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Interpreter Salary (United States)

Median pay for Interpreters in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $19.91 per hour. Compensation ranges from $10.67 per hour on the lower end to $38.49 on the higher end. Geography and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men are in the minority of survey respondents, with female Interpreters making up 75 percent. Job satisfaction for Interpreters is high. While a majority report receiving no health benefits, the larger part do receive medical coverage, and just under one in three have dental, as well. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for 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.
)
$17,913 - $71,318
(Median)
18K
24K
35K
47K
71K
MEDIAN: $35,240
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 - $38.49
(Median)
11
15
20
28
38
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
$17,913 - $71,318  
   
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).
)
$20,823 - $82,351  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 82
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 - $38.49  
   
Overtime
$13.45 - $50.02  
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).
)
$20,823 - $82,351  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 291
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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.

Interpreter or Translator Job Listings

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Interpreters report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Russian Language, English Language, and American Sign Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 26 percent, 15 percent, and 3 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.
Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $36K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $44K. Interpreters with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $52K. Interpreters who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $59K on average.

Pay Difference By Location

Washington
up arrow 53%
New York
up arrow 43%
San Jose
up arrow 30%
Phoenix
up arrow 25%
Portland
up arrow 21%
Charlotte
up arrow 9%
Columbus
up arrow 4%
San Diego
up arrow 4%
National Average
$41,000
Houston
up arrow 1%
Chicago
up arrow 1%
Seattle
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, 53 percent above the national average. Interpreters will also find cushy salaries in New York (+43 percent), San Jose (+30 percent), Phoenix (+25 percent), and Portland (+21 percent). Seattle is the lowest-paying area, 8 percent south of the national average.

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 46%
Experienced
up arrow 28%
Mid-Career
up arrow 7%
National Average
$41,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 11%

Skills That Affect Interpreter Salaries

Russian Language
up arrow 26%
English Language
up arrow 15%
American Sign Language
up arrow 3%
Chinese, Mandarin Language
0%
National Average
$41,000
Sign Language
up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 56 votes.

Gender

Female
75%
female alumni
 
Male
25%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 39% dental benefits Dental: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 25% employee benefits None: 61%