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Remote Working: Translation Trailblazers

As the general population waits for the first Fortune 100 Company to declare itself office free and the majority of the workforce dreamily thinks about the wonders of working in your pyjamas, translators around the world smile in the knowledge that they have been doing it for years.

The remote, task based translation industry developed along with the internet and found itself naturally progressing towards a home based eco-system. Along this journey perhaps the uniquely experienced translators have a few lessons for the wider economy as it continues along this telecommuting trend.

The average translator knows that they must translate to get paid and so have developed strategies to ensure that gets done, as well as trying to satisfy all other human desires: to socialise, find meaning and to separate work life from home life.

The following are some the strategies that have withstood the test of translation time:

  • Create a separate working environment that can be used exclusively for work and can be closed off during rest periods
  • Taking time to leave the house to focus on other needs
  • Building in time to see family and friends
  • Reaching out to colleagues through events and calling
  • Keep self-motivated and engaged through events and further training
  • Create and stick to routine, create time for meals and breaks
  • Ensure you can reply quickly to your clients or co-workers, to avoid disconnection
  • Tools to keep you focused on work that monitor your time spent on social media and news
  • Avoid working in bed in your pyjamas (contrary to popular belief)


It was not long ago that the CEO of yahoo banned tele-commuting, citing that those water cooler moments can create the innovation to drive a company. Whether you can strategize on company direction at your kitchen table or not remains open to debate, but perhaps it is worth consulting translators on the types of tasks that can be home based, and those that need a few more water cooler moments.

Personally, having grown our translation agency from bedroom to open plan office, the benefits are clear for teambuilding and company motivation, however remote working for many tasks including translation still has huge benefits along with flexibility and as the world works out what does and does not work from home, we can learn from our mistakes and find solutions by asking those who have already made them.

Thank you for reading

Luke Sewell is the Client Service Director for the Scientific Translation Agency Latin Link.