Interpreter Salary (United States)

Salaries for Interpreters in the United States lie in the neighborhood of $19.82 per hour. Pay ranges from $10.67 per hour on the low end to $39.16 on the higher side. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. While some workers in this profession—a majority—do not have any health coverage, 38 percent do receive medical benefits and around one third have dental insurance. Female Interpreters make up most of the field at 75 percent. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers for this synopsis were furnished by individuals who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
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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Compensation does not increase for Interpreters who advance in their career. Oftentimes, upper-end positions like Sign Language Interpreter earn similar amounts to lower-end positions. Becoming a Spanish Translator or an Interpreter or Translator is a common transition from an Interpreter role.

Interpreter Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Interpreter

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Interpreters generally obtain higher salaries for more plentiful past experience. After five to 10 years, starting salaries jump from $35K to $42K. Those who spend a decent amount of time in this profession—one to two decades—usually make about $53K. A 20-year tenure heralds decreased salary growth, and Interpreters who have made it this far report earning around $59K per year. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 18 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 6 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining less than 10. One to nine years of experience is standard for most employees in this area; more than half of respondents fit between this range.

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.
Washington offers some of the highest pay in the country for Interpreters, 52 percent above the national average. New York, San Jose, Phoenix, and Columbus also offer top salaries for Interpreters. Workers in these cities can expect to earn about 49 percent, 31 percent, 31 percent, and 5 percent more, respectively. The smallest paychecks in the market, 8 percent south of the national average, can be found in Houston.

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.

Related Job Salaries

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%
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