Hi all!

This month, we'd like to call all our full-time translators to share their career experience with us, starting with their decision to become a translator! :)

We'd love to hear more about what inspired you to become a full-time translator and what the journey has been like –  did you always know you wanted to translate? Do you hold certificates in translation? What's a day in your work life like? And, most importantly, how does Gengo fit in the puzzle?

(Part-time translators, not to worry! We'll have a thread for you next month!)

Looking forward to learning more about your experiences!


  • 3

    I've told my story already in Faces of Gengo. It's nearly two years now that I made the leap and went full time freelance. It's true that Gengo was part of this story: Gengo was my first "regular" and continuous outsourcer, and Gengo gave me the confidence that I can make it as a translator. On the other hand, I have "outgrown" Gengo a little by now. There is so much work that I have raised my rates several times in order to get it handled, and the Gengo pro rate is now significantly below this threshold. But there is still the RSS popup on my desktop announcing Gengo jobs, and I still feel the urge to click on it as fast as I can to grab them before someone else does. And sometimes I do it :)

  • 2

    I always wanted to be a translator, ever since I was in high school. So after I graduated, I went to University to study translation and came out after 4 years with a Bachelor's Degree in Legal Translation, and the ability to be certified in my country (Uruguay). However, I started to work as a freelance translator way before graduating from University, in 2011. The thing that kicked it off for me was that I heard of a company that was hiring freelancers and I wasted no time in getting in my application and fulfilling a few requirements that they had. After I had that job, I had some experience to fall back on, and I slowly started to "beef up" my resume. A normal day for me looks like this: I send MANY proposals to potential new clients that I find on a professional translator website where I am a full member, and then I also do the actual translation work. Some days and weeks are super busy with work (12-hour-shift-kind-of busy), but then there are slow weeks where I dedicate to learning new CAT tools, listening to translation podcasts, looking for new clients, and also enjoying myself and the unplanned free time (or even deep cleaning the house!). Gengo has been one of my steadiest agencies for quite a few years, and for that, I am very thankful!

  • 1
    Facundo Martin Pallero

    Hi everyone!

    Not sure if you’re only looking for people who haven’t already been featured on Faces of Gengo, but here is my experience as a full-time translator.

    I’ve always had a passion for languages and writing. When it came time to go to university, I opted for a course of studies in Translation that had a strong focus on Literature and Linguistics. Working as a translator seemed like a good way to apply my writing skills while keeping my languages sharp.


    In this profession, writing well is always important. Think, for example, of marketing copy that is badly written in the source text or of translating between languages in which very different discursive strategies are used.


    For years, my chosen career allowed me the flexibility to move back and forth between countries where different languages are spoken without having to change jobs. In the process, travelling became one of my passions and put me in situations where I saw real communication barriers between people, which motivated me even more to become a better intercultural mediator.


    Like Lucia, I graduated with a degree that enables me to provide certified or “sworn” translations, and legal texts became my first area of specialization. At this point, Gengo helped me springboard my career as a translator.


    Thanks to Gengo, I was able to work with major clients both in traditional areas and in new markets made possible by innovation at scale (e.g., translation of user reviews). During my many years working with Gengo, I developed new areas of expertise, such as Business Translation (e.g., localization of banking and financial apps) and Media Translation (e.g., articles and quizzes).


    I currently work with 3 or 4 other agencies besides Gengo and occasionally volunteer for Translators Without Borders. For most of my jobs, including Gengo’s offline ones, my CAT tool of choice is SDL Trados Studio. I also like to run a separate quality check on Xbench. During translation downtime, other than building my website and looking for new clients, I write fiction and study Natural Language Processing. Whether it’s hitting the gym, going for a jog or stretching out at yoga class, another essential part of my day is exercising. I think this is key to physical and emotional well-being, especially when you have a sedentary job. Fortunately, as a freelancer I can take a one or two hour break pretty much any time.


    To this day, Gengo is one of the agencies I work with most and it fits perfectly with my lifestyle. I really appreciate the variety it offers both in terms of the content and size of projects!

  • 1
    Miriam H.

    I've written about how I became a translator on my website here: https://miriamhurley.com/2013/12/17/becoming-a-translator-my-story/. I'd already been a full-time Italian-to-English translator when I started working for Gengo in French to English and later worked for several years as a senior translator for IT>EN. It was interesting looking at translating from a new angle as a reviewer and grading and preparing tests. Now I only do occasional short jobs for Gengo. 

  • 1
    Hieu Tran

    Truly, I can’t express how graceful I am to have found Gengo and other freelancing plotforms, it’s like a whole new world of possibilities open in front of me!

    I remember clearly the time I completed the first job on Gengo: it was a very simple translation job, and I earned $5 for it. But to me it opened a new possibility: I can work from anywhere to earn my living!

    Like everyone else, I worked years in a nine-to-five job. It was ok, but there was something inside kept tell me it was wrong to stay in the job. One day, I traced back every events  in my life to find the missing piece. It was a long and rough finding, but it was worth it: I found out the “job” that I wanted to work: to be a good person, yes, my job is “being a good person in whatever you do”, as good as I could be. And I couldn’t convince myself that staying in the Marketing job is the best way for me to become the best version of me. I always know the best thing I can do is to speak, to share, to inspire.

    And I decided to become a motivational speaker! I quit my job be go in that direction instantly, and several months later, reality hit me hard with its hammer!

    As a husband and a father, it was impossible for me to just “follow your dream”; if “follow your dream” equal giving up your loved ones, then screw it. And the fact was I have to feed the baby and provide her with good education, sometimes buy gifts for my wife, not to mention that I have other family members who I should take care of. I desparately need some income, some special jobs that give me both the income and the freedom to follow my dream!

    I need a job that I could only work 3-4 hours per day, and must be paid enough to support my family, other time will go toward my dream. It was ridiculous for me at that time, because, who would give you a job like that?

    I spent weeks doing research about how to find “work from home” job, I tried everything, every websites that offer “work from home” jobs. Nothing worked! I started doubting myself, and even considered going back to nine to five jobs.

    At that time I found Gengo, Upwork, Proz and some other platforms, and I thought, ok, this will be my last shot, I will give everything I got to try this to see what I can make of it.

    I spent several days to learn about the work, about what is a test and how to pass them, a months past, and still no job. I was scared. But I didn’t give up, I searched about how to draft a good profile, I even created a video of myself to promote my translation service, I asked for help from the community, I tried again and again,.. until one day, the magic finally happended: I passed the test and got a job from Gengo! From the first job that was worth $5, I slowly built up my profile, complete every single job as perfect as I could, I learnt more skills that better jobs required, and secured those jobs! Then clients started coming to me for my service. And today, I am so proud that my income already surpass the income from my last job! And I only work for 3-4 hours per day, giving my time to study about speaking and arranging seminars to speak to my audience!

    With the extra time saved, I arrange some seminars for young students. I come see them, and talk to them, and share my experience. I do it all for free, because I already earn enough from Upwork to support my family. This activity doesn’t benefit me financially, but it gives me so much meaning in life: I know I am contributing something good to the world.

    Sometimes, looking back it it, I can’t help but think: I had one decision to become a good person, and the universe let me discover Upwork. And things started looking up for me. I can’t prove it, but I believe by doing good things, the universe will somehow give you back tenfold.

    For me, it was just more than a year freelancing. And I know the road ahead gonna be amazing! Just like some students from my seminar once told me: “Mr. Hieu. Your speech was amazing. You gave me the courage to pursue my passion. You shown me the new perspective to look at things. Now I see opportunities wherever I look!”


    Yes, dear! Keep looking, the opportunities is out there, a lot of them; always available for those who never give up!

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