6 Steps To Continued Success As A Translator

How can we remain successful as translators on a market that is constantly evolving?

We may be tempted to think that the answer is to focus on what we know and do best – translating – but focusing solely on our core skills isn’t enough to ensure sustainability.

As professional linguists, it is vital for us to develop and maintain skills in other key areas as well. We need to work both “in the business” and “on the business”.

The 6 steps described in this article highlight 6 areas that need to be included in all our business strategies. Together they create a roadmap to help us navigate our way to continued success as a translator.

1 – Awareness

The first step to creating a sustainable business as a translator is to ensure that we remain fully aware of the changes that regularly take place around us, because without awareness of how markets evolve we cannot make good business decisions.

Keeping up-to-date on an ever-changing market means keeping an eye on how our clients’ needs evolve over time, on the latest technologies that will help us fulfil these needs, and on the strategies our competitors are putting in place.

When it comes to awareness, the biggest challenge faced by freelance translators is of course isolation. Working alone, often from home, can limit the flow of ideas. But this challenge can easily be overcome in today’s information age.

2 – Self-Awareness

Awareness also means self-awareness as our reactions to changes on the market will determine how quickly we adapt. Change is often seen as a threat, which is why we often choose to ignore it. This is a natural defence mechanism. However, it can mean that we take too long to adapt to changing circumstances, which will undermine our sustainability.

Self-awareness is key because being aware of our reactions, and of how they influence our decisions, can help us deal with new circumstances objectively and efficiently. This is why change management programmes that promote self-awareness are run by companies around the world to maintain high levels of efficiency in times of change.

3 – Business Acumen

Timing is everything, and knowing when to make necessary changes will boost our chances of a sustainable future. Successful businesses regularly reinvent themselves by launching a new product, a new service or a new practice at the right time.

For us translators, this could mean deciding when to go freelance, when to switch from agencies to direct clients, when to start outsourcing and when to integrate a new technology into our work practises.

In order to be able to make such decisions, we need to regularly assess every aspect of our business – sales & marketing, customer service, new and existing markets, etc. This is important because it will help us identify areas for improvement, as well as opportunities for growth and achieving success as a translator.

4 – Vision

Change is often accompanied by a period of uncertainty and loss of control, which can in turn affect our productivity. The best way to remain in control is to have a clear vision of what we want to achieve, because this will give us a stronger sense of direction and will simplify decision making for us.

It is also important to ensure that our vision or ultimate goal is fully aligned with what really matters to us, as this will guarantee that we remain committed and motivated at all times. One of the main causes of failure is simply giving up. When our goals truly matter, we are more likely to keep going.

Finally, having a clear vision also makes it easier for us to measure our progress, and enables us to tweak or rethink our strategies and practices whenever we appear to be veering off track.

5 – Mindset

Our view of the world greatly influences our actions, and ultimately our results. Our thoughts, our expectations and the actions that we take are all directly linked to our mindsets.

When mindsets are restrictive, inhibiting or self-defeating, they create obstacles to our growth and sustainability. In other words, they can lead to self-sabotage. Identifying unproductive mindsets and replacing them with positive ones is therefore key to our success.

The good news is, as human beings, this is something we can do. We have the ability to observe our own habits and thought patterns, and to challenge them if necessary.

6 – Planning

With awareness and self-awareness, good business acumen, a clear vision of what we want to achieve and a productive mindset, we are in the best place to secure our future with an effective action plan.

To be effective, an action plan needs to be both realistic and challenging, as this will ensure that we remain interested and motivated. It must consist of a series of clear steps, each corresponding to an action that will take us closer to our ultimate goal.

Finally, it is recommended to review action plans regularly and to tweak them according to results and unexpected circumstances. Our vision itself will need to be reviewed regularly, as goals are never set in stone. They can evolve too.


The 6 steps outlined above correspond to the 6 modules of the Future-Proof Translator webinar series. Each module has been designed to develop your skills in each of these 6 areas, because having these skills will help you achieve sustainability in a world that is changing at an ever-increasing pace.

To learn how to remain successful on a market that is constantly evolving, and get 1/3 OFF* the price of the course, simply click on the following link:

The Future-Proof Translator Webinar Series (modules can be purchased individually or as bundles to suit your needs).

Here’s what previous attendees said about the course:

“I attended Christelle’s Future-Proof Translator webinar series because I was interested in learning about the changes afoot in the translation industry and also because I am planning some changes to my own business (…) Christelle is extremely knowledgeable, clear and pragmatic. It is self-evident that she really enjoys coaching and helping people to set and reach their goals.” – Karen Rückert, German-to-English Legal Translator

“Very glad to have signed up for the course, it’s allowing me to think more clearly, and more positively, about my strategy for this last part of my career.” – Ginny Hill, French-to-English Translator

“Christelle is a pioneer in the translation industry and her ideas will challenge you. Anyone who wants to develop and perform better will benefit from working with her. It is refreshing to see someone with a different approach.” – Bill Smyth, German-to-English Translator


*All prices shown reflect the discount.


  1. Thanks Christelle. Obviously we all need to stay on top of our skills set as all humans should but for me it’s all about marketing. I would encourage any translator (and business owner) to focus on their sales funnel. I’d say you’re doing a good job since I found you online : )

  2. Hello Christelle,
    I just love going through your post. You have given very important suggestions for translators. But here I would suggest to the translators that it is very important for the agency to read about your published works such as research articles or translations and include any URLs in your CV as these are quickly accessible.

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