How to Make Money Translating with Gengo

Translating with Gengo

Parlez-vous français? ¿Hablas español?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then you’re in the right place.

Although the translation industry is huge and full of jobs, many people aren’t sure how to go about making money by translating online.  If you’re fluent in another language and looking for a translation gig you can do from your kitchen table, Gengo may be right up your alley.


Founded in 2008, Gengo originally hails from Japan. The word “gengo” translates to mean “language” in Japanese. The idea behind the platform was to provide companies with an easy way to break into the global market without the hindrance of language. They also wanted it to be accessible to everyone, straightforward, and easy to use. Currently, the Gengo network offers translations in 57 languages and has over 21,000 translators all working remotely.

What Do I Need To Work For Gengo?

You don’t need a degree to begin working for Gengo, all you need are your language skills!

However, you will need to pass a language skills test to qualify and become a Gengo translator.

You will also need a laptop or desktop on which you can easily type on. We imagine it would be quite inconvenient to translate entire documents on an iPhone, but hey, you do you.

How To Get Started As A Gengo Translator

To get started as a Gengo translator, you will need to visit the Gengo sign up page. They will ask for your email address and a password for you to create an account. Once your account is created, you have to complete the “Pre-Test” to test your translation competency. Your test will be reviewed by a Senior Translator on the platform.

If you don’t pass the pre-test the first time around, don’t stress too much. You have up to three tries to score high enough to join Gengo. When you first sign up for Gengo, you will likely only complete two tests, the pre-test, and the standard test.

Passing the standard test allows you to begin working as a standard translator. Later down the line, you can take the pro and proofreading test. The Pro-level test authorizes you to work at the Pro level, and the proofreading test gives you the ability to proofread your fellow translators’ work.

It generally takes an average of 7 days for your test to be reviewed. If you haven’t heard anything in over 14 days, submit a ticket to Gengo’s support team. Once you pass the test, you can begin working right away.

What To Expect As A Gengo Translator

It’s no secret that it’s going to be much easier to translate documents into your mother tongue. After all, you’ve been speaking it ever since you could walk. However, Gengo does permit you to translate into other languages. If you choose to go this route, it’s recommended that you only choose languages you are nearly fluent in.

When you first join Gengo, you will be given access to a library of resources to aid in your training. These resources help walk new translators through the basics of working for Gengo. You will learn how to review your work and how to use the tools on Gengo.

To find jobs on the platform, head over to your work dashboard. Jobs and collections will be displayed here for you to choose from. You will see information about the job, such as the time limit, language pair, reward, and any customer comments.

Once you have translated the collection and submitted it, it will show on your work dashboard under reviewable jobs. The customer can then review, approve, or reject your translation. They have up to five days (120 hours) to approve or reject your translation. If they don’t take any action after 120 hours, your translation will be automatically approved.

If your job is approved, you will be rated by the customer on a scale of 1-5, and you will receive an email with these comments. If you have consistently low ratings, you are then subjected to a review by a Language Specialist as part of a job review. This review is conducted to help you see where you can improve in your translations.


  • You don’t need any degrees or qualifications to begin work as a Gengo Translator
  • Opportunity to beef up your translation skills
  • Work remotely from any location


  • Fails to be a steady source of income
  • More suitable as a part-time job
  • Inconsistent volume of jobs for translators

How Much Can You Make As A Gengo Translator?

The amount of money you can make on Gengo depends on your translating speed. For Standard translators, they begin at $0.03 a word. Once you feel that you’ve mastered the standard level of translation, you can take your test to qualify for the Pro level. If you pass, your pay gets bumped up to $0.08 a word.

To give you an idea of what that looks like, let’s do some simple math, shall we?

If you translate a 500-word document at the standard level, you can earn $15. If you translate a 500-word document at the pro level, you can earn $40. Not bad, right?

Keep in mind that this amount increases once you reach the Pro and Proofreading levels.

How To Make The Most Money Working For Gengo

When working on Gengo, time is of the essence. When jobs appear, you need to claim them quickly before another Gengo translator swoops them out from under you. This can get a bit tricky when applying for jobs because you want to make sure your skill set can handle the translation before accepting the job. While you can reach out to the Gengo customer service to decline a job after it’s been accepted, this isn’t something you want to make a habit of.

Many translators find it useful to speed read the posting and see if they can translate it quickly. This way, once they accept the job, they have a general idea of the subjects and wording that will be used.

Translators also work against the clock for translations. Most jobs will have a turnaround time of one to two hours, so they need to work quickly and concisely to get the job done.  If you don’t finish the job on time, it gets returned to the queue for another translator to pick up. Not only do you lose out on the half-finished translation, but you end up wasting your time and money.

One of the biggest ways to make more money on Gengo is to qualify for pro-level editing. To do this, freelancers must pass a test to determine their skills. Although it may seem difficult at first, that $0.05 per-word pay raise will make a big difference in your payouts.

To make the most money on Gengo, work on perfecting your speed and improving the quality of your work. As time goes by, you’ll find yourself moving through translations quicker and capable of taking on higher-paid jobs.

Gengo FAQ

How do I find work on Gengo?

You can view available connections on the Gengo platform by navigating to your Work Dashboard. You can preview collections by hovering your mouse over them and seeing if the content is fitting for your ability and skill level. You can also click on the jobs tab to see jobs categorized by filters. You can choose to opt-in by email or RSS feed to be notified about new collections as they appear.

What are the advantages of using an online freelance translating platform like Gengo?

Gengo is an ideal gig for freelancers looking for a flexible job. Translators are not obligated to complete any jobs and can pick and choose the jobs they want to do. If you don’t have time to sign on, you don’t have to fret about it negatively impacting your future ability to land jobs.

Can I use Gengo for part-time work?

You can use Gengo for part-time work! Gengo permits their translators to work as much or as little as they want. Gengo does not require translators to work a minimum amount of hours every month or week. You can sign on after work to make some extra money for a vacation, or you can choose to work 40+ hours a week. The choice is yours.

Does Gengo charge any fees?

Gengo does not charge any fees as part of your work, but you may be charged fees based on your method of payout. If you use Paypal for your payouts, each payment will have a transaction fee of 1.50% of your reward, with a minimum charge of $1.50 and a maximum charge of $20.

If you choose Payoneer for your payouts, there is no charge on Gengo’s end, but Payoneer will charge you fees directly.

Can I work for Gengo and another online freelancing company simultaneously?

Yes, Gengo does not require any of their translators to exclusively work for them, so you are free to work for other online freelancing platforms.

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