Do translators make good money? From words to wealth!

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By AlSheikh

Do translators make good money? If you’re considering a career in the translation industry, understanding the potential earnings is crucial to your decision-making process. In this blog, we’ll break down the factors influencing translator salaries, such as the languages you work with and your specialised skills. By the end of this read, you’ll have a clearer picture of what to expect regarding translator earnings.

Some of the highest-paying translation services

1- Literary translations

Do translators make good money in literary translations? Yes, as literary translators work on various literary forms, including poetry, lengthy novels, journals, and other expressions of literature. 

Their primary objective is to surmount language barriers and facilitate the accessibility of artistic works to a global audience.

Engaging in literary translations necessitates a blend of creativity and empathy. Translators delve into the original creation to fathom the concealed messages and meanings beneath what might appear to be a haphazard selection of words. 

They discern the essence of what is crucial and decide which elements should be preserved to uphold the text’s intended meaning.

2- Medical and judiciary translations

Another category of translation services that commands premium rates includes medical translations, largely owing to the meticulous precision they demand.

Typically, translators specialising in this field are subject matter experts well-versed in the intricacies of the respective domains, possessing an extensive grasp of specialised medical terminology.

3- Legal translations

Earning potential for legal translation services in Abu Dhabi can be quite lucrative.

The demand for a professional legal translation office in this thriving international business hub is consistently high, thanks to the diverse expatriate population and the city’s status as a global business centre. 

Legal translation office with translators who possess proficiency in multiple languages and a deep understanding of the intricacies of legal terminology can command competitive rates for its services. 

With opportunities ranging from translating contracts and court documents to assisting in legal proceedings, those in this profession can expect to earn a comfortable income that reflects their expertise.

4- Localization services

Professions linked to localisation are remunerative due to the heightened demand for localisation services spanning various industries.

As more companies expand their global reach, the necessity for language specialists and localisation engineers intensifies, aiming to consolidate their foothold in international markets. 

Most of these enterprises are willing to offer competitive compensation to attain top-tier quality standards in translation.

Big earnings await simultaneous interpreters

The best-paid jobs in the language service field are usually not for translators; they go to simultaneous interpreters because it’s the most demanding gig. 

Simultaneous interpreters need excellent language skills and precise communication abilities. 

They listen in one language, translate, and then speak in the other language while keeping up with the speaker. 

There’s almost no time for breaks, and they can’t interrupt the conversation. 

To do this job, you must be proficient in both languages used in the conversation.

Earnings vary depending on the language pair

Do translators make good money? regarding well-paying translation jobs, the critical factor is the language pair you work with. 

Like in any other market, the prices for translation services are determined by the balance between supply and demand for each language pair.

If many translators are available for a particular language pair, it usually means lower prices for translation work. 

On the flip side, prices stay reasonable if there aren’t many translators for a specific language pair but a decent demand for it.

Some of the best-paying language pairs

Some language pairs, like Finnish-to-English, Japanese-to-English, Danish-to-English, English-to-Arabic, and English-to-Japanese, tend to pay better. This is because there aren’t many specialists in these languages, but there’s a strong demand for their services.

Additionally, languages like German, French, Russian, and Simplified Chinese (Mandarin) are also in demand, especially in the business world, which often means higher prices for translation.

Even though Spanish and Italian don’t have high per-word rates when translating to or from English, they still offer consistent work opportunities. 

Do translators make good money in Spanish translation? 

Regarding the earnings of Spanish translators, there is a substantial global disparity in pay rates. 

ZipRecruiter data indicates that the average annual salary for Spanish translators in the United States is approximately $38,714. 

Conversely, in the United Kingdom, Glassdoor reports an average yearly income of £23,850 for Spanish translators, with the figure rising to £30,133 in London, where living costs and salaries are notably higher.

Do translators make good money in French translation? 

Analysing the rates of translators specialising in French-to-English language pairs highlights the significant influence of different languages. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for French translators in the United States is $45,508 annually, representing an approximate $7,000 yearly increase compared to Spanish translation.

Do translators make good money in Japanese translation? 

The earning potential is even more lucrative for translators focusing on the Japanese-to-English language pair based in the United States. 

ZipRecruiter data suggests that the average salary for a Japanese translator in the U.S. is $49,975 annually, surpassing a Spanish translator’s earnings by over $10,000 annually.

Do translators make good money in Mandarin translation? 

Salaries for translators proficient in other languages exhibit significant variation, even within the same country. 

Using ZipRecruiter’s figures for U.S. translators as an example, Mandarin translators can secure annual incomes ranging from as low as $24,500 to an impressive $107,000.

How much does a certified translator make in the U.S.?

Starting a career as a translator doesn’t require specific experience, but most entry-level translators have a bachelor’s degree. 

Some get certified to show they’re skilled. The certification rules differ by country.

In terms of pay, the median hourly rate for translators was $23.61 in 2021, and the yearly salary was about $49,100. 

In 2023, reports the average U.S. translator salary is around $60,660, with most making between $52,437 and $70,787.

Alsun also did some research. In-house translators in the U.S. usually earn about $36.00 per hour, while freelancers make between $30.00 and $70.00 per hour based on their skills and languages. 

Translation Partner data says that translators working on marketing documents often start at $25 per hour, while those doing transcreation can earn between $35 and $75 per hour.

Salary average outside the US and UK

Do translators make good money through translation services Dubai? translator salaries vary worldwide because the cost of living differs significantly in different countries. 

This means that in some countries, translators can charge less for their work, while in others, they have to charge more to make a decent living.

To help us understand this, there’s something called the Cost of Living Index by Numbeo. 

It ranks 140 countries based on how expensive it is to live there and uses a scale from 18.0 in Pakistan to 141.8 in Bermuda (as of April 2023). 

So, you can see that translators in Pakistan might charge a lot less than those in Bermuda simply because the cost of living is so different.

Why being a professional translator is a promising career?

Translators don’t usually get paid by the hour like many other jobs. Instead, they earn money for each project they complete. This means they can charge a reasonable amount for their work. 

The amount of money a translator makes can depend on how good they are. They can make much money working on projects for big international brands.

Your income also depends on the languages you know. Some languages, like German and Spanish, can earn you more money. But if you know French or Spanish, you might face more competition because many people can translate those languages.

It’s also wise to consider Asian languages. Their demand increases as Asian countries become more important in the world economy. So, learning Asian languages can be a good choice for the future.


Do translators make good money? It depends on the languages they work with, how they’re employed, what they charge, and any special skills they have.

If you’re thinking about a career in translation, you’re in luck! There are a lot of translation jobs available. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says translation jobs are expected to grow by 20% from 2021 to 2031. That’s a lot faster than most other jobs. So, if you’re interested in translation, now’s a great time to start!

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