My Preferred Tools as a Freelance Translator

I use a couple of tools to boost my productivity and to make my work much easier. Some are used for every project other in specific cases only. However, they all help me save time and energy.

I – Waveapp

This free online finance app generates estimates and invoices for your freelance business quickly and efficiently. Besides, it will track your revenue and expenses, and more importantly, it creates stats about your business like monthly, yearly revenue. This is particularly handy to monitor your performance and plan a better business strategy. Moreover, end-year accounting will be hassle-free

Waveapp is certainly not limited to these features only, it is a very rich accounting and finance app. For example, you can create more than one business and use it to track your personal expenses too.

II – Google & advanced Google search

As a translator, you spend a significant amount of time Googling, especially if you don’t find what you’re looking for in your specialized dictionaries or glossaries. Thus, you have to learn to Google like a pro. In some cases, if you don’t know the following tricks you won’t find what you are looking for. 

Here is a link of most common Google search techniques. The selected  techniques that are very useful for translators are the following:

1-Exclude words from your search

Put in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car

2-Search for an exact match

Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, “tallest building”.

3-Search in a specific site

Put “site:” in front of a site or domain than add the keywords. For example, site:dictionary.com termbase

4-Filetype:pdf or ext:pdf

Find results for specific file types. 

III – Hunter.io

If you are a skilled translator and you do not have that many clients, you most probably have a limited income. Thus, to reach new clients you can use this tool. 

You enter the domain name and it will provide with a list of available emails related to this domain. I advise you to do another step which is researching the company and/ or the person you are contacting to craft a personalized email. 

It’s essential that your email is not too long and it has to show that know a thing or two about the company and/ or the person you are reaching. This aims to tailor a non-generic email that is personalized and customized for the person you are contacting. Doing this will take time but it is much more efficient.

IV – Good resources

Having the right glossary whether in the form of a website or a pdf file will certainly speed up your work thus increases your revenue. Even if you are not new to a specific field of translation finding better glossary and terminology resources is very helpful. It is better to have more than one resource to be able to compare the results and choose the best alternative when the terms are not the same. 

Examples: when searching for legal dictionary use Google advanced search filetype:pdf English to Arabic legal dictionary

V – Google Drive

This is a basic and free tool but it is a must use. Install it on your computer and enable auto-sync for the files you are working on. This easy to do and will save you time and stress in case something bad happens like deleting accidentally your files.

You can also share files with clients, create documents and convert them to PDF or DOC format. Moreover, there are many templates to choose from depending on your type of projects.

Personally, I write my blog post of Google drive and use the add-on GradeProof to proofread my writing and provide me with insight about the document I write.

VI – WordPress

I have already written about WordPress and how it enables you to create a professional website without knowing how to code. It is easy to use, has thousands of free themes (to change the look of your site) and free plugins (for extending the functionalities of your website).

Because of these reasons, WordPress powers 30% of the worldwide web sites, and its popularity is constantly growing.

It’s worth noting that you will have to pay the domain name and hosting, so creating a professional website and email address is not totally free but very cheap if you do it yourself less 40usd a year.

VII – Cpanel

When you are not available for work, it’s professional to leave an auto-reply message to do that choose Cpanel as your hosting software and this task will be done with a click of a mouse.

Cpanel is also popular, thus, in case you need to troubleshoot an issue you encounter you will find the support you need.

P.S: You can also create an auto-response email with Gmail to do that follow this tutorial.

Besides, since you are using WordPress as CMS for your website to make things easier be sure that your hosting provider offers fantastico or softaculous to install WordPress.

VIII – SDL

As a professional translator using a CAT tool is a must. The most popular one is SDL Trados. 

 SDL creates translation memories, termbases, counts the number of words, help you do quality assurance, tell you how much you have progressed in your projects, divide the screen in two: source and target language and much much more. Consequently, it speeds up your work and makes you less prone to error.

IX – OCR software

This type of software turn scanned text and text that can’t be selected to searchable text. The purpose. This will enable count the number of words automatically and do more advanced tasks like editing the file digitally. 

The best two OCR software are Omnipage and Abbyy Fine reader. Meanwhile, do not forget to do an extra search to check if the languages you work on are supported by the software you are going to use. 


The list of translators’ tools can be much longer and includes other software for subtitling, transcribing…

However, I limited myself to the tools I use the most. 

If you are using tools that provide outstanding help to level up your work, feel free to share in a comment below. 

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