020 Translating Documents

If you are fluent in both your native language and a second or even third one, you can translate different types of content (documents, books, and other texts), making it a stress-free activity that allows you to work from home or even while traveling.

If you are lucky enough to be the son or daughter of an immigrant or have lived long enough in another country, chances are you are fluent in a second language. Or maybe you’ve studied modern languages (sorry, Latin-Greek won’t help you much here). No matter how you learned them, mastering several languages opens doors to a job where the demand is steady: translator.

Please note that I’m not talking about those who know another language only moderately well and are barely able to hold a basic conversation. No, I’m talking about real skills, in terms of grammar, spelling, and conjugating.

If you fit this profile, then you could use your talent to help others. You could work at home, or abroad as an expatriate, and earn money for translating various content sent to you.

Types of Content You Could Translate

In the age of 2.0 (or maybe we’re already at v3.0?), the different types of content you could translate are:

  • Traditional documents (text, Word, PDF, etc.)
  • Translation and transcription of audio or video files
  • Website language files (.po, .mo)
  • Paper book or ebook
  • Etc.

And the subjects you will be asked to translate are very broad and sometimes even quite specialized. In some cases, you will have to do research to be able to accurately translate specific terms related to them.

  • Medical
  • Legal/administrative
  • Technical
  • Literary
  • Finance-related
  • Etc.

How to find your clients?

The easiest and fastest way is to offer your services on various freelance marketplaces for freelancers. There are several of them, and some are more popular than others. There are some I prefer, but nothing prevents you from doing your own research if you wish.

  • Fiverr : This is one of the most popular. Services start at $5, and even if there are already a lot of providers, it’s worth signing up.
  • UpWork : Another very good platform but it works a bit differently. Here it’s not the service providers who impose their price, but the customers who indicate what their budget is.
  • PeoplePerHour : Another very good site that offers customers to find a freelancer in different ways (fixed price, tender, search by providers…)

There are, of course, other solutions to find clients. You can, for example, create a small website and launch advertising campaigns on social networks and Google, canvas directly certain companies and media that you will have carefully selected beforehand, or talk as much as possible around you to find your first customers.

Some tips

I’m going to give you a few quick tips that will help you considerably increase your chances of success on freelance platforms. I myself have needed a translator several times, and so I quickly spotted what I liked and didn’t like about certain profiles.

  • Instead of doing what everyone else does and just posting a profile picture with two flags indicating the languages you speak, shoot a short presentation video (max 2 minutes) where you speak in both languages. This will prove to potential clients that they can trust you regarding your knowledge.
  • Avoid offering more than 2 or 3 languages. Even if you know 5 or 6 languages, customers might think you are one of those scammers who only use an automatic translator. In my opinion, it would be best to create several profiles. Personally, I’ve always been wary of those who offer to translate your content into “any other language” (yes, I’ve seen that).
  • Bring evidence of your skills. You can post a picture of your degrees or some examples of work you’ve already done. You need to be as credible as possible, especially when you are just starting out. So, show what you are capable of.

Using a Translation Application?

With the emergence of artificial intelligence, online translators such as Google Translate, Deepl, or Reverso are becoming more and more efficient. But some fake translators on freelance platforms, who do not master at all (or very little) the languages they pretend to know, use these fast and automated translation websites. It’s a pure scam, of course. But then, could you use them in your case? The answer is yes, but…

I myself had to translate texts written in English into French (which is my mother tongue) several times. So, I tested the Deepl application, and I must say that the result was quite good. I could have translated the whole text manually, sentence by sentence, but I must admit that this tool saved me a lot of time.

So, yes, you can use it, but it is important to reread each paragraph one by one and to correct the many mistakes you find. Human language is very complex, and that’s where you have to make the difference.

Oh, and don’t forget to use a grammar correction tool (Antidote, Grammarly, or other) because no one is safe from a careless mistake.

Last Point

If you speak one or more languages other than those already overrepresented on freelance platforms (English, Spanish, Mandarin…), you will have a better chance of finding clients. You might have less demand, but there will also be less competition.


The big advantage of this idea is that you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a good Internet connection (at home, in an Internet café, while traveling, or even as an expatriate). It’s also a fairly quiet job that allows you, except in exceptional cases, to work at your own pace. But, once again, this activity is only possible if you really know the languages you claim to know.


Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

If you have a computer, try to keep it as long as possible before changing it. If it’s a little slow, simply resetting it and adding some RAM and/or an SSD drive can give it a boost. And if it breaks down, get it fixed instead. In most cases, the problem will be minor and inexpensive.

And if you really need to change it, maybe look for a second hand one first. If you prefer new equipment, choose a laptop instead of a tower. It’s less energy consuming. Choose a brand that cares about the environment.


  • A quiet work, and without rush (except in special cases).
  • The possibility to work from home or anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection, of course.


  • The competition in some languages is sometimes tough (English, Spanish, Mandarin…)
  • You may have difficulty finding your first customers (hence the usefulness of a basic website and a targeted advertising campaign).

Disclaimer, please read this Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local government before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.
Also, be aware that this post may contain affiliate links, and I may get compensated a commission at no extra cost to you if you click on the affiliate links and subsequently make a purchase. This will help maintain the site, so thank you.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments


Other posts that may interest you

Leave a comment

You can also or Register to comment

This website is hosted by GreenGeeks,
a hosting service powered by 300% green energy.

In the comments, you can add not only text but also elements such as:

Please remain polite and respectful to others in all circumstances. There is enough hate in this world of bullies, and we are not on Facebook or Twitter. No disrespect or insults will be tolerated. Please keep in mind that you are legally responsible for everything you post on our site. Thank you.