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A bilingual interpreter is employed by companies to help translate a foreign language to the native tongue or a preferred dialect. As implied by the title, these bilingual interpreters are fluent in two languages, making them bilingual. They are expected to be able to quickly translate any material without the help of a dictionary or a computer translator. They are also expected to understand and converse in a specific foreign language. At times, they are brought to formal events to help interpret any foreign language or to help translate speeches to the native tongue. In addition, they may also represent the company in functions that are held in a different language.

Bilingual interpreters may not have formal education specifically to become bilingual. They may be a native of a foreign language and have learned the native language through experience. Nonetheless, they should still at least have a high school diploma in order to understand, translate, and interpret any conversations that may require higher-order thinking. For native language speakers, they are expected to have a bachelor's degree specializing in a foreign language in order to become bilingual interpreters.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a bilingual interpreter. For example, did you know that they make an average of $22.49 an hour? That's $46,781 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 19% and produce 14,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Bilingual Interpreter Do

There are certain skills that many bilingual interpreters have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed business skills, cultural sensitivity and dexterity.

Learn more about what a Bilingual Interpreter does

How To Become a Bilingual Interpreter

If you're interested in becoming a bilingual interpreter, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 46.2% of bilingual interpreters have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 10.1% of bilingual interpreters have master's degrees. Even though most bilingual interpreters have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a bilingual interpreter. When we researched the most common majors for a bilingual interpreter, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on bilingual interpreter resumes include high school diploma degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a bilingual interpreter. In fact, many bilingual interpreter jobs require experience in a role such as customer service representative. Meanwhile, many bilingual interpreters also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or bilingual customer service.

Bilingual Interpreter Career Paths

Average Salary for a Bilingual Interpreter

Bilingual Interpreters in America make an average salary of $46,781 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $77,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Bilingual Interpreter Salary
$46,781 Yearly
$22.49 hourly
$28,000
10 %
$46,000
Median
$77,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Bilingual Interpreter Education

Bilingual Interpreter Majors

17.2 %
11.7 %

Bilingual Interpreter Degrees

Bachelors

46.2 %

Associate

19.3 %

High School Diploma

13.4 %

Top Colleges for Bilingual Interpreters

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

3. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

6. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

8. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

Top Skills For a Bilingual Interpreter

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 30.2% of bilingual interpreters listed translation services on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and cultural sensitivity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Bilingual Interpreter Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Bilingual Interpreter templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Bilingual Interpreter resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Bilingual Interpreter Demographics

Bilingual Interpreter Gender Distribution

Female
Female
65%
Male
Male
35%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among bilingual interpreters, 64.9% of them are women, while 35.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among bilingual interpreters is Hispanic or Latino, which makes up 42.5% of all bilingual interpreters.

  • The most common foreign language among bilingual interpreters is Spanish at 68.1%.

Online Courses For Bilingual Interpreter That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
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Best States For a Bilingual Interpreter

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a bilingual interpreter. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, Virginia, and Oregon. Bilingual interpreters make the most in California with an average salary of $65,389. Whereas in New York and Virginia, they would average $64,100 and $63,320, respectively. While bilingual interpreters would only make an average of $60,762 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Bilingual Interpreter Jobs:
34
Highest 10% Earn:
$140,000
Location Quotient:
2.15 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Bilingual Interpreter Jobs:
325
Highest 10% Earn:
$96,000
Location Quotient:
8.34 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Virginia

Total Bilingual Interpreter Jobs:
92
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
1.04 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Bilingual Interpreters

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Top Bilingual Interpreter Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ bilingual interpreters and discovered their number of bilingual interpreter opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that CyraCom was the best, especially with an average salary of $84,883. Kelly Services follows up with an average salary of $50,938, and then comes National Language Service Corps (nlsc) with an average of $46,781. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a bilingual interpreter. The employers include TransPerfect, Kelly Services, and Georgia Hope

Most Common Employers For Bilingual Interpreter

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Wells Fargo$96,365$46.332
2CyraCom$84,883$40.8141
3The Home Depot$80,602$38.752
4Saint Paul Public Schools$77,600$37.312
5Randolph Health$65,899$31.684
6Lionbridge$61,885$29.753
7Faces Nightclub$61,862$29.741
8Ad Astra$61,439$29.543
9Weddington Hills Elementary$53,878$25.901
10Buncombe County Schools$52,586$25.281