Affiliate Marketing for Translators: Make Extra Income With the Tools You Already Use

  • Time to read: 8 min.

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I’ve talked a lot in the past about how translators can make money.

And surprising (or not), translators can earn money in other ways besides translation.

In fact, while a lot of translators make a significant amount of money from obviously their translation work, a little secret that a lot of translators don’t reveal is that they are making money in other ways as well.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is the case for me.

While I do earn money from translation, most of my income actually comes from other sources.

There are various reasons for this but for me, I tend to like doing those other things more than I like translating.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy translating. But I’ve done it for so long that it’s nice for me to try new things and see them succeed. That’s where I am now.

And again, I’m not the only translator that is doing this.

Now, there are tons of ways that language professionals can make money.

In this article, though, I’m going to outline one of the ways you can start making money as a language professional through websites and social media.

Affiliate Marketing for Translators

OK, so the first thing is to understand what affiliate income is.

Affiliate income (otherwise known as affiliate marketing) at its most basic level entails earning a commission from promoting someone else’s product.

Let me repeat that so you are sure to understand:

Affiliate income means earning a commission from selling someone else’s product. When that person makes a purchase, you get paid direct.

Think of a car salesman.

When a person sells a car, they earn a commission on the sale of that vehicle. That vehicle is not their own product. It belongs to the car business.

But because the sales person worked to sell it to a third party, they rightfully earn a commission. This is obviously something that happens regularly in the real world.

However, affiliate marketing has also been around a long long time on the Internet, allowing internet marketers and others to earn money promoting other people’s products.

Nowadays, though, affiliate marketing isn’t limited to internet marketers. Nearly everyone who has a blog or website aimed at engaging with their audience uses affiliate marketing to market products to their own audiences, recommending products that their audiences would find useful.

I’ve seen the following types of website owners marketing affiliate products:

And guess what?

Language professionals can (and should be) getting in on the action by doing their own affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing – The Why

OK, so now you understand a little about what affiliate marketing is. Now it’s time to look at why you should consider adding affiliate marketing for translators to your income strategy. 

Remember when I said that for many language professionals, money earned from doing translations for customers sometimes only counts for a portion of that translator’s income.

Additional Income Streams

The biggest argument for adding affiliate income to your income-earning strategy is that the more income streams you have, the better you can insulate yourself against the “feast and famine” lifestyle that often besets translators.

Just because you identify as a translator, or that’s how you’ve always earned your money, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other supplemental ways of earning income.

We know that as translators, there are times when we have tons of work. However, we also know that those times can be easily followed up by times when we can’t find any clients.

Having multiple income streams means earning money in addition to the main income generating activity (likely translation or some other language profession).

And doing affiliate marketing is a good option for one of those additional streams of income.

It’s Easy

Another reason why doing affiliate marketing for translators or language professionals is something to consider is that it’s relatively easy and uncomplicated.

First of all, it’s easy because there in order to start earning affiliate income, all you have to do is start recommending the products you already use and are in love with.

Secondly, it’s uncomplicated because most companies have affiliate programs. These programs only require you to insert a simple link to the product into your website articles.

Affiliate Marketing – The How

OK, now that you know a little about why affiliate marketing for translators is something worth pursuing. Now it’s time to look at how to go about implementing it.

First of all, think of all the products and services that you use for your translation/language business.

At first glance, you might not think that you use that many.

But I guarantee you that there are literally dozens of products that you use in your business and personal life that you love. Products and services that make your life more convenient.

For example, in looking at my own business (which goes beyond translation and includes writing, photography, and videography), there are a number of products that I can’t live without.

Make a List of Products You Use

The first step, then, is to make your own list of the top ten products that you use and would have no issues recommending to your fellow colleagues or friends.

Once you have your top ten list, its time to see which of those products or services have affiliate programs. Those programs where they pay people for sales of those products.

Narrow Down Affiliate Programs

Once you’ve determined which products have affiliate programs, it’s time to see if those programs fit with what you’re looking to do.

There are a few factors you’ll want to consider as affiliate marketers:

The percentage of sales that the company pays out in affiliate commissions

This factor will obviously have a big impact on how much money you make as affiliates. For example, if a company only pays out 2% of sales in affiliate commissions, you’ll need to sell a lot of their product to make any decent amount of money.

On the other hand, if a company pays out 50% of sales in affiliate commissions, you won’t have to sell nearly as much to make a good income.

How easy it is to get set up with the affiliate program

Some affiliate programs are very easy to join. You can sign up and be approved in a matter of minutes. Others can take weeks or even months.

If a company’s affiliate program is difficult to join, that’s probably not a good sign. It likely means that they’re not very serious about their affiliate program and/or they’re not very good at running it.

The company’s reputation

You obviously don’t want to recommend a company that has a terrible reputation for their users. Not only will it reflect poorly on you, but people are less likely to buy from a company with a bad reputation.

Do some research on the company and see what others are saying about them before you join their affiliate program. For example, you can do a Google search for “[Company Name] + reviews” until you find one that is a perfect fit, helpful, and relevant.

How easy it is to promote their products

Ideally, you want to find companies whose products are easy to promote for translators. Companies whose products fit well with your audience and/or who have good marketing materials that you can use to promote their products.

For example, if you’re targeting other translators as your audience, you’ll want to find companies who sell products that translators need or want.

There’s no point in promoting a product that nobody wants or needs. You’ll just be wasting your time.

Once you’ve considered those factors, you should have a good idea of which affiliate programs are worth pursuing.

Now it’s time to sign up for those affiliate programs and start promoting the products.

Affiliate Marketing – The Where

Now, where can you use these affiliate income links?

In lots of places, actually.

Hopefully, as a language professional, you have a website. Include those links in your website copy as you talk about those products.

Do you have social media?

You can also embed affiliate links in many of the social media platforms that you might be using like:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Another great place that you can use these affiliate links is through email newsletters to your audience.

Affiliate Marketing – The When

OK, so once you know which products you want to recommend and promote and where you want to start promoting them, it’s time to look at when you should do the promoting.

First of all, it’s important to remember that your audience doesn’t want you to advertise to them all the time. For example, you don’t want to plaster affiliate links all over your website or on every one of your social media posts.

You still want to provide your audience value without selling to them 100% of the time.

The second thing to consider about affiliate marketing for translators is that you only should market those products and services that you can in good conscience recommend to other people and that are relevant.

If you haven’t used a product or don’t know anything about it, you don’t want to automatically try to do affiliate marketing on it. You audience will be able to see right through it and feel like all you want to do is sell to them.

The best way to stay clear of that is to only recommend those products and services that you’ve used personally. Those that you can recommend through personal experience.

If you do it that way, your authenticity will show through. Your audience will appreciate it by checking out those recommendations. 


Affiliate marketing for translators can be a great way to start earning some supplemental income in addition to the other ways to make money from translation.

You can do it in a way that’s authentic and transparent by only recommending products and services that you use and love.

The key is to get started and to be patient as your affiliate marketing efforts begin to pay off. As you continue to grow your audience and platform, those affiliate marketing efforts will continue to provide more and more value.

Now it’s time for you to take action and get started with affiliate marketing for translators!

FAQ – Affiliate Marketing for Translators

Are there an affiliate marketing program for translators?

Yes, there are a number of affiliate marketing programs for translators. Some of the more popular ones include Amazon Associates and ShareASale.

Can I use affiliate marketing links on social media?

Yes, you can use affiliate marketing links on translation social media accounts. In fact, this can be a great way to get started with affiliate marketing and have success promoting your products to a global audience.

Can I use affiliate marketing links in my email newsletter?

Yes, you can use affiliate marketing links in your email newsletter. Just be sure to not overdo it and only include those products that you would recommend to your audience. For example, if your audience is native speakers of a particular language, your affiliate marketing strategy should focus on that native language.

What are some good affiliate marketing products for translators?

There are a number of good affiliate marketing products for translators. Some of the more popular ones include translation software, dictionaries, and other language learning resources. Be sure to look for an affiliate program that pays a good amount, provides good marketing materials, and allows you start earning today.