Online Translator Job: What It Is, Requirements & More

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Bonjour. Hola. Ciao. Does any of these terms look familiar? Well, that’s the power of multilingualism. Hey! Don’t worry if you are completely clueless at the moment. You will slowly get there.

Now, have you ever imagined a world without verbal communication? How strange would it be? In today’s multiconnected globe, the cognitive benefits of multilingualism are there for everyone to see. And in recent times, many individuals with no experience have strived to build their careers around specific foreign languages by choosing a language pairing that matches critical business goals. That’s the basis of remote translation jobs.

But it turns out, there’s much more to translation than just learning multiple languages. And that’s what we are going to focus on today. This post is for you if you are not one to shy away from exciting challenges. We will be answering all your questions regarding the entry-level translation jobs by explaining what a modern translator does, what it takes to land new jobs, the expected salary potential, and where to get a steady workflow throughout the year. Let’s delve into the main details, then.

What Does a Translator Do?

A translator is at the core of multilingual conversations and plays a key role in streamlining the communication between two parties of completely different sociocultural inclination. In essence, these individuals take pride in converting written documents from one language to another.

Ideally, a remote translator works to give quality material that reflects the intended meaning by maintaining the structure, style, and ideas of the original document.  

How Much Can You Make with Online Translation?

Like many freelance jobs, online translation usually pays per hour of the task completed. And the recent salary reports put the average income to about $20 per hour. However, this is never a constant figure because a ton of factors will ultimately impact what an online translator makes at the end of the day.

For instance, experience is one of the key determinants that will impact your earning potential, with entry-level translators usually assured of anything between $10-$16 as they continue to gain significant experience along the way. Other factors that may play a role in determining your earning potential include the nature or complexity of the tasks, skill level, working speed, and your company or organization.

Of course, we can’t fail to mention the importance of the right language pairing when choosing translation jobs, as it may also impact your salary potential. According to multiple CSA Research studies, the most in-demand language pairs require English, with English-Spanish leading the list, followed by English-Chinese. But that doesn’t limit your options. Hindi, French, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese are additional examples, to name a few, of widely spoken languages, which implies a high demand for translation services that target these markets.

Qualifications and Requirements

Usually, most freelance translation jobs, whether online or offline do not require a college degree. And all you have to do is become fluent in two or more languages, preferably English and another of your liking. This option applies to work from home roles that only involve handling a few tasks on an everyday basis. However, obtaining a bachelor’s degree may be necessary when targeting enviable roles in top-ranked companies and organizations. On the other hand, high school graduates looking to serve as online translators may consider validating their skills by enrolling in a wide range of courses that address foreign languages, English comprehension, and computer literacy.

Those concerned with more technical translation, such as scientific, medical, legal, etc. will be expected to complete specialized training programs and certificates to master the industry jargon and relevant concepts. In summary, here are the basic requirements that candidates should satisfy to become online translators:

  • Hone your source and target language proficiency
  • Get certified
  • Get a college degree if necessary
  • Enhance your computer skills
  • Obtain some form of industry experience
  • Learn more languages to advance your career growth

Types of Translation Work

Online transition jobs can be classified in two ways: by subject area and the method used. Let’s have a look at these broad classifications in detail.

Translation Jobs by Subject Area

Under this domain, we have two broad categories including technical and non-technical translation.

Technical Translation

Technical documents are written for specific user groups. And this type of translation involves the real-world application of content in form of user manuals, medical, legal or financial reports, literary works, and many other scientific, commercial or artistic materials. Formatting is a critical aspect of technical translation to ensure the final document not only aligns with the company’s technical specifications but also suits the target audience.

Non-technical Translation

As you may probably guess, this is the clearest opposite to the above-mentioned technical translation and comprises simple documents that are written for the general audience. Such materials do not necessarily involve scientific or technological application and include non-specialized texts of all nature, such as certain types of business correspondence, press releases, website content, audio scripts, etc.

Translation Jobs by Method

When classifying online translation jobs by the method used, we have the following types:

  • Human Translation
  • Machine translation
  • Post-edited machine translation

Human Translation

Human translation refers to translation work that’s exclusively done by a human, instead of a machine. It is one of the oldest types of translation that purely relies on human intelligence. In its broadest sense, human translation can be built around crowd platforms or traditional agencies.

Machine Translation

Machine translation (MT), on the other hand, is an automated form of translation where everything relies on a computer. It describes the use of modern technology and computer software to translate part of or the entire text to a given language. This is a goal-oriented approach that eliminates the need to have human translators and can deliver more content faster.

Post-edited Machine Translation

Finally, in post-edited machine translation, a human translator comes in to edit or revise a text document that has been converted by computer software. This form of translation has a steep learning curve but delivers incredible results if the translator gets it right.

Where to Find Translator Courses and Training?

The easiest path to becoming an online translator is through certification training. And if you live in the USA, one of the best options is the American Translators Association (ATA), which provides recognized training and certifications. It also lists a variety of top-ranked schools and institutions that can fast track your career as a translator.

For aspiring translators anywhere in the globe, one of the go-to options is online training. Coursera, for example, is recognized for offering high-quality programs from top-ranked universities. Open University offers a 4-hour, free introduction course that explores translation as a career. At FutureLearn, the introductory course on translation has an estimated duration of 24 hours.

There are many colleges and universities that now offer translation studies and certificates that are 100% online. A quick Google search will help you find an alternative that fits your budget and needs.

Companies That Offer Online Translation Jobs

If there’s one advantage of nomadic translation, it is the financial freedom and flexibility it gives to certified trainees. Wouldn’t it be interesting to work from any location in the world, choose when to work, and even dictate how much you earn after gaining advanced skills?

In many instances, choosing a translation company rests with much more than just your certification. Experience also matters and working on multiple platforms can help you get there faster. Not to mention that it also helps you achieve a more steady workflow throughout the year.

That being said, the following is a list of some of the best companies to get online translation jobs:

We can also find translator jobs in portals and communities that target language professionals. The two most popular translator communities are Translators Café and ProZ.

However, competing with veterans on such platforms will be extremely challenging. So, the surest way to get ahead in your career is to work with recognized freelancing sites as you gain more skills. And the best options right now include the following:

Final Thoughts

As globalization continues, international companies become more aware of the need to expand their services to just about every remote location across the globe. In this context, mastering multiple languages makes more sense today than ever before.

Many companies are fast realizing that to make it on the global landscape, it’s important to master the nuances of local culture, with the language playing a key role in establishing international dialogue. And this is the clearest indication yet that the demand for online translators is not slowing anytime soon.

By speaking multiple languages, you can go beyond just showcasing your linguistic prowess. You can also be building the blocks towards a highly sought-after freelance career in translation.

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