Traveling the world as a translator

The world is shrinking before our eyes, technology is bridging cultures and nations, and translators are ensuring that we all understand each other and get along. As humanity progresses, the demand for high-quality translators will only go up. And there are now emerging markets that are very engaged in technological development like India and China, meaning that there will be an increasing demand in translators and interpreters specializing in these languages.

The great thing about being a translator is that you have the liberty to work from wherever you want, which opens you to the opportunity of traveling the world while doing what you do best. In this article, we’ll be looking at how and why you should embark on an overseas journey as a freelance translator.

Getting enough work

First off, it’s essential to make sure you have enough projects at least for a few months ahead, which will give you enough income that will supplement your buffer budget. Now you can approach this from a few perspectives.

You can apply for a large number of projects a month or two before you set off. This will give the opportunity to select the most worthwhile and well-paying projects. Furthermore, it’ll let you combine multiple projects, by finding two projects that don’t overlap in time and still won’t ruin your work/life ratio.

Another option is amassing a significant buffer budget beforehand and landing one well-paying project so that you have more time to explore the countries you’re about to visit.

Approaching your travel

Freelancers that have traveled long term very well understand the problem of working too much during trips. You’ll most definitely be conflicted for a while. Why? Picture this: you arrive in a beautiful equatorial country. It’s hot, you’re close to the ocean, you’re enjoying great food, but you’re forced to work during the day. This is going to be a recurring problem, which you’ll be facing.

Now, the way you should approach this issue is by establishing what kind of “work and travel” operation you’re going to be running.

Option 1: You approach this travel as working full-time, but simply changing location for a season or two. You find a great co-working place close to the ocean and go by your routine day in, day out, but you still enjoy the nightlife, and whatever benefits the location has to offer. You rather focus on earning money, not spending them.

Option 2: This is more of a vacation, where you take the time to put some money into your account by working intermittently. This allows you to extend the period of your travel and ensures that you’ll be enjoying your stay in a foreign country without worrying too much about your budget. You just find the best translation site that offers you a good per word deal and stick to taking occasional projects.

The technicalities

Before you set off, it’s essential to make sure that all of your technical variables are taken care of. Make sure that your CAT licenses are paid, some of them are fairly expensive and may interfere with your budget of not taken care of beforehand.

Proz memberships are also relatively costly, so make sure you have them paid in advance if you use the service frequently.

Don’t hesitate to buy a Skype number. This makes things much more comfortable for your clients if you communicate with them frequently via phone. This will make sure that they won’t have to suffer from your phone number changes once you move from one country to another.

One last thing

I just wanted to emphasize that this isn’t for everyone. It sounds very romantic on the books, roaming the world while doing what your love, but it is quite a tiresome affair. Frequent flights and bus rides will take a toll on your body and psychological well-being if not approached adequately.

Make sure you approach planning with care and don’t be too confident with your resistance and vitality when it comes to 24-hour transits from one location to another.


Traveling the world as a translator might be one the most exciting things you’ll embark on in your life, but it requires scrupulous planning and consideration. A poorly designed trip may become a nightmare very quickly.

We wish you good luck on your trips!

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