10 Highest-Paying Languages for Translators (With Related Jobs)

Updated February 16, 2023

As globalization brings new cultures together and increases international trade, many companies are looking for bilingual candidates to help them expand their business opportunities. Translators can find success in nearly any industry, including tourism, education, economics and government. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a translator, then you might benefit from learning which languages you can learn to increase your earning potential. In this article, we explore 10 high-paying languages for translators, list some popular jobs associated with them and share the average salary for each position.

Related: How To Become a Translator

What is the job outlook for translators?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 20% increase in employment opportunities for interpreters and translators between 2019 and 2021, which may result in approximately 15,500 new jobs. According to the BLS, this increase may be due to globalization and more non-English speakers living in the United States. The BLS also states that the current median annual wage for translators and interpreters is $52,330 per year.

10 high-paying languages for translators

Here are 10 of the high-paying languages for translators and jobs associated that pay over $50,000 per year with each one:

1. German

German translators who are interested in international business have plenty of opportunities to secure a job. Although Germany is a very prosperous country that trades with other nations often, the language itself can be challenging to learn. This means that there are few people who live outside of Germany that can fluently speak the language. It also means that applying for jobs as a German translator may be less competitive than translator jobs in other languages.

As the demand for German translators continues to increase in the finance and commerce industries, one career you might consider is becoming an international partnerships manager. The average salary for this position is $53,588 per year, although this may vary depending on your skill set, experience and qualifications. An international partnership manager is responsible for maintaining existing affiliate partnerships with foreign organizations and creating new ones. They collaborate with advertisers, vendors and suppliers in different markets to ensure the global success of their employer.

Read more: 12 Careers You Can Pursue With German

2. Mandarin

As one of the fastest-growing languages in the world, Mandarin is an excellent choice for those looking to learn a language to expand their career opportunities. Chinese exports also continue to increase globally, making this a smart skill for business professionals to invest in learning.

One career choice for business and finance professionals who are fluent in Mandarin is to become a foreign exchange trader. On average, foreign exchange traders earn $73,156 per year. In this job role, you can buy, sell and trade currencies for your clients so they can purchase and sell stocks. You can also learn about the economies of different countries by researching what major trends impact the value of their currency.

3. Arabic

Learning Arabic can open up a wide range of well-paid translation opportunities. Many startups, companies and investors seek translators who can speak both Arabic and English to complete business transactions. Other popular job opportunities include working as a reporter or a foreign correspondent.

If you're interested in applying your knowledge of foreign languages to a position with the government, you may also consider applying for a job in national security or foreign relations. Special agents earn an average of $71,957 per year. They work to enforce the law, monitor ongoing situations and conduct investigations. While the specific tasks a special agent performs each day may vary, this job can be exciting and rewarding for individuals who love to travel and immerse themselves in other cultures.

4. French

Professionals looking to travel or work in an academic setting might benefit from learning French. This is because the demand for French translators continues to increase as more and more students choose to study at French universities.

If you're interested in a career in education, consider a career as a French teacher. The average base salary for this position is $81,540 per year, although this may vary depending on the institution you work for, your level of experience and your qualifications. As a French teacher, you may have opportunities to work in traditional classroom settings or instruct students online. Focus on honing your writing and speaking skills as a French instructor to excel in this position.

Read more: How To Become a French Teacher (With Steps)

5. Japanese

A popular language in the business world, many people consider Japanese an easy language to learn and an important language in many sectors of the global economy. Professionals who work in IT, manufacturing, health care and construction may benefit from learning this language. As the demand for Japanese translators increases, so does the demand for Japanese tutors.

If you wish to pursue a career in education, consider becoming a Japanese tutor. On average, tutors earn $54,324 per year. You can provide one-on-one tutoring to students in person or offer online classes for individuals interested in learning Japanese. Often tutors work as independent contractors, which provides them with a flexible work schedule and the ability to work with multiple clients at the same time.

6. Hindi

Hindi is one of the most widely spoken foreign languages and a great option for professionals looking to expand their career opportunities. If you work in business, telecommunications, manufacturing, IT or research and development (R&D), learning Hindi can help you improve your chances of working for a wide variety of global corporations.

Another popular career option for Hindi translators is to become a subject matter expert. On average, a subject matter expert earns $96,539 per year. If you enjoy conducting research and learning as much as you can about a particular topic, then this might be a great career choice for you.

Read more: How To Become a Subject Matter Expert in Your Field

7. Spanish

As Spanish becomes a more popular language in the U.S. and other parts of the world, learning how to speak it fluently can help you increase your earning potential in a wide variety of career fields. Whether you decide to work as a tutor, for a marketing agency or in retail, your ability to speak Spanish can be a valuable asset to your employer and your team members.

For example, a medical interpreter makes an average of $57,999 per year. In this job role, you can use your language skills to facilitate communication between health care professionals and their patients. By applying your ability to speak Spanish and English to the medical field, you can help individuals overcome language barriers and improve the quality of care patients receive.

Read more: How To Become a Medical Interpreter: A Comprehensive Guide

8. Italian

Learning Italian is a great choice for professionals who want to improve their career opportunities in business, law, health care and finance. It's also a popular language for translators who work in the tourism and travel industries.

If you love exploring other countries and learning about different cultures, consider pursuing a career as a travel agent. With an average salary of $57,631 per year and plenty of travel perks, this job is perfect for individuals who love to plan vacations and organize itineraries. As a travel agent, you can use your ability to speak Italian to help clients book accommodations, transportation and travel packages for their dream getaways.

Related: Interpreter vs. Translator: What's the Difference?

9. Russian

There is a high demand for Russian translators in the finance, business and trade industries. It's also an important language for individuals interested in exploring careers in politics and international affairs. If you're interested in visiting other countries and enjoy negotiating deals, consider a career as a diplomatic agent. These U.S. representatives earn an average of $89,619 per year. In this role, you can live and work in another country while acting as an intermediary to negotiate contracts and foreign policies.

10. Portuguese

Considered the fastest growing language after English, Portuguese is an important language for many professionals in business and science. As the home of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is a popular destination for many biologists and scientists who want to learn more about different plant and animal species. Business and finance professionals may also benefit from learning Portuguese as more and more international corporations continue to expand into this region.

A high-paying job you can apply your ability to speak Portuguese to is the role of a business process outsourcing (BPO) executive. Professionals who work as BPO executives earn an average salary of $242,179 per year. In this role, you can assist customers with billing and purchasing inquiries, conduct business research and translate contracts between vendors and suppliers.


Explore more articles

  • What Kind of Degree Does an FBI Agent Need? (12 Majors)
  • FAQ: Degree vs. Certificate for Sonography
  • 6 of the Best Careers for ISTP Personalities
  • 8 Types of Counselors To Know
  • Physician Assistant vs. Doctor: Key Differences Between Them
  • 40 Outdoor Jobs To Pursue (Plus Average Salaries and Duties)
  • How To Become a Mortuary Cosmetologist (With Steps)
  • 7 Transferable Customer Service Skills (With Resume Tips)
  • 28 Public Policy Careers (With Skills and Benefits)
  • What Is a Photojournalist? (Plus Duties and Salary)
  • 7-Figure Jobs: How To Begin a Lucrative Career Path
  • 12 High-Paying Recruiter Jobs (With Companies and Salaries)