10 Perks of the Translator’s Lifestyle

I am a freelance translator and I am very proud of what I am and how I live. In this post, I will present the appeal of the freelance translator career.


Firstly, a translator is a freelance businessperson. Therefore, the pros and cons of being a translator are similar to those other freelancers face.



No commuting to and from work



This saves a considerable amount of time, energy, and money.



No boss at work



This means you never have to report to anyone, ask for permission, tiptoe around other people, or have your and your family’s future controlled by someone else. You never have to try to impress anybody, suck up to them, or become servile. You will also never have to go through the impossible and infuriating task of trying to convince your dimwitted boss ever again. Believe me, being your own boss is awesome beyond description. 


[bctt tweet=”Believe me, being your own boss is awesome beyond description.” username=””]



Work as you please



You can work when you want to work and rest when you want to rest according to your schedule. You can go on vacation whenever you want to. You can pick and choose the projects you want to work on. If you have too much work, don’t like the nature or method of the work, or dislike your client, you can simply choose not do the work.


Even if you set out specific times as your work hours, there is still flexibility. You will be able to more easily work around various family situations and take care of your kids, if you have them.



There is nobody that you have to face because of work



Some of you might be wondering why this would be appealing, but many introverted people, including myself, often feel uncomfortable in the presence of people they don’t really want to see. Thankfully, as a translator, you can live your life only seeing the people you want to see. You also never have to attend another senseless and boring meeting again.



No mandatory work-related meetings



There are no mandatory company meals, condolence calls, track meets, etc. (Writing this while thinking back to my life at the office a long time ago in Korea is putting me in a good mood. Of course, if I had worked in an office in Canada, I would never have had to experience these things either, so I guess this is more of an advantage of not working in Korea than it is an advantage of being a freelancer. Either way, it’s really nice.)



You can live wherever you want



You can pretty much nest anywhere that has internet access (so I guess that would probably exclude places like remote mountain villages or isolated islands but other than that, really anywhere). You can live wherever best suits you and is most convenient for you, especially in places with clean air, no noise, no stress, etc. Some of you may doubt me, but it’s really true. I lived in big cities all my life, but now I am living in a very quiet and beautiful place in the countryside. One of the options that I was considering for a while but gave up on for various reasons is living in a country where everything is really cheap. Although the cold weather is a flaw, I love Canada too much to go anywhere else now. However, this is definitely still one of the options available to a translator. (You might not yet have a sense of what I’m talking about, but you will gradually start to understand later on.)


For more information on this topic, please refer to the post Translation Market: Where It Is and Why This Is a Good Time to Be a Translator.



Financial and job stability



Although this is something that some other freelancers would doubt, I dare to tell you that a freelance translator can enjoy both financial and job stability. Is your current job stable? Does your current job guarantee lifelong employment? Of course there are people who work at their jobs their entire lives, but they are few in number, and what price do you have to pay to be able to work that long at the same place? When you consider these things, the fact that nobody in the world can fire you makes translation such an appealing job even if your income will never match that of a board member for a major corporation. Translation is a stress-free and stable career, because the only person who can fire you is yourself. 


[bctt tweet=”Translation is a stress-free and stable career, because the only person who can fire you is yourself.” username=””]



Higher income than most office workers



I’ll go into this in more depth later with some statistics. It’s a complicated thing to explain… Of course, your income will change depending on your strategy or the amount of work you do, but on average, your income will be higher than that of most office workers. (This is based on North American statistics, so I’m not exactly sure whether this is the case everywhere else in the world. If I could find some data or statistics I could compare and analyze for you… However, I can tell you that this is at least the case for North America and for me, too, although I would prefer not to reveal my own income.)



All your time can be used for you



At a traditional workplace, no matter how hard you try, you can’t shake the thought that you’re working for someone with your salary as compensation. Does anybody even know of any workplaces that truly worry and care about the development and future of their employees? However, as a freelance translator, if you just regulate your work methods well, everything you work on can be something that increases your future income at the same time that it earns you income in the present (this will also be discussed in more detail later…).



You will be happy



I think this will be the case, not only for translators, but also for most freelancers in general. The job of a translator itself won’t make you happy. However, it does remove a lot of things that can make you unhappy from your life. 


[bctt tweet=”The job of a translator itself won’t make you happy but it removes a lot of things that can make you unhappy.” username=””]


Of course, it is still possible for anybody to live the life of a translator in the most boring, unhappy, irritating, miserable, and chaotic way. How can anybody prevent you from living this way if you choose to? However, if you manage yourself pretty well and live with a grateful heart, I think that the life of a translator is a happy one. At the very least, I am happy with it. :D How to happily continue translation after becoming a translator is part of a translator’s long-term strategy, and for now, I will just write about all the main ideas and then add the details gradually. Ah, now that I’ve written all this, I am feeling happy again.


Now, what do you think is needed to have this wonderful career? If you would like to know what you really need to know to become a translator, read this post.


브라이언은 의료분야에서 한영번역을 하는 번역가입니다. 캐나다 온타리오의 작은 시골 마을에서 아내와 둘이 삽니다. 여행과 독서와 음악과 커피를 좋아합니다.


  1. Thanks for this post, Bryan! What I really love about freelancing is that I can choose clients to work with. If I don’t like to topic or the project in general, I can easily reject it. Another benefit consists in personal time management – I can schedule my day the way I like it.

    • Thanks, Simon! Different people like different things about being a freelance translator but I really like that I can steer my career and life instead of being instructed and dragged along by someone else.

  2. My absolute favourite part is being able to live anywhere in the world. I am a passionate traveller and being a freelancer gave me the flexibility I needed to live and visit wherever I want.
    Great post! :)

    • Great! One of my friend is currently in Thailand to experiment with his new life style. I will post an article about where I live later. When you have a family, you can’t travel as much as you would like, though. Still, not having to be tied to a location is a perk unimaginable for most people in the world.

  3. Completely agree.

    I moved to freelance translating 11 years ago and have no regrets :)

    • That’s great! I have no regret either. I think you need “office work” experience to truly appreciate your freelance life. Thanks for posting your comment here!

    • That’s right. Some people miss it. Family, friends, and neighbors are now my face-to-face buddies and that’s not too bad. :D

  4. Although freelancing has its flaws or difficulties, like any business, it clearly has many more pros, or these make the cons insignificant. So its a good thing to remember and acknowledge those things that make our life better than if we lived under other circumstances. I believe some of us are born entrepreneurs, and working in an office is like tying our hands, blinding our eyes or cutting off our…..hopes.

    • Right on. I try to remember how lucky I am when I am having a bad day as a translator. We all have ups and downs but the baseline for freelance translators are much higher than that for others.

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