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We are #82
Thread poster: Tomasz Poplawski

Tomasz Poplawski  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
English to Polish
+ ...
Jan 27, 2014

It's official! US News and World Report named "Translating and Interpreting" job # 82 on their list of the best 100 jobs in America.
We are below Exterminator, and Taxi Driver, not to mention High School Teachers, and Dental Assistants, who are way above us.
My feelings are mixed... It is sad that The Best Job in the World is judged to be #82.
On the other hand, isn't it sweet to fly below the radar?


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Peter Gleason  Identity Verified
Poland
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Too Bad We Made the List Jan 27, 2014

Maybe we're better off if people don't know about this job I guess the trick is to stay on clients' radar but off everybody else's?

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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:15
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Darn... Jan 27, 2014

With my luck, now my favorite uncrowded vacation spot is probably going to get "discovered" too

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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:15
Japanese to English
+ ...
A little misleading, though? Jan 27, 2014

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.htm

According to the data at the above link from the U.S. Department of Labor, as of 2013 there were 821 "detailed occupations" in America. The actual number of recognizably different jobs is probably higher, of course, but even if we take 821 as a total that makes #82 almost fall within the top 10%. Is working in the top 10% of all careers in a country with almost 320 million people really flying below the radar?

Incidentally, that page also lists the average annual income of "interpreters and translators" (averaged together I suppose) as $53,410. I certainly don't know too many high school teachers pulling that kind of salary.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Average income is good news Jan 27, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:
Incidentally, that page also lists the average annual income of "interpreters and translators" (averaged together I suppose) as $53,410. I certainly don't know too many high school teachers pulling that kind of salary.

I don't believe that's an above-average income for the USA, is it? But it isn't peanuts either, and you'd have to go some to earn that amount by providing translations at $0.02 per word. Perhaps the really good news from this survey is that there must be more translators than it sometimes seems who charge fair rates for a good job. And get them.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:15
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Comparison with high school teachers? Jan 27, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

Incidentally, that page also lists the average annual income of "interpreters and translators" (averaged together I suppose) as $53,410. I certainly don't know too many high school teachers pulling that kind of salary.


Orrin, forgive me if I've misunderstood, but are you saying that high school teachers make less than that?
The figure is actually low for a high school teacher.
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm

Job satisfaction and working conditions notwithstanding, teachers do get excellent benefits, strong job/wage protections, and (unsurprisingly) have an incredibly powerful union to represent them.

Not to mention getting three months off...


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:15
Japanese to English
+ ...
Guess it depends on where you're from Jan 27, 2014

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

Orrin Cummins wrote:

Incidentally, that page also lists the average annual income of "interpreters and translators" (averaged together I suppose) as $53,410. I certainly don't know too many high school teachers pulling that kind of salary.


Orrin, forgive me if I've misunderstood, but are you saying that high school teachers make less than that?
The figure is actually low for a high school teacher.
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm

Job satisfaction and working conditions notwithstanding, teachers do get excellent benefits, strong job/wage protections, and (unsurprisingly) have an incredibly powerful union to represent them.

Not to mention getting three months off...









That's true, they do get some really good benefits. But where I am from (MS), high school teachers start around $31,000, with the average salary coming in just under $42,000.

Anyways, I have a feeling that that DoL stat for translators is heavily skewed by the relatively high hourly rates of interpreters as well as the fact that it assumes a full work year (2000+ hours), which not all translators (few?) achieve. So teachers do probably come out ahead of us, since their pay is guaranteed and ours is subject to the alignment of the planets.


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Tomasz Poplawski  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Different planet? Jan 27, 2014

I don't know too many good linguists making less than $100,000 a year, and I don't know a single decent linguist with reasonable business skills who makes less. I know a few who make twice as much, or more.
Are we talking about the same job, on the same planet?


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:15
Member (2008)
French to English
Bottom feeders Jan 27, 2014

Tomasz Poplawski wrote:

I don't know too many good linguists making less than $100,000 a year, and I don't know a single decent linguist with reasonable business skills who makes less. I know a few who make twice as much, or more.
Are we talking about the same job, on the same planet?


No, they're also including the bottom-feeders that work for $0.02 per word. Different job, different planet, but lumped together in statisticians'eyes.


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:15
Japanese to English
+ ...
Anecdotal Jan 27, 2014

Tomasz Poplawski wrote:

I don't know too many good linguists making less than $100,000 a year, and I don't know a single decent linguist with reasonable business skills who makes less. I know a few who make twice as much, or more.
Are we talking about the same job, on the same planet?


Are you claiming to personally know a statistically significant percentage of all translators/interpreters in the United States? (which total 50,320 people according to the Labor Department data)


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Tomasz Poplawski  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, just a small sample Jan 27, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

Are you claiming to personally know a statistically significant percentage of all translators/interpreters in the United States? (which total 50,320 people according to the Labor Department data)


I'm not sure what made me sound like a fake statistician, no such intent. Just an observation based on 20+ years of work, attending ATA conferences, talking to conference interpreters, seeing what successful people in the profession can afford...


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:15
Japanese to English
+ ...
Hmm Jan 28, 2014

In 20+ years you have never met a "decent" (not sure how we are defining this) linguist (translator OR interpreter) that makes less than $100K a year?

Do in-house positions at translation companies in the U.S. generally pay 100k+ annually for salaried translators? I'll be honest, I don't know much at all about the world of interpreting, but I'm finding it hard to believe that the average skilled translator is earning this much.

I don't think that anyone will argue that there ARE people making a ton of money in the fields of both translation and interpreting. But to say that annual earnings of $100k-200k (which is on par with nurse anesthetists!) is the norm seems a little optimistic to me.


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Tomasz Poplawski  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Small lies, big lies, statistics Jan 29, 2014

Orrin,
In-house work sucks, IMMO, precisely because companies want the best people but are willing to pay them only the statistical market average. That's how it went for me, at least, so I still happily freelance..
I'm not going to convince you, and won't try anymore. If by "optimistic" you mean "exaggerated" - well, that's your opinion.
I am an optimist - I don't listen to all the doom-sayers telling me that people charging 2 cents are going to take all my work, so I better lower my rates. These prophets are self-serving. There is plenty of companies wiling to pay for top quality. Just make sure to provide what you charge for.
The comparison with anesthesiologists is telling. We all know the line "I am just a translator." Who told you we cannot make similar money - provided we are willing to work 100+ hours/week, as they do?
I may sound like a brain-washed multilevel marketing "triple diamond" - but they are damn right when they say "set a goal for yourself, work with people who respect your skills, love what you do, and forget about statistics."
Or, if you prefer a skiing metaphor: if you want powder a few days after the storm, you need to go into the trees. Sure it's tougher and sometimes scary - but you'll smile a lot at the end of the day.
The people I meant in my previous posts share that attitude. I am sorry for the rest.


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:15
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I make my words your words. It all depends on us. If I am not happy, it's up to me to change things. Jan 29, 2014

Tomasz Poplawski wrote:

Orrin,
In-house work sucks, IMMO, precisely because companies want the best people but are willing to pay them only the statistical market average. That's how it went for me, at least, so I still happily freelance..
I'm not going to convince you, and won't try anymore. If by "optimistic" you mean "exaggerated" - well, that's your opinion.
I am an optimist - I don't listen to all the doom-sayers telling me that people charging 2 cents are going to take all my work, so I better lower my rates. These prophets are self-serving. There is plenty of companies wiling to pay for top quality. Just make sure to provide what you charge for.
The comparison with anesthesiologists is telling. We all know the line "I am just a translator." Who told you we cannot make similar money - provided we are willing to work 100+ hours/week, as they do?
I may sound like a brain-washed multilevel marketing "triple diamond" - but they are damn right when they say "set a goal for yourself, work with people who respect your skills, love what you do, and forget about statistics."
Or, if you prefer a skiing metaphor: if you want powder a few days after the storm, you need to go into the trees. Sure it's tougher and sometimes scary - but you'll smile a lot at the end of the day.
The people I meant in my previous posts share that attitude. I am sorry for the rest.




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Peter Gleason  Identity Verified
Poland
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Question Jan 29, 2014

What clients are your friends who regularly make 200k working for? Agencies?

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