You are probably wondering which translation languages typically command a higher premium in the United States. The simple answer is Japanese, Arabic, Danish and Chinese.
First of all those languages are in high demand because they are very niche and it is hard to find translators that have a good command of both English and those languages, plus as we know Asia is the biggest trading partner with the U.S. besides Europe as a whole.
Other things to consider in getting higher paying translation jobs is the location and experience of the translator. With the military needs in the Middle East and trading with Asia, the past years have showed that Asian and Middle Eastern languages such as Japanese, Chinese and Arabic have risen to be the highest paying languages in the translation world. The need for translation of these languages will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
In fact the highest hourly rates for English to Chinese is about $74.92 and Chinese to English also commands a high premium at $65.79 an hour.
Likewise, the lowest paying languages in the United States are Italian and Portuguese, which could be partly attributed to the generations of these immigrant speakers in the United States. Other European languages such as Spanish, French and German continue to remain strong in the market because of the many immigrant families in the United States.
If you can have the experience and strong background in the in-demand languages, you can expect to get paid anywhere from $65,000 to $180,000. Many freelance translators, on the other hand, have earnings reported at $55,000 or more, especially in niche languages that are in demand such as Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. In fact the highest hourly rates for English to Chinese is about $74.92 and Chinese to English also commands a high premium at $65.79 an hour.