Are you looking a job to do from home? If you’re bilingual or multilingual, you could put your language skills to work and translate for money. According to our research, translators make about $52,000 annually. Some translators earn even more!
In this article, we share everything to know in order to get paid to translate. From how to become a translator and offer professional translation services, to how to find high-paying translation jobs, and some extra tips for success.
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Who is a translator?
A translator is a person who converts a message written in one language into a different language, such that the original meaning of the message does not change. While similar, it is not the same job as an interpreter, who translates orally or through sign languages.
A translator specializes in written materials, including articles, letters, books, reports, etc., and to succeed in the job, they employ a wide range of tools, including translation software, glossaries, dictionaries, etc.
A translator must relay the message in a written message with the same style and tone as required. In a case where the translation work must be done to suit the specific culture, the translator must know about the culture and the target audience that she’ll be translating for to convey the intended message appropriately.
What is the job of a translator?
The primary responsibility of a translator is to rewrite information from one language to another so that the target audience would read the translated text and understand as though they were reading the original.
This means that the translator must write out the sentences and maintain the flow as the original, keeping the exact facts and ideas from the original resource. They must be able to inculcate any cultural reference like slang and other expressions so that they don’t translate them literally.
Though the translator must not speak the original language fluently, they should be very fluent in reading the language. To ensure the accuracy of translation jobs, it is advised that a translator should only translate into her native language.
What you must know before you translate for money
Since most offices have adopted the virtual office idea, most translators now perform their translation jobs from home. Whether as a freelance or contract-based translator, you should be able to do the following:
- Read, speak, and write in at least two languages fluently, including English and any other language
- Be current, research and read industry-specific materials to be accustomed to the industry terminologies
- Convert text and audio recording from one language to another using specified industry terminologies
- Ensure the relayed message conveys its original tone and meaning
- Provide high-quality translation with the aid of specialized dictionaries for cross-referencing
- Prepare subtitles for online and video presentations
- Render spoken ideas quickly, clearly, and accurately
- Ensure the translated text is error-free and accurately punctuated
- Ensure that the translated content suits its original format
- Follow up with the client and internal team members to ensure that they are satisfied with their translation
- Stay connected with field experts to learn about the latest updates in translation tools and practices
You must have a computer before picking up a translation job. This is because almost all translation jobs are done on a computer, and you will mostly receive and submit your assignments electronically.
Keep in mind that all your translation jobs will be critically reviewed before finally being approved. This revision could be done by the client or in-house team members of the company you work for.
Translation work is in high demand and is needed for different subject areas. Though you must not specialize in any industry or field, you will benefit more by focusing on one area of expertise.
How much do translators make?
Translators make around $52,000 per year on average. But there’s a lot that influences how much different people may make. The amount you get depends on your level of expertise, the website you translate for, the number of clients you have, and the rate you charge them.
You will likely earn differently for different projects, but most translators charge per word, per hour, or per project. When added together, you could earn between $10 and $100 for each translation job you do.
It is pretty easy to get paid to translate online. The primary thing to do is to apply. However, before applying, you must be sure that you are qualified to be a translator.
Now, you just don’t qualify to be a translator because you are fluent in another language; you must be adequately trained to do the job. This includes taking paid online courses, brushing up your computer skills, and doing other smaller-paying jobs to boost your resumè.
If possible, consider getting a bachelor’s degree in the language you want to translate to. Though this is not a must, it will make you highly rated and increase your pay.
Translation jobs doesn’t only end in freelancing and contract jobs; you can translate for money online by offering the following services:
- Teaching a foreign language
- Becoming a tour guide
- Creating and selling specialized glossaries
- Creating a language blog or creating language videos on YouTube
- Translating for authors in exchange for translation royalties. Though this may be difficult to get, you could hit the jackpot one day, and it will pay for all your efforts.
Read More: How to Become a Translator in 5 Steps.
Subtitles and what you can make out of them
Subtitling is another kind of translation, but this time it could be a written dialogue or sound effect for a video file. It pays well, as an average subtitle writer makes $52,522 a year. Nevertheless, this job must be done with a very high level of linguistic accuracy.
Subtitling is divided into three (3) : General subtitles – which are open to all and cannot be switched off by viewers, Closed captioning – which can be switched on and off, and Language subtitles – which are subtitles in other languages.
You’ll be more concerned about the language subtitles because that’s what translators do.
To become a subtitler, hone your skills through a paid course, connect online with other subtitlers, and get jobs from subtitling websites.
Where to find translation jobs
Most translation jobs are found online where you could work as a freelancer, full- time or contract-based translator. This could be on freelance websites, translation websites or company websites. Online translation jobs can be done in the workplace or from home. Although freelance jobs are the commonest work from home opportunities, you can still offer remote services as a full time or contract based staff for companies that accept virtual jobs.
Websites that allow you to do online translation jobs from home
Freelance websites to get paid to translate
Fiverr has more than 14 million users, and it’s a good place for beginners. To get paid to transcribe on Fiverr, create a profile, and write a killer gig. Gig is a term used to describe your offer on the platform.
It could take a while to get your first client, but once you get one, ensure they write a good review. People with more reviews find it easier to get jobs.
Freelancer works just like Fiverr – it’s where freelance translators meet clients for work. It is a very popular platform that offers translation jobs as a category. In that category, you are assured of the newest online translation jobs that you can apply for and make money.
This great platform links freelancers to business; it also works just like Fiverr. On the website, there is a list of urgent jobs from companies that you can quickly apply to. If you are good, you can land your first set of online translation jobs from home almost immediately.
Create a free account on the platform and start pitching for jobs.
Still another freelance network, you can sign up with Guru.com to access their job board. There are always numerous translation jobs, including ebooks, web content, articles, etc.
Upwork is a freelance website that offers every type of work. It is open to every kind of freelancer; including writers, editors, translators, transcribers, etc. To get earnings from the platform, create an account and set your profile. From there, you can work and earn as much as you want.
Indeed has listings for every kind of work, including translation. Since all the jobs are pooled together, you must be careful to sort out the online and on-site jobs.
Clickworker has more than 700,000 workers, and they offer numerous services besides translation. It is a great place for freelancers, but you must register and pass their assessment before getting a job on the platform.
Translation websites to translate for money
Lionbridge is a platform that offers translation, content testing, product & services testing, and AI services. There are great freelance opportunities for all these areas on the platform; they offer a wide range of translation jobs to help you earn significant income as a freelance translator.
Acclaro is a great starting point for freelance translators. It is an agency that takes freelance translation to the next level. It pays you directly instead of letting you have direct payment from clients. This makes it easier to find jobs with higher pay rates than on freelance platforms.
With more than 7,000 translators, Linguistic Systems Inc offers translation services for manufacturing companies, publishing companies, pharmaceutical companies, IT fields, and legal organizations.
This company requires a higher amount of translation accuracy; hence they prefer translators with a bachelor’s degree with not less than two years of experience in translation.
Globalink Translation is an agency that provides translation services for healthcare industries like research institutes, pharmacies, medical and psychological translation.
To become a translator on the platform, fill out a form on the website or contact them through email or fax
Language Line is a great company you can trust for translation jobs, interpreting services, and localization services. They make translation easy for beginners as you can translate over the phone, face to face, or via video.
Language Line helps you improve your translation skills by offering direct training for individuals by their in-house bilingual staff.
Text master offers professional proofreading, web content writing, and translation jobs. If you join the platform, you can earn about $0.15 per word you translate.
Translator’s town is a mediator platform that links freelance translators to translation agencies. They offer translation in over 100 languages, making room for almost everyone.
The translation directory is a portal for language clients and professionals. It is also an online job board to find good translation job opportunities from high-paying clients.
The Tradu Guide is a translation agency that connects clients to freelance translators. On the platform, you will find a list of jobs and quickly send the client a quote for your work.
Proz.com works with over 300,000 professional translators and transmission companies.
The platform offers free and subscription accounts. You have a good chance of getting jobs on their free account, but you can maximize your chances by subscribing.
Extra tips for success when you translate for money
Always have the following in mind if you want to succeed when translating for money.
- Never miss an opportunity to learn a new language. Being able to speak more languages raises your marketability.
- Travel, take online courses and connect with foreign language speakers online to strengthen your network.
- Have a website or blog to promote yourself.
- Even as a beginner, frequently pitch to clients. You will undoubtedly be rejected a couple of times, but jobs will come if you don’t give up.
- Learn languages in high demand and not just any kind of language. For instance, there is high demand for translation into Russian, Japanese, etc. With these languages, you have an added advantage in the translators market.
- Create sample materials even when you’re yet to get a gig. Translate random text and add them to your portfolio, or use them as samples to your potential client.
How can I know if my language skills are good enough for translation jobs?
Your skills are good enough for a translation job when you can comfortably translate. To know how good you are, try translating some copies like a research article, software guide, financial report, etc. If you can successfully translate thousands of words in a day without errors, then you are ready for the job.
Are there textbooks on translators?
The answer is yes. Books like Becoming a Translator by Douglas Robinson, Translation as a Profession by Roger Chriss, and Confessions of a Freelance Translator by Gary Smith. These books and more can help shape your career as a translator.
Where to find translation jobs online with no experience
You can find translation jobs online with no experience on many of the freelance websites discussed above. These jobs are classified under “entry level jobs” since they are for people with little or no experience in the skill.
How to get online translation jobs for students
Even when in school, you can take up online translation jobs for students. Although there are no jobs with this title, you should consider taking freelance translation jobs or part-time translation jobs online because they are more flexible and will help your schedule as a student.
What books can I use to learn about my subject areas?
You can use textbooks in the related field to learn about your subject areas. For instance, if you want to translate medical documents, read recent editions of graduate or college level textbooks on the subject and study.
Where can i find the best dictionaries for translation
How many clients should I have?
When deciding the number of clients to have, remember the 80/20 rule. Let 80% of your work come from 20% of your clients.that means you should have a few (3 or 4) steady clients that give you work consistently.
What software can I use to practice my language?
Duolingo, Memrise, and Quizlet are some great language learning apps you can use for free. However, there are paid apps like Rosetta Stone Language Learning that can greatly improve your language skills.
How many hours per week do translators work?
The number of hours you work per week depends on several factors like if it is a part time, full time or freelance job. Part-time and freelance jobs are more flexible. However, many translators work for about 30 hours per week.
How much vacation can translators take?
You can take about 3 weeks of vacation yearly as a translator including national holidays.
What can I do to earn more as a translator?
Charge per word or translate more words to earn more. Although charging per word depends on your clients, translating more words depends on your skills and speed. You could also invest in a translation memory —linguistic databases that save your translations for future use— to help you work faster and earn more per hour.
Now that you’ve learned how to become a translator, and how to translate for money, create an account in any of the above-listed platforms to get started.
Remember to constantly brush up your skills and keep learning, to increase your earning potential.