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.

$39,322 - $97,269
(Median)
$39K
$62K
$97K
MEDIAN: $61,989
10%
50%
90%

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$18.49 - $40.98
(Median)
$18
$26
$41
MEDIAN: $25.00
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$33K$66K$99K
Salary
$39,322 - $97,269  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $14,000  
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).
)
$39,443 - $96,179  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 163
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$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$18.49 - $40.98  
   
Hourly Tips
$2.08  
Overtime
$30.00  
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 - $14,000  
   
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).
)
$39,443 - $96,179  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 54
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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Linguists often transition into upper-level roles like Intelligence Analyst, for which the average compensation is $67K per year.

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

National Average: $60,790

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Linguist Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 27%

Late-Career
up arrow 23%


National Average
$61,000


Skills That Affect Linguist Salaries

Pashto Language
up arrow 38%

Arabic Language
up arrow 23%

Farsi Language
up arrow 19%

Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 14%

National Average
$61,000

Data Analysis
up arrow 2%

Spanish Language
up arrow 4%

Localization and Translation
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 16 votes.

Gender

Female
34 %
Male
66 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
11%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
27%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 71%
dental benefits
Dental: 56%
medical benefits
Vision: 53%
dental benefits
None: 28%
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