Translator Salary

Pay for Translators in the United States sits in the ballpark of $20.02 per hour. The bottom of the pay range sits near $10.26 per hour, and the top verges on $41.14. Residence and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. There are more female Translators who answered the questionnaire than male, making up 68 percent. While a little less than one-half report receiving no health benefits, close to one-half do receive medical coverage, and more than a third have dental, as well. The majority of Translators claim high levels of job satisfaction.

$24,577 - $79,199
(Median)
$25K
$46K
$79K
MEDIAN: $45,655
10%
50%
90%

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$10.26 - $41.14
(Median)
$10
$20
$41
MEDIAN: $20
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$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$24,577 - $79,199  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,068  
Profit Sharing
$3,000  
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).
)
$24,210 - $83,489  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 254
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$18$36$54
Hourly Rate
$10.26 - $41.14  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.40  
Overtime
$12.24 - $51.06  
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 - $5,068  
   
Profit Sharing
$3,000  
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).
)
$24,210 - $83,489  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 333
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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Many Translators move into an Interpreter role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Interpreters on average bring in a similar salary to Translators.

Interpreter or Translator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Translator


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Chinese, Mandarin Language, Japanese Language, French Language, and Localization and Translation are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 14 percent and 18 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Spanish Language, Portuguese Language, and Russian Language. Most people skilled in English Language are similarly competent 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.


Translators with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. The average beginner in this position makes around $41K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $48K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $51K. Translators with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $52K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $43,131

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

For Translators, top-notch salaries can be found in eastern parts of the United States: Boston, Washington, and New York offer exceptional salaries — better than the national average for those in this field. Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Translators in Atlanta earning a whopping 35 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Los Angeles (13 percent lower) and Phoenix (9 percent lower).

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.

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Experience Affects Translator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 20%


Mid-Career
up arrow 12%

National Average
$43,000


Skills That Affect Translator Salaries

Chinese, Mandarin Language
up arrow 18%

Japanese Language
up arrow 16%

French Language
up arrow 14%

Localization and Translation
up arrow 14%

Arabic Language
up arrow 13%

German Language
up arrow 12%

National Average
$43,000

English Language
up arrow 2%

Russian Language
up arrow 4%

Portuguese Language
up arrow 4%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 50 votes.

Gender

Female
68 %
Male
32 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
23%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 51%
dental benefits
Dental: 37%
medical benefits
Vision: 31%
dental benefits
None: 46%
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