To be a Translator and to have savings – as it turns out, it is possible. A translator’s earnings vary widely. For example, sometimes the rates of Sworn Translators are regulated by national laws. This is the case in Poland. In other cases, usually market rates apply. It may be stated that a Translator’s work is worth as much as the client agrees to pay for it. How does it look in practice?
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Translator’s average earnings depending on the country
Let’s begin with average earnings of a Translator. Such information can be found on government websites with statistics. Keep in mind that when we say ‘average’, it does not mean that this is usually the amount earned. In any case, Translators earn on average:
- Average earnings in the US: USD 57,000;
- Average earnings in Canada: CAD 49,627;
- Average earnings in Great Britain: 26,135 GBP (approx. USD 32,600).
On the other hand, following the information from a Polish website for analysing wages (wynagrodzenia.pl) the most frequent (median) earnings of a Translator in Poland amount to PLN 5,450 per month (PLN 65,400 per year). Information on the Translator’s earnings in Germany can be found on another website: payscale.com. According to the data available there, the median salary in the translation industry is approximately EUR 30,000 per year.
Translator’s earnings in the US
Interesting information on earnings in the translation industry in the USA can also be found at work.chron.com. While the average salary there is USD 57,000, the group of Translators also includes individuals who earn less than USD 28,170 per year (the bottom 10% in the statistics). On the other hand, the average amount is significantly increased by people whose earnings reach the level of USD 94,370 (the top 10% in statistics).
The information regarding the translation industry, broken down into individual segments, is also interesting. People working in private translation agencies can look for earnings in the amount of USD 61,310, on average. At least this is what approximately 42% of respondents declare. The situation is better in the federal sector, where translators can earn as much as USD 83,300.
What determines how much money a Translator can make?
When you look only at the statistics, it can be assumed that Translators are a fairly well-paid professional group, regardless of the country. However, it is worth knowing that the above information applies only to the average (USA, Canada, UK) and median (Poland, Germany) earnings. This means that in each case there will be people who earn more or less than the quoted amounts. So what determines how much a Translator earns?
How much does a freelance Translator make?
In the case of people who work as freelancers, the earnings depend on how many projects they complete in a given month. The rates are regulated by the market, and the starting price should be the price per word or the price per translation page (usually 1800 characters with spaces). The rates also vary depending on which language pair you work with The less popular the language, the higher the rates and the smaller the number of potential projects.
Based on the above, it can be stated that when you work with the English-German language pair, you will get a lower rate when compared to the Icelandic-Mandarin pair, for instance. At the same time, in the first case, you will receive a greater number of orders, which translates directly into greater opportunities to earn. On the other hand, much significantly higher rates for less common language pairs can mean you earn the same or even more with less work.
How much does a full-time Translator earn?
A similar rule applies to translators who work on a full-time basis. The less common the languages they use, the better earnings they can expect. Furthermore, a bigger number of job offers are published for more popular languages. Moreover, the wage in the same language pair may also differ depending on the country. This is clearly visible in the statistics presented above. Generally, translators in the USA earn more than translators in Poland.
Will Translators earn more in the future?
To conclude, it is worth taking a look at Translators’ forecast earnings. This aspect looks promising on the US market, because, according to the Bureau of Labor, it is anticipated that this industry will offer a 19% annual increase in earnings by 2028. Similar forecasts are provided in a report prepared by Slator. It shows that wages in the translation industry will grow at a rate of 17% every year. And all this will happen despite the dynamic development of machine translation. For this reason, if you want to work as a Translator, it’s time to take the first steps in this direction. Ideally, you could start by browsing projects or job offers on globtra.com.