You can earn good money from translation jobs if you are fluent in another language. However, just being fluent in another language doesn’t set you up for success on the job.
Besides your language capability, you need other skill sets to soar. This post will discuss the following:
- The difference between a translator and an interpreter
- How to become a translator
- How much a translator earns
- The best sites to find translation jobs
What is expected from a translator?
Like the term, the primary responsibility of a translator is to translate documents from one language to another. Most times, you earn per each word you translate. There is also a deadline attached to every assignment. However, you can work when you are free as long as you deliver it on time.
Translator vs interpreter
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The primary difference between a translator and an interpreter is the medium of communication. The translation is usually presented in written format, while an interpretation is spoken.
Hence, as a translator, you will be given written documents to translate in the form of writing to a different language. Meanwhile, an interpreter will be provided with an audio or video file to interpret by speaking.
Is online translation and interpretation work in high demand?
Yes, online interpretation and translation jobs are in high demand. However, some languages are more demanding than others.
However, don’t panic if you are translating for a less in-demand language. Though you may get few translation jobs there, the translators in that field may not be many; hence the competition will be low. So, you can earn better there.
How to become a translator
The Institute of Translation and Interpreting requires that you be fluent or have an almost native understanding of at least one foreign language. You should be accustomed to the culture of the source language and have commendable writing skills in your native language.
Many companies that seek freelance translators or online interpreters to do their work expect them to be bilingual and work from home. Jobs are usually available at entry-level, intermediate, and professional levels.
As you know, professionals earn higher than entry-level or intermediate. Also, they handle translation jobs for more high-paying fields like medicine, legal, government, etc.
You can also become a professional translator by following the steps below.
How to become a professional translator
- Extensively study the language you want to translate
Before starting up a translation job, you need to choose your source language and dive deep into it.
Millions of people, if not billions, speak a particular language; this is why competition is so high for translation jobs. So, you need to be highly skilled in the language you’re translating so that you will stand out from the crowd and access jobs that only few people can find.
Since translation jobs are available in different fields, choose the area/language you are interested in and study extensively.
Pro Tip: choose a field (like medical, legal, politics, etc) and check if the language you want to translate is in high demand in those fields. If it is not, you will less likely find clients to work for. To be on the safe side, look for the field where the language you want to translate is most used and studied, and learn what it takes to have clients there.
- Obtain specialized training
Understanding a language doesn’t mean that you can translate it. You need to be skilled at translating to provide efficient and precise translation without changing the context.
- Be certified
Certification is the best proof of your skill. So, obtain a highly recognized one from the ATA and add it to your resume or business card.
Also, there are some specific certifications for interpreters in professional fields. For instance, if you want to be an interpreter in the medical field, you must obtain the Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) credential from the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.
- Learn the specific terms of your target industry
Sometimes terms are specific to industries, and you need to know these terms and how to translate them without changing the context.
For instance, you should learn some necessary words in government, medicine, business, or education if you translate in those fields.
Gather critical English terms and study them in the language you will be translating.
- Sharpen your computer skills
As a translator, you’ll use some computer programs to make your work easier and more efficient. So, to stand out, know the programs used by professional translators. They include Wordfast, memoQ, Memsource, SDL Trados Studio.
- Get relevant experience
It would be challenging to earn a professional translation job without some prior experience. But how will you get this experience if you’re yet to be hired?
It is straightforward. Start up your translation career with some freelance jobs so that you can get the experiences to add to your resume.
Though you may not receive as much pay as you would expect from your first jobs, after you get the needed experience, you will receive better compensations for these services.
How much does a translator earn?
In the United States, translators earn an average salary of $19.7 per hour. However, when you become an expert in many languages, you can get three times that amount. Still, it depends on your area of expertise and the skills you have.
Also, a certified translator by the American Translators Association can earn more than $66 per hour.
18 bests sites for translation jobs
You can quickly get started as a freelance translator. I went through many sites on the internet to see the easiest ones to sign up with little or no hassle.
Numerous websites offer online translation jobs, but not all of them are worth a try.
The websites discussed below have gotten good reviews from translators and clients. They are:
FlexJobs solves the problem of scamming that most people encounter when searching for online translation jobs.
They filter out the best opportunities on the internet and present them to you, limiting your search time and giving you the best options.
FlexJobs vet and screen all their clients and ensure that what they post are legitimate job opportunities.
Sign up and subscribe to get started as a member and gain access to their job listings. Also, you will enjoy other benefits like resume reviews, career coaching, and even more interviews that will help you get your dream job.
Gengo is open to translators of 15 various languages. This freelance platform is popular and doesn’t have a long list of requirements for acceptance. You just need to create a free account with them and take their translation test.
Nevertheless, it is believed that a person can earn up to $417 a month with Gengo.
Language line frequently hires translators and interpreters for numerous languages.
Most of their job listings are contract jobs, primarily for interpreters. However, you can still get translation jobs near you on the platform.
Also, they usually require at least five years of professional translation experience for their translation jobs.
Indeed states that they pay between $13.44 and $16.70 hourly.
This is a trendy platform for translators. There is usually a lot of work, but the work is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you need to be very fast in picking job opportunities if you want to make a steady income from them.
On this platform, you get paid per word, which is about $0.005 to $0.1 per word, and you will mainly be translating text documents like blog posts and emails.
Their payment is made via PayPal, and there is a withdrawal threshold of $25.
Unbabel offers transcription services for about 30 languages.
This platform makes it easy for freelancers to thrive as their work primarily comes from the same set of people, with no much changes in the job description.
It is a great site for both new and expert translators, but you will need to do about 24 short translating tasks for them to assess your skill level. After this, they will give you an hourly rate/work that they believe is suitable for your skill level.
The interesting thing about Unbabel is that your earnings will increase as you improve your skill level.
They make their payment via PayPal and Payoneer.
Though they do not need new translators now, you can fill a form on their site to join their waiting list.
Universal Translation Services does not accept beginner level translators. They need more experienced workers because they are a solid brick and mortar organization concerned about giving the best quality of work to their clients. They achieve these by hiring high-quality freelancers to take up their translation jobs.
As a plus, this site offers a free training program to help you improve your skills.
This is a pretty new translation platform for freelance translators and does not have a long list of job openings for many languages.
On this site, your talent is considered before you are assigned a client. Also, the number of clients received in the future depends on the ratings you get from the previous ones.
On Stepes, you can withdraw your earnings anytime you wish, and you can comfortably work with your smartphone. On this platform, you can get payments via PayPal and Stripe.
Lingy has built a good reputation and offers professional translation services for 60 languages. Currently, they have over 1000 translators.
Besides their translation services, they also offer proofreading to ensure that these translations are not erroneous. They are focused on translating legal documents and marketing materials.
As a translator on Lingy, you will have flexible work hours and translation team leaders for support. You will also be offered the latest working technologies and tools to ensure your work is quick and effective.
To join the waiting list to take their test and start working, fill a form here.
Textmaster is an excellent platform for both professional and semi-professional translators.
After completing work on this platform, you will get your payment within one or two weeks after completing the task via PayPal or Payoneer.
American Journal Experts open opportunities for worldwide clients.
AJE requires technical expertise in academic fields, and being fluent in reading and writing English and the foreign language you are translating. They prefer people who have experience working in a foreign language setting.
Their pay understanding varies based on the length of work you do and your turnaround time.
At AJE, you can set your own schedule.
Click this link to check out the available translation openings on the site.
Interpreters and translators Inc is always in need of freelancers to do their interpretation and translation jobs. They are open to worldwide freelancers.
To be a freelancer on this platform, you must have at least two years of experience doing documented translation work, have basic knowledge of Ms Word and CAT tools, be native to your target language, and have a good command of the English language.
Also, they require that you outline your previous work in your CV or resume and your area of expertise, including legal, government, healthcare, technical, etc.
Acclaro is a significant global translation company that needs freelancers with a university degree and at least three years in a field to translate their works in different languages.
The payment for this site is not disclosed, but you can check for their job openings and apply there.
Proz is a translation site that offers free registration for freelance translators. This site also has a paid subscription option where you can access more unvetted job opportunities.
They offer more than just online translation jobs, but you can go through their job listings to find promising openings.
Pros make their payments via PayPal.
The great thing about Lingosaur is that you just have to sign up, and they will send you some tasks.
There’s no obligation that you must accept a task you’re not comfortable with or won’t fit your schedule.
To get started, sign up and take the assessment. When you pass, you become a freelance online translator on their website. And yeah! Sign up is free!
Lengoo is a more complicated site to get started as a freelance translator compared to the others listed here. However, they are still worth the try.
To get started, you need to apply alongside some supporting documents like evidence of your previous work. Their team will review your application, and they will send you a test to assess your skill level.
This platform may favor people with experiences with online translation jobs that are now looking for better opportunities.
When you set up your profile on the site, you will get a job request that you can accept or decline.
Day translations are always in need of at-home translators to take up translation projects.
On this platform, you can get works like corporate documents, book translations, medical reports, signage, employee, employee manuals, emails, websites, and others.
You can also get positions for subtitle work, phone interpretation, and other work from home jobs that are not within the scope of translation.
Their profile on Glassdoor is exceptional, with little or no complaints from freelancers.
TransPerfect is a popular language service provider that offers many translation jobs to contractors.
Right now, they need bilingual over the phone interpreters (OPIs), quality monitors, and customer service representatives that are fluent in English and languages like Korean, Mandarin, Navajo, Portuguese, and others.
There are many openings for translation jobs on Andovar. However, freelancers must have relevant experience before being hired.
Since they have their offices in almost every part of the world, their job openings are available worldwide. The amount you earn from this site depends on your position.
Apply to be a freelance translator or online interpreter here.
If you are bilingual and fluent in other languages, you can earn money as an online translator and interpreter. It is an excellent place to start a successful career right in the comfort of your home.