By Jesse Collier. Updated October 2017.
Already have a second language under your belt? Even if you only speak English, we’ve got ways for you to make money with your language abilities.
Do you speak multiple languages? How about just English (we’re assuming you do since you’re reading this)? That means you can take advantage of the ways below to make money with your language abilities.
Whether your native language is English or Mandarin, don’t assume that this article is just for people who speak more than one language.
What’s on this page?
Improve Your Language Abilities
Already fluent in another language? That’s awesome, you’re already set to take on our ways to make money.
However, if you still need to brush up on your language skills, there are many free options you can pursue:
- Duolingo is a language learning site (and app) that features over 20 courses which go from the basics to advanced concepts.
- Memrise is a platform which has an arsenal of over 300,000 courses covering everything from languages to programming.
Both Duolingo and Memrise use a gamification structure. This means that they let you earn points, gain levels, and create daily streaks that will keep you coming back. Both platforms create interactive and fun lessons with the ability to learn on the go with their apps for iOS and Android.
There are many other free language learning platforms out there – it’s up to you to search for them! Try at your school, local library, or nearest bookstore where you can usually rent language learning materials.
1. Become a Tutor
There’s always a demand for tutors in almost every language, whether it’s Spanish, French, or a programming language such as Java. Most schools have groups where people can post messages if they need tutoring in a specific language.
Try asking around, and most people will know someone who needs help in a language that you are (hopefully) proficient. Even just having taken the class before will be a huge help for the person you’re tutoring.
You can also post ads on sites like Craigslist or Kijiji to promote your tutoring skills. Tutoring in person also creates a face-to-face interaction with your client, and will usually allow you to charge more per session.
If you’re more inclined to teach online, Verbling is the way to go. Verbling allows students to choose their teachers and allows the instructors to define a schedule for availability. Students have the opportunity to rate instructors afterwards, so make sure you are friendly and welcoming if you decide Verbling is right for you.
2. Turn to Social Media
While tutoring face-to-face or with online services is probably the fastest and easiest way to make money with your language abilities, turning to making a blog, website, or YouTube channel is a viable option as well.
A blog and/or website is a good asset to have when you tutor because it can allow you to showcase your work to clients and to detail your journey as a tutor. Read our guide to setting up your own website today.
A YouTube channel is also a good way to get prospective clients as they can get a sense of who you are and your teaching style through your videos. Your videos don’t have to be instructive, but instead they can be informative about your services and you can link to your website or blog through them.
YouTube channels and blogs are a great way to earn extra money on the side, with plenty of ways to monetize both options. If you decide to setup a blog, try getting into a niche, such as speaking with people in another language about sports or politics.
Possible topics to get you started:
- “The top 5 easiest ways to learn a language”
- “How to master the Canadian accent” (my personal favorite)
- “The top 10 reasons to learn a language today”
If your Youtube channel begins to get some attention, consider monetizing it through subscriptions or video rentals. Try it out and see how you do!
3. Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Whether you’re after a career or you just want to make some money, TEFL is a great way to improve your teaching skills as well as enhance your language abilities.
Some of the courses to get you started also help with more general topics besides teaching such as opening a business with your skills or even just doing your taxes.
Many people choose TEFL because it’s easy to start out and is a great money maker. While some of the courses can be a bit expensive, you should definitely go for it if you’re passionate about teaching other people English.
Not the best at teaching? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of ways for you to make money with your language abilities. Keep reading to learn how!
4. Become a Translator
With your skills in another language, there’s a lot of opportunities to translate for companies or individuals. Most companies who are looking to do business overseas need translators to translate their materials such as websites, texts, books, or articles.
While some companies will outsource to lower-income countries where they can pay less, smaller companies may want to hire local talent. If you know a family member or friend who has a business and may want to translate their content, try asking them!
5. Strike Up A Conversation
A lot of people will pay you just for talking with them. Here is a list of sites that have platforms which connect you to people in countries like China or Russia who are looking for a conversation buddy.
- VIPKID is a Beijing based company that provides a curriculum to teach children in China based on the US Core Standards for teaching. They pay $14 – $22 USD an hour.
- Golden Voice English (GVEOE) is a Canadian based company that allows you to provide 1-on-1 teaching to children from grades 1-9 in China. They are currently hiring tutors, so give it a shot!
- Class100/WayUp is an online teaching platform that allows you to interactively teach children in China. They are looking for students or recent grads to help tutor.
- Cambly allows you to become a tutor for anyone who wants to learn or improve their English. They’re different from most TEFL services because they allow students to learn on the go through their interactive apps.
Some of these sites have structured lessons for you to go through. They also may require certifications or degrees. It never hurts to apply and see if you get in though!
6. Create Teaching Resources
Learning a language isn’t all about a 1-on-1 interaction with another person. In fact, most people find it’s easier to learn on their own with videos, software such as Rosetta Stone, podcasts, or textbooks.
Many companies will also pay you to create resources for learning languages. This could be in the form of quizzes, tests, videos, short stories, or even books! As long as they are informative and teach or enforce a language, they can be sold to companies.
You could even create teaching materials for a language and then sell it on your own website to keep your content original and under your terms.
Do all these ways to make money from your language abilities sound good but you just have no idea where to start freelancing your skills? Check out these quick tips to help get you started:
- Create a business model. It can be as detailed as you want, but it should answer a few questions. For example, you want to identify who your clients will be, a rough idea of how to get those clients, and how you will market your skills, along with what you will charge.
- Use social media. Creating profiles on major social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you to reach potential clients.
- Start a blog, website, or YouTube channel. Creating an online presence will be essential for your brand and will allow you to showcase your language abilities. It will also create goals that you should reach towards when tutoring.
- Use sites like Fiverr to test out your business model along with getting new clients. While Fiverr does take a bit of the commission you make from each sale, the customers you get may stick with you for a long time.
- Start locally. Even if you are mainly staying online to tutor, visiting, calling, and emailing business and individuals around you can lead to a ton of clients.
So what are you waiting for? Go and make money with your language abilities today! If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below! Hasta luego y buena suerte!