Ireland: how to become a freelance translator?
Thread poster: constancemace

Local time: 21:15
Oct 5, 2010

Hi everyone,

I am French, just finished my Masters in translation, and settled in Ireland where I hope I can make a living out of translating. I have been told that only few agencies here work with inhouse translators. Therefore, I am considering working as a freelance translator, but I'm afraid I don't really know how to get started in this country: registration, taxes, VAT, pension scheme, everything...

Could someone help me? I can also meet freelance translators in Dublin,so that I could have face to face explananations...

Thank you very much,



Jean-Pierre Artigau (X)
Local time: 16:15
English to French
+ ...
Regulated activity? Oct 5, 2010

First of all you should check if translation is a "regulated" activity in the country where you are, i.e. if membership in a professional order or association is compulsory, if you have to pass an exam, or if you are required, by law, to have a certain university degree.

For instance in all countries (I guess) doctors and lawyers have to pass exams which enable them to be members of professional orders, and some countries may impose similar conditions to other professionals such as translators. In Canada, for example, there is no such requirement (although membership in a provincial association is recommended), and in theory any person can advertise himself or herself as a translator in an attempt to find contracts.

I suggest you ask a translator in your country the question about "regulations".

Once you have sorted this out, you can advertise yourself to prospective clients, but you shouldn't expect to have a constant flow of work immediately. Membership in a professional association (even if it is optional) may allow you to find prospective clients and to advertise yourself. As far as I know most beginners accept "subcontracting" work from more experienced translators in their language combination. This is not terribly productive (economically), but it allows you to get some feedback from your "immediate" client (i.e. the other translator).

In the longer term you can then hope to work directly for final clients, depending on your fields of specialty (if you have any).

[Modifié le 2010-10-05 21:25 GMT]

[Modifié le 2010-10-05 21:25 GMT]


JPW (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bienvenue Oct 6, 2010


I imagine that the process is fairly similar to the way things work in the northern part of the island, although different laws and obligations will apply, of course.

For example, when you go self-employed in the UK, you have up to 3 months to tell the tax authorities (HMRC) that you have started trading, then you must register officially or face a (small) fine. You can effectively use these 3 months (100 days I think it is) to see if you can run a viable business.

In the Irish Republic, I'm not sure how 'lenient' they are in this respect: you might have to register from day one. But I am sure if you hoke around you can find local courses in what are known as 'enterprise centres' which give you guidance on setting up in business: what you need to do, how to register your business for tax, when you need to do it, how to go about it, how to market yourself, etc.

This website might be a good place to start:

One thing you should bear in mind (despite what you might read to the contrary) is that things like help and advice are generally free, whereas if you need start-up capital or a business loan to get started, they are going to be very thin on the ground.

Another thing you should bear in mind is that the Irish economy is in a perilous state at the moment and things are going to be tough down there for quite some time to come, in my opinion. Taxes are going up and Ireland has never really been known for fair prices (ever heard of the expression "rip-off Ireland"?).

Notwithstanding the gloomy prospects for the country, the world still has to turn, and I wish you luck in your forthcoming venture.



Local time: 21:15
Merci, Thank you Oct 6, 2010

The informations both of you gave me really do help.
Namely the website!

As soon as I can I will try to go through the process of "becoming a sole trader".

Thank you very much,



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Ireland: how to become a freelance translator?

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