Speaking another language can mean some extra income. But just how do multilinguals turn their skills into money?
Using your language skills to earn money is simply than you think! In this post, I’ll walk you through some ways you can cash in on all those hours of language learning.
1. Make Money as a Freelance Translator
Breaking into translation is much easier now with sites like ProZ, Translator’s Cafe, and Babel Cube.
On the other hand, it can also be overwhelming.
What kind of translation should you do?
How should you set your rates?
And a hundred of other things like marketing and invoicing are a part of the grind.
With enough planning, you can start earning!
Define Your Translation Niche
After deciding on your language pair, you’ll need to decide on your niche or specialization.
Will you focus on marketing, engineering, or literature?
A good way to narrow down your options is to compose a portfolio.
Setting Your Translation Rates
You can charge per hour, page, or even per word.
As far as exact numbers go, I’ve seen rates as low as 0.05/word and rates as high as $80/hour.
It’s important to know that many it’s common to see very low rates, especially on bidding sites.
You don’t have to accept every project that comes along. And being turned away because you want “too much” is normal.
More importantly, make sure that money, no matter how small, makes it to your pocket.
Payment Terms for Freelance Translation Projects
Contracts and agreements are nothing to gloss over when it comes to translation. Pay close attention to the terms that your client or agency will set.
Some agencies have payments terms of anywhere from 45 to 60 days.
As you grow your network and land translation clients, you’ll have more control over your rates and payment terms. I’ve learned to do this with copywriting (#3 on the list).
Project Completion Terms for Freelance Translation
It’s also important to know what your client considers “finished.”
Do they want several edits?
How many rounds of review?
Once you have a completion date, that’s when the countdown starts.
If the payment is late, just contact the agency with a cordial email.
I’ve never had to go “b*tch better have my money” on a client but this awesome presentation called F*ck you, Pay Me is worth a viewing so you get a glimpse of how more seasoned freelancers handle these kind of situations.
2. Language Coaching or Tutoring
Put those language skills to use as a coach or an instructor!
People from different age groups are learning languages. As a freelancer, you can determine the kind of audience on which you want to focus.
Business Language Training
Potential clients include business people whose jobs require them to understand other languages and cultures.
You can certainly “apply” for a career like this or operate on a freelance basis.
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to scout your own students. LinkedIn is a great place to start but clients could come from anywhere. Your personal circle of friends, connections of former colleagues—there are many options!
Virtual Language Tutoring
Many children are being homeschooled now. And with social distancing, going virtual is highly popular.
You could target parents who need virtual language nannies for their children.
If you enjoy creating language learning material and shy away from conversation, there’s a way to build a business off that as well.
Language Learning Printables
IPrintables can come in various forms:
It really allows you to do creative work but it can be a big investment of time and resources.
Still, if you market the value of your work properly, it can be a successful income stream!
3. Get Paid as a Language Learning Copywriter
Billboards, advertisements, and newsletters all have one thing in common: copywriting.
Copywriting is the art of writing words that turn readers into customers.
It’s the memorable slogans and catchphrases that stay stuck in your head.
Copywriting is not just writing. It’s creative work and marketing rolled into one.
So if you can speak another language, get ready to learn the lingo of marketing.
Content Marketing for Language Learners
You can blog in another language or you can blog about learning languages.
There are plenty of solo language learners out there that blog about language learning (like this site). Language coaches, solopreneurs, and influencers get sponsored by or work in affiliate with language learning companies.
A good way to start getting paid to blog is to have your own blog!
Your posts become your portfolio. From there you can move on to pitching your writing or even guest blogging for an established company’s website.
Newsletters, Landing Pages, and More
Copywriting projects aren’t limited to blog posts. Language learning sites also need landing pages and e-newsletters optimized to reach their target audience.
If you’ve ever signed up for a newsletter from your favorite language learning site, study the copy (the text and wording)!
I’m not saying that anyone can become a copywriter but if you enjoy writing that makes an impact, it’s worth looking into.
Remember that although creative, copywriting ideally converts a language learner into a paying customer. It’s requires being aware of data and being able to conduct proper research on the language that you’re writing about! Which shouldn’t be too hard if you love using your language skills!
4. Freelance Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistance can help businesses with administrative tasks. Some go as far as managing social media (#5 on the list).
Speaking multiple languages widens your scope of prospects. You can target a small business that’s looking to expand into another cultural market.
In this role, you can set your own boundaries depending on the client. If you aim to help with invoicing and managing clients, that’s fine. If you want to do more, that’s OK too.
The key is to make sure you’re being compensated and having your boundaries respected.
It’s not the same as being an executive assistant but there are some similarities. Again, it depends on your terms.
5. Freelance Social Media Manager
Did you know that companies pay for people to manage their social media? Companies that are expanding on a global scale need people like you with language skills!
Community management can encompass several aspects of digital marketing, but at the center of it lies engagement.
I did community management for a bilingual kids app. Every day I interacted with parents on a daily basis—in Spanish and English! How cool is it to get paid to use different languages? Pretty great, I’d say.
So where can language enthusiasts like you find work like this?
Platforms for Multilingual Community Managers
There are plenty of digital marketing Facebook groups where small businesses recruit talented individuals to manage their Instagram. You can also reach out to companies directly.
But businesses also need managers for other social media platforms:
Ready To Really Put Your Language Skills To Use?
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