Getting started in America
Thread poster: Karen Cloutier Smith

Karen Cloutier Smith  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
French to English
+ ...
Jan 8, 2008

Dear all,

My husband and I will be emigrating from the UK to the USA in the next few years and we're looking to find out about the translation industry in America.

Would anyone over there be able to give some idea what sort of salary an in-house translator with 2-3 years of experience and a Masters in translation could expect to earn? Also, if anyone is reading this who works in any kind of translation support role (i.e. project manager, terminologist), then we would appreciate some information on this too.

We're considering establishing ourselves in the area surrounding Washington D.C., so if anyone is from around there, even better.

Many thanks,
Karen & Mark Smith

[Edited at 2008-01-08 21:02]


Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'm a freelancer in the D.C. area... Jan 8, 2008

I don't know much about the in-house market, but here's a link to the National Capital chapter of the American Translators Association, which I recently joined. Nice people - if you get in touch with one of the officers they can probably point you in the right direction.

Let me know if you have any questions about the area. I've lived in Arlington since 1992 except for three years abroad.



Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
A suggestion Jan 8, 2008

Hi Karen,

As far as I understood, the salary varies a lot depending on the area, which may seem obvious but it is probably not that obvious...
I found an interesting tool to calculate your salary based on the area where you are going to work associated to your career:

I would you suggest also to have a look into this Website:


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
National survey Jan 9, 2008

Every few years, the American Translators Association conducts and publishes a national survey of translators' income, broken out in a number of ways (by language pairs, by in-house vs. freelancer, etc.)

I'm pretty sure you can buy the report from their web site:


Latin_Hellas (X)
United States
Local time: 06:16
Italian to English
+ ...
US Department of Commerce Jan 9, 2008

I believe it's the US Department of Commerce that publishes labor/income statistics and outlooks for all types of jobs and professions. This information is available for free on the internet.

A few months ago I read that the average translator generates around $35,000 in gross income. In view of how highly fragmented the translation industry is, I'm not sure how meaningful that average figure is.

If you are in the DC area, I would suggest targeting some of the major international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, etc. Not only should they pay salaries more or less commensurate with the local cost of living, they probably also provide health and pension benefits.

Good luck!


Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:16
German to English
+ ...
In-house into English? Jan 9, 2008

When I was looking for in-house jobs way back I did not see very many in-house jobs for into English translation in the US at all. Are you looking for into English or into another language? Most of my co-students at Monterey went into project management if they were English native speakers and chose to remain in the US rather than look for jobs abroad.

[Edited at 2008-01-09 14:27]


Karen Cloutier Smith  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
French to English
+ ...
Thank you! Jan 10, 2008

Thanks for the advice. We have a much better idea now of what to expect and where to begin looking.

We're looking to work into English, but are also considering translation support roles as well. I would be particularly interested in terminology or DTP.



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