Tools for Translators & Interpreters

Tools for Translators


If you’re a translator/interpreter like me, you probably use a variety of tools to manage your time, keep track of your finances, keep up with terminology, current events and even social media.
In this post, I’ll highlight some of my essential tools for translators and interpreters.


Wave is a freemium web app for keeping track of your business’ finances and sending out invoices. Wave also integrates with Stripe (more on that below), so you can easily accept credit card payments from direct clients through a link automatically inserted into your invoices. I like the fact that it’s a web app because it means I can sign in from anywhere and look at my accounts, although I would prefer to have a proper app for Android to be able to write estimates and invoices on the train or in the waiting room. An iOS app already exists, and apparently an Android app is on the way.


Honestly, I have to admit that I don’t know much about the details of Stripe. All I know is that it integrates smoothly into Wave and it lets me accept credit cards from customers for a relatively modest percentage of the transaction. It’s never caused an issue, and a lot of my clients prefer to pay by credit card rather than bank transfer, particularly if they’re overseas and don’t have an Australian bank account. You could use PayPal to accept payments from clients, but Stripe and Wave streamline credit card payments and invoicing so you and your clients don’t even have to think about it. Your clients just need to click a link in your invoice and put in their credit card details; no account necessary.


Toggl is time tracking software. It’s a great tool for managing your time, which is incredibly important for freelancers, especially if you bill by the hour. It’s available on just about every platform imaginable, and there’s always the web app, so you can track your time from anywhere.


Buffer is a social media management app. Essentially, instead of retweeting something or posting it on LinkedIn right away, you save it to Buffer, which then schedules them for later. You can target articles to different networks and use “power scheduling” to fine tune when things get posted. This is a great time-saver if you’re trying to maintain a social media presence!


Feedly is an RSS feed reader. For those of you who aren’t familiar with RSS feeds, think of them as sites you follow, like Twitter but with websites instead of people. With RSS readers like Feedly, you can compile your own feed, or collection, of websites and read the blog posts or articles at your own leisure. No more having to check multiple apps or blogs for the latest news or updates from your colleagues, you can add them all to Feedly and get your updates in one place!

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is basically Google’s answer to Excel. While Excel might have more features, the real power of Sheets is the fact that your spreadsheets are stored in the cloud. This is helpful if you want to be able to add new terms to your glossaries on your way back from an interpreting without worrying about having to synchronise multiple versions of the same file. It also means your glossaries are available anywhere you have an internet connection. For more information, see an earlier post on how I maintain glossaries.


While I always have my smartphone on me, lately I’ve also been making a point of bringing my tablet with me on interpreting assignments. I always take public transport to assignments, so having my tablet and a 4G internet connection allows me to work on the train and in waiting rooms. I can look up last-minute terminology, review my existing glossaries, read the news and even keep up on the latest research—basically all of my tools for translators and interpreters are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

I could do most of these on my mobile phone or a computer, but I find the larger screen on my tablet very useful for reading articles and reviewing my glossaries in Google Sheets. My tablet is quite a bit lighter than carrying about my laptop and charger. I personally prefer Android devices, and there are relatively cheap devices available that will do the job, so it doesn’t have to be a huge expense. I use a Lenovo A7-20 (price at time of publication: AU$99). It’s not fancy, but it does the job. You can use an iPad or any Android device, of course.

4G Modem

Tablets with built-in 4G connectivity are obviously a simpler solution than buying a separate dongle or modem, but I went with a relatively cheap tablet and bought a relatively cheap 4G modem with a prepaid broadband connection. It’s so nice not having to worry about whether or not there will be free or public Wi-Fi wherever I go. Having internet wherever I go allows me to take advantage of my commute to write e-mails, catch up on the news and prepare for assignments, so I don’t waste any time going to assignments.

What Tools Do You Use?

What kind of tools do you use as a translator or interpreter? Do you have any other time-saving tips or hints? Let me know what you think in the comments because I’m always looking for new ways to save time!

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