Globalization has made communication a priority in more languages beyond English, Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, German, French, and other major languages used in business. Today, even the most obscure languages are used in social media, business, and other industries in hopes of becoming more inclusive and reach more people as possible.
This provides unique opportunities for bilingual people (or even people native to a particular language) who are looking for a way to earn extra money online. Translating text from one language to another is becoming a fast-growing online profession. And the requirements are pretty easy too, so virtually anyone can become a translator part-time, or even full-time.
As a translator, you should have advanced reading, writing and comprehension skills. It doesn’t matter if you know only your native language or more than one language, but it’s important that you are well-versed with your expert language, which includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and other language rules. When you join online translation agencies like gengo.com and verbalizeit.com, you’ll have to follow style and formatting rules as well.
Spanish is the most in-demand language, followed by French, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Aside from these major languages, you’ll discover that the more obscure the language, the higher the demand and fees.
Most translation jobs require text-based translation. In some cases wherein you’d be translating live, you’ll need Skype to join conference calls or conduct one-on-one translations with a client.
How Much Can You Earn?
Full-time translation jobs and extensive one-off projects are paid on an hourly basis. You can expect to earn around $12 an hour, but technical, legal or scientific content often pay up to $40/hour. Those with translation certification are given higher-paying jobs.
For smaller projects, such as brochures, lyrics, one-page document, slogans and the like, translation fees come on a per-word basis (around $.10 to $.20/word).
The language being translated to is also a huge factor when it comes to fees. If you check Gengo’s translator income “calculator,” you’ll see that different languages bag different fees. Chinese, German and Japanese translators can earn up to $500/month, while Greek, Russian and Bulgarian translators may earn up to $250 monthly.
Where to Find Translation Jobs
If you’re interested in this profession, check out the following translation agencies, job boards, directories and other resources:
- Gengo – You’ll be e-mailed or notified on your dashboard when a job fits your expertise. You can then check out the deadlines, reward amount and other details of the jobs, and simply choose the one you want to work on.
- Unbabel – This website provides a platform for translators and companies looking for professionals to meet. Payment for translators is $8/hour, paid via PayPal.
- Translatorscafe.com – This is a free online directory of translators, where you can post your resume and apply directly to jobs posted by hiring companies.
- TranslatorsTown.com– The translation jobs available in this website accommodates over 100 languages, which makes it a great resource for translators.
- Translate.com – Tasks on this site range from translating short social media posts to more technical support tickets. You have to be quick to check through the jobs, since they are on a first come, first served basis. Payments can be requested via PayPal anytime.
- OneHourTranslation.com – While you’ll need to undergo an application and exam to join the platform, OneHourTranslation has one of the widest options for payout. The company even has its own MasterCard, alongside wire transfer and PayPal.
- Tethras – Ideal for the tech-savvy translators, this platform hosts a number of translation jobs focused on mobile apps. Payments are sent via PayPal.
- Rev – This website pays 0.05 – $0.07 per word to translators who work on captions and other documents.
- Translation Directory– This portal may look outdated, but it hosts plenty of translation jobs from across the world. There’s an annual membership fee amounting to almost $100 for both companies and translators.
- TextMaster – This web content company hires two kinds of translators – semi-professionals (those native to a particular language) and professionals (those who hold translation certifications). You can earn up to €15¢ per word and paid via PayPal or Payoneer.
- Translationdirectory.com– This massive online community (of over 300k language professionals) doesn’t just provide a job board for those looking for translation gigs, but also tons of tools and resources for anyone who want to take up this profession.
- Lionbridge – Lionbridge has been helping brands from around the world with translation tasks for over 40 years. Today, the company accepts applications from both freelancers and translation agencies to become Lionbridge partners. It has its own software, the Unify Technology platform, where more than 2500 linguists use to fulfill translation jobs.
- TRADUguide – This job board is translator-friendly, since linguists dictate pricing of posted jobs via a price quote.
- Acclaro – Acclaro is a translation company aimed at helping businesses with over 60 languages. They always have available jobs for in-house translators and freelancers. You’ll need expertise in memoQ and other similar TM tools.
- Languages Unlimited – This company recruits certified translators and interpreters from all over the world. It is home to over 13,000 freelance linguists. There’s an application process and you dictate your own rates for various tasks, such as document translation, on-site translation and video remote translation, among others.
- WordExpress – If you’re in California, WordExpress continuously hires in-house language professionals (translators, interpreters, voice-over talent, etc.). There are also remote positions available for translation services of over 100 languages.
- Linguistic Systems Inc. – Specializing in legal, IT, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and publishing industries, LSI is always looking for talented translators to join their 7000-strong team. You’ll need a Bachelor’s Degree, a minimum of 2 years translation experience, and pass a short test.
- Aberdeen Languages Services – Canada-based Aberdeen provides round-the-clock translation services to businesses, which means jobs are available 24 hours a day. Application is a bit tough, since they require over 5 years of translator experience and a University-level degree.
- American High-Tech Transcription and Reporting – This Florida-based company provides translation and transcription services to the government and law enforcement agencies, so expect to undergo background checks when you apply. There’s an opening for English to Spanish, but most jobs require English translation to other languages. Certified translators are preferred.
- GlobaLink Translations Limited – GlobaLink is focused on medical and pharmaceutical research. The company is always looking for new translators and translation reviewers.
The Bottom Line
Translation jobs are also available on freelance websites like Guru.com, Fiverr.com, PeoplePerHour.com, Freelancer.com, UpWork.com, and more. Deadlines for these jobs are mostly tight, but since majority of translation jobs come from various parts of the world, you can work any time of the day or just skip a job when you feel you can’t make the deadline.
You can turn translation into a full-time career. However, like many freelance jobs, it depends largely on the time and effort you invest on this profession.