There’s a lot more to interpreter jobs than just speaking two languages. If you want to pursue this career professionally, read my complete guide to get all the details you need.
Nowadays, the world is becoming a smaller place, and people across the globe are finding it easier to communicate amongst each other.
While the internet and advanced technologies take most of the credit to bridge these gaps, interpreters play a massive role in making this possible.
Interpreters help people with different language skills and physical abilities understand each other’s thoughts and ideas. This not only lets us compose profitable relationships but also helps us grow as a global society.
If you’re skilled in two or more languages and are thinking about making a living out of this rewarding profession, look no further.
In this article, I’ve compiled a step-by-step for landing both remote and freelance interpreter jobs. So let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
What Does a Freelance Interpreter Do?
If you’re bilingual and you’ve decided to become a freelance interpreter, the first thing you’ll need to know is an exact freelance interpreter job description.
Right now, you must be thinking that converting words, sentences, and documents is everything there is to interpreter jobs. However, that’s not the case.
To take up freelance interpreter jobs as your primary source of income, you’ll have to interpret advertisement campaigns, official documents, social media banners, and audio files, which will require a lot more than your language skills.
For example, if you’re taking up remote Spanish interpreter jobs, not only will you need professional training in the language, but thorough knowledge about its dialects and cultural aspects as well.
Similarly, another mistake made by freelancers looking for interpreter jobs is confusing it with translation jobs. Yes, the two belong from more or less the same profession but are slightly different.
If you’re signing up for freelance translation jobs, you’ll be completing most of your projects in writing form. However, if you go for interpreter jobs, you’ll have the chance to take up many in-person opportunities as well, such as freelance asl interpreter jobs.
That doesn’t mean an interpreter cannot take up remote jobs. You can find many clients that need you to convey oral meanings from one language to another during conference calls or online seminars.
How Much Does a Freelance Interpreter Make?
I know what you’re thinking. The freelance interpreter job description above sounded like a lot of work, right? However, the good news is, you get paid enough to make the hassle worth it. That is if you work hard and build a reputation for yourself.
While I can’t really put a cap on how much interpreter jobs pay, an average interpreter can earn about $30 per hour.
But that doesn’t mean the first job you get will pay you $30. Beginners in the field need to start from as low as $6-$10 until they learn the ropes. On the other hand, professional interpreters can earn anywhere from $50-$70 per hour.
What Influences Your Pay Rate as a Freelance Interpreter?
It all depends on your proficiency in both languages, educational qualification, and experience in the interpretation field. Another aspect that influences your pay rate for remote interpreter jobs is the pair of languages you choose.
According to the American Translation Association, English to Chinese and English to Arabic interpreters make the most money. In contrast, English to Italian translators earns the lowest hourly wages in the field.
This means if you’re planning to learn a third language to establish yourself as an interpreter, you should equip yourself to take up remote mandarin interpreter jobs.
Moreover, the genre of your interpretation expertise will significantly affect your pay rates. For example, the highest-paying interpretation niches include legal and medical translations that pay around $1 per word.
This means if a typical hospital interpreter pay will be much higher than someone who interprets TV ads or children’s videos. While the former can make around $1-2 per word, the latter will only earn $0.20-$0.50 per word.
Besides that, with increasing overseas relationships in the economic and political sector, the interpretation market is growing rapidly. That’s why interpretation job opportunities are expected to rise by 20% in the coming decade.
All these statistics probably have you on the edge of your seat, wanting to learn how to land freelance interpreter jobs. My step-by-step guide below will help you land interpreter jobs as a side hustle or build a business as a primary source of income.
So let’s get started.
How to Land Freelance Interpreter Jobs?
After going through the details above, you must’ve realized that while interpreter jobs pay well, they have a significant learning curve if you expect to make a handsome yearly income.
That’s why, in this guide, I will teach you how to get high-paying interpreter jobs right from the start.
My guide includes everything you need, from choosing your target languages to getting the right education and choosing high-end clients. Just follow the steps to start working your dream interpreter jobs right away.
Step 1 – Decide Between In-House or Remote Interpreter Jobs
I know what you’re thinking, what’s to decide? Freelance interpreter jobs sound like the best options available.
The internet has bought us countless opportunities from information, communications, and to earn. Internet allows us to start an online business or search for earning money from home with online jobs to apply, a chance to make money online.
Who wouldn’t love being their own boss, working from their couch, and managing their finances? However, working as a freelance interpreter is not everyone’s piece of cake.
You see, while working as an in-house interpreter, all you need to be is good at your job. At the end of the day, you can get back home and forget about work until the next day.
That’s not how it works when you’re freelancing. Here, you’re running your own business, so be ready to spend your day checking emails, pitching clients, and responding to client queries.
Besides that, you don’t get any sick leaves or holidays because you only earn if you work consistently.
The point is, both choices have their own benefits and drawbacks. Make sure to choose one that fits your needs.
For instance, if you’re good at converting content from one language to another but can’t picture yourself marketing your business or promoting your services, go for a permanent in-house job.
Similarly, if you see high growth potential in starting your own freelance interpreter business and are okay with managing all the tasks alone, that’s the ideal way for you.
Luckily, if you want to take up interpreter jobs, you have both in-house and freelance choices at hand.
Here’s a list of some online platforms where you can get both in-house and remote interpreter job opportunities.
ZipRecruiter is one of the most reliable online crowdsourcing companies out there. It connects individual employers, companies, and enterprises to reach talented individuals.
As soon as an employer posts a job, the site displays it to the platform’s working members. So, if your profile matches the job post, you’ll get a chance to respond to the job ad and get hired.
Remember, with the interpretation market quite saturated; you’ll have to respond to each job opportunity that regularly consistently generates a steady workflow for yourself.
Flexjobs is another easy-to-use site to kickstart your interpretation career. The site provides job lists from more than 150 different categories and niches, so you can easily find one that fits your skillset.
The best part about Flexjobs for freelance workers is its skills tests. You can take interpreter skill tests and display the results on your Flexjobs resume. This makes your application attractive and increases your chances of getting hired on a project or permanent basis.
Although the site charges a small premium for its services, you’ll quickly pay off your investment. Also, you can get a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with the service.
SolidGigs is an online platform that makes it easier for freelancers or in-house interpreters to land high-paying jobs regularly.
Typically, job seekers would have to scrounge through hundreds of job offers from Google search results and pitch each client only to find empty inboxes the next day.
However, SolidGigs eliminates the need for that by rounding up only 13-14 relevant job offers in its weekly job lists.
These gig lists are created according to your profile and include only legit scam-free clients. All you have to do is work your charm and get consistent work by paying a small premium to the site.
Step 2 – Select Your Languages
You probably think why I used the word language in the plural. The first one is naturally going to be your mother tongue, right?
Wrong. You cannot become a talented interpreter in a language just because you’re a native speaker. Instead, most native English speakers or any language in that regard cannot translate other languages into English easily.
That’s why you’ll start by selecting a pair of languages and groom your skills in both aspects before advertising yourself as an interpreter.
Choosing your language pair will determine two aspects of your interpreter career. First, it will help you decide the training and education you’ll need to enhance your worth in the field.
If you’re thinking about translating content into a language other than your native one, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in some cases.
Secondly, as I mentioned, the language pair you choose will influence your interpretation rates.
Step 3 – Work on Your Skills
Once you’ve chosen a language pair, it’s time to improve your skills. Along with the basic reading, comprehension, and grammar skills in both target languages, you’ll have to work on other aspects as well.
These include understanding cultural connotations and acquiring basic knowledge about the topics you deal with. Apart from that, if you’re thinking of becoming a remote interpreter, you’ll have to work on your typing speed and learn to use CATS (computer-aided-translation software).
On the other hand, if you’re going for in-house or personal interpreter jobs, you’ll need impeccable interpersonal skills to ace your job.
Step 4 – Pick a Niche
Once you have started taking up interpreter jobs and are making a decent income, it is time to upgrade yourself.
With the increasing demand for interpreters, there are probably hundreds of people just like you translating the languages you deal with. To land the best interpreter jobs, you’ll have to enhance your game and move a step ahead of your competition.
Picking a specific niche or specialization can contribute significantly to establish and increase your credibility in the field.
Start by making a list of the topics and subjects you’re interested in. It can be anything from engineering, medical, legal, to even tourism and celebrity gossip.
After choosing a niche, look for mentors or online courses that can help you sharpen your saw and specialize as an interpreter in these fields.
In case of a technical niche, you can even pursue a bachelor’s degree or get a master’s degree in translation.
Most importantly, consider aspects like the typical project turnover time and pay rate before choosing a field. That’s because once you spend your time and money on a niche, you’ll have to stick with it.
Step 5- Create Your Interpreter Portfolio
Once you’ve got your education in your chosen specialization field, you’ll advertise that on your resume to land high-paying clients.
But I wish it was that easy. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of other interpreters with the same resume as yours, so what makes you different?
To enhance your credibility and build a specific reputation, you’ll have to include your translation samples in the form of a proper work portfolio along with your resume.
Building a portfolio is simple but requires a lot of initial investment. You see, to put projects on your resume, you’ll have to provide some interpretation services at throwaway rates and even do some practice tasks for free.
Start by rounding up a few text or audio samples from your target language and niche from the internet, and translate them. Make sure you have 10-15 concise samples which display your skills appropriately.
Once your clients have hands-on proof of your work quality, they’ll flock around to hire you for their projects.
Step 6 – Create An Online Presence
Whether you’re working remotely or in-house in this digital age, if you want to build a reputation, you’ll have to be online.
Most high-paying clients conduct background checks on their potential employees through the internet. In this case, they’re more likely to hire you if they find all the details about your work experience, previous clients, expertise, and education in one place.
You can start by creating a profile on freelance platforms or update your LinkedIn profile regularly. If you’re planning to grow your business by investing some money, creating a website is a great way to boost your online presence.
Step 7 – Never Stop Learning
Constant professional development is extremely important to keep yourself ahead of everyone else in the game.
How many new words have you seen in the Oxford English Dictionary during the last two years? It works the same way with all languages. There are regular updates in the cultural connotations and dialects of every language.
Work to keep yourself updated and stay relevant in your profession. You can do this by attending annual conferences for interpreters, taking online or in-person seminars, or joining your local translator’s association.
If you’re an aspiring freelancer, there are ways to become successful in the field of freelancing. You can work as a freelancing interpreter or other freelancing jobs you’ve wanted that suits your skills and preferences.
The opportunity and ways to generate extra income while you’re at home are promising. It is interesting to earn by side hustling, freelancing, and more where some only need a small capital to start.
And that’s it. Just follow these steps whether you want to become a remote interpreter or an in-house professional. Even if you don’t have any experience, take the first step, and your handwork and destiny will take you through the rest. Good Luck!
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