5 Lucrative Side Hustles for People Who Speak More Than One Language Seven million blogs are posted every day, new podcasts come out every hour and more than 300 hours of footage are uploaded on YouTube every minute. All this content needs to be transcribed, subtitled, proofread, time-coded, tagged and translated.

By Nikita Agarwal

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We are living in the age of content.

But don't worry, this isn't another post telling you to become a content creator.

There is something much easier you can do - provide language services to companies who create and publish content.

Seven million blogs are posted every day, new podcasts come out every hour and more than 300 hours of footage are uploaded on YouTube every minute. All this content needs to be transcribed, subtitled, proofread, time-coded, tagged and translated. Here's where you come in.

Most companies that transform and edit content work with a mix of in-house talent and freelancers, and one of those freelancers could be you.

I head Milestone Localization and we work with freelancers from almost every part of the world. 22% of our linguists provide linguistic services as a side hustle and 64% of the freelancers we work with are women.

The best part about this work? If you enjoy it, you could turn it into a full-time career. The language industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world — estimated to be worth around $52 billion in 2021.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Must Have A Side Hustle

Some language services you could provide include:


Videos, interviews and speeches need to be transcribed and time-coded. If you're a good listener who can type fast - this could be the perfect side hustle for you.

An English transcriptionist makes between $15-$20 an hour, depending on how fast they can transcribe. If you speak Japanese, Swedish, Danish or Dutch you could make over $35 an hour.

One hour of content typically takes around four hours to transcribe, and you could charge between $.80-$2 per minute. If you have a background in medicine, science or law, you stand to make 1.5-2x per minute depending on how technical the content is.

You can do basic transcription courses online and start with short and simple projects. Once you get a hang of things, you can take on bigger projects.


If you love watching TV or have a special interest in certain media or fiction, subtitling TV shows and videos could be both an enjoyable and lucrative side hustle.

Subtitling can earn you anywhere between $20-$60 an hour depending on which languages you can work with, how much experience you have and how familiar you are with a genre.

Subtitling Japanese, Korean and Nordic language shows pays the most. With a few short training courses, you could get started in just a few weeks. These courses are easily available online.

Sentiment Tagging and Labelling

Machine learning is poised to be a $9 Billion industry by 2022. To train machine learning models, high-quality, correctly labeled data is needed.

Simple data labeling jobs include sentiment tagging, content classification, and image labeling. The training period for this type of work is typically only an hour or so and you can start making money within a week.

Companies that offer this work provide all the training material- once you finish the learning modules you can get straight to work.

This kind of work is easily available online in every country. Some of it can even be done on your phone. You could make anywhere between $7-25 an hour.

Related: This Startup Wants to Create a Giving Economy for Women in Southeast Asia


Proofreading is more specialized work and therefore pays more. If you're patient, meticulous, and have a knack for picking up typos and punctuation errors, this is the job for you.

Proofreading pays between $6-12 per page depending on the language and complexity of the content. Experienced proofreaders can typically go through about 4 pages an hour

Related: 5 Freelance Careers with the Easiest Learning Curve


Being bilingual isn't enough to make you can be a translator. Translation is a specialized skill that requires professional training.

But if you are bilingual and have a flair for languages, you can do a translation course from a certified institution or college. Some language companies even offer training courses and certifications for newbie translators, with a job waiting for those who pass the tests at the end of the course.

As a translator, you can discover different cultures, companies, and products and work with clients from different parts of the world. Translators make between $20-$60 an hour depending on the language pair and subject specialization.

Related: 18 Freelance Sites to Find Your Next Gig

Short-term language-related work can be found on freelancing sites like Fiverr and Freelancer. For long-term, regular work you can register with translation agencies and data annotation service companies.

Either way, providing language services can be a profitable side-hustle. And you never know - with the opportunities that language services can provide to be exposed to new cultures, ideas and industries, you may just decide to make a full-time career as a language professional.

Nikita Agarwal

Head of Growth at Milestone Localization

Currently building Milestone Localization to help companies communicate across cultures and succeed internationally. I read, run, dive and learn in my free time.

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