How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

So you want to become a translator, but you don’t have a translation degree? Is that even possible? Why would people pay me money if I don’t have a piece of paper saying I sat in a stuffy old college classroom for 4 (ok 5) years.

Well, the answer to that is yes, if you produce quality work, people will definitely pay you. I’m living proof of that. I went from having no experience (without a translation degree) to becoming a full-time translator in a little under 1 year.

To learn how I did it, and how to become a translator without a degree, keep reading. If you’d like to learn more about how you can follow along and learn to create a freelance translation career. Click the link to to head over to my ” How to Become a Translator Without a Degree” course. You’ll learn the step-by-step approach I took to become a full-time, location-independent freelance translator.

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree
This guy wants to know!

My freelance translation journey

The year was 2014, you know, the year the Apple watch was released, and everyone freaked out for about 30 seconds until they remembered they’d have to wait 2 more years for Version 3 and a decent Apple product. I was in my 3rd year of living in Madrid, Spain and working as an English teacher.

If you want to know how much fun that was, let me go off on a tangent for a second. In our first meeting, the first thing that my coordinator said to me when I arrived in Spain, was, “If you can teach in Spain, you can teach anywhere.” Not ominous at all right?

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

Anywho, besides that fact that he was spot on and teaching in Spain is a bit of a nightmare, that’s what was happening, and I was tired of it all and looking to actually create a life for myself.

Cue step #1 on how to become a translator without a degree.

Get Experience as a Freelance Translator without a degree

At that time, my girlfriend’s brother was an up-and-coming videographer in Barcelona, and he’d just finished a video of a month trip filming the 7 islands in the Canary Islands (check out the map below if you don’t know where they are). They’re part of Spain and are incredibly beautiful!

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

He was looking for someone to translate the transcription he’d done of his video and had a little to nonexistent budget to do it. So, he asked me, and I said, sure, why not, I could definitely do that (not really knowing if I could or not).

I think there was a little over 2,000 words in that video and it took me about a week to complete (which is around4 days longer than it should have). I didn’t have any CAT tool and I didn’t know online/offline dictionaries. What I had was Microsoft Word and an old laptop that needed a fan to cool it down.

So I sat down and translated this video word by word. Needless to say, it was not real fun.

I didn’t have any tools, and I really had no idea what I was doing. However, after it was done, I realized that people would pay me to do this thing. I couldn’t get any worse at it than I already was and it was definitely much better than going to school and telling little Spaniards to be quiet 300 times a day.

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree
This was my job

So, I decided to dig into this translation thing to see what I could find.

Proz.com was the light at the end of the tunnel

Through my Google searches, I stumbled upon Proz.com and was immediately blown away by the amount of information, translators and organization of their webpage.

I saw there was a free trial where you could create a profile and play around so that’s exactly what I did. I quickly saw their not-so-secret-trick of if you’re not a paying member then you have to wait 12 hours before bidding on a job. Well played ProZ, well played.

So, with my free ProZ profile in hand, I went hunting elsewhere.

Filling up my resume

Like most jobs, there a bit of a Catch-22 (great book if you’ve never read it).

It looks a little like this:

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

So, what does one do if they have no experience to get a job and no job to get that experience? They find a work around. That’s where volunteer opportunities come into play.

Disclaimer: I’m not sure I would recommend these exact websites now, but it’s how I did it and how you can too.

Remember to get your Translator Cheatsheet freebie at:

Breaking into the Translation Industry

Babelcube Sounded Great in Theory…

In my naivety, I thought that literary translation sounded great and I found Babelcube. Now, Babelcube is a place for people to get their ebooks translated for free for a share of the royalties as they are sold. I got way to excited about it!

Hey, I could be the person to translate the next Harry Potter! I’d make royalties from all the books sold and wouldn’t have to work anymore. BOOM! That easy.

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree money lies

Well, not so much.

I decided to start small, so I translated one 50 page ebook and waited for the cash to start rolling in…

And waited some more.

And nothing.

FYI, to date, 5 years later, I have made $0.47 in
royalties. Not quite as breaking the bank as I’d hoped.

I wasn’t expecting much from the first book but I did have hopes to be able to at least buy a coffee with the money. That was a bust and I still didn’t have much experience. So, I kept at it.

Volunteer TEDTalk subtitle writer

If you’re not a fan of TEDTalks, you should be. They’re 15-minute lectures and you can learn about anything. Their goal is to spread knowledge throughout the world.

I came upon them and saw they were looking for volunteers to subtitle different lectures into different languages.

Hey! I’d already done that with the video!

Let’s do it!

So I signed up (click here to see how you can sign up), did an interview and got on board. I did a few videos but realised it wasn’t really for me. But that’s ok!

I now had 3 things to put in the “Experience” section of my resume

  • Ebook translation
  • TEDTalk translation/subtitle
  • Short film translation/subtitle

It doesn’t matter I didn’t get paid for them. That’s not really the point and nor do people actually care as long as you have demonstratable proof of your experience.

It took me about 3 months to get those three things and now it was time to start looking for jobs that actually paid me real money!

Translator’s Cafe to the rescue

ProZ still felt too official for me and I wasn’t ready to spend the money at that time so I went looking elsewhere and found Translator’s Cafe.

It’s a very similar membership site to ProZ, but with more one-off jobs from people instead of agencies. It just seemed “less polished” at that time, and so I thought it would be a great a start for me!

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

So, I got my profile set up (very similar to ProZ) and starting checking job listings. I checked at least twice a day for a few weeks before I saw something that fit my knowledge base.

It was a one-off job from another translator who just needed some help finishing it. I sent him an email and within a few hours I had my first paying job!

I worked my tail off on that job as I’d hoped it would become a reference in the future. Somehow I pulled it off and he was very happy with my work!

(The reference on ProZ is still up there to this day).

…And Repeat

1 job down and 1 happy customer. Now on to the next one.

I repeated this process on Translator’s Cafe for 4 or 5 jobs. I always just looked for 1-off jobs that were from translators who had taken on too much and needed some extra help to make the deadline.

Once I saw that people were happy with my work and I’d made a few hundred dollars, it was time to jump into the deep end. With my earnings, I bought the year subscription to ProZ, and my translation job was born.

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

Simple but Time-Consuming

As you can see this was a simple but time-consuming process. All-in-all from having my girlfriend’s brother ask me to help him, to sign up on ProZ took about 4-5 months.

Now from there, it took another 5-6 months for me to earn enough money to quit my job and go freelance full-time.

The general consensus, if this is a side gig or something you do in the afternoons and weekends, then you should expect it to take about 1 year for to start making a livable wage where you can focus on translation full-time (depending on the time you spend and your abilities, of course).

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree

Many translators will tell you that you need a translation degree to become a translator. I wholeheartedly, 100% disagree with them.

The skills you need to become a translator can be learned, plain and simple.

If you put in the time every single day, It should take you about 1 year to go from no experience to a full-time translator. Obviously, that number is different depending on your specialization and skills, but you should plan on at least that amount of time if this is a side gig.

No one said that becoming a translator without a degree was easy. However, it is possible, and I’m proof of that. If you’re interested in learning my step-by-step approach, head over and check out my course, “How to Become a Translator Without a Degree“.

I break down exactly what you need to know to become a freelance translator and how you can follow in my footsteps. I know many people are interested in creating a translation website as well. Head over to my article, Translator Website to read about the pros and cons.

Are you looking for how to become a translator without a degree? What are you stuck on and how can I help? Leave me a comment below.

90 Replies to “How to Become a Translator Without a Degree”

  1. This article is very educative and informative on how to become a translator without a degree. All the platform that is in this articles this is the first time am hearing it and I feel it so great to be professional translator online. Because personally I like working from home because I discover most degree work are stressful one way or the other 

  2. Hi, I think that’s very sensible advice – that it can take up to a year to start making a livable wage. I think the same can be said for many ventures that may start out as things to do on the side, including online ventures. They all take time and practice to build the skills and experience, and to get a proven track record. I think knowing that up front is very valuable, because sometimes the expectation is that things will happen instantaneously, and more often than not they don’t – they take significant time and effort to build. People often give up before that because they don’t see an immediate return. 

    Thanks for sharing your story, it’s inspiring! 

    1. Hey! and you’re exactly right! People want everything right away nowadays, but most things still take time. Creating a life for yourself doesn’t happen overnight, so you need patience and persistence. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Hi, I can say your article is a rib cracker. I got really cracked up, when I came across the experience photo. It was so funny!

    On a more serious note, I’m happy you ended up getting your dreams to fly. But I don’t think it’d work for me, since I know just one language, English. And the other language I know, I can’t boast of translating it accurately. 

    So, apart from not having experience, I don’t know enough languages to be a translator. 

    So, I would like to know if there’s a provision for people like me? 

  4. This is a great informative and educative article. This is one of the legitimate means of making money online. It requires no start-up capital (in most cases anyway). I love your story humble beginning! I have heard so much about this about translation job online but I have always been apathy towards it thinking it’s all about scam! Now you have changed my perception about it with your story. I will surely look into making money with it too.
    Thank you for this wonderful post. I look forward to seeing more!

    1. I’m glad I’ve helped changed your perspective a bit. Translating has changed my life, and I hope it can do the same for others as well! If you ever have questions on how to become a translator without a degree, please, let me know!

  5. I found the post very detailed and Informative. So so many useful tips and tricks all on one page! I bookmarked to look further. I have always wanted to be a freelance translator but I don’t know the way to go about it. This is an eye opener for me because I am just getting to know about proz site. I will surely implement all that you have written in this article. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hey!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and got some useful information. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have about how to become a translator without a degree. I do have a course as well if that’s something you’d be interested in. Let me know and take care!

  6. It sounds like you worked very hard to get to where you are now. That is another way to make money that a lot of people do not think about. Volunteering is a good way to get experience for those jobs that require it, I never thought to go about it that way.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Let me know if there are any questions I can answer on how to become a translator without a degree. Take care!

  7. Wow !. Can one get a step by step book on the various procedures and expected time to complete this amazing method ?. I once considered  putting in for a degree online . The billing  was too much for me to even start with. This article has shown me a way around that. Though the duration expected to graduate fully is discouraging , not starting at all is not getting it done.

  8. I absolutely love this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.I found interest in translation and making money online. Your proof has giving me confidence in translating without a degree ,I want to be translating e-book and short films. I will stay around your blog to learn more about translating. What are the challenges in translation? Thanks for the insight. Best regards 

    1. Translating can be a tough business, however, with the right experience, contacts and persistence, it can be done! Challenges definitely include the competition and standing out from the crowd. Let me know if you ever have any more questions!

  9. Informative post indeed,
    thank you for your post. Starting your freelance translation business from scratch with a degree can be a daunting task. But in the post are a few of the most fundamental tips as one begin to think about building your business. I’d love to get a chance to be an apprentice to another translator. It’d be a great learning opportunity from this post and your amazing story. Many translators had tell me that I need a translation degree to become a translator. But I can now wholeheartedly, 100% disagree with them, with my knowledge with this article. The skills you need to become a translator can be learned, plain and simple.

    1. Hey! A translation degree is definitely not a necessity these days, although they would help. I did it without a degree, and so that means you can too! Let me know if you ever have any questions on how to become a translator without a degree! Take care!

  10. Reading your story of how you went from being a no translator to an expert translator without a translation degree is encouraging. I’m a freelance IT Professional with a passion for freelance writing. I would not mind if I can add this skill to what I have presently. Do you use any software for this? Do Proz and Babelcue provide you with any software that can help in translating? Hearing of Tedtalk for the first time, I would check Tedtalk to see what they offer.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, and yes there are translation tools out there. They don’t translate for you, but they help you to translate. My favorite free CAT (computed assisted tool) option is OmegaT. It’s free to download and use. Let me know if you have any more questions on how to become a translator without a degree!

  11. I’ve been using this site for 5 years and is amazing. It’s interesting to see that I came to know clients mainly through the default job posts during my first years as a Proz member. Now that I’m five years on, the directory service is finding me more and more potential customers: far more companies with translation jobs approach me directly than before. On the other hand, there are many of them who don’t invest in personally approaching each individual translator, but just send out a mass email to see what fish they can catch, which doesn’t contribute to the profession’s sense of honor.

  12. Wow… 

    Such a great journey into the world of translation. I never had any interest in translation, most times I overlook the offer of being a translator because I thought it is an unprofitable business and besides, I do not have any certificate in that area to back up my claims of being a translator. With ProZ, I think I’ll have to reconsider it

  13. Becoming a freelance translator without duely passing through an institution of 4 or 5years is really interesting. I used to think that it can take me up to some number of years to become a translator. However, I will love to enroll for this in no distant time but I will also love to know how much it can cost me to become a freelance translator.

    1. Hey! You can sign up right in the article for the course I’m teaching on how to become a translator without a degree. Let me know if you have any questions!

  14. Smiles….the experience photo got me. So funny. Well what is worth doing is worth doing well, I am into translation/transcription, believe me I enjoy working at home though it’s not a job you can do and catch a big fish, it can be slow but it pays, it’s all about patience. This may not actually work for most persons but I bet, it’s an alternative to degree jobs. One can actually become a translator without a degree, it all  depends on what you can offer with the skills you’ve got. I like this article 

    1. You’re exactly right that it’s all about patience! You definitely need to be a certain kind of person if you want to become a translator. Thank you for stopping by!

  15. Thanks for this interesting and informative article,  this process does looks like its going to take more than enough time to earn passive income from becoming a translator but it’s worth the try for those who wants to go into freelancing full time. you’ve done great letting us know more about been a translator without a degree. 

  16. I find this blog article about quite interesting. The only problem I have is the time to put into learning a new language I can translate. I think it could be harder for someone like me. I will share your post with my friends anyway perhaps there could be someone who wants to learn a new language. All the same, than you admin.

  17. Wow, this was a great article about your personal experience breaking into the translation business.

    I have, honestly, thought of it myself to do so but, here it comes, I am too have no degree of any sort to translate professionally. Your article, however, and fun to read, did help me to think about it, once again.

    I have saved your site also for further reference.

    Thanks for sharing all the information and for the encouragement, it certainly helps to try it out.

    Sylvia

  18. Its very possible to be a Freelance translator without a Four-wall classroom Degree. It only takes been skillful at translation.
    People are always ready to pay for skill and not the degree.

    I’m a graduate of History and International studies from one of one of the best University around the world.I found interest in working from the comfort of my room and to fully effect my passion,I had to had to drop my Certificate. I got some courses on Translation program,having studied thoroughly looking myself up for hours in my room. I ventured into Translation freelance services on Fiverr and up work.
    My lowest charge is $50 per job and in a day,I handle nothing less than 5 Jobs.
    I will encourage everyone who wants to look into translating service that it has nothing to do with your Degree certificate.This is important as it places you on an edge over your competitor but,its isn’t a necessity to starting your translation carrier

    1. You’re absolutely right on everything you said! Being a translator can be learned and that’s exactly how I did it. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  19. I really commend you for taking out time to write this article. It’s really interesting to know that you had no degree in translation and yet you translate even as a freelancer, that is really inspiring. I always believe that there is nothing one cannot do if and only if you put your mind to it, and it is all about taking the pain to learn and to really work, and also patience will be needed seen that it takes time 

    1. You’re absolutely right! If you want something badly enough, it’s all about consistency and patience. Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Do you not have to know several languages, to become a translator ?

    I can speak 2 languages fluently,and have a smattering of 2 others,but to take on a job as a translator, sounds like a large undertaking,unless it is in the language you are familiar with.

    Even with a dictionary, you don,t get the grammar, so how are you to a good job?I suppose you could use google for a word search?

    Tutoring from people such as Translators Cafe,and TedTalk,sound like a good way to gain knowledge, for translating.

    1. Hey! You absolutely need two languages to be a translator as that’s the essence of the work. You also have to have an in-depth understanding of the cultures you’re translating from and to. I’m an American living in Spain so I translate from Spanish to English. Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Hello, this article is so useful and informative! Your freelance translator journey is really interesting, one of my friends is looking for some information to being a freelance translator, I will share this with her, I believe your story will encourage her. Will you post more relevant articles about this topic? Looking forward to your reply. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Brian,

      I will definitely post more about how to become a translator without a degree and a bunch of other topics I think are relevant. Please, have your friend get in touch with me as I have a course available as well. Thank you for stopping by!

  22. Great post and it has to inspire other people because this is true. 

    Why do I say that? Because I’m the same as you. I started to translate on Fiverr and soon more and more people came, and I’m doing this now after my hours as a kind of second job, and because I like it. But I don’t have any degree at all so yes, it is perfectly possible! 

    1. You bet it is! Unfortunately, most people just don’t stick with it long enough. Thanks for your input and happy translating!

  23. This is a concise and informative blog post. You have thoroughly explained in details from different perspective for everyone digesting this post to understand the major points and tips shared in this article.I  am just getting to know about freelance translator which is an eye opener for me. The fact that you shared your personal experience here is motivating. I think this is what i would love to try out

    1. I’m glad you found it interesting and helpful! If you have any questions about how to become a translator without a degree please, don’t hesitate to ask!

  24. Thanks for writing this article on how to become a translator without a degree. Before now I always have it in mind that you can only do much as a translator if you have a degree but reading this article changed that in my mind.i really like the fact that you share your experience on how you become a professional translator without a degree.i will really like to learn how to do that by follow all the link you provide in this article.

  25. I have been wondering about how to do this from some time now. I learned French at high school and enjoyed everything French but I have not used it much and The last time I was in a conversation I realised my skills had diminished. I thought about translating as a freelancer, but thought that it could only happen with a degree in French, not my Biochemistry. I am grateful for this information and I have signed up as a subscriber to some healthy freelancing. Thank you.

  26. Hi, Andrew, I enjoyed reading your story on how to become a translator without a degree. I like that it can take the right-minded person a little over a year to get established in the translation industry. But I understand it can take longer to really build your name in the industry.
    I was thinking of translating material from Spanish to English, vise versa, but I thought you needed a degree. So I’m glad I ran across your post.
    I like the fact you didn’t wait around to find a translation job, you went and created and even took on volunteered to build your portfolio.
    I would have never thought of seeking TED for opportunities, and come to think of it, I now see possibilities around me for translating and you have given me a great starting point; Your course.
    Thank you, I look forward to learning from you.

    1. Hey Lenard,

      My pleasure is mine and I’m glad you found my story helpful! If there’s anything I can do for you please, let me know!

  27. Great post I live in Italy and speak English I feel I can use being a translator as a side job, since I don’t have a degree but I do speak and write in Italian, can you send me a link where I can sign up, I am really interested and I have seen you have an article on Pros and Cons, I will definitely have a look at the article.  This has been very informative and I definitely want to try becoming a translator without a degree.

  28. I have investigated this option previously and have looked into other online work such as virtual PA and so on and while a degree is not required to perform the actual task, many of the sites request that you have a degree to set a standard of applicant they wish to hire. Degrees are for the most part useless as only a fraction of the knowledge is actually used but what it does show is that you have commitment to complete something over a period of time and have possess level of professionalism to see it through.

    In my experience, if you dont have a degree and wish to pursue this line of work then you need extensive experience on you resumé to convince potential employers that you are indeed worth hiring.

    Rich

    1. Hey Rich,

      You’re absolutely right on having a degree. I just argue that having a degree in translation is unnecessary. A Bachelor’s in something though is definitely a must because as you mentioned it shows you can commit. Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your comment

  29. Firstly, than you so much for taking your time to share this informative post. I am a freelance writer and proofreader but I heard that the translation job isn’t really an easy one like the others. I would really love to venture into it too. I got inspired by your courage to quit your job and go full time on this freelance translation. Though, I’m clueless about virtually all the sites mentioned in your post but they all seemed worthy of being tried out.

    To make things easier for me, I would love to engage in the course you highlighted in the post atleast that would ensure I won’t go through the rigorous path that you’ve gone through to get yourself set up. Thanks

  30. A very interesting and useful post on how to become a translator without a degree. Your personal journey to becoming one yourself was super interesting and one that I can relate to. Something similar happened to me years ago while working on postgraduate degrees in Germany.

    It seems that to teach for US-based colleges and universities, unlike with the grade schools, middle schools, and high schools there, your degrees and experience can be evaluated and they will accept you for certain courses they offer to their students.

    This happened to me and I spent 10 years making some decent wages (this was back in the late 80s and 90s) that help pay for college for the kids and vacations within Europe. It was a sweet deal, the courses I instructed were night-time, and they paid on time.

    Just as with your translator journey, it was something that I did not think was possible to do, and it provided a good income (I never did full time though). Most definitely this translation gig is something I could get involved in, as I am fluent in English and German (not sure of the demand). 

    I too do not have any language degrees, mine include Arts (AA) Science (BS), Education (MED), Psychology/Counseling (MEd), and Management  (ABD)…But over the years, I did a lot of translating for projects, friends, and even the military. None with pay or testimonials…

    It does sound like it can be a lucrative business to enter, so I will be doing a bit more research. I have bookmarked this page so I can return, and thanks for the valuable article on how to become a translator without a degree! It was very helpful to me.

    1. Hey!

      I’m glad you found it useful and inspirational. I know many people are interested in this type of career and I’m glad I can share my experience to help others in the translation industry.

      If you already have some experience it will definitely make your journey easier!

      If you ever have any questions please, don’t hesitate to ask. 

      P.S. German and English is a great pair to work as German companies will need to translate their information to English to trade with other, non-German speaking EU countries.

      Take care!

  31. Hey Andrew

    Thanks a lot for the very thorough and details explanation on how to become a translator without a degree. This is a very interesting information as I never know that we can earn good money as online translator.

    I’m very excited to try this. I already registered on some of the translator sites you mentioned above especially Prozcom. But, I will start with Translator’s Cafe first since as you mentioned, it is less official 🙂

    Thanks for taking your time to put all these together Mark.

    Cheers
    Samm

    1. Hey Samm,

      The pleasures all mine and I’m glad you found it useful! If you ever have any questions about translating please, don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks again for stopping by!

  32. Wow who knew you could do all this without a degree. This sounds like a great opportunity to try to make some extra cash. I can’t believe the amount of choices you have to choose from. It’s is amazing that there are all these options out there, but that they don’t all really pay off. Sounds like trial and error, has really worked for you.

    Great post and I wish you the best of luck.

    1. Hey! You’re absolutely right about the trial and error and I was hoping to help others out a bit by helping them narrow their focus from the beginning. I appreciate you leaving a comment!

  33. Andrew, I thoroughly enjoyed your post.  I love the story of how you got to be a translator without a degree (starting from ground-zero in terms of experience.)  

    For me, it echoed my own experience as a freelance writer.  It’s hard to gain credibility when you don’t have the “necessary” papers that tell other folks you have all kinds of formal education coming out of your ears.   

    Instead, you just have to figure that you are probably going to have to work on being at least three times as good as anybody with the “right” papers, understand that you’ll probably suck at it for a while, and you need to develop your own ways of doing things that will satisfy your soon-to-be-crowding-through-the-door customers and clients without having a backlog of knowledge about how other people have done it in the past. 

    You are also way more likely to need to put in the time toward getting to good without anybody telling you what “good” is.  

    Volunteer-work is probably a given.  (You have to look at it as practice.)

    Marketing is a bunch harder.

    When it starts working, it is the greatest feeling.

    1. Hey!

      You mirror my thoughts exactly. When you don’t have the right papers and are starting from scratch, it’s really all about mindset and a good product. If you don’t feel you deserve to be in the space, why would anyone pay you? Getting in some practice, making mistakes and just not giving up is really what it takes.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  34. This is a brilliant article and I commend you on your tenacity. You are a true advocate, not just for ‘would be’ translators but for anyone who is looking to lick start their career in any profession.

    Although I’m not looking to break into the translation marketplace any time soon, I would certainly use this guide as a template for gaining access and experience in any given line of work. You are a shining example of how one should just get out there and make yourself known.

    I have four children, two in jobs and two still in full-time education. I have always stressed that it’s more about putting yourself ‘out there’ and being willing to try anything. Employers aren’t always looking for experience, moreover, they’re looking for someone who is willing to work hard and sometimes on their own initiative. By doing as you have done. As someone who has employed people in the past, I would be far more likely to take on a person who has shown themselves willing to do what it takes, just to gain the experience, even if that means starting at the lowest level.

  35. I really enjoyed your article. I began teaching online a few years ago and have also looked at translations but did not find an article so informative as this one. This is something that my husband would be interested in for the near future I will forward this to him to look into. Thank you

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I also taught online a bit but moved away from it when I became a translator. If your husband ever has any questions about becoming a translator I’d be more than happy to help!

  36. Yeah, I was also told that you need a degree to become a certified translator. Techical, financial, Scientific terms etc. should be taken into full consideration in translating. Like you, I tried translating, subtitling, video captioning and even typing on freelance platform. I wasn’t able to get any job from them because yeah, you have to show in tour profile about tour previous work experience from those jobs. Got frustrated because translating job is really promising. They offer higher pay for a project. It was the dead end of language translation career for me. What you experience is  really inspiring. Now you have your own course which is really great. For all the things you had to go through in your translation job,  You deserve it!

     

  37. Excellent article, you are a professional indeed, explaining how to become a professional translator which can be achieved through simple learning. The skills you need to become a translator can be learned, plain and simple, I agree with you, and your write-up is helping millions of people to make money online through translating, I have to bookmark your website to learn the more, Very educative and exciting article, Thanks for sharing this helpful write-up.

    1. Hey!

      Thank you for your compliments and I’m glad you found it helpful! If you ever have any questions about becoming a translator let me know. I’d be more than happy to help. Take care!

  38. Hi, your post is very educating and also open more door to generate income, because I always believe that before I can translate I need to go to language school but your post have give me hope that within a year I can learn any language from the comfort of my home, 

    no knowledge is wasted on the internet and when I click further on your website I learn about adding elementor plugin on my website to help to change the language your posy is very helpful.

    1. Hey! I’m glad you found my post helpful and actionable. If you ever have any questions about becoming a freelance translator let me know. Take care!

  39. Hi, I just start to write and will translate my Lao tourism articles into English. This is great content for me and I should follow your step. Could you be my free English editor? Lol:).
    I like this “The skills you need to become a translator can be learned, plain and simple.”

    Thanks for sharing great contents.

    1. Hey! I appreciate you stopping by! Unfortunately, I don’t speak Lao, only Spanish and a bit of Portuguese 🙂 However, if you need a translator I can help you find one. Let me know. Take Care!

  40. This article does provide ways for people to become  proficient and I believe if I’m to follow this up it’s definitely going to work effectively,  thanks for  and encouragement on becoming a translator without a degree,  it’s actually an eyeopener and for the fact that it cost nothing is another added advantage. Thanks to you.

    1. Hey! I’m glad you found the info helpful. Let me know if you ever have any questions regarding becoming a translator. Take care!

  41. If I must say, this article is really educative and informative, I’ve learned a lot from it and it’s gonna be of great help. I have a friend who does something related to freelance translator but he learned the other language back then during his college days. I’m familiar with some of the platforms in this article , mostly translator cafe. I tried it once but when I didn’t get it I just forgot about it, I think now is the right time to get back to it. Thanks for the help.

    1. I’m glad you found it useful. If you ever have any questions on how to become a translator without a degree I’d be more than happy to help! Thank you again!

  42. Hi,

    It is great that it is possible for people to get the job they want without having to have studied it when they were younger. I think that it is true that it takes a while to build up a business that will make money. I personally had to start my business in my spare time before I could earn enough to leave my job altogether. There are some great opportunities for translators out there and this looks like a great way to go about it.

    1. Hey!

      It’s definitely possible. I too had to work nights and weekends to get my translation career up and going. Becoming a translator without a degree definitely isn’t easy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can work and live (currently Spain) anywhere in the world. It’s been a real journey! Thanks for stopping by!

  43. Well, I heard about great possiblites of working as a freelance translator. I have a personal example. My unlce went to China and works there as an English translator. China is a huge market and they do not always ask to be super qualified for most positions. For example, he was teaching English although he has no formal degree in English language. His knowledge is solid but he is not a professional.

    Your story inspired me to give this profession a try to earn some extra money. 

    Do you recommend any other websites for these kind of jobs?

    Strahinja.

    1. China is a great market to get in to! Unfortunately, they’re not known for paying for quantity and not quality yet. Obviously there are exceptions to that. However, if you can find someone that will help you get experience that’s a huge plus! Unbabel may be a good place to start out as well as the websites I mentioned in the article. Good luck on becoming a translator and thank you for stopping by!

  44. Hi! I started searching for platforms were to begin as a translator. As it was in your case, I don’t have a degree. I found a cool Korean platform called Flitto. They had small translation gigs. It could involve translating a picture of something on the street someone needed to be translated or an audio. Most of the time it was very informal stuff. And they also had a section were one could even translate tweets from famous accounts and earn something. They suspended the tweeter translation section due to abuse from users that just used Google translator.

    But from that point, I haven’t been able to take the leap to full-time earnings as you have done. I signed up to volunteer as TEDTalk subtitle writer but haven’t completed any videos yet. Based on your experience, would you advice us to seek for demonstratable experience as translator in 3 or more platforms? Or we could start with just one platform (let’s say volunteer as TEDTalk subtitle writer)?

    1. Hey! I appreciate you stopping by. In my opinion, I don’t think the number of platforms is really that important. What is important is that your demonstratable experience with people you have translated for and they’re willing to give you a good recommendation. Starting out on TEDtalk is a great way to get your foot in the door and it sounds like you already have some experience on Flitto.

      I think your next step would be to sign up for ProZ or Translators Cafe and start finding some paying clients. You may have to lower your rate at the beginning to get some experience but that’s normal. Good luck on your translation journey and let me know if you have any more questions!

  45. Hi! I appreciate you have shared how you got started as a translator making a full time income without having a degree. Yes, I have also noticed that for most freelance jobs demonstrable experience is required. Have you heard about UnBabbel? Having an active profile there would count as experience in your book?

    1. Hey! Thank you for stopping by on how to become a translator without a degree. I’d never heard of Unbabel before but I looked it up and it looks fairly similar to a few other translation sites I’ve been on. Any experience is helpful but I would put what you’ve translated as experience, not so much where you’ve translated. Thank you!

  46. In this informative and insightful article you can learn how to become a freelance freelance translator with great results. Definitely hard and persistent as there is competition as there are translators with degrees. But surely your advice, as well as your personal experience, caught my interest. I will definitely study it thoroughly as I enjoy working from home.

    1. Hey! I’m glad you found it interesting. If you have any questions please, let me know and I’d be more than happy to help you on becoming a translator. Take care!

  47. This is great information for those who have this fantastic skill of speaking multiple languages fluently. It is great to see that all your creative thinking combined with hard work and dedication helped you to find your way to this path. Sounds like it is pretty exciting work as well! 

    Thanks for the additional resources. I’m stuck on where to start and I like the TED talk idea. However, those are often talks about VERY specific terms that I would imagine are challenging to translate. Did you have to deal with anything like that along the way?

    1. Hey! Yes, specific language and vocabulary is definitely something you’ll have to deal with, however, that’s pretty much all of translating. Even if you’re great with medical materials there will be things that you’ll have to look up. Research and investigating vocabulary is a huge part of becoming a translator. A great little trick is to look up certain words in Google to see if they show up in articles, studies or whatever it may be you’re working on. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!

  48. Hey there!

    Your pathway to success as a translator with no degree gives us an example of ambition and perseverance. It took you a certain number of years prior to succeed, but eventually you made it. And of course schools are not always mandatory for us when we are strongly motivated to learn facts for building ourselves a new future. In fact, there are schools whose fresh graduates (that waited for the school to provide them information) are not able to start their first jobs, but others who adopt a self-learning behavior (e.g. being volunteers) have better chances to succeed.

    Congratulations for winning the hard fight for becoming a translator on your own, and wish you all the best!

    Peter

    1. Hey Peter, I appreciate you stopping by and you’re absolutely right. Sometimes schools don’t prepare us for the real world and what it takes to be successful. Life experience can many times be more important than a degree. Thank you again and take care!

  49. Wow wow wow, that is exactly the piece of information I had missing.

    Thanks so much for summarizing and making it easier for me! I am in the process to become a digital nomad, and once I am Brazilian and speak fluently English, Spanish and Portuguese, translating, transcripting and language related part time jobs are something I am searching for at the moment.

    I loved the TED talks suggestion, and I am registering at proz right now! 

    Thanks a lot! Read you soon again! 

    1. Hey! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Make sure to take a look at my course “How to become a translator without a degree”. I break down how I became a translator step-by-step. Let me know if I can help!

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