How to work with different generations of translators?

As a rule, translators usually work as freelancers. To a large extent, working as a freelancer protects translators from age discrimination. However, by the way, they perform and carry out their responsibilities, you can quite easily find out which generation they belong to. Operating such knowledge and bearing in mind that different generations are to be motivated in different ways, you can actually optimize your work by following some very simple rules.


This is the generation born between 1928 and 1945. There are quite a few of them left in the workforce but not as few in the translation sphere. Why is that?

Translation has always been about mental acuity, rather than physical abilities. Translators and interpreters of this age have decades of experience, which you can put to good use. The generation of traditionalists is loyal and takes deadlines pretty seriously. You can easily motivate them by simply demonstrating that you respect their work.

The downside of working with traditionalists is that this is the least technologically advanced generation. They will probably need a lot of attention and coaching on how to work with different software.

Baby boomers

Born between 1946 and 1964, this is the generation that is referred to as “the most eccentric” or also the “Me” generation. They’re loyal and ambitious but often stubborn and resistant to change.

Because of their age, when working with translators of this group, you are sure to work with a professional in the field. However, bear in mind that they might not completely agree with the way you want them to do things and silently execute them their own way. Take the additional time to mentor or coach them, persuasively showing them the benefits of newer technology and way of work. Unlike traditionalists, baby boomers prefer monetary rewards for their work. They’re motivated by high levels of responsibility and challenges.

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Generation X

translatorsOut of the different generations, this is the one with the smallest number. Born between 1965 and 1980, the members of this age group are now in their 40s and 50s. Those people are experienced and work quite well with technology as well. They are often driven by building a stable career but are the first generation to start managing the work-life balance.

Gen Xers prefer to work independently with minimal supervision. They enjoy maintaining personal contact with their clients and try to stick with them. Bear in mind that a lot of customers prefer to work with older translators as they believe them to be more stable, patient, dependable, and more self-aware than their younger colleagues. Should you have such a client – Gen Xers are your go-to people.

Millennials (Generation Y)

Born after 1980, most of the millennials are now in their 30s. This is the fastest-growing group in the workforce right now and they’re finally beginning to come into their own in the working environment. The people from this generation are usually selling their skills the highest bidder, which, when compared to Traditionalists or Baby boomers, makes them less loyal and more prone to quickly jump from one organization to another.

Although it is an unstable generation to work with, the benefits of having them are endless – they have outstanding technical skills, they’re flexible and very imaginative. Most millennial translators have a fresh approach to their work and clients, which helps them build strong relationships.

Generation Y can be motivated by flexible schedules, time off, high-quality feedback, and continued learning opportunities.

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Generation Z

Out of all the different generations in the workforce, this one is the youngest. Born after 1995, they are now starting to enter the workforce. The oldest of them are now in their early 20s.

We cannot really talk about the experience in this age group but we shouldn’t forget that this is the generation that grew up with technology as part of their daily routine. Gen Zers are fast learners and over-achievers. Most of the translators from this generation have grown up in bilingual families, which is not a rare occurrence these days.

Should you decide to work with a member of this age group, know that they will need clear directions and transparency. They’re usually giving their best in their work as their skills are yet to be acknowledged.

Taking the best

In 1-StopAsia, we value experience as well as passion and curiosity. As Bruce Mayhew has once written:

“To manage across the generations we have to learn to be mindful of each other and treat each other as individuals.”

And that is exactly the thought that we are guided by. Taking the best from each generation and building bonds by mutual respect is how we are able to deliver the best-personalized results.