Language jobs: Profitable skills for remote work (and where to learn them)

Share Article

 Profitable Skills for Remote Work in the Language Professions

Communication is an essential skill in a world made out of billions of people who need to communicate with each other. Each language reaches a certain audience, and each person is capable of understanding at least one language to communicate.

While English remains the largest business language in the world, other dialects are in demand too. European languages and Chinese remain popular, but you’ll be surprised how in-demand Hindi and Indonesian are as a second language.

If you’re a person skilled in at least one language, a career in communication might be waiting for you. From teaching to translating, there are various jobs that you can try to make money out of communication.

The best part is that you can do all these jobs any place you want to, maybe even while you’re practicing another language in a new country ;). Here are some possible careers in the language professions that you can pursue as a remote worker:

Language Teacher
Editor/ Proofreader
Grant Writer
Technical Writer
Subtitle Writer

Language Teacher

What is it?

Knowing 2 or more languages can set you on track for a career in communication.

Whether you are a native speaker or a fluent second language speaker (ESL), teaching a language can offer continuous income online. As a language teacher, you’ll be expected to be skilled in vocabulary, pronunciation, and speech.

Many companies require you to have a teaching license or education degree, but there are those who simply need conversational instructors. Often the agencies do require you to be a native speaker, though.

As an online language teacher, you’ll usually teach a group class or tutor a pupil privately. Many online companies require you to log-in at least 4 hours a day, but there are those that allow you to work as little or as much as you like. Verbling, for example, allows teachers to work full-time, part-time or even occasionally.

How do I begin?

If you have a degree in English Studies, Education, or other related fields, you’ll have no problem finding opportunities in this kind of work. If you don’t, however, you can get an ESL certification online from accredited providers. You could go with the 120-hour Mytefl course, for example. They have online and on-site classes, job placement service and are quite affordable.

Leave the Grind Behind

You can look for job opportunities by searching for language teaching websites online. ITalki manages both Chinese and English teachers and offers a competitive hourly rate. Lingoda hires teachers skilled in English, German, French and Spanish. Most of these websites require stable internet connection, a good webcam, and a neutral background behind you when you work.

Most likely, you will also be interviewed through a video call. Some companies may also require you to meet with them face-to-face, but this usually happens only when you share the same vicinity with the company headquarters.

 How much can I earn?

Rates for language teachers vary by experience and education., a website which hire native speakers of various languages, pay $10-$30 per hour. Cambly, a similar website, offers $10 but no experience is required to work here. VIPKID, a company that looks for native speakers to teach Chinese kids English, gives you a base salary of $7-$9 per 25-minute lesson, so you can make roughly $14-$22 per hour.


What is it?

A translator is someone who can receive a message in one language and deliver it in another with the meaning intact. It is different from an interpreter. The former works with written text, the latter translates orally. 

If you want to be a translator, you have to be good at writing. Translating general topics such as tourism, lifestyle and celebrity gossip are always in demand. There is better pay, however, in specialized fields such as information technology, engineering, medical and legal professions.

How do I begin?

Contrary to popular belief, a translator’s job lies beyond knowing two languages. He or she needs to be skilled at writing in both languages. More often than not, one language must be the translator’s mother tongue, while the other a second language he or she has mastered over years of experience.  

Moreover, the translator is expected to be sensitive to cultural differences and international issues. You can develop this awareness by actually visiting the countries which primarily use your languages through travel and study abroad programs.

A college degree in creative writing or language studies can help the budding translator’s knack at putting thoughts into text. Online courses such as Coursera’s “Writing in the Sciences” and “Technical Writing” will allow one to delve into specialized fields.

Certifications from recognized language centers, however, can help you establish your expertise in a particular language. To train for such assessments, you can try taking the Specialist training for translators that help you prepare for DipTrans, an exam created by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

The Savvy Newcomer’s list of resources can also help you prepare for the ATA Certification exam, which basically deems your translation work as suitable for professional use.

How much can I earn?, an online translation platform, cites average monthly earnings of their employees. Those whose native language is English can earn a monthly average of $417, while those who speak in less common languages such as Slovak can earn about a $118 per month.

Regarding freelance translators, says that the hourly pay ranges from $12.23 to $40.10 per hour. Earnings vary based on experience and the chosen language pairs. Spanish/ English translators report an average hourly rate of $19 per hour. Mandarin/ English translators, on the other hand, says that they earn an average of $24 per hour.

Editor/ Proofreader

What is it?

glasses on a wood table
Editing and proofreading are great choices for remote work.

Are you a grammar fanatic? Do you have a keen eye for misspelled words, wrong facts and redundant phrases? A job as an online editor just might be for you. Basically, an editor corrects written work. He or she reviews written text online and ensures that statements are factual.

A proofreader, on the other hand, reviews a written piece in its final draft before publication. The goal is to see the smallest errors in language use. At times, proofreaders also check the author’s writing style to ensure that they are consistent with either American or UK English.

How do I begin?

A background in journalism would definitely cement your expertise as an editor or a proofreader. But even if you’ve never worked for a magazine or newspaper, you can develop experience in this background by showcasing your talent.

Join writing forums to market yourself and learn from others. The Critique Circle, for example, allows writers to read and critique each other’s work constructively. Bookrix, meanwhile, is for writers interested in self-publishing. You might find someone here who needs some editing assistance.

To hone your skills as an editor, it would be wise to enroll in short courses offered by Australian Online Courses and the Centre of Excellence. If you want to learn from accredited institutions, check out the online course offered by ACES: The Society for Editing. They have partnered up with the Poynter Institute’s News University to offer a cost-effective and convenient way to learn the craft.

How much can I earn?

The Editorial Freelancers Association has a rough guide on how much you should be receiving for online editing work. For basic copyediting, $30-$40 per hour is the industry rate. If the work entails heavier editing, you can push up the rate to $50 per hour. Website copyediting commands $40-$50 per hour and substantive or line editing $40-$60 per hour.

Fact checking would earn you about $30-$40 per hour. Proofreading would cost about $30-$50 per hour. In general, you can charge for less or more base on these figures, depending on your experience and connections.

Grant Writer

What is it?

It takes a talented writer to ask for money. This is why non-profit organizations (NGOs) often need someone to do it for them. Grant writing, is one of the most lucrative careers available for online writers. Your main goal is to create successful grant proposals.

The work will include consulting with the client, identifying needs, and brainstorming feasible projects. You will also coordinate with the grant-giving bodies for submissions and follow-ups.

Team of charity workers
you can work remotely as a grant writer and help NGOs and charities in their mission.

To become a successful grant writer, you need to have good, convincing writing skills. You would also need to have the organization to track deadlines and keep track of your submissions. Lastly, you would develop your capacity at networking, as this job would require you to communicate beyond the written word.

How do I begin?

Grant writing is half writing, half networking. To churn out convincing proposals, check out the “Grant Writing Business” Start-up Series book by Entrepreneur Press and “The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll ever Need” by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox.

To look for clients, seek out charitable groups and NGOs in your vicinity. Be prepared to start slow at first, as some of these groups might have you work for free or for a minimal fee. As you develop your skill in this endeavor, however, you can seek out larger organizations on the Internet.

Consider also approaching small NGOs and offering your services to them. While these groups might not offer you full-time employment, they might be interested in hiring you on a per project basis.

How much can I earn?

Fees earned by a grant writer is often on a per project basis. The fees vary in range, with small proposals costing as low as $200 but large ones commanding thousands of dollars. A writer may also bill on an hourly basis, with rates ranging from $20-$100 depending on the experience and success rate of the writer.

Another way of charging compensation is by commission basis but this entails certain risks. Your fees will be based on an agreed percentage of the requested funding. Basically, your earnings will rely on the success of the grant proposal.

If the grant is rejected, even for reasons beyond your control, you would have rendered your service for free. This isn’t a popular option in the industry, but if you are up to the challenge, this can be done.

Technical Writer

What is it?

According to, the job of a technical writer can be summed up in a few words: simplifying the complex. From creating remote control instructions to writing legal documents, technical writers focus on creating texts geared toward a particular audience.

As a technical writer, you would need to comprehend complex concepts and translate them into words that people will be able to understand easily. While it is not really about writing for the general public, technical writing aims to help people achieve a certain goal or learn a specialization.

How do I begin?

a mess of circuit boards and electronics
If you can make sense of complex processes, and explain them well, then maybe working remotely as a technical writer is a good choice for you.

To break into this market, first, you have to identify which category of technical writing you would like to specialize in. Industries such as engineering, medicine, laboratory research, real estate, and law are always on the lookout for people to develop manuals, contracts, and other formal documents.

Your expertise would be heavily dictated by your background in these industries. Getting a mentor to help you establish yourself would also help, as he or she can guide you through the technical jargon and connect you to possible clients.

You can also develop your knowledge through online courses such as these specialized ones: “Communication Skills for Engineers” and “English for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” from

How much can I earn?

The rates of a technical writer can vary depending on the industry he works in. According to, a software technical writer can command $55-$90 per hour while a hardware technical writer can earn anywhere from $50-$75 per hour. Instructional designers can charge $65-$95 per hour. Medical or science writers $70-$120 per hour. A technical editor can expect $47-$72 per hour.

These rates can vary based on one’s experience and portfolio. To increase your earning capacity, join professional organizations, build your own website, and never stop educating yourself on your chosen field.

Subtitle Writer

What is it?

Do you love watching movies? Are you quick to catch dialogues? Or do you have a knack for translating foreign movies into your own language?

Writing subtitles and captions for films, television series, and documentaries is a fun way to earn money. As a subtitle writer, you’re expected to translate spoken words into another language. As a caption writer, meanwhile, your task is to simply listen to the audio output of the film and type down what you hear.

How do I begin?

The job might sound easy, but to earn well, you will need to have seriously fast typing skills. Hone your typing speed with online games such as typeracer and

Your love for movies can turn into a work opportunity as a subtitle writer.
If you love watching movies and enjoy typing, you could look into working remotely as a subtitle writer.

Doing subtitle work requires you to know two languages quite well. English is often one of the requirements, but you’re in luck if you’re a native in one of the following in-demand languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Polish or Czech.

Though doing caption work doesn’t necessarily require experience, it would help if you could learn from the experts. Websites such as teaches you the ropes about the industry and gives you a certificate after completing the course. This would definitely look good on your resume once you start your job hunt.

To begin doing subtitle work, you can try applying at websites such as Rev and Glocalmedia. You can also do freelance work and apply at Top Language Jobs.

How much can I earn?

According to Rev, you can earn as much as $1.50-$3.00 per video minute writing subtitles. Average monthly earnings are $240 but you can earn up to $1,570 with diligence and hard work.

Subtitle work, meanwhile, commands a rate of $1.50-$3.00 per video minute. The average monthly rate is $958 per month. Overall, this gig may not turn you a millionaire overnight, but it’s easy enough to begin remote working as a side job and start breaking into the language professions.

Which field is most interesting to you? What are your experiences? Do you have any questions or advice you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below.

Subsribe to our Newsletter:


Affiliate Disclosure

We love finding new methods and tools to improve your Remote Work life and sharing them with you.
Some of the recommendations we give contain affiliate links, which generate a small commission. This happens at no extra cost to you, and sometimes we can even negotiate discounts for our readers.

You might also like