How Much Do Translators Make a Year: Is It Worth It?
We are in a day and age where people are looking out for more lucrative jobs than the usual nine to five. The new generation, more famously known as the millennials are looking for new and innovative methods to make money.
Sitting in a cubicle just does not cut it anymore. And amongst the several options to make money is to be a translator. But, the most important question that very few people know the answer to “how much do translators make a year?”
The most important thing in order to be a translator is the ability to read, write and speak two languages or more. But not just the ability to read, write and speak. You must also be highly qualified in the languages you know. That is one of the most guaranteed ways that you will be able to rake in a substantial amount of money.
The possibilities to work as a freelance translator are endless. You have the option of translating just a couple of texts, to even translating documents and official paperwork or you may be even translating a whole book. The main objective of a translator is to maintain the tone and speech of the original text while translating it to a different language.
In this day, we have a large number of options where we can find translating jobs. Other than finding a company who can hire you as a freelance translator, you can find several websites online that pay you for your services. They serve as a bridge to connect you to a client who is in need of a translator. All you need to do is a quick web search, and you will find tons of options to choose from.
And to help make your work a little easier for you, check out this amazing guide called Translation 101: Starting Out As A Translator by Petro Dudi. This is a guide you must have with you in order to begin your translation career on the right note. It will help you figure out everything that you need to know about translation. Not just for novices, but also for experts who can sharpen their skills and completely master their craft.
How Much Do Translators Make a Year: Factors to Consider
Is it all worth it? Well, there is no right answer to this. This is because there are several factors involved in order to determine how much money you can make being a freelance translator. The answer is very subjective.
But there are some factors involved in determining how much money can a translator make. Let us talk about the most basic principle of Economics. It all depends on demand and supply. If the demand is less and supply is more, you are likely to make less money. If the demand and supply are same, the money you will earn will just about be average. However, if there is a greater demand but very less supply, people who translate in that particular language will be able to earn quite a lot of money.
There are certain languages that are always highly demanded than others. If you are one of those who knows those particular languages that are in high demand, then you are likely to make much more money.
A 2006 data which was collected by the American Translators Association showed that there were two languages that made the highest amount of money per word. English to Arabic and also English to Danish, made the freelancer about 19 cents a word, on an average. On the other hand, languages that made the least amount of money per word were English to Italian and English to Portuguese. These languages made their freelancer about 12 cents a word.
In the case of hourly payment, English to Chinese translation made about $75 on an average for an hour for their freelancer. However, translation of Chinese to English made about $65 on an average for an hour for their freelancers.
Job type also plays a role in determining how much a freelance translator can earn. Again, in the 2006 data by the American Translators Association, it showed that translators who had their own interpretation and translation companies, on an average earned about $68,000 in a year. Private firms who hired their own in-house translators, on an average earned about $59,500. Translators who worked for the government on an average earned similarly, about $59,900. On the other hand, freelance translators who worked independently, on an average earned about $60,500.
The American Translators Association also have their own certification. Whoever possessed a certificate by this association earned much more than others. Certified translators who worked in a private firm as in-house translators on an average earned about $72,300 a year. This is significantly higher in comparison to those who were not certified, translators. Those individuals earned about $53,700 a year, almost $20,000 lesser than certified translators.
All said and done, none of the surveys done by anyone can accurately give any information. Determining how much money a freelance translator makes is very subjective. Assuming that the freelancer works five to six days a week for the whole year without any breaks can earn easily up to $100k-$120k. But this will not be the case with everyone.
In addition, as we mentioned earlier, it also depends on the language he or she is working on. Take into account the number of days they take for vacations in a year and also whether or not they have work constantly throughout the year. It is a known fact that when you work as a freelancer, work is never consistent. These surveys do not factor in these possibilities. So, all of this makes it very difficult to estimate how much a freelance translator can earn in a year.
Now to answer whether is it enough and is it worth it. This too is really subjective. For a freelance translator who probably lives, let’s assume, in Sri Lanka, an average of $75,000 a year is a lot of money. However, let’s take, for instance, a freelance translator who lives in London or New York. And taking into account the rent to live in a nice apartment, bills, student loans and most important of it all, the taxes the individual has to pay, $75,000 a year may just about, if not at all, suffice them.
However, we do recommend you still give it a try if this is something that interests you. Only you can know whether or not this is all worth it for you.
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