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Work From Home as an Interpreter With LanguageLine

Last updated: January 8, 2020
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As long as people around the world need to communicate, there will always be work for translators. And while automated online translation services are constantly improving, there’s no replacing a human being’s ability to translate a conversation in real time.

LanguageLine Solutions is a company specializing in over-the-phone and video translation services. They’re constantly on the lookout for talented interpreters who can speak two or more languages. If you’re bilingual (or speak more than two languages), you can earn good money while working from home as a translator for LanguageLine.

In this article, we’ll give a brief guide to professional interpreting, and discuss the skills needed to thrive in the field. After that, we’ll look in depth at LanguageLine — not only the company’s history, but what it’s like to work for them, based on feedback from current and former employees. Finally, we’ll show you how to apply to work for LanguageLine.

A Brief Guide to Professional Interpreting

Professional interpreters bring people together and act as a go between, providing translation services that open the doors of communication.

Interpreting can take many forms, from face-to-face meetings, over-the-phone translation, video translation, and even document translation services.

Translation software, especially for written documents, is getting good, but it still has a long way to go. Computers can struggle to adapt a sentence into another language’s proper grammar, and often have trouble picking up on slang, or inferring meaning from a sentence. Homonyms and words with multiple meanings are especially difficult for computers — it’s hard for translation software to know the difference, say, between a construction crane and the crane that’s a bird, whereas a person would be able to pick that up easily.

Professional interpreters have language skills, but they also have the ability to listen well, and communicate warmly. Interpretation services aren’t just about getting the main idea across — they need to get the information across completely, without omissions or additions.

What Is LanguageLine?

LanguageLine Solutions is based in Monterey, California, and the CEO of the company is Scott W. Klein. The company says it employs over 9,000 translators who speak over 240 languages. LanguageLine services include online video translation, phone translation, language training, and onsite interpreting.

While most of their onsite translation work is done in the United States, they have a truly global workforce for their phone and online translation. The company’s headquarters are in California, but LanguageLine Solutions also has a strong presence in the United Kingdom, and maintains call centers in Texas, New York, and other states.

Most LanguageLine translation is done for non-English speakers or limited-English speakers. Some of the highest demand roles within the company are:

  • Spanish interpreters
  • Arabic interpreters
  • Mandarin interpreters

But with 240 languages represented, if you’re fluent in English and any other language, you can probably find work with LanguageLine.

LanguageLine Solutions hires both remote, contract interpreters and full-time interpreters who work at their call centers. Remote employees are labeled independent contractors, and have the freedom to set their own hours and work from home. Full-time employees get benefits but must work regular hours on location.

Working for LanguageLine

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LanguageLine is often hiring for several different types of jobs. For work-at-home freelancers, they often offer part-time jobs for online or phone interpreters. These positions make up the vast majority of the jobs at LanguageLine, and these are the jobs this article will mostly focus on.

That being said, LanguageLine also has plenty of full-time roles for people looking for careers with the company. They have several call center locations across the United States and hire full-time translators to work there. They’re also often on the lookout for talented project managers to keep translation teams on task. To learn more about full-time roles with the company, check out their careers page.

As for the part-time roles, LanguageLine offers bilingual staff members a chance to set their own hours, sign up for jobs as they come, and work from home.

For online video translation services, LanguageLine asks interpreters to wear branded shirts that they provide and to appear in a clean setting while conducting the work. (Dirty laundry hanging in the background isn’t the best look.) Other than that, it’s just about providing quick, clear translation as needed, then getting paid for it.

While rates vary based on time with the company and experience, current and former employees said a rate of $15-$20 an hour was standard, but total earnings for contract workers varied week to week, based on the volume of work that was assigned.

LanguageLine Employee Reviews

Reading LanguageLine reviews from current and former employees shows the pros and cons of working for the company. People who work as contractors say that, while they don’t get benefits like employees, they have a ton more flexibility. Contractors can also earn at a higher rate, though some contractors noted that full-time employees often get the first chance to take on jobs, which can sometimes affect contractors’ ability to get a serious volume of translation work.

As for the company’s management, contractors note that it can be a bit impersonal, especially to part-timers. Managers aren’t exactly there dishing out career advice or working with contractors on long-term goals — they need work done and expect the contractors to get it done.

Another positive, from a review on Indeed, is that LanguageLine doesn’t require a ton of interpreting experience to get started with the company. If you’re proficient in another language, they’ll work with you to get trained properly to do the work.

Applying to LanguageLine

LanguageLine Solutions has several steps in the application process before hiring you on as a translator, even for contract work. They have preliminary interviews, language screenings to see how adept you are in the second language, and finally an “interpretation assessment,” basically a short test where they ask you to interpret a conversation and see how you do.

All these steps take place over video chat or over the phone. If you live near one of their call centers, they might also ask you to come in for a face-to-face interview.

While the “language proficiency testing” section of the interview process can seem intense, they really just want to get the sense that you’re bilingual and comfortable in both languages. If you’ve only taken a year or two of high school Spanish, you probably will struggle. If you have several years of experience speaking both languages, or grew up in a bilingual household, you’ll most likely be fine.

To apply, you need to head to www.LanguageLine.com/careers. From there, you can select from one of two regions: Either the UK, or the United States and the Americas.

On the next page, you’ll get to review open positions. Each position will note whether it’s remote (a work-at-home contract job) or a full-time, in-person job at one of their call centers.

The job board looks like this:

Screen Shot 2019 09 18 at 9.37.13 AM

As you can see, there are plenty of open positions, from remote Spanish interpreters (a contract job where you can set your own hours), to project managers, to jobs at their El Paso call center.

They also highlight hiring bonuses in the job listing. Hiring bonuses are used to incentivize interpreters for certain languages where there is either higher demand or lower supply — we saw hiring bonuses offered for Laotian interpreters, Vietnamese interpreters, Mandarin interpreters, and Cantonese interpreters, among others.

By clicking on a job listing, you can see a more detailed description of the job, including roles and responsibilities. If you like what you read, you can click “apply” to start the application process.

Interpret for LanguageLine Solutions

If you have the ability to speak more than one language, and are looking for a side hustle to bring in some extra income, you might want to check out LanguageLine Solutions. They often hire remote workers, and give contractors the freedom to set their own schedule and work from home.

While the sign-up process can take a little while as they make sure you’re proficient in a second language, once on board you can start earning quickly and help people from different cultures communicate with one another. After reading this article, you should have a good sense of LanguageLine Solutions, what it’s like to work for them, and what you need to do to get started as an interpreter. Now you can get out there and help other people understand each other.

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