Anyone who has spent any time on the internet has found websites that are obviously not in the native language of the writer. While the site is still interesting or useful, it may have incorrect verb usage, improper syntax or just odd word choices. Many times this means the writer used a computer translation program or what they learned in a high school foreign language course to write the copy for an existing site in another language.
For example, in English a simple word like key can have different meanings. A key can refer to the one used to open a door, wind a clock or mechanical toy, type on a computer or designate the harmonic tone of music. Each of these different meanings of key in English corresponds to a totally different word in Spanish (in order: llave, cuerda, tecla and tono). A computer translation program may not choose the correct word in every case. The person writing the copy for the website might not catch any error because they are not writing their native language. You, as a native speaker of that language, would easily recognize the proper word choice because of the context in which it is used. This situation provides a good online job opportunity available to everyone.
When you encounter a website with some language translation problems, write or email the owner of the site and offer to fix any errors for a fee. Simply inform the owner that you use or have read the site. Do not be overly critical but offer to make the site more professional looking and successful by improving the quality of the language used. Show them an example of your work by simply choosing a few offending paragraphs and include a correct translation with your correspondence. Fully explain how your corrections improve the information, navigation or transactions found on the site.
You do not have to be a professional translator for this type of work. You are not translating a body of text from scratch but merely improving on the translation done by a computer or a non-native speaker. You do not have to be a professor of languages. In fact, most website owners prefer a translation in the everyday language of the people who speak that language.
Pricing your work is quite simple. Assign an hourly value to your time and then calculate the time you would need to complete a page on the site or the entire website. Some sites will require substantial work while others will need only a few changes. Multiply the two numbers and offer to perform the work for that price. Give the owner of the website the option of paying by the page or the website. Give the owner specific options for payment.
Contact information for the owner of a website can usually be found on the website itself. A page marked ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact’ will have the information you require. If not, go to http://www.whois.com and select ‘Domain Lookup’. Type in the website’s name and it will display the contact information, if available to the public. After finding the owner of a website, use any search engine to find any other websites that person or organization may own. This can find even more work for you.
Finding your own translation work can be very profitable. It may take some time but you do not have to pay for a course, buy any software or pay a part of your earnings to someone else. You can work when you want, where you want and as much as you want. If you can correctly write your own native language, you have all the tools necessary. Give it a try since you have nothing to lose.