3 Creative Ways to Make Money with Your Language Skills

by Sylvia Kohl

Globalization and the Internet, which erase borders for businesses, make linguists invaluable assets to any enterprise that wants to go international. Therefore, a person with a specialization in language skills has lots of opportunities for making money today. Mastering one or several languages will not only allow you to make a living in the modern world but also enables you to do this as a freelancer.

Surveys prove that remote workers are more productive, as well as cost-efficient and flexible, so business owners are often choosing freelancers over full-time employees. Brie Reynolds (Remote.co senior career specialist) points out that the so-called ‘knowledge workers’ who operate with information mostly prefer working from home. Language professionals definitely fall into this group as only a few linguistics-related specialties require ‘hands on’ involvement, and even those can be limited.

3 Occupations for a Language Expert Inside or Outside an Office

Cultural Consultant

This profession is a mix of being a translator, interpreter, and historian. These experts are mostly employed by international businesses or organizations that are expanding to new countries and require a professional to ensure their integration into a new market goes smoothly. Depending on the situation, you might need to translate documents/manuals/contracts or act as an interpreter at business meetings.

You might also need to provide lectures on cultural specifics of the target country, aiming to prevent conflicts caused by cultural differences. Erin Meyer (Professor at INSEAD) in her book The Culture Map emphasizes that these matters are extremely important for business leaders of today and that embracing these differences can help them improve the operation as a whole. It would be your job as a culture & language expert to help your company grow from studying these differences.

Freelance Writing Marketplace Operator

There is a significant number of websites where you can find writing jobs in any language and on any topic. As writing is an essential part of learning a language, most linguists use these opportunities as a side income.

However, if you aren’t fond of creative writing or you just want to take things a step further, you can try establishing your own online marketplace for freelance linguists. Sergey Grybniak, founder of Opporty, stresses that now is the best time to establish a niche-specific marketplace, drawing inspiration from the dizzying success of Uber: “The on-demand model itself is very high potential and, to tell the truth, time is ripe now.”

On-demand services are currently trending, and everyone can start their e-commerce marketplace. This type of business will allow you to not only find jobs yourself but also help other language experts.

Travel Guide + Interpreter

This job boils down to collecting a group of interested tourists and taking them on tour around the country where you can utilize your language skills. You get to enjoy traveling while being paid to do so.

Although this kind of job requires your actual presence, a big part of it can be performed remotely. You can start your portal to find clients as well as make all the necessary trip arrangements online. You can also incorporate some language learning elements into the deal. For example, if your main specialization is tutoring, you can make this an educational trip for your students so they can practice their language skills.

You can also get people interested by offering a unique journey that will take them away from popular tourist spots and provide an opportunity to experience the new culture truly. In the meantime, you can get them hooked on studying the language and build up a study group from your tourist clients.

Make Money Off Language Skills and Imagination

There is no limit to what you can do today as a language expert, so don’t limit yourself to regular translation and tutoring jobs. Find creative ways to combine your skills, interests, and hobbies to develop a unique occupation that will fit you perfectly.


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