How to Become a Freelance Translator

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

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


This Entrepreneur Believes the 9-to-5 Work Week Is Dead. So She Created a Platform That Matches Talent With Project-Based Work.

The founder of NuuWork shares how her company will help people navigate the future of project-based employment.

How This Company Is Helping Ecommerce Brands Scale and Grow

The co-founder of 8fig shares how his platform is helping online sellers plan and execute their growth around their supply-chain needs.

Eitan Bernath on Becoming a Teenage Food Entrepreneur and Social Media Star

In-depth interview with cookbook author, food personality, and content creator Eitan Bernath about starting an entertainment career as a child, teaming up with Drew Barrymore, and building an inspirational business empire before his 20th birthday.

Ask Marc: Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Facing Challenges, Bringing on Co-Founders and Growth

In this episode of our new series 'Ask Marc,' the serial entrepreneur and mentor offers advice on how to get started.

3 Science-Backed Ways to Break Bad Habits

Become powerfully productive with these three patterns.

Meet the Co-Founders Making Conscious Shopping Easier

Goodbuy's Cara Oppenheimer and Cary Telander Fortin share how their browser extension helps consumers buy products with both their wallets and values front of mind.

Nina Manchev of Forte Tapas on Engaging Customers with Social Video

Interview with Forte Tapas owner and entrepreneur Nina Manchev about connecting with social media, learning to be confident on video, and appearing on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

This CEO Believes We Need More Women In Crypto

Jaime Leverton, head of NASDAQ-listed Hut 8 Mining Corp., talks the future of digital currency with 'Entrepreneur.'

How to Create Your Path to Profit

Financial expert and author Michelle Jacobik is on a mission to help people be profitable, so she created the EnVision + Thrive Academy. She shares her journey to success, business tips and what you'll learn in her new book.

Toast CEO Chris Comparato on Why Restaurants Need a Tech Partner That Cares

Interview with Toast CEO Chris Comparato about leading with the customer in mind, having a digital-first mentality, and how technology like Toast is helping restaurants thrive.

The Science of Visualization: Maximizing Your Brain's Potential

In this video, we discuss why visualization is so effective and offer four tips to harness it.

How One Company Is Creating a New Financial System to Help Today's Workforce

The founder and CEO of DailyPay shares how his company is creating a new financial system to help today's employees get paid faster.

Ask Marc: Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Staying Motivated, Morning Routines and Setting Priorities

In this new installment of our 'Ask Marc!' video series, Marc Randolph offers inspiration and insights to new entrepreneurs.

How Tech Entrepreneur Angela Homsi Leverages Sustainable Innovation to Bridge Global Boundaries

Born between two worlds, the Ignite Power founder is helping ensure universal access to essential services.

Stratis Morfogen on Using Disruptive Technology to Improve Hospitality

Interview with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop Co-Founder Stratis Morfogen about using new technology at the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop and his other creative dining concepts, and how to be disruptive to improve hospitality.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • How many times have you been told “that will never work”? Probably not as often as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. The veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur provides a healthy dose of humor, and actionable advice that will benefit founders - and would-be founders - at every stage of their business journey.
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.