Translator Careers

Whether your dream is to land freelance gigs from your neighborhood or coffee shop, or you enjoy doing regular work for an employer or agency, pursuing a career as a translator may help you land that dream job. Generally speaking, a translator is a person who converts the written word from one language to another, retaining the meanings possibly clear. Usually, translators convert text from the source language into the target native language.

Being a translator is one of the most exciting and prevalent roles on a large scale. A career as a translator brings you an opportunity to build a bridge between the entities of two different cultural backgrounds and languages. Not only that, but a career as a translator brings you plenty of excellent opportunities for career progression.

Translation is a highly meritocratic field, which means there are no fixed career structures nor artificial barriers to promotion, and so if you've got the talent and drive to succeed - the sky is the limit. In addition to this, being a translator offers you versatile and varied work options, high wages, multicultural experience, flexible schedules, and quick career progression.

Becoming a translator, you don't necessarily need a degree - if you've no relevant qualifications but a proven record of excellent language skills, you may still be able to gain translation work. However, getting a bachelor's degree or equivalent certification in specific languages may help boost your resume. To be successful in this role, you must have a keen eye for detail, excellent proofreading skills, and be fluent in at least two languages in addition to your native language.

Familiarity with translation tools and additional certification in linguistics is a big plus. Depending on the setting and type of your assignment, you may have variable working schedules. For in-house jobs, typically, you'll work for full-time office hours. If you work as a freelancer remotely, your hours can be flexible, but you might need to organize your time to meet fixed deadlines. Part-time work or short-term contracts are available too.

Another outstanding benefit of being a translator is that it provides a remarkable opportunity for those who want to work independently or enjoy operating independently. Being a translator, you may take freelance or agency work that offers a chance to build a stable career that isn't reliant on the whims of supervisors or vagaries of the job market.

You may also start your career working as an in-house translator for a translation agency, company, industrial organization, local or international bodies. Whatever the work setting, translators are always in-demand over the globe and earn a competitive salary. While working in a company or organization, generally, you get an average yearly salary of $43,000.

Freelance work may also grant you a handsome amount along with bonuses. Further, with an enthusiasm for learning multiple languages and a willingness to build a strong professional career, you may transform your profession into a fully established company.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a translator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $20.41 an hour? That's $42,449 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 Translator Do

There are certain skills that many translators 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a translator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.5% of translators included target language, while 11.8% of resumes included translation services, and 9.0% of resumes included communication. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the translator job title. But what industry to start with? Most translators actually find jobs in the non profits and professional industries.

How To Become a Translator

If you're interested in becoming a translator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 60.0% of translators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15.9% of translators have master's degrees. Even though most translators 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 translator. When we researched the most common majors for a translator, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on translator resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a translator. In fact, many translator jobs require experience in a role such as teacher. Meanwhile, many translators also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or interpreter and translator.

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Average Salary
$42,449
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
19%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,235
Job Openings

Translator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Translator

Teacher
13.4 %

Top Careers After Translator

Teacher
10.3 %

Translator Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Translator

Translators in America make an average salary of $42,449 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Salary
$42,449
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities For Translators

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Washington, DC
Salary Range53k - 89k$69k$68,910
New York, NY
Salary Range43k - 72k$56k$56,011
Newark, NJ
Salary Range40k - 67k$52k$52,331
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range39k - 64k$50k$50,242
Alexandria, VA
Salary Range36k - 61k$47k$47,097
Seattle, WA
Salary Range37k - 57k$46k$46,381
Durham, NC
Salary Range33k - 55k$43k$43,367
Houston, TX
Salary Range33k - 56k$43k$43,265
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range32k - 54k$42k$41,991
Duluth, GA
Salary Range32k - 53k$42k$41,669
Eugene, OR
Salary Range32k - 51k$41k$40,909
Tampa, FL
Salary Range27k - 50k$37k$37,430
Vernon Hills, IL
Salary Range29k - 46k$37k$36,881
Ann Arbor, MI
Salary Range26k - 43k$34k$33,783
Urbandale, IA
Salary Range26k - 39k$32k$32,326
Salt Lake City, UT
Salary Range25k - 39k$32k$31,711
Kailua, HI
Salary Range19k - 28k$24k$23,565
$19k
$89k

Recently Added Salaries

CompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Portuguese Translator
Robert Half
08/05/2021
$52,17508/05/2021
Translator
Robert Half
08/02/2021
$37,56608/02/2021
Translator
NRI, Inc.
07/27/2021
$44,47407/27/2021
Translator
NRI, Inc.
07/12/2021
$44,47407/12/2021
Translator
Hickman Mills C-1 School District
05/21/2021
$21,61305/21/2021
See More Recent Salaries

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Translator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Translator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Translator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Translator resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Translator Resume Examples And Templates

Translator Demographics

Gender

female

52.5 %

male

35.5 %

unknown

12.0 %

Ethnicity

White

46.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

27.1 %

Asian

16.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.6 %

French

12.7 %

Chinese

7.7 %
Show More Translator Demographics

Translator Education

Majors

English
21.0 %
Business
11.8 %

Degrees

Bachelors

60.0 %

Masters

15.9 %

Associate

9.3 %

Top Colleges for Translators

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 North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

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

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

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

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

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

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329
Show More Translator Education Requirements

Online Courses For Translator That You May Like

Professional Translator
ed2go

Professional Translator...

Translation quality management
coursera

Professional translation is a complex process that usually involves collaboration of multiple people. The course will show you how to build this process correctly: analyze content, determine requirements and risks, select appropriate jobs and vendors, evaluate translation quality. You will know why user manuals should not be translated in the same way as you would translate promotional or legal documents. You will see why every content type requires a special translation approach and learn to pr...

Machine Translation
coursera

Welcome to the CLICS-Machine Translation MOOC This MOOC explains the basic principles of machine translation. Machine translation is the task of translating from one natural language to another natural language. Therefore, these algorithms can help people communicate in different languages. Such algorithms are used in common applications, from Google Translate to apps on your mobile device. After taking this course you will be able to understand the main difficulties of translating natural langu...

See more
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Translator

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, 17.5% of translators listed target language on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and cultural sensitivity are important as well.

  • Target Language, 17.5%
  • Translation Services, 11.8%
  • Communication, 9.0%
  • Internet, 7.6%
  • Online, 7.5%
  • Other Skills, 46.6%
  • See All Translator Skills

Best States For a Translator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a translator. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and California. Translators make the most in New York with an average salary of $55,483. Whereas in New Jersey and Ohio, they would average $52,521 and $49,984, respectively. While translators would only make an average of $46,823 in California, 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 Translator Jobs:
30
Highest 10% Earn:
$111,000
Location Quotient:
5.06
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. West Virginia

Total Translator Jobs:
5
Highest 10% Earn:
$74,000
Location Quotient:
0.93
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. New York

Total Translator Jobs:
24
Highest 10% Earn:
$89,000
Location Quotient:
0.53
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 Translators

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Top Translator 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 translators and discovered their number of translator opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that United States Army was the best, especially with an average salary of $59,632. TransPerfect follows up with an average salary of $49,662, and then comes Mission Essential with an average of $61,061. 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 translator. The employers include None, None, and None

1. United States Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$59,632
Translators Hired: 
60+
2. TransPerfect
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$49,662
Translators Hired: 
34+
3. Mission Essential
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$61,061
Translators Hired: 
19+
4. Kelly Services
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$55,781
Translators Hired: 
15+
5. United States Marine
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$57,289
Translators Hired: 
14+
6. State Farm
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$53,440
Translators Hired: 
11+

Translator Videos