Speaking with one of our online freelance translators


Speaking with one of our online freelance translators

The strength of our company? Without a doubt our professional freelance translators. Curious about how they experience working at lilo? We interviewed Thomas Henry, one of the loyal translators we’ve been working with for longer than two years. This clever mind speaks no less than six different languages – applause – and he has knowledge of financial, legal, and technical terminology – double applause! Let’s discover more about this linguistic champ.

How long are you working for lilo as a professional translator?

Last summer I made a profile on several online platforms to effortlessly find some new prospects for translators jobs online. My first task for lilo came quite unexpectedly during my holidays, and I’m glad I responded to it as quickly as I did: the client was so happy that they sent me thirty more document translation requests within the following month. Lilo has become the primary source of new clients for me, certainly better than some other paid freelancer platforms, which I promptly cancelled.


Which languages do you speak?

I am a native speaker of English, Dutch, and French. Besides that, I’m completely fluent in Italian, Spanish and German. I’ve been professionally translating texts to and from these six languages since 2005. I’m also able to communicate in Russian, Polish and several other Slavic languages as well as Hungarian, which is a completely different language family originally from Siberia like Finnish.


Where or how did you learn to speak those languages?

Languages are my greatest passion, and it’s a thrill to discover how words, grammar rules, and sayings are connected. I’ve lived on four different continents and in every country I moved to, I easily learned the language by immersion and academic/professional work. Learning a language gets exponentially easier: the first is natural but the second is hard, the third gets easier, the fourth even more so, etc. because you can connect the dots, reuse vocabulary and recognise patterns. Languages are also a great way to connect with people, understand different points of view, and truly become a world citizen.


How do you experience being a translator at lilo? Can you name at least three advantages for you as a translator?

  • No time wasted doing active prospecting for new clients, so I can concentrate on my day job.
  • An easy-to-use online machine learning interface without having to pay for a licence.
  • Interesting clients from a broad spectrum of sectors, always bringing interesting topics.


How would you describe lilo’s online translation platform in a minimum of one and a maximum of four sentences?

A great online tool for translations to choose your translator yourself for a transparent price, completely online 24/7 with no need for human interaction unless you want it. The translator gains access to machine-learning tools giving you a discount on (semi-)automated suggestions and allowing the translator to spend their time and effort on real added value instead, such as phrasing and tailor-made idioms.


Why would you recommend lilo as a professional translation service to potential clients? What are the most important advantages for them according to you?

It is a quick and easy way to get translations done without wasting time where you don’t want to. You get to know the price up front, and can access the platform 24/7 meaning you can “upload and forget” your file: it gets translated in the background while you keep working on your other tasks. No complicated contracts or stakeholder management, the translator profiles have clear reviews and descriptions so you know what to expect, and if you’re unhappy with one, you can just use another!


Why did you choose to work for lilo instead of working for a traditional translation agency?

Translations are something I do on the side, ad hoc whenever it suits me, typically finding new clients by word of mouth or by proving my worth on one translation and seeing them come back for a whole lot more. A traditional translation agency doesn’t typically offer that level of flexibility and the translator can end up quite anonymous, whereas on lilo I can be myself and show my true added value in qualitative work… but also in client-centricity such as suggesting improvements for their original text and correcting their typos. A traditional translation agency tends to be less polyvalent, more specialised, and usually limited to the scope of the task at hand.


What are your strengths as a translator and how do you express them in your work?

I’ve been professionally translating texts since 2005 and I still do so on the side, next to my day job in a Big Four helping companies obtain subsidies and tax incentives for their innovative projects. The contextual, sales, and scientific skills that I draw from my career combine well with my natural knack for languages to provide the type of translation the client really needs, critical thinking included!


Which different types of texts (e.g. with different terminologies) have you already written? And what are you most specialised in as a translator?

My day job consists of professional consulting in several languages in a wide variety of technical and scientific domains, legal contracts, and financial documents. Thanks to that, lilo clients often find I’m the best man for the job because I can understand the context and target audience of their text, as well as the business jargon, legal formulations, and adaptive communication styles that the client really needs.


Do you cooperate often with the same companies through lilo? If so, which ones?

Very frequently. When a client is happy with a first translation, I usually end up receiving a bunch more from them in the following weeks or months… for as long as they have texts that need translating! I currently have about three lastingly recurring clients, one of which is a marketing agency that loves my polyvalent skills to provide their different clients with quality texts regardless of their activity sector. Another is a recruitment company that completely revamped its website and needed infallible consistency over several languages. Finally and most seriously, a law cabinet that needs utmost precision and contextual translations for their clients’ contracts, where consistency and accuracy are not a luxury but a necessity. These clients are all very different, yet they all know what they need… so when they get it, they quickly realise that lilo is their best path to qualitative translations with full freedom and flexibility.


Thanks a lot, Thomas. Both for your great work as a professional translator for lilo and the eye-opening insights. We love having you on our team!

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