Interpreters convert one spoken language to another, which requires expertise in the subject matter and the cultures of the two languages. Simultaneous interpretation is the process of listening in one language while speaking in the other language. Simultaneous interpreters typically find salaried employment at international conferences and courts of law.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides national salary information for simultaneous interpreters. The average annual salary for this occupation was $49,790 per year in 2010, and the median salary for simultaneous interpreters was $43,300 per year. Simultaneous interpreters in the 10th percentile of the salary range earned $22,950 a year, and those at the 25th percentile earned $31,610 per year. Simultaneous interpreters at the 75th percentile made $61,130 per year. The average income for simultaneous interpreters at the 90th percentile was $86,410 per year.
The highest salaries for simultaneous interpreters were in scientific and technical consulting, according to the BLS, with an average salary of $99,650 per year. Telecommunications services paid their simultaneous interpreters an average of $77,010 per year and the federal government paid salaries to simultaneous interpreters averaging $74,780 per year. Simultaneous interpreters in business, professional, labor and political organizations had salaries averaging $65,070 per year and scientific research services paid simultaneous interpreters an average of $61,010 per year.
Simultaneous interpreters in Virginia earned the highest average salaries at $87,830 per year, according to the BLS. Simultaneous interpreters in New Jersey earned an average of $66,207 per year and those in Colorado had average salaries of $58,570 per year. Maine's simultaneous interpreters earned an average of $55,710 per year and the average annual salary for simultaneous interpreters in Oregon was $53,920.
The employment of interpreters will increase by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the BLS. This increase in employment is much faster than that of the average rate of increase for all occupations over the period. The increase in the number of international conferences will continue to drive the need for simultaneous interpreters. The highest demand for interpreters will be for those who speak French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.