Media and communication workers (specialized areas)
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Interpreters and Translators
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Overview
Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for interpreters and translators are expected to grow by 18%, and should have about 8,100 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Interpreters and translators are less likely to be automated than 63% of other careers.
Workforce size
Interpreters and translators, with 68,200 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Education
Only 49% of media and communication workers (specialized areas) have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by media and communication workers (specialized areas)
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More media and communication workers (specialized areas) have bachelor's degrees than 69% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for interpreters and translators is higher than 52% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most interpreters and translators.
This job's median $50KAll jobs' median $39K$47K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 63% of media and communication workers (specialized areas) -- that's a larger percentage than 78% of other jobs.
Gender of media and communication workers (specialized areas)
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For media and communication workers (specialized areas), the median men's salary was 16% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 23% of media and communication workers (specialized areas) are minority, and 38% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of media and communication workers (specialized areas)
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (38%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Interpreters and Translators per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 42% of media and communication workers (specialized areas), and 55% have company-sponsored health insurance (19% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for media and communication workers (specialized areas)
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 53% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of interpreters and translators who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (46%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (40%)
  • Consequence of Error (37%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do media and communication workers (specialized areas) earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group media and communication workers (specialized areas), which combines the data for 2 careers, including interpreters and translators. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for interpreters and translators, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for interpreters and translators compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for interpreters and translators (BLS Salary Data)
$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$50K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all media and communication workers (specialized areas), and then we show how the median (middle) salary for media and communication workers (specialized areas) compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for media and communication workers (specialized areas) (ACS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where interpreters and translators work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Media and communication workers (specialized areas) (ACS)
Private for-profit (42.3%)
Private not-for-profit (11.8%)
Local government (12.8%)
State government (8.2%)
Federal government (9.8%)
Self-employed incorporated (3.8%)
Self-employed not incorporated (11.1%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of media and communication workers (specialized areas) by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of media and communication workers (specialized areas), which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$40K$46K$40K$41K$38K$42K$37K$50K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of interpreters and translators by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty interpreters and translators, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$50K$82K$46K$51K$57K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for media and communication workers (specialized areas)

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$46K$35K$42K$43K$41K$48K$42K$26K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
02K4K6K8K10KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Media and communication workers (specialized areas) and gender

With 63% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 78% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
63%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Media and communication workers (specialized areas)
Men (37%)
Women (63%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for media and communication workers (specialized areas), with the median salary for men 16% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$38K$44K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Media and communication workers (specialized areas) have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 46% of other jobs.

16%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of media and communication workers (specialized areas)

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority media and communication workers (specialized areas) than for 64% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of media and communication workers (specialized areas)
White (70% )
Asian (10% )
Other (7% )
Black (7% )
Multiracial (3% )
Hispanic (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
38%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for media and communication workers (specialized areas) by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$31K$32K$41K$41K$43K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KHispanicOtherBlackWhiteMultiracialAsian
Distribution: Salaries for media and communication workers (specialized areas) by nativity
$40K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by interpreters and translators

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), interpreters and translators typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as media and communication workers (specialized areas) as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for media and communication workers (specialized areas).

Education attained by media and communication workers (specialized areas)
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for interpreters and translators

A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to become an interpreter or translator along with proficiency in at least two languages, one of which is usually English.

High school students interested in becoming an interpreter or translator should take a broad range of courses that focus on foreign languages and English writing and comprehension.  

Beyond high school, people interested in becoming interpreters or translators have numerous educational options. Those in college typically choose a specific language as their major, such as Spanish or French. Although many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, majoring in a language is not always necessary.

Through community organizations, students interested in sign language interpreting may take introductory classes in American Sign Language (ASL) and seek out volunteer opportunities to work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for interpreters and translators

There is currently no universal certification required of interpreters and translators beyond passing the required court interpreting exams offered by most states. However, workers can take a variety of tests that show proficiency. For example, the American Translators Association provides certification in 29 language combinations.

The federal courts offer court interpreter certification for Spanish language interpreters. At the state level, the courts offer certification in at least 20 languages.

The National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf jointly offer certification for general sign language interpreters. In addition, the registry offers specialty tests in legal interpreting, speech reading, and deaf-to-deaf interpreting—which includes interpreting among deaf speakers of different native languages and from ASL to tactile signing.

The U.S. Department of State has a three-test series for prospective interpreters—one test in simple consecutive interpreting (for escort work), another in simultaneous interpreting (for court work), and a third in conference-level interpreting (for international conferences)—as well as a test for prospective translators. These tests are not considered a credential, but their completion indicates that a person has significant skill in the occupation. The National Virtual Translation Center and many other organizations also have testing programs.

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters offers two types of certifications for healthcare interpreters: Associate Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of languages other than Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin; and Certified Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin.

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters offers certification for medical interpreters of Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese languages.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for media and communication workers (specialized areas)? Below we see the distribution of media and communication workers (specialized areas) salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as media and communication workers (specialized areas), and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$32K$33K$36K$36K$44K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KNone (2%)High School (14%)Some College (22%)Associate's Degree (13%)Bachelor's Degree (33%)Master's Degree (13%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by media and communication workers (specialized areas)

This table shows the college majors held by people working as media and communication workers (specialized areas). Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Media and communication workers (specialized areas) with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as media and communication workers (specialized areas), and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by media and communication workers (specialized areas) given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for media and communication workers (specialized areas)

What jobs will most media and communication workers (specialized areas) hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of media and communication workers (specialized areas) reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Media and communication workers (specialized areas)Managers (specialized areas)Specialized media/broadcast techniciansChildcare workersDesignersReal estate brokers and sales agentsRetail salespersonsElementary and middle school teachersSocial workersTelevision, video, and motion picture camera operators and editorsSecretaries and administrative assistants
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for media and communication workers (specialized areas)

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 2 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as media and communication workers (specialized areas) as well as 1% of respondents after working as media and communication workers (specialized areas). Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for media and communication workers (specialized areas): full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as media and communication workers (specialized areas)? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of media and communication workers (specialized areas) surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Read about interpreters and translators
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Interpreters and translators typically do the following:

  • Convert concepts in the source language to equivalent concepts in the target language
  • Compile information and technical terms into glossaries and terminology databases to be used in their oral renditions and translations
  • Speak, read, and write fluently in at least two languages, one of which is usually English
  • Relay the style and tone of the original language
  • Render spoken messages accurately, quickly, and clearly
  • Apply their cultural knowledge to render an accurate and meaningful interpretation or translation of the original message

Interpreters and translators aid communication by converting messages or text from one language into another language. Although some people do both, interpreting and translating are different professions: interpreters work with spoken communication, and translators work with written communication.

Interpreters convert information from one spoken language into another—or, in the case of sign language interpreters, between spoken language and sign language. The goal of an interpreter is to have people hear the interpretation as if it were the original language. Interpreters usually must be fluent speakers or signers of both languages, because they communicate back and forth among people who do not share a common language.

There are three common modes of interpreting: simultaneous, consecutive, and sight translation:

  • Simultaneous interpreters convey a spoken or signed message into another language at the same time someone is speaking or signing. Simultaneous interpreters must be familiar with the subject matter and maintain a high level of concentration to convey the message accurately and completely. Due to the mental fatigue involved, simultaneous interpreters may work in pairs or small teams if they are interpreting for long periods of time, such as in a court or conference setting.
  • Consecutive interpreters convey the speaker’s or signer’s message in another language after they have stopped to allow for the interpretation. Note taking is generally an essential part of consecutive interpreting.
  • Sight translation interpreters provide translation of a written document directly into a spoken language, for immediate understanding, but not for the purposes of producing a written translated document.

Translators convert written materials from one language into another language. The goal of a translator is to have people read the translation as if it were the original written material. To do that, the translator must be able to write in a way that maintains or duplicates the structure and style of the original text while keeping the ideas and facts of the original material accurate. Translators must properly transmit any cultural references, including slang, and other expressions that do not translate literally.

Translators must read the original language fluently. They usually translate into their native language.

Nearly all translation work is done on a computer, and translators receive and submit most assignments electronically. Translations often go through several revisions before becoming final.

Translation usually is done with computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, in which a computer database of previously translated sentences or segments (called a “translation memory”) may be used to translate new text. CAT tools allow translators to work more efficiently and consistently. Translators also edit materials translated by computers, or machine translation. This process is called post-editing.

Interpretation and translation services are needed in virtually all subject areas. Although most interpreters and translators specialize in a particular field or industry, many have more than one area of specialization.

The following are examples of types of interpreters and translators:

Community interpreters work in community-based environments, providing vital language interpretation one-on-one or in group settings. Community interpreters often are needed at parent–teacher conferences, community events, business and public meetings, social and government agencies, new-home purchases, and many other work and community settings.

Conference interpreters work at conferences that have non-English-speaking attendees. The work is often in the field of international business or diplomacy, although conference interpreters can interpret for any organization that works with speakers of foreign languages. Employers generally prefer more experienced interpreters who can convert two languages into one native language—for example, the ability to interpret from Spanish and French into English. For some positions, such as those with the United Nations, this qualification is required.

Conference interpreters often do simultaneous interpreting. Attendees at a conference or meeting who do not understand the language of the speaker wear earphones tuned to the interpreter who speaks the language they want to hear.

Health or medical interpreters and translators typically work in healthcare settings and help patients communicate with doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff. Interpreters and translators must have knowledge of medical terminology and of common medical terms in both languages. They may translate research material, regulatory information, pharmaceutical and informational brochures, patient consent documents, website information, and patients’ records from one language into another.

Healthcare or medical interpreters must be sensitive to patients’ personal circumstances, as well as maintain confidentiality and ethical standards. Interpretation may also be provided remotely, either by video relay or over the phone.

Liaison or escort interpreters accompany either U.S. visitors abroad or foreign visitors in the United States who have limited English proficiency. Interpreting in both formal and informal settings, these specialists ensure that the visitors can communicate during their stay. Frequent travel is common for liaison or escort interpreters.

Legal or judicial interpreters and translators typically work in courts and other legal settings. At hearings, arraignments, depositions, and trials, they help people who have limited English proficiency. Accordingly, they must understand legal terminology. Many court interpreters must sometimes read documents aloud in a language other than that in which they were written, a task known as sight translation. Legal or judiciary interpreters and translators must have a strong understanding of legal terminology.

Literary translators convert journal articles, books, poetry, and short stories from one language into another language. They work to keep the tone, style, and meaning of the author’s work. Whenever possible, literary translators work closely with authors to capture the intended meaning, as well as the literary and cultural characteristics, of the original publication.

Localizers adapt text and graphics used in a product or service from one language into another language, a task known as localization. Localization specialists work to make it appear as though the product originated in the country where it will be sold. They must not only know both languages, but also understand the technical information they are working with and the culture of the people who will be using the product or service. Localizers make extensive use of computer and web-based localization tools and generally work in teams.

Localization may include adapting websites, software, marketing materials, user documentation, and various other publications. Usually, these adaptations are related to products and services in information technology, manufacturing and other business sectors.

Sign language interpreters facilitate communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who can hear. Sign language interpreters must be fluent in English and in American Sign Language (ASL), which combines signing, finger spelling, and specific body language. ASL is a separate language from English and has its own grammar.

Some interpreters specialize in other forms of interpreting for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Some people who are deaf or hard of hearing can lip-read English instead of signing in ASL. Interpreters who work with these people do “oral interpretation,” mouthing speech silently and very carefully so that their lips can be read easily. They also may use facial expressions and gestures to help the lip-reader understand.

Other modes of interpreting include cued speech, which uses hand shapes placed near the mouth to give lip-readers more information; signing exact English; and tactile signing, which is interpreting for people who are blind as well as deaf by making hand signs into the deaf and blind person’s hand.

Trilingual interpreters facilitate communication among an English speaker, a speaker of another language, and an ASL user. They must have the versatility, adaptability, and cultural understanding necessary to interpret in all three languages without changing the fundamental meaning of the message.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of interpreters and translators? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Business skills
Self-employed interpreters and translators need general business skills to manage their finances and careers successfully. They must set prices for their work, bill customers, keep records, and market their services in order to build their client base.
Concentration
Interpreters and translators must be able to concentrate while others are speaking or moving around them.
Cultural sensitivity
Interpreters and translators must be sensitive to cultural differences and expectations among the people whom they are helping to communicate. Successful interpreting and translating is a matter not only of knowing the words in different languages but also of understanding people’s cultures.
Dexterity
Sign language interpreters must be able to make quick and coordinated hand, finger, and arm movements when interpreting.
Interpersonal skills
Interpreters and translators, particularly those who are self-employed, must be able to get along with those who hire or use their services in order to retain clients and attract new business.
Listening skills
Interpreters must listen carefully when interpreting for audiences to ensure that they hear and interpret correctly.
Reading skills
Translators must be able to read in all of the languages in which they are working.
Speaking skills
Interpreters and translators must speak clearly in all of the languages in which they are working.
Writing skills
Translators must be able to write clearly and effectively in all of the languages in which they are working.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for interpreters and translators
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for interpreters and translators was higher than 52% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $50KAll jobs' median $39K$45K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for interpreters and translators are anticipated to grow by 18% over the next decade; only 8% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for interpreters and translators is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030020,00040,00060,00080,000100,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most interpreters and translators? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as interpreters and translators. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all media and communication workers (specialized areas), comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Interpreters and Translators per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where interpreters and translators earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for media and communication workers (specialized areas) compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for media and communication workers (specialized areas).

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all media and communication workers (specialized areas), which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Interpreters and Translators to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which interpreters and translators earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Media and communication workers (specialized areas) (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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