A viable home business idea for you if you are proficient in the English language and a foreign language is working as an interpreter. Your primary job would be to listen to someone on a telephone call who speaks a language that's foreign to your client, and interpret what's being said. Interpreters deal with oral interpretation only, unlike translators who translate documents. If you have the right home environment to receive and make phone calls throughout the day for a set number of hours, then you can make a living from home as an interpreter.
Education and Training
A Bachelor's degree in Linguistics will make you competitive, but it's not necessary to launch or succeed in business as an interpreter. Earning certificates from one of two major organizations to demonstrate that you're proficient in the English language and a foreign language holds more weight with many employers who hire work-at-home workers: The American Council on the Teaching for Foreign Languages and the American Translators Association. These associations also offer training courses to help you improve and master your skills.
What You Can Earn
You can earn around $21,000 in gross sales working at home part-time as an interpreter. If you're working full-time, you can expect to earn $13 to $26 per hour or $30,000 to $58,000 annually. What you don't want to do is choose a position that pays strictly on commission. You may not ever get paid for your work, when you could be making as much as $26 per hour. Bonus pay is fine, but it should be in addition to a minimum hourly rate or salary.
Most employers and clients will expect you to buy basic telephone equipment for your work. The typical requirement is a corded phone. A cordless phone doesn't provide good sound quality, and it's easy to pick up conversations from neighbors or vice versa. A cell phone is not secure enough either, and there's always the risk of it cutting out in the middle of a conversation. Along with the corded phone, your employer will most likely ask you to have a head set as well. You'll also need a dedicated phone line, which some employers may choose to pay for. If they don't, then it's a business expense that you should plan for.
You may love the opportunity to work as an interpreter, but your home environment may prevent it from being the right home business idea for you. The main requirement from clients and employers is that you have a quiet home during the hours when you work. That's often impossible for moms with children at home. If you don't have any children at home, then you shouldn't have any problems with this requirement. That's unless you live in apartment with noisy neighbors or a barking dog. An apartment situation can also limit your work in this area, and if that's the case, then working on written documents as a translator may be a better option.
If you enjoy helping others, then you'll find this home business idea a rewarding one. You could find yourself on the line with a desperate caller to 911, where your interpretation skills can make a difference.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.