Average Linguists in the United States make around $62K annually. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geography, followed by tenure and the particular employer. Health benefits are not enjoyed by everyone in this line of work, and just under a third lack any coverage at all. Medical benefits are reported by a strong majority and dental coverage is claimed by more than half. Most Linguists report high levels of job satisfaction. Male Linguists are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 66 percent of professionals. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Linguist
A linguist is someone who works with languages. This job will vary depending on which industry they work in. The job will generally have them working as translators, interpreting, and doing forensic sciences. Generally, linguists are required in law enforcement and the military. They have an important role of helping these agencies in investigating and preventing various crimes. If they work with the CIA or FBI, they will also assist in securing national security. The linguist will generally work on their own or in a team, depending on the industry that they are employed in. There is a lot of freedom on the job, and they often set the working tone themselves. If working as part of the team, they will interact with various other linguists.Read More...
The educational background for a linguist job will require them to have a bachelor’s degree, as well as knowing at least two languages. Depending on the industry or company that they are working for, there might be language proficiency tests that may need to be done, as well as other minor checks. What is important is that the individual is fluent in the language that they are applying for and should be able to read and speak it with ease.
A typical job for the linguist will vary, depending on what industry they are working in. One can generally expect that linguists in an office will work a typical 9-5. For those who are needed in different industries such as the military or the federal government, the linguist might be in the field at various hours as needed.
- Translate primary documentation, then summarize and add metadata.
- Transcription, interpretation and content analyses of foreign language materials.
- Write reports and analyses of data, training and web/media analyses.
Linguist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Linguist
Although U.S. Air Force (USAF) hands out the lowest average salary in town at $45K, employee compensation still varies greatly; workers can make as little as $22K or as much as $107K.
Popular Skills for Linguist
Survey results show that Linguists use a fair number of skills. Most notably, facility with Pashto Language, Arabic Language, and Farsi Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 38 percent, 23 percent, and 19 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Localization and Translation and Spanish Language. The majority of those who know Data Analysis also know Farsi Language and Arabic Language.
Pay by Experience Level for Linguist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $55K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $66K. Linguists claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $77K. Respondents who boast more than two decades on the job don't boast commensurate pay, unfortunately; these veterans see average earnings of only $75K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Linguists, working in the bustling city of Reston has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Linguists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+32 percent), Tampa (+30 percent), Los Angeles (+17 percent), and Washington (+9 percent). Linguists in New York report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 29 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay. San Antonio and Dallas are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 19 percent lower and 18 percent lower, respectively.