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A PESTLE analysis for freelance translators

Updated: Mar 6

Surely a PESTLE analysis is reserved for large businesses? I hear you say.

Well, in my view - no.

I'm not saying you need to do one of these every week, but I do think it can be invaluable when evaluating your business and taking stock once in a while.

This article will look at:

  • What does PESTLE mean and what are the benefits to a freelance linguist?

  • What should be included in the categories of a PESTLE analysis?

  • What would a PESTLE analysis look like for a freelance linguist?


What does PESTLE even mean and what are the benefits to a freelance linguist?

PESTLE stands for Political (P), Economic (E), Sociological (S), Technological (T), Legal (L) and Environmental (E). The analysis looks to take into account each of these considerations. Unlike a SWOT analysis, the PESTLE tool focusses on external factors that a freelance linguist may be facing, and how these factors affect your business.

A PESTLE analysis could be seen as a more in-depth look at the Opportunities and Threats section of a SWOT analysis.

Image courtesy of Designorate.

The benefits of a PESTLE analysis for a freelance linguist:

  • An understanding of the wider business environment

  • It encourages the development of external and strategic thinking when looking at your career as a business

  • Enables you to plan for the future and anticipate future business threats, which you can then minimise or avoid

  • Allows you to spot opportunities for your freelance business

So what should be included in the categories of a PESTLE analysis?

  • Political - Tax and environmental regulations, trade restrictions, tariffs, political stability

  • Economic - Economic growth/decline, interest, exchange rates, working hours, minimum wage, cost of living

  • Sociological - Cultural norms, age distributions, career attitudes, work-life balance, health & safety, health consciousness

  • Technological - New technologies (AI, robotics), budget for tech, strengths/weaknesses

  • Legal - Imports/exports, taxation, changes to employment legislation, UK-Europe

  • Environmental - Global warming, sustainability moves, supply chain intelligence, pandemics

What would a PESTLE analysis look like for a freelance linguist?

Well, here's an example of things you could include if you were looking at the Russian market as a freelance linguist.


Sanctions on Russian bodies, strong weapons industry. Russian Protests 2021. Russians don’t want to be affiliated with extreme political views.


Limited budget for translations. Russia diversifying economic streams. Still heavily dependent on oil and gas. Member of BRICS.


Respect is given to the wealthy. There is a rich culture and entertainment industry. Insufficient support for the poor/those in need. Social inequality.


Much of the media content is owned by government officials. Strong in science, IT, space tech – these are big drivers for the economy. Yandex is the key search engine. e-Commerce is growing quickly.


Government corruption is still present. There are strict rules for company affiliations.


Global warming/sustainability is not a key priority for the government. There are several environmental issues: air/water pollution, nuclear waste.

Now that you know more about how this business tool could be of use to you as a freelance linguist, why don't you create one for your business? I'd love to hear how you got on, so feel free to drop me an email ( or send me a message on LinkedIn!


To read more of this kind of material or if you would like to speak to me about translation (Russian, German, or Dutch), localisation, subtitling or proofreading, please click here to see a list of my services and get in touch today.

Thanks for reading!

Marjolein, The Native Crowd

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