Making Money As An Online Translator

What Is It?

Businesses often need documents or presentations translated from one language to another and they often go to an online translation site. Someone who is proficient in multiple languages can register with that site as an online translator and choose which jobs they want to work on.

How Does It Work?

Online translation sites work a lot like specialized freelance/gig sites with a few key differences.

Let’s first review the similarities. These translation sites, like more general freelance sites, are where someone with particular skills can register their profile as an online translator. From there they choose what they are proficient in, maybe take some tests to verify their skills and then either bid for open jobs or have a client find their profile and choose them. Then the freelancer works directly with the client to translate the necessary documents and gets paid for successfully completing the task.


Those are the similarities, so now we will focus on more of the differences.

First, when you register for these sites you need to set the language pair you translate from and to, such as Spanish to English. If a site already has too many people with that skill set they might not even accept your registration at that point and you may need to try back weeks or months later (this is very common).

Also, sites that specializing in translation freelancing typically have tests to measure how proficient you are with a language. Some sites charge for them ($5-$10 per test) while others have them for free. Passing the tests allow you to initially post your profile and get work. Harder tests allow you to take on harder assignments and get paid more.


Finally, for some strange reason, one of the more popular sites, Guru, has fees if you want to bid on more than 10 jobs per month. This is odd because almost every other way to make money online doesn’t charge the worker an upfront amount but rather charges based on commission of work done. Typically these raise red flags as potential scams however numerous reviews by people who have worked there and other sites all say Guru is legitimate.

Pay is based on the successful job, typically a lump sum or on a per word basis. If there are too many errors the client or site reviewer may ask for a redo or may simply reject the work done and you won’t get paid. For sites that have the tests, this actually happens quite rarely.

Overall, based on the research, the work is fairly sporadic when you first start out as an online translator all the projects are very short. As you establish a history of positive reviews and relationship with clients they typically contact you directly for larger and longer engagements.


How Much Can You Make?

An online translator doesn’t make much money, especially early on. When they start, they typically are slower and make more mistakes. On a per hour basis, it works out to around $10-$15/hr for the hours you work. Based on the sporadic work, it can be under $300/month. Over time the more experienced translators claim to be making up to $40/hr and over $5,000/month.

Online Translation Specific Freelancing Websites

Standard Freelancing Websites That Have Online Translation Work


  • When starting out, sign up to multiple websites. This will ensure you have at least somewhat more stable work.
  • Sites typically have style and punctuation guidelines you must follow. Make sure to read them before you do any tests, as they can make or break you.

Categories: Decent Income

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