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Translator Salary

An average Translator in the United States can expect to take home roughly $19.97 per hour. Lower pay rates hover around $11.10 per hour, and the higher rates verge on $45.19. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. A little less than one-half of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, about one-half report medical coverage and over a third claim dental coverage as well. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Women account for the majority of Translators who responded to the questionnaire — 69 percent to be exact. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$24,538 - $78,465
(Median)
$25K
$45K
$78K
MEDIAN: $45,439
10%
50%
90%

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$11.10 - $45.19
(Median)
$11
$20
$45
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
90%

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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$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$24,538 - $78,465  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,081  
Profit Sharing
$150.00 - $20,000  
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).
)
$24,424 - $85,022  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 171
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$23$46$69
Hourly Rate
$11.10 - $45.19  
   
Overtime
$13.00 - $66.25  
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 - $5,081  
   
Profit Sharing
$150.00 - $20,000  
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).
)
$24,424 - $85,022  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 248

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)


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Job Description for Translator

A translator is an essential link between people who speak different languages. At the core, a translator facilitates written communication between two or more persons who speak different languages and are unable to directly communicate. They often work on documents for broader consumption such as brochures, books, and advertisements. However, a translator often does more than just translate; frequently, they also educates her clients about the history, culture, and customs of the people with whom the client is seeking to communicate. Armed with this cultural knowledge, the translator helps ensure that the client is able to abide by local customs and therefore not engage in taboo behavior.

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Translator Tasks

  • Maintain confidentiality of all translations and engagements as needed.
  • Identify and resolve misunderstandings of meaning quickly and tactfully while maintaining neutrality.
  • Translate communications dynamically or statically while preserving context, content, and intent.

Common Career Paths for Translator


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Translators who transition into an upper level Interpreter position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Interpreter makes $41K a year.

Translator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Translator


Translators report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with Chinese, Mandarin Language, Japanese Language, and Localization and Translation are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 34 percent, 18 percent, and 15 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Portuguese Language and Spanish Language. It is often found that people who know English Language are also skilled in French Language and Japanese Language.

Pay by Experience Level for Translator

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


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $41K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $49K. Translators claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $50K. People who have worked for 20 years or more actually report earning less than people who are in the middle of their careers; the veterans take home a mere $49K by contrast.

Pay Difference by Location


Surpassing the national average by 22 percent, Translators in Washington receive some of the highest pay in the country. Translators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Portland (+19 percent), New York (+16 percent), Salt Lake City (+12 percent), and Houston (+6 percent). Translators in Atlanta take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 34 percent less than the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Los Angeles and San Diego (17 percent lower and 10 percent lower, respectively).

Translator Reviews

What is it like working as a Translator?

Translator in Boulder:
"Freelance Professional Translator."
Pros: I love the flexibility of choosing the hours I work and choosing the clients I work for. It is an intellectually stimulating job. I enjoy working with languages and writing.
Cons: The uncertainty of the feast and famine cycle.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Translator Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 16%

Mid-Career
up arrow 14%

National Average
$43,000


Skills That Affect Translator Salaries

Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 34%

Japanese Language
up arrow 18%

Localization and Translation
up arrow 15%

French Language
up arrow 14%

Arabic Language
up arrow 14%

German Language
up arrow 12%

National Average
$43,000

English Language
up arrow 2%


Portuguese Language
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 41 votes.

Gender

Female
69 %
Male
31 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
25%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 51% dental benefits Dental: 38%
vision benefits Vision: 32% employee benefits None: 46%
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