Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

What are the Highest Paying Translation Languages in the World?

Speaking World Languages
What are the Highest Paying Translation Languages in the World?
on May, 23 2015
    13592

Are you interested in translation work? Are you thinking of becoming a certified translator soon? Becoming a successful translator can be a challenging task but very rewarding if the right market and languages are pursued and if you know the highest paying translation languages.

Requirements

In order to find a high paying translator job, you must not only be fluent in a particular language but you must fulfill rigid requirements in the academia. A strong academic record showcasing the complete study of a foreign language can increase your worth in the translation market. Apart from this, you must also fulfill the requirements of the market in which you would like to work. For instance, a translator with strength in both Japanese and English who wishes to work in Japan must be able to secure all the necessary working permits in order to establish his or her practice there. Countries differ in working permit requirements so it is best to check with their respective embassies. Another factor would be the importance of networking. In order to successfully make a name for yourself, you must build rapport and relationships among colleagues and clients. Most freelancers are able to get more translation gigs through word of mouth or referrals so it is advisable to keep a steady, growing network in tow. Building a network is not always easy but you may start by joining organizations that can bridge you closer to those specializing in the same field.

Competition calls for specialized fields

Complete fluency and intense comprehension notwithstanding translators must be aware of the competitiveness in their respective fields. It is advisable to focus on specializing in more than one field in order to open up doors for opportunities. The most popular fields include finance, medical, and law but studies show that pharmaceutical translators are also in high demand these days. Regardless of what field you decide to practice, you must have an excellent grasp about the particular business as well as a high understanding of both the culture you will be assisting and the linguistics involved in the translation. Having technical or professional experience in the field you are specializing in is definitely a big advantage for a translator. Most translation companies will actually prefer this.

Japanese, Arabic, Danish, and Chinese (highest paying translation languages)

Now that you know what sets a successful translator apart from others, you might be wondering what languages pay the best rates? The answer would have to depend on location. Your location (and experience) determines the amount clients will be paying you but the past years have revealed that Asian and Middle Eastern languages are the highest paying languages in the translation world. The most in demand languages in the United States are Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, and Danish. Translators specializing in these languages have better opportunities increasing their paychecks through time. Consequently, the lowest paying are Italian and Portuguese, which may be attributed to the rise of such speakers in the United States for generations now. Other European languages such as Spanish, French and German continue to remain valuable in the market because of the many immigrants in the United States. Most of the highest paid translators have solid resumes with proven abilities backed up by professional experience and referrals. In terms of salary, you can expect anywhere from $70,000 to $175,000 for in demand languages. Many freelance translators, on the other hand, have earnings reported at $60,000. –

Advice for aspiring translators

Whether you are already bilingual or are on your way to perfecting a foreign language, being a successful translator will depend on your ability to quickly, accurately, and efficiently produce a solid output. This process involves an excellent grasp of the industry you want to specialize in, your inquiries into the culture you are assisting, and your level of articulation in the chosen language.

Choose to learn the language that is right for you. If you have already taken a beginner’s course in Spanish some time back, you may want to pursue Spanish for it might be easier to learn than others. If memorization is an issue for you, stick to a language that uses an alphabet and numeric system you are familiar with. Other factors that may influence your chosen language may be location and economic situation. Interests can also influence your desired language. For instance, those wanting to delve into business may have more reason to learn Chinese. Translation is an essential part of communication. Regardless of your chosen language and specialization, there are jobs waiting for you.

If there’s another language that you wish to learn, what is it? Share your answer in the comments section.

AUTHOR
Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

  • Anna Söderbom

    It says Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and Danish in the headline but in the text it says Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and Dutch. Is it Danish or Dutch? Or am I misunderstanding something?

    • Camilo Atkinson

      You are right, Anna. It should be DANISH instead of Dutch. Thank you for your keen observation. We will correct it.

    • Day Translations

      You are right, Anna. It should be DANISH instead of Dutch. Thank you for your keen observation. We will correct it.

  • hwemudua57

    Where are you getting your statistics for most in demand?
    According to ProZ the most in demand languages (major pairs) are from and into Mandarin and French, German, and Spanish. Also the Critical language scholarship:http://www.clscholarship.org/languages
    lists the most in demand languages sought by the government: Korean (North Korean), Mandarin, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi

    • Camilo Atkinson

      This post was made in 2015, so the statistics will be different. The scale of demand for language pairs varies. If you look at Translationcafe.com, which posts supply and demand analysis for the translation market for the past 30 days (current), you'll see that the pair with the highest demand at the moment is English to Norwegian. But you will still see that the other languages such as Japanese, Korean, Czech, Swedish, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Malay, Arabic, Hindi, German, French and several other European and Asian languages paired with English are constant. On the other hand, the ATA did a survey in 2008 and the language pairs with the highest rate per word are English to Arabic and English to Danish. In terms of highest hourly rate, the language pairs are English to Chinese and Chinese to English. We hope we have answered your question. Thanks for sending your comment.

      Sources:
      https://www.translatorscafe.com/cafe/EN/translation-market.htm
      http://www.translationrules.com/translator-salaries-by-language/

    • Day Translations

      This post was made in 2015, so the statistics will be different. The scale of demand for language pairs varies. If you look at Translationcafe.com, which posts supply and demand analysis for the translation market for the past 30 days (current), you'll see that the pair with the highest demand at the moment is English to Norwegian. But you will still see that the other languages such as Japanese, Korean, Czech, Swedish, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Malay, Arabic, Hindi, German, French and several other European and Asian languages paired with English are constant. On the other hand, the ATA did a survey in 2008 and the language pairs with the highest rate per word are English to Arabic and English to Danish. In terms of highest hourly rate, the language pairs are English to Chinese and Chinese to English. We hope we have answered your question. Thanks for sending your comment.

      Sources:

      https://www.translatorscafe.com/cafe/EN/translation-market.htm

      http://www.translationrules.com/translator-salaries-by-language/

      • eirikb

        My theory is that the market insists on paying a low flat rate for Norwegian, regardless of the high costs of living in Norway. Otherwise there would be no particularly high demand and supply-demand would soon reach an equilibrium.

        • eirikb

          If they want to pay peanuts, they need to go market themselves to students who are desperate for a better job than 7/11 🙂

  • Koheleth

    It is true that translator jobs do pay well. Thank you for the powerful post
    Visit: http://tinyurl.com/PAYWELLJOBS for testimonials and also check out other real people earnings!!!

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!