Interpreter Salary

An average Interpreter in the United States can expect to take home roughly $19.68 per hour. Lower pay rates hover around $10.94 per hour, and the higher rates verge on $36.54. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length and the specific company. While a majority report receiving no health benefits, the larger part do receive medical coverage, and close to a third have dental, as well. Men are in the minority of survey respondents, with female Interpreters making up 76 percent. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$19,309 - $73,491
(Median)
$19K
$39K
$73K
MEDIAN: $39,379
10%
50%
90%

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$10.94 - $36.54
(Median)
$11
$20
$37
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$27K$54K$81K
Salary
$19,309 - $73,491  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,047  
Profit Sharing
$5,000  
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).
)
$22,342 - $79,752  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 116
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$10.94 - $36.54  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.50  
Overtime
$13.06 - $49.75  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,047  
   
Profit Sharing
$5,000  
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).
)
$22,342 - $79,752  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 458
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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


The consistently lowest paying firm is Language Line Services, where the median salary is just $25K. There isn't much variation there, either; the pay scale ranges only from $15K to $42K.


Interpreters report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with French Language, Portuguese Language, and Chinese, Mandarin Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 44 percent, 38 percent, and 30 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.


For many Interpreters, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $36K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $43K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $53K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $62K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,699

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Interpreters, working in the bustling city of New York has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Interpreters can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Washington (+41 percent), San Jose (+30 percent), Boston (+28 percent), and Charlotte (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is Orlando, which sits 23 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers in Houston and Phoenix also lean toward paying below-median salaries (17 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively).

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.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Interpreter Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 52%

Experienced
up arrow 30%


National Average
$41,000


Skills That Affect Interpreter Salaries

French Language
up arrow 44%

Portuguese Language
up arrow 38%

Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 30%

Japanese Language
up arrow 24%

Russian Language
up arrow 22%

American Sign Language
up arrow 10%

National Average
$41,000

English Language
up arrow 2%

Spanish Language
up arrow 3%

Sign Language
up arrow 5%

Medical Terminology
up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 64 votes.

Gender

Female
76 %
Male
24 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 41%
dental benefits
Dental: 33%
medical benefits
Vision: 28%
dental benefits
None: 58%
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