As a kid, were you someone who responded to a simple ‘hello’ with ‘bonjour’ or ‘Guten tag’? Well, congrats, your wonderful trait has some real moneymaking potential. With enough hard work and patience, you can be well on your way to earn money by translating. The good news is that the demand for translation is always high. The industry is touted to be valued at $48 billion in 2021.
Use our guide to get started!
What You Need To Be A Translator?
- Be more than ‘Fluent’
It is not news that to be a translator you need to have exceptional language skills (written and spoken) in both your ‘Source’ (the language you will translate FROM) and ‘Target’ (the language you will translate TO) language.
However, don’t worry if you are not ‘exceptional’ yet, there are multiple resources on the internet that can help you improve. Apps like Memrise, Duolingo, etc. have resources for all skill levels.
- Choose your ‘Niche’
Translators are required in almost every field, from Finance to Healthcare. In fact, your expertise in the industry you want to work in may matter more than your translation skills to the clients. So, if you want to be a Translator in a bank, get a degree in Finance, if you want to work in International NGOs, get a degree in Social Work, etc.
Don’t worry if you are already done with college, there are many online platforms that provide specialisations and e-degrees.
- Master the Tools
You would need to be proficient in Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools. And, no, Google Translate doesn’t count. You can get started by learning the free Open Source CAT tool OmegaT.
- Be a Cultural Sponge
Translation is not a job, it is an art. For this reason, major literary prizes are shared equally between the author and the translator. You need to understand well the customs, the history and the cultural nuances of the countries in which the language is spoken. Read their books, watch their movies etc. to up your game.
- Get ‘Certified’
Although not an absolute requirement, translation certifications make it easier for clients to trust you. You would also need to take ‘Language Proficiency Tests’ like IELTS for English, TOPIK for Korean etc.
- Work those ‘Soft’ muscles
You would need to be a thorough professional to thrive in the translation industry since competition is fierce, most jobs are ad-hoc and are confidential in nature. Empathy, good listening skills and open-mindedness will help to separate you from the crowd.
Now that you know that there is no easy road to the ‘Translation’ paradise, you should also know that there is indeed a lot of money to be made at the end of your hard-walked journey.
In India, an entry-level translator earns an average of Rs. 30,000 per month, which can go up to Rs. 1 lac with 5-9 years of experience. Japanese and French Translators earn Rs. 90,000 per month on average. Mind you, these are average incomes. Your earnings will go up as you take on more projects.
Also, Delhi is the best place for translators to work, with them earning an average of 48.3% more than the national average.
Ways To Make Money By Translating
- Set your rates
Translation is usually a contractual job; you would need to take on multiple projects at the same time. Therefore, you need a thorough knowledge of the current rates in the market for different kinds of projects. Make sure your rates match the times, the industry, and your experience.
- Find a job at translation agencies
You can look up several companies like Indian Translator, Ideal Lingua Translations, Language Service Bureau etc. They usually have openings for freelancers as well.
There is also a huge demand for translators and interpreters (a Translator excels in the written form whereas an Interpreter excels in the spoken form) at International Agencies like the UN, World Economic Forum, etc.
- Sign up at translating websites
Here, users submit documents that need translating, some sites like One Hour Translation Limited will pay you for each document that you translate whereas others like Unbabel and Translator’s Town will pay you on an hourly basis.
- Translate blogs of companies
Many companies maintain blogs and most of them are eying a global presence. This has created a need to maintain multi-language blogs. Try directly emailing them as an open position is rarely publicised.
- Teach online
You can have your own YouTube channel where you give language lessons. You can also sell your Translation Courses at many of the existing online learning platforms like Udemy, Unacademy, Khan Academy, etc.
However, this requires some hard-earned expertise, and a better place to start can be your own website or a blog. This will not only allow you to build a personal brand but will also allow you to earn clients easily.
We hope that our comprehensive guide will help you kick-start your Translating career. Bonne Chance!
And if all of this seems too much work, you can explore EarnKaro, an affiliate based website, which allows you to make money by re-sharing links from e-commerce sites.