Interpreter Salary

An average Interpreter in the United States can expect to take home roughly $19.85 per hour. The income range spans the entire spectrum between $10.65 per hour and $36.10. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is location, followed by tenure and the specific company. Men are in the minority of survey respondents, with female Interpreters making up 74 percent. Although more than half lack health benefits of any kind, nearly two in five do enjoy medical insurance, and just under one in three get dental coverage, too. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$18,281 - $69,966

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$10.65 - $36.10

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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$26K$52K$78K
Salary
$18,281 - $69,966  
   
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).
)
$21,143 - $76,282  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 97
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
$10.65 - $36.10  
   
Overtime
$13.24 - $50.73  
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 - $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).
)
$21,143 - $76,282  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 383
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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


Bringing up the rear, Language Line Services' median pay of $21K is the lowest in town; however, employee salaries widely range, with some making up to $51K.


Interpreters seem to require a number of specific skills. 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. English Language and Sign 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. The average inexperienced worker earns $36K, and someone who has worked for five to 10 years can expect a bigger median salary of $42K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $52K in this role. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $61K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location


Washington is home to an above-average pay rate for Interpreters, 55 percent higher than the national average. Interpreters will also find cushy salaries in New York (+51 percent), San Jose (+29 percent), Charlotte (+12 percent), and Portland (+12 percent). Trailing the national average by 17 percent, Houston is the market with the smallest paychecks. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Phoenix (12 percent less) and Seattle (8 percent less).

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


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: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 26% employee benefits None: 60%
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