How much money do interpreters make?

When asked how much money an interpreter makes, it’s normal that our response seems a relatively high amount. However, once we explain, it’s evident this type of work needs to be paid according to its function and importance.

Here’s some of the main reasons which justify professional interpreter’s salaries.


A profession ripped apart by technology

Before getting into the assessment of how much money an interpreter makes, understand that professional interpretation is becoming less and less valued in society. It’s not that people have stopped needing interpretation in other languages, but that the media bombard us with new gadgets and apps that claim to have the magic formula for oral translation. And they don’t!

We already explained by using Pilot as an example. To reinforce the point: a quality interpretation service, for now, can’t be replaced by a machine. The ignorance of interpretation work, combined with the knowledge that these devices have, makes clients think that in some way interpretation should now be easy.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Neither Pilot nor Google Translate are any help to a professional interpreter, as they simply have no place in this type of work.


How much does an interpreter earn? It’s proportional to their extensive training

Certain jobs pay very well, and interpreting jobs are a prime example. Nobody questions whether architect fees are too expensive. So why question how much interpretation costs? At Ontranslation, we believe it’s due to ignorance.

Dedicated interpreters have invested significant time and effort in becoming skilled in a rather complex discipline You don’t just do a four-year degree and that’s you done! An interpreter career is a long path!

Similar to a doctor or lawyer, the degree is only the starting point for a professional interpreter. They’ll have to do a Masters, specialise entirely in the source and target languages, as well as some specific interpreter training… And above all, practice.  Becoming a professional interpreter is a long road that requires many hours of effort and practical experience.


Full attention is essential in professional interpretation

If we stop to think about interpreter salaries, perhaps we should also consider how much dedication their work requires. It’s a tiring job, which requires full attention to what is happening.

Furthermore, if it’s not sign language interpretation, we must remember that their working tool is their voice. They have to rest and look after their voice days before, since any unforeseen event can influence their performance.


Interpretation requires availability

Interpreting jobs are sometimes sporadic, and professional interpreters often have to combine it with other work. Normally, they also work as professional translators or proofreaders.

Since they leave their usual work aside for interpreting, it’s understandable that they are well compensated. This is why us translation and interpretation agencies are useful: finding someone available for interpretation is always difficult.

But at Ontranslation, we always manage to find someone! And most importantly, we compensate them well for their work.


In short, don’t question how much an interpreter makes, unless you want a quality job

Interpretation is a profession that has been ripped apart by modern technologies (which are usually not useful for interpretation), and which requires a high degree of specialization. On top of that, it’s a strenuous job in which flexibility is the norm.

Now that you know, next time don’t question how much money an interpreter makes, but rather consider all these points. Haven’t we convinced you? It’s an essential service because it bridges the gap for communication between cultures.

Need more information about what type of interpreting services exist?

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

One response to “How much money do interpreters make?”

  1. carlos says:

    Your post discusses the potential of becoming a virtual event planner or organizer, helping individuals and businesses host successful online events. It’s a service in high demand in the digital era.

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