I know it is rather different on a site like Upwork, but if I were to apply for a job in the B & M world, I would apply for those jobs that match my experience and my qualifications. I would not apply to be the tea lady in the hopes of getting a promotion.
Probably there are several main factorsthat impact your hourly rate / fixed price job amount here:
1. Tony H. made a very good point about the clients. Basically, the clients are getting (in most of the cases) what they are paying for. Professional clients can value the added value that specific skills set or experience can bring, and know that they are still getting value for money. Non-experienced clients are paying low rates and (usually, at least in my field) are getting scrap work. You could not expect newly graduated cheap freelancer to prepare a picth deck for asking professional investors to put millions in your venture (Evelina, thank you for the comparison); but a lot of clients post $20 or $100 announcements for geting a pitch deck....
2. Here comes the second part of the equation: the freelancer. If you want to get a better rate, try to be good in at least one thing. Really good and be able to show it. High and low rates are not that much correlated to country of origin (common fallacy). I have seen guys from India asking hourly rates more than any US guy has asked, and their CV and experiences are impressive. And the money they are maiking (within my field) is among the top paid jobs. And I have seen US guys applying to jobs that offer ridiculous rates....and still nothing to differentiate them.
3. The third part is the interaction between freelancers and clients. Check your competitors. Identify the guys that have the same qualifications you have, and check what they charge per project/hour. At the end of the day, even the high-paid jobs have a ceiling in a competitive marketplace as Upwork. Expect to be paid approximately what these similar guys are paid. Check their potfolio and learn from them. Think what is that makes you different, and let the client knows it in your cover letter. And get that first client....offering probably half of what other with the same qualification and experience are offering for the same job. After that is up to you. And be patient...it might take more than 3 months.....
In summary: you either specilize and differentiate in a specific area (and prove it to be good at it), or you compete based on price...independently from your origin.
Traci, you should probably visit the "new to Upwork" board and do some reading before you go too much further. Providing a "sample translation" is considered unpaid work and is against Upwork's TOS.
It's also valuable to remember that this is a robust global platform. Many of those "third world" folks will be your legitimate competition. Best not to paint with a broad brush.
Good luck to you on Upwork!