Interpreter Salary

Interpreters in the United States take home approximately $19.85 per hour on average. The income range spans the entire spectrum between $10.44 per hour and $36.10. While years of experience and the specific company impact pay for this group, geography is the most influential factor. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Interpreters. Most Interpreters survey respondents are women (74 percent). Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, the greater part are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by nearly two in five and dental insurance is reported by slightly less than a third. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$18,017 - $70,243
(Median)
$18K
$38K
$70K
MEDIAN: $37,513
10%
50%
90%

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$10.44 - $36.10
(Median)
$10
$20
$36
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$26K$52K$78K
Salary
$18,017 - $70,243  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,961  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$20,911 - $76,574  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 96
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$10.44 - $36.10  
   
Overtime
$13.13 - $49.62  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,961  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$20,911 - $76,574  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 378
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Job Description for Interpreter

An interpreter works to break down the language barrier for their clients. In the classic sense, an interpreter facilitates communication between two people by translating the statements of each person into the other person's language. For example, if an English speaker and a Mandarin Chinese speaker need to conduct business with each other, and neither knows the other's language, an interpreter would listen to the English speaker's statements and repeat them in Mandarin; conversely, the interpreter would listen to the Mandarin speaker's statements and repeat them in English.

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Interpreter Tasks

  • Explain and clarify cultural expectations and idiom.
  • Translate written documents or audio tapes to and from target language and English.
  • Convey spoken content accurately from one language to another.
  • Assist with documentation, filing and paperwork.

Common Career Paths for Interpreter


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Many Interpreters move into a Sign Language Interpreter role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Sign Language Interpreters on average bring in a similar salary to Interpreters.

Interpreter or Translator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Interpreter


Language Line Services offers the least money; the median income there is just $20K. The pay range is also pretty narrow, as compensation generally sits between $15K and $47K.


Survey results imply that Interpreters put a diverse skill set to use. Most notably, facility with Japanese Language, Russian Language, and Chinese, Mandarin Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 22 percent, 16 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Those listing Medical Terminology as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Sign Language and Spanish Language also typically command lower compensation.

Pay by Experience Level for Interpreter

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Interpreters with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $36K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $42K. Interpreters see a median salary of $52K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $61K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Interpreters, Washington provides a pay rate that is 55 percent greater than the national average. Interpreters can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+51 percent), San Jose (+30 percent), Charlotte (+13 percent), and Portland (+12 percent). Interpreters in Houston report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 23 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay. Two other places where employers salaries are below the median are Phoenix and Seattle (8 percent lower).

Interpreter Reviews

What is it like working as an Interpreter?

Interpreter in Kennesaw:
"Work Flexibility, Work From Home By Phone, Good Hourly Pay."
Pros: Flexibility on my job. Able to help people to understand each other taking the barrier on language. Not a physical straining job, but mental.
Cons: Need to be waiting for the call to come, you don't know when the call is coming.

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Experience Affects Interpreter Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 49%

Experienced
up arrow 28%

Mid-Career
up arrow 4%

National Average
$41,000


Skills That Affect Interpreter Salaries

Japanese Language
up arrow 22%

Russian Language
up arrow 16%

Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 4%

American Sign Language
up arrow 3%

National Average
$41,000

English Language
up arrow 1%


Sign Language
up arrow 9%

Medical Terminology
up arrow 39%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 57 votes.

Gender

Female
74 %
Male
26 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 40% dental benefits Dental: 30%
vision benefits Vision: 26% employee benefits None: 60%
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