A court interpreter translates legal proceedings into another language, including sign language, for stakeholders who don't speak English fluently. They may have to read legal documents in another language, called sight translation, in addition to translating what's being said. As such, it's very important that the interpreter have a firm understanding of legal terminology in both languages.
Salary Averages and Contract Fees
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a separate job category for court interpreters. Instead, it includes them in the broader category of interpreters and translators who work in a variety of fields. The median salary for these professionals was $45,430 a year as of 2012. Those who worked for the government averaged $52,740 a year. Court interpreters who work independently charge daily or hourly rates. According to the United States Courts website, the daily rate for non-certified court interpreters was $187 as of 2010. For a half-day, the rate was $103. Certified interpreters earned $388 for a full day and $210 for half a day. Certified interpreters are those who have passed the Administrative Office certification examination.
2016 Salary Information for Interpreters and Translators
Interpreters and translators earned a median annual salary of $46,120 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, interpreters and translators earned a 25th percentile salary of $34,230, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $61,950, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 68,200 people were employed in the U.S. as interpreters and translators.