Work-from-Home Translation Jobs

By Chris Kolmar - Oct. 19, 2020

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Knowing a different language or multiple different languages can set you up for success in the job market.

Work-from-home translators are in high demand across the world in a variety of industries.

Translators can work in multiple industries spanning customer service, marketing, sales, and more.

The demand is growing rapidly for those who can translate, interpret, and proofread documents from and into English, or from English into a different language. The best part of working in translation services is the flexibility of the career.

In most jobs, you will have extensive flexibility to work from your home and often on your own schedule.

How much money can translators make?

As with any other paid job, your salary or hourly pay can vary widely based on your experience of the number of languages you may know.

Most translator jobs will start their employees at an hourly rate. The median salary for a full-time translator is just over $44k. Of course, if you can bring a specialization or other language skills then your pay will likely increase.

For example, there are some languages that are more in demand than others including Spanish, Mandarin, Finnish, Japanese, Danish, Arabic, and German. If you have the ability to translate in or from these languages, don’t be afraid to negotiate your pay. Additionally, some language combinations may earn more than others. And knowing common terms in the industry in which you are working can seriously help your value to businesses.

The highest paying translation services are for literary translators who earn an average of $51k annually. Literature is considered the most challenging content to translate. Literary translators work with poetry, long novels, journals, and other forms of literature.

What requirements and experience are necessary to become a translating expert?

To find a successful career in translating, you most typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and of course, be fluent in at least two languages, English being one.

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If you are a high school student interested in becoming an interpreter or translator, consider taking on courses in secondary education that focus on foreign languages as well as English reading, writing, and comprehension.

If you are not a high school student and still interested in becoming an interpreter or translator, you still have a variety of options for education. In college, you can choose specific languages as your major. However, not all jobs require a bachelor’s degree, so it may not always be necessary.

If you know multiple languages and have experience and knowledge in specific industries and areas such as legal, medical, and financial matters, you can use this as a value add to get noticed for this type of job. Even having experience in areas like marketing, general business, and other niche areas can significantly increase your chances of getting hired.

There is no universal certification required for interpreters or translators. Some good ways to get more familiar with interpretation or translation is spending time in a foreign country, interacting with foreign cultures or native speakers, and studying a variety of subjects in English and at least one other language.

Doing volunteer work or internships can also offer you additional experience to be better suited to pick up a translating job. Consider finding a mentor who can help you understand what this type of job entails and build a network of contacts to consult in case you have questions or need advice.

Skills Necessary for Becoming a Professional Translator

There are a few skills you should consider to be successful in language translation services.

  • Fluency or advanced knowledge in a foreign language. This one may feel obvious but you must be able to understand a language well to translate it well. If you can’t understand the text you’re reading fully, you risk misinterpreting it and translating something that may not be completely accurate. This means you need a near-native level of knowledge or fluency in the language you’re translating.

    Those interested in language services should study extensively in this language, read widely, consume source language media, and immerse themselves in the culture.

  • Comprehensive writing skills. To be successful as a translator, it’s important to make sure you are a great writer and can write with flair. Depending on the company you work for, you may need to consider different text styles and brand voices. This is a skill you can improve through writing courses, collaborating with colleagues, and reading translations out loud to ensure it sounds smooth.

  • Extensive cultural knowledge. Great translators have a deep understanding of the culture in which they are translating. Often times, you’ll need extensive cultural knowledge to understand the significance or implication of the text you are translating, as well as how certain things will be received. To do this, consider spending time immersed in the specific culture, consuming media in this language, and attending cultural events.

  • Understand best practices in translation and review. Although translation may sound simple, it can be mentally challenging and exhausting. If you’re mentally tired, it’s more likely that mistakes might happen. It’s important to stick to proven translation processes to help avoid this. Consider taking a translation course to help understand sound processes and learn how to be more disciplined and organized. Remember, quality over quantity.

How flexible is work from home translation work?

As with most jobs, flexibility in a translation job can vary depending on the company. However, most of the positions are contract work or freelance, therefore you will be self-employed and able to set your own hours.

Depending on the number of clients you’re looking to take on, you’ll need to manage your time wisely. Being organized is key to meeting deadlines. But for the most part, translating work does not require you to be in any specific place or working set hours.

This is ideal for parents of young children or those who are looking to have a better work-life balance. If you’re dreaming of leaving behind the 9 to 5, becoming a professional translator might be the job for you.

Where can I find a job as a professional translator?

Translation jobs are typically performed by freelance or contract workers, but some companies might hire full-time home-based translators as employees depending on their needs. Below are a few examples of places to look for at-home translation jobs. These opportunities vary depending on the language you are able to translate.

Keep in mind the keywords you use on your resume. Be sure to highlight your language skills prominently, and include it as a keyword in your job search when you apply.

  • American High-Tech Transcription and Reporting. This firm offers transcription and translation services to the government, law enforcement, corporations, and other organizations. This company has openings for work-at-home translators who are willing to pass a background check with fingerprints.

  • GlobaLink. This Canadian company is constantly looking to expand its network of translators and translation reviewers. This company helps clients with translation and cultural adaption needs.

  • Google. Easily one of the most recognized names on the planet, Google hires ads quality raters who help to evaluate the accuracy of Google web advertising. Those hired into this position will ensure Google’s web ads are communicating the effectiveness of web layouts and information by using an online tool. This job does require secondary education or equivalent experience, as well as fluency in English and another language.

  • LanguageLine Solutions. This provider of language access organization has openings for professionals to join their workforce in both the United States and the Americas and the United Kingdom. Their services offer interpretation, translation, and other services necessary to make sure organizations have full language coverage for the communities and industries they serve.

  • Languagesunlimited.com. This company works with freelancers who are interested in translation jobs from home. You can easily apply and register in their database and as work comes in, they will contact you. They provide sign language interpretation, pay for services, training, document translation, telephonic interpretation, and more.

  • Linguistic Systems, Inc. This company is for more seasoned at-home interpreters or translators, requiring at least two years of experience and a bachelor’s degree. They also prefer their workers to have some familiarity with translation software tools. To easily apply, you can send them an email with your resume.

  • Lionbridge. This company is the global leader in translation and localization services. They specialize in game localization, marketing translation, and more. With fluency is over 350 languages and 20 years of experience, they really know what they’re doing. Easily apply on their website for consideration.

  • Pacific Interpreters. This company hires telephonic interpreters and translators for the medical industry. Experience in the medical industry is required and encourages, as well as a U.S. citizenship or work permit. They offer a wide variety of languages from Arabic, to French, to Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish.

  • iDictate. This service offers transcription services. Clients are able to submit audio files using the recording app. Transcriptionists will transcribe the audio to send back to the client. iDictate is one of the oldest and most successful transcription companies in the world.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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