Passive income for translators part 1

Here’s a repost from an old article on my blog:

Hi all,

Every freelancer has experienced the « feast and famine » cycle: one month, you have to refuse work or ask for more time to accomplish it, another month, you sit in front of your computer constantly refreshing your email app, but nothing but spam and random newsletters come in.

Some would say that downtime is a good opportunity to work on your marketing efforts, invest in CPD (continuous professional development) or have more time with your friends and family.

These are definitely valid options, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could do all that and somehow get paid?

Enter the wonderful world of passive income. No, I’m not talking about some online scam.

There are legitimate ways to get paid without « doing anything ». Why the quotation marks? It means that you have to work now in order to reap the benefits later.

I’m definitely not the first to talk about passive income for freelancers, or more specifically for translators: check for example this excellent post by Corinne McKay on the topic that inspired me to write this post.

A translator can use her or his skills to generate more revenue:

    Write: a translator writes all day for others. Writing a book and selling it is a great way to improve your income. There are many ways to sell paper books or e-books. You can also have a nice blog and run ads on it. If you hate ads, try a paid newsletter.
    Design: if you’re like me, you cannot draw anything resembling art. Maybe you come up with a saying or a slogan that would look great on the t-shirt, on a mousepad or on the back of a laptop. There are many services online that allow you to upload your ideas, set up a commission percentage and make money everytime someone buys an item with one of your designs.
    Teach: you can write tutorials and share your experience. They are places where you can publish your tutorials or you can sell them directly on your website. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, producing educational videos can be very beneficial.
    Affiliate links and sponsorship: whenever a member of your site clicks on an affiliate link and decides to buy the product you’re promoting, you get a commission. If you feel like a salesman, you can ask companies in your niche to sponsor your site or podcast.
    Stock photos: you probably have dozens of photos on your phone or on your hard drives. Do you know that some companies will buy your pictures? Of course, you’ll need the authorisation of whomever is on there before you can proceed. Check out Stock photo adviser who has a lot of content on how to get started and how to choose your provider.
    Leverage your specialisation(s): maybe your specialisations themselves will allow you to add « du beurre dans les épinards ». For example, if you are specialised in mobile apps localisation, like I do, having an paid app or an app with ads can be beneficial. You will also be able to show your skills and expertise to potential clients.

I will be implementing some of those tips myself and will report the results later on. There, I said it. Now I have no other choice but to deliver. Let me know in the comments what you think on this subject or if you have other ideas to generate passive income for translators.

P.S. I chose not to mention any service by name in this post. First, I’m not affiliated with some service or another. Second, the availability may vary depending on your country.

Thierry Destinobles (@TDestinobles)
Translator DE/EN/ES/HT/IT – > FR (Android/iOS/web)

My new home

Roadworks. Credit

Roadworks. Credit

If you’ve come to my site before,  you will notice that some things are now different. Due to technical difficulties I had to change providers and start my website from scratch. is my new home now.

Since August 28 2015, I couldn’t access my website or my emails. Since my emails are transferred to my main Gmail account, I have all my emails and I could still contact clients and colleagues. I must admit that I don’t know what happened to the prospects I reached mid August, especially those to whom I gave business cards pointing to my old address.

This is a different story for my website. I had no backup whatsoever of my blog posts and other pages. Lesson learned : I now have a plugin

I could recover my blog post with the Internet archive. I will start publishing evergreen articles and get started on new content. 

Have a good one,