Jobs are declining all over the world. What makes being a translator or interpreter
so special? In short: the job growth (plus, the pay isn’t so bad either). According to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average translator earns $45,430 annually, with
the highest paid translator or interpreter earning around $91,800. With those kind of
numbers, it’s no small wonder that so many people are flocking to try their hand at this
What about those of you who are currently translating or interpreting? How on earth
do some make up to $91,800? If the amount of money you’re working for just doesn’t
suffice, try these few easy steps to improve your results.
1. Market Yourself
I know I’ve said this many times, but really this is the best way to make a name for
yourself. If people know who you are, and trust what you do, then raising your price
to what you think you deserve shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Some good places to look to market yourself: Proz.com, Translatorscafe.com,
or get help with a translation agency. Translation agency can be found on
Translatorscafe.com or some translators association in a particular country you live
(i.e. American Translators Association).
2. Competitive Price
Make sure when you do decide on your rate as a translator/interpreter, it is still
competitive to other translators/interpreters. If what you ask for is too high right off
the bat, who’s going to pay you when there are plenty of other cheaper prices for the
Many translators/interpreters will charge per word, rather than hourly. This tends to
make you more money. Plus, you’re client won’t have to wonder if you really worked
as many hours on it as you said you did.
Also, reducing your price may seem counter-intuitive at first, but this may be the key
to gaining a higher volume of clients and in short, adding more money to your wallet.
3. Gain a Degree!
This is one of the most important things you can do as a translator/interpreter. By
earning a degree, you show your commitment to your work, and clients trust the
quality all that much more.
While getting the degree, don’t forget that colleges are notorious for helping students
gain jobs and experience. Take advantage of these factors in order to earn more for
4. Pick a Topic and Stick With it!
Being willing to do different kinds of work in the translation field doesn’t necessarily
mean that more money will flow in. In order to get credit for what you deserve, a lot
of time must be placed on one or two particular topics so more potential clients can
see you, and get a better idea of what you do. Making time for different topics means
less time can be centered on one specialized topic. Pick something that you enjoy, and
stick with it; it will show in your work.
5. Your Most Profitable Language
You may be a polyglot, but your most profitable language will always be the
one that you know the best. Make sure that you’re focusing your translation
efforts for languages that you know natively. This is a way that you can earn the
trust of companies, clients and for yourself. Translating between languages you
only mostly know shows in your work and can hinder confidence.