Linguist Salary

Pay for Linguists in the United States sits in the ballpark of $70K per year. Location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Linguists making up 59 percent of survey respondents. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Linguists. While nearly one in five report receiving no health benefits, a fair number do receive medical coverage, and the greater part have dental, as well. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$40,917 - $100,399
(Median)
$41K
$70K
$100K
MEDIAN: $69,894
10%
50%
90%

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$19.97 - $50.84
(Median)
$20
$28
$51
MEDIAN: $28.00
10%
50%
90%

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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$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$40,917 - $100,399  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $15,223  
Profit Sharing
$24,717  
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).
)
$41,535 - $106,174  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 214
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$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$19.97 - $50.84  
   
Overtime
$-0.50 - $59.20  
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 - $15,223  
   
Profit Sharing
$24,717  
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).
)
$41,535 - $106,174  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 68
United States (change)

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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.

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Linguist Tasks

  • Write reports and analyses of data, training and web/media analyses.
  • Transcription, interpretation and content analyses of foreign language materials.
  • Translate primary documentation, then summarize and add metadata.

Common Career Paths for Linguist


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Many Linguists move into an Intelligence Analyst role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Intelligence Analysts on average bring in a similar salary to Linguists.

Linguist Job Listings

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Job skills reported by Linguists are limited. Most notably, facility with Pashto Language and Farsi Language are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 27 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Spanish Language, Localization and Translation, and Data Analysis. Data Analysis and Spanish Language are correlating skills — those who know the former usually know the latter.

Pay by Experience Level for Linguist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. The average beginner in this position makes around $61K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $79K. Linguists see a median salary of $85K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $87K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $65,960

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Linguists in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 50 percent above the national average. Linguists will also find cushy salaries in Reston (+27 percent), Washington (+23 percent), San Jose (+21 percent), and San Francisco (+20 percent). Linguists' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Linguists in San Antonio bring in salaries that are 23 percent lower than the national average.

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Experience Affects Linguist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 32%

Experienced
up arrow 29%


National Average
$66,000


Skills That Affect Linguist Salaries

Pashto Language
up arrow 27%

Farsi Language
up arrow 20%

National Average
$66,000

Data Analysis
up arrow 9%

Localization and Translation
up arrow 11%

Spanish Language
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 34 votes.

Gender

Female
41 %
Male
59 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 77%
dental benefits
Dental: 68%
medical benefits
Vision: 63%
dental benefits
None: 21%
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