The importance of translation, translators and technology that facilitates translation has grown as the world has become more globalised. There should be plenty of rewarding work for professional translators around the world. Even the Covid-19 pandemic has hardly dented the demand for translation services. But what languages are in high demand for translators and what are the highest paying languages to translate? Here are 5 of them.

1. German

German is one of the top paying languages for translators to have under their belt. But why? There are far fewer German speakers than there are Chinese, Hindi, Arabic or French speakers around the world. The main reason is that although there are only about 100 million German speakers, mostly in Europe, the economies of both Germany and Austria are relatively very robust compared to the economies of many other countries. In fact, the German economy is one of the most stable and powerful in the world. At the same time, Germany never really managed to hold on to its nineteenth century colonies quite like other European colonial powers like France, Spain and Britain, which has meant that theer is no large population of people who were brought up being proficient in speaking German.

2. Mandarin

China’s official language has easily replaced other languages that once topped the translation top rates chart as the nation’s economy has grown faster than just about any other major country. Combine the size of the economy, the huge population (the world’s largest) and strong growth predictions for the future has made Chinese language translation a top earner for professional translators.

3. Arabic

Arabic is the language spoken, either as a first language or a lingua franca, from Mexico to the Middle East. In fact, it has far more significance as a language than that as historically Arabic had an even greater spread. Arabic was used right down the East African coast and across India to the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia. It was also the major language used in the Koran, the holy book of the Moslem community. Some Arabic speaking nations are also extremely wealthy, particularly the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. Translators who can offer Arabic as one half of a language pair are likely to be able to command a high rate of pay for their work.

4. Spanish

Spanish is spoken by more people than any other language, with the possible exception of English and Mandarin. Most of the huge population of Spanish speakers live south of the Rio Grande in Central and Southern America as well as the key Caribbean nations of Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In addition, there are very large Spanish speaking communities in the United States and more recently, Canada. Spanish speaking nations, with the exception of European Spain, may not necessarily be able to rival Germany or France for wealth, are in the top 5 well paid languages for translation because of the population size.

5. French

French has historically been one of the most important languages spoken around the world. This has been because of France’s colonial past. Although most previous French speaking populations have been independent for many years, French is still a very important international language and wins a place in the top 5 because of its global spread.


The languages that offer the highest rates of pay for translators are gradually changing but are not much of a surprise. Population size, international significance and economic strength are the main factors that determine which languages are at the top of the picks for translators. Just remember that if you are looking for a translator, don’t compromise on price. Always choose a professional translator with the right niche skills to do your translation work for you.