Many people would love the freedom to work from home. If you have good bilingual or trilingual language skills, then providing telephone translation services is one way to make some extra cash without leaving your house. Nevertheless, before you get excited about becoming a phone interpreter, there are a few things you need to know – some pros and cons about this profession.
There is no shortage of telephone translation companies in North America, Europe, Canada or Australia. In-house operators and translators and work-from-home translators are hired for full-time, part-time and casual positions on a regular basis. The good news is you aren’t required to obtain any specific training or education for this job, however, if you have a strong degree of language proficiency, you can apply.
As with any language skill you will to pass a proficiency test though because interpretation companies have to set standards in case something goes wrong with a project. Preparation is helpful, as speed, accuracy and confidence are key requirements. Work on your medical, legal, financial, marketing and technical terms, since you’re going to encounter calls involving these basic scenarios a lot. Knowing how to take notes effectively is also essential in this business. You have to keep yourself organized with notepaper and plenty of pens.
Most companies hold briefing sessions over the phone with their prospective language professionals. You may be likely to know what to expect before the test. Unfortunately, due to fierce competition in the market of telephone translation services, interpreting companies have been very aggressive in curtailing the pay rates for over the phone interpreters.
With a permanent position you will get about £10.00 to £15.00 per hour. If you have a casual position, you can expect to be paid from 0.50 pence to £1.00 per minute depending on your language combination, length of the project and the company you are working for.
There are some work-from-home phone interpreter positions, but they can be very demanding and also very lonely. You may spend most of the time on the phone with few opportunities for a break.Casual positions may offer more flexibility, but the financial rewards can be inconsistent. Your income would depend upon your availability, language pair and luck. Either way, don’t expect to get comfortable financially too soon.
In addition, being confined in the house for any length of time is not something everyone enjoys, especially if you have never done this sort of thing before. In other words, working as a phone interpreter from home is not for everyone. Nevertheless, if you feel this is the right calling for you, make a list of telephone translation companies and research the companies before you apply. Avoid signing a contract before you have read it carefully. Some companies have strict regulations regarding what you can and cannot do when your employment with them ends.
Also, watch out for companies with bad reputations regarding paying their translators fair wages and providing reliable schedules to them. It is never worth to undersell yourself just to be able to work in your pyjamas!