living Working Independently Through Freelance Translation.

  • Use your knowledge of languages to earn money
  • Learn how to become an independent translation professional
  • Find out how to work both yourself and for translation agencies, so you can get the best of both worlds
  • Become familiar with what agencies and clients look for, so you can be better positioned to get hired by them

Learn to view your second language as a second degree

Your second language truly is worth just as much as another university degree. It is a skill that is in high demand, and that can earn you more money and a more comfortable life. This course aims to help you use this skill to its full potential.

This course covers the preparation, how to be discovered by clients, as well as the translation process and, obviously, getting paid. Do you know where to find clients? How do you discern the useful clients from the wastes of time? How can you make sure they pick you as a translator? How will you get paid, and get paid on time? How can you avoid working for a pittance?

Content Overview

This course is structured to serve as reference material, so you can get through the whole course in around one week, but, as your career progresses, you will probably want to go back for refreshers, so to see how various steps can apply to your new situation.

Most of this course will be taught via videos, with some written notes and explanations for those wishing to go further in depth.

By the end of this course, you will be able to use your knowledge of languages to earn your own money online. You will know what is important in working for yourself, how to make yourself employable to new clients, and how to retain them once they have chosen you.

The world is becoming increasingly global, while jobs are less and less secure, and the Internet is, by now, near universal. Combine all these factors, and you have a perfect storm of opportunity for people who speak more than one language.

You've learned your language, and this course concentrates on what to do next, so you can use your abilities to choose jobs and clients that interest you.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for people who speak or can write in another language and would like to earn extra money, work from home, or work on their own terms.
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Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
4 Lectures 09:32

Welcome to How to be a Successful Freelance Translator! If you speak more than one language, there is no reason you cannot be earning a living working for yourself online. This course aims to help you achieve this.

When I was studying languages, this wasn't a career path most people were considering. Then again, when I was growing up it wasn't really possible to perform translations over the internet with clients all over the world. 

I now work from home and earn a living from my job as a Freelance Translator, and I realized that A) I made many avoidable mistakes on my journey here, and B) there is NO course out there that helps other people in my same shoes to avoid repeating these mistakes. 

So I decided to set up an online course that deals specifically with THE BUSINESS SIDE (as opposed to the language side) of Freelance translation. This teaches students to use their languages and translation skills to work for themselves, rather than as employees in an agency or as in-house translators for a company. 

This course covers the set-up, first contact with potential clients and agencies, how to attract the client's interest and maximize any chance of being selected, how to retain the client for future jobs, how to deal with payments (and lack thereof), as well as an array of tips and tricks of the trade and websites, programs and other resources they can use for their work and their workflow. 

What the course does NOT cover is linguistics and translation. Obviously, these will be unique for each language, so they are best covered by others. 

Preview 00:26

Let me know!
2 Lectures 18:12

This lesson covers your first day of preparation. By the end of the day you will have a Resume, personal photo and a list of services and specializations, which will all be ready for any translation website or agency.

This isn't a very long day, and you can always feel free to cover two days at once, if you wish. The goal is to divide the process into manageable steps you can take one day at a time.

Preview 08:55

By the end of this lesson you will have your very own personal website, which will act like an online business card where potential clients can always find you. It will also make you easy to find when people are searching for translators in your language combination.

This lesson also covers some extra tips, and what potential clients will be looking for in you as a translator.

This isn't a very long day, and you can always feel free to cover two days at once, if you wish. The goal is to divide the process into manageable steps you can take one day at a time.

Day two: Your website
Setting up your accounts
4 Lectures 37:16

This Lesson walks you through the process of registering for all the main freelance websites. You can use all the information you prepared in Section 2, so you should be able to register for quite a few websites relatively quickly.

I also talk about how the various websites works, some good and bad point of each, and which ones I think are worth it or not.

Freelance websites (1 hour max per website)

Translation Websites 1: A Walk-through

Translation Websites 2 (1 hour max per website)

Translation agencies (1 hour max per agency)
Starting Strategy
2 Lectures 26:33

In this lesson we go over the pricing strategy, including what I recommend and some good and bad points for each strategy.

In this lesson I mention Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and the website I use for this is: (I have no affiliation with this website). It is a paid website, but I find it well worth the money.


In this lesson you will learn about some other starting strategies for getting noticed and chosen by prospective clients. I also featured a sample personalized introduction.

I have also added a downloadable sample application letter, like the one I show in the lesson, which you can personalize and use with your own applications. 

Some Strategies for Starting Out
3 Lectures 31:55

Active Marketing means Marketing that needs to be acted on. This is the most effective type of marketing and you will have to work on this type of marketing throughout your career. But the beginning of your career is when it's most important, since your first clients are what lead to your first track record, your first sample translations, your first references, referrals and ratings. 

Active Marketing

Passive Marketing is Marketing you only need to set up once at the beginning. While you can choose to be active with this type of marketing if you wish, it can also be treated as a "Set it and leave it" type of marketing. This means it can help with Marketing your business passively, without you having to worry about it. 

Passive Marketing

Here are some General Marketing Strategies. More precisely: 'A.I.D.A.' and 'The Chicken and the Egg.' 

Some General Marketing Strategies
Getting Paid: What to do after you are assigned a job
2 Lectures 33:42
Getting Paid

I have now added an invoice template based on the one I discuss in the video. The parts in red need to be filled out by you, and you can feel free to tweak or change any other parts in order to personalize it as much as you like, but hopefully this helps. And hopefully the formatting is ok. For some reason Excel seems to look different on every computer. 

Thank you Mario for bringing it up!

Preview 20:00
Tips and Tricks
10 Lectures 01:03:02
Tips and Tricks - Intro

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

Tips 1 - OCR

Tips 2 - Time Management

Tips 3 - Shares, Commissions, Rush Jobs

Tips 4 - Apps I recommend

Tips 5 - Support System

Tips 6 - CAT Tools

Tips 7 - Glossary, and Translation Tips

Tips 8 - 80/20 Analysis

Tips 9 - Book Recommendations
Closing Remarks
1 Lecture 01:50

Thank you for following all these lessons, and I hope you follow through and wish you all the best with your careers as freelance translators. 

Please do keep in touch and let me know how things work out for you, including any points that worked well, or that didn't work, or things I may not have mentioned that worked well for you. 

Once again, you can find the information from this course in written form, as a book, here:

I recommend the Kindle version, rather than the physical book version. 

All the best!

Closing Remarks
About the Instructor
Robert Gebhardt
4.7 Average rating
120 Reviews
1,801 Students
2 Courses
Entrepreneur, Translator

I am a translator from Switzerland, specializing in Italian-English translations (Italian is one of the official Swiss languages, in case you were wondering). 

I have been translating ever since I can remember. In high school I started translating documents here and there for extra money, which continued throughout college and grad school. It took me two jobs (and a Master's degree) to realize that, since translation was always my go-to for extra money, it probably made sense to try making a career out of it. This made even more sense when I realized that most, if not all, of my work could be performed over the web, so I could have a web-based job without knowing how to work on websites.

I spent the last 2 years in Taiwan (and the one before that in Shanghai) and my clients are in the United States, Europe, and China. Freelance translation has allowed me to earn a living while traveling around East Asia.

I am now back in Switzerland and still earning a living from Freelance Translation.