Freelance interpreters or translators work on a self-employed basis converting written texts from one language to another or providing verbal translations in live situations, such as conferences, performances, or meetings. They are responsible for making sure the source material stays as close in meaning to the target material as possible while ensuring grammatical correctness and a natural flow to the language.
You might work with several languages, with the minimum being two, obviously. One is often the mother tongue of the translator, and you need to have excellent command over the other languages you use. Localization is likely to be a part of your tasks, which means transforming the text into a locally relevant version with references adjusted to the local culture.
Your clients might expect to work with someone who has a degree in languages, linguistics, or a related area. Getting certified as a translator is always a good idea, as it makes it significantly easier to build a solid body of work references. Once you have the successful working experience to show for, assignments will be flowing. You might find work through a translation agency, online platforms, or your personal network. The money you can make doing this job largely varies based on your experience and your clients, allowing you to earn $20.86 an hour on average.
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a freelance interpreter/translator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $20.19 an hour? That's $42,004 a year!
Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 19% and produce 14,600 job opportunities across the U.S.
There are certain skills that many freelance interpreter/translators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed business skills, cultural sensitivity and dexterity.
When it comes to the most important skills required to be a freelance interpreter/translator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 8.5% of freelance interpreter/translators included interpretation services, while 7.1% of resumes included medical appointments, and 6.9% of resumes included legal documents. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.
When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the freelance interpreter/translator job title. But what industry to start with? Most freelance interpreter/translators actually find jobs in the health care and non profits industries.
If you're interested in becoming a freelance interpreter/translator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.5% of freelance interpreter/translators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 25.1% of freelance interpreter/translators have master's degrees. Even though most freelance interpreter/translators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.
Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a freelance interpreter/translator. When we researched the most common majors for a freelance interpreter/translator, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on freelance interpreter/translator resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.
You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a freelance interpreter/translator. In fact, many freelance interpreter/translator jobs require experience in a role such as interpreter. Meanwhile, many freelance interpreter/translators also have previous career experience in roles such as interpreter and translator or teacher.