Translation Volunteer Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Translation

Parlez-vous français? Hablar español? Hui bu hui shuo hanyu? If you answered “oui,” “si,” AND “hui,” you might be a robot. BUT, if you happened to answer “yes” and you are a living, breathing human being, then you are truly a language superstar! Why not take your unique skills set and ability to forge communication between unlikely populations and apply it to a meaningful cause? We hate to be Johnny Obvious, but volunteering abroad as a translator in your language(s) of choice is probably your true calling. If this sounds like a “hao,” “bien,” or “bueno” option for you, read on!

Why Volunteer Abroad in Translation

The world keeps getting smaller and smaller as our societies become more globalized. The value of translation and intercultural communication skills has never been higher. If you’re not quite sure how to begin your future career as a translator, starting off as a volunteer translator abroad is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Volunteering abroad as a translator will allow you to help others communicate in the most efficient, effective way possible. You’ll be on the ground to perfect your speaking skills along with help others communicate. Using your skills and seeing your language abilities in action may inspire you to stick it out and keep learning, even on those frustrating days when it seems no one has any idea what you are saying. You will make international connections that are perfect for securing future translation job opportunities too. While volunteering in translation abroad your language skills will improve up the wazoo, so true fluency will be a pretty sweet perk you can walk away with.

The value of utilizing your target language in a nation that speaks it cannot be extolled enough. This experience, singularly, will make your time volunteering abroad entirely worth it. You will walk away with an improved skill set, a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world, and new lifelong friends and contacts.


With global development rising at a fast pace, communication is a very important component in today’s world, making translators a valuable team member within any organization. Where you go is dependent on what languages you speak, but here are some potential locations!

Spanish speaking countries are among some of the most popular destinations to volunteer abroad in translation. However, being a Spanish translator in places like the United States, where large numbers of Spanish speakers live among a majority of English speakers, can be useful too. Other popular countries for Spanish to English translation volunteer work include Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Regardless of whether you are translating English to Spanish or vice versa, the America’s offer many different translating volunteer opportunities.

French translation goes far beyond the borders of France to other francophone countries like (some parts of) Canada, Haiti, and even countries in Africa, such as Cameroon and Mali. Volunteering as a French translator in these countries will provide you with a cultural experience far beyond France, and allow you to have a positive impact on countries that are in greater need of translators.

Volunteering abroad as a translator in Arabic is becoming increasingly important in today’s global market; hence, there are Arabic translation volunteer opportunities around the world. Some of the most common places for Arabic translators in the Middle East and North Africa include Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. Even Western countries, like the United States, England, and many European countries, need Arabic translators because of current global events taking place involving both English speakers and Arabic speakers who are not bilingual

Translation Volunteer Work Abroad

Being a volunteer translator abroad is more than just following around stuffy businessmen and women in suits for big international meetings. As a volunteer translator you will have the opportunity to connect communities with necessary resources, bridge intercultural gaps through language, and make a real impact on the lives of others. There are generally a few different types of translation volunteer opportunities abroad.

Healthcare. Translators volunteering in health care services will help translate important documents and during appointments. By translating medical and legal documents, you will help medical professionals and institutions ensure they are exchanging the correct information with patients and other facilities. This is a great way to volunteer abroad in translation because it will help individuals provide and receive effective healthcare services, while also giving you international experience that will look great on a resume.

Nonprofit. Working for a nonprofit or NGO as a volunteer translator can help organizations effectively build international relations and increase the efficiency of their communications. This is a great way to get international exposure and experience that will benefit your future career goals, while also contributing to an organization dedicated to making a difference in the world. The goal of a nonprofit or NGO is to share their mission with the world, and your translation volunteer work will directly support and promote this mission.

Community Development. Having translation assistance in any aspect of community development can be extremely beneficial for the members of local communities and as well as project implementers. Whether translating for a local school, educating the public about the environment or health concerns, or even sharing general information with the community, you can help ensure information is shared and disseminated correctly as well as answer essential questions. Regardless of how you help the community or organization communicate, having a translator on their side will help them develop at an even faster rate and make their programs more successful.

Timing. Translation volunteer placements vary in duration greatly depending on the level of communication required between organizations, companies, and groups of people. While some translating gigs may only last as long as one meeting, there may be a need for documents to be reviewed by a translator regularly or for a more extensive amount of time.

Requirements. Previous experience is only occasionally required to volunteer abroad in translation. Regardless of previous experience, you obviously must be fluent in at least two languages to become a volunteer translator abroad. The application process for translation volunteering tends to be much more detailed, and placements more competitive, than other volunteer opportunities abroad due to the responsibilities given to volunteer translators.  

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Tricky Translations. Working as a volunteer translator abroad can be a challenging task, especially when it is being done in the business world. Not only do you have to be fluent in both languages, but you also have to understand terminology that might not be used in other settings. Before volunteering in translation abroad, you may need to review specific vocabulary related to the type of content and information you will be working with.

Analytical Ability. You have to be able to analyze a message quickly and translate it correctly to be a successful translator volunteer abroad. Therefore, translation volunteering is not for the faint of heart, however, it is extremely rewarding for those who succeed. Your brain power will be supercharged and your skills set only short of world domination! Maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the picture.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Translation


 Find Translation Volunteer Programs Abroad Now


This listing has been saved 979 times

World's #1 Affordable Volunteer Programs. Trusted By 90,000+

IVHQ is the world's most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization with the largest range of top-rated programs, available in 40+ destinations year-round! We place over 18,000 volunteers abroad annually and have over 10 years experience in providing safe, impactful and affordable volunteer abroad programs. With program fees starting from just USD 10 per day and the best safet...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Volunteer to Teach English in Costa Rica

Nestled between the Caribbean Ocean and a tropical rainforest, volunteers have the option to spend a weekend or two exploring this wonderful location and enjoy its many attractions and activities - including stunning beaches, rainforest, canopy tours and white water rafting. Volunteers plan and run lessons and assist with English language education for the community members. The local commun...


This listing has been saved 4 times

Volunteer in Samoa with Projects Abroad

Join Projects Abroad on a volunteer project in the South Pacific islands of Samoa. Volunteering in Samoa will allow you to gain a different perspective of the islands, compared to most people who visit as tourists staying in the lavish beach resorts. Projects are available for anyone interested in volunteering, including those taking a gap year, career break, summer abroad, or volunteer vacatio...


Volunteer At A School for Deaf Children in The Philippines

Are you adept at sign language and communicating with children with special needs and hearing impairment? Join our team and volunteer at a school for deaf children in the Philippines. Get the opportunity to work with local teachers and kids, helping improve learning and class interaction. An estimated 150 babies in the Philippines are born every day with hearing loss and an astonishing 27,000 b...


This listing has been saved 4 times

Service For Immigrants and Refugees in Valenecia

This timely program in Valencia places you in various support areas for refugees, immigrants, and minorities like the Romani (Roma). As Spain's third largest city, Valencia is facing the same issues that face other cities around Europe. It is an exciting time to contribute in a meaningful way. Depending on your background, you might be involved in training or career guidance programs, education...


This listing has been saved 12 times

Volunteer in Peru. Start Your Amazing Journey Abroad!

As you explore its ancient ruins, canopied jungles, and epic coastline, you'll understand, Peru is quite literally the stuff of legend. A melting pot of Japanese, African, Chinese, and European influences and roots tracing back to Pre-Columbian Incas, Peru is like no place else. Volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions and you'll experience not only the great things Peru is famous for, but al...


This listing has been saved 14 times

ISA Service-Learning in Meknes, Morocco

Known as the "Versailles of Morocco," Meknes is home to a beautiful blend of the Arab, Berber, and French cultures that comprise modern Morocco. The diverse and distinct districts of the city, such as the bustling Ville Nouvelle, labyrinthine Medina, and relaxing plazas and green spaces speak true to the traditional Moroccan lifestyle.ISA Service-Learning provides opportunities to serve in Mekn...


This listing has been saved 2 times

LEAPYEAR: Transforming Education - Ages 17-24

LEAPYEAR is a cutting-edge experiential program for 17-23 year olds who want to make a graceful and powerful passage into independent, creative adulthood. It is meant to replace the final year of high school or the first year of college, or function as a 'year on' between high school and college. Live, work and travel for 9 months, from September through May for our Fall program, and January th...


This listing has been saved 54 times

International Internships & Volunteer Programs in Colombia

The Intern Group is the leading provider of internship programs in the emerging market of Colombia! We provide international students with internships in top private companies, NGOs and state ministries. Our programs are regularly featured on CNN International and other mainstream media. Apply now for a wonderful experience and propel your professional development! Develop your Spanish langu...


This listing has been saved 20 times

Volunteer in Oaxaca, Mexico - Adelante Abroad

Make a positive impact in Mexico! Adelante Abroad offers affordable volunteer programs in a wide variety of fields and sectors in Oaxaca, Mexico including ecology internships and social work internships abroad. Oaxaca is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Mexico, known for the craft-work of local artisans. It is also home to warm spirited people and there are plenty of opportunities to give...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica: San Jose Education and English Programs

Volunteer Work Abroad Humanitarian Programs Volunteering Mission Jobs All your program costs are tax deductible** We offer safe, affordable and customized programs, you can choose any day of the week to travel, we don't have specific starting dates. You choose when you want to volunteer work and for how long, read each program for specific information. Regardless if you are traveling s...


This listing has been saved 11 times

Social Media / Graphic Design in the Galapagos

What better way to boost your CV than to add it with international work experience! Get the chance to apply your technical prowess in social media or graphic design through an internship or volunteering program in Galapagos. Your role mostly involves helping monitor and actively market IOI Galapagos donation and fundraising functions. Continue building online presence through social media ma...


This listing has been saved 113 times

Volunteer World: Best Volunteer Abroad Programs Worldwide

Looking to apply your talent and expertise to a good cause? Find a program that matches your interests and skills through Volunteer World! We are the largest volunteer abroad comparison platform around the globe, enabling you to seek and compare offers from major travel agencies as well as smaller grassroots NGOs and local specialists in more than 80 countries. All these with just one click! ...


This listing has been saved 55 times

Internship in Thailand with Asia Internship Program

Thanks to its geographical location, Thailand has become one of the most desirable destinations for businesses to settle in. As a fast-growing and highly internationalized market, it is a perfect place for any young professional to develop their skillset that will be beneficial for their future career path. With AIP assistance, we make it easier for you to find the right internship in Thail...