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.

Salary Overview

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 2014, the average salary for interpreters and translators was $49,320 a year, although entry-level translators may be paid somewhat less (www.bls.gov). In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that interpreters and translators with less than one year of experience earned between $22,301-$72,017.

Important Facts About Translators

Required Education Bachelor's Degree
Work Environment Office Setting
Key Skills Reading and Writing, Interpersonal Communication, Attention to Detail
Similar Occupations Interpreter, Foreign Language Teacher, Court Reporter

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 the BLS, some of the highest salaries in 2014 were paid to translators and interpreters employed in the architectural and engineering industry, with an average salary of $104,480. In contrast, those employed by museums or other similar institutions had an average annual wage of only $27,820. Your salary will likely be below these figures when you are first starting out.

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 2014-2024 decade. Growth for interpreters and translators overall was expected to be at a very fast rate of 29% over that same period.

In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that German translators made $30,487-$69,298 annually. Those specialized in French made $20,167-$104,704, while those specialized in Japanese made $25,183-$75,856.

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 2014-2024 decade. In addition, the BLS reported in May 2014 that the highest interpreter and translator employment level was found in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia. Workers in these states averaged $46,520-$71,170 annually.

According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for this occupation in May 2014 included Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Nevada, and Massachusetts. Average salaries ranged between $58,650 and $71,170. The lowest-paying locations included Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas with annual wages averaging $29,670-$35,930.

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 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).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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