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Interpreter Salary (United States)

The average Interpreter in the United States earns approximately $19.82 per hour. Pay ranges from $10.67 per hour on the low end to $39.16 on the high end. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Some workers in this field — a majority — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by over a third and dental plans are enjoyed by just under one in three. Female Interpreters make up most of the field at 75 percent. Most Interpreters like their work and job satisfaction is high. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
Interpreter Salary (?
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.
)
$17,684 - $62,571
(Median)
18K
23K
34K
44K
63K
MEDIAN: $33,954
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Interpreter Salary (?
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.
)
$10.67 - $39.16
(Median)
11
15
20
29
39
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$17,684 - $62,571  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,192  
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).
)
$20,722 - $82,238  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 74
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
$10.67 - $39.16  
   
Overtime
$13.82 - $50.04  
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 - $1,192  
   
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).
)
$20,722 - $82,238  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 266
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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.
Read More...
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 will usually bring in a similar salary to Interpreters.

Interpreter or Translator Job Listings

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Interpreters note just a narrow range of job skills. Most notably, facility with Russian Language and American Sign Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 27 percent and 4 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Sign Language and Spanish Language.

Pay by Experience Level for Interpreter

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Interpreters generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $35K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $43K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Interpreters make a median salary of $52K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $59K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make. Workers in this area tend to have one to nine years of experience. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up slightly less than one-fifth of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise fewer than one in ten, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining less than one-tenth.

Pay Difference By Location

Washington
up arrow 52%
New York
up arrow 49%
Phoenix
up arrow 31%
San Jose
up arrow 31%
Columbus
up arrow 5%
National Average
$40,000
Charlotte
up arrow 1%
Seattle
up arrow 7%
Houston
up arrow 8%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Interpreters, Washington provides a pay rate that is 52 percent greater than the national average. Interpreters will also find cushy salaries in New York (+49 percent), San Jose (+31 percent), Phoenix (+31 percent), and Columbus (+5 percent). Houston is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 8 percent.

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.
What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?
Interpreter in Phoenix:
"Read a variety of topics in your native language."
To be very knowledgeable in diverse topics to increase vocabulary.

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Experience Affects Interpreter Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 47%
Experienced
up arrow 30%
Mid-Career
up arrow 8%
National Average
$40,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 13%

Skills That Affect Interpreter Salaries

Russian Language
up arrow 27%
American Sign Language
up arrow 4%
Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 1%
National Average
$40,000
Sign Language
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 50 votes.

Gender

Female
75%
female alumni
 
Male
25%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
44%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 38% dental benefits Dental: 30%
vision benefits Vision: 25% employee benefits None: 61%