Setting Your Freelance Rate As An Interpreter: How To

We live in a world, where 36% out of all American employees are freelancers, and that is just one country! ‘Working-from-home’ type of jobs is becoming more and more popular. Obviously, people who choose this kind of employment start wondering about how big their rates should be.

The question about how much a freelance interpreter should charge for his services is still pretty important in the modern world. This is something every freelancer thinks of at least twice in his career. At first, when one is only starting out, and the second time happens when they realize that the effort put into the work is not equal to the financial remuneration received. What should one be doing in such a situation? Keep reading if you are wondering about how to set your freelance rate as an interpreter.

You should consider a few factors before doing any calculations:

  • Your level of experience. Quite often beginners feel insecure about putting a high rate for their work, and often underestimate themselves. What you should be taking into consideration though, is how much experience you have, even if it is just your college assignments. Most employers, when hiring a freelancer, tend to pay more attention to how efficiently you take care of the task. Check out other freelancers’ profiles to see what they charge. Pay attention to their working experience, preferred field, and number of completed projects. Based on your observations, put the price that you feel your services are worth of.
  • Languages that you speak. For example, if you are doing English-Spanish translations, be ready for huge competition, as these languages are among the most popular for translations. It is only obvious that you will have to adjust your translation rate to already existing ones if you want to get hired. However, if you speak some not that much popular language, your rate can actually get higher. Take a sneak peek on other companies’ translation rates at PickWriters to set your own bar for each particular language.
  • Type of your client. This is also something to consider. If you received a job proposal from the company that comes from a developing country, you might want to charge your minimum rate – this will give you better chances at receiving the job. Also do not be greedy with your loyal employers; you might want to give them a discount once in a while. However, never charge less than the minimum rate you set for yourself.
  • Area of expertise. If you are an expert in some field, make sure that you charge more for your translational services in this case. Because everyone is able to translate texts about generic stuff, profile specialists are more valuable.
  • Time consumption. Before you start working as a freelance translator, dedicate some of your time to find out how fast you can translate documents. The faster you work, the bigger sum of money you can receive with the same time consumption.

So now, having considered all that, you are ready for setting your rate. How exactly do you do that? You should start with estimating how much you want to earn per week. Then you have to calcualte how many hours you are willing to dedicate to your work, excluding weekends. Let’s say, you want to earn $200 per week. This way you will have to make at least $40 per day. Usually, a working day lasts around 8 hours, which makes it $5 per hour. This makes your rate $0.01 per word if you will be able to translate at least 500 words in an hour. If you can deliver a bigger amount in the same amount of time without losing the quality of the material – it is your right to charge more. Basically, it all depends on how much you need to earn to live a comfortable life.

You should also keep in mind, that being overly confident about your abilities at the beginning of your freelance career, without actually any real practice is a destructive idea. Often beginners tend to overestimate their abilities and throw themselves in a bunch of cheap projects, hoping to compensate with the number of work hours. That often results in nervous breakdowns and missed deadlines, so sometimes it is better to charge a bit more and work a bit less.


Being a freelancer only seems easy when someone else does it. But when you encounter all the practical aspects of this form of employment, things might begin to look a bit more complicated. One of those things is your rate. It is especially tricky when you are working as a freelance translator, as there are so many options to choose from: rate per word, per hour, per project… It is easy to get confused. But hopefully, with these tips on your hands, making the right choice will be easier.