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.

What Does a Freelance Interpreter/Translator Do

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.

How To Become a Freelance Interpreter/Translator

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 56.4% of freelance interpreter/translators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 19.2% 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.

Top Freelance Interpreter/Translator Jobs Near You

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Freelance Interpreter/Translator

Freelance Interpreter/Translators in America make an average salary of $43,741 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Freelance Interpreter/Translator Salary
$43,741 Yearly
$21.03 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Freelance Interpreter/Translator

There are several types of freelance interpreter/translator, including:



An interpreter works with words or signs and translates between two parties who do not speak each other's language. Interpreters often work at conferences or events, in educational or healthcare institutions, or in a courtroom or government setting. Most of their work is translating verbal communication in real-time, but sometimes they translate texts and documents as well. They assist clients on missions or act as a liaison between two parties foreign to each other.

Professional interpreters usually speak more than three languages. Performing real-time interpretations is an extremely demanding task, so language professionals usually team up and work, rotating each other in 20-minute shifts, in order to avoid a breakdown.

  • Average Salary: $42,008
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree



Whether your dream is to land freelance gigs from your neighborhood or coffee shop, or you enjoy doing regular work for an employer or agency, pursuing a career as a translator may help you land that dream job. Generally speaking, a translator is a person who converts the written word from one language to another, retaining the meanings possibly clear. Usually, translators convert text from the source language into the target native language.

Being a translator is one of the most exciting and prevalent roles on a large scale. A career as a translator brings you an opportunity to build a bridge between the entities of two different cultural backgrounds and languages. Not only that, but a career as a translator brings you plenty of excellent opportunities for career progression.

Translation is a highly meritocratic field, which means there are no fixed career structures nor artificial barriers to promotion, and so if you've got the talent and drive to succeed - the sky is the limit. In addition to this, being a translator offers you versatile and varied work options, high wages, multicultural experience, flexible schedules, and quick career progression.

Becoming a translator, you don't necessarily need a degree - if you've no relevant qualifications but a proven record of excellent language skills, you may still be able to gain translation work. However, getting a bachelor's degree or equivalent certification in specific languages may help boost your resume. To be successful in this role, you must have a keen eye for detail, excellent proofreading skills, and be fluent in at least two languages in addition to your native language.

Familiarity with translation tools and additional certification in linguistics is a big plus. Depending on the setting and type of your assignment, you may have variable working schedules. For in-house jobs, typically, you'll work for full-time office hours. If you work as a freelancer remotely, your hours can be flexible, but you might need to organize your time to meet fixed deadlines. Part-time work or short-term contracts are available too.

Another outstanding benefit of being a translator is that it provides a remarkable opportunity for those who want to work independently or enjoy operating independently. Being a translator, you may take freelance or agency work that offers a chance to build a stable career that isn't reliant on the whims of supervisors or vagaries of the job market.

You may also start your career working as an in-house translator for a translation agency, company, industrial organization, local or international bodies. Whatever the work setting, translators are always in-demand over the globe and earn a competitive salary. While working in a company or organization, generally, you get an average yearly salary of $43,000.

Freelance work may also grant you a handsome amount along with bonuses. Further, with an enthusiasm for learning multiple languages and a willingness to build a strong professional career, you may transform your profession into a fully established company.

  • Average Salary: $44,278
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Interpreter And Translator


If you know another language and like the idea of helping people communicate with each other, then a career as an interpreter or translator may be perfect for you. As an interpreter or translator, you'll help break down communication barriers. Translators are responsible for taking written material in one language and transforming it into another language in written form. Interpreters, on the other hand, convert information from one spoken language into another.

If you're interested in using your language skills, you may find a position where you are required to both translate and interpret. However, in many positions, you will work exclusively with either written or spoken language. To succeed as a translator or interpreter, some of the skills you'll need include in-depth cultural knowledge, excellent research and analytical ability, and good attention to detail. Interpreters who work with the spoken word also need to be adaptable and able to think on their feet.

Most translators and interpreters have at least a Bachelor's degree. However, the most important requirement to work in this field is to have advanced language skills in at least two languages.

  • Average Salary: $43,870
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Freelance Interpreter/Translator Jobs

Number Of Freelance Interpreter/Translator Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
3New York129$54,586
12North Carolina51$31,435
14New Jersey39$52,511
22New Hampshire17$45,089
24South Carolina17$36,517
31Rhode Island12$44,418
34New Mexico11$45,010
41South Dakota8$37,374
42West Virginia7$50,038
47North Dakota3$41,513

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Education

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Majors

19.5 %
12.6 %

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Degrees


56.4 %


19.2 %


13.5 %

Top Colleges for Freelance Interpreter/Translators

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Freelance Interpreter/Translator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.0% of freelance interpreter/translators listed medical appointments on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and cultural sensitivity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Freelance Interpreter/Translator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Freelance Interpreter/Translator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume
Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume

Freelance Interpreter/Translator diversity

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among freelance interpreter/translators, 67.5% of them are women, while 32.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among freelance interpreter/translators is White, which makes up 42.4% of all freelance interpreter/translators.

  • The most common foreign language among freelance interpreter/translators is Spanish at 31.2%.

Online Courses For Freelance Interpreter/Translator That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  

1. International Organizations for Interpreters


This course is primarily aimed at students of conference interpreting, or people who wish to begin studying conference interpreting. It is based on a long-standing lecture course given by the oldest interpreting school in the world, the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Geneva. Our course looks at organizations from a viewpoint which very few people ever get to see; international organizations seen from the interpreting booth. You will learn about the history,...

2. Introduction to Translational Science


Translational science seeks to speed up the process of moving research discoveries from the laboratory into healthcare practices. Numerous scientific and organizational roadblocks can act as obstacles along the path of translation and ultimately hinder the speed of progress in medical research. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to transform and accelerate the translational research process, with the...

3. Find Success in Freelance Translation and Localization


Your guide to earning a living as a Freelance Translator...

Show More Online Courses For Freelance Interpreter/Translator
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time

How Do Freelance Interpreter/Translators Rate Their Jobs?


5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

2 Stars

1 Star

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Reviews

Jun 2019

helping people to communicate


people that think that they're superior that other because they speak a language that others don't

Jun 2019

First of all I love my not to say I adore it. We, translators and interpreters are in a continuous learning process. It s an exciting work, but we have to be able to respond to the challenges we are facing in each assignment and in each conference/seminar.


What is complex in our work is the fact to deliver translations in tight deadlines while the source texts are difficult and very technical.

Apr 2019

I can work from home and writing intrigues me.


Issues regarding the payments

Working as a Freelance Interpreter/Translator? Share your experience anonymously.
Overall Rating*
Career Growth
Work/Life balance

Top Freelance Interpreter/Translator Employers

Most Common Employers For Freelance Interpreter/Translator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1ABC Languages$61,738$29.685
3Liberty Language$55,904$26.886
4Hanna Interpreting Services$55,807$26.835
5Language Svc Corps$55,534$26.7011
6Legal Language$55,301$26.597
8Interpreters and Translators$55,128$26.507
9Independent Contractor$54,538$26.226
10Geneva Worldwide$54,000$25.9643

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Videos