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Freelance Interpreter/Translator Careers

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
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Freelance Interpreter/Translator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Freelance Interpreter/Translator

10.7 %

Top Careers After Freelance Interpreter/Translator

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Freelance Interpreter/Translator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Freelance Interpreter/Translator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Freelance Interpreter/Translator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Freelance Interpreter/Translator Demographics



58.2 %


31.0 %


10.8 %



44.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

29.2 %


15.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


31.2 %


13.7 %


9.1 %
See More Demographics

Freelance Interpreter/Translator Education


18.8 %
12.6 %



48.0 %


16.6 %


15.6 %

Top Colleges for Freelance Interpreter/Translators

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

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 • Public

In-State Tuition

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
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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, 8.5% of freelance interpreter/translators listed interpretation services on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and cultural sensitivity are important as well.

How Do Freelance Interpreter/Translator Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo


interpreterJune 2019


Zippia Official LogointerpreterJune 2019

What do you like the most about working as Freelance Interpreter/Translator?

helping people to communicate Show More

What do you NOT like?

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

What do you like the most about working as Freelance Interpreter/Translator?

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. Show More

What do you NOT like?

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

Zippia Official Logo


Excellent serviceApril 2019


Zippia Official LogoExcellent serviceApril 2019

What do you like the most about working as Freelance Interpreter/Translator?

I can work from home and writing intrigues me. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Issues regarding the payments Show More

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Top Freelance Interpreter/Translator Employers

1. TransPerfect
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2. Lionbridge
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3. Catholic Charities USA
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4. Contractors
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5. CyraCom
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6. International Institute
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Freelance Interpreter/Translator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020