How to Earn Money Translating Online




Translate word on enter key in a keyboard with country flags.

Despite the constant flood of misinformation, relentlessly bad takes, and an alarming number of virtual predators, the Internet is still the place to be the enterprising “self-made” person. Opportunities can be found around every corner if only you know where to look.

Fortunately, your search for fortune – (and by fortune, we mean a steady stream of income) – need not be so laborious. We are here to help, after all.

There are many avenues for you to explore, but one of the best (and easiest) ways to earn money online is by working as a translator. Thanks to the increasing popularity of sites like Fiverr and Upwork, just about anyone can break into this niche industry and turn a profit.

As with any enterprise, however, the road ahead is a long one, and you had better be ready to apply some good old-fashioned elbow grease if you hope to see a return on your investment. Here we are going to take a look at how to earn money by translating online. Let’s get right to it.

Just what do translators do?

Translators are unsung heroes – they are often overlooked for their part in bridging linguistic chasms, despite the incredible amount of time and effort they put into their work. The main goal of a translator is to translate a piece of text written in one language (say, English) to another (say, Swedish).

While this may seem like a laborious, taxing, and altogether boring endeavor, translators can make good money online – but not everyone is cut out for the job.

How can you become a translator and start earning money?

A translator’s skill set is rather limited compared to other linguistic fields. Despite this, their skills are incredibly valuable and just uncommon enough that good translators are constantly in demand.

Naturally, though you may possess the skills we will describe shortly, establishing yourself as an online translator can be difficult – especially because the online market is oversaturated with translators who are not particularly good at their job. Standing out in a crowd is tough when you are just finding your feet.

Nevertheless, it can be done with a little preparation and follow-through.

Manage your expectations

As mentioned, you simply do not become an established translator overnight. It may be weeks or even months before you are offered your first well-paying gig.

This means that your first few forays into the world of online translating will be relatively slow and you will have plenty of downtimes to reflect on the choices you have made to lead you to this.

If that does not sound like an ideal afternoon to you, perhaps you should consider something else to preoccupy yourself with.

If, however, the prospect of working in your spare time and slowly but surely building up your portfolio to eventually take on those high-paying gigs sounds like your idea of a good time, read on.

Decide on your language(s)

This may come as something of a shock to the uninitiated, but working as a translator requires extensive knowledge and understanding of no less than two separate languages. You will need to be able to transpose the core thoughts, sentiments, emotions, ideas, and meandering drivel from one language to another. So, assuming English is your first language, decide on which additional language you would like to focus on.

English speakers have it much easier in the world of online translating – the market is positively bursting at the seams. Translating Spanish into other languages can also be lucrative.

Naturally, polyglots have access to the entire market and can peddle their skills wherever they please – but it is still a good idea to know where to start.

Write a CV, then show it off

We already mentioned that, in comparison to other similar fields, the skillset required for translators is slightly more limited. However, these skills still need to be presented in an appealing way, and that means typing up a resume.

When writing out your resume, keep everything centered around your skills as a translator – snuff out all the redundant information and clean everything up to make it as neat as possible. In particular, the skills you should be focusing on include:

  • Full knowledge of at least two different languages
  • Basic computer literacy
  • Knowledge of word-processing programs

Communication skills

As a translator, you will interact directly with your clients and it is important that you put your best foot forward. Use whichever program you are most comfortable with, and take it a step further by getting your hands on a domain name for your own website.

With a brain full of knowledge in your head and your CV in your hand, you are just about ready to start translating.

male translator or businessman with laptop computer

What are the best sites to find work as a translator?

There are plenty of places where you can peddle your particular set of skills as a translator, but some have proven to be more lucrative than others.


Undoubtedly, Upwork should be your first stop on your way to becoming a translator. The site is the go-to hub for freelancers worldwide, and there are always plenty of jobs to go around, both big and small.


Fiverr is a decent alternative to Upwork and has seen a massive boost in its popularity in recent years. Despite this, you are unlikely to find many high-paying jobs on Fiverr, but it may be a good place to visit if you want to dip your toe in the water first.

The name says it all. is perhaps Upwork’s biggest competition, and both sites function similarly. You can find various jobs on Freelancer, from small articles to large academic texts.


Being an online translator is certainly a niche vocation, but it just might pay off in the long run. Additionally, there is no reason why you cannot work two jobs at once. Stick to your day job and do a little translating work to earn a decent supplementary income.

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