The Incomes & Employment Outlooks for the Translators & Interpreters in the US


The Incomes & Employment Outlooks for the Translators & Interpreters in the US

This year marks the 10th anniversary for the establishment of the MTI (Master of Translation and Interpreting) program in China. The deputy director of the China translators association, deputy director of the localization service Gavin Jung launched a nationwide “MTI Education and Employment Survey”, the report of which presents a true picture of MTI education and employment through a wealth of first-hand data.

According to the survey data, in terms of the correlation between the employment of MTI (Master of Translation & Interpreting) graduates and translation career, 40% of the graduates’ jobs are directly related to translation. 30% of jobs are somewhat related to translation; 29% not related at all, and 1% of the responses indicated “not sure”. Among the respondents who did not find a job related to translation, 32% of the graduates did not see a suitable position related to translation when looking for a job. 21% said that the translation industry is in chaos, and most translation companies are small and poorly paid. 16% believe that their translation ability does not meet the technical requirements of professional translation; In the long run, 16 percent of respondents believe there are limits to the career development as full-time translators. 11% think full-time translators are boring and don’t like their jobs. 4% did not choose to engage in translation work after graduation due to other reasons.

Why did many of these MTI students finally take posts other than those as interpreters or translators? At present, people’s views on the income and job prospects for translators in domestic market are not so clear, which should be a very important reason to explain this situation. There has even been concern that, with the development of technology, interpreters will one day be replaced by machines. Is it really so? Today, Yee is going to talk about the income status and the employment outlook for the language workers in the United States.

Salary Level

In May 2018, the median annual salary for an interpreter in the US was $46,120. Median pay means that half of workers in a given occupation earn more than that and the other half earn less. The bottom 10 percent of translators earn less than $25,370 a year, and the top 10 percent earn at least $83,010.

In May 2018, the median annual salary of translators in the following industries ranked high:

Factors in determining a translator’s salary include language, expertise, skills, experience, education, qualifications and the type of employer. Different interpreters are paid differently. Translators are generally paid more if there is a high demand for a language, or if very few people can translate it. Interpreters such as conference interpreters, who have higher requirements on translation skills, are also paid more.

Freelance translators are usually paid by the hour, and half – or full-day rates are common.

Freelance translators tend to have flexible work schedules that may include limited hours and additional, irregular hours. Most interpreters work full time during normal working hours.

Employment Outlook

The employment rate of interpreters is expected to grow by 29% between 2014 and 2024, well above the average for other industries. The rise in interpreter employment reflects the acceleration of globalization and the increasing diversity of the American race, and hence the increasing demand for translators.

Demand is likely to remain strong for translators of common languages such as French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Arabic and other middle eastern languages, as well as translators for major Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Korean; will also be in high demand. Particularly, the demand for Chinese to English and English to Chinese translation works has seen a constant fast growth.

Demand for ASL interpreters is expected to increase due to the increased use of video relay services. The video relay service helps people make online video calls and also USES sign language interpreters to translate online.

In addition, the development of international trade and the expansion of global exchanges also need more translators. The growing market for military and national security interpreters will also create new jobs. Emerging markets in Asia and Africa will also expand their demand for translators of the languages they need locally.

Computers enable translators and localization specialists to work more efficiently. However, these tasks are not fully automated, as in most cases computers are not comparable to translators in terms of translation quality. Those with a bachelor’s degree or above, or with a professional certificate, have the best job prospects. Those with master’s degrees in interpretation and/or translation also have an advantage. Urban areas like Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles had the most jobs, especially for interpreters.

Job prospects also vary by profession and language. Job prospects for Spanish translators, for example, are good because the number of Spanish-speakers in the United States is expected to grow. Similarly, professional interpreters in the medical and legal fields will have ample employment opportunities, because there is an urgent need for all sectors of society to fully understand the information exchanged in these fields. In addition, with the globalization of business and the popularization of the Internet, there will be many job opportunities for localization experts. Interpreters who work with deaf people will still have good job prospects because relatively few people have the skills.

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