Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The travelling translator... reporting from around the world!

Our next mini interview is from Pascal G. an EN into FR freelance translator who lives in Australia's Sunshine Coast Hinterland and loves to travel the world on his bike. This is the story of a true travelling translator. 

The town of Tinghir, Morocco
Pascal, talk to us briefly about your life before you decided to become a travelling translator.
I worked as an analyst-programmer for over 20 years before deciding to work as a translator. Three years ago, I found myself in the position to be able to travel for several months, while continuing to work as a translator and so, I took the opportunity.

What languages do you speak and what made you become a translator?
I speak French (my native language) and English. The reasons I decided to become a translator are:
- I wanted more freedom in my job and to be able to work from home.
- I wanted to be away from big cities (my previous job in IT obliged me to stay in big cities because that's where big companies are, and where I could expect to find a job in IT.)
Bromo Volcano, Java (Indonesia)

What made you become a travelling translator and lead the life that you do now?
I've always loved travelling. Being a translator allows me to travel while still earning money. I carry a laptop and I can work from almost anywhere, I just need an Internet connection which I get via WiFi or a 3G dongle.

Describe a typical day in your life as a travelling translator.
I currently travel with a bicycle. A typical day is spent cycling. When I reach the destination, I check if I have work and accept some of it depending on my availability (I also need time to rest, eat, organise things). A rainy day is not a problem as I will be able to do more work on that day. Of course, I do spend time visiting places, meeting people, doing other things.When I stay several days in the same place, it is easy to fit a few translations in my program for the day.
On Tioman island, Malaysia

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living life as a travelling translator and how do they affect your translation business?
Every time I accept work, I make sure I have a proper working situation (good Internet connection, quiet location, a proper desk or table to install the computer). One advantage of this is that I am able to do something I like (travelling) while not worrying about my budget being blown (my income is usually greater than my expenses). Another advantage is to be able to stay long term in a country with a low standard of living while keeping the same rates. It also gives me peace of mind because, in these uncertain economic times, I know that if I was to get less work and a lower income, I would be able to stay in a cheaper country. I don't see many disadvantages. One of them may be the fact that I tend to work too much (to satisfy my clients) which means I don't spend as much time as I'd like visiting places, meeting the locals, but...that's up to me to change that.
 the Australian Outback

Where do the majority of your clients come from?
I work almost entirely for translation agencies which are located in Europe, Asia and North America.

What is your advice to anyone wishing to live the life of a travelling translator?
Take with you proper equipment such as a good computer, a mouse, a 3G dongle (so you don't need to look for WiFi), a device to back up your data. Never forget that you have to do good work and respect deadlines. Inform your clients about your varying availability times and the time zone you are in.

In Morocco
Pascal G. was born in France and studied IT. He worked as an analyst-programmer for about 20 years before becoming a translator. At the beginning, he translated 2 days a week but now he works full time. He lived in New Caledonia for 5 year, a French territory in the South Pacific. In 2004, he moved permanently to Australia, initially in Brisbane, and then to the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland. He loves travelling, sustainable living, cooking and growing his own food. He likes to host and be hosted when he travels. He uses Couchsurfing and Warmshowers which is similar to Couchsurfing but for cyclists.


  1. Fascinating person! It shows that you can travel and successfully run a business. Does Pascal share his travels on a blog or on Twitter?

    1. Hi Louise, my blog address is (replace 'y' by 'x')

  2. The translaor travelling report is very helpful. Very new ideas i got from your post. Your post'll surely help many people to know about the same. Impressive!

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  4. Thank you Pascal. I will come back a bit later when my internet connection works better. It was good to meet you! Perhaps we meet again in Bangkok in January. Have a good journey!