Interpreter Salary

Median pay for Interpreters in the United States is around $19.68 per hour. The income range spans the entire spectrum between $10.94 per hour and $36.54. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geography, but experience level and the specific company are influential factors as well. Most Interpreters survey respondents are women (76 percent). Although nearly two in five have medical coverage and about a third have dental coverage, a majority claim no health benefits at all. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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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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Interpreters who transition into an upper level Sign Language Interpreter position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Sign Language Interpreter makes $44K a year.

Interpreter or Translator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Interpreter


Language Line Services offers the lowest compensation; the median salary there averages out to only $25K. The pay range is also narrow, ranging between $15K and $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.


Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Interpreters. People who have worked for fewer than five years bring home $36K on average. Median compensation in the five-to-10 year group, however, is higher at approximately $43K. Interpreters claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $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.

Interpreters will find that New York offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 53 percent. Interpreters will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+41 percent), San Jose (+30 percent), Boston (+28 percent), and Charlotte (+13 percent). Interpreters' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Interpreters in Orlando bring in salaries that are 23 percent lower than the national average. 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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