Translator Salary

A translatorís salary can vary depending on the type of job he or she holds, type of employer, experience, which language is being translated and the type of translation being done. Here are the main factors on which salary rates depend.


According to statistics, individuals who have less than 1 yearís translation experience can earn between $30,000 to $45,000 per annum, while those with around 20 yearsí experience can earn between $60,000 and $75,000. Hourly rates vary between $15 and $25 on an average, with overtime rates close to $45, depending on the place of work.


With some languages there is more opportunity for work, such as with Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese, since a lot of business transactions take place with these countries. As such, business interpreters and document translators with sufficient experience in these languages can earn quite well. Further, there is a need for translating technical documents from these languages into English. For example Japanese car manufacturers or German appliance manufacturers require specification sheets and product manuals translated, so that these may be understood in English speaking countries.

However, being able to translate from a language that not many people know, can also pay you well, since not many others will be able to offer these services. For example in the US, being able to translate from Spanish to English may not pay as much as being able to translate between Russian and English, since plenty of people in the country speak Spanish.


If you intend to work freelance, you can expect to earn around $20 to $30 per hour and could charge per page or per word. Interpreters who interpret at conferences or other business meetings can expect to earn around $300 per day working freelance. This however depends on the experience you have and the reputation you have managed to build for yourself. Those employed with federal organizations and establishments such as foreign consulates can expect to earn higher salaries that those who are employed with companies. Individuals who obtain a job with organizations such as the United Nations can expect to earn, even for short-term assignments, around $13000 per month. As far as benefits go however, working for an organization offers more than working freelance. An employer will provide you with benefits such as retirement plans, sick leave, 401(k) benefits, bonuses etc.

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Nature of Work

Individuals with a technical knowledge as well as translation capabilities can generally expect to earn a higher salary, as they will be using two areas of specialization in their work. Also if the work is highly specialized in nature, such as translating highly classified government documents or extremely technical information such as special medical documents, you can expect to earn much more than in these jobs.

Education and Certification

If you have a bachelorís or masterís degree in translation, coupled with a degree in a particular language and a technical certification, you could expect to earn more than an individual, with the same amount of experience, who doesnít have these qualifications.
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