Side Income as a Translator (Definitive Guide)

Updated

Do you know more than one language? Did you know you can use your knowledge to make side income? You can make money as a translator and you don’t need to pay anything to get started. In this definitive guide, we will share information on skills, tools, earnings, and places you can work to make side income as a translator.

Read on to learn more…

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Translation Skills

How much money you will make as a translator is determined by your skills. If you have exceptional skills at translating you will make more money compared to someone who is getting started and has zero skills. 

So, which translation skills do you need? Here are the essential skills needed to succeed in making a side income as a translator.

Excellent command of your native and second language

Excellent command of two languages means that you can write well in the two languages. So, you need to understand grammar and have knowledge of different writing styles. Remember, you’re translating text for native speakers so you need to know how they communicate to produce quality work. 

Cultural knowledge

Familiarity with cultural differences is an essential skill because it will help to convey the thought behind what you’re translating. Without cultural knowledge, you might translate text that is inappropriate in the culture of your target language. See this article for some international marketing fails caused by poor translations.

Writing skills

You need excellent writing skills in your native and target languages. If you’re not a writer naturally you can learn writing the same way you can learn other professions. You can learn writing by taking online courses, attending writing classes, and reading. 

Learning how to write and improving your writing skills will be the difference between landing longterm translation jobs and forever looking for new clients.

Computer skills

In today’s world, computer skills are essential for most jobs and translation is one of them. Computer skills will come in handy for almost all aspects of translation such as typing, editing, using software, and sending completed work. 

Customer service skills

Excellent customer service skills will help when communicating with your clients. You need to communicate with your client at all times even after completing a task. This way clients will always come back and they might also refer to others.

Translation Tools

There are numerous translation tools that you can use when translating. Translation tools will help in making work easier thereby saving time. 

Here are translation tools that you can use:

CAT tools

Computer-Assisted Translation tools are used by many translators to increase their productivity. There are many CAT tools available in the market and for you to buy the best you need to ask yourself these questions: How much are you willing to spend? What features are you looking for? What CAT tools are required by the agencies you work with?

Some of the common CAT tools include SDL Trados Studio, memoQ, Wordfast, Déjà Vu, and Across.

There are also free CAT tools that you can use and they include CafeTran Espresso, Virtaal, GlobalSight, SmartCAT, and OmegaT.

The free dictionary

This site is the most comprehensive dictionary you can find. In addition to English, you can also access info on other languages i.e. French, German, Arabic, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Norweigan, Greek, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

Microsoft Language Portal

If you specialize in Information Technology and software you need to use Microsoft Language Portal. Here you can translate IT terminology and Microsoft terms in over 100 languages. 

MagicSearch

Magic Search is a multilingual search engine. To use MagicSearch submit a search and you will get a single page with multiple sources. You can install the chrome extension where you can select languages and sources that you want.

How Much Can You Earn?

If you get a one-off project expect to earn at least $12 per hour for non-technical jobs. If you get technical jobs you can earn $40 per hour. Most technical jobs and higher-paying jobs require translators who have certificates.

You can also charge per word for small projects such as one-page documents and lyrics. Depending on your skills and client you can charge from $0.10 to $0.20 per word. Charges are also determined by your primary language.

For example, when you work for Gengo, a translation company, and your primary language is Chinese simplified you can earn $544 monthly. If your primary language is Arabic expect to earn $200 monthly. If your primary language is English you can earn $417 monthly. If your primary language is Hungarian you can earn $303 monthly. See, your primary language dictates how much money you can make as a translator.

Where to Find Jobs

Freelancing sites

There are various freelancing sites you can use to earn side income such as Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, People per hour, and Guru. 

Here are two sites that most freelance translators have had the most success with:

Upwork

On Upwork you need to create an account detailing your skills on translation and upload a few samples. To get work you need to bid on jobs posted. With a good profile, you can be lucky to get job invites so less bidding. Although Upwork is the largest freelancing platform you’re not guaranteed work. You also need to buy connects to bid for jobs and the fees are high – 20% of your earnings. 

You have to wait for five days to be able to withdraw payments after your client’s approval. If the client doesn’t approve the funds are held for 14 days so you’ll wait for 19 days before you can withdraw. You can withdraw your funds via Paypal, Direct Deposit, Payoneer, M-Pesa, and wire transfer. 

Here is an example of a translation job posted on Upwork

Here is a profile for a translator that you can check to see what you need to include in your profile.

Fiverr

To offer translation services on Fiverr you need to create Gigs where you detail what you will offer. Your gigs should have details on word count, language and price. When determining price keep in mind that Fiverr will retain 20% of your earnings. This means if you charge $5 you get $4 and you might also incur additional charges when withdrawing.  

Fiverr payments are not released immediately. For level one and two sellers, the waiting period is 14 days. For trusted sellers, the waiting period is seven days. You’re allowed to withdraw once in 24 hours and you cannot withdraw more than $5,000. Payments are made via Paypal, Fiverr Revenue Card, and Direct Deposit.

Here are examples of translation Gigs on Fiverr. You can see the price varies so you determine the price.

Proz.com

Proz.com is a community of translators that you can join by registering for free. When you register your profile will be part of a directory of translators so you will be contacted by people looking for your services. Proz.com also has a job system where jobs are posted so you can apply and submit your quote. 

With a free account, you cannot enjoy full access. If you want to enjoy full access you have to pay $120 per year for standard membership and $180 per year for Plus membership. Remember, paying for membership doesn’t guarantee work. 

Translators Cafe

TranslatersCafe.com is a directory of translators translation agencies and interpreters. When writing this article there were 8,174 translation agencies and 357,309 registered users. To get started, sign up to create your profile. You can sign up for basic membership which is free or for master membership which is $80 per year.

When you register you will receive notifications on new jobs posted according to your language combinations. If you encounter difficulties when translating you can ask for help in TCTerms.

Gengo

To start working at Gengo you need to create a free account by signing up. Then take a two-part test. The best thing is Gengo has translator resources where you will find tips on how to prepare for the test. Once you pass the test you can start translating after familiarizing with Gengo’s workbench and style guide. 

When you feel that you can take more challenging projects you should take and pass a Pro qualification test. Passing this test means you will earn more. Gengo doesn’t require you to invoice because they add payments automatically to your account.

Payments are processed twice a month and you will be paid via Payoneer and Paypal. For Payoneer minimum amount to request is $20 and Paypal $2. Gengo also has a community forum where you can chat with other translators. 

Unbabel

To join Unbabel you first check if your language is open before registering. Then take language tests that you must pass to get accepted. If accepted you can check for tasks on Unbabels web page or mobile app. Payments are made via Paypal and Payoneer once a week. Your earnings are determined by how many hours you work and task available. 

Rev

At Rev you can join as a Subtitler translator by registering for free. You need to submit your resume and an English writing sample. The rates vary and they range from $1.5 (Spanish and Chines) to $3 (French, German, Japanese, and Korean) per minute. You will receive payments weekly via Paypal.

Lionbridge

To get translation jobs you need to join as a Lionbridge partner with your email and upload a CV. There are registration forms that you have to complete. You might need more or less time to complete your registration depending on your expertise. 

World Lingo

World Lingo hires freelance translators in two categories: generalists and specialists. To get hired as a generalist translator you need to have five years experience, a university degree, and be a member of a professional translation association. When applying as a freelance translator specialist you need to have a degree and experience in your specialty.

If you meet these requirements register with your email and fill the Freelance Application Form. 

Textmaster

You can join textmaster as a semi-professional or professional. When you join you will access tasks and you will have direct contact with your clients. Payments are made via Paypal or Payoneer within 7 to 14 days.

Translate.com

To work at translate.com sign up, take a test and if you pass you get access to available tasks. Tasks are completed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Payments are per word and you can cash out anytime via Paypal. 

Translationdirectory.com

Translationdirectory.com is a portal for translators and translation agencies. As of writing this article, there were 45,351 Freelance Translators and 7,103 Translation Agencies registered on the portal. You can register for free or chose to become a member and pay $96. 

One Hour Translation

To join One Hour Translation as a translator you need to register with your email. On your profile page include your expertise, language skills, and availability. Then you take a test and if you pass you receive certification so you can take jobs. 

One hour translation has translation levels namely bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The ranking is determined by parameters such as the number of words translated and the number of disputed projects. Payments are made via Paypal and Payoneer. For new translators, the first payment is net 60 but subsequent payments are net 30. 

Acclaro

Acclaro always has openings for freelance translators and editors. You need to apply for a job that fits you from the list on the site. There are requirements listed such as how many years of experience, a university degree, and other requirements depending on how technical the job is. 

Here is a list of some of the jobs you can get at Acclaro.

Tethras

To translate apps at Tethras you simply sign up, take a test, and get graded.  If you pass the test you will receive jobs that match your profile. You don’t bid for jobs, you pick the task you want. Payments are made via Paypal.

TRADUguide

TRADUguide is a site for translators and translation agencies. You can join as a free guest member or as a featured member. When you join as a featured member you can choose to pay $19 for six months or $29 for 12 months. Jobs are posted daily and you get notifications for jobs that match your profile.

USA Translations

USA Translations, a division of WordExpress, hires freelance translators for language pairs such as English to Arabic, English to Dutch, Chinese to English, Hindi to English. To apply you need to email your CV/resume or any other relevant document. If your services are needed you will be contacted, if not your information will be stored in a database.

American High-Tech Transcription and Reporting

American High-Tech Transcription and Reporting hires translators and you have to apply via email. They hire U.S citizens or legal U.S resident and they also have other requirements such as passing background checks and being certified. When applying, paste your resume into the body of the email instead of attaching because they don’t open attachments.

Languages Unlimited

Languages unlimited hire freelance translators regularly. You need to create a profile with your personal details, language pairs, fields of expertise (medical, technical), rates and certifications. Once you’ve created your profile you will be contacted when needed for further evaluation and discussion.

GlobaLink Translations Limited

GlabaLink is always looking to add translators so they are always receiving applications. To apply you need to fill a translators information form that you should email together with your recent CV/resume. 

Linguistic Systems Inc

The required qualifications for translators at Linguistic Systems include having two years experience, familiarity with translation tools, and a degree from an accredited university. You can only apply via email and you need to include your updated CV/resume.

Bottom Line

You just learned how you can use your knowledge of two languages to make side income as a translator.

However, a word of warning – just knowing how to make side income as a translator isn’t going to help you earn extra cash. 

That’s because the key is that you need to take action on what you just learned. And that’s why you need to read the article keenly and then start implementing what you’ve learned right away. Because the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll start earning extra cash as a translator!

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