The Best Paying Languages to Specialize in as a Professional Translator

Check out the top translation languages in terms of pay. Plus, we tell what you need to get these jobs and become a successful translator or interpreter.

Are you thinking about venturing into translation work? Or maybe you are planning to become a certified translator in some time? Globalization is bringing people from all walks of life and different regions in the world together. More people are traveling internationally now. Also, more businesses are expanding their operations beyond national borders. You will also find translators in medical services, app development, and localization, among many more industries. These reasons have led to increase in demand for high-quality online translation services. Translation, therefore, is a career that is worth considering.

In this article, we will tell you:

  • The requirements for getting a translator job that offers good pay
  • Why you need a couple of specialized translation fields
  • The highest paying languages in the translation industry
  • Advice for making it as a translator

What You Need to Get a Well-Paying Translator Job

To secure a top paying job in translation, you must first be fluent in the target and source languages. Then, you must possess some academic requirements. Having a record that shows you completed a course in the foreign language you want to translate can make you more competitive in the translation market.

Additionally, you must meet other conditions specific to the market that you intend to work in. You may, for example, be a translator who is fluent in English and Russian and want to start your practice in Russia. In this case, you must secure all the documents needed to work in the country as a foreigner. Remember, countries have different requirements for giving work permits, so be sure to check with the specific embassy.

Another way to increase your chances of getting a translation job that pays a high salary is to start networking. Build close relationships with clients as well as colleagues. Growing your network is especially crucial if you are a freelancer. You will get more gigs through referrals and word of mouth. This network, however, won’t be easy to build. So, also consider joining an organization that connects you with people in your field.

Why You Should Have More Than One Specialization

Even if you are completely fluent in a language, know that your translation field will be competitive. It is advisable to specialize in two areas or more if you want to stay ahead of the competition and have access to more opportunities. Some popular fields to consider include finance, law, and medicine. Have an excellent understanding of the specific business, culture, and linguistics relevant to the translation. Having professional or technical experience in the field you wish to translate for is a significant advantage as the majority of translation companies prefer translators who have this experience.

The Top Languages with the Best Rates

Given that you now know what makes a successful translator, one question arises – what languages pay the best? The response will entirely depend on location. Over the years, Middle Eastern and Asian languages have proven to be the highest paying in the world of translation. In the US, the most in-demand languages are Japanese, Arabic, Danish, and Chinese. As such, translators in these languages tend to have better opportunities. When it comes to the lowest paying, Portuguese and Italian lead the pack. This trend can be attributed to the slow, but steady increase of such speakers in America for some generations now.

Other European languages, for instance, German, French, and Spanish, continue to remain significant in the market because of the many immigrants coming into America.

That said, in numbers, you can look forward to earning anywhere between USD 70,000 and USD 175,000 for the most in-demand languages. If you are a freelance translator, you can expect to make at least, USD 60,000 (the reported amount as of now). All said the majority of the highest-paid translators have excellent resumes with valid capabilities that are backed by valued referrals and professional experience.

Tips for Pursuing a Translator Career

Even if you are bilingual or are working on perfecting a new language, your success as a translator will depend on your ability to produce excellent output fast, accurately, and efficiently. This line of work is all about understanding the industry well, gathering as much information on the target culture as possible, and having excellent articulation in the languages you wish to specialize in.

All said you need to pick a language that is suitable for you. Nonetheless, if you have troubles memorizing things, it makes sense to focus on a language that uses both a numeric and alphabet system that you are conversant with. Some other things that may influence your choice of language are your economic situation and location.

Last but not least, your interests can also affect your decision. If you are all about business, you might want to learn Chinese as it is one of the languages with a lot of opportunities in business due to the modern development of Chinese market.

Nonetheless, translation is vital for communication, meaning there will always be jobs for you regardless of the language you specialize in.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, you might want to start expanding your horizon if you are to become a successful translator. It is the case since most of the translation jobs with excellent pay are in Asia or Middle Eastern region. As such, you should start improving your Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and other languages in the above areas to stand a chance of earning a decent income from your translation endeavors. Feel free to comment below to keep the conversation going.

Author: Joline Fitzgerald