There is a significant number of translators who have broken the $100K mark in their annual income. There are several ways of achieving this feat. Some of these are discussed below.
- Language chosen
In the U.S translators who specialize in certain languages earn more than others. Top on the list are Middle East and Asia languages. Among these are:
Other well-paying languages are Dutch, Spanish, French and German. A person working in this niche is more likely to make 100K a year as a translator than another engaging in Italian or Portuguese translation that generally pay low rates.
- Language combination
Having the right source and target language combination has a great impact on the total amount earned in one year as a translator. Poor combination means little earning.
Some translation jobs are available in highly dangerous places. This includes military set-ups in foreign lands. Translators willing to take the risk of getting shot at can earn more than $200K in a year. While this may not be for everyone, working in the same niche away from the battlefields can still earn six figures per year for translators working in this category. Thorough security vetting is done on all translators accepted to operate in security related organizations.
- Translation specialization
Some translation fields are more lucrative than others. Specializing in fields such as medical, pharmaceutical, legal, business and ICT mean earning a relatively higher income than a general translator. Translators here charge much higher fees here since specialists or businesses concerned are also of high value.
- Modern technology
Making use of available and relevant technology makes achieving $100K in translation work in a year more likely. Such technology includes computer assisted translation (CAT) tools. These tools give the translator many benefits than those who don’t use them. Benefits include:
- Can take more projects because work delivery is faster.
- Work delivered is of a higher and consistent quality.
- Helpful in job analysis so that the translator can charge prices consistent with the work done.
Common CAT tools include
- Word count, grammar and spell checkers
- Terminology glossaries
- Indexers such as the search software called ISYS.
- Translation memory (TM) tools
- Bitext tools
A translator using these tools is more likely to have many repeat customers and also benefit from word of mouth referrals due to their high quality and fast job delivery.
- Attitude towards translation as a business
To make a $100K per year as a translator needs a person to have a business mind attitude. Apart from being extremely good and efficient at translation, aiming at a minimum of 20 cents per word will make it more likely to attain that figure.
- Type of clients
Working for clients directly pays better than working through agencies. If your translation is extremely good, landing direct clients is more likely and earning a $100K per annum a real possibility.
Clients who value quality work other than mere job completion and budgetary considerations usually compensate translators better for their work.
- Time input
Translators who are willing to put in many hours will likely earn more that those who don’t. This is however, not always the case in all those who earn $100K and more in translation jobs per year. There are those who work for comparatively less hours but charge very high fees.
A combination of these factors is an almost sure way of making $100K per year as a translator.