Home Business Idea: Translator


Working as a translator should be the first home business idea that comes to mind if you're fluent in a foreign language. As a translator, you can focus on providing written services to clients as well as consultations. Translation is not the same as interpretation, which involves providing real time oral interpretation to clients from a non-English speaker. A translator has much more flexibility than an interpreter, because you don't have to be tied down to a telephone.

Education and Training

The level of education required depends on the type of clients you plan to work with as well as the documents you plan to translate. If you want to translate legal documents, then lawyers will prefer translators with a four year college degree. Some may even prefer that you have paralegal training. Other clients may only require you to demonstrate proficiency in English and the foreign language, and your proof is the successful completion of certified tests. For example, the certified tests offered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages are widely accepted by many companies who hire translators on a freelance basis. Do your research to find out which tests are esteemed by clients, and take those. You can also research your competitors to see which tests they have completed.

Income Potential

The beginning pay for translators is often $13 per hour, but it can grow to $26 per hour. It's not a "get rich quick" home business idea, and you should stay away from those, but you can earn good pay as your business grows. Some industries are higher paying than others. For example, translator freelance opportunities in the health care and legal industries offer slightly higher pay than general translation services. It's possible to earn as much as $57,000 per year when you become established, and that's not considering the possibility of growing your business to include a partner or other independent contractors.

Translation Service Specialty

Try to become proficient in one area, and develop a reputation for being the best. Some of the specialties that your home business idea can revolve around, include:

  • Business documents translation
  • Legal documents translation
  • Ebooks translation
  • Translate technical documents, such as employer handbooks

Pursue an area that you're passionate about, and one in which you have some experience. You'll do a better job for clients and you'll reduce the learning curve if you already have some experience.

Finding Opportunities

There's a demand for translators and many job boards have taken advantage of the opportunity by putting together translators and employers. You can find freelance opportunities on major job boards that list all kinds of job opportunities, but your primary focus should be on the translator job boards, such as:

  • TranslatorsCafe.com
  • TranslatorPub.com
  • Language123.com
  • TranslationDirectory.com

Keep checking these boards even after you land your first few jobs. When one job dries up, you can have another one lined up.

A work-at-home translator is a great home business idea for a mom with little ones. You don't want to work as an interpreter and answer calls all day long, while trying to take care of your children.

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.

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