How to Become a Freelance Translator

If you are proficient in multiple languages, you can sign up on freelance platforms to get started

learn more about Shipra Singh

By Shipra Singh

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

With businesses going global, the need to communicate with international clients in their language is increasingly becoming important. This need has opened up translation business opportunities for people who are proficient in multiple languages. And what better way to work independently but to become a freelancer.

Related Read: 11 Best Websites to Find Freelance Jobs

Read on to know how you can put your multilingual skills to become an independent translator.

Why Become a Translator

In India, there is a high demand for translation in regional languages like Punjabi, Malyalam, Telugu, and Kannada. If one these languages is your mother tongue, you don't even need certifications to prove your proficiency.

If we have to talk about foreign languages, data shows that Chinese, French, German and Spanish are the most sought after languages in India. An advanced degree in any of these high demand languages can increase your earning potential substantially.

For starters, freelancing is a better way to get self-employed but as you gain more experience, we suggest that you build your own website and market your work on career sites. In fact, you can go a step forward and start your own translating agency.

Where to Begin

To freelance as a translator, start by signing up with websites like Upwork, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, where companies post translation projects. The catch is that you don't get to decide what you want to charge for each project, rather the employer will set the fee per project.

For signing up with these portals, you need to have a bachelor's degree or prior experience in the language. In the absence of both, you can take an online course offered by certified institution or colleges.

There is no charge for signing up on freelance portals but they charge a commission ranging from 5 per cent to 20 per cent per project.

Related Read: How to Start a Co-working Space

Costs for Setting Up

The costs of freelance translating are minimal. You just need a good quality computer with a high speed internet connection. A mid-range laptop can cost you between INR 30,000-35,000, whereas internet connection will be INR 1,000 per month.

If you wish to create your own website to market your work, it can take a one-time investment of INR 60,000-75,000 and recurring cost of around INR 9,000 per year.


Fee of translation projects is usually by the assignments and not by the hour. Translating web apps and proofreading similar content pays INR 900-1,000. Transcribing short interviews are priced around Rs 1,500 per project and both these projects take up to a day.

Translating content on a website, press releases and brochures can get you INR 1,000-1,200 per page. Even bigger projects like translating lectures and academic papers of 2,000 to 2,500 words can fetch anywhere between INR 5,000-7,000 per project. These projects can take 2-3 days.

If you specialise in a technical field, you can set your own hourly rate that can be as high as INR 2,000 or 2,500 per hour. For instance, someone with a degree in civil engineering is a preferred choice for coaching centres looking to get lectures translated or a real estate agency will hire someone with that expertise to translate their brochures.

Take note that this takes senior level expertise and you should have a portfolio of work to promote your services. Besides, to set your own rates, you will have to acquire clients independently and maybe even start your own website.

So to give you average earning, a translator with intermediate experience who takes 6-7 small and 4 big projects can earn between INR 30,000-40,000 per month.


Unless you are operating your own website or agency, freelance translating means you have little control on what how much you are paid. This can sometimes be frustrating as you may get paid less than what you are worth.

So we hope that you soon take the plunge to self-employment in the coming year. Stay tuned and log on to for more business ideas.

Related Read: How to Start a Heritage Walk Business

Related Read: How to Become an Online Tutor

Shipra Singh

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Journalist

Now a freelance journalist, ealier steered the Wealth section on the Entrepreneur website, covering everything finance. Previously a personal finance reporter at The Economic Times and Outlook Money.

Related Topics

News and Trends

Scam 2023: Inside The World Startup Convention Disaster

To many, the speaker line up for the World Startup Convention (WSC) which had been scheduled for March 24-26, 2023 at Greater Noida may have seemed too good to be true.

News and Trends

Why Government May Ban Related Party Sales Of E-commerce, Food Delivery Startups

"E-commerce companies are permitted to merely operate a pure-play marketplace i.e. a bridge between the buyer and seller and not sell any goods, even their own products on their platforms," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAlT

Starting a Business

90% of Online Businesses Fail in Just 4 Months. You Can Avoid the Same Fate By Using These Strategies.

It's not catastrophizing when we think about potential failure; it's in fact a chance for any business to precisely see any outcome and prepare in advance.


5 Steps to Communicate Like a Boss

Here are five tips leaders can use to improve their communication skills.


Why Embracing Your Unique Strengths and Talents Will Lead to Success

By identifying and developing one's strengths, aligning with passions, cultivating a growth mindset and positively impacting the world, individuals can unlock their full potential and create a life of abundance, passion and fulfillment.


21 Productive Things to Do During Your Commute

How to use this frustrating "wasted time" to get smarter, more focused and re-energized.