Can Translation Work Provide a Decent Side Income?

Do you work freelance? If so, it’s likely that you’re used to juggling clients and income streams. And if you speak more than one language fluently, it’s possible that translation could become one of those sources of income. Below, we’ll take a look at the skills you need to make money through translation and provide some general freelance advice and tips on building up a solid side income.

Translation resources fundamentals

Translation converts documents from one language to another. This can include written documents, audio files and videos. If you want to translate as a side gig, you’ll need to speak two (or more) languages fluently, but that’s just the start. Translation requires plenty of focus and exceptional attention to detail, as well as a superb command of spelling and grammar. Depending on the kind of translation work you undertake, you’ll also need various ancillary skills, from technical knowhow to desktop publishing skills.

What is the most important type of translation? It is whichever type your clients need! There is plenty of demand for a wide range of translation types, so you don’t need to try and provide all of them. Don’t apply to work on legal documents if you have a medical background, for example. This is the essence of plenty of freelance advice, in fact – make money from what you know.

Those looking to build up a side income from translation will also need some core freelancing skills, including plenty of resilience and the ability to navigate various online job boards, such as Upwork, CareerGig or Moonlighting. You can also expand your income by applying to work with multiple translation services directly.

Translation services as a side gig

There is steady demand for translation work in the market right now and translation services employ thousands of translators to fill that gap. This website is a good resource to learn more about translation services. Translation work can come in fits and starts, as with so many freelance gigs, making it ideal for those looking for a side income stream that they can flex around other work or personal commitments.

Freelance advice for building a side income

Before you create a strategy for building up a side income, work out what you want to achieve and why. You need to know how much time you have available and what you’ll need to earn per hour in order to achieve your goal. You’ll also need to consider how quickly you need your side gig to start producing a return – have you got time to invest in achieving any required qualifications, for example, in a particular area of interest or do you need to start immediately, for a faster return?

You’ll need good organizational skills to maintain a side income as well as your main job(s). And you’ll need to be on top of things like your financial admin. After all, the more work you juggle, the more of that you’ll need to manage.

Of course, if you plan to take on a side income then you’ll need tiptop time management skills as well. There are plenty of tools out there to help you manage your time and your freelance work effectively, from notes and reminder tools to Kanban systems. It’s worth experimenting to find out what works best for your particular workflow and needs. The right combination can do wonders to enhance your efficiency.

Combining translation with other sources of income

When it comes to translating as a side income, you’ll find that the skills you need may well suit a range of similar roles. If you enjoy working with written language, for example, then copywriting might be another source of side income that you find is open to you. Or perhaps your superb attention to detail and grammatical knowledge might suit proofreading or editing work.

One of the great things about providing freelance translation services is that you can make it part of a portfolio of services. After all, your translation clients may well need some blog posts written or some proofreading undertaken as well. If you can provide all three services, you’ll save your client the hassle of finding three different freelancers – and potentially treble the income from your side gig. And if you can deliver services such as desktop publishing as well, you’ll be in a strong position to help them with things like brochure production and other design tasks. All of which means that you can earn a decent side income through translating, as well as a range of associated gigs.

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