All About Freelance Translation Jobs

As technology makes our world smaller, many companies choose to promote themselves outside the Anglophone world. This means translating their marketing materials into one or more different languages.

Do you write or read in a language other than English? Then you can take advantage of private individuals, universities and companies that serve you as a freelance translator. Whether you’re translating or just proofreading translations from others, you can find a host of paid freelance jobs in this field.

Who hires freelance translators?

Many international and domestic companies serving different breeds require part-time translators. In the United States, it is often necessary to produce promotional materials in Spanish and English. In Canada, people usually look for French/English translations.

Usually, the company that owns the website hires freelance translators. Logical: reaching international customers via the internet is cheaper. Yes, they have a website, but now they want to sell to Japan – this is where you freelance translators come in.

On the other hand, foreign companies want to market themselves in the United States or Canada. This means they need someone like you to translate the foreign language into flawless English.

What skills do you need as a freelance translator?

Your skills depend on the job. Writing in a foreign language is more difficult than reading. Even if you master a foreign language, you may not have trained yourself to write effortlessly in all the spoken language and nuances of native speakers. If so, please insist on translating to English.

Of course, if you can write in a foreign language like a foreigner, go for it – you are a rare treasure!

Where can you find freelance translation jobs?

Check out websites such as and These sites are designed to connect freelance translators with clients who need translations.

Freelance websites like and are also excellent resources, especially if you know a popular language like French, Spanish, German, or many Asian languages.

On these sites, you bid on projects that may be competitive to more common freelancers. The situation is completely different for translation projects. Skilled translators are few, so your offer is usually the only one.

If you don’t speak a more “popular” translation language, don’t worry – you can still find items that pop up every now and then. Look at it this way: the fewer languages, the less competition!

How can I correctly quote a free translation job?

Since your free translation service is in high demand, you can make quotes at a high price, but try to estimate client affordability. If this is a startup project, they probably don’t have a lot of money to invest.

In other words, freelance translators can earn at least $35 an hour, and as they build a satisfied client portfolio, they can charge higher fees. You have unique skills, so don’t underestimate yourself. Use a marketing concept called “prestige pricing”: if you lower the price, potential customers will think you’re not good enough and they can’t afford the high price.

How should I respond to translated vacancies?

Always present yourself professionally. Clients need to be able to rely on you doing the work, as they (usually) can’t immediately check how accurate your translation is.

Read the sample ad below and ask yourself how you would respond:

We have Japanese documents and business meetings need to be translated into English. If you can translate about 25 pages in a week, please respond. American English only.

If you can translate so much Japanese in a short period of time, decide whether you want to respond to the advertisement. When you answer, make sure you:

1. Emphasize your translation skills and your qualifications as an expert translator.
2. Assure clients that your English is professional so that the documents are suitable for business meetings.
3. Estimate your expenses based on the time it will take you to complete the project.

Remember that people usually have to translate because they can’t do it themselves. Show your competence and integrity, as a freelance translator you should be a huge success.


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