By Holly Reisem Hanna
Parlez-vous Français? Habla Español?
If you’re fluent in English and another language, you can find great work as a translator.
Translators work in a multitude of industries, from customer service and marketing to the medical industry. In our ever-increasing global market, dual-language skills are in high demand. In fact, there’s a huge opportunity for those who can translate, interpret, and proofread documents from and into English.
A great aspect about translator jobs is many of them offer flexibility in terms of hours, location, and scheduling. Many translation jobs can be completed from home and even on your own schedule. It’s a great opportunity for those seeking work-at-home job option.
What Types of Translator Opportunities are Available?
The range of opportunities varies widely by industry and skill set. With a background in the medical or legal industry, translation jobs are varied and in high demand.
Customer service is another important area where translation jobs abound, spanning many different industries.
One of the best ways to find translator jobs is to work through an agency. This can provide you with a variety of job options across many fields and industries.
Chinese, German, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish are particularly in-demand. While not all translator jobs require a formal education, some such as sign language and interpretation for the Deaf require a bachelor’s degree. Most translation jobs require the candidate to be fluent in both English and a second language.
How Much Do Translators Earn?
Many translations jobs start out at an hourly rate, but the median salary for a full-time translator is $44,190. Salary will vary greatly on availability, specialization areas, and language skills.
Where To Find Work-at-Home Translation Jobs
There are many opportunities for work-at-home translation jobs. One of the best methods for finding jobs is to work through an agency. An agency can help you find consistent work and even permanent placement.
Here are some places to get you started.
Rev is a transcription, caption, subtitle and translation company. They support 35 languages and translate a variety of documents including, academic, immigration, travel, business, legal and technical documents, as well as web content. Transcriptionists and captioners can earn $.40 – $.75 per minute of audio. Translators can earn between $.05 and $.07 per word translated. Hours are flexible and working from home is often an option. With Rev, you work as a freelancer, which allows you to choose which projects you prefer to work on and your hours.
Welocalize works with freelancers as well as agencies. They work with a variety of specialized industries such as technology, consumer satisfaction, manufacturing, learning and education, legal, travel and hospitality, finance, oil and gas, and life sciences. Welocalize works to pair translators with targeted industries. Hourly contractors earn between $23-$43 hourly, depending on their area of specialty, language, and availability.
Telelanguage offers translators for phone work, onsite and offsite work, scheduling, customer service, and more. They’re local to Portland, Oregon, so many of the on-site jobs require someone who can work face-to-face and lives within the Oregon area. Telelanguage works within the healthcare, insurance, and legal industries. Due to the sensitive nature of the work, interpreters must pass a background check and be comfortable interpreting in a variety of legal and medical situations. Call center reps, and telecommuters earn between $10-21/hour, and medical interpreters can earn up to $28/hour, depending on language and area of specialty.
Argos Multilingual was founded in Krakow, Poland in 1996, but has since expanded to the USA. They are a global language and translation vendor working with interpreters and translators from around the world. They recruit Subject Matter Experts in a variety of fields including software, biotechnology, biochemistry, financial and manufacturing. They work with over 2,500 translators in languages including FIGS languages, Central & Eastern European, Scandinavian, English, Asian, Arabic and Middle Eastern languages. The pay scale varies with education, language skills, and industry expertise.
SDL has over 55 offices in 38 countries and works with over a thousand interpreters. They are targeted to life sciences, legal, travel, retail, automotive and manufacturing, finance, marketing, creative services, and high-tech industries. In-house interpreters work closely with external freelancers to collaborate and work together on projects. The salary for an SDL translator varies between $36-$56 depending on the area of expertise and availability.
Verbal Ink works with only native speakers who‘ve passed a rigorous screening and background check. They work in over 200 languages to translate documents, audio clips, videos, voiceovers, and desktop publishing. They work carefully to communicate accuracy, nuance, and syntax, so their human translation has the edge over automated translation tools. To work with Verbal Ink, translators need strong grammar and computer skills, as well as the ability to differentiate and discern a variety of voices and accents. Verbal Ink requires translators to sign a non-disclosure agreement and protect client’s confidentiality. Verbal Ink doesn’t disclose their pay rate, but freelancers report it’s “better than average” for transcription services.
TransPerfect offers consecutive and simultaneous interpretation services, as well as translation and software localization services. TransPerfect works in a variety of industries from advertising, public relations, and entertainment, to energy, mining, finance, and life sciences. They own over 90 offices around the world and pair with contractors all over the globe. Interpreters earn an average of $13.87/hour and can “bid” their rates for various projects.
Gengo offers contractors the ability to set their own schedule and pick their own projects, so you can always work on projects that fit your interests and expertise. With online forums, interpreters can bounce questions off fellow professionals and receive feedback and advice. They offer the ability to work via PC, tablet, or even smartphone. English translators earn $417/month on average. After passing an initial screening test, translators are given access to projects where they can set their own pace and unlock more challenging projects for higher pay.
VerbalizeIt sends job notifications right to your phone where you can accept requests and take on translation tasks. Once your work’s complete, you submit it for approval and receive a completion credit. As you earn quality badges, you can receive new incentives and access to higher paying jobs. VerbalizeIt works in over 150 languages with over 50 industries. While they don’t disclose salaries, some reports say it’s low for the industry.
Capita hires both freelancers around the globe and in-house positions in Manchester and London. Translators are required to have at least three years of experience or have translated 100,000 words. They also offer deaf, deafblind, and British Sign Language opportunities. Interpreters can work across many industries including medical, government, legal and education. Capita’s pay varies by expertise and location.
Upwork is a freelance job portal that offers a variety of freelance gigs from writing and administrative work to translation and interpretation. If you would prefer to look for translation opportunities on your own, rather than go through an agency, Upwork has tons of individual listings. The industries are varied from web and manufacturing to engineering, design and customer service. Upwork takes a small percentage of each transaction and payments can be made via PayPal, direct deposit, wire transfer, Payoneer, or Skrill.
Translation opportunities are also listed on FlexJobs. One of the nice features of FlexJobs is the ability to compare the 100 best companies in the industry, as well as review feedback from former contractors and employees. The listings on FlexJobs vary by availability, and potential candidates can view listings and pick and choose based on description and requirements. FlexJobs has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Should You Start Your Own Translation Business?
If you prefer to set up your own translation business from home, there are some great opportunities out there. There’s a high demand, a broad market, and startup and overhead costs are very low.
There are industry groups translators can join to network with other translation professionals, including the American Translators Association and the International Federation of Translators. These groups can help you network and explore the industry of translating to understand if it’s an opportunity you wish to pursue.
Just as you would with any home business, the first step is to study the industry and learn about potential opportunities.
Translation is a great opportunity for people with dual-language skills, seeking a flexible, and interesting opportunity. If you’re fluent in multiple languages, translation may be a great work-at-home opportunity for you!
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