How to Make Money Online as a Translator

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In this post, I will help you learn how easy it is to make money online as a translator, but let me tell you a story to begin.

I never thought that my Elementary (Primary) and Secondary School Swahili would come in handy one day and make me some quick money online, but it did.

This happened to me on one of my freelancing video gigs on Odesk. My job was simple and direct, to add English subtitles to a 5-minute video (Transcript was supplied).

It was not until I was done with the English subtitles that my client inquired if I could translate the English subtitles to Swahili.

I guess the client checked my Odesk Profile and realized I was in a Swahili speaking country (Kenya).

Well, enough said but that is how I made some good money online translating a video transcript from English to Swahili.

Learn how to be a Successful Freelance Translator

What is Translation?

Translation is the process of transferring written text from one language into another while a translator is an individual or a computer program that renders a text into another language. For example Google Translate 

Requirements for you to work as a Translator.

Do you know Swahili inside out? Can you read, write and converse in Swahili? Do you know the meaning of many or almost all the words?

If yes, you are set to make money online as a translator.  This is the most important requirement for translation job, YOU MUST KNOW THE LANGUAGE.

Where can I get Translation Jobs?

Translation jobs are littered all over the internet and deciding where to get the jobs can be like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Don’t you worry.

I have taken my time, done my research and come up with some of the few genuine sites offering translation jobs.

Odesk  is a global job market place and is my first choice when it comes to online jobs.
It offers awesome opportunities on an extensive range of jobs but above all it offers translation jobs 🙂 .

As I mentioned, all you need is to know your language well. See picture below for a sample job on odesk. It is a transcription job but it does involve translation.

Boran and Swahili to English Translation
Sample 1: Boran and Swahili to English Translation Job on oDesk


Just a picture to tell it all.

English Swahili Translation Job
Sample 2: English to Swahili Translation Job

The next 2 websites were recommended by a Somali friend. He rakes in over 200,000 Kenya Shillings  per month from doing English to Somali, Somali to English translation Jobs. is the leading source of translation jobs and translation work for freelancers. Check out the site to register and get to work.

It has all kinds of translation work from Swahili, Kikuyu, Kamba, Luo, French, Italian. Any language on earth is on

translation jobs on proz


The Picture below says it all.

Translators Cafe English to Swahili Translation Jobs

The list of available freelancing websites can be as long as the River Nile but those are some of the few genuine websites that you can use to make money online as a translator.

It is funny how we wander off into the web of online freelancing in search of jobs. From Web Design to Video Production, Academic Writing to Social Media Marketing.

All this we probably decided to venture into because other freelancers were making good money from them but just imagine that simple elementary and secondary school Swahili you were taught and use every day.

Money is right under our noses.

I highly appreciate your feedback, therefore feel free to follow up with any concerns, comments, and questions on the comments section below or  Freelancer Insights Facebook Page or you can Contact Me.

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41 thoughts on “How to Make Money Online as a Translator”

    • You are most welcome Patrick for taking your time to read my blog. Translating for a living is a good way to make money and I believe considering that one translates content from and to languages that one understands and is conversant with, it is the easiest way to make money online.

  1. Thanks David for the timely information shared. Kindly help me register on , am getting some funny feedback that my IP address is malicious.

    • Hello Nancy, Thank you for taking you time to read my blog. Highly appreciated. I am not really sure of the error that you are getting on your end. Kindly let me know if you are using any proxy hiding applications.

  2. hello david, your blog is a eye opener wld like to venture into the translation business how genuine is it?secondly how well does it pay? Lastly wld like you to assist in registering in one of the sites feel free to contact me on diankanan@gmail.como

    • Hello Dianah,
      Thank you for taking your time to read my blogpost. I am glad you found the post useful and an eye-opener.
      With relation to your questions, translation business is genuine like most of the jobs on Freelancing websites Each online job pays differently and so do the clients. Some pay more and some pay less, but as you gain experience you land more and better paying jobs. Finally, I would appreciate if you tried out an awesome site to get a feel of the online field. It is free on all those sites I have indicated here to create an account. In case you need further guidance kindly contact me

  3. Wow…2words David…God bless..u r doin a great job of explaining things in a simple,straightforward very perfect in swahili n english…n thats a great venture…apart frm havin a comp n internet…what else do i need…thanks again n keep up the good ,gud work..

    • Thank you Regie and you are most welcome. Putting into consideration that you are perfect and conversant in swahili and english and you have the tools of the trade (computer and internet) all you have to do is make the first step and create accounts on the sites pointed out in the article. Also set up accounts on Upwork and Elance, they always come in handy.

  4. Hi david this is marvelous Im a translator from swahili to english and vice versa and also did interpretation for the TJRC other organizations,could u please link me to some jobs ASAP, i REALLY NEED THEM NOW.`+254729710127.i am readily available and could start immedeately.pls bro

  5. hi.David.
    Its a great post indeed.
    I recently did translation for a friend who works at a local company.Though i was not paid,it dawned on me i can make money out of translation.
    i found your post helpfull on sites i can find work.
    Thanks a lot!!

  6. ningependa kujua jinsi ya kujiunga katika kazi hii ya kutafsiri.Ninaamini kuwa nakienzi kiingereza na kiswahili na nizielewa lugha hizo kupiku.Asante natumai nitapata majibu

  7. ningependa kujua jinsi ya kujiunga katika kazi hii ya kutafsiri.Ninaamini kuwa nakienzi kiingereza na kiswahili na nazielewa lugha hizo kupiku.Asante natumai nitapata majibu

  8. Dear David,

    Thank you for this useful information. I would like to know your opinion about “Guru” for freelancers.

    Beast regards,

  9. Thanks for your extremely informative and inspiring blog. I’m a Kiswahili teacher who is proficient in the English language too. I derive a lot of satisfaction and fulfilment from translation work… How do I go about it David online?


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