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2 min read


Fast Translate: How to translate faster

Freelance translators are aware that the size of their income correlates to the amount of work they can get done. Not many translators are fortunate enough to generate an applaudable amount of money by translating 1000 words a day. Franklin Benjamin put forward a theory that backs up this mindset: "Time is money".

A statement that gives translators who aim to fill up their bank accounts a very good reason to accelerate their translation action and to learn how to translate faster without compromising on quality.

What are the benefits of learning how to translate faster?

The equation is very simple:

productivity = output / input.

The "output" is the number of words translated and the "input" is the amount of time employed to complete the translation. The productivity will naturally increase if the value of the "output" increases and the value of the "input" decreases. For example: productivity = 2000 sw / 4 h is lower than: productivity = 2500 sw / 3 h

There is, of course, a relation of proportionality between productivity and revenues. For this reason, translators who aim to reap big financial benefits of their labour must explore new ways to learn how to translate faster. 

What are some ways to learn how to translate faster?
  1. Identify your strength to learn how to translate faster

Mark Twain gave us a treasured piece of advice: "Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life".

If you feel that you excel at legal translation, as opposed to marketing-related material, you will probably find yourself translating more quickly and efficiently. Your strong suit is composed of passion, proficiency and profitability.

In addition, being devoted to certain fields will help you master the related terminology and practice standards, which means the process will run more smoothly and accurately. This will in-turn increase the value of the "output" and decrease the value of the "input", giving you an increased value for productivity.

  1. Acquire time management skills to learn how to translate faster

Francesco Cirillo invented a time management technique called the "Pomodoro Technique", which translates to the "Tomato Technique".

The technique is named after a tomato-shaped timer that Francesco Cirillo used at university. He used this method to break down his working time into 25-minute intervals, with each interval being known as the "pomodoro". He found that, taking short breaks after 25-minute intervals, increased his productivity levels and aided the assimilation of the task.

Many translators make the mistake of pulling all-nighters with the hope of being more productive, while this approach is taking its toll on their efficiency and mental health. 

Tips for translators on how to translate faster with the help of the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique using a tomato-shaped timer


  1. Train yourself (or fingers) to type more quickly to learn how to translate faster

The average typist clocks in at only 41 words per minute. You might already know your strength suit and boast unbeatable time management skills, but if your fingers are not as privileged as your mind, it can unfortunately make the translation process run equally slowly.

It can be very frustrating to have to glance at the keyboard to know which key you have to click. Touch typing can be a very useful training method to help your fingers move more swiftly. When done correctly, your fingers can learn their exact location on the keyboard through muscle memory.

  1. Commit to updating your translation memories to learn how to translate faster

From a technological point of view, your translation memories can boost your translation speed and automate your workflow in ways you cannot imagine.

Recycling your old translations and applying them in new projects will essentially cut down your translation time to a big extent. Autopropagation is another enhancement tool for translating more efficiently and consistently.


Deciding on the rate at which you want to translate is probably one of the hardest aspects for newly started translators. You might not initially find a pace that helps you gain the amount of money that gives you financial security.

However, learning how to translate faster can only be a virtue when the translator does not compromise on quality. Choosing speed over accuracy will naturally have a negative impact on the final quality and lead to completely counterproductive results.