Become a Translator OnlineTranslators are in high demand, now more than ever before. If you are fluent in two or more languages, you can find translation work online. You can work from your own home, completing and delivering your finished work over the Internet.

What Qualifications do I Need to Become an Online Translator?

The qualifications needed to perform online translation work usually vary, depending on who the employer is. There are hundreds to thousands of short-term, contract-based online translation jobs available at any given time. Some of the employers require translators to have a degree, either in a language or in the subject area of the translation assignment.

Other employers and jobs have less stringent requirements and employers simply want to know that you are fluent and proficient in whatever two languages you’ll be working in. (You may be asked to provide some type of proof of proficiency, such as a writing sample, or filling out a short quiz.) Even if you don’t have a degree, you’ll probably find there are plenty of short-term translation assignments available which don’t require translators to have one.

How to Find Online Translation Jobs

Prospective employers who need documents translated typically advertise on freelancer’s Websites/forums. Some of these sites, such as iFreelance.com, are general freelance sites which accept postings for all kinds of different freelance jobs (writing, editing, translating, etc.), while others, such as Translatorsbase.com are freelance sites strictly for translation jobs.

Different sites are set up differently. However, most operate in similar ways. Here’s how they work: prospective employers who are looking for document translators post a job description on the site. The posting lays out the parameters and scope of the work and what they expect. Some employers will also post a firm price while others will invite translators to put in a quote (bid) for the advertised work. The employer also decides how long the posting will remain active and note the deadline for bids.

Translators can peruse listings of translation jobs available. They can bid on the ones that interest them. Once the bidding deadline arrives, the employer can look over the bids and choose a suitable translator. The winning bidder is notified by email. Then the winner can make a final decision on whether or not he/she wants to accept the assignment.

The key to finding steady translation work this way is to register with as many of these sites as you can. Then, check back often (daily is ideal) and bid frequently. It’s always best to bid on as many as you’re qualified for. You aren’t usually bound by any rules that require you to actually accept an assignment if you decide later on you’re too busy, or the job turned out to be different than what you expected.


Here we’ll go through the process of registering with two different freelancer’s sites. We’ll start with iFreelance.com, a general freelancer’s forum:

1) Go to iFreelance.com. Click on the “Sign Up” link, which is located near the top right hand corner of the home page. You may get a pop up box that asks you if you’re looking for work, or wanting to post a job. Click on the box indicating that you are looking for work.

2) You’ll be redirected to a new page where you’ll be asked to choose a Log-in name (this can be your real name or a nickname/handle), a display name (this should be your real name or the name of your translation business, if you have one) and your email address. You’ll also be asked to choose and then confirm a password. Once you’ve filled out all of these fields, click on the button marked “Create Account.”

3) Choose your payment plan. It costs money to join iFreelance.com (it will be money well-spent if you’re good at what you do and you bid fairly). iFreelance has three membership levels, ranging in price from $6.25 to $12 monthly. Each level/plan has successively more benefits and advantages. However, we would suggest that you start out with the least expensive plan. You can always upgrade later on. Click on your chosen plan.

4) On the next page, choose how you want to pay for your membership. You can be billed monthly, annually, or every two years. You can save even more money if you choose an annual or bi-annual plan. After clicking in the corresponding field, you’ll be asked to choose under what category you want your profile to be listed. From the drop-down menu, choose the “Writing/Editing/Translation” option.

5) Depending on which membership level you’ve selected, you’ll get to choose options to be listed within your profile. You’ll be asked to choose a certain number of “sub-categories” which you’ll work under. Choose as many as are applicable and as you are allowed, but make sure that one of your choices is the field marked “Language Translation.”

6) Once you’ve chosen all your options, fill out your bio information. Then choose your payment method. (iFreelance accepts PayPal and most major credit cards.) Don’t forget to agree to iFreelance’s “Terms of Service.” Finally, click on “Create Account.”

After you create your account, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the bidding process and perusing the jobs that are posted in the translation category.

If you prefer not to have to pay for a subscription, there are other freelancer’s sites, such as Guru.com which are free to join. Guru.com does offer subscription membership as well, which gives you extra benefits (such as priority bidding) not available with free memberships. You can always join for free and then upgrade to a paid subscription later on if you wish.

If you wish, you can join up with a freelancer’s Website that is specifically for translators and translation jobs. They are similar to other freelancer’s sites, but deal only with translation work.

One such Website is TranslatorsCafe.com. Basic membership on TranslatorsCafe.com is free, with the option to purchase a subscription membership which entitles the translator to added benefits (such as priority bidding). Here’s how to sign up:

1) Go to http://www.translatorscafe.com.

2) Hover your mouse over the tab that says “Home,” located near the top of the page in the left hand corner to see a drop-down menu. On that menu, click on the “New Members” link.

3) On the next page, read the terms of use and click on the button at the bottom of the page that says “I accept.”

4) On the next page enter your name and address, select your country of residence, and choose a user name, password and password hint. Click on the “Submit” button.

5) You’ll be sent an email registration confirmation. Open the email and click on the confirmation link. Once you do this, you’ll be able to complete your profile and add your language and any other specialties or training that you have. You’ll also be able to upgrade your membership at this time if you desire.

Become a Certified Translator

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily need to have any special training in translation in order to find freelance translation jobs online. However, it may help you win the confidence of potential employers if you have some kind of credible certification. You may want to consider becoming a certified translator.

There are lots of certified translator programs that you can take online. They may take a few weeks to several months to complete. Any certification that you can get will make you more credible to a prospective employer, so even a very short certification program will be helpful.

Hope this helps,

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(3) comments

Francis Gathalian says:

January 13, 2012 at 1:55 am

This may be a coincidence but I am planning to take foreign language lesson. Initially I love to study French, but ifI could earn as an online translator, what language do you suggest for me to study? What is the demand?

Scott says:

January 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hi Francis:

You will have to research to see what languages are in demand. There are many I am sure.

Ralyn Mendoze says:

March 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm

It would be nice to learn another language, it is like embracing another nationality. Since language is considered as a medium of conversation, it would be great to learn another language aside from the ones that we already know. In relation to this article, I actually know some of my friends who are into watching Korean series. I often ask them if they could understand and they would tell me that there is a subtitle which is translated into English language. Maybe, that is why translators are being in demand nowadays. I find the job interesting and challenging. This is also one job where in you could stay at the comfort of your home.

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