Author Topic: translation side-hustle  (Read 7608 times)

JoanOfSnark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
translation side-hustle
« on: October 17, 2014, 01:01:42 PM »
Has anyone here tried this before? I just translated a couple dozen tweets as a favor for a friend writing a PhD, and it occurred to me, I could get paid for this. I've got minors in French, Italian, and German on top of native US-English, and my French and German at least should be good enough to go from there to English. Italian is a bit more rusty, but I could get it back up to speed.

Does anyone have tips for this kind of business? Pricing, advertising services, etc? I figure, it could be a nice side-gig, and probably at least pay for my continuing language-acquisition habit (Thai, currently).

Kingomri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2014, 01:43:13 PM »
I'm also interested in responses to this, as my wife is a SAHM, but speaks fluent German and before getting rusty was nearly fluent in Spanish.

studentdoc2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Chicago
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 01:43:45 PM »
If you have a masters or PhD in a science field (actually, come to think of it, a masters/PhD in sociology or something else might work too), you might want to look into American Journal Experts. They hire translators as contract workers to translate manuscripts written in a foreign language who want to publish in English language journals. I do editing work for them and gross $2000/mo as a side hustle. If nothing else, maybe a good place to start as far as price structure, etc?

Prepube

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 245
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2014, 04:24:25 PM »
try posting your services here (https://www.fiverr.com/gigs/translation/#page=1) and see if you like it.  Then, there's lots of translation services you can work for if you search for them in your area or on the internet.  I know a couple people who do this and they make pretty good money on the side. 

civil

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2014, 04:37:46 PM »
studentdoc, can you give any details for AJE? How many hours do you end up working per week? $2000 sounds like a lot for a side job

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2014, 05:40:58 AM »
Whatever you do, just be GOOD at it. My French professor in college had a rather successful side business that specialized in fixing bad translations.

I imagine the best earnings, like with standard writing, will come from doing corporate technical translation. The problem is that they probably need people to translate FROM English, not to it. At least not common Western languages.

Despite being fluent in French at one point, I never tried this, so I'm curious to see any other advice you get.

studentdoc2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Chicago
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2014, 08:29:06 AM »
studentdoc, can you give any details for AJE? How many hours do you end up working per week? $2000 sounds like a lot for a side job

I've worked for them since late 2011 as a contract editor and have been promoted a few times to translation editor and senior editor. I do NOT do translation work, but my understanding is that the pay and setup is roughly similar. Their price structure is based on the length of the assignment and how difficult it is, plus various other elements (e.g., I'm paid a bonus to edit previously translated papers, because I'm a senior editor, and because I have a history of good edits). I set my goal for $2000 a month gross or $67 per day, which I can usually do by editing a single 3500-6000-word paper (the base pay for such a paper is $46, but with my bonuses, etc., I make $70.50). Time per paper varies a lot, and I often do other things while editing... but I'd estimate that I can get through a single paper in about an hour and a half(?). It should be mentioned that you have to pay self-employment taxes (~15%) in addition to your standard federal/state taxes.

I think it's a pretty sweet gig for a side job as a graduate student. I've turn several grad student friends on to it as well. They make less at the moment (and also work less), but they've all found it a great and flexible way to make some extra money. The subjects for which AJE hires varies over time (e.g., they were hiring biosci editors over the summer, but now I think they're not), so if your subject/language is not available, just check back in a month or so. To apply, you submit some sort of resume (I think? It's changed since I applied) and a short writing sample and complete a test edit or two.

JoanOfSnark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2014, 11:46:18 AM »
Is the advanced degree a hard prereq? I'm a mechanical engineer, but BS level. Working in the field for coming up on 5 years, if that matter for equivalency or anything.

Silvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
  • Age: 33
  • Location: the Netherlands
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2014, 12:36:19 PM »
Translation is my fulltime job. I work mostly with direct clients and I find them through networking offline. Go to network events, business events, etc.

Don't charge low prices, that ruins the market.

Also, translation is a skill. Just being bilingual isn't enough. You need to specialize in a field, e.g. technical, medical, legal, etc. and preferably have a degree in Translation Studies as well.

civil

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2014, 04:34:21 PM »
studentdoc, can you give any details for AJE? How many hours do you end up working per week? $2000 sounds like a lot for a side job

I've worked for them since late 2011 as a contract editor and have been promoted a few times to translation editor and senior editor. I do NOT do translation work, but my understanding is that the pay and setup is roughly similar. Their price structure is based on the length of the assignment and how difficult it is, plus various other elements (e.g., I'm paid a bonus to edit previously translated papers, because I'm a senior editor, and because I have a history of good edits). I set my goal for $2000 a month gross or $67 per day, which I can usually do by editing a single 3500-6000-word paper (the base pay for such a paper is $46, but with my bonuses, etc., I make $70.50). Time per paper varies a lot, and I often do other things while editing... but I'd estimate that I can get through a single paper in about an hour and a half(?). It should be mentioned that you have to pay self-employment taxes (~15%) in addition to your standard federal/state taxes.

I think it's a pretty sweet gig for a side job as a graduate student. I've turn several grad student friends on to it as well. They make less at the moment (and also work less), but they've all found it a great and flexible way to make some extra money. The subjects for which AJE hires varies over time (e.g., they were hiring biosci editors over the summer, but now I think they're not), so if your subject/language is not available, just check back in a month or so. To apply, you submit some sort of resume (I think? It's changed since I applied) and a short writing sample and complete a test edit or two.

Thank you for the info! I have a civil engineering MS and a few undergrads, one in a foreign language. Not sure how to figure out what qualifications they want exactly, but I'll contact them.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 06:27:22 PM by traffic girl »

JoanOfSnark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2014, 07:55:40 AM »
Also, translation is a skill. Just being bilingual isn't enough. You need to specialize in a field, e.g. technical, medical, legal, etc. and preferably have a degree in Translation Studies as well.

I understand that translation at a professional level is a trained and often undervalued skill, however- is there really no market for the step between "certified professional that costs 3-digits per hour" and google translate? Having done the tweets for someone who was writing their PhD on European politics,she wanted to make sense out of a reasonably short foreign text, not quote it in a legal document.

I definitely don't have the skill to be a professional translator or interpreter... but being fluent in 3 languages and proficient in another could be a skill that could be turned profitable on a spare-time basis, do't you think?

studentdoc2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Chicago
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2014, 08:24:29 AM »
studentdoc, can you give any details for AJE? How many hours do you end up working per week? $2000 sounds like a lot for a side job

I've worked for them since late 2011 as a contract editor and have been promoted a few times to translation editor and senior editor. I do NOT do translation work, but my understanding is that the pay and setup is roughly similar. Their price structure is based on the length of the assignment and how difficult it is, plus various other elements (e.g., I'm paid a bonus to edit previously translated papers, because I'm a senior editor, and because I have a history of good edits). I set my goal for $2000 a month gross or $67 per day, which I can usually do by editing a single 3500-6000-word paper (the base pay for such a paper is $46, but with my bonuses, etc., I make $70.50). Time per paper varies a lot, and I often do other things while editing... but I'd estimate that I can get through a single paper in about an hour and a half(?). It should be mentioned that you have to pay self-employment taxes (~15%) in addition to your standard federal/state taxes.

I think it's a pretty sweet gig for a side job as a graduate student. I've turn several grad student friends on to it as well. They make less at the moment (and also work less), but they've all found it a great and flexible way to make some extra money. The subjects for which AJE hires varies over time (e.g., they were hiring biosci editors over the summer, but now I think they're not), so if your subject/language is not available, just check back in a month or so. To apply, you submit some sort of resume (I think? It's changed since I applied) and a short writing sample and complete a test edit or two.

Thank you for the info! I have a civil engineering MS and a few undergrads, one in a foreign language. Not sure how to figure out what qualifications they want exactly, but I'll contact them.

Good luck!

studentdoc2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Chicago
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2014, 08:26:28 AM »
Is the advanced degree a hard prereq? I'm a mechanical engineer, but BS level. Working in the field for coming up on 5 years, if that matter for equivalency or anything.

When I signed on as an editor, yes, an advanced degree was a hard prerequisite, but I know a lot has changed in the past three years as the company has grown tremendously. That was also for an editor position -- not sure if the requirements for a translator are different. You could always try contacting them and see what they say.

Best of luck!

thedayisbrave

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 700
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • CFO @ My Life
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2014, 12:20:59 PM »
I'd be curious to hear from more people who actually do this.  Are there certain languages or skills that are more in demand? I speak both Spanish & Chinese fluently but can't read/write Chinese so I'd have to stick to Spanish.  Have intermediate skills in Italian and French - would these be worth brushing up on?


Silvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
  • Age: 33
  • Location: the Netherlands
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2014, 02:13:43 PM »
Also, translation is a skill. Just being bilingual isn't enough. You need to specialize in a field, e.g. technical, medical, legal, etc. and preferably have a degree in Translation Studies as well.

I understand that translation at a professional level is a trained and often undervalued skill, however- is there really no market for the step between "certified professional that costs 3-digits per hour" and google translate? Having done the tweets for someone who was writing their PhD on European politics,she wanted to make sense out of a reasonably short foreign text, not quote it in a legal document.

I definitely don't have the skill to be a professional translator or interpreter... but being fluent in 3 languages and proficient in another could be a skill that could be turned profitable on a spare-time basis, do't you think?

Yes, it depends on the needs of the client. Some don't care much about qualifications or simply don't understand, and some translations are just to understand a text, and I am sure you are skilled enough to do translate those types of texts. They probably pay less though.

Try Google Translator Kit. It is a free translation tool. It is very different from Google Translate

Silvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
  • Age: 33
  • Location: the Netherlands
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2014, 02:15:51 PM »
I'd be curious to hear from more people who actually do this.  Are there certain languages or skills that are more in demand? I speak both Spanish & Chinese fluently but can't read/write Chinese so I'd have to stick to Spanish.  Have intermediate skills in Italian and French - would these be worth brushing up on?

Intermediate is not enough. You need to master a language on native or near-native level to translate from it. Keep in mind, most translators only translate from the foreign language into their mother tongue and not the other way around.

MGeegs

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2014, 04:21:12 PM »
I used to work as a project manager in the translation business (so I'd pick out the translators from our database).

Our translators had to have some kind of translation qualification, or they were bilingual (and even the 'only' bilingual ones tended to be accepted because they grew up speaking a rare language, so demanding a qualification would cut our translator pool to zero).

Also, not many jobs went from other languages TO English, it was usually the other way around, although we were working in an English-speaking country so maybe it is different elsewhere.

To do corporate translation you will need the qualifications and to jump through hoops etc to get on an agency's books and get jobs sent to you. To continue the 'twitter translations', i.e. sit in between the line of google translate quality and professional translation agency quality, you could self-market directly to the people who need that service. I think there are sites out there you can sign up for and people will hire/rate you directly. My dad does this as a side-job to his main job (which is also translation!)

To stand out from the competition, be RELIABLE, I was always willing to cut the job's margin if I was working with people I could rely on to finish on time.


Primm

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Australia
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2014, 09:49:27 PM »
To stand out from the competition, be RELIABLE, I was always willing to cut the job's margin if I was working with people I could rely on to finish on time.

QFT. I work in an inner city hospital with a large proportion of clients from NESB backgrounds. It is horrendously difficult to organise a family meeting around a sick child's bed with the doctor, nursing staff, social worker, specialists and parents in the one spot at the one time and then have to reschedule around everyone's busy calendar because the translator is "running late" or sometimes doesn't even turn up.

The people on our books who are always here on time, even if they have lesser qualifications and sometimes even lower speed and fluency in either English or the non-English language, are the ones who we get back time and time again.

Silvie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
  • Age: 33
  • Location: the Netherlands
Re: translation side-hustle
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2014, 01:38:15 AM »
You mean interpreter ;-) Translators only work with texts.