Freelance Translator Frequently Asked Questions

Freelance Translator: Frequently Asked Questions

Being a freelance translator is not everyone’s dream job. However, it’s one of those occupations that leave people curious. This curiosity spans from the simplest information, such as their salary and actual workplace, to the very nature of their job.

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, translators are actually helpful and useful in a lot of disciplines. If you’re just plain curious about what freelance translators do, then this article aims to satisfy your curiosity as we answer many questions that people commonly ask.

Why are translators important?

Given that English is considered to be the Lingua Franca of the World, which is the language that’s settled with whenever people who grew up in nations that speak different languages have to communicate with each other. Having said that, English is the language used in a lot of foreign and international business and trade.

Many countries who wish to interact with the neighboring ones are only able to do so once they make use of the English language. It is through communication and effective use of language in which we, as humans get to learn more about each other.

In connection to all of these facts, translators give countries the chance to “globalize” and make their own identity, culture, and all other things that this would encompass to every other country that ought to know more about it.

Also, translators would come in handy whenever migrants or immigrants need to work their way around in a country far from their home. In other words, these translators effectively serve as “bridges” and break communication barriers between one or more countries.

How do you become a translator?

One of the most basic requirements in order for you to become a full-time, official translator is for you to be fluent in at least one other language. This is a trait which is commonly shared among individuals who grew up in households that speak more than one language.

Most of the time, the reason for this fluency is simply because parents have moved from one country to another that speaks different languages. Parents speak their native language at home, while the kids, from an early age learn to speak the other language in school as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

This alone would give you an edge. However, if you wish to be one of the most effective translators around, you would most definitely have to spend time studying the language. This is because when it comes to translation, cultural factors as well as context would play a major role in getting the most “exact” or accurate translation of a word or a group of words as possible.

If you’re not fluent in another language, but would still want to be a translator, you could study language courses in the university or institute of your choice.

Most importantly, you should get a certification from a competent body, the most common one being the ATA, or the American Translator’s Association, which you can obtain by complying with their requirements, such as taking and passing their certification exam.

Translator Statistics: Salary, Number of Workers, Etc.

Recent studies have shown that being a translator in the United States is one of the fastest growing jobs in terms of the number of individuals employed. As a matter of fact, this number quadruples the average growth of other jobs when it comes to employment in numbers. In the United States, it is estimated that there are around 50,000 individuals working as translators.

When it comes to their salary, this is one of the most lucrative ones, given that a translator earns an average of $24 per hour. The rate varies between firms and the places in which they decide to work on.

Most translators work in the comfort of their own homes, some are freelance and work wherever they want, and others are bound to contracts. These have a huge impact in terms of how much they actually are going to get. Also, some of them are paid on an hourly basis and some of them are paid per work done.

Which Languages are most in demand?

In the United States, there are so many people that speak second languages. Also, several people coming from other countries would most definitely want to make it a point to travel, and eventually settle there.

The economic prosperity of the United States relative to other countries is one of the primary reasons why people leave their hometown, to seek greener pastures. Not only do they bring themselves, but they also bring their home language as well. This is one of the reasons why the United States is getting more and more diverse in terms of language as the years go on.

While certain firms tend to accept people who are proficient in any language apart from English, the most popular and sought after translators are those who are good at Spanish and English, and Vice Versa, given that it is the second most-widely spoken language in the United States with more than 37 million speakers. Other widely-spoken languages include Chinese, French, as well as Filipino.

Which Fields need Translators most and why?

As previously mentioned, translators are needed in just about every field there is. This is most especially true in fields that would require you to communicate with people, or in other words, the companies that are social in nature.

Having said that, you would often find translators being employed in law firms, as they may come in handy during court hearings, as well as translating the necessary legal documents. Also, you may find translators that help in the Medical field.

In more specific fields, it would most definitely come in handy for the translator to learn the more specific terms related to that field in order for the translations to be as accurate as possible.


While translating may seem to be an easy job, there actually are a lot of things you have to keep in mind. It is a skill on its own that one could master with proper studying and practicing. If you’re reading this because you want to become a translator, then it’s never too late for you to do so!

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