What Is the Average Salary for Entry-Level Translator Jobs?
Are you getting started as a translator and curious to know what kind of salary you can expect? Read on to see how your salary can be influenced by several things, including your job industry, language of specialization and location. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Several factors may affect your potential entry-level salary as a translator, including demand for the languages you can translate, place of employment, education and location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2012, the average salary for interpreters and translators was $53,410 a year, although entry-level translators may be paid somewhat less (www.bls.gov). In January 2014, PayScale.com reported that interpreters and translators in the 10th-90th percentile range with less than one year of experience earned $24,417-$52,200.
Salary by Industry
Where you choose to work will also likely influence your entry-level salary. Popular areas of employment might include medical translating, court translating, translating in education and literary translating. According to PayScale.com, in January 2014, some of the highest salary ranges were paid to translators and interpreters employed in the software development industry, with those in the 10th-90th percentile earning $31,429-$90,000. In contrast, those employed in public K-12 education in the 10th-90th salary percentile range had a smaller range and earned $25,434-$41,271. Your salary will likely be on the lower end of these ranges when you are first starting out.
According to May 2012 figures by the BLS, the highest wages were paid to interpreters and translators employed by management, scientific and technical consulting services. Workers in this industry made an average wage of $109,930. Those employed in the federal executive branch of the government made an average salary of $74,290.
Salary by Language
The languages in which you specialize can affect your job prospects and potential salary as well . The BLS reported that demand for translators of Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Korean was expected to remain strong during the 2012-2022 decade. Growth for interpreters and translators overall was expected to be at a very fast rate of 46% over that same period.
In January 2014, PayScale.com reported that Spanish translators made $17,158-$71,446 annually. Those specialized in French made $15,456-$80,267, while those specialized in Japanese made $42,500-$53,563.
Salary by Location
The BLS highlighted that larger cities and urban locations such as New York or Washington D.C. were more likely to have employment opportunities for translators over the 2012-2022 decade. In addition, the BLS reported in May 2012 that the highest interpreter and translator employment level was found in California, Virginia, Texas, New York and Florida. Workers in these states averaged $40,770-$51,340 annually.
According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for this occupation in May 2012 included Virginia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey and Colorado. Average salaries were $90,900, $62,350, $62,010, $59,400 and $57,480, respectively. The lowest-paying locations included Indiana, Arizona, Mississippi, West Virginia and Kansas, with annual wages averaging $24,290-$36,710.
Education and Certification
You will have several education and training options available to you if you decide to pursue translating as a career. While not necessarily required, you might be offered a higher starting salary if you hold a bachelor's or master's degree in the language you wish to translate. A master's degree and a year's worth of professional experience will also qualify you to sit for the American Translators Association (ATA) professional certification examination (www.atanet.org).
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