How Much Money Does a Translator Make

How Much Money Does a Translator Make?

Being a translator is now starting to be a trending job, and the common question one who is not in the field asks is how much money does a translator make or earn? That would depend if what type of translator you are. A freelance translator would probably earn differently compared to a translator who is employed and has a contract with a certain company.

Back in 2006, the average yearly salary of a full-time freelance translator sums up to more or less $60,000, and a part-time translator would earn at least half. That data is more than a decade old now and the economy has made some rises and falls over the years. That old data is based on translating the English language to Arabic or Danish.

Different factors affect the amount of money earned. First is which country you are based in and if the job is being outsourced outside of the country. Second would be the base language or the original language you are translating. The third would be your expertise.

Other factors depend on the type of work and country of origin. The most common translation you would encounter in the field would be any language resulting in English and vice versa because English is the universal language.

In working as a freelance translator, time is also another factor that could affect the total yearly income. If you spend 36 hours translating a document or an audio, you’ll end up earning more compared to being employed and having a contract, which requires you to do only about 8 or 9 hours a day.

In the most recent years, however, statistics show that freelancers in translating jobs earn over six figures, or more than $100,000 yearly, provided that you have an expert skill level. If you have been in the translating industry for so long and have acquired great skills over the process, you can market yourself highly and demand a greater pay compared with a beginner or entry level translator.

Translator Income Based on Country

As said earlier, types of translation and the country from which you are based can greatly affect your yearly average income. There are countries that are stable and consistent with their yearly income as shown in the list below:

  • Germany – $59,000
  • Canada – $49,191
  • USA – $47,920
  • Mexico – $44,000
  • Spain – $38,000
  • UK – $36,318
  • Brazil – $32,000
  • France – $28,583
  • Turkey – $27,531
  • Italy – $20,000

These are the top 10 countries that offer high salaries with translation jobs, and they are more likely to be a stable and consistent yearly income. Unfortunately, what you earn being a translator is highly dependent on your country and not the language. Regardless, there are some cases that language would be the basis and not the country, depending on the project  you are doing.

There is no specific or accurate data that shows where the yearly income of where a translator is based. All of this data came from different surveys over a few selected countries and a targeted group of people. Some economists might add that a type of translation can also have an affect on the money you earn and how fast you can do a single translation.

If you plan on employing yourself in the field or start doing freelance translation jobs, then it is advised to know the different types of translation services you can offer your client.

Different Types of Translation


This type of translation is considered to be the hardest of all types. As obvious as its name, you usually deal with poems, songs, sonnets, stories, and other translations related to literature. You sometimes need to dig deep with unfamiliar words and try to check if you can make a rhyme.

Sometimes a synonym is not appropriate with the original word, as literary content usually has in-line or double meaning phrases. You also need to vary your translation with the writing style of the author.


Technical translation is translating documents from technical writers such as leaflets, manuals, user’s guides, and financial or administrative reports – documents that are usually used in a targeted audience. A good example of this would be translating a statistical data to be used for a marketing meeting.


This is a form of technical translation usually done regarding scientific reports, medical reports, articles, or a presentation, case study, or thesis.


This is translating different legal documents such as certificates, warrants, court proceedings, summons, statutes, and all other reports and documents with judicial purpose. This type of translation needs extra care, as some of it might be used for evidence to be shown in court. All data and information being translated in this type is delicate.


As you’ve seen in some movies, there is someone beside the court judge that types or writes every word being uttered by legal persons involved. Their job is to translate expert opinions, sessions of interrogation, judgments, and more.


This is a type of translation that is usually related to finances or economics. Documents that relate to bank statements, company financial statements, annual or perennial income reports, contracts, packages, etc. are all financial translation.


How much money a translator makes would refer to how nicely your salary can turn out.  Regardless of the factors that might affect it, the end result of all the data in different survey points point to an adequate average yearly salary. This is one of the jobs that only few people have previously delved into, but is now starting to become a new trend because it can be a good paying job.

The possible reason why in the past few years being a translator is often disregarded or is an unlikely choice as a source of income is because there was little understanding of the profession.

There are now so many translating or translator guide available in the net, may it be a freelance job, a home-based job or a company-employed translator. You just need to research your materials and know about what type of translation you want for yourself.

You can find different guidelines about translation jobs here.

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