What Is the Average Salary for Entry-Level Translator Jobs?
Getting started as a translator and curious to know what kind of salary you can expect? Your salary can be influenced by several things including your job industry, language of specialization and level of education. Read on to learn more about average salaries for entry-level translators. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Average Salary for Translators
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 2010, the average salary for interpreters and translators was $49,790 a year, although entry-level translators may be paid somewhat less (www.bls.gov). In May 2011, Payscale.com reported that interpreters and translators in the 10th-90th percentile with less than one year of experience earned $18,500-$47,500.
Industry of Employment
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 May 2011, some of the highest salary ranges were paid to translators and interpreters employed at a college or university, with those in the 10th-90th percentile earning $21,000-$71,000. In contrast, those employed in primary or secondary schools in the 10th-90th salary percentiles had a smaller range and earned $21,000-$42,000. Your salary will likely be on the lower end of these ranges when you are first starting out.
According to the BLS, some of the highest wages were paid to translators employed by the government. The annual mean wage of a translator or interpreter employed in the federal executive branch was $74,780 in 2010.
Language Specialization and Location
The languages in which you specialize can affect your job prospects and potential salary as well. In May 2011, the entry-level salary of a Spanish interpreter or translator was slightly lower than that of a person who specializes in Arabic, according to Payscale.com. The BLS reported that demand for translators of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean was expected to remain strong during the 2008-2018 decade. The BLS also highlighted that larger cities and urban locations such as New York or Washington D.C. were more likely to have employment opportunities for translators.
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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