Translator Salary

Earnings for Translators in the United States come in at around $20.02 per hour on average. The bottom of the pay range sits near $10.26 per hour, and the top verges on $41.14. Geography and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Women make up the majority of Translators (68 percent) who completed the questionnaire. Work is enjoyable for Translators, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although just under a half lack health benefits of any kind, approximately one-half do enjoy medical insurance, and more than a third get dental coverage, too. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$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
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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' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like Interpreter. Median pay for Interpreters is $41K.

Translator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Translator


Translators report using a diverse set of skills on the job. 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. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Spanish Language, Portuguese Language, and Russian Language. For most people, competency in English Language indicates knowledge of French Language and Japanese Language.

Pay by Experience Level for Translator

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


For Translators, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. 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 $48K. Translators see a median salary of $51K after reaching one to two decades on the job. 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.

Translators in Boston, Washington, and New York — eastern regions — enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle with compensation above the national average. One of the biggest compensable factors for Translators is geography, with workers in Atlanta earning a whopping 35 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 13 percent less in Los Angeles and 9 percent less in Phoenix, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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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